On the northern tip of Malaysia’s Penang Island lies Batu Ferringhi, a region whose name translates quite literally to mean ‘foreign rocks’. It’s most famed for its coastline and quiet beaches and is just a 15-minute drive from Penang’s capital, George Town. Despite its reputation as a beach getaway, frolicking on palm tree-fringed shores isn’t the only thing on offer. Water sports also come high on the agenda and a jaunt around town will let you dip into the island’s rich history.
Most visitors come here for the sun, the sea and the sand and thus head straight to Batu Ferringhi Beach. This three-kilometre stretch of powder-white sands is where the Portuguese first landed when they came here in search of exotic spices. Picnic under its shaded palms, stroll along its sandy shores or turn the action up a notch and get involved in some water sports, whether parasailing, water skiing or clinging on for dear life on a banana boat. For family adventures, the Wet World Wild Batu Ferringhi is all geared up for children with plenty of water tunnels and flumes to choose from.
Penang is known for its excellent shopping and Batu Ferringhi is no exception. Scour the stalls of the Batu Ferringhi Night Market for great bargains and brilliant keepsakes to take home.
Another of Batu Ferringhi’s famous attractions is the brilliant Tropical Spice Garden. It sits amid verdant rainforest and contains more than 500 species of plants for you to admire. The Tropical Spice Garden also offers brilliant cookery classes, which naturally use liberal amounts of local spices. Guided day and night tours are in operation to explore the grounds.
A popular nature-themed attraction is Penang Butterfly Park. Inspect the intricate wing patterns of over 120 types of butterflies, including a famous Malaysian butterfly species called the Rajah Brooke’s birdwing.
Batu Ferringhi isn’t very large, which makes getting around relatively easy. Navigate your way around on foot or rent a bike. Alternatively, taxis are readily available, although you should negotiate your price first. The Penang Rapid Transit buses also run regularly up until 11pm. You can buy a seven-day Rapid Transit Passport card or use their handy iPhone app.