THE PRECEDING EVENT
It was weeks of energy sapping preparation that culminated with my son taking his marriage vow followed by the wedding ceremony the next day. Although we (both sides) tried making it simple, wedding is always energy sapping though a fully satisfying occasion. And it was so when your only son was the bridegroom. So after all our children who graced and helped making the occasion a success went back to their respective homes, we were left with a feeling of deep emptiness.
So we decided on the cuff to go away for a few days and be back before Saturday 22nd Mac when Adik, our youngest daughter have to go back to UniSZA. We have 4 days including travel time. Initially Langkawi comes to mind but then considering the distance and time, we decided to drive to Penang instead so that we have more time there rather than on the road. Thus, at 8.00am 19th Mac the tyres started rolling and we were on the road via the East-West Highway. We arrived at 3.00pm and stayed in Merchant Hotel, near our favourite nasi kandar outlet; Line Clear
We learnt about The Habitat from a leaflet at the hotel. It looked good. So we went to the Penang Hill Railway station and took the iconic Penang Hill train up slope to the top the next day. Penang Hill Funicular Railway has the steepest tunnel track in the world (Information from the Leaflet). The weather was sweltering hot the day before but today it rained the tropical storm rain. We had to wait until the rain simmered down before going to the station. Allah is Truly Great. The atmosphere was clear, cool and very comfortable up there.
From the train station on top, we walked along the well guided pavement and came to a viewing tower where most of Georgetown is visible. Further up there was a photo outlet that showed you a sample of your photos taken below pasted to a backdrop of Penang Views. It cost quite a fortune, so we just walked away. On top there was a place full of padlocks with messages of love. For entrance to The Habitat, we have to take tickets at a counter. It cost RM53 for Malaysian Adult and less for seniors and students. We decided to have something to eat first before the climb.
After some food we took a buggy to go up the to Station Checkpoint. You can also walk up there while enjoying the calm, fresh atmosphere.
The entrance to the world of The Habitat is via an outlet selling gifts, souvenirs and food. Umbrella is provided in case it rains.
We walked along a well guided metaled surface in the virgin tropical rain-forest in full ambiance of nature. Along the way information are provided by way of markings on the pavement and sign boards. We can have a tour guide if available. However the available tour guides were already with groups of travelers. The three of us prefer to walk on our own anyway, free to scrutinise and peer at anything along the way.
What I write here is from personal experience along The Habitat. You can get more technical information from the link here. There are facilities like drinking water taps, giant swings and viewing platforms along the way to enhance the experience further.
The cool atmosphere enable us to linger around and took photos of the floras that graced The habitat. There are also unique animals like the long tail squirrel, the lotongs, snakes and others if we could peer through the thick foliage and discern their whereabouts.
THE LANGUR CANOPY WALK
One of the main attraction of The Habitat is the Langur Canopy Walk. It was tauted as the world’s longest two-span stressed ribbon bridge canopy walkway. I am not sure whether this is for the full length or the presently available stretch. The canopy walk is really breathtaking. It was sturdy with only a little hint of a sway. 2 children ahead of us were jumping about and running, maybe to try create a swing like a normal suspension bridge but to no avail. It just sit rock solid. I was told by a guide that for the whole length, there are only 3 piers. From it you can see the tropical forest viewed from the top.
THE CURTIS CREST
The other main attraction is the Curtis Crest Tree Top Walk. After the Langur Walk we have to back-track to access the Curtis Crest. We needed to climb some flight of stairs. After a long walk, that was quite tiring for old limbs like ours. However since the pamphlets all show-case this as the major attraction with drone captured view of the Walkway, we just have to experience it.
After a flight of stairs we came to an open platform where the Crest was sited. It was built on a number of pillars in elliptical formation. The Tree Top walk is on the top, supposing to enable a view of Penang Island and even Langkawi on a clear day. To access the platform we need to go up quite a long flight of stairs. Alas, The Crest was a bit of an overstatement. We had expected a longer platform akin to the Langkawi Geo-Park that enable us to view the whole of the island. It was more like a miniature copy of the Langkawi Geo-park.
THE WAY BACK
All good things must end. This being the climax of The Habitat experience, we were on the end of the trip and needed to walk back to the Entrance Check-Point. A Toyota Hilux came to fetch us, 12 altogether and we were cramped onto it. 8 was forced to sit at the open back including me, wife and daughter and four in the back seat of the four wheel drive. Well, that’s Malaysian economy. You have already paid and experienced The Habitat, so why spent more to pamper your way back?
Then we took another train ride down to the station below. Another cramming in session happened here. We were crammed inside the coach, sitting and standing like a packed school bus. And this is a main Tourist Attraction. Well…….