Thursday, 28 March 2013

Penang Districts (3): Tanjung Bungah

This is the third in a series of articles covering the various districts in Penang where many expatriates choose to buy or rent homes.  This article covers the main district of Tanjung Bungah which sits between Tg Tokong and Batu Ferringhi as you come out from Georgetown.

The Hillside commercial area
In contrast to the last two districts covered (Tg Tokong and Straits Quay), Tg Bungah differs somewhat  in that there is no discernible 'centre' or heart to it.  For most, I suspect if they had to choose a 'centre' they would say the shopping are which spreads out around the junction of Jalan Tanjung Bungah and Lebuh Lembah Permai One , the most noticeable landmark being the large Maybank branch on the corner.  For others it might be the area which is known as Hillside, a quaint little quarter which houses a few shops, a number of eateries (including the excellent 'Vintage Bulgaria' and the new Indian restaurant 'Passage thru India') and plays host to a small but very good street market selling mostly fruit and vegetables (with some excellent durian in the main season).  This area also has one of the best burger stalls in Penang, the cheese burgers with onion being particularly good.

The Maybank junction - Tg Bungah
Taking the 'heart' as being the former of the above, Tg Bungah is located along Jalan Tanjung Bungah (the continuation of Jalan Tanjung Tokong) and is approximately 10 km from Georgetown; 6.5 km from Gurney Drive; 4.8 km from Tanjung Tokong; 4.5 km from Straits Quay, 5.8 km from Batu Ferringhi and 25 km from Penang International Airport.

Tg Bungah is perhaps somewhat more easy to describe or depict than the last two districts covered given that there really is no major discernible centre.  Yes there are some retail outlets around the aforementioned Maybank but, in all honesty, none that I would need to venture to on a shopping spree unless I was already there for other things, banking or eating for instance, or unless I happened to live within walking distance.

Driving out through Tg Bungah
A few places are worthy of specific mention however. The first traffic light controlled junction before the Maybank branch has a road off to the left (as you travel out from Georgetown) which is confusingly called Jalan Tanjong Bungah (as opposed to Tanjung of the main road). At the end of this road there is the Tanjung Bungah bus depot (from where you can also catch buses) and, perhaps even more interestingly, a market area which hosts an excellent night market on Tuesday's and also the largest wet market daily from the early hours. The night market sells all manner of goods from food to toys to clothing, watches and electrical goods. Parking can be difficult after 6pm unless on a 'bike. The wet market is best visited before 9am to avoid the crowds and has an excellent array of foodstuffs on offer at great prices. This small street also houses the excellent 'Siang Pin' Chinese kopitiam, a great little store called Muthu (which sells all manner of foodstuffs including cheeses at WAY below supermarket prices) and a great noodle and chicken rice food court (full reviews of all to follow).

Further along and before the Maybank turn on the left there is the district post office, great if you have mail or parcels to post and you don't fancy the traffic in Georgetown.

Entering Tg Bungah from Tg Tokong
Other than that there is not really that much to Tanjung Bungah in all honesty.  There are more hotels out this way as you are venturing nearer to the more touristy area of Batu Ferringhi, popular with those seeking a more traditional beach holiday.  The most notable hotels include the Tanjung Bungah Beach Hotel (regular site offline as hotel is currently closed for renovation), Copthorne Orchid and the Flamingo.  All nice enough hotels and often offering a variety of buffet style promotional meals in the evenings, especially at weekends.  The area is also home to the excellent Indian restaurant Sri Ananda Bahwan (reviewed here).

There are a couple of small beach areas accessible via some of the cafes and eateries in Tg Bungah but in my view nothing particularly notable and not comparable to Batu Ferringhi (where even there, I find the beaches somewhat uninviting with an over abundance of seemingly uncontrolled jet-ski and para-gliding operators).

Cluster of new developments in Tg Bungah
Commercial developments aside by far the most dominant developments in this area are residential with an abundance of landed properties and condos alike.  In terms of condos, The Cove is a nice completed property on the sea-front with good sized apartments and pleasant views.  Skyhome is another coastal development, the properties generally having larger floor-areas.  Then situated alongside Persiaran Tanjung Bungah there are a number of new and recently completed projects including Bolton's 'Surin'. Some of these projects still have units available, the only concern being the high density of dwellings in the area given the numbers of new builds there.  Near to this area there are also older condo units such as 'Straits Regency', 'Twin Towers' and 'Coastal Towers', some of which now suffer from obscured views due to the new developments being erected between them and their previous sea-view (an issue to be mindful of - what is being built now and what can be built where, after you buy!).

Landed properties at Hillside
Another very pleasant area in my view is Hillside, which contains a vast spread of older landed properties alongside newer landed developments such as those by Boon Siew which centre around Permai 32 Village.  A very popular condo in this area is Hunza's 'Alila Horizon' where units are often in high demand, soon to be supplemented by Alila Horizon 2.  The Alila development also has landed properties - Alila Homes.

In all honesty there are far too many developments in Tg Bungah to even hope to list, let alone photograph, them all but this article I hope provides something by way of an insight into the area as a whole.  Not much by way of a commercial centre but some great little finds tucked away alongside, of course, a pretty vast array of domestic residential properties, witness to Tg Bungah's high popularity amongst buyers, or rather, maybe it was land availability for developers.  Further details of the various developments can be found by searching some of the Penang property sites such as Property Guru and Apartment Penang.

That then is Tanjung Bungah.  Related district articles can be found here: Tanjung Tokong and Straits Quay.

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