Malaysia boasts a wide array of coastal hotspots, yet the picturesque state of Penang continues to be among the most popular. Located in the northwest region of the country, Penang is home to ornate temples, colonial landmarks and some of the most awe-inspiring beaches in southern Asia. Sure, there are plenty of other things to do here, but it’s the sprawling stretches of white sand that keep tourists coming back time and time again. With that in mind, here’s just a quick guide to some of the best beaches in the area.
For the sun-worshippers: Chendor Beach
Chendor Beach is one of the less crowded stretches of sand in Penang, making it the ideal choice for anyone keen to secure their own patch of coastline for a day in the sun. The beach caters to couples and families particularly well, with the nearby Chendor Turtle Sanctuary providing ample opportunity for leather-back turtle watching from April to September.
If it’s a secluded sunbathing spot away from the crowds that you’re after, Chendor Beach delivers every time. Lay down your beach towel on the rich golden sand and bathe in your own secluded paradise.
For the nature lovers: Pantai Kerachut
Hailed as one of the most remote beaches in all of Penang, Pantai Kerachut can be found within the picturesque Penang National Park. One for the wildlife lovers, this sprawling coastline is a hotspot for monitor lizards, mouse deer and stork-billed kingfishers. Journey through the park’s expansive forest reserve to access this tranquil site that’s just brimming with natural wonders.
The beach is also home to the Penang Turtle Sanctuary, which was first established in a bid to reduce the decline of Malaysia’s turtle population. Both green sea turtles and olive ridley turtles visit the shore to lay their eggs throughout the year, before the offspring are cared for at the sanctuary and released into the wild once they stand a good chance of survival.
For the introverts: Monkey Beach
If it’s peace, quiet and pure relaxation you’re after, look no further than the aptly named Monkey Beach. It’s one of the most secluded stretches of coastline in all of Penang. That is, aside from the cheeky primates that inhabit the trees and forests surrounding it. While the beach’s official name is Telek Duyung, in recent years it’s become best known for the macaques that roam the sands in search of crabs.
Despite its fame, Monkey Beach is remarkably quiet and secluded, at least during the week. Even on weekends you’ll find that it’s mainly locals who venture here. The beach isn’t accessible by road, yet a short boat ride from Penang National Park is all it takes to reach the shoreline. If you prefer, there’s also the option to walk the 3.5 kilometres from the park on foot. Once you settle on this quiet stretch of sand you’ll soon feel it was well worth the effort.
For all the family: Redang Island Beach
Redang Island is one of Malaysia’s best destinations for lovers of sea, sand and sun. The whole family will enjoy relaxing under the shade of nearby palm trees and paddling in the warm water alongside colourful fishes. Adults and older children can also take advantage of the snorkelling facilities here, as turtles, eels and a whole host of other marine creatures call these shallow waters home.
If you want to get a little closer to the wildlife, try your hand at scuba diving. There are a handful of high quality dive sites to be explored on the island. Many nearby shops even rent out underwater cameras, so you can take some snaps to remember your adventures in the deep blue.