Batu Ferringhi (GPS: 5.47295, 100.24735), (Chinese: 峇都丁宜, Pinyin: Bādōu Dīngyí) is the most famous stretch of beach in Penang. This is where you find a big concentration of beach resorts. From the mid 70's to the early 90's, the Batu Ferringhi stretch saw massive construction as hotels line the shore one after another. In their wake are highrise condominiums offering splendid views of the sea overlooking the mainland. On a clear day, you can see Kedah Peak, also known as Gunung Jerai.
The word Ferringhi is said to originate as the Malay term for a person of Portuguese descent, but eventually came to embrace all Westerners. This word however, is not particular to the Malay language.
There is a strong possibility that the name "Ferringhi" is derived from Arabic, as the word feringgi is used as far afield as Ethiopia to mean a Western foreigner. The word further mutates to "farang", the Thai term for a Western foreigner. The name Batu Ferringhi would therefore mean the rocks where the Western foreigner landed - a name that is uncannily appropriate to this day, just consider the rocky coastline on this stretch of Penang Island.
The very rock that gives Batu Ferringhi its name is believed to be none other than Lovers' Isle, a small rocky outcrop at the western edge of Batu Ferringhi, just before Teluk Bahang. In the old days it was known as Ujong Batu, but became popular as Lovers' Isle in the mid-20th century, though the name has receded from popularity by the 21st century.
Like much of the northern coast of Penang, the shore has beautiful stretches of white sand dotted with huge boulders. During weekends, you will see local people coming here to picnic and anglers come to fish. The sea water, however, is not clean enough for swimming, and is likely to be infested with jellyfish.
Batu Ferringhi is Penang's main beach resort and one of the most happening night spots on the island. There are many hotels and resorts along the Batu Ferringhi road where all the creature comfort is available. You can just bask in the sun or indulge in any of the water sports. You can also go horseback riding along the beach. In addition to that, you can explore the pasar malam, the street-side night market where inexpensive trinkets are sold. There are a lot of restaurants along Batu Ferringhi to cater to every taste, local and foreign.
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