Balik Pulau

Balik Pulau (literally meaning back of the island) is a town in Penang, Malaysia. Durians and other kinds of fruits are planted there. Balik Pulau is famous for its durian plantations which include the 'ang heh' (meaning red prawns) and 'holo' (meaning gourd like) variety. The area was affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Balik Pulau is also one of the thirteen parliamentary constituencies in Penang, possibly the largest in land size, stretching about half of Penang Island, from Batu Feringhi (famous for modern resorts and beaches) at its north to Teluk Kumbar (traditionally a fishing village but now a booming town close to Bayan Lepas) at its south. Its current Member of Parliament (MP) is YB Yusmadi Yusoff from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), having won his March 2008 general election bid, a historic win for a member of an opposition party, as well as for several other parliamentary constituencies and state governmentship of Penang that also surprising fell to opposition power. All three Members of State Legislative Assembly (ADUN) for Balik Pulau regions of Bayan Lepas, Pulau Betong and Teluk Bahang however continued to be held by members of the National Front (BN) coalition party. Chief advisor of PKR, the controversial Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim who is currently seeking a comeback into Malaysia's political scene had also hinted in February 2008 that he may contest in Balik Pulau in a possible re-election in May 2008, which he however did not as of June 2008.

Modern Balik Pulau is a self-sufficient township, serving the greater Southwest District (Daerah Barat Daya), one of the five districts in the state of Penang with basic municipal facilities including a hospital, a police headquarters, a fire station, a post office (postcode: 11000), a TNB power station, a TM telecommunications station, a PBA water authority office, a provincial court, an Islamic Syariah court, a government-owned Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN), a bus station and a new big wet market complex and food court (opened in December 2007 to replace the much smaller older market located less than 500 metres away), all within a 5-minute driving distance from its three-junction town centre (an subtown area called "Kongsi"). Taman Pondok Upeh is teres housing located near Maktab Rendah Sains MARA Balik Pulau (MRSM BP).

Balik Pulau is also home to several schools and higher learning institutions. Among the secondary schools located around Balik Pulau are SK Saint George, SK Kongsi, SK Balik Pulau, SK Genting, SK Pulau Betong, Maktab Rendah Sains MARA (MRSM), SMK Seri, SMK St. George, SMJK (C ) Sacred Heart and many other primary and secondary schools. A new international secondary school, the Prince of Wales Island International School, will be opening in September 2011 on the outskirts of the town. Its higher learning institutions include Kolej Kemahiran Tinggi MARA (KKTM), Kolej Teknologi Pulau (KTP) and there is also a Tourism University being developed near its western coast of Pantai Acheh.

Commerce-wise, the town has several major banks (Ambank, Maybank and CIMB), many Indian Muslim restaurants operating since very long time like Restoran Kalik including at least three Indian-Muslim Nasi Kandar outlets operating around the clock (24x7: one at Kongsi (Bharvin), one at Taman Indah (Habeeb Mohamed) and another (Bharvin) at Simpang Empat), two 24-hour convenience shop (7-eleven), at least three petrol stations (two Petronas and one Shell), several clinics and various types of shops supporting its local residents numbering around 50,000 (or 38,610 qualified voters as of March 2008), many of whom however commute daily to towns like Ayer Itam, Georgetown and Bayan Lepas to work. Broadband Internet connectivity is available from TMNET (DSL), and all major mobile providers (3G and GPRS Edge).

Besides great food and breathtaking sightings (from the three major roads connecting the town to other parts of the island), another attraction for visitors include its remote beaches at Pantai Pasir Panjang at its south and Pantai Kerechut at its north, two rather clean and normally quiet beaches. Pantai Pasir Panjang which is located near the tiny Pulau Betong island, had witness the terrible tsunami that happened in 2004. The beach also hosts the White Resort Camp, which is the National Service Training Centre ("Pusat Latihan Khidmat Negara (PLKN)") for selected secondary school graduates.

Read more about Balik Pulau:  Famous Cuisine

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