The Last Friday, Saturday, Sunday of the Month programme brings together a number of free cultural performances, guided tours and walks, and a market during the last full weekend of every calendar month. New to this line-up of events and happenings in 2017 is the Taman Rimba Nature Tour. This takes place between 9am and 10am on the Sunday of the last weekend, within a peaceful oasis of natural beauty, the Forest Park.
Taman Rimba (the Forest Park), is located in Teluk Bahang, just beyond the
Butterfly Park on the way to Balik Pulau, opposite the dam. It is a captivating
park, which was established by the Penang State Forestry Department in 1974. A recreation area of 32 hectares, with natural bathing pools, picnic tables, a camp site, a small forestry museum and hawker stalls close to the entrance is enjoyed by a handful of family groups. The rest of the Teluk Bahang Recreational Forest, which covers an area of 873 hectares of pristine rainforest, is barely frequented.
The monthly nature tour is led by Mr Joseph, a trained nature guide licensed under the Tourism Ministry. He gives what he describes as an interpretative tour of the timber and non-timber aspects of the lowland dipterocarp forest. Dipeterocarp means the tall hardwood tropical trees that a source of valuable timber, aromatic oils, and resins. Mr Joseph introduces and explains these, but also elucidates the non-timber importance of this forest area, as an essential water catchment area, a source of medicinal plants and fruit, and a reserve for unique and endangered plants.
Each month, the nature tour explains a different aspect of the forest, and the tour may involve taking short hikes to get to specific areas of interest. The five main hiking trails within the Forest Park all involve first climbing the concrete steps on the left of the natural pools, and are therefore not suitable for people who might have difficulty with these, or with the natural paths, often more used by animals than humans, that make up the trails. The tour lasts at least an hour, but may go on longer, depending on the subject, and on how many questions the participants ask. The tour will remain in the Forest Recreation Park area, but may skirt along the outside of the Virgin Jungle reserve also, allowing the guide to point out the differences in the kinds of plants in that section.
The next Taman Rimba Nature Tour takes place on Sunday April 30th at 9am. Please register in advance by contacting +6016-421 4469 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The tour is free of charge.