Farlim is the newest suburb of George Town, tucked within the Air Itam valley southwest of the George Town city centre. Officially named Bandar Baru Ayer Itam, the suburb of Farlim got its name from its developer, Farlim Group (M) Berhad.
Farlim has been developed out of the suburb of Air Itam since the 1980s. Previously, the area was known as the Thean Teik Estate, owned by the Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi, a Chinese surname-based clan association. In 1982, Farlim Group (M) Berhad was incorporated. It bought the mostly forested Thean Teik Estate and commenced residential development.
Today, Farlim is an up-and-coming suburb, with residential units ranging from low-cost flats to upscale condominiums. A town centre was built around Lintang Angsana, where businesses, eateries and a public park were sited. More recently, the All Season's Place, Farlim's first shopping mall, was opened.
The suburb of Farlim was named after the firm which developed it, Farlim Group (M) Berhad. In 1982, Perumahan Farlim (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd., a private limited company, was formed. With its change of status into a public limited company, the firm was renamed Farlim Group (M) Berhad. The name 'Farlim' is believed to mean 'beautiful forest' in the Chinese Hakka dialect.
Farlim is officially named Bandar Baru Air Itam in Malay, sometimes spelled Bandar Baru Ayer Itam, meaning 'the new town of Air Itam' in Malay. It reflects its genesis as a newer township developed within Air Itam.
Farlim was once a stretch of jungle called the Thean Teik Estate, owned by the Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi, a Chinese clan association for the Khoo family. The association had established the Sin Kang Estate Funeral Parlour within the Thean Teik Estate, which consists of a cemetery and a columbarium.
In the 1980s, Perumahan Farlim (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. bought 356 acres of the Thean Teik Estate. It remains the largest development ever undertaken by a private developer on Penang Island. Initially, residential development in Farlim composed mostly of landed properties. Apartments and condominiums were added later.
A town centre, where the headquarters of Farlim Group (M) Berhad is situated, was built around Lintang Angsana, allowing businesses and eateries to operate within an easily accessible central cluster. Indeed, many banks have also opened suburban branches within the town centre along Lintang Angsana.
By 2000s, most of the flat land in Farlim has been used up. Even so, more apartments and condominiums continue to be built on the hill slopes. The All Season's Park, comprising of the Melody Homes condominiums and the All Season's Place shopping mall, was completed in 2012. The All Season's Place was the first shopping mall to be built in the greater Air Itam area.
Farlim is now a densely populated up-and-coming suburb of George Town comprising mostly of lower-middle to middle-income residents. Roads within Farlim are in the process of being widened, while a bypass linking Farlim and Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu Expressway has been planned.
Places of worship of various religions can be found here.
- Masjid Bandar Baru Ayer Itam
- Wisma Hui Sin Yeh
- Tou Mu Keong temple
- Fanyin Meditation Centre
In addition, Muslim and Chinese cemeteries are located within Farlim as well.
You can never go hungry in Farlim, as hawker centres, coffee shops and restaurants can be found all over the suburb.
Among the major hawker centres in Farlim are the Farlim hawker centre and inside the Farlim market west of All Season's Place.
Other hawker centres, coffee shops and restaurants are as follows.
- Teoh Guan Hup coffee shop
- Farlim Kopitiam
- 3288 Cafe
- Pacific Ocean Food Court
- 1288 Restaurant
- 1998 Restaurant
- 1997 Restaurant
- Golden King Restaurant
- Sheng Yuen Cafe
- Kuta Bali Cafe
- Shalom coffee shop
- Tong Hai Aun Restaurant
- Chang Cheng Thai Restaurant
- Khun De Thai Restaurant
- New Dragon Phoenix Restaurant
- Jin Kuang Restaurant
- Red Tea House Restaurant
- Yuan Wei Vegetarian Restaurant
- Season Vegetarian Corner
- Traditional Home of Dessert
- Sri Moorthy Restaurant
- Restoran Farhah Maju
- Lone Pine Resort
Opened in 2012, the All Season's Place is the only shopping mall within the greater Air Itam area. It is designed as an open-air strip mall with a central courtyard; the wings on both sides contain retail outlets. Its anchor tenant is Giant, which occupies the lower two floors near the west end.
The Bandar Baru supermarket is situated within the Farlim town centre just opposite the Farlim Group (M) Berhad headquarters. The oldest supermarket in Farlim still draws shoppers from the neighbourhood due to its inexpensive prices.
In addition, there is a newer and larger Sunshine hypermarket at Thean Teik Road.
Getting to Farlim
From the George Town city centre, Rapid Penang buses 202 and 203 travel to Farlim.
Those from the south such as the Penang International Airport, Bayan Baru, Queensbay Mall, Bukit Jambul Complex, SPICE Arena and Relau can take Rapid Penang bus 306 to Farlim, and vice-versa. Those from the Penang General Hospital can also choose between buses 202, 203 and 306.
306 : Penang International Airport - Sunshine Square Bayan Baru - Queensbay Mall - Bukit Jambul Complex - SPICE Arena - Relau - Paya Terubong - Lebuhraya Thean Teik, Farlim - Farlim - Sunshine Farlim - Thean Teik Road, Air Itam - Air Itam Road - Scotland Road - Macalister Road - Residency Road - Penang General Hospital
13 : Paya Terubong - Farlim - Lebuhraya Thean Teik - All Season's Place - Batu Lanchang Lane - Green Lane - Lebuhraya Batu Lanchang - Batu Lanchang market - Jalan Tan Sri Teh Ewe Lim, Batu Lanchang - Jelutong market - Tesco Gelugor, e-Gate and Udini Square
Penang State Government
N.33 Air Itam State Assemblyman : Wong Hon Wai (Democratic Action Party)
N.34 Paya Terubong State Assemblyman : Yeoh Soon Hin (Democratic Action Party)
Malaysian Federal Parliament
P.051 Bukit Gelugor Member of Parliament : Ramkarpal Singh a/l Karpal Singh (Democratic Action Party)