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Batu Ferringhi, Malaysia – Lovely Beaches, That’s About It

There are many beautiful beaches in Southeast Asia and Batu Ferringhi is definitely one of them. As we walked down the beach at sunset we watched the sky turn stunning shades of orange and pink as para-sailers glided by and tourists rode horses across the sand.

Unfortunately, the beach is one of the only interesting things about Batu Ferringhi. Once you get beyond the sand, this area of the northern coast of Penang, Malaysia leaves you a little bit disappointed.

The main road is filled with restaurants which offer really good food, especially since Penang is famed for its cuisine. Unfortunately, the average meal is two or three times more expensive than in nearby Georgetown. At most other destinations in Malaysia including Kuala Lumpur and Georgetown we have been able to get a very nice entree in a restaurant for around 6-7 RM ($1.90-$2.25). There was a sad moment when we realized that MacDonalds and KFC were our best budget lunch options. We didn’t come to Malaysia to eat Big Macs.

We wandered into the pool area of one of the high end resorts and I could see how Batu Ferringhi could be a totally different experience if you were travelling on a higher budget and enjoying cushy sun loungers, tables set for two overlooking the water, a waterfall pool and special live music nights.

However, the cheapest room in one of these resorts cost around $100 per night whereas on Koh Lanta in Thailand Lee and I rented a comparable private bungalow literally steps from the ocean for only $20 per night.

Also, the water around Batu Ferringhi didn’t feel as clean as some of other beaches I have swum in here. It is a bit murky, probably from all of the speedboats which zoom up and down the coast pulling para-sailers behind them.

Batu Ferringhi Beach, Penang, Malaysia
Batu Ferringhi Beach, Penang, Malaysia

When the only redeeming feature of Batu Ferringhi is the beach and there are so many other gorgeous beaches in this part of the world, it’s probably a good to look elsewhere. We opted to spend a little more time in the nearby UNESCO World Heritage city of George Town instead.

About Kelly Dunning

A Canadian freelance writer with a love of art, culture, literature and adventure, Kelly loves exploring foreign lands and expressing her experiences through the power of the written word.

5 comments

  1. Monkey Beach in Penang National Park on the Northwest corner of the island is totally clean and blessedly deserted of jetskis and parasailers … it is a world away from Batu Ferringhi and I heartily recommend it! Also, closer to B.F., there is a beach across from the Tropical Spice Garden … it is a tiny beach behind a local Laska stand, but it is simply a slice of heaven!

    Finally, there are local food courts worth checking out for cheap, local street food on the street travelling inland from the beach at B.F., near/around the shophouses, close to the infamous KFC you described in your post. Also, at night, the gigantic Long Beach food court offers a tonne of dining options for the budget traveller.

    I spent my time in Penang on the north coast, and I loved it, just stay away from the resorts and you’re wallet is safe! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Definitely a place out of my list! I have been researching for a place which can be a perfect vacation destination. But if everything is over-priced then how can we enjoy the place to the fullest? I am not putting an end to any of my decisions though, who knows? Maybe they can think about it and produce money worthy local accommodation and food.

  3. I have been craving to go to beaches in different countries but I haven’t heard of this place yet. Indeed, some of the best tourist destinations are not included in the most popular bandwagon. I suggest you share more information, too, on how tourists can get there from, let’s say, Kuala Lumpur, or where they can stay and dine and shop while they are in Batu Ferringhi.

  4. A avid beach goer, my family and I have vacationed at many beaches up and down the east coast of the states. You mentioned the differences in lodging at several locations. I for one know the room is for sleeping . But how comfortable, safe and clean are these 20 dollar a night rooms. Here in the the states anything below 50 is a nightmare behind the door.I with you about the food, even when traveling in the states I love to eat the local food. It’s always a great opportunity to look inside the cultures of where you are visiting.

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