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Teluk Bahang

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Just 5 km west of crowded Batu Feringghi, Teluk Bahang is a quaint little village populated mostly by Muslim fishing families, wedged between a small strip of beach and pristine jungle. A stop here is an easy way to escape the bustle of Georgetown and the usual Penang beaches and lets travellers enjoy a glimpse of old-style Malay living.

Life here seems to pretty much go on in the same way it always has. The old cafe and bungalows from the hippy years have disappeared, with only a trickle of backpackers generally making it here these days, staying in one of just a few places left. The best of an average bunch is the Hotbay Motel (Lot 358 Jalan Teluk Bahang, T: (04) 881 9555 F: (04) 881 9559) -- while the staff might prefer to have a snooze than check you in, Hotbay is a good hideaway spot for those looking for some down time. Rooms are reasonably priced, but small. They are equipped with big sturdy beds, a micro TV that shows Malay channels only, together with attached, slightly damp, Asian-style bathrooms, where the sink, toilet and hot shower combination couldn't have been put together in a worse way. Staff are friendly. Standard rooms go for 90 ringgit, family ones for 120 ringgit. The big, ghostly Mutiara Hotel up the road heading back towards Batu Feringghi is another option, but much pricier.

If you happen to find yourself here on a Monday night, don't miss the night market which is packed with locals and will tickle your taste buds. Try the fried crab Thai curry or the seafood steamboat at Tai Thong Seafood, some 100m up the main road from the pier. The Chinese couple that owns it may appear pushy but prices are reasonable. If you'd rather try some local Malay dishes, Kedai Melati is a good choice, located just past the seafood place around the bend. They serve mainly pre-cooked, help-yourself dishes for lunch on plastic chairs and simple tables painted with fruits and vegetables.

On the right side of the roundabout you'll find a small road next to a newish restaurant called End Of the World -- this is not the much-romanticised original of the same name. Follow that road and it will lead you towards the beach, passing by the police station. Once there you can easily cross somebody's backyard to get right to the beach.

Continuing up the road you'll see a row of Chinese and Malay coffee shops, then you'll hit a bridge over an inlet where fishing boats take shelter. Passing the bridge north follow the road until the end -- this is the end of the world for most people around here and where the old restaurant stood until it was demolished a few years ago to give way to the Penang State Park Headquarters.

The office is right next to the car park, left of Paz Minimart, where it's a good idea to stock up on water before hiking into the park. There are a couple of toilets but no other real facilities so if you plan to hang out a while, pack some food too.

At the end of the car park by the park headquarters a fishing pier juts out on wooden stilts for nearly 100m over the water. On a good day you can enjoy a rather beautiful view out to sea. Apart from taking a trek through the park there's really not much to do in the village centre other than bumming around the beach or having a chat with the fishermen as they come in with their catch.

Aside from just hanging out, a few minor points of interest are worth checking out. About 300m up the road from the roundabout is the well-signposted Penang Butterfly Farm. Open Mon- Fri, 09:00-17:30 and weekends 09:00-18:00, admission is 20 ringgit for adults and 10 ringgit for children. Another popular spot for tour groups are the two batik factories, open 09:00-17:30. Admission is free.

To get here, take bus U101 from town or Batu Feringghi and either jump off at the roundabout or stay on until the end of the road for the entrance to the national park. The road splits at the roundabout: One heads straight and ends at the state park HQ, while the other to the left goes all the way around Penang via Balik Pulau.

Text and/or map last updated on 21st August, 2009.

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