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Muka Head

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Teluk Ketapang BeachTeluk Ketapang Beach (6 March, 2004)

Muka Head is the name of the promontory on the northwest tip of Penang Island. It is the site of the Muka Head Lighthouse.

Yet another lighthouse is located on Pulau Rimau off the the southeast coast of Penang Island. The construction of these lighthouse coincided with a period of prosperity experienced by Penang due to the tin mining boom as well as the introduction of steamships that replaced the slower sailing ships.

On the way to the Muka Head Lighthouse, one passes the USM Research Station. It was established in 1996 to carry out researches on tropical marine and coastal studies. According to Mr Tajul Arosh of the Malaysian Nature Society, while research is still being carried out at the station, it was on a near extinct species of clams that are moreover a transplant from another state.

Mr Tajul lamented the penchant that Malaysians have for all things new but are not keen on the preservation or maintenance what we already have, be it buildings or the environment. I do share his sentiments; at AsiaExplorers, we endeavour to education the public about the need to preserve and maintain what we have. Our massive membership base is testiment that we are slowly getting the message across.

Feature of Muka Head

Muka Head Lighthouse


Pantai Kerachut


Teluk Ailing


Teluk Duyung (Monkey Beach)


Teluk Ailing, on the way to Teluk DuyungTeluk Ailing, on the way to Teluk Duyung (6 March 2004)

Camping on Teluk DuyungCamping on Teluk Duyung (6 March 2004)

There was another trekking party on the way to Muka Head, and I happened to know a few of the participants.

The trek to Muka Head passes through Teluk Ailing and then Teluk Duyung is a bay in Muka Head. Also called Monkey Bay, this is where you can find a few dilapidated bungalows said to belong to the late local tycoon Tan Sri Loh Boon Siew. The only form of running water available is in the form of stream water piped in for use. The toilet was again a hole in the ground.

View of Teluk Duyung from path to Muka Head LighthouseView of Teluk Duyung from path to Muka Head Lighthouse (6 March 2004)

At the time of my visit, the Muka Head Lighthouse was manned by a kindly caretaker, Encik Shukor, who allowed us the privilege to climb to the top for a panoramic view of the surrounding northwest tip of Penang. He even offered us some hot tea. He earned quite good money to stay at the lighthouse for the whole week, taking turns with two other caretakers. There is no television to keep him company, just a radio. I know I would go absolutely ravingly mad if I were to stay in the same spot for more than a day, but Encik Shukor looked quite sane to me.

Upon returning from the lighthouse, one group of members, including myself, left for home. Another group, led by Christopher Choong, made camp to stay the night. Christopher later reported to me that on the following morning, when the tide was out, the remaining party discovered that the floor of the bay was strewn with discards and trash.

AsiaExplorers members joining the climbAsiaExplorers members joining the climb (6 March 2004)

Considering how low the level of civic education of the general public, I would advocate that forest rangers be posted at the Penang National Park and a fee be charged for its upkeep. I do not mind paying money to enter the park, as long as I do not have to double as garbage collector. I want to come here to enjoy the fresh air and natural beauty, and not have to come across discarded water bottles and wrappers. And I would expect amenities in good working order, taps to run, and toilets clean and working. A reasonable park fee will also keep out "cheap" people who are also the most likely to leave their trash behind.

Timothy Tye
2 March, 2004


23 August 2012: I joined Andrew Boey and his film crew to shoot an episode of Me, My Camera and Malaysia! in Muka Head.

AsiaExplorers members joining Tim on the Muka Head trekAsiaExplorers members joining Tim on the Muka Head trek (6 March 2004)

Location of Muka Head on the map

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