Once upon a time, when we got married, we thought it would be amazing to celebrate each of our anniversaries in a memorable way and in as many different locations as possible. We reached our fifth anniversary whilst in Malaysia, and so far we had – after our actual wedding in Goa – a wedding party on our first anniversary for all our Swiss relatives and friends in Zurich, a dinner cruise on lake Zurich for our second anniversary, the third we celebrated with a picnic at lake Zurich and for the fourth anniversary we headed to Prague. This year, also thanks to my parents who organized and sponsored a surprise for us, we added Batu Ferringhi on the island of Penang to the list.
Unaware of where we would go, we left the Cameron Highlands in our tightly packed rental car and headed towards the coast. We drove over the newly inaugurated second Penang bridge from the mainland to Penang island. With its 24 kilometers, the bridge is the longest in the country and quite a landmark by itself. Approaching the island, we still did not have a clue what the day’s destination was – well by then we obviously assumed it would be on the island. After we left the bridge, there was some confusion on my parents’ part and the GPS as the place we were supposed to go was spelled in many different ways (Batu Ferringhi or Batu Ferengi were the most common once).
The 20 minutes drive from Georgetown to Batu Ferringhi, which translates to “Foreigners Rock”, leads you along a picturesque stretch of small coves and beaches. We tried to enjoy the views besides the fact that the locals – no matter whether in busses, cars or on bikes – drive recklessly on the narrow, winding roads and don’t seem to worry too much whether they make it alive to their destination. That is at least how it seemed to us.
We made it safely to our hotel – the Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa – at the shore of the Straits of Malacca. The resort has a sense of history and tradition with its distinctive Minangkabau architecture houses and the artfully decorated interiors. Set amidst a lush park area – you feel well rooted to nature and the resort does not disappoint: luxury in every sense and hospitality at its best.
The sunset we witnessed was one of the most beautiful we have ever seen; paired with good company and a delicious Malay meal it was the perfect evening to celebrate.
Batu Ferringhi mainly consists of countless hotels ranging from budget options to luxury resorts, tourist shops, restaurants and the famous night market also known as the Pasar Malam. There might be more to do which we did not explore as we only spent two days there – honestly, the hotel was too good so our usual exploration mode didn’t kick in.
Whilst the resort is a gem it has to be said that the famous beach area with its long stretches of soft, white sandy beaches has undeniably suffered from the extensive tourism, especially from all the powered water sports, which are offered there. The walk along the beach turned out to be rather noisy and the water seemed quite polluted and infested with jellyfish.