Tag Archives: Scenery

Trip to Batu Ferringhi

Batu Ferringhi is a popular beach destination in Penang among the tourists as well as the locals. It is not an ideal swimming beach in comparison with other better beaches in Asia. But, it is popular with some of the best and well known beach resorts including – Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa and Golden Sand Resort, Hard Rock Hotel, Holiday Inn, Parkroyal and a few more dotted along the beach from Tanjung Bungah to Batu Ferringhi. The stretch along Batu Ferringhi Road starting at the Rasa Sayang ending at the Bayview Beach Hotel is famous at night time for its “Pasar Malam” aka the Night Market, selling everything from fake watches to lady handbags, clothing and souvenirs. This is the place to buy your fake goods if you are not planning to visit Thailand; otherwise, save some of your money for serious shopping in Bangkok. Bargain is a must at the night market. This is the time to test your skill.

In daytime, Batu Ferringhi is quiet and layback with most tourists making their way into George Town for the heritage and culture, or shopping at one of the malls. Some will laze at the resort pool or the beach. There is nothing else happening and most shops, hawker centres and restaurants are shut in the daytime.

I grew up in Penang loving the beach at Tanjung Bungah and Batu Ferringhi. On my past trips to Penang, I will go back to Batu Ferringhi but only at night for the night market. This time, I told myself I must visit Batu Ferringhi in the day to recollect my memory when I was at my teenage years. It is very easy to get to Batu Ferringhi by taking the 101 RapidPenang bus from Komtar bus terminal. It costs $2.70 Malaysian Ringgit, which is slightly less than $1 Aussie dollar. There is regular buses that run every 10-15 minutes. The trip depending on the traffic may take between 30 minutes to 45 minutes.

The road leading to Batu Ferringhi is winding next to the coast line. Be prepared for a thrill in the bus as the driver is used to the winding road, driving at fast speed. All the hotels along Batu Ferringhi road is on the beach, except one of Holiday Inn’s building which is on the left with a connecting sheltered pedestrian bridge to the other building at the beach. Get off at any of the stops after the Rasa Sayang Spa Resort. I stopped right after the Holiday Inn in front of Park Royal. There is a small street leading to the beach after Park Royal. You will see a few Malay food stalls.
The thing I like most about Batu Ferringhi is the sand. It is very fine and soft. On a hot day, which is almost everyday, walking on the sand is like walking on a hot burning coal! I had to sprint my two little feet as fast as I could to the cooler part of the beach, which is either in a shade or near the water. The day when I was there, it was a Friday. It was quiet with occasional tourists and some local Malays.
After a long walk on the beach and sweating like mad with a sticky body, I walked back onto the road. I remember there is a small waterfall that I used to go for a bath after swimming at the beach. It is a short 15 minutes walk from the road across from the Bayview Beach Hotel. There is no sign as there is a private property below the waterfall that belongs to a Chinese family with a small fish farm. I don’t remember seeing this place when I was there the last time, which was probably more than 3 decades ago. There was a bit of construction happening in the area with a bulldozer clearing some rocks and dirt, which is unfortunate as the area was covered in greenery in the past. Now part of the walk, I could see some destruction to the virgin jungle and track. P1160656
I was lucky that there was water cascading down the small rocky hill. During the dry season, it can be quite dry. It was peaceful and quiet. I had the whole place to myself, sunbathing for a couple of hours, cooling down in my own “organic” bath tub with the waterfall showering onto my head and shoulder. It was as close to the nature as I can get in Penang on this trip. A memorable moment to cherish for a long time.

Waking up to Singapore

That was it. My last day in Singapore. The best way to to spend my last day in Singapore was to walk around the Marina Bay in the early hours while it was still dark and warm.

Since I arrived in Singapore in the evening three days ago, I have been telling myself that I have to walk from my hotel to Marina Bay Sand – the ultimate destination in Singapore for the moment. I could see the buildings from my room. It wasn’t far.P1120796I was planning to walk around the bay and back. Looks easy from the picture until I decided to take a detour and walked to “Gardens by the Bay”. Not a problem when there are things to look at but that was a very, very long walk. It was worth it the pain and good for my legs. P1130038P1130041As I kept walking, I was waiting for the sun to break the dawn but it was a long, long wait which never came until I was back in the hotel.P1130063P1130066P1130076The sun was still trying to break from the dawn. Looking out to the horizon, I imagined that I am in a different country. The Gardens by the Bay is an amazing man made gardens with “The Supertree” structures – eventually looking like a tropical tree 22 metre high. There are 2 conservatories shaped like a shell with plants and flowers from different parts of the world. The entire area looks amazing. That is what Singapore is good at – turning their vision and master plan into reality. This is truly a masterpiece of a man made garden.P1130099 P1130102P1130084There were a group of enthusiastic photographers waiting for that perfect light for their best shots of the Supertrees.P1130094Every single plant and tree has its position, including a couple of “fallen” palms to make them looked like they have been wind swept to the ground.P1130131 P1130120I am intrigue by this unique tree with clump of pods growing out of the trunk. I will be interested if any reader know what it is.

There was a sea of runners that morning around Marina Bay. It looked like a fund raising charity event. It was challenging to walked in the opposite direction to the crowd. Every step of the way I did my best not to to crash into them.P1130154Marina Bay master plan redevelopment was massive with new skyscraper office buildings and waterfront hotels. There is something about walking along the waterfront promenade that connects from one end to the other end of the city. It is relaxing and interesting at the same time. In every places that I have been or lived in, I make it a point to walk along a waterfront promenade taking in the view and atmosphere of the surrounds.P1130204 P1130162P1130192 P1130188Not far from my hotel, there is a historical water fountain dated back to 1882 known as the Tan Kim Seng Water Fountain. It was relocated from its previous site at the Fullerton Square to its current site at the Esplanade. I am glad to see a bit of history still intact and not being demolished to pave for another high rise building.P1130209

That was how I spent my last day in Singapore. I enjoyed my 2 overnights stay in Singapore. However, the experience didn’t change my view on Singapore. It is a world class city with stunning skyscrapers. As a tourist, there is nothing here for me to experience or to take home. It is like any other major cities in the world with a “cultural deficiency” in comparison to her neighbours – Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam.  Singapore has her version of Chinatown, Little India, Arab Streets and street arts graffiti but the districts are like a movie set, rather than organically homegrown. It is too perfect and too well planned and layout. But, as a world class city, it has all the ticks and a hallmark of one of the best city in the world, very well governed with zero tolerance to corruption and clinically clean!