Lovely beach resorts, old world charm and colourful cultures give Penang its allure. An island paradise in full bloom, it is aptly hailed as the Pearl of the Orient.
Penang's northern shoreline, characterized by expansive stretches of golden sand and glittering waters, is a vacation spot for foreign and local visitors alike. Batu Ferringhi is situated along the coastal road northwest of Georgetown, is most popular beach in Penang, lined with a string of international-standard hotels and resorts.
Soak in the sun or unwind on the beach and enjoy a host of aquatic thrills from banana boat rides to canoeing and jet-skiing. For a spine-tingling adventure, try parasailing to enjoy the view of the beach from the sky.As the sun sets, Batu Ferringhi comes alive with a carnival-like atmosphere with an open-air bazaar selling anything from ornate curios to enticing souvenir items. Watch local artisans demonstate the intricate art of craft-making and batik-painting. Dubbed the Ferringhi Walk, the bazaar offers shoppers a host of attractions.
Tanjung Bungah is another popular beach resort in Penang. The numerous luxury resorts here offer a relaxing seaside vacation. The most charming feature of Tanjung Bungah is its many secluded coves, nestled within the shelter of overhanging cliffs and gigantic rocks.
At the northwestern end of the coastal road lies Teluk Bahang. Its idyllic beach offers a solitary luxury hotel promising a tranquil ambience for those who prefer privacy. Further west from Teluk Bahang are several beaches which lie off the beaten track. Situated in Penang's National Park, these pristine beaches make for excellent excursions to get a glimpse into the vast variety of the island's flora and fauna.
Monkey Beach, a secluded spot in the northwest of the island, is ideal for quiet picnics under the shady casuarinas. Adventure-lovers can explore the jungle trail from Monkey Beach to the Muka Head Lighthouse, perched atop a 785-feet-high cliff.
Further away, Kerachut Beach offers an unspoilt environment and picturesque views. In the hinterland, a lake containing distinct layers of freshwater ands seawater is an added attraction. Both of these beaches are only accessible by boat or by hiking trails from Teluk Bahang. Enquire with the respective resorts or private boat operators. Avid birdwatchers or outdoor lovers can delight in taking the jungle trail to observe monkeys, squirrels and other small animals along the way.
Jerejak Island, off the island's east coast, makes an interesting escapade. This tiny island resort offers total privacy amidst lush greenery.
Tip 1: Don't forget your sunblock. Malaysia's midday sun can leave your scorched within a few minutes.
Tip 2: Bring mosquito repellent and good trekking shoes if you intend to hike your way thru to the lesser known beaches.
Penang Island is accessible by road via the Penang Bridge. A toll is levied on the mainland's side of the bridge.
Malaysia Airlines operates direct air services to Penang from Singapore, Bangkok, Medan, Xiamen and Taipei. The airline also provides daily shuttle services between Kuala Lumpur and Penang. Air Asia flies to Penang from Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.
KTM provides train services to Butterworth from Kuala Lumpur, Alor Star and Padang Besar, as well as from Haadyai and Bangkok in Thailand.
From Butterworth, ferry services are available for both passengers and vehicles. Fares are collected at the Butterworth terminal.