First of all, no, it’s not difficult at all to get to Pantai Kerachut in Penang National Park. It takes only an hour of trekking from the entrance of Penang National Park to get there. In fact, it’s the number one place I would introduce to my foreign friends when they ask about Penang, Malaysia.
So I think it’s finally the time to shine some spotlight on this wonderful beach, the perfect getaway from the bustling busy streets of Penang city. Here, you’ll find out how to get there by yourself, how are the trails like, and more!
Are you ready? If so, let’s dive in and see how you can get to Pantai Kerachut in Penang National Park!
Where exactly is Pantai Kerachut?
If you look very closely, you can see there is a red box on the map below. That is Pantai Kerachut, facing the west ocean of the island. The meromictic lake is located right behind the beach. You can visit both at the same time, though I don’t think you’ll spend more than a minute watching the lake. To the right of A is the entrance gate.
The beach is only accessible by trekking from the entrance of Penang National Park, so that’ll be the place where you start the trail.
Upon registration, the office will give you an ‘ultra-detailed’ printed map for free, exactly like the one above. There is no entrance fee, so it’s one of the free things to do in Penang.
Just a reminder, never keep the map inside your pant’s pocket. It’ll become like a tissue soaked in the toilet bowl after your sweaty hike.
Remember to bring enough water! There are no vendors once you enter the national park. You can buy them outside the gate after your arrival. Each 1.5 liters water bottle costs around RM2-3.
How to Get to Pantai Kerachut?
To get to Penang National Park from Georgetown, you will have to take Rapid Bus Route 101. This bus runs from Weld Quay, passing through Komtar Bus Station and then goes to the national park gate in Teluk Bahang. The bus fare will not take more than RM4. The last time I took the bus, it’s somewhere around RM2.70.
If you’re staying in Batu Ferringhi, you can also hop on Rapid Bus Route 101, as the bus will pass by the area en route to Penang National Park. I’ve seen some travelers hitchhiking, but if you’re planning to do that, don’t do it in the middle of the highway, please.
You can check the Rapid Bus Route 101’s route here.
If you want to save time, and don’t mind spending some tens of Ringgit, then take GrabCar. It’s like Uber, but with a fixed fare, and based in Southeast Asia.
How Long It Takes to Get There?
According to the free printed map, it takes around 1 hour and 20 minutes to get to Pantai Kerachut from the entrance gate. But from my experience after several visits, it takes less than an hour if you’re fast.
However, before you decide to go all the way sprinting, make sure to check if you have enough water. Make sure to bring extra water, for two reasons – you might spend more than an hour chilling at the beach, and some a**holes might alter the direction boards, causing you to take the wrong route back.
Yup, I had that on my latest visit. Gotta admit I was kinda furious because it’s 2.30 pm, I’m super ‘hangry’. Hadn’t eaten anything after my breakfast at 9 am.
How Are The Trails Like?
As I mentioned above, the trails can be challenging for some, especially those with bad knees. There will be a lot of steep ascents and descents through the dirt road. Very little parts of the trail have ropes by the side.
After the rain, the trail can get very slippery, so watch out when you’re descending, remember to take things slow.
At the first 10 minutes of the trail to Pantai Kerachut, there are staircases that take you through the super steep hike. It can be physically demanding for some but no problem if you do it slowly. Don’t worry about blocking other hikers way, the trail is wide enough for two people to walk side-by-side.
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There are not a lot of signboards inside the compound, so don’t be afraid to ask if you think you’ve lost the way. Honestly, it’s difficult to lose your way there, as the path is quite straightforward.
Oh ya, due to the dense rainforest surrounding the path, there is not likely to be any wind. So, expect a lot of sweat!
Editor’s Note: See how you can travel Penang at under $20 per day here!
How is Pantai Kerachut Like?
At the end of the trail, you will be crossing a bridge, which takes you across the river to Pantai Kerachut. And if you look, again, very closely, you can see that the handles are made of PVCs, and the wooden planks on your feet are, I think, plastic blocks.
Pantai Kerachut is a white sandy beach, which has much fewer crowds than all the popular beaches on Penang island. It’s very peaceful there, and it’s almost certain that you’ll find some shady areas to just sit back and relax.
The beach is also a perfect spot to have your lunch picnic under the shady trees or some wooden huts. But one thing you MUST keep in mind is that there are monkeys there. And they’re aggressive enough to steal your foods in front of your face. Keep your eyes open! If things get worse, just let them have the food.
There’s a small port there, which allows the boats to pick up passengers. So if you’re planning to leave by boats, go there and they’ll come for you.
There’s a meromictic lake once you cross the bridge. It’s on your left so be sure to at least read the information board to learn more about this unique lake in Penang! If you want a quick intro, a meromictic lake is a lake with layers of waters with different densities. In this case, it’s fresh water at the top and salt water at the bottom layer.
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Turtle Sanctuary in Pantai Kerachut
One unique feature of Pantai Kerachut is that there’s a turtle sanctuary there. Even though it looks nothing like a sanctuary for me, I still think it’s more a visit. There are some information boards and models on the life cycles of turtles, along with some preserved carcasses of various turtles.
You can also find some turtles being kept in a huge tub, with only one-foot deep water in it. It’s very obvious that it’s seeking land, instead of just paddling and keep themselves afloat. Personally, I find it difficult to watch, but I think the authorities know what they’re doing.
At least, I like to think of it that way.
Why Do I think Pantai Kerachut Is Better Than Monkey Beach?
If you ask me which one would I go for – Pantai Kerachut or Monkey Beach, I’d choose Pantai Kerachut any time of the day. I’ve been to both beaches several times, and I can confidently say that Pantai Kerachut wins the heart of most visitors.
Look at the map and you’ll see Pantai Kerachut facing west, and Monkey Beach facing north. They might be geographically close, but the quality of the seawater is noticeably different. The seawater in Pantai Kerachut is much clearer than the one in Monkey Beach.
Other than that, there are a lot of dead branches on the shores in Monkey Beach, which made it looks ‘dirty’.
However, the main reason is that there are too many crowds and tourists in Monkey Beach. Water activities are plenty there, but none of them in Pantai Kerachut. Most of the boat services take passengers there, and you’ll also find vendors at Monkey Beach.
Even on weekends, Pantai Kerachut is still quiet and calm. That’s what I love about this beach! It’s probably the only beach I love in Penang.
Wrapping It Up
So what do you think about this article? Would you consider visiting Pantai Kerachut on your trip to Penang? Let me know in the comment section below! I hope this article helps you to plan your trip. Check out this post to find out the best place to stay in Penang. As usual, have a great trip in Malaysia! Check out this 2 days Melaka itinerary if you’re planning a visit there as well!