I have been to Penang since I was young and I never knew there is a turtle sanctuary in Penang. This trip to Penang was for a CSR programme with Shangri-la’s Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa and two local schools in conjunction with World Turtle Day on 23rd May.
Two year’s ago, we had a company trip to Penang. We rented an apartment just right across the resort. It was quite a pleasant surprise to arrive at the resort as I actually thought in my head two years ago when I walked past the resort, how nice it would be to stay here! Ta da, destiny brought me back here! Liz, the CSR Manager was very lively and warm! Together with Mike, Liz and staff from the resort, we ran a 2-days programme for school children. It was really fun to watch everyone learn about turtles and play games and interact with each others!
After the programme, Liz took us to the turtle sanctuary at Pantai Kerachut, which is about 15-20 minutes drive from Batu Ferringhi. I was really excited about it. The government’s hatchery is situated in Penang National Park, which was set up to help protect and preserve the turtle population in Malaysia. Visitors need to either hike to the protected beach or take a boat there. We decided to do both, hike there and take boat ride back. There is a Registration Office for visitors to register their names before entering the National Park.
The hike was quite easy actually. There are signboards to show visitors the way and also information about the trees and animals found in the National Park. I think it took us approximately an hour to walk to Pantai Kerachut. Before we reached the beach, there was a meromictic lake, where the seawater and freshwater do not mix. This lake is seasonal and we were lucky that the lake was there when we went. There was a suspension bridge that connects the trail to the beach.
The weather was lovely, of course hot and humid! We walked to the turtle sanctuary. Mike spotted two recently-hatched hatchlings in the hatchery. One of the staff came out and told us to take the hatchlings in. We had some short conversation about turtle conservation. They have about 70 nests a year and unlike the nesting season in the East Coast, apparently they have turtle nestings all year round.
Before we left, Liz and Mike played frisbee on the beach but I was too lazy to under the hot sun. We took a boat back at 10.30am. The boat ride reminded me of Perhentian and every time I am away, I miss the island! We all really enjoyed the visit to the turtle sanctuary. If anyone would ever want to visit, I would say do the hike, definitely worth it!
The whole stay at Penang was awesome and a great way to celebrate World Turtle Day, educating and creating awareness about protecting and preserving the dwindling turtle population to more Malaysians and meeting turtle conservationists! Everyone can help to save the turtles!