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 all the way to Batu Ferringhi from the airport, or you might have to go to the central transport hub, Komtar in Georgetown, first. 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 Transit 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 (30RM) give unlimited travel, though are available from limited locations including Komtar and the airport (see website for complete details). Rapid Transit has a useful iPhone app, which is linked to GPS-equipped buses to estimate arrival of buses at a bus stop. Bus stops can be unmarked, so ask a local.
- Butterfly Farm, ☎ +60 4 885-1253, fax: +60 4 885-1741, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 830 Jalan Teluk Bahang. Mon-Fri 9AM-5:30PM (Last entry at 5PM), Weekend & Public Holidays 9AM-6PM (Last entry at 5:30PM). Open 365 days all year round except half-day on Chinese New Year eve. 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. The farm 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. The farm also exhibits dead-leaf mantis, orchid mantis and Trogonoptera. The farm also features an art and artifact gallery, souvenir shop and a cafe. Admission (including Govt. Tax): Adult RM27 and children RM15..
- Muka Head Lighthouse is located 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.
- Tropical Spice Garden is between Batu Ferringhi and Teluk Bahang, easily reachable by bus or taxi. 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. Entry fee to the garden is reasonable, and guided tours are available and recommended.
- Toy Museum, Jl Tanjung Bungah (10 km northwest of Georgetown beside the Copthorne Hotel; from Georgetown, take Rapid Penang bus 101 or 103 from KOMTAR), ☎ +60 12 460-2096. M-Su 9:00-21:00. This is the latest attraction in Penang, located at in front of Copthrone Orchid Hotel. Ranked as Asia's first and World's largest toy museum, 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. Adult and children above 3-feet RM10, children below 3-feet RM6..
- Fruit tasting while visiting Tropical Fruit Farm.
- Jungle trekking & camping - Enjoy walking through the reserved forest in Taman Negara Pulau Pinang / Penang 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 50 RM. Alternatively if 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 not.
- 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.
- Food is a must on your list while you're in Batu Ferringhi. Ask around the over 300 traders in the night market, or the hotel staff, and they'll surely point you to some not too "touristy" spots, or something up to your preferences.
- 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 2015, it will take place from 9 AM - 5 PM on 30-31 May.
- Batu Ferringhi Night Market, Jl Batu Ferringhi. 19:00–00:00. 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.
- Tanjung Bungah Market, Jl Sungai Kelian. Daily 09:00–12:00, Tu 19:00–23:00. 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.
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 located 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 RM8 per person for a filling meal and a soft drink.
- Summer Beach House Seafood, good quality seafood restaurant at reasonable prices almost on the beach near the Lone Pine Hotel.
- Rainbow Modern Western Cuisine (Rainbow Cafe), 26, Permai 32, Lebuh Lembah Permai 4, Off Jalan Permai, Tanjung Bungah, 11200 Penang., ☎ +60 4-8995190. 11:30AM-3PM & 6PM-10PM. Rainbow Modern Western Cuisine serve healthy, quality, delicious, value for money food & beverage. No M.S.G. or artificial flavoring or food enhancer being used in the cooking, Only herbs & spices. All the meals are freshly cooked - individually cooked upon order - the home cooking style. They serve light bites, soups, sandwiches, pasta, mains, desserts and beverages. They serve pure fresh fruits juice with any sugar and water being added. Fresh brewed coffee & chilled beers also available. Rainbow Cafe, located in a residential area with the park located right in front & directly opposite the cafe. A true real taste of food & beverage the natural way and delicious too. RM10:00.
- Sagar, Jalan Batu Ferringhi (Inside Bayview Hotel). Good Indian 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!
- Rainbow Modern Western Cuisine (Rainbow Cafe), 26, Permai 32, Lebuh Lembah Permai 4, Off Jalan Permai, Tanjung Bungah, 11200 Penang., ☎ +60 19-44129799. 11:30AM-3PM & 6PM-10PM. Rainbow Modern Western Cuisine, served healthy, quality, value for money and no M.S.G. or artificial flavouring or food enhancer being used in the cooking, only herbs & spices. Also available fresh pure fruit juice without any sugar or water being added. Fresh brewed coffee and chilled beer also available. They serve Light Bites, soup, sanwiches, pasta, main, dessert and beverages. Rainbow Modern Western Cuisine serve it customers, freshly cooked meals - the home style cooked meals. RM10.00.
There are lots of options with rack rates above RM500, but only in peak season (notably Christmas/New Year) will you have to pay this much. The cheaper places charge around RM50.
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 RM15-60 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.
- penang-resorts Holiday Apartments, Batu Ferrinhghi (Near the beach), ☎ +60 12-4269180. Self-Catered Apartments /Condominiums/ Bungalows
- Sapphire Resorts-Penang Island Holiday Apartment, ☎ +60 14-3494464. At Batu Ferringhi, (Meg)
- Eden Seaview Condominium, Batu Ferringhi, Tel: +60 16-4522505 (Mr. Tan)
Offering fully furnished units with basic amenities for rental.
- Boomerang Lodge, Batu Ferrinhghi (On the beach), ☎ +60 14 7256619. Check-in: 1400, check-out: 1000. Beach Front Chalet and Cafe
- EQ Ferringhi Hotel, No. 17 Lorong Sungai Emas, 11100 Batu Ferringhi, Pulau Penang, Malaysia, ☎ +60 48851533. 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 MYR 88.00.
- Ah Beng Guest House, ☎ +60 4-8811036. 54C, Batu Ferringi.
- Ali'sFerringi Guest House, ☎ +60 4-8811316, fax: 04-8814015. 53&54B, Batu Ferringi.
- Lazyboys Travelodge, Just off Batu Ferringi, behind the Happy Mart. Friendly staff and relaxed atmosphere, Rooms from 40RM, free wi-fi and internet, kitchen for cooking and laundry. Also music room full of instruments. +60 4-8812486 Mob: +60 124009511
- Baba's Guest House, 52, Batu Ferringhi, ☎ +60 48811686. 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 MYR 85 in the building and MYR 100 outside. Walk distance to beach: 25 meters. 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, NO BEDBUGS as reported on other travel-sites. Rates start MYR 75 double w/o air-con, up to MYR 100.
- Copthorne Orchid Hotel Penang, Tanjung Bungah, ☎ +60 4 892-3333. Located at Tanjung Bungah facing the sea.
- E.T Budget Guest House, ☎ +60 4-8811553. 47,Batu Ferringi.
- Ismail's Beach Guest House, ☎ +60 4-8812569. Batu Ferringhi.
- Feringghibackpacker, ☎ +60 13-4829292. Beach Front Chalet, Batu Feringhi,
- Boomerang Lodge Guest House, ☎ +60 14-7256619. Batu Ferringhi,
- Daniel's Beach Guest House, ☎ +60 16-4112874. Batu Ferringhi,
- Miss Lohs Guest house, 159 Jl Telek Bahang. Teluk bahang, ☎ +60 4-885-1227. fan dorm/single/double. out side bathroom. rents bikes. RM15/20/30.
- Fishermans Village Guest house, Teluk Bahang. fan rooms from MYR 18.
- Bayview Beach Resort Penang, Phone:+60 4 881-2123, Fax:+60 4 881-2140, Tollfree reservation within Malaysia: 1-800-888218, mailto:email@example.com, .
- Hydro Hotel (Miami Beach). Located a couple of kilometres before the main Batu Ferringhi strip, the Hydro Hotel is cheaper because of its location, which offers some advantages. Miami Beach is just across the road (accessible by elevated walkway), and is relatively unspoilt compared with Batu Ferringhi - little or no pollution, no jet skis, picturesque with large granite boulders and a pleasant view. 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. Staff generally helpful, standard good for price - pick of rooms probably VIP suites, large suites with 2 balconies having sea views. Clean, spacious without being especially glamorous.
- Shangri-La's Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa, ☎ +60 4 888-8888, fax: +60 4 881-1800, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Batu Feringghi Beach.
- Parkroyal Penang (Batu Ferringhi Beach), ☎ +60 4 881-1133, fax: +60 4 881-2233, e-mail: email@example.com. 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.
- Lone Pine Penang. Owned and operated by famous Eastern & Oriental Hotel in Georgetown. Superb standard of accommodation and food, with prices to match.
- Hard Rock Hotel Penang (Batu Ferringhi Beach), ☎ +60 4 8811711, fax: +60 4 8812155. 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.
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 Georgetown. 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 (Seberang Perai), which is somewhat off the tourist track. The towns of Butterworth and Bukit Mertajam are a great place to start.