Ben van Wijnen
Monkey beach or Teluk Duyung is broad bay protected by the Muka Head cape.
It is the most popular beach among tourists. Teluk Duyung is also popularly
known at Muka Head and is also being referred to as the Monkey Beach. It is
a private land, at one time cultivated with coconuts and durians. A burial
ground of at least 60 years old resembles that of Indonesian's Acheh, which
could make interesting historical research.
The jungle trek to Monkey Beach starts in Teluk Bahang at the Register Office of Penang National Park. You better leave in the morning because of
the weather. Around 8.30 am will do.
The office is close to the fisherman boats. After registering (free of charge) you'll cross the suspension bridge.
There is a signboard showing the trails to the different beaches. Take the path on the right which leads along the coast. Soon you
come to some toilets and the path will become more narrow. At the right you some remains of bungalows, which where built above the sea.
Now it becomes more worse. It goes up and down.
There are some places where you can take a rest. There are also some cemented bridges over small
ravines. At normal pace, it would take about 2 hours to reach Monkey Beach, but for me it took 3 hours.
After three quarters of an hour you will come to a sandy stretch with a jetty.
This short length of beach is private land of the USM (University). Here is a USM Research station, which is used for botany and other research
on forests. There's also a room used as a turtle hatchery. We tried to visit this station and we did, but we were not allowed to see the hatchery. The jetty is for unloading supplies from Teluk Bahang.
Jungle trekking with friends: Tony and Betty
At the and of the beach the jungle trek starts again. A long way up and down. At the end there's a wooden walkway and you'll see the monkeys waiting for you.
Monkey beach is an ideal bay with flat and sandy seabed. You can buy a coconut or a lemonade to drink. There are barbeque pits to cater the
tourists. Here you can have a swim. If you're not too tired you walk uphill to the lighthouse (1180 meter), which was built in 1883.
One of my friends was too exhausted to go to the lighthouse. He was so tired.
He couldn't go any further. So with a little help of my Malay friends we found a boatman who could take us back to Teluk Bahang.
Flora: - There are many exotic trees planted by the previous inhabitant of this isolated beach. Quite a number of matured timber trees are found
along the trail between Teluk Duyung and Teluk Ketapang. Some rare herbs can also be found. These include the famous aphrodisiac plant called eurycoma longifolia or locally known as tongkat ali.
Fauna: - Bats are abundant here as the sea almond attracts fruit bats. The long tailed macaques are common. Monitor lizards and sea otters are often seen around the rocky bay.