Hiking for Seniors on Penang Island

Hiking for Seniors on Penang Island

Nothing is impossible if there are determination and will. Even many seniors are reaching the base camp of Mount Everest with sheer willpower and focused determination. However, not all older people can go that far, but they can still enjoy the beauty of nature hiking to many places in Asia and have a memorable experience.

Some may like mountains and some may like forests, but a combination of both makes an added attraction. The pace should be such that the senior citizens can hike there without worrying about health conditions.  Hiking is of course excellent exercise for older people, so as long as they take it easy, they will benefit health-wise.

Hiking doesn't need a lot of muscle power, just a reasonable amount of stamina, but what is of greatest benefit to the body is that it can clear the mind as one traverses through the serene terrain forgetting about the hustle and bustle of daily city life.

Forest hiking

Penang National Park in Malaysia is one such place to visit where senior citizens can trek through forest without being overly challenged. Jungle trekking is a popular day trip for visitors to Penang Island - or Pulau Pinang as it is known locally.  The island has some of the best beaches in Malaysia for relaxation and enjoyment as well as the forests where one can go to get away from the crowds. 

In the Penang National Park there are two routes, and if one is very fit it's possible to do both in one day. However, for most senior citizens it is best to choose a single route for the day, and perhaps do they other a day or two later if the first one didn't cause too many sore joints.

Like a lot of forest hiking, the trails are not the easiest, but on Penang Island they are not that tough either. The challenges are mainly making sure you don't trip over tree roots and climbing a few rocks. If the trails are wet, they may be slippery, so for seniors it's probably best to tackle the jungle trekking on dry days.

Senior citizens can get local guides if they are not that confident of being able to negotiate the jungle trails on their own, but they are clearly signed so in most cases guides are not needed. However, if you are travelling on your own, it is best to take a guide in case you have a fall and there are no other hikers around to assist you.

Make sure you wear footwear with a good grip, pack several bottles of water and some food like biscuits and chocolates in case you get hungry whilst walking, or just want to stop at one of the viewpoints and enjoy the relaxation that vistas can produce.

A small backpack is essential and don't forget spare batteries for the camera in case you find interesting things to photograph along the jungle path.  On one of the trails you will come across a beautiful meromictic lake -- that is a lake which has both fresh water and sea water yet the layers are not mixed. These are very rare in the world, and the view is enchanting.

If you are lucky, you will be able to see the green olive turtle or the olive ridley turtle visiting the beach at the end of the forest. The trail leads you to a part of the beach where turtles come to lay eggs. There is a turtle hatchery nearby which is very interesting to visit.

The hikes on Penang Island are two of many available in the forest areas of Malaysia, but these are particularly suited for seniors because they are not too far off the beaten track, and not too far away from medical facilities should anything go wrong. But that's not to suggest anything will, because getting out in the fresh air of a green forest is not only good for the lungs but for the mind as well.

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