Batu Ferringhi is a beach town in Penang, Malaysia. It takes up the northern coast of Penang island along with the nearby beach town of Tanjung Bungah and the local fishing village of Teluk Bahang, which are also covered on this page.
Probably the single most heavily developed stretch of tourist resorts in the entire country, the scenery and the beaches have undeniably suffered under the assault of all that concrete. Still, while the beaches aren't the best in Malaysia, there are still miles of white sand and palm trees left. Fierce competition keeps hotel prices low and there's some great food to be found too. Also a notable fact making the decision to visit Batu Ferringhi an easier one is, that the more you approach to the west, the less the touristisation has infected the beaches. Beaches near the famous night-market are very nice, though with less than perfect water quality because of the extensive powered water sports and infestations of jellyfish.
From east to west (that is, moving further 'out' from George Town and the airport), the main beaches are Tanjung Bungah, Batu Ferringhi proper and Teluk Bahang.
From Kuala Lumpur, a 45-minute flight to Penang Airport, or several hours by bus or car.
On Penang Island (and neighbouring Butterworth), Penang's Rapid Transit bus system is very efficient, with a fleet of modern buses (some even have free wi-fi). It's possible to catch a bus #102 all the way to Batu Ferringhi from the airport, or you might have to go to the central transport hub — Komtar in George Town first and then catch a #101 bus. Bus drivers are usually quite helpful.
Taxis are the alternative - they almost never use the meter, so negotiate a price first.
Taxis trawl up and down the windy roads of the north coast. Fares are negotiable but tourists will have a hard time getting anywhere for less than RM 15. Most hotels have shuttle services too.
Penang Rapid buses are fairly regular till about 11PM, plying the route from Georgetown through Tanjung Bungah, Batu Ferringhi to Teluk Bahang. One bus route goes down the western coast from Teluk Bahang, but with an average frequency of 2 hours at best, and reputedly can't be relied on. 7-day Rapid Transit Passport cards (RM 30) give unlimited travel, though are available from limited locations including Komtar and the airport (see website for complete details). Bus stops can be unmarked, so ask a local.
- 1 Entopia (by Penang Butterfly Farm), 830 Jalan Teluk Bahang, ☏ , fax: . Daily 9AM-8PM, including weekends & public holidays. More than just a tourist attraction, it is set up as a 'live museum' to educate the public as well as a research centre to develop breeding methods. It houses about 4000 Malaysian butterflies of 120 different species, including the most famous in Malaysia, the Rajah Brooke's Bird wing of the Papilionidae family. Besides, it also exhibits dead-leaf mantis, orchid mantis and Trogonoptera. It also features an art and artifact gallery, souvenir shop and a cafe. This place underwent major renovation in 2016, and was renamed from Penang Butterfly Farm to Entopia. Therefore now it doesn't specialise merely in butterflies but shows whole lot of other insects and reptiles. Entopia offers lots of talks and events throughout the day so check their schedule to catch one of them. Admission: adult RM 49 and children RM 29.
- 2 Tropical Spice Garden (between Batu Ferringhi and Teluk Bahang, easily reachable by bus or taxi), ☏ . Daily 9AM-6PM. The well-done eco-tourism site was set up in 2003 on an old 8-acre rubber plantation, with three trails meandering through the beautiful jungle landscape. Around 500 species of spices, herbs and exotic flora to explore. At one corner is Tree Monkey Cafe (predominantly Thai food) set on a deck in the middle of a rainforest and sea views, and a gift shop and cooking school - these are accessible from the exit gate so you don't have to pay an entry fee to get to them. Guided tours are available (at 9AM, 11:30PM, 1:30PM, 3:30PM) and recommended. Audio tours RM 26, live guided tours RM 35.
- 3 Toy Museum, MK2, Teluk Bahang (bus 101 or 102), ☏ . Daily 9AM-6PM. This is the latest attraction in Penang, located at in front of Copthrone Orchid Hotel. The owner, Ir Loh Lean Cheng, has spent 30 years collecting over 100,000 toys, dolls, models and other fun stuff. The vast collection includes characters from cartoons, comics, computer games, sports, movies, novels, shows and the music world. Dozens of amazingly realistic, life-size figures add to the fun. There is also wax museum, museum of bags and collectibles. Adult and children above 3-feet RM 16, children below 3-feet RM 11.
- 4 Escape Adventureplay, 828, Jalan Teluk Bahang, Teluk Bahang, ☏ . Tu-Su 9AM-6PM. Adults RM 83, RM43 child.
- 5 Penang National Park (Taman Negara Pulau Pinang). Enjoy jungle trekking through the reserved forest in this national park, go to northwestern cape of the island and stay nights over there, you will experience an unforgettable life with beaches, sea and the sky. Typically people do a morning hike into monkey or turtle beach and catch a boat back. If with larger group book boat before. Around RM 50. If you're travelling just one or two and you see others around combine with them, which can usually be done once arrived on the beach. Check before if the canopy walk is open. Entrance is free, but canopy walk is RM 5 for adults and RM 3 for child.
- 6 Muka Head Lighthouse, at the northwestern cape of the Penang island. This impressive lighthouse serves as a beacon to sailors and ships in the region. The tower, while not as accessible as other structures on the island, offers spectacular ocean views. There is 2 ways to reach the site: taking boat from Teluk Bahang jetty or climb over the hills by foot.
- 7 Teluk Bahang Forest Eco Park (Taman Rimba Teluk Bahang), next entrance after Entopia. A huge recreational forest with about a dozen of marked trails leading to other parts of the island, including Batu Ferringhi proper and Penang Hill, as well as nearby hills and small waterfalls. Part of the park near the entrance is equipped with parking lot, toilets, picnicking and camping facilities, ponds, children playground. Though it's a bit rundown and some maintenance won't harm. There is also a 8 Forestry Museum that can be found near the entrance.
- Sunbathe on the beach, enjoy the foot or body massage could be a good idea to rest and relax.
- Watersports are on the agenda for many visitors, although the waters are a bit too murky for scuba diving and a bit too calm for surfing or more extreme pursuits. Beware of the jellyfish! If stung, apply vinegar and if you experience chest pain, consider seeing the doctor for something to combat the allergic reaction.
- Penang International Dragon Boat Festival, ☏ . Staged annually since 1979 and has successfully attracted teams from all over the world including Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Indonesia, the Netherlands, the Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, Canada, and the USA. The event is now usually held at the Teluk Bahang Dam in late May.
- 1 Batu Ferringhi Night Market, Jl Batu Ferringhi. 7PM-midnight. A nightly market that runs the length of the main road through Batu Ferringhi. Set-up along the side walk, this market sells all the typical nick nacks you would expect including DVDs, Jewellery, artworks, crafts, clothing and everything in between. Be prepared to haggle hard as prices are typically inflated due to the markets location along this tourist strip.
- 2 Tanjung Bungah Market, Jl Sungai Kelian. Daily 9AM-noon, Tu 7-11PM. In the morning a local wet market comes to life selling local fruits, vegetables and other produce. Food is also on the agenda, with many stalls selling food for breakfast. Every Tuesday evening the market opens as a local Pasar Malam, with even more food to entice your taste buds. There are also stalls selling all the typical goods and wares at this market.
- 3 Tesco Supermarket. Big supermarket with a few other shops and small food court.
There are plenty of places to eat all around, although discerning gourmands might want to explore less watered-down Malaysian cuisine in George Town.
One option worth a special trip are the seafood restaurants at the pier of Teluk Bahang, at the northwestern tip of the island, past the hotels and the little village. The famed "End of the World" has closed, but quite a few have sprung up to take its place.
For families, or those who just want to get out of the resort, you can't go past the hawker centres and fresh fruit stalls on the side of the road. At the hawker centres the kids can pick and choose what they like from the different shops, you just pay the bill when it is delivered to your table. For best results, stick with the Asian cuisines, the attempts at Western food are not worth eating.
- Viva Food Court, formerly known as "Golden Sands Bayview food court; this eatery is just outside the Naza Hotel and it provides a wide range of Malaysian food (mostly Penang hawker).
- Ferringhi Garden, just south of the Parkroyal Plaza. A little pricey, but a wonderful atmosphere and a very wide ranging menu.
- Gerai Makanan, hawker centre near the Golden Sands Resort Hotel, a dozen or so food and drink stalls. Covers a range of cuisines, with Indian, Chinese, Malay, Seafood and reasonably priced beer.
- Khaleel Nasi, at the south end of Eden Parade mall, serves reasonable Muslim Indian food such as roti, prata and nasi kandar. Good for breakfast, brunch or lunch and expect to pay RM 8 per person for a filling meal and a soft drink.
- Beach Corner Seafood, good quality seafood restaurant at reasonable prices almost on the beach near the Lone Pine Hotel.
- 1 Marco Polo, Jalan Batu Ferringhi (Inside Bayview Hotel). Good Malaysian and international food and air conditioning.
- Hard Rock Cafe (At Hard Rock Hotel). Western food, including good burgers. Air conditioned.
Fresh juice at the hawker centre about halfway through the markets. At RM2 each, these are a bargain and there are many different combinations, helpful if you are travelling with fussy kids!
There are lots of options with rack rates above RM 500, but only in peak season (notably Christmas/New Year) will you have to pay this much. The cheaper places charge around RM 50.
Almost all backpacker accommodation, in the form of local guest houses opposite the beach past the Parkroyal Resort has been destroyed and it's really difficult to find some cheap bed. A simple room with a fan begin at around RM 15-60 per night, it is some times cheaper to sleep in Georgetown (also much more services and better local meals) and travel back and forth by public bus. If arriving by bus get off at the post office and walk down to the beach.
- Sapphire Resorts-Penang Island Holiday Apartment, ☏ . At Batu Ferringhi, (Meg).
- Eden Seaview Condominium, Batu Ferringhi, ☏ (Mr. Tan). Offering fully furnished units with basic amenities for rental.
- 1 EQ Ferringhi Hotel, No. 17 Lorong Sungai Emas, Batu Ferringhi, ☏ . Offers standard and triple sharing rooms, all of which are equipped with television, air conditioning, fan, high pressure water heater, bathroom and shower. Free Wi-Fi and satellite TV with ASTRO channels at the lobby. Best rates on official website start at RM 88.
- Shalini's Guest House, ☏ . 56, Batu Ferringhi.
- Ali'sFerringi Guest House, ☏ , fax: . 53&54B, Batu Ferringi.
- Baba's Guest House, 52, Batu Ferringhi, ☏ . Rooms are pretty basic but still nice. Inside the building rooms have shared bathroom on the floor, but the rooms in front of the house have an own bathroom with shower. Air conditioned rooms start RM 85 in the building and RM 100 outside. Walk distance to beach: 25 m. Staff: at least the owner speaks fluent English, and is very friendly. Perfect for backpackers who want to enjoy direct beach access and walk over the vast night-bazar. Very clean. Rates start RM 75 double w/o air-con, up to RM 100.
- Copthorne Orchid Hotel Penang, Tanjung Bungah, ☏ . Located at Tanjung Bungah facing the sea.
- 2 E.T Budget Guest House, ☏ . 47,Batu Ferringi.
- Fishermans Village Guest house, Teluk Bahang. fan rooms from MYR 18.
- 3 Bayview Beach Resort Penang.
- 4 DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Penang (Formerly Hydro Hotel), 56, Jalan Low Yat (=Miami Beach is just across the road (accessible by elevated walkway), Rapid Transit bus stops right outside hotel driveway on both sides of the road (bus stop not marked on side heading to Batu Ferringhi) and is very regular during the day/evening), ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. The hotel has 316 guest rooms and suites. There are also 3 dining venues, an outdoor pool, spa and a gym. RM 240+.
- By The Sea Suites Apartment, Jalan Batu Ferringhi, ☏ . Available for daily, weekly and monthly rental.
- 5 Shangri-La's Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa (Batu Feringghi Beach), ☏ , fax: , email@example.com.
- 6 Park Royal Penang (Batu Ferringhi Beach), ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Great location for families - right in the middle of the night markets, short walk at night to a hawker centre, and the second pool has a water slide. Check out the pool toy stalls at the markets for a range of water toys to help increase the fun. Try to get a side sea view room on the 2nd floor, where the rooms open out onto a grassed terrace. Great deals and coupons are found on their Facebook page.
- 7 Lone Pine Penang. Owned and operated by famous Eastern & Oriental Hotel in Georgetown. Superb standard of accommodation and food, with prices to match.
- 8 Hard Rock Hotel Penang (Batu Ferringhi Beach), ☏ , fax: . Large pools with some swim up rooms. Slides and good watersports play area for children. Day passes available for 60RM to use the pool area.
- 9 Shangri-La's Golden Sands Resort.
There is still plenty more of Penang to visit, simply hop on one of the local Rapid Penang buses and explore.
- Head south to discover Penang's backcountry at Balik Pulau. The area is literally the back of the island and is a slice of an undeveloped Penang. Around the expansive area you will find kampungs, fruit farms and rice paddies scattered throughout.
- Visit Air Itam, a town just west of George Town. Explore the famous Penang Hill, either by funicular train or spend a few hours and trek to the top. The views of Penang are exceptional from the hill. Be sure to check out the local markets and the gigantic Kek Lok Si Temple.
- Cross over to Penang's mainland, which is somewhat off the tourist track. The towns of Butterworth and Bukit Mertajam are a great place to start.