Located in the district of Seberang Perai Tengah, Penang.
Coordinates of the park are N 5 21.512E 100 29.618
You can access the Google Map here.
Natural Heritage Status:
Bukit Mertajam Recreational Forest is a popular park among the locals in Seberang Perai (mainland Penang) and neighboring residents from Kulim, Kedah. The forest reserve sprawls over 37 hectares of hilly terrain with the highest point at 457 meter. The hill is a very prominent landmark in mainland Penang as seen from Penang Island.
The forest park consists of valuable timber trees of dipterocarp and palm forests. It still retains many indigenous trees like Meranti Seraya (Shorea curtisii) and Meranti Rambai Daun (Shorea acuminate). The cool and fresh mountain air induces many indigenous flora and fauna found only in this part of mainland Penang.
Bukit Mertajam is named after the tree Mertajam (Lepisanthes rubiginosa). This fruiting tree provides eatable berries for birds, squirrels, monkeys and human alike. The tree can reach a height of 10 meters. A tree can be seen near the car park.
Present status as recreational forest and a protected forest reserve.
To the park: Cars can easily access the park and there are ample parking lots. You can also get there by hiring a taxi from Bukit Mertajam town.
In the park: The four-kilometer jeep road to the transmission station at the summit is popular with hikers, joggers and even cyclists. For the adventurous hikers, there are numerous jungle trails leading and branching toward the peak. It takes more than one hour to reach the peak. There are two viewing platforms along the jeep road. You will enjoy the view at the platform overlooking the Mengkuang Dam. There were many social activities held in the park. They include Chap Goh Mei celebration, hikathon and mountain bike races.
Admission to the park is free. Parking in the park is also free.
The park is very popular among health conscious locals. It is always crowded during the weekends as well as weekdays.
Level of Development:
Level of development moderate.
Huts, rest areas and bridges were built to cater for picnickers as well as campers.
There were also developments for groups in team building, eco-tourism and group activities.
The nearest villages are Kampung Teluk Bukit and Kampung Cherok Tu kun with an estimated 100 households.
Tea spa, canteen open from 6.00 am till 7.00 pm everyday.
Average estimated arrival figures per day :
Public Holiday is about 2000 persons.
Weekend is about 1000 persons.
Weekday is about 500 persons.
The park is very popular with locals but with few foreign tourists.
Forestry Department and regular volunteer hikers have been keeping the trails clean.
Parking spaces and picnic areas are opened to the public.
The Forestry Department does not have any control on the number of visitors.
Accommodations of 5 chalets are under a private company.
Rubbish can be seen in some places within the park.
No mitigation control on use of the park after dark.
Among the main attractions here are the streams, waterfalls, picnic area, viewing platforms, campsites and chalet facilities. There are several pools in the park where one can take a dip in the cool refreshing water.
Bird watching is another popular attraction as rare birds have been seen on this hill. One can easily be captivated by the natural symphony of singing birds, deafening cicadas, chirping insects and the rustling of the wind through the leaves of the swaying trees.
(as at Aug 2008)For accommodation, there are 5 chalets. Chalet (air-cond) per night is RM70. It has now been privatized to Sepakat Harmoni Cafe.
A large camping ground is located near the park office and can accommodate at least 100 campers.
Chalets and campsite are frequented by locals and groups.
There was much rubbish found on the forest trails. Plastic bottles, plastic bags and rubbish were seen along the forest trails. There are some herbs collectors who ventured deep into the hill to collect herbs illegally. This could deplete some plant species. There are several new jungle trails being cleared by hikers. Some of these trails cut through water catchments. Illegal gaharu (agarwood) collectors have managed to chop the valuable trees in the forest. Occasional heavy downpours could cause landslide along the jeep road. There were cases of large boulders that rolled onto the jeep road. Many of the road embankments are steep and erosion can happen when it rains. There is a growing threat of advertisements placed deep in the park. These had handicapped the beauty of the natural environment. There were at least 2 illegal rest areas built with shades and benches. Trees were chopped to accommodate some structures.
Enforcement needed by the forestry on rubbish and blazing of trails. Illegal rest areas should not be allowed in the park.
More rubbish bins should be placed at strategic areas.
There should be restriction on placement of advertisement posters all over the forest park.
Flora: A plant nursery in the park for the conservation of different plant species has been very successfully implemented. Plants are also for sale to the public.
Trails: Jeep trail has been kept clean by contractor hired by Forestry Department while jungle trails have been cleaned by volunteers.
Fauna: Among the larger mammals seen in the park are 3 species of monkeys. Other animals include wild cats, monitor lizards, birds, lemur and snakes. The status of the park as protected forest reserve provides a home for the animals.
Benefits to Local Communities:
Some locals referred Bukit Mertajam as “Bukit Ubat” or literally meant Medicinal Hill. You can find many herbal plants in the forest. Among the famous herb is Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia) which is famed for its aphrodisiac properties.
Just 15 minutes from the car park you will be able to see a dipterocarp tree with honey combs. Birdwatchers will be thrilled to see bee-eaters feeding the buzzing honey bees on the hives.
There are many areas for picnickers in the Bukit Mertajam Recreational Forest. There are several shelters, benches and rest huts located at suitable corner for visitors to rest. There is also a tea kiosk at station 3 manned by volunteers to provide tea for thirsty hikers.
Other facilities provided at the park include the availability of 5 chalets and camping ground for campers. A tea corner and a canteen under the shady trees provide relaxing atmosphere for hikers.
The park is also handicapped friendly. Suitable handicapped paths have been constructed in the recreational forest.
Several fruits and vegetables vendors have been doing brisk business in the morning and evening catering for the hikers.
How to Get There
Bukit Mertajam Recreational Forest is situated 23 km from Butterworth and 6 km from Bukit Mertajam after the St Anne’s Church on the way to Kulim, Kedah (P12). From the Bukit Mertajam – Kulim main road (P12), turn into Jalan Kolam (P135) and head straight to the park.
Pegawai Hutan Negeri,
Tingkat 20, Menara KOMTAR,
10000 Pulau Pinang
Tel : 04-6505250
Hutan Lipur Mertajam,
Jalan Kolam Air, Mukim 15,
Cherok Tok Kun,
14000 Bukit Mertajam.
Tel : 04-5391743
Sepakat Harmoni Café,
Jalan Kolam Air, Mukim 15,
Cherok Tok Kun,
14000 Bukit Mertajam.
Tel : 019-4581230 (Chalets Booking – Kak Ni)
Taman Rimba Bukit Mertajam (2007), Jabatan Perhutanan Negeri Pulau Pinang
Hutan Lipur Bukit Mertajam Pulau Pinang (1990), Jabatan Perhutanan Negeri Pulau Pinang.
Guide to Peninsular Malaysia (1996), Projek Lebuhray Utara-Selatan Berhad.