Tanjung Bungah is a northwestern suburb of George Town that is also famous for its beaches. Located between Batu Ferringhi to the northwest and Tanjung Tokong to the southeast, Tanjung Bungah's beaches attract tourists and local Penangites alike as a picnic spot of choice.
The once-quaint Tanjung Bungah suburb has been undergoing urban development in recent years. Apartments and condominiums have been built here, offering a scenic view of the Andaman Sea. After the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami hit Tanjung Bungah, a 'floating' mosque was constructed, becoming the first mosque in Malaysia to built at sea.
Interestingly, a rock off the coast of Tanjung Bungah, Pulau Tikus ('Rat Island' in Malay), lent its name to another suburb of George Town.
Tanjung Bungah means 'Cape Flower' in Malay. The area is so named due to the cape having a number of minor promontories jutting out to the sea between Tanjung Bungah and Tanjung Tokong.
Tanjung Bungah is also sometimes spelled as Tanjong Bungah.
The tiny rocky outcrop of Pulau Tikus ('Rat Island' in Malay) was where the Eurasians anchored their boats when they first landed on Penang Island. It was said that, when they landed, the tide was low and the mudflats around the rock gave it the appearance of a rat, hence its current name. The Eurasians then decided to explore the coast until they found a suitable area to start their settlement. That particular area has also been named Pulau Tikus ever since. Today, Pulau Tikus, located just behind Gurney Drive, is an affluent suburb of George Town.
Tanjung Bungah was once a relatively quiet fishing village populated by Malay and Chinese fishermen. Since the 1950s, the beaches of Tanjung Bungah have been popular amongst local Penangites. At the time, Batu Ferringhi was still an undeveloped fishing village, so Tanjung Bungah's beaches became a favourite picnicking area. The clean waters off Tanjung Bungah at the time also attracted two swimming clubs - the Penang Swimming Club and the Penang Chinese Swimming Club. Penang's oldest swimming club, the Penang Swimming Club, initially was a men only club limited to Europeans.
Between 1958 and 1988, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) personnel used to escape to their residences within Tanjung Bungah. The houses, collectively known as the Hillside, could be easily distinguished then by the old cars the Australians tended to drive. The family members of the Australian servicemen also operated an amateur radio station. After the Australians had left, these houses, including the RAAF Club Building, were bought by the locals. The derelict RAAF Club Building still stands to this day.
From the 1980s to this day, urbanisation has been ongoing in Tanjung Bungah. Apartments and condominiums were built, mostly catering for the wealthy. Skyscrapers were added later. These high-rises were built alongside Malay and Chinese villages that have been around for decades.
However, the discharge of raw sewage into the waters off Tanjung Bungah has led to the pollution of the northern seas and jelly fish infestation.
Tanjung Bungah was hard hit by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which wiped out village houses and killed dozens here. In addition to the swift relocation efforts, a new 'floating' mosque was built to replace the old Tanjung Bungah mosque that was destroyed by the waves. The Tanjung Bungah Floating Mosque was the first Malaysian mosque to be built at sea.
While the beaches along Tanjung Bungah are not among the best in the region, the beaches do offer a scenic view of the seaside facing the Andaman Sea. The Penang Water Sports Centre within Tanjung Bungah offers water sports activities as well, such as kayaking.
The adventurous may opt to go kayaking towards the Pulau Tikus rock.
An art sculpture depicting two cyclists along Tanjung Bungah Road between the Flamingo by the Beach Hotel and the Rainbow Paradise Beach Resort was unveiled in 2013 by the fourth Chief Minister of Penang, Lim Guan Eng. This cyclist sculpture celebrates the sport of cycling and it reflects the current Penang state government's efforts to promote cycling as a daily mode of transportation.
Kids may be more inclined to check out the Penang Toy Museum. It was Malaysia's first ever toy museum, with a collection of over 100,000 toys and figurines. The collection varies; anything from Star Wars to Gundam robots, from dinosaurs to horror figures are within this relatively small museum which receives thousands of visitors daily.
Perhaps among the more prominent landmarks in Tanjung Bungah is the Floating Mosque. Completed in 2005 at a cost of RM 15 million (Malaysian Ringgit), the mosque features a hybrid of Malay and Middle Eastern architecture. It can accommodate up to 1,500 people at any one time.
Meanwhile, the College General in Tanjung Bungah is a Catholic theological seminary managed by the Paris Foreign Missions Society (Société des Missions étrangères de Paris). The college has a long history dating back to its foundation in 1809. Catholic missionaries had been active in Asia throughout the 17th. and 18th. centuries, setting up a seminary in Siam (now Thailand). Political persecution forced the closure of the seminary and a new base was sought. As soon as Penang Island was founded by Captain Francis Light, Catholic missionaries began collecting funds to establish a seminary on Penang Island. This move materialised in 1809 with the establishment of the College General in the newly-established Eurasian settlement of Pulau Tikus. By 1984, the original College General building was becoming run-down. The college then moved into its current premises in Tanjung Tokong in 1989.
A Taoist temple, named the Geok San Soo temple, is also located within Tanjung Bungah.
- Sin Lee Hin Coffee Shop
- 2020 Seafood
The two swimming clubs in Tanjung Bungah, the Penang Swimming Club and the Penang Chinese Swimming Club, are only open to club members.
The Penang Water Sports Centre offers kayaks and boats, as well as beach volleyball, beach soccer and spot fishing among others.
Hotels in Tanjung Bungah face the beaches and the sea, giving tourists a scenic view from above.
- Copthorne Orchid Hotel
- Flamingo by the Beach Hotel
- Rainbow Paradise Beach Resort
- Hotel Sentral Seaview
- Croisette Villa
- Four Points by Sheraton Penang
Getting to Tanjung Bungah
From the George Town city centre and the adjacent suburb of Pulau Tikus, Rapid Penang buses 101, 102 and 104 will transit through Tanjung Bungah. Whereas routes 101 and 102 pass through Tanjung Bungah Road, which is the main thoroughfare in Tanjung Bungah, route 104 goes deeper into residential areas in Tanjung Bungah, thereby serving residents of Tanjung Bungah.
In addition, those from the Penang International Airport, Bayan Baru, the Sungai Nibong express bus terminal, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) or the suburbs of Gelugor, Green Lane and Pulau Tikus can take bus 102 to get to Tanjung Bungah. Those in the Pulau Tikus suburb can also take bus 104 to Tanjung Bungah.
From the opposite direction, those who are coming from Teluk Bahang to the northwest and the more famous suburb of Batu Ferringhi can take either bus 101 or 102 to Tanjung Bungah.
102 : Penang International Airport - Bayan Baru - Sungai Nibong express bus terminal - Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Batu Uban entrance - Gelugor - Green Lane - KOMTAR - Kelawai Road, Pulau Tikus - Tanjung Tokong Road - Tanjung Bungah Road - Batu Ferringhi - Teluk Bahang
104 : Midlands Park, Pulau Tikus - Burmah Road, Pulau Tikus - Kelawai Road, Pulau Tikus - Bagan Jermal Road, Pulau Tikus - Mount Erskine Road, Tanjung Tokong - Pepper Estate, Tanjung Tokong - Mount Erskine Road, Tanjung Tokong - Fettes Park, Tanjung Tokong - Evergreen Road, Tanjung Tokong - Jalan Gajah, Tanjung Tokong - Tanjung Bungah Road - Jalan Sungai Kelian, Tanjung Bungah - Jalan Loh Poh Heng, Tanjung Bungah - Jalan Azyze, Tanjung Bungah - Lorong Lembah Permai 3, Tanjung Bungah - Lintang Lembah Permai 1, Tanjung Bungah - Jalan Lembah Permai, Tanjung Bungah
Alternatively, tourists can take the Hop-On Hop-Off double decker buses to Tanjung Bungah, where the buses would stop near most hotels.
Penang State Government
N.22 Tanjong Bunga State Assemblyman : Teh Yee Cheu (Democratic Action Party)
Malaysian Federal Parliament
P.048 Bukit Bendera Member of Parliament : Zairil Khir Johari (Democratic Action Party)