A short stretch of shore before Batu Ferringhi, the confusingly named Miami Beach is a small public beach with a convenient namesake restaurant nearby.
How To Get To Miami Beach
The easiest way to get here is to go through the Miami Cafe. At street level, you’ll see the big blue sign for the cafe and stairs leading down. Take the 101 Rapid Penang bus from Weld Quay Bus Terminal in George Town or the 102 from Penang International Airport heading in the Teluk Bahang direction. There will be a “Miami Beach” stop for both buses that is right in front of the Miami Cafe. If you’re using e-hailing, put this restaurant as your destination.
Water & Sand
The sand is made up of big granules that are tolerable to walk on barefoot but can get scratchy. You might feel a bit of discomfort when entering and exiting the water because of this coarse sand.
Just like the beaches in Batu Ferringhi, the water is not the cleanest and might make you cringe. There will be some debris in the shallows that you’ll just have to deal with.
Facilities at Miami Beach
There is a building in area 1 (see below) just behind the shoreline where food vendors have set up and you can get local delicacies: rojak, laksa, coconuts, and char kuey teow. Presumably, there is a washroom somewhere in this building that you can use, but I did not confirm this. Be warned that it may be locked up if the vendors are not there.
There is always the toilet at the Miami Cafe that is available for patrons, but it does not have a shower inside.
When you get down to the restaurant, you have two options.
In front of you will be stairs leading down to the standard Miami Beach area. Almost everyone goes here, and it shows. Expect a fair number of families to be set up here.
This area is far enough away from the Miami Cafe where you don’t need to be self-conscious that diners are watching you. On the west side, it’s shielded by rocks and a peninsula outcropping.
If you turn right upon entering the cafe, there will be a short set of stairs down to the eastern section of the beach. This area is much more secluded, and where we set up. We came in the late afternoon (4 pm) and not a single other person set up their towels on this part of the beach. The big price to pay for this seclusion is that there are definitely no bathrooms on this part of the beach, and it’s too open for you to relieve yourself on the sand. If you’re planning on getting refreshments later, hold it until you make it to the Miami Cafe.
Behind the sand is a high stone wall, but very soon that barrier becomes someone’s backyard, so there’s just a short segment where you can have a private space. There are not many trees here either; think about bringing umbrellas if you need shade. Large boulders block off the path further east, and many locals use this as a fishing spot.
This area does have more picturesque boulders peeking out from the water than the other busier side doesn’t have. If, like me, you had the thought of sitting on one of these rocks to watch the waves, it’s not going to happen. The bottom halves of them, where you’d climb up, are covered in broken barnacle shells that are incredibly sharp.
On the same note, be very careful of boulders that are just under the surface. I was swimming to the closest leftmost rock when an underwater boulder scraped up my knees and feet – the cuts on my feet so bad that it drew blood. Because the water is so murky, I couldn’t even see it in front of me. It will be directly in your path if you’re set up here in the above picture and swimming in a straight line for the left boulder.
Miami Beach is a very casual beach. There are no loungers, showers, and no area along the shore that is “restricted for patrons of X hotel only.” Unlike some other beaches on the island, the water is not “policed” either. You will always be able to swim freely, without some lifeguard telling you you’re too far out, or not letting you in the water at all because the conditions are too dangerous. If you just want to beach it up and not be harassed by anyone about where you’re allowed to sunbathe or swim, come here.