Friday, June 03, 2016

A Haunt in the Hills

The hills of Penang are dotted with “haunted houses” – bungalows built as retreats from the heat of the lowlands in the days before air conditioning was ubiquitous. They’ve since been abandoned, and are now slowly being reclaimed by the jungle.

One such bungalow is on the little-hiked Bukit Lang (also known as Bukit Zizai) in Tanjung Bungah. This haunted house – never particularly easy to reach – was made even more inaccessible when a construction project in Lembah Permai bulldozed through the lower reaches of the trail.

"Haunted" House
Tanjung Bungah assemblyman Teh Yee Cheu, known for trying to get his constituents out of their cars and onto their bicycles, is a keen hiker himself. With support from Jawatankuasa Keselamatan dan Kesihatan (JKKK) Tanjung Bungah and plenty of volunteers, the trail was recently re-routed and re-opened. The haunted house was given a coat of paint and a new roof; and with its availability of fresh water the trail has the potential to become a regular destination for local hikers and fitness enthusiasts, much like rest stops 5 and 46 on Penang Hill.

This haunted house was officially re-opened on April 17 this year. I joined the opening hiking party at the start of the new trail, which lies at the very end of Lorong Lembah Permai 3, past Tunku Abdul Rahman College. It is clearly marked between two large rocks with a signboard stating “Zizai Lodge, 1,650 kaki”. This 1,650 feet (about 500m) is the altitude of the haunted house. For comparison, Penang Hill is at 2,411 feet (734m). ...

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