Forget Batu Ferringhi beach, to find the best Penang beaches you have to go off the beaten path and you will be rewarded with a view of Penang's most beautiful beaches rarely seen by the hordes of tourists.
For the intrepid traveller who decides to look a little closer at the alternative best beaches Penang has to offer they will be in for a pleasant surprise.
The best access to Monkey beach is from the entrance to the National Park where you have a choice of a short boat ride or a 1 hour 30 minute trek through one of the park trails to reach the beach.
The trail is sign posted and easy to follow and when you reach Monkey Beach you feel you can enjoy a well earned rest and relax in a secluded bay protected by Muka Head cape (you can also visit the lighthouse at Muka Head but it is another long trek).
Kerachut Beach is also accessed either through the trails of the National Park or by boat. This unspoilt beach is even less travelled than Monkey Beach and it is a perfect tonic away from the hustle and bustle of Georgetown or the busy beach at Batu Ferringhi.
A rather unusual feature about visiting Kerachut Beach is for 6 months of the year it is also home to a meromictic lake that consists of two levels of water that do not mix. The fresh water on top is colder than the underlying sea water and it gives a rather strange sensation if you dip your feet in.
I think anyone who visits Penang should visit Fishermans Beach (Pantai Nelayan), but the fact is that tourists very seldom visit here because there is so little information on the internet about it.
This fascinating Fishermans Beach on the southern Penang shores of Teluk Kumbar is also home to a picturesque jetty that stretches some 200 metres out to sea; Sadly this jetty is no longer accessible to the public due to disrepair but it still makes a scenic backdrop for the camera happy.
The Southern portion of Penang is home to many of these small fishing enclaves that proudly maintain their traditional seafaring ways and every day bring home a sizeable catch to sell to the markets and restaurants of Penang.
Bakar Kapor Beach
To reach Bakar Kapor beach you have to travel through the Bakar Kapor Kampung (village) on the south eastern side of Penang Island. This is a small but very secluded beach and it makes for some very scenic beach photos once you arrive.
There is a short walk from where you park your car through a narrow trail and the Bakar Kapor beach is littered with some rather large boulders.
Because of the close proximity of the trees offering areas of shade onto the beach this is my ideal and in my opinion the best Penang beach to enjoy a picnic.
Gertak Sanggul Beach
Gertak Sanggul Beach is the last Penang south coast beach you come to as you drive westward along the Southern Penang coast. Gertak Sanggul beach stretches as far back into Teluk Kumbar and it is also another busy fishing village.
The most popular entrance point to access the beach is at the successful Hai Boey Seafood restaurant where there are a number of swings hanging from the trees for the kids to enjoy. As dusk comes the setting sun leaves an orange glow on the horizon that sometimes offers good photo opportunities.
Pasir Panjang Beach
Representing the best south west coast beach on Penang island is Pasir Panjang Beach in Balik Pulau. Pasir Panjang beach has a steeper gradient when compared to other Penang beaches but this does not inhibit its effectiveness for providing a fun location to visit.
This beach is so far off the beaten track it is rarely visited by tourists and the most frequent users are the locals from around the Balik Pulau area. To access this beach by car you must take the road from Balik Pulau town centre going south towards Kampung Pulau Betung, from here Pasir Panjang is signposted.
The Top Six Off The Beaten Path Penang Beaches
Penang Island Map showing featured Penang beach locations
The quality of both the sand and the water is an improvement on the Batu Ferringhi beaches and jellyfish are rarely seen here too.
Monkey Beach is more off the beaten path so there are usually far less tourists here to contend with.
When I visit I tend to walk there but return on one of the fishermens boats, that way you get to see the best of both the nautical world around the North Western Penang coast and the natural beauty of the National Park.
With a backdrop of the jungle of the National Park, Monkey Beach is definitely one of the prettiest and best beaches in Penang.
Monkey Beach may be a great place to relax but, it does have a contender for Penangs best beach, namely its near neighbour Kerachut Beach.