Oliver is…

He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man

…done with Batu Ferringhi

While Georgetown may be the most popular spot in Penang, it’s not the only area worth going to. Farther along the north coast is Batu Ferringhi, a beach area with access to the Penang National Park.

ferengiSource (although probably not really)

The actual beach at Batu Ferringhi was a bit of an oddity. More of a destination for locals than foreigners, there’s an absurdly large number of women covered from head to toe… tanning? swimming? parasailing? Many of them seemed aghast to see a woman in a bikini next to me, which was awkward for my companion and the other women’s partners. Of course, as the only white person, the beach ‘fun’ people loved to hassle me the most. Other than the beach, there was a floating mosque a short walk away but otherwise not too much in walking distance.

parasailingFloating? What about those stilts?sugarcanejuice

Luckily I didn’t need to spend much time on that beach as the national park was just a short bus ride away. (Aside: of all the countries in SE Asia, possibly not including Singapore because that doesn’t really count, Malaysia’s public transport system is by far the best.)

Looking at a map of the national park, there were two things that obviously stood out for me: Monkey Beach and the meromictic lake. If, like me, you had to look up what the second thing is, it’s a lake that has two layers of water, typically a salt and fresh water level, that don’t mix, giving it two colours and it looks pretty cool.


Both of these things sound pretty cool; neither were.

After a long trek through the sweltering heat of the rainforest, during which I saw a few monkeys, I came to Monkey Beach. So named, I read, because monkeys do like to visit there. There were no monkeys there when I got there, just a bit of rubbish and, of course, some people trying to sell me stuff.


The next day I made the trip to the meromictic lake, one of only four in Asia. After a long trek through the sweltering heat of the rainforest, during which I saw no meromictic lakes, I came to the actual thing. Which was dry. No lake. No meromicticness. Just a tiny stream.

What about the water?

Luckily the day was salvaged, much like this post will be, by the sighting of half a dozen or so monkeys on the path, right by the entrance, on the way back.


Not friends



Filed under: asia, , , ,

2 Responses

  1. Dave says:

    I had a lot of monkey fun around that beach, but couldn’t seem to find much in the way of trails or actual National Park when I bought a ticket to the National Park.

    I think in terms of SE Asia development it goes something like Singapore/Brunei > Malaysia > Thailand/Vietnam > Indonesia/Philippines > Cambodia > Laos > Myanmar > East Timor (presumably). Malaysia is classed as ‘middle income’ rather than developing, so I’m not really allowed to use it as a comparison when demanding the same nice things in this country, such as efficient buses, traffic lights, city parks with actual grass in them larger than a school playground and state-sanctioned homophobia.


    • Oliver says:

      Where did you buy your ticket from? I thought that was the entry to the national park, inside which was the beach you went to. I think there were a few routes you could take, starting off with the nice paved area and descending slowing into madness/dirt tracks as people got bored of them.

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