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Penang property – why I like Sungai Ara

Many years ago, when I was chatting with a fellow Toastmaster friend and he learnt that I was buying in Sungai Ara, he said I should have gotten a property in Bayan Baru instead. This is because Sungai Ara was not accessible and jammed all the time due to the bottleneck at the Relau and Sungai Ara traffic light junction. Few years ago, I had a very tiny disagreement with a HR professional on whether Gelugor or Sungai Ara is better. Just last week, my two ex colleagues were arguing about Tanjung Tokong versus Sungai Ara. Every time, it’s a different area versus Sungai Ara and yet I bought Sungai Ara. Am I foolish? If I was foolish then I am having the foolishness that the late Steve Jobs spoke about, ‘Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish’. I bought Regency Heights.
Accessibility. There are many roads into and out of Sungai Ara. There are internal roads leading to Paya Terubong and from there you can go to Farlim, Balik Pulau, Bukit Jambul etc. If you go down the hill from Regency Heights to the traffic light, if you turn right, you can take the road leading out to airport or go further and towards the Batu Maung / Gertak Sanggul etc. If you turn left, within less than one km, you come to a traffic light  whereby you can turn right to go to Bayan Baru or go straight to Relau / Bukit Jambul. It does seem that in terms of accessibility, it scored very highly. Sure, there are jams but if you can look at me and say, ‘there are no jams in Tanjung Tokong or Gelugor or Greenland or Bayan Lepas or Gurney, ‘ then I let you win this argument. Haha.
Convenience. When I first moved to Sungai Ara, there were not that many things. In fact my father said, Sungai Ara was a forest when he was studying in USM! Today, there are fast food outlet, nasi kandar, pharmacies, wet market, clinics, chinese medicine halls and even my favourite pasar malam! There are even schools and I think the only thing missing may be a bank. Oh yeah, even dim sum restaurant and the very delicious burger stalls.
Affordable property price. This is in comparison to many ‘hotter’ areas in Penang. I can safely say that there are not that many places in Penang left whereby you can get a very nice condo for Rm500psf; Regency Heights. Even Reflections by SP Setia is also priced very slightly higher. This is not the situation if we are talking about a 1,200sf condo in areas such as Tanjung Tokong or even Gelugor.
Perhaps the only thing that is not on Sungai Ara’s side is the perception. Come to think about it, I do not really mind because it is these perceptions that enabled me to buy a unit in Regency Heights during its launch eventhough I took one month to think and decide. Oh yeah, the properties that my friend bought in Gelugor has increased in price. Even my own condo in Tanjung Tokong has also increased in price tremendously. Perhaps the point that we should all concentrate is just ‘where I feel comfortable with’ instead of where the so called popular areas are. Did I mention I have friends who even swear that the water in Tanjung Tokong is more fresh than Sungai Ara? As for me, I still like Sungai Ara and have no intention to move to my new condo in Tanjung Tokong even if I my office is nearer to Tanjung Tokong.
written on 8 Jan 2014.
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0 Responses

  1. comparing sg ara and Tanjung tokong/bunga in term of location, it does not make much of complication as both locations are in the Island, it should not be any issue by driving..
    What about Air pollution? i was told by someone the air quality in south west (like sg ara, bayan baru/lepas, batu maung) might not be as good as north east Pg because of industry area.
    Don’t you all agree? please comment if you have any opinion.

  2. Haha, it is individual matter : ) , anyway, things are changing… tg tokong is meant for foreigner.. too expensive.
    Anyway, back to quality of water, honestly , is there really a measurement to quatify that? It is still a doubt, But it is just the statwment without proof of measurement.

  3. HI Chialih,
    You are right, the only sg ara lack is about the perception, i guess that it may be the area is just being developed and most people are still in the mindset, sg ara is really far away and not worth buying, i may agree with some points that this area might not be the place for foreigner. in fact, it is totally a difference market, OR some people may have this perception as rich only can stay in north east of Penang.
    Nevertheless, if you buy a property for own stay, it doesn’t matter where you are as long as you feel comfortable and convenience, as i can see, sg ara is not so bad as it is still within Penang Island,
    do remember, things are changing, who knows the improvement of transportation would make a difference, none of the things is never changed in the world.
    On my own opinion, i would foresee south west/east will be becoming a good township with many of facilities available, for instance as mentioned by Chialih in his article, there are fast food outlet, nasi kandar, pharmacies, wet market, clinics, chinese medicine halls and even my favourite pasar malam, sooner, there will be more and more thing in future, there will be a few chinese national schools (Primary and secondary) as well as international school.
    So, the township model play an important using decentralizing strategy to revive the area with all basic requirement within its area, it is to prevent unnecessary tarvelling fom one place to another, it saves fuel and time, you are not required to travel to georgetown because of buying something that you can not be found in sg ara, as this concept has been implemented successfully in our neighbor country Singapore. the improvement of public transport and infrastructure, it will make a big difference to transport from one place to another, it is accessible without hassle, although, all of these items may or may not come true but personnaly it worths investing the future, time will prove everything. if thing comes true. by the time, would you still able to get the same price of property as of now?
    Anyhow, the choice is up to individual. to be frank, i never stayed in sg ara before but there is no harm to explore a new place. : )

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Charles Tan The Founder The Writer Kopiandproperty
Charles Tan

Charles is Founder of He writes from his investment experience for the the past 20 years in investments including property, stock, unit trust and more as well as readings and conversations with many property gurus in the industry. is an independent property blog which is not affiliated to any media company, property developer or even real estate agencies.


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