A unique state in the northern Peninsular of Malaysia. The bustling city of Georgetown is its capital, attracts millions of people every year. Few kilometers outside this UNESCO heritage city lies the most famous beach on this British colonized island, Batu Ferringhi.
So, how to get HERE?
From the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, it will take around 4 to 5 hour drive via PLUS highway. Take the Georgetown exit after the Juru Plaza, the toll fare will cost around RM40 one way. This exit will then lead you to the Penang Bridge, the fare for this bridge is RM7.
It is being said that to avoid coming to Penang during Malaysian school and public holidays as it will be too touristy and the roads will be congested. Another option should you decided not to drive is via flight. Low cost airlines Air Asia and Malindo offered cheap flights to Penang. More comfortable Malaysia Airlines also have daily flights here. It will take just around 45 minutes from KLIA to the Penang International Airport located in Bayan Lepas. From the airport, it will take about half an hour drive to the Georgetown center and 45 minutes to one hour to Ferringhi.
Sadly, Penang does not have a light train system yet, but they do have Rapid Penang bus system that you can rely on. You can check the route and bus numbers here and it can reduce the transportation cost rather than taking a taxi or grab.
Now, lets get to the core issue, is Ferringhi a spot to go or not to go? YES or NO?. Kokonutlist has done some research ourselves and came up with pros and cons below for you to decide!
Lets start with the CONS:
- The beach is overrun by local tourists all over the country during school holidays and peak season. Calming spot by the beach is almost impossible to get and the sound of the crowds and sea activities literally a noise pollution.
- The water is not turquoise blue as other parts of Malaysia, it is quite murky, seems polluted and jellyfish roaming in the water. Perfect swim by the beach is a rare thing to have in Ferringhi beach.
- As Malaysia is a Muslim majority country, showing affections in public can attract a lot of unwanted attentions. You might need to tone down on the ‘romantic kiss by the beach’, a small kiss is okay. You can wear a bikini or swimwear as this is not a problem, nudity is prohibited.
- Although Penang is known as food heaven, Ferringhi is the contrary. It is not easy to find good local foods here as most of them are located in either Georgetown or Air Itam. Street vendor mostly just sell icecreams and fritters, even that is less to be found along the street. Some of the local restaurant serving food at a high price but the taste does not represent the price. The only one that is okay is I Love U Cafe. Fastfood and Middle Eastern food is abundant here compared to locals delight due to the increase of tourist from the gulf states. If you don’t mind spending, The Ship have their branch here.
- The night market is ‘robbing’ tourists. The prices of souvenirs, shirts and artworks along this famous night market is being sold at a hiked up price. Do bear in mind counterfeit items are also being sold here freely. You can get most of the things that are offered here for a lot cheaper in places like KOMTAR. Bargaining is a must to get a good price, if you are up to it. Apart from that parking mafia is also a problem, demanding RM5 from you to park.
Now, lets go to the PROS:
- Ferringhi beach is hands down a perfect getaway for those who want to hangout by the beach plus the bustling city and nighlife in Malaysia. Unlike the islands and beaches in east coast peninsular which offered majestic views but lack of nightlife, Feringghi is more hype with clubs, bars and even a Hard Rock Cafe. Even Langkawi have less nighlife than Ferringhi. It is also only around half an hour drive to Penang city centre, Georgetown. Compared to other islands that does not have a city life, Ferringhi wins big time.
- During weekdays and low season, you will find the perfect spot to relax, camping, do yoga or enjoy a sunset by the beach. Having a quiet barbeque at night is also some activities you can do along side the beach.
- Certain hotels have their own private beach for guests which is well taken care of. If you are willing to spend a little bit more for accommodation, do book hotels with their own beach such as Shangri La Rasa Sayang and Golden Sands Resort and enjoy.
- There are various choice of hotels and guesthouses in Ferringhi. Any type of budget you are planning, Ferringhi has it all. From hostels and guesthouses runs by locals to expensive 4 to 5 stars international chain hotels is available here.
- The watersports offered by tour operators here is awesome and generally cheap. From Jetski, Kayaking, Banana boating to Parasailing or simple horse riding, heck even a trip to Monkey Beach located in Penang National Park by boat is offered here.
- It is so near to Teluk Bahang district, which means you can catch a bus to The Penang National Park, Tropical Spice Garden and Entopia from here, which can fill up your free time.
So, based on the Pros and Cons above, it is wise to say Feringghi is a YES to visit during non peak season for those who want to relax along the beach or have a drink or two. But for those who are looking for a great beach experience, this is NOT the place. If you are an active Instagrammers or into photography, check out this amazing Malaysian islands for a perfect picture!