Batu Maung (GPS: 5.28491, 100.2875), (Traditional/Simplified Chinese: 峇都矛; Pinyin: Bādōu Máo; Penang Hokkien: Ba3tu1 Mau2) is a small fishing village on the southeast tip of Penang Island that will be the site of the island-end of the future Second Penang Bridge. Batu Maung is a promontory with the fishing village spread out below it.
I grew up in Batu Maung, albeit a very different Batu Maung from what it is today. I remember it as a small village where my father used to take me to to buy fish directly from the fishermen as their boats arrived at shore. Our house is on a hill where I suffered a lot of mosquito bites when I was growing up.
Within Batu Maung are several small villages including the Batu Maung village (called Pekan), Kampung Seronok, Kampung Binjai, Permatang Damar Laut, Teluk Tempoyak and Jalan Baru.
Today Batu Maung is very different from what I remember it. The site where my house was located is now a big housing estate. Double-storey link houses fill the land that was once holding just our house and a huge compound. More development is expected to take place in Batu Maung, now that the Second Penang Bridge will be built here.
The two main roads in Batu Maung, namely Jalan Batu Maung and Jalan Permatang Damar Laut, are also seeing rapid changes. Jalan Batu Maung, in particular, has become an industrial main road, lined with warehouses of freight companies. Jalan Permatang Damar Laut, once a windy rural road, is being developed with housing estates.
Construction of the Second Penang Bridge, as seen from Batu Maung (17 January 2012)
Batu Maung is where the deep sea fishing port is located. It is not surprising therefore that Batu Maung is famous for seafood. In the sixties and early seventies, there was a famous seafood restaurant here called Ocean Inn. Ocean Inn as a Penang version of Har Par Villa, with its cement statues of Chinese mythology.
By the eighties and nineties, Ocean Inn has been replaced by newer seafood establishments. There was one called "Beginning of the World", named after the tip of the promontory known as the Beginning of the World, at the southernmost part of Batu Maung. The restaurant used to be located in the middle of the sea, and accessible by a plankway. It has since moved inland to the Batu Maung village centre, near the crossroads.
Residential development in Batu Maung (30 April, 2010)
Batu Maung is also famous for having a temple dedicated to Admiral Cheng Ho (Zhenghe). The Sam Poh Footprint Temple, which initially was just an altar built over a rock right at the shoreline, has since been developed into a proper temple. It enshrines what appears to be a giant footprint - the footprint of Sam Poh, the local name given to Cheng Ho.
In the hills above Batu Maung are war relics from the Second World War. These were built by the British who had expected the Japanese to invade from the sea, and had stationed the arms southwards. As it happened, the Japanese invaded from the north, ande the artileries were unused. Today the war relics are now part of the Penang War Museum.
Jalan Permatang Damar Laut, Batu Maung (30 April, 2010)
The Malaysian Fisheries Research Institute occupies a piece of land in Batu Maung. This is where the Penang Aquarium is located. It showcases a small collection of marine life. Next door to it is the WorldFish Centre, a Unesco-funded research institute which operates in Batu Maung after moving from the Philippines in 2000.
A great part of Batu Maung consisted of mangrove swamp. In the recent decade, the mangrove had been cleared - to the chagrin of environmentalists, as it caused a loss of habitat for the wildlife such as the birds and monkeys. The land was reclaimed to form Phase 4 of the Bayan Lepas Industrial Zone.
Jalan Batu Maung is an arrow-straight road now lined with warehouses of freight companies (19 September, 2012)
As Batu Maung is located at the southernmost end of the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway, it has become a choice site for property development. Several new housing estates have sprouted here. Development of Batu Maung is expected to further accelerate now that it has been identified as the end-point of the second bridge to link Penang island to Batu Kawan on the mainland.
The famous Sam Poh Footprint Temple, Batu Maung (10 June, 2006)
One of the coffee shops along Jalan Baru Batu Maung (19 September, 2012)
Diamond Valley Light Industrial Park, Batu Maung (30 April, 2010)
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