Air Itam Dam

Air Itam Dam is located uphill and just to the south of Kek Lok Si Temple and provides the main access to surrounding paths and trails. There is limited parking available and rest rooms as the area is open to recreational use. Air Itam Dam is a great start point for accessing jungle trails and  motorcycle paths to gain access to other highland locations. Weekends are considered busy periods so parking can be a challenge. While public buses do not pass this area, there are plenty of taxis available from the city. There is a pedestrian pathway around the dam reservoir with access to a number of jungle trails or motorcycle paths that eventually lead to Balik Pulau on the western side of Penang Island or alternatively Tiger Hill with trail connections to Penang Hill where other trail options are to be found.


1. (1h:06m:44s | 3.5 km) Air Itam Reservoir Trail. There is a 3km service path which circles the reservoir. Changes in elevation around the reservoir are minor as indicted in the elevation profile.  The area is bounded by forest cover except for the dam's spill side which is an earthen dam wall with limited views of George Town in the distance. There are other paths which lead south and west towards Balik Pulau which are motorcycle accessible. There is a set of steps which leads to a Buddhist temple and a Buddhist shrine along the path itself. A storm shelter is also available on the far side of the dam wall.

Air Itam Dam Wall

Air Hitam Dam Reservior

Air Hitam - Jl. Balik Pulau

Air Itam Buddhist Rock Shrine


2. (3h:49m:31s | 10.9 km) Air Hitam, Bukit Elvira Trail,Tiger Hill, Air Hitam. This hike takes you up the Bukit Elvira Air Itam Trail.  a very steep concrete path for the first few kilometres, until reaching the junction point where there are various trail or path options. To get to Tiger Hill take a right and follow the forest track which leads towards Penang Hill to the north. Keep a lookout for the Tiger Hill Trail entrance on your right where the trail continues up a steep incline ascending along an undulating path until reaching Tiger Hill which is marked by Rain Gauge 29. There are two trails which lead off from this point. Take the right hand trail which descends towards Air Itam Dam. The trail is easy to follow as it passes through secondary growth forest. The trail abruptly ends as it meets up with an asphalt road which winds its way uphill but also leads back towards Air Itam Dam. Continue walking downhill until coming to a jungle trail on the right which is the direct route back to Air Itam Dam. If you miss this junction you will end up going down towards the settlement of Air Itam. For more read here.

Y Junction

Bukit Elivera Air Itam Dam Trail

Almost to the top of Tiger Hill

Tiger Hill Y Junction - RG 29

3. (3hr:09m | 10.8km) Air Itam - Bukit Elvira -Tarrapin Trail - Jl. Balik Pulau - Air Itam Circular. Start from the Air Itam Dam site which is about 250m above sea level. Parking is available. Cross over the dam wall then follow the service road to the left. Continue along the western side of the reservoir until reaching the Bukit Elvira Trail which is a paved path which heads west leading to Iron Cross Junction at approximately 600m. At the junction, there are a number of trails heading west towards Titiwangsa near Balik Pulau, and north towards Tiger Hill and Penang Hill. At the junction take the jungle trail on the left. The trail at one time was used as a motorcycle path but it appears few pass this route due to changes in local land use. Crossing over a number of stream crossings and switchbacks, the trail finally comes out on Jl. Balik Pulau. A power pole (no. 21) provides a trail entrance landmark for those doing the trail in reverse. Continue down the concrete path which then follows the eastern side of Air Itam Reservoir until completing the circular route.