Hiking Moongate Station 5 in Penang, Malaysia

by Jackie
A gate with a circle in the middle and painted in pale yellow with golden yellow trimmings is the entrance to Moongate Station 5 hiking trail

Looking for a fun hike to do in Penang, Malaysia? One of the unique hikes to try is Moongate Station 5, also referred to as Moongate 5. 

Located near Penang Botanic Garden and Penang Municipal Park in the outer Georgetown area, it’s the perfect place to hike through a luscious forest and get some fresh air. We wanted to to try a new hike since we already hiked Penang Hill on a previous trip. Plus, we like how this place is suitable for all hiking levels. 

So continue reading this post as we share our experience of hiking Moongate Station 5 and what to expect. 

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Moongate 5 Hiking Overview

This day hike is doable for all hiker levels. 

Training is not required but it will help make the hike easier. Check out our post on training for hiking here. 

  • Challenging level: Moderate
  • Distance: 3.4 miles (5.5 kilometers) round trip 
  • Time to complete: 2+ hours round trip 
  • Helpful Tips:
    • Use the toilet before you start the hike as we didn’t see any public toilets or portable toilets at the entrance.
    • There are two ways to get to Station 5 of Moongate – a set of stairs or a dirt path. We’ll share more about it below.
Jackie Szeto, Life Of Doing, walks along the Moongate 5 hiking trail in Penang

This is the start of the hike.

Before visiting this place, we recommend that you buy a SIM card at the Penang International Airport or set up an e-SIM card so you can access data and maps on your phone.  

How to Get to Moongate Hiking Entrance

The easiest way to get to the Moongate hiking entrance is to hire a Grab car. It’s a popular ride-hailing app in Malaysia and the rest of Southeast Asia (similar to Uber). 

The drive takes 15 minutes as it’s 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) from the Georgetown area. 

The price on Grab is affordable, especially if you’re on a budget. It cost us 10 MYR ($2.20 USD). 

Note: You can also call a Grab car from Moongate back to Georgetown. Cell phone reception isn’t an issue. 

If you have a car, there is a parking lot about a 5-minute walk from the entrance.

Admission Cost

It’s free to hike here.

When to Visit Moongate Station 5 Hiking Trail

Penang’s weather is hot and humid as the day goes on. So, it’s recommended to start your hike as early as you can. 

We have a post on how to handle hikes in hot weather, so check out these tips for better preparation. 

We started the hike after noon as we needed to burn off the calories from our dim sum brunch at Fu Er Dai in Georgetown. While there was shade on the route, it was still very warm for us.

What to Wear

  • Moisture wicking t-shirt
  • Shorts or moisture wicking pants
  • A hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Walking shoes with traction (We wore Nike Free shoes. Hiking boots aren’t necessary but you can wear them if you take the dirt path)

What to Bring

  • Water or sports drinks
  • Snacks
  • A small towel to wipe off sweat
  • Sunscreen 
  • Mosquito repellant – There are lots of mosquitoes here! 
  • Paper fan or battery-operated fan (optional)
  • Hiking pole (optional) – These will be helpful in the dirt path route 

Our Moongate 5 Hiking Experience

The hike starts when you enter the beautiful archway which represents a full moon or a “moon opening gate.” 

According to the sign at the archway entrance, this entrance is a starting point of the Yu Yi Yuan (Yu Yi Garden) mansion from the 19th century. Unfortunately, the mansion is in ruins about a 15-minute walk away. 

Justin Huynh, Life Of Doing gives a peace sign through the circular entrance of Moongate hiking trail to Station 5

Justin is excited to start the Moongate trail

There are two trails to consider to reach Station 5 – a set of stairs (staying on the left side) or an unmarked dirt route (on the right side). 

Option 1: If staying on the stairs, it’s the most well-used and well-maintained path and easier to follow. We passed by a few hikers making their way down from the peak. 

Justin Huynh, Life Of Doing, walks along a dirt path in the forest area of Moongate Station 5 trail

We had the Moongate Station 5 hiking trail mostly to ourselves

Option 2: The second trail is a dirt path that veers to the right of the main pathway. You’ll see a red arrow or a spray-painted “5” on the rocks, so you’re on the right track. 

Dense areas of trees and foliage with a red spray paint of number 5 on a rock along Moongate Station 5 hiking trail

Once you see the red spray painted 5 on a rock, you can veer right and take this alternative path to Station 5

We didn’t take this path up but took it on the way down. It’s very slippery on the way down, so be careful if you take this route. There are tree roots and loose rocks, so the chances of slipping and falling are very high!

Tall trees with roots coming up from the ground along the dirt trail of Moongate 5 trail

Here is what you’ll experience when hiking the dirt trail of Moongate

So going back to the stairs path…

What we loved about this hike was the amount of shade on the trail. Even though we were huffing and puffing from the heat, we appreciated the shade. But we still wore a hat to block the sunshine. 

On the way to Station 5, there is a rest spot where you can sit on a log and enjoy a beautiful view of Penang city. We recommend that you take as many photos here as the Station 5 area does not have any noteworthy viewpoints. 

Jackie Szeto, Life Of Doing, sits on a bench and holding a peace sign while seeing the tall buildings in Penang city from a viewpoint along Moongate Station 5 trail

This viewpoint provides the best views of Penang city area

The end of the trail is when you reach Station 5. Congratulations on reaching this landmark! You’ll see the wall art of “Station 5.” 

A wall mural with a large red number 5 and says Moongate, established on May 5, 1995

There is a colorful train made out of logs and a small set of colorful stairs. You can take some fun photos here. 

Justin Huynh, Life Of Doing, stands on top of a yellow colored logs which is part of a rainbow colored train and points to a set of rainbow colored steps as the ending point of Moongate 5 trail

We’re almost at the finish point for Moongate 5 trail

Here, you can relax and eat a snack to refuel. Please take your trash back home with you. We noticed the clean trail and lack of garbage. 

Or, you can do a quick workout on the exercise machines. There are a few worn down workout machines but they’re free to use. 

Exercise equipment in the rest area of Moongate Station 5

Once you’ve rested, you can turn around the same route and head down. 

Optional: Continue to Penang Hill Station 84 and Penang Hill

If you have extra stamina, you can continue hiking towards Penang Hill. We ended up passing the exercise machines and going on a trail. 

On the trail, we saw a few red arrows pointing to Penang Hill so we were going in the right direction.

A red arrow with the words Penang Hill attached on a tree branch along the Moongate 5 hiking trail

Follow the red arrow to reach Penang Hill summit

To be honest, we didn’t know how far it was or where it exactly ended. It’s not recommended to do if you’re hiking late at night!! Luckily it was still the early afternoon so we had time to figure out our bearings. 

We eventually went through a single-track route through the forest area. A group of trail runners passed us on the trail. We saw a few groups of hikers pass us in the opposite direction, so they must have started from Penang Hill. 

The route had some adventure with some slight climbs over boulders. 

We eventually ended up at Penang Hill Station 84. It’s a recommended spot for a quick break as there are toilets and sinks here. Washing our sweaty hands felt great! 

A large P84 signage painted in yellow and blue to notate the P84 Station rest stop in Penang

P84 is a good rest area if you’re planning to hike from Moongate Station 5 to Penang Hill

We could have continued to Penang Hill peak but the humid weather and sweatiness deterred us. But feel free to continue if you have extra time! 

From Penang Hill Station 84 to Moongate Entrance

So, we opted to continue on the Penang Hill Station 84 trail and it led us back down to the jungle dirt area of Moongate. 

The trail did not pass by Station 5, but it was super steep. Plus, the tree roots rising from the ground provided an extra challenge. We walked down carefully or ran toward a tree to prevent slipping on the path.

During the rainy season, we would not recommend taking the dirt path as it would be super muddy. If hiking to Station 5 from the entrance, definitely take the stairs for the safer route. 

Once we saw the Moongate entrance, we were thrilled to have finally finished the hike. 

Our round trip hike from Moongate to Station 5 to Penang Hill Station 84 to the Moongate entrance was around 4 miles (6.4 kilometers). 

Other Tips to Know

  • Watch out for the wild monkeys. They’re everywhere in the park and on the lower level of the Moongate entrance. 
Two monkeys sitting on the walking path in Penang Botanic Garden, near the Moongate 5 entrance

The monkeys look adorable but they are wild

  • Once you’ve finished your hike, you can do a 5-minute walk down the main road and drink fresh coconuts at Veloo Coconut Vendor. 
    • You can choose whether you want cold or regular-temperature coconuts. We suggest the cold one since you’ll want to hydrate after your hike. It’s affordable at 6 MYR ($1.30).  

Final Thoughts

If you’ve already hiked Penang Hill, then the Moongate to Station 5 hiking route is a fantastic alternative. 

It’s a peaceful and unforgettable hiking trail with tons of shade and not crowded. After our eating adventures in Penang, it’s well worth the extra calories burned here! 

For those looking for other hikes to do in Malaysia, check out our post on hiking trails in Southeast Asia here. 

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View of tall buildings and the Penang city from a viewpoint along Moongate Station 5 hiking trail

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