I had hike up to Penang Hill many times, but almost all the time I am using Moongate trail to make it to the top, never tried the historical Heritage Trail than exist since 1890 but the chance was here when Lion and Shizu plan on a day camp at Hillside Retreat via Penang Hill.
Basically the trail was a very steep trail along the cable car track, with infinite numbers of staircase all the way until you reach the Middle Station. From the middle station, we took a detour to visit a meditation area that was full of shining yellow Buddhist Stupas scattered around the zone. The place was called 香云洞 and it was truly amazing on the calmness vibe here which make us feel very peaceful and comfortable! We also met a teacher here that explain to us a lot of information regarding the place, and only realize later than he was indeed the current president of 香云洞 and also the main temple, 金刚山地藏菩萨庙 at the foot of the hill. Such a lucky encounter with 釋開性師父!
We take the same path back to the junction we took the detour earlier, and continue the walk uphill with more muddy trail from this point onward until we reach Viaduct Station, which was familiar to me as this was where the intersection is if you were taking the Moongate route.
The Hillside Retreat was located exactly at the crossroad between Upper Tunnel road and By Path 'B'. It was quite some distance away from the happening area of Penang Hill, but we do love the quietness and calmness away from massive crowd, that's why we were here!
Peaceful vibe on the air here at 香云洞 area.
The entrance to Hillside Retreat.
Relive - Heritage Trails Hike to Hillside Retreat
Hillside Retreat offer few accommodation option, you can choose to stay in deluxe boutique room which located straight inside a century old British style bungalow, or superior bunker room that able to fit three, but for us, we choose to go for hillside camping tent that probably make us feel closest to the 130 million years old rain forest around the compound! The camping experience here might probably being the most 'luxury' one that I ever experience, as the management did have a kitchen that equipped with almost everything essential such as cooking equipment, gas, cutlery, hot water machine, fridge, and filter water tap! Even the toilet for campers was equipped with hot water shower as well!
The fully equipped kitchen area for campers.
3 toilets for both man and woman respectively.
The compound able to fit in up to 10 camps at one time.
Campfire site was also available, you may contact the caretaker for any inquiry.
The bungalow where the deluxe boutique room located.
The private view on beautiful Penang straight away from this seats!
Aerial shot on the Hillside Retreat.
Basically we do not plan much activities up here as our original plan just to stay closely to the world of nature away from crowd, but the accommodation offer limited choice of foods, so either you bring in yourself, or can have a exploration to restaurant nearby to satisfy our empty stomach as we only brought limited breads only tea time. We visited famous Kopi Hutan which was few KMs away but surprisingly there was still lots of tourists there despite today is Monday! Their signature Kopi Hutan was superb as per advertised, but we really love the Ondeh-Ondeh Cake here as well! They offer free shuttle back to Dataran area, so that we can get some snacks before getting back to Hillside Retreat for a deserved shower and just enjoy the afternoon as per plan, do nothing!
Such a simple yet great escape to rejuvenate our-self!
The orchid in Kopi Hutan.
Singing bird flying around the Kopi Hutan compound.
The Kopi Hutan, worth a visit but definitely not during weekend.
Black giant squirrel moving very fast from tree to tree.
Moderately visible day.
Dusky leaf monkey families, I just get to know as well that their new born was indeed gold in color!
Sitting comfortably close to our campsite.
The amazing night view of Penang from Hillside Retreat.
The visibility getting better during the night as we can see Penang Bridge and even the headlight of moving cars travel on it.
The Penang State Mosque and its surrounding.
Very misty and mysterious morning on our way to cable car station.
The striking sunlight on the sea and a passing by ship.