The Penang National Park (Taman Negara Pulau Pinang) is located on the northwestern tip of Penang island at Teluk Bahang and is a great place to go jungle-trekking, camping, fishing, wildlife and bird spotting, or just relax on one of its beautiful beaches.
It is the smallest national park in the country with a size covering 2,562 hectares and was gazetted in 2003. The park is home to 46 species of birds such as the stork-billed kingfishers, white-breasted waterhens and great egrets. An expedition led by the Malaysian Nature Society recorded 417 flora and 143 fauna species. Before the area was designated as a national park, it was known as the Pantai Acheh Forest Reserve.
The sandy stretch of beach on Pantai Kerachut is also a favourite nesting place of green turtles from April to August, and the Olive Ridley from September to February. The turtle hatchery set up on Pantai Kerachut in 1995 is now managed by the State Fisheries Department along with the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) and the Forestry Department.
Some of the best hardwood trees are found here, such as Meranti and Merawan Baru. This area is the only known place in Penang where the red, paper-like barked Gelam trees grow.
The bio-diversity of the park is also impressive, with 1,000 species of plants including five different species of the Bintangor tree. Besides this, the park is the only one in Malaysia that contains six different types of habitat and a meromictic lake (a lake that occurs seasonally, where there is a distinct layering of waters), wetlands, mangroves, mudflats, coral reefs and turtle nesting beaches.
There are also various pitcher plants, wild orchids and funghi as well as medicinal plants.