A trip to Penang Hill, the green mountain soaring in the middle of Penang Island, is a great diversion from Penang food, the street art trail, Penang’s alternative markets and many beaches, and even its best shopping malls.
Penang Hill was born as a British hill station to escape the island’s heat, and today it’s an important tourist spot in Penang. Tourists flock to the Penang Hill Railway, a funicular train connecting Air Hitam with the Upper Station at about 900mt of height. You can also climb to the top or the middle station of Penang Hill: the path from Moongate to Station5 is popular, and then there’s one of our favorites, Penang Hill’s best and most secret hiking trail. And don’t forget that nearby in Air Hitam is Kek Lok Si, one of Southeast Asia’s biggest Buddhist temples.
If you enjoy Penang Hill’s nature, you’ll be happy to know that since mid December 2018, the Habitat — here’s 7 reasons why you should visit the Habitat now — has finally completed their much-anticipated zipline course project, that’s been a long time in the making. We think that the new Flight of the Colugo was totally worth the wait: it brings to Penang a zipline experience comparable to those found in Langkawi and in Sabah.
Developed to give guests a feel for one of Penang’s oldest rainforest canopies — a staggering 130-million-years old — this new attraction sends visitors gliding above the thicket like flying lemurs (the “colugo”, as the name suggests).
We have tried Flight of the Colugo, enjoyed it, and think it’s a cool thing to do in Penang with Kids. This article reviews our experience to help you make the final decision.
Flight of the Colugo zipline on Penang Hill – An Overview
The complete Flight of the Colugo experience consists of a 5 zipline course which can be completed in about an hour. The cost is RM105 per person and includes equipment rental and guides. They will not only escort you and make sure you are completely safe, but also explain in great detail about the local trees and plants.
The longest zipline is the first, called the “Honeymoon Zipline”. It’s 80 metres-long and is a single tandem zipline, meaning it has a double cable — couples or friends can fly together at the same time. It’s popular with visitors who want to have a quick taste of the jungle canopy — and possibly bring home a few stunning selfies — and can be purchased as a single, cheaper experience at only RM32.
Flight of the Colugo zipline on Penang Hill – Costs and Timings
As mentioned above, there are two categories of tickets: the “Full Experience”, which includes a full course of 5 ziplines, one abseil and one rope bridge walk with a nature guide, costs RM 105 including local tax.
The “Honeymoon Zip” is a quick teaser on a single tandem zipline, and costs RM32 including tax.
Please remember that the entry price to the Habitat, which is another RM50, is to be paid extra, and includes the standard guided walk tour of the park.
You can save a little money by buying your Habitat entry ticket in advance via Klook, a popular tour provider in Southeast Asia we have used and recommend. Buy your advanced tickets here.
Zipline the Habitat Penang Hill’s Timings
Flight of the Colugo must be booked based on availability and number of people (there is a maximum of 8 guests per session). There are at least six available flights per day: in the morning, they start at 9.30 am, 10 am and 11.30 am. In the afternoon, at 12 pm, 3 pm and 3.30 pm.
During weekdays, when the Flight of the Colugo is more on demand, the Habitat offers a few additional time slots. Please contact them to inquire and reserve and avoid disappointment here.
Also be aware of Malaysian school holidays, when Penang Hill sees its biggest traffic, and there may be long queues at the funicular station. Make sure to be at Penang Hill Funicular’s ticket counter at least one hour before your scheduled flight, and even sooner on weekends.
A Review of Flight of the Colugo Penang Hill zipline: Our Experience
We caught an early train ride up Penang Hill (Malaysian IC holders, remember: you can purchase a discounted return ticket for only RM3 if you buy it before 8 am. Make sure to bring your IC for collection) and, after admiring a beautiful blanket of clouds over the Straits Sea, met the Habitat’s staff at their booth in the main square at Penang Hill.
We transferred by jeep to the entrance and were welcomed by our guides for the day. Safety is a great concern at Flight of the Colugo: after wearing a helmet and the belts for flying, our guides instructed us on how to approach the obstacle course on a mini demonstration zipline. Soon we were ready to start with the first jump, the “Honeymoon Zip”.
The Honeymoon Zipline
It’s an exciting 80mt-long single tandem zipline over a 5mt-high drop that gives guests one first look at the beautiful rainforest. For the first time, our guides made sure that we, once again, had the procedures very clear in mind: don’t jump or run off the platform, don’t touch the line, lift up your feet upon arrival on the next as soon as your guide asks you to.
The “Honeymoon Zipline” has this name because it can be used by two people at the same time, and hence, it’s popular with couples. It’s preferred by many visitors who just want to have a quick go at the course as a diversion from their guided nature walk. But we really think that stopping here is really just the start of the fun.
Flight of the Colugo Penang Hill zipline Full Experience
After the “Honeymoon Zipline”, guests continue briefly on foot along the side on a walking path that runs parallel to the Habitat’s main footpath, and from there onto the third platform and the Flight of the Colugo‘s second zipline. This is a quick jump, and yet it’s here that one starts feeling the canopy more and more. As the height of the course rises, the trees become taller and thicker.
Once you have done the second flight and reached the next platform, it’s time to prepare to abseil down from a tall tree. Guests are secured by their waist and lifted down to the ground. It’s nice to just relax as your guide lets you drop slowly, and you take a peek at the canopy all above and around you. This is also when the sounds of insects and forest critters start getting louder, for the jungle is more compact on this side of the Habitat. That’s why you should not just stop at the Honeymoon Zipline.
The Rope Bridge and the end of the course
From the platform next to the path, guests proceed to a third zipline. It’s one long glide along the Habitat Penang Hill’s main footpath, that ends on yet another platform.
It’s connected to the next jump via a suspended rope bridge that guests have to cross on foot, always being connected to their safety line. The bridge swings lightly between the trees, allowing guests a real monkey-eye view of the forest all around them.
After the bridge walk, there are two more jumps. The last is the highest section of the course and reaches 26 metres of height at the fifth and last jump. If you look down as you glide here, you’ll see a viridian bottom of plants and ferns that are so ancient they really look fit for a dinosaur movie set. The last zipline jump, which passes through a narrow tunnel of tree branches, is the one I enjoyed more in terms of views: the trees are very close, and the forest all around is so dense and impressive you’ll really get to feel its haunting beauty right before getting back on land.
Flight of the Colugo Penang Hill zipline: the Verdict
The Habitat Penang Hill’s Flight of the Colugo is an interesting activity and finally, a well-maintained, swiftly operating zipline that may not be the first in Penang (see those at Escape Theme Park, one of the best things to do in Penang with Kids), but it’s the highest and longest.
The full experience, priced at RM105, is very competitive if compared with the prices of most other zipline operators found across Southeast Asia, and this is a good thing. Being able to get a flight teaser on the Honeymoon Zipline for only RM 32 is also a pretty good deal.
But we would really recommend signing up for the full experience — as we explained, the best fun comes on the second part of the course, where the platforms are higher and the forest denser. Plus, we personally enjoyed abseiling too, and being lowered from the top of a high tree was a cool touch to the experience.
The level of security and professionalism is top-notch (you will never be allowed to unlock your safety cables by yourself, and always reminded to hold on the line at all times), and even if the course is neither that long nor difficult, it’s highly appreciated.
For the price (about USD 25), we think that the Flight of the Colugo at the Habitat Penang Hill is something you should definitely put on your Penang bucket list, together with a guided walk of the park.
Blogging transparency: We have been invited by the Habitat Penang Hill to try “Flight of the Colugo”, but all opinions expressed in this post are our own. We would never recommend anything that we wouldn’t do ourselves.
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