Batu Ferringhi is the ideal place for a Malaysia both families and couples. There are plenty of cheap and luxurious hotel options and relaxation facilities near the beach, but you’re also within a short drive of some of Penang’s top attractions. There isn’t a great deal of information online about things to do in Batu Ferringhi and we were pleasantly surprised by how much was going on nearby.
Use our top 15 list to help make your holiday in Batu Ferringhi relaxing, but also adventurous – it’s the perfect combination!
1. Visit the night market
The Night Market is arguably the main evening attraction in Batu Ferringhi. This sprawling market covers the full stretch of Batu’s hotels and restaurants and is a vibrant collection of hand-made gifts, clothing, apparel and usual market trinkets that you’d find in markets throughout Asia. We found the market very cheap so be sure to haggle and grab a bargain!
2. Relax on the beach or enjoy a nice hotel swimming pool
Batu Ferringhi is a beach resort and the most popular thing to do is, of course, relaxing. You have the option of excellent hotel swimming pools or the long stretch of Batu Ferringhi white sand beach, where you can enjoy a massage for less than £5. The Hard Rock Hotel swimming pool is huge and particularly excellent for families, whilst the tranquil Lone Pine pool offers peace and quiet for couples looking to unwind. Have a chilled morning on the beach and pop back to your hotel for lunch and a dip in the pool.
3. Indulge in Malaysian Street food at Long Beach Food Court
The street food options in Batu Ferringhi consist of some of the best flavours and wholesome meals that we’ve ever had, and that’s no exaggeration. Street food dishes are cheap, filling and the flavours are to die for. Usually street food restaurants appear on the side of the road or in an outdoor market. In Batu Ferringhi there’s a big food court setup to cater solely to street food sellers. Long Beach Food Court was our favourite, although there are some others. At Long Beach you’ll find at least 15-20 different street food stalls. Some sell one food items only, others sell a mix of different dishes. Most vendors are a mix of Malaysian and Chinese/Thai fusion but you can order western favourites if you wish. We recommend sticking to everything originating in South-east Asia. Check out the reviews for yourself to see just how loved this place is!
4. Trek through Penang National Park to a private beach
In our opinion, Penang National Park is the number one attraction to visit near Batu Ferringhi. Catch a cab (or the Penang shuttle bus) 25 minutes west to the entrance of what appears to be a mountainous jungle. Entrance to the park is free; however you do need to register for a permit on entry.
Once inside the park you can opt for one of three hiking trails, some more challenging than others. If you’re feeling adventurous and are an experienced hiker, there’s a route that takes you deep into the jungle amongst steep climbs and challenging crossings. There’s also a tree canopy with excellent views. The easier but still physically demanding option is to trek through the jungle alongside the shoreline, where you’ll reach the hidden Monkey Beach in just over an hour. We’d recommend trekking to the beach and catching a Panga boat back.
If you’re travelling with family and small children, opt to take the boat transfer from the pier to Monkey Beach for the return trip. It’s quick and easy!
Monkey Beach itself is an untouched and relaxing place to enjoy the scenery with peace and quiet. You can also enjoy a drink and lunch from the pop-up shack next to the beach. The beach is great and well worth seeing, although we’d advise against riding one of the horses being advertised; they’re a tourist trap and the owners didn’t seem to treat the animals well.
5. Visit the Tropical Fruit Farm
From breakfast buffets to street food and shakes, fresh tropical fruit is everywhere in Malaysia and it’s simply delicious. Penang Tropical Fruit Farm is home to fruits from around the world, and of course the local favourites. Take the 20-minute drive south-west to feast at the farm and try an assortment of fruits that you didn’t know existed! It’s a unique, healthy and refreshing way to spend a couple of hours. Choose from a guided tour, fruit tasting or a lunch/dinner package.
6. Batu Ferringhi beach water sports
Water sports is one of the most exciting holiday past times. There’s a vast difference between lying on the beach getting a massage and speeding across the bay at 60mph on a jet-ski! Water sports sometimes get a bad rep in other Asian countries due to vendors trying to rip you off, however in Batu Ferrinhi we found this not to be the case. East Wind Watersports Company have the best ratings on the beach and you can choose from jet skis, banana boats, parasailing and more. Negotiate a good price before buying. It’s cheap and a fun activity for all!
7. Enjoy a fancy dinner at the Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Hotel
Beautifully perfect for special occasions, the Ferringhi Grill restaurant at the Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Hotel is an elegant, fine-dining restaurant overlooking the immaculate gardens and pool area of the hotel. We dined here on our last night in Batu Ferringhi and loved every minute of it. Dress to impress and enjoy dinner by candlelight and piano music, alongside excellent service. As expected, prices are high compared to other nearby restaurants but it was much cheaper than a similar standard of restaurant in London. We enjoyed the Chateaubriand!
8. Visit Penang Butterfly Farm and Entopia
Entopia and Penang Butterfly Farm are unique attractions, setup by a young teacher with a passion for butterflies. This relatively new learning centre is home to countless species of colourful butterflies, reptiles and insects and the attraction is set in a tropical dome. Tour the dome and enjoy looking at and learning about the creatures and taking pictures of the tropical exhibits. We found Entopia to be very well organised and well worth the ~£10 per person price (£8 for kids).
9. Visit the Tropical Spice Garden
The Tropical Spice Garden is halfway between Batu Ferringhi and the nearby town of Teluk Bahang and you can get there easily with the westbound Penang Island bus or an in-expensive taxi. Entrance to the attraction costs only ~£5 and it makes a great morning out. Wander the tropical gardens and check out the beautiful plants, flowers and natural herb and spice plants. There are over 500 variations to see! You can opt for a guided tour of the garden or get the kids involved in some adventure activities. There’s also a cooking class for those that fancy learning how to make some Malay kitchen classics.
10. A day out with the kids at Adventure Zone
Adventure Zone is currently the number one rated attraction in the area on Tripadvisor. It’s entirely for kids and a great place to go for the little ones to unleash some energy and a break from the hot Penang sun (the whole building is air conditioned). At Adventure Zone, kids can enjoy the soft play area and indoor slides and games. There’s also craft activities, Segway’s and other fun things to pass away a couple of hours. Parents can sit back and relax with a drink or get involved in the fun! Entry costs around £3.50 per child.
11. Have a cocktail in a beach bar
Although Malaysia isn’t a big party country due to the majority of citizens being Muslim, you can still find a variety of bars in the main tourist areas and Batu Ferringhi is no exception. Take a break from the hot sun and enjoy a cabana drink in the shade during the day or visit one of the beach bars on a night-time for live music, chilled cocktails with your partner and a nice environment to pass the evening away. The bar scene is very chilled and you won’t find loud music and club-style beach bars. In our opinion, the best bars to check out are Bora Bora by Sunset beach bar and the Hard Rock Hotel bar. For a classier but more expensive bar, check out the Rasa Sayang hotel lounges and Sigi’s Bar and Grill at the Golden Sands Beach Resort.
12. Challenge yourself with a Room Escape game
Room Escape games seem to be everywhere these days. Flee60 Room Escape is set back from the night market right next to Bora Bora beach bar. It’s very cheap for a Room Escape game (we paid only £15 for 2 people) and it has excellent reviews. We won’t spoil it by telling you the theme of the game but try it for yourself as an alternative thing to do on an evening. Check out the reviews for yourself and book online.
13. Visit a spa
South East Asia is known for its massage parlours. Like with higher end hotels, luxury spas are far cheaper in Malaysia than in the west and you can get facials, body scrubs/wraps, aromatherapy oils and the like for only a fraction of the price. At the Lone Pine Hotel’s Pure Energy Signature Spa, we opted for a full body cocoa wrap costing around ~£35. The Chi Spa at the Rasa Sayang hotel is also highly recommended.
14. Swing through the trees at Escape Outdoor Adventure Park
Escape Adventure Park was one of the most entertaining things we did whilst in Batu Ferringhi. The adventure park is located half an hour away from the resort area and is one of the best of its kind that we’ve been to. It’s very similar to GoApe in the UK but with more challenging rides and attractions – and of course, better views. Spend a morning or afternoon swinging through the trees on zip-lines, challenge yourself on balancing and climbing beams and much more!
It’s an exhilarating but fun place to visit and not recommended in the hot Malaysian sun. Try to visit on cloudy days or first thing on a morning when the sun is at its lowest point. It’s not just for families either; adventurous couples will have fun too.
15. Take a day trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Georgetown
We reluctantly included a day trip to Georgetown on our list as it’s only 40 minutes away from Batu Ferringhi by car and well worth the visit. However, we strongly recommend staying overnight and visiting Gergetown as part of a multi-destination holiday rather than just visiting for the day.
This enchanting colonial city is home to intriguing street art murals and plenty of historic sights, museums, temples and architecture. Aim to visit Georgetown for at least 2 full days, however if you’re struggling for time and only staying in Batu Ferringhi, a day trip is a must! Find out more about Georgetown in our ultimate city guide.
The great thing about Batu Ferringhi is there’s so much to do and you can do as much or as little as you wish. We hope our list inspired you to plan your own trip to this famous beach resort and try something that you may have missed. Do you have any other recommendations that we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments section below.