Mengkuang Dam (Malay: Empangan Mengkuang, Tasik Mengkuang) is a Dam located less than 28 km to the north-east of Butterworth town. It is the only dam situated in Seberang Perai (Penang Mainland) and the second dam built in Penang after Ayer Itam dam. It was officially opened by the former Governor, Dr. Tun Awang bin Hassan in 1985. It has the water catchment area of 3.9sq km and a gross storage capacity of 23.6 billion litres makes it the largest dam in Penang, almost 10 times the capacity of the Air Itam Dam. Mengkuang Dam will be closed to the public from August 1, 2011 until July 31, 2016 for enlargement and renovation.
The park in the dam area is a popular place for recreation. At least 300 visitors of the dam on weekdays and it is estimated more than 1000 visitors on weekends. Visitors enjoy the scenic landscape, jogging and trekking. Angling is prohibited but there is no enforcement. There is a 10 km trekking trail skirting the dam through orchards and rubber plantations. It is opened from 6.00 a.m to 7.30 p.m daily.
Mengkuang Dam is also one of the venues for the annual Penang International Dragon Boat Festival. A lively affair, the festival is a fiesta of colour and noise, in which traditionally-built boats race through the waters of this dam, the boats are cheered on by enthusiastic spectators. The race begins with a slow beating of the drums by the helmsmen. The beat increases steadily, going faster and faster, and then rising to a crescendo as the boats cross the finish line. The ornate and beautifully painted 'dragons' on the boats' prows add to the gaiety of the festival.
From Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh (from south), from Sungai Petani and Alor Star (from north) head towards Butterworth using North South Expressway (E1). On reaching Seberang Jaya, you need to exit from North South Expressway (E1) towards Kulim using Butterworth-Kulim Expressway (E15). Get off at Penanti Exit and head for another 2 km to Mengkuang Dam using P129. Slow down when you see the clear grassy slope of the dam. There is no clear signboard to the entrance of the dam. The dam is on your right. You also can get there by public transport, from the Bukit Mertajam bus terminal, you can take bus no. 24. Although, to board a taxi is a better choice.