penang hill funicular train

Chased by monkeys in Penang Hill

I was leisurely walking amidst the lush forest of Penang Hill when my feet instinctively halted. I faced a group of wild monkeys in the middle of the road. It was as if the world stopped. I was trying to remain calm and motionless when the alpha monkey charged at me.

And that was the highlight of my afternoon in Penang Hill. But let me start at the beginning.

Exploring Penang Hill

After visiting Kek Lok Si, I spent the rest of my afternoon in Penang Hill. Despite going there on an off-peak month (August), there was still a small queue at the Lower Station for the funicular train.

This train takes locals and visitors alike to Penang Hill every day. Since I was solo, getting ahead of the queue and waiting near the tracks was easier. Therefore, I got to choose where I wanted to sit. The best seat in front gives a good view of the tunnel going up.

penang hill dataran bukit bendara

A few meters from the Upper Station was Dataran Bukit Bendara, where the food court is located. After walking around and taking in the panoramic views, I headed up to glimpse the mosque and Hindu temple.

Checking out the map, I thought it would be nice to walk among nature while looking for the hill bungalows. So I opted not to take the buggy up the hill.

penang hill love lock

Nature Walk (Path A to D)

It was a relaxing walk, with the occasional jolts of surprise when I heard sounds coming from the forest. I had my paranoid moments but managed to calm myself and think that nothing could happen to me along this concrete forest-lined road.

Penang Hill bungalows

But more than halfway through the path, that’s when sh*t happened. Facing off a group of hungry-looking wild monkeys was not on my to-do list for the day.

At first, I thought they would just mind their own business and scamper away. So I managed to snap a quick shot of them unaware, moments before the alpha decided to make a move for me. Therefore, I had no choice but to run for my life.

I had no plans to be a monkey snack that day. Nothing like imminent danger to make you run like hell. Coming back to Path B, I managed to warn a couple of girls heading towards where I came from.

penang hill monkeys

Needless to say, I was shocked and went down to the viewing deck full of adrenaline. The cold air helped a lot to calm my nerves. After Melaka, this was the second time that I felt terrified for my life while traveling. That scare cut my exploration of Penang Hill short.

After that experience, I’m now much more wary of monkeys. I also realized that sometimes it’s not worth saving a few bucks when your safety could be compromised. Therefore, when I come back here, I’ll take the RM 30 buggy next time. Haha!

Quick Guide: Penang Hill

Reached by a funicular train in Air Itam, the summit of Penang Hill offers visitors the best panoramic view of Georgetown. With an elevation of 609 masl (meters above sea level), it’s also a cool respite away from the hustle and bustle of the city and its surrounding areas. The forests of Penang Hill are where you can discover interesting plants and animals.

It is the oldest British Hill station in Southeast Asia, dated in the late 1700s. Penang Hill still retains its Heritage Bungalows which are mostly more than 100 years old.

Bel Retiro (Governors Bungalows) is the oldest which was built in 1789. These hill bungalows make Penang Hill a good repository of the fusion of architecture of British colonial and modern Asian Architecture.

The funicular train service started 93 years ago in 1923. The funicular track stretches almost 2 kilometers from the Lower Station to the Upper Station, which is the longest in Asia. The funicular tunnel is also another record holder as the steepest tunnel track in the world.

Penang Hill Attractions:

  • Viewing deck
  • Hindu temple
  • Mosque
  • Historical heritage
  • Owl Museum
  • Love locks
  • flora and fauna
Penang Hill Skywalk

The Habitat

Opened in 2017, The Habitat is another addition to Penang Hill attractions which also aims to showcase the ancient rainforest and its wildlife and plants.

Opening times:

  • Daily 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM (standard walk)
  • 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM (sunset & night walk)


  • Curtis Crest Tree Top Walk
  • Langur Way Canopy Walk
  • Giant Swing
  • Flight of the Colugo Zipline
  • Trail & Gardens
  • Sunset Walk
  • The Habitat Cafe


How about you? Have you had any similar experiences with wild animals during your travels?


Darlene is currently on the road again and traveling full-time after being an expat/overseas Filipino worker in Qatar. She's rediscovering what it means to travel solo and in her 30s while working on her blogs.


  • OMG they attacked us too! The furnicular driver was trying to beat them back with his satchell! I hate these monkeys now hahahah!

    • I thought I was the only one who experienced this! Hahaha at least now I know they really are wild ones

  • Penang hill? This was the first time i heard this but I should visit this next time. My first encounter with wild monkeys was in cambodia and I was so scared also. I know what you felt that time. I really feel the adrenaline.

  • Oh my, you were right to run! I remember encountering monkeys in India, while taking a stroll just outside town, but they were not a group and thankfully minded my own business. I love seeing wild animals but they are not to be messed with – happy it all went well for you and you stayed safe!

  • Voyager

    Just back from a trip to Goa and we had gone on a trek to the nearby Dudhsagar water falls, on the way these small monkeys literally played havoc, snatching bags from your hands etc, 🙂

  • cathy

    Chased by monkeys? helll nooo! hahahhaha chased by pogis? Of course why not! hahahhaa

  • That sounds like a crazy day! I cannot believe you were chased by monkeys. Did you have any bananas in your pack? (Lol) Happy you made it out alright. I agree sometimes it’s better to just spend the extra money for any additional safety measures.

  • I have been chased by a swan at Schloss Nymphenburg in Munich lol

  • Thanks for the monkey info! I haven’t been to Penang Hill yet, but I have had my own scary monkey experiences in Langkawi and Kuching. Many people don’t seem to realize that those critters have sharp teeth! 😀

  • OMGGGGGG! SCARYYYYY! I know I’d be running for my life ad crying at the same time if that happened to me! Haha. I hope I never have to experience this! Although it does make for a kinda awesome kinda scary travel story! Hehe.

  • Sally

    It looks so green and luscious there and monkeys are a bonus!

  • Reminded me on my monkey encounter in Ubud, Indonesa. I’ve been wanting to go to Penang: hope to do it this year. Are the ones that climb in the post padlocks? I wish the post is sturdy enough. Haha

  • Lovely photos! I’ ve seen quite a lot of people being harassed by monkeys. Usually they look for food and steal from you.

  • yikes, that was one scary experience indeed… i think i will feel the same if I was at your feet.. i will surely feel terrified seeing not just one but an overwhelming monkeys who are all ready to chase me hehe.. i have heard that monkey bite has stronger rabies compare to dogs… yikes

  • Oh my god! I’d be scared shitless too, takot nga ko sa pato diba hahaha… Good thing that they didn’t get to you. Those are wild monkeys so who knows what they’d do to you.

  • Potpot Pinili

    that’s scary darlene……monkeys are playful but really naughty.

  • Sabine

    I love taking the train. It calms me when I see all the beautiful landscapes on the way. Well there is much more nature there! And monkeys haha!! Be careful!

  • Monkeys are fun loving animals. We have some here in Pakistan as well at hilly areas mostly. Whenever we go there, we stop by in the way and feed those monkeys with bananas and Apple. I pray that I never face a wild monkey. lol. they could harm me.

  • Stella the Travelerette

    I love the pictures of your nature walk. The flowers are beautiful! I can’t believe your encounter with the monkeys! I’ve never been attacked on a trip, but I did see some people in their car getting harassed by baboons in South Africa. Pretty scary!

  • I’m a bit speechless and I don’t know if it feels funny or not. I’ve had similar experiences with different animals but none with monkeys so far. The way you described your situation was totally thrilling, maybe it was your wording or the pictures. Regardless, of course you were able to make me engrossed into the situation and that’s what blogging is all about, love it! I know you wanted to show off the sights as well and don’t worry, I noticed them and I like what I’m seeing!

  • Georgia

    Oh my that is terrifying, monkey’s are scary!! Glad you made a swift escape, the scenery looks beautiful by the way!!

  • Zwitsy

    I couldn’t imagine myself being chased by wild monkeys! Sure, that really scare you a lot. But glad you were able to escape then. But overall, I like the place it’s just that the monkey is somewhat make this trip scary. lol

  • all I remembered is when the girls from Asia’s Next Top Model got chased by monkeys, too. It sure looked really scary because we don’t know what monkey’s think, but humans as we are, we could think better hahaha.


    LOL! It’s not that bad! Let me say first, the place is beautiful. It really is. Pero years from now, it is talking about the monkeys on the road that you will probably talk about more!

  • My heart was thumping while reading this, Dada. Getting chased by anything is no fun. Good thing you managed to shake them off and go home with an interesting anecdote. We can laugh about it now. Hehehehe! ?

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment Celine! really appreciate it! I was so scared that time because I don’t have an insurance. So getting bit by a wild monkey would really be a disaster! hahaha

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