Gems of Seberang Perai Utara
Perai or the ‘mainland’, as it’s affectionately called in Penang, is the
greater land area of Penang state and is divided into three for an efficient
overview – north, central and south. To begin with, the attractions highlighted
here will be those from Seberang Perai Utara or north (SPU).
This part of mainland is also where mainland’s chief town Butterworth is
Butterworth Ferry and Bus Terminal / Penang Sentral
Seemingly made out of flatland, wide roads and fringed by sprawling, luminous
green paddy fields, it is an ideal place to discover by bicycle. Due to the
luxury of space, the attractive spots in this area are not clustered together
but are some way away from one another. However, there’s a network of Rapid
Penang bus service in all areas and walking is a pleasure, despite the warmth,
because you’ll discover charming Malay houses on stilts sitting pretty in
real kampong or villages.
This is a good starting point. From here, hop onto Rapid Penang bus 603 and on
this route you can stop at these spots for:
or loosely translated as Sunday market, although, funnily
enough, it’s on Thursday and Friday in Titi Mukim between 7am and 1pm both
When on Jalan Penaga, it’s a lovely spot to stop and enjoy a fisherman’s
ambience while walking on towards Kuala Muda.
To Spot: There’s a row of simple shacks across a small marketplace here that
serve truly fresh seafood dishes with rice or on its own for a very reasonable
or Whispering market in Kuala Muda is best visited in
the late morning when the fishermen are in with their day’s catch. Here, bids
for buckets of freshly caught seafood are whispered by bidder into the
fisherman’s ear. So, despite the busy and chaotic feel of the place, it’s kind
to one’s ears! (Latitude 5.717033, Longitude 100.529611)
To Spot: The kuala
or where the river meets the sea behind the
market seems to be where shades of blue collide. It’s an ideal setting for a
photo-op with the riverbank dotted by charming, old-fashioned fishing boats and
sweeping coconut trees.
Charming, well preserved Malay houses
on stilts can be seen
along the Titi Mukim – Penaga – Kuala Muda route. These fine examples of
ingenious Malay architecture can be the prelude to the finest, and perhaps the
most popular, traditional Malay house in the mainland, Rumah Tok Ayah. Located
on Jalan Sungai Dua in Permatang Sungai Dua, the house was said to be around
100 years old.
To Get There: Hop onto Rapid Penang bus 604 from Butterworth bus terminal.
While you’re on on Jalan Sungai Dua, keep going for around five kilometres
towards Nyior Sebatang to cool down with a leisurely walk in 11 hectares of
lush, well-paved Hutan Pelajaran Air Itam Dalam or mangrove
by the Malaysian forestry department. Entrance is free
for this recreational park. (Latitude 5.428295,Longitude 100.386958)
Traders at Seberang Perai Utara
is well known traditional leather sandals maker for over
50 years already in Kepala Batas. Capal is the leather sandals normally worn by
Malay men. (Latitude 5.518344, Longitude 100.425761)
in Permatang Benuan are known for their
skill in making old school Malay weapons throughout Malaysia’s northern region.
Today, they still produce keris or Malay sword for royal rituals and the like,
and it can cost between RM150 and RM2,500 each. (Latitude 5.502904,
To Visit: Pandai Besi workshop in Pekan Darat that’s being run by the seventh
generation of the same family. Rapid bus 605 and you’ll have to walk through
some small roads before discovering this workshop – best trick is to ask the
locals, they’d be more than happy to point out this known blacksmith’s workshop
Eat, Exhale in Seberang Perai Utara
Without a doubt, there’s a plethora of flavours from which you must try and a
myriad dishes from which you can choose from the mainland and this includes
Penang favourites such as char koay teow, laksa, cendol and nasi kandar.
However, what you should not miss:
in Taman Selat is a flea market less than a kilometre
from Butterworth bus terminal. It’s a ground floor indoor complex filled with
stalls selling everything from antiques, clothes, electronics, food to books.
They open as early as 7am and are closed by 1pm. Weekend’s the best time to
visit and to feel the buzz. (Latitude 5.404561, Longitude 100.367351)
Mak Long Mee Rebus
on Jalan Paya Keladi. They serve at least 10
types of noodle dishes here but it’s the mee rebus, drenched in spicy sweet-potato
based gravy, that’s best. Their ‘mee rebus special’ with either fresh prawns or
chunks of beef is around RM6 and a good-sized portion too. Opens between 12pm –
8pm daily except for Saturday. (Latitude 5.546866, Longitude
Ikan bakar or grilled fish restaurants are popular
in this area and what’s on the griller is truly fresh. Two places to try this
is Restoran Ikan Bakar Din on Jalan Butterworth (Latitude 5.513787,
Longitude 100.408086) and also Restoran Ikan Bakar Amzar on Jalan
Permatang Pauh where you can to with Rapid Penang bus 701 and 702. Both have a
large buffet spread of Malay dishes and grilled fish are normally served after
11am. You’ll be charged according to what is on your plate. Normally, a plate
of rice with three small serving of vegetables dish and two small portions of
protein is around RM5.
Pantai Robina is a scenic beach spot that overlooks the island from
Butterworth. In fact you’ll spot Straits Quay, Gurney Drive and part of Weld
Quay from here. To Get There: Rapid Penang bus 603 from Butterworth bus
terminal and stop on Jalan Teluk Air Tawar then walk into a side street off the
main road towards the sea.