Few weeks before Gabby turned 7 last 5th October, he candidly told his mom and I that he’d like to have beach toys as birthday gift. I smiled from ear to ear because apparently, it won’t cost me and Tina our arms and legs. He already had a set which he used when he enjoyed the powdery white sand and turquoise crystal waters of Philippines' Island Paradise, BORACAY a couple of years back, but of course, we didn’t bother to bring those to Penang. Then we thought, what’s the use of beach toys without going to proper venue, right? It’s a subtle way for our kid to utter his wish to take him to where he can play his preferred birthday present. How creative!
The 10th floor unit that we’re renting in Butterworth has a priceless sea view, breakwaters actually with white sand too. However, it’s such a “buwis-buhay” (read : life-threatening) to cross the highway (motorway or freeway; whatever suits you!) on foot. Thus, we found time to actually give way to Gabby’s birthday wish.
8th October 2011, Saturday. Tina, Gabby, my dad and I hopped on Rapid Bus 101 en route to Tajung Bungah from Jetty in George Town. After almost 40 minutes, we got off the bus near Infinity condo building and saw this road sign:
Several steps more from the bus stop via the narrow street, we found the public beach that was recommended by one of my senior colleagues who lives with his family in a nearby condo unit.
PUBLIC BEACH means NO ENTRANCE FEE! One may truly enjoy the sun, the sea breeze, the waters (if you dare swim at your own risk!) without spending a cent other than bus fare and your efforts to go there. Indeed, ‘best things in life are free!’
And the 7-year-old boy became excited for some seashells and sand…
Admittedly, my first impression of the public beach in Batu Ferringhi was unpleasant. Batu Ferringhi has a stretch of beaches that comes after Tajung Bungah. Muddy, dirty, and far from Boracay and Philippine resorts’ qualities. Let me emphasize those initial insights were of public beaches in Batu Ferringhi in 2010. The sand and waters along Penang’s hotels and resorts (Shangri La’s Rasa Sayang, Hard Rock, Flamingo and many more) in Batu Ferrhingi are off topic. Nonetheless, Tajung Bungah public beach, although far from being sublime, is good enough venue to unwind. Tina professed we’re so coming back!
We strolled to look for a spot…
Then the weather became too cloudy that we thought there will be downpour. What’s great about Penang is its strategic location –we’re far from the routes of typhoon, there’s no class-suspension here; no storms yet in my more than a year stay. And so in almost a blink, the strong winds blew these dark clouds away.
A few more steps and we saw people frolicking in the beach, some were having fun on water sports -kayaking and jet skis. I am guessing they’ve availed it from the nearby Flaming hotel…
A closer look…
The place is also perfect for camping; we saw families who managed to bring and set up tents with barbecue grills, tables and other stuffs. No corkage fee here, haha!
Fun with ball games is also a possibility.
Finally, Tina removed her rubber shoes and spread our blue blanket…It could’ve been more apt if we brought a plastic mat but we don’t have it, so a soiled fleece did the job before it hits our washing machine.