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Vagabond Kids: Hanging Out: The Beach in Penang

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hanging Out: The Beach in Penang

So, two days at the beach, a blissful escape from the noise of the city the stress of too much travel (okay I admit there can be too much travel if it is all for work) and some serious downtime by the pool. It has been crazy few months around the Vagabond family household and Mom needed some serious beach time with her little munchkins. We hadn’t been back as a family to Penang since 2005 and while I have been there for work, I had not made it out to the beach.

Penang is sort of a weird little island; one part down by the airport is rapidly developing into a major economic power child for Malaysia, lots of industry, and lots of manufacturing. The Northern part of the island is where the UNESCO World Heritage recognized city of Georgetown is located. Dilapidated buildings meet old world elegance and some of the most amazing food at street vendor prices. And then there are the beaches. Frankly we were not too impressed in 2005. You drove by the beaches and they looked pretty, but the flotsam and jetsam and generally pollution made many of the beaches less inviting close up.

Five years can do a lot for a location. On the positive side the beaches, at least those by our hotel and that we saw were much cleaner. The water was cleaner and the overall feel of the beaches seems to be that the local Penangites are taking care of the natural resources that they are entrusted with. But, of course there is bad news too. Over the last 5 years hundreds of new construction projects have cropped up-all with “Ocean Views”. Buildings crowding the beaches, buildings place precariously on the edge of cliffs, real estate speculators from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore have been snapping up property in order to make a quick buck (this is also the case in downtown Georgetown where the locals are rapidly being priced out of the market). But, I was talking about the beaches and in particular our hotel.

Beach View

Batu Ferringghi is where a number of the beach hotels of Penang are located. In particular, the Shangri-la, Holiday Inn and Park Royal are all within a short stretch of beach, the Hard Rock is just down the road and in front of the Holiday Inn is an active night market with all the trinkety schlock any kid could want, let’s just say the bubble blowers were popular…and plenty of less expensive food could be found just a short walk from the hotel, in particular the Long Beach Seafood Hawker Centre. We think the Satays we had there rival some of the best we have had in 6 years traveling around Singapore and Malaysia. We stayed at the Park Royal and really enjoyed our stay and I will post a “review” of the hotel in a later post.

The beaches of Batu Ferringghi are filled with all sorts of “beach” activities; jet skis, parasailing and horseback riding can all be yours for a small price. Frankly I am not as much of an “adventure” junkie as I used to be but the parasailing looked much safer here than on the beaches of Thailand, if you are so inclined. Remember that the beaches here are often less monitored than other places in the world and sneaker waves, strong undertows and jellyfish are all very real dangers in deeper water. We tend to let the kids build sandcastles and play in the shallow water but with them being younger we leave the real swimming to the hotel pool.

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At October 28, 2010 at 1:12 PM , Blogger David Jr said...

Kristy, glad you had a fab time in Penang and your pointers about the sea here is spot on. Staying at a resort with a pool is definitely a good choice for the kids.


At October 29, 2010 at 3:31 PM , Blogger Sarah said...

Kristy, that beach is so beautiful. I didn't know Penang was an island. There is a lot resturant in NY liked to call Penang, I guess that's where the name from.. :)

At October 29, 2010 at 6:21 PM , Blogger Kristy said...


Yeah, I think the next beach for us in Malaysia may just be Langkawi!


Sound like fun, what kind of food do they serve at the Penang Resturants?

At October 31, 2010 at 2:01 PM , Blogger Sarah said...

They served Malaysian food. Like Roti etc...:)


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