18 Apr 2008
Eden Fairview Condo's, Penang, Malaysia
A$34/£15.80 night
5°28'25.56"N 100°15'10.30"E
3 bedroom


We found this apartment through an ad in the classifieds. It is in Batu Ferrangi, which is "The Beach" as opposed to "Town" on Penang Island. The owner, Judy, dropped her price by over a third when she realised that we really weren't that interested - she kept phoning back with a lower offer, until she came up with one that was a bit too hard to refuse. Really cheap, when you realise that you could get a whole family into the unit, which came complete with a fully equipped kitchen for less than you'd pay for a half decent hotel on the beach.

The Eden Fairview is what we now have come to know as stock standard Malaysian condo's. They all seem to be about the same, the only difference is in how the management company keeps the outdoor area's and how the apartments themselves are fitted out.

The Eden Fairview would fall into the middle range of up kept condo blocks, not quite so newly painted/cleaned exterior and not so manicured gardens, but far from the block next door, which is at the lower end of what would be acceptable.

As for the interior, it was a far cry from Desa Pelangi, where we stayed last time we were in Penang. While it was clean, the furnishings were not top quality, the beds and linens cheaper and older and the satellite TV caused a few problems - didn't work at all for the first 3 days, then it was a bit on/off after that. It was also the most basic of Astro's packages, so no sports channels - in fact not that much of interest at all.

The Eden Fairview isn't actually right on the beach, rather over the road and a couple of minutes walk down a side street, just out of the tourist area where thousands of new houses and condo's are being built for the local market. There were a mostly permanent residents (including a fair few expats) and the remainder was made up of Malaysians on holiday. Local clientele means the canteens and street food outside were about one third the price as on the main road - Peter went for a walk and was shocked that tourists were paying almost A$2 for fried rice or noodles, when we were getting probably better quality for about 70 cents.

2 small shopping arcades catered to locals, with mini marts and convenience shops charging local rather than the inflated prices you'd find for the same things out on the main road. There was a small morning market selling fruit, veggies, meat and fish just outside the block but you had to be quick as it only ran from 7am to 9am.

Being a touch away from the beach in Penang isn't a bad thing. The water is very, very polluted and you don't find any locals going anywhere near it. Some units on the higher floors would have had good sea views, if that's important to you make sure you're getting the view before settling on it. Peter met a couple from Far North Queensland who had booked over the internet and asked for their money back when they arrived as they were expecting something a bit more luxurious - Judy, who has 5 units in the 2 blocks, refused to buckle and they weren't so happy about having to stay there. Another case of seeing it with your own eyes before handing any money over - something we never do now.

All in all, it isn't bad value for money if there are a lot of you, or if you want an apartment. Don't expect luxury and you won't be disappointed.