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I was looking for a beach in Penang but I didn’t want to visit a touristy one in the Batu Ferringhi area. I have been to the Penang National Park before and the beach wasn’t great for swimming. After scrolling through Google maps, I chose to head to a beach that looked beautiful, but also far away from anywhere.
I chose to go to Pantai Pasir Panjang (or Long Sandy Beach in English) in the far south west of the island of Penang. It’s about as far away from Georgetown, where I was staying, as possible.
But it was so worth it!
If you’re looking for just a brief summary on how to do it, scroll to the bottom for more.
Getting to Pantai Pasir Panjang, a Secluded Beach in Penang
As I was staying close to Little India, I first had to walk to the St George’s Anglican church to catch the 502 bus to Balik Pulau bus station in the centre of the island. It cost RM3.40 for the journey which took nearly an hour. I’m glad I got on early as it filled up when it passed through the bus station at Komtar to standing room only.
After an hour on a slow moving bus, I finally arrived at Balik Pulau bus station which was the end of the line and switched to the 403 bus. Depending on when you arrive, you may be waiting up to an hour for this bus. Which is what I did.
The 403 bus, which costs only RM1.40, takes a few funny routes heading down roads before turning around to head back up it again. But in this corner of Penang, you are now on island time. The busyness of Georgetown a distant memory. If it is your first time leaving Georgetown, you will be pleasantly surprised.
The bus dropped me at the end of the line and Pulau Betong, before it returned on the same route. I walked to the end of the road and on my right was Jia Siang Seafood where I went for lunch.
“Do you have a menu?” I enquired.
“No, we have….” before listing everything they had which they had caught fresh that morning. I ended up having stingray which was delicious.
After being well fed, I walked the 30 minutes down a narrow road, the sounds of the jungle on one side of me and the sound of the ocean on another. Luckily, I didn’t have to walk the whole way as a guy on a moped gave me a lift which cut my travel time considerably.
When I arrived at the beach, there were a number of families already sitting on the sand in the shade given by the palm trees. Some were eating and cooking, others just playing. If you walk more than 50m from where you enter the beach, you’ll have the place to yourself.
I have no idea why the families don’t seem to spread out but after walking for a few hundred metres, I was by myself. I couldn’t see or hear anyone else on the beach.
A few young guys that had been fishing walked past at one stage, and another family came a bit closer to me, but apart from that, I was by myself.
You can go into the sea in this part of Penang, however it isn’t advisable to go out of your depth or to try to do any sort of swimming. The currents are ridiculously strong. Even though I was up to my neck and resting on my knees, I could still feel the current pulling down the beach and I was a short way down without even realising it. As a guide, none of the locals ever went in to swim whilst I was there, barring some kids splashing in the shallows.
After a couple of hours, I walked back the entire way to where the bus dropped me off and paid to get back to Balik Pulau. Make sure to check the bus timetables as the bus only runs once per hour. Let’s just say I didn’t time it well…
From Balik Pulau, you would get the same 502 bus back to Georgetown.
Or if you are like me and don’t want to wait YET ANOTHER hour for the bus to arrive, a Grab will cost about RM40 from Balilk Pulau to Georgetown.
A two hour each way journey is awfully long, and even getting a Grab from Georgetown to Pantai Pasir Panjang for about RM70 would take an hour. But for a secluded beach with picture perfect palm trees and sand, I’d say it’s worth it.
Key Points – Visiting Pantai Pasir Panjang from Georgetown
- From Georgetown, take bus 502 to Balik Pulau.
- Change to bus 403 to the end of the line.
- Walk 30 minutes along a narrow coastal road until you reach Pantai Pasir Panjang.
- To return, complete the same journey in reverse.
Check out my other posts for travelling around Malaysia:
- Visiting Bako National Park From Kuching: A Detailed Guide
- How To See Orangutans at Semenggoh Nature Reserve
- Visiting Mulu National Park: The Essential Guide
- How To Get From KL International Airport To The City Centre
- What To Do In Kuala Lumpur: Top 10 Things
- Which Lounge Should You Choose at KLIA
- Petronas Twin Towers vs KL Tower: Which Is Best To Visit?
- Visiting Pantai Pasir Panjang, Penang from Georgetown
- The Best Coffee Shops in Georgetown, Penang
- What You Must Eat in Penang: Top 10 Foods To Try
Dan is an avid traveller from London. His first big adventure was in 2010 living in Malaysia for 3 months and becoming a divemaster. He has been on the road almost constantly since 2015 travelling to destinations that aren’t on the mainstream tourist trail.