Brunei Darussalam

TURTLE SANCTUARY AT KERACHUT BEACH PENANG MALAYSIA

Way back in 1958, the Pantai Acheh Forest Reserve was first proposed as a nature conservation area by a group called the “Committee for the Preservation of Natural Beauty”. Since that time, both nature interest groups and even government reports have proposed that the Reserve be turned into some kind of park and conservation area. The Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) made several representations to the state and federal governments to turn Pantai Acheh into a national park. It was on 4 April 2003 when Pantai Acheh Forest Reserve was finally declared the Penang National Park by the then deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Source: Penang Vacations

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The Penang National Park (Taman Negara Pulau Pinang) is one of the few natural forested areas left on the island. It is also currently the world’s smallest national park.

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Being briefed about the Penang National Park by our local guide before boarding our boat to Turtle Sanctuary.
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A view of the Penang National Park jetty from upper deck of the building in pic no. 2 above
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The Brunei Times journalist Zatty leaves a personal message for the environment.
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Wooden jetty used by local fishermen to access their boats. A wider concrete walk path is adjacent to this one that caters to commercial visitors (see picture below)
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The horizon before the jetty and the moutainous backdrop a picturesque opportunity on a good day.
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I interrupted a Middle-Eastern female visitor who was about to take a photo of her husband for this photo opportunity. In return, I helped them take their couple photo against this serene horizon.
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Off we went on a boat ride to Pantai Kerachut where the Turtle Sanctuary is located.

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Borneo Bulletin journalist Hamidah taking a photo of the unique Meromictic Lake from the suspended bridge at Pantai Kerachut.

The lake we visited is known as Meromictic Lake which can only be found at Penang National Park, one of only 19 places around the world. ‘Mereomictic’ refers to the two layers of sea and river water which does not mix with each other. Fresh water is relatively lower in density as compared to the hypersaline sea water.

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A photo of Tourism Malaysia staff, Georgina, taking a picture of the Tasik Meromiktik signboard.

The Park is also home to many birds, reptiles, amphibians and of course the famous turtles, especially the Green turtles (Chelonia mydas), the Ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea), the Leatherback turtles and the Hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricate).

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Michelle taking a picture of the Turtle Crossing on her iPhone presumably to show her kids at home how turtles are protected on the island. Note how the metal signboard is covered in plastic laminate to prevent it from corrosion. I have seen many similar signboards that are just left to corrode.
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One of a large number of nesting sites grounds visitors can find on Pantai Kerachut. The eggs are later relocated to a hatchery to improve their chance of survival.
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Camping and weekend programmes organised by the National Park are also available for students who are interested in this activity. Rich in biodiversity and wildlife, the park has attracted world-renowned scientists, researchers and even the National Geographic crew to study and learn from its pristine surroundings.
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In this pocket of undisturbed natural beauty, we must learn to appreciate the natural heritage and help to promote their conservation for future generations.

Famous for its seasonal meromictic lake, Pantai Kerachut is a popular picnic and camping site and famous turtle hatchery. Collecting of the turtles’ eggs is prohibited. Pantai Kerachut is the only beach where the Green Sea Turtle Chelonia mydas can be spotted. It is believed that the Green Turtle only migrate here for nesting as extensive algae are found around Penang Island. It is one of the largest sea turtle and the Penang National Park will ensure the continuity of the turtles visit.

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The cage indicates turtle eggs being incubated until they’re ready to be hatched.

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Pantai Kerachut is home to the Green turtles, the Ridley turtles, the Leatherback turtles and the Hawksbill turtles. I forgot to ask which species these baby turtles belong to (likely the Green turtles).

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This baby Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) may be tiny but their front flippers can be sharp so becareful when handling them as there’s a risk of dropping one accidentally as they struggle to get away.
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An amazing replica that illustrates baby turtles leaving their eggs shortly after hatching.
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Love the 1cm macro capability of the Canon PowerShot G11 and tilt LCD allowing me to frame and photograph these little sea creatures with relative ease.

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After a number of failed attempts by the girls to hold the turtles, our experienced guide took over and we each took turns taking pictures. Again I credit the G11 for these set of close-up opportunity.

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All good things must eventually come to an end. The boat ride reminded me of the times I visited Manukan Island in KK) & Langkawi Island. I think I’ve had more boat rides in Malaysia than I do in Brunei.

9 thoughts on “TURTLE SANCTUARY AT KERACHUT BEACH PENANG MALAYSIA

  1. A very interesting documentary. It’s a great conservation effort. Perhaps you might want to complement this article with the good work done here in Brunei too. Enjoy the photos. Very informative sessions for the visitors. Good lessons learned. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Hi ! I’m really interested to head to the turtle sanctuary by boat instead of hiking. could you let me know how you made the arrangements for the guide and the boat ride ? thanks

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    1. Hello Adrienne, these pictures you see here, we took a boat from the main jetty to Pantai Kerachut where the turtle sanctuary is located. The green roofed building (fourth photo from the top) is where you can purchase your boat fare. Once you alight at the Pantai Kerachut jetty, there’s a short breezy walk to the hatchery.

      Please post your experience here when you return from the trip. Would be interested to read your thoughts on the visit.

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  3. Thanks for the detailed pictures. I’m currently planning a trip to the Penang National Park for later this year, and I’m interested in the possibility of taking a boat to the turtle sanctuary. I’d greatly appreciate if you could answer a few questions:

    1) Do you happen to remember what the cost was for the boat trip? Also was it per boat, or per person?
    2) Is the turtle viewing/handling something that is available year round, or did you need to schedule an appointment?
    3) How much time did you spend on the boat, and viewing the turtles?

    Many thanks!

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    1. Hello Lonni,

      Thanks for stopping by. I was there on an official mission with Tourism Malaysia so all costs were taken care of and though curious, I didn’t think it was polite to enquire. A quick search on the web, I came across this web page with an indication of the boat ride. Kerachut Beach is where you want to go to view the turtle hatchery.

      The boat ride is another popular way to explore this beautiful sanctuary. Penang National Park tour operators offer a standard one-way fare to Monkey Beach (Teluk Duyung) for RM 50 and to Kerachut Beach for RM100. Tickets can be purchased at a small hut opposite the visitor centre located at Teluk Bahang.

      There’s no additional fee to view or handle the turtles that I am aware of. Our group was lucky to have handled the baby sea turtles although being able to see an egg actually hatch would be pretty incredible.

      I’m sorry I cannot provide any more useful info with regards to the boat fares. I don’t suppose you have visited Penang’s official website and see if there’s a contact you can reach. Failing that, you’re welcome to contact one of my focal points at Tourism Malaysia Office in Brunei: Azmie

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