Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Sites : Guar Petai Emerald Pools @ Butterworth Penang

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Guar Petai Emerald Pools @ Butterworth Penang

Lombong Guar Petai, Tasik Gelugor, Province Wellesley, Penang, Malaysia - August 2016
There is this place in Penang's mainland, (called Seberang Perai or previously Province Wellesley) it is a beautiful place with emerald greenish blue pools dotting the green landscape. One with reddish hills that stand out in the the clear blue sky. This place is called Lombong Guar Petai (Guar Petai Mine).

Guar Petai is a former quarry, stones from the hills were mined to produce gravel and clay from the pools were excavated for a nearby brick factory. This quarrying and mining activity surprisingly had not marred nature but in fact had unintentionally turned the place into one of the most beautiful spots here.

The quarrying and mining activities had cleared the land of most trees leaving a landscape that has a good unobstructed view. Nature has slowly crept back; green turfed areas and clumps of trees have grown back on the flattened land. Spots of greenery have also grown on the laterite hills.
The clay mining had left pools of water with a minimum bottom clay layer below which are4 probably gravel and sandy soil. This has acted as a natural filter leaving the pools of water surprisingly clean and clear. But what gives the water a bluish emerald colour? Perhaps it's the mineral within the soil. And surprisingly, although there don't seem to be fish in the water, algae had not grown to turn it a murky green. Perhaps the same mineral which gives it the bluish tinge act as a deterrent to algae growth.

The quarrying activities had stripped the hills of most of the rocks/stones, leaving behind reddish-brown sandstone hills which due to lack of soil is almost bare of growth. A tree here and there and clumps of shrubs have left a few patches of green to add and enhance the scenery.

At the foot of the hills, reddish laterite hillocks make the place seem unreal, bare of any growth it looks like a scene from out of this world, looking like a red Martian landscape.

We went there while on a cycling trip from Penang Island (... see blog) ; this is what we saw - beautiful, isn't it?
It had rained for a few days earlier, but today we were blessed with a bright, clear blue sky. And surprisingly, even after the rain the pools of water were still clear!

Access to Guar Petai is from Jalan Arumugam Pillai, at a jucntion after Kampung Lahar Looi and just before Kampung Guar Petai. Opposite this junction is the Masjid Nyior Sebatang. The road from there is un-tarred and of red laterite finish and it leads pass an operating brick factory. Near the factory, there were short stretches of the road paved with broken bricks.

During rainy weather, the road in can become muddy with pools of water; do be careful if you walk, cycle or drive in.

The place is serene, quiet and almost deserted of people except for visitor. It is a calming place to bond with nature; but there are news that the place could be developed into a tourist destination (... see Star newspaper article). That, I think would be a bad idea; i.e. to build proper roads, sheds and food stalls; when the throngs come, so will the rubbish. Sure publicise it, but leave it as it is - a jewel of nature. Let the people come, but let them come in naturally, through the track roads, or better still forbid motorised vehicle from going in.

The place may be calm and serene, but there are several do's and don't when coming to visit:

- don't speak out loudly or shout, or worst still swear. The locals believe that places like this are filled with spirits; so say a prayer while there.
- Wear proper attire like shoes if you are going to go climbing up the hills
- Do not swim in the pools, just let them be naturally. Also the pools can be quite deep and the edges steep, and who knows what is in the water.
- Don't pollute or leave rubbish behind. Collect any rubbish you bring in and take them out. Take lots of photos but do not leave graffiti on the stone walls of the hills.

Kampung Guar Petai, Seberang Perai, Penang, Malaysia.

GPS: 5.436643, 100.485111
(Click here for Google Street View)

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You are at - Jotaro's Blog / Footsteps Malaysia 2016-Sites / Guar Petai Emerald Pools @ Butterworth Penang

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