Old Penang – Batu Ferringhi


A rare photo of Batu Ferringhi circa 1920. Quite different from today, no.

From the book Malaya in Monochrome. A Souvenir of the British Empire Exhibition. 1924, The National Archives, UK
From the book Malaya in Monochrome. A Souvenir of the British Empire Exhibition. 1924, The National Archives, UK

Any idea which part of Batu Ferringhi this is?

Blog visitor tunglang recalls this place:

The road looks no wider than two bullock carts widths. How the bulls knew which side to keep to the traffic?

In the 1970s, I frequently cycled to and fro along this coastal road in the cool morning from Madras Lane, George Town till the round about of Teluk Bahang. No such problem of Speedy Gonzales Myvis and Kenaris coming from the back. And the (Hin Company) bus was no match.

The road near Loversโ€™ Isles (after Bayview Beach Hotel) was so serene, I could hear the sea waves and coconut trees singing in the breeze amidst my own rapid puffing on a Raleigh Carlton Racer while pedaling with a pair of Japanese slippers! Who needed Bing Chui pro-cyclist attire and cosmo bling-bling?

My gastronomical reward was a humble plate of two-piece dhal-topped roti canai and kopi susu kau kau at an oldie kopitiam (before the roundabout) opposite an oldie petrol station/bus station. No Tham Chiah Kui crowd except for a couple of John Lennon-look-alike hippies swatting flies…

Please help to support this blog if you can.

Read the commenting guidlelines for this blog.
Notify of

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Old, serene Batu Ferringhi no more.
One more (water) theme park to make it looks like noisy Serengeti wildebeest waterhole + splash.
RM30 per two-hour sessions per person. Enjoyment of the seaside is timed to the limits!

Anil, old days of free sun bathing + camping from morning till dusk is now but a dream outside of global cosmopolitan beaches.

The hills, the beaches, & maybe the Sg Pinang lonkang will be ‘remaked’ to look more slick & slippery for those with money to gaya raya.

Lau Yah@CanonSquare

We tout ourselves having multi Asian cultures envied by many, but we can’t even preserve one intact. Good example is the Bujang Valley’s Indian civilisation of controversies. Arabian nights seem palatable to some.
Penang island is also envied but for the wrong reasons – high end development but with no vision, no values that can outlast many fads.


Again, how are Penangties preserved their “old day lifestyle”, when most of the population live with the mentality of driving even within short 2km distance ? Asking for more tar pavement for their 4 wheel metal than greens ?


If you have an arrogant leader who only see, hear & speak daily SinKaPoh lingo in development terms, the old day lifestyle will soon be rendered to the cremation house or rendered to museums of lifelessness so greatly ‘excused to look good & caring’ for not preserving them in the first place.
Forget about authenticity of cultures, soon Penang will be bastardised left & right & back in the holy name of Cosmopolitan Penang of a Tokong above all tokongs in Penang island.


Go check the first world country, i.e., European example of how their “modernisation” able to preserved more of their “nostalgia lifestyle” compare to most third world developing country. How they reach a balance to cope with massive population vs cultural value.
Can Penang escape “Sinkarporation” urbanisation ? I will keep my finger cross.


In the name of corporatisation of cities, local denizens + cultures have no intrinsic value nor precedence over brick+mortar+green glass & commercialism. People are hoodwinked to greater job creation promises, high end property value that will never devalue, spending culture of happiness & globalisation of lifestyle no different from changing-your-parents. Go to over-promising D’Piaza Mall to have a real time look of ghostly mall for yourself. Never before 308 have cultural values & assets of Heritage Penang in danger of extinction or bastardised in the holy name of global Cosmopolitan Penang. Never before have mass emigration of the poor &… Read more »


Looks like Anil is joining tunglang to retreat to the pristine forest in Belum?

Orang Asli Buddy of tunglang

Anil Netto will miss his chapati plus oven-cooked chicken if he chooses to live in Belum.

tunglang will share his Char Hor Fun and Hokkien Mee with Orang Asli who will share their barbequed wild boar ribs. No need to pay GST or land tax.

Batu Ferringhian

No, that’s not the beachfront of Rasa Sayang/Golden Sands. I know that area like the back of my hand. What gives it away are the submerged rocks.

Honestly, it looks more like present day Miami Beach (no, not Florida)…purely because of the rocks..

But another area would be the beachfront where Tropica Spice Garden is located.

The photo was probably taken from one of the houses built on the hill..en route to Teluk Bahang.

I’ve seen this photo before and I’ve been trying to get the exact present day location. I’ve carried this photo around Batu Ferringhi ๐Ÿ™‚

An Old Penangnite

It was Hin Company Bus or locally known as “Blue Bus” that provided bus services between Prangin Road and Telok Bahang whilst Lim Seng Seng Bus or “Green Bus” provided bus services to Ayer Itam from Prangin Road. The Penang Yellow Bus provided services to Balik Pulau from Prangin Road.

georgina t

Blue Green Yellow buses then overtaken by Bas Pajak system until RapidPenang came to restore order.
Still i hope for another alternative bus company to give RapidPenang some healthy competition !

santa klaus


For those still nolstagic do be realistic you can never “resurrect” what is gone (unless uyou are a saint).

Go and explore the unexplored and you still can live like the old days minus the moanings of pressured folks (like those stuck with vacant speculated unsold houses waiting for the dooms of bubbles).


I believe the (Ang Moh?) photographer who took this appealing shot must have had enjoyed his ‘che sua khua hai’ while slowly sipping afternoon tea. A difference from the present ‘che sua khua hai’ frenzy of Bing Chui hill bungalow lifestyle at the same spot. I suspect this view is from the present Spice Garden bungalow site. The distant beaches & hills are where the present beach hotels of Rasa Sayang, Golden Sands, etc are located. The road looks no wider than 2 bullock carts lane. How the bulls knew which side to keep to the traffic? In the 70s,… Read more »


Ipoh was far better. Under the Seenivasagam’s rule. Hahahaha

dollah yankee

must be .. when you going down from bt feringgi and you can see tunku abdul rahman banglow..


What is the difference between now and then. Then, quiet and serene. Now, traffic traffic traffic

Awang Selamat Ori

It is Lim Guan Eng who spoiled the beauty and serenity of Batu Feringghi. I am sure Yang will agree.

Yang sudah silap makan obat!

Tak dapat kontrak ka? Bodoh!


Hahahaha! Walau! I cannot …. in the morning. It must be Lim Guan Eng’s fault