This stretch of Penang on the north western part of the island is somewhat more popular with the eastern tourists and residents of MM2H (Malaysia My Second Home) and its on the quieter side of the island far away from the congestion and noise of the city.
Its also populated by 5 and 6 star hotel like Golden Sands, Shangri La Hotel, Hard Rock Cafe Hotel and Lone Pine Beach Resort and they all have a grand view of the sea from their vintage position on the beach.
I had the opportunity to visit Penang again after more than 20 years and I must say I am still drawn to Batu Ferringhi after all these years. Changes are apparent with high rise condos rising above every conceivable nook and corner and I must say traffic is a little
haphardzard at times but all in all , this part of Penang has not lost its old charm.
Amongst these luxury hotels, you can still find backpackers abode, night markets that sell anything from handbags to CDs and just round the corner you can find quaint restaurants and food courts. I would describe the night scene as a mini Phuket with its vibrant street life and pulsating energy.
Around the corner near the night market just outside the road where Hard Rock Cafe is located , there is a Macdonald joint and right
opposite it is Kentucky Fried Chicken so all in all a ‘rojak’ mix of eateries to cater for fast food junkies.
My favourite joint would be the open stalls where you can find good local foods and western fare at very affordable prices. And for the westerners, no meal is complete without a pint or beer or two and this is easily available as well. One can get a plate of fried noodles for just over USD1 and you can really eat well in Penang without breaking your bank account. Of course if you relish more fanciful fare in a hotel, there are plenty of choices from Japanese food, to steaks and down to the famous local food like satay, char kuey teow, popiah and assam laksa to name a few.
You can spend time walking along the beaches in the evening or take a swim in the sea (watch out for the jelly fishes), go parasailing, or visit the various attractions around the island.
If you are thinking of bicycling in Batu Ferringhi, this would not be advisable as you really would run the risk of being run over by cars or heavy vehicles as the road going into town is windy and narrow..you have to be nuts to even contemplate doing that..Reason why I mentioned this is that when I was “gainfully employed“ I was working with an American pilot who insisted on flying over his favourite bicycle from New York as he wanted to bicycle around Kuala Lumpur. Despite my warning him that the city is not a place for bicycles as far as Malaysia is concerned, he was adamant he wanted to do it..
One day at work, my mobile rang, and I heard this gungho American Pilot telling me that he was lying on the ground injured as he was ran over by a motorcyclist while bicycling near a park. Yes, to cut a long story short, luckily he was not seriously injured but he did ship his bicycle back to New York not long after. Morale of the story is to listen to the locals when it comes to matters like these as they do know better ..:)
So no bicycling in Batu Ferringhi on the public roads or in Penang for that matter..
If you take a 20 minute drive down to town towards Gurney Drive (famous for its open stalls and food located next to the seafront), you can stop in this place called Straits Quay. I love to patronize the nice restaurants located in this old colonial styled property and the wide open spaces with the sea breeze blowing in your face as you dine alfresco is indeed a wonderful relaxing experience. A must -do I must add if you are ever in Penang.
I also love the facade of the houses near to the quay that reminded me so much of the old shophouses found in old Georgetown which is now part of the Unesco heritage.
All in all Straits Quay is a rather nice place to relax and take in the fresh sea air while enjoying a great meal with friends and family.