Sunday, August 24, 2014

Happy 34th Birthday Dearest Hubby!

So hubby turned 34 a few days ago.

We'd been pretty busy the past few weeks that I hadn't the time to plan his birthday. Ok, so maybe I was just being the bad wife. And also the fact that his interests are so limited that it is really difficult to get him anything.

Let me tell you what are the 3 things he likes:
1) Girls - obviously I can't get him more girls unless I give him a daughter. 
2) Books - and only financial books, which I think he has all the books there is already on our bookshelves. 
3) Babies and more babies - erm, ok we will negotiate more on this topic later.
And that's it.

Anyway, all I did was that I booked for a buffet dinner for our family of 4 at Spice Market @ Rasa Sayang. Oh ya, hubby likes food too, so I reckon a buffet is good (we seldom go for buffets) because he gets to choose what he wants to eat. The variety is there. 

And also he would be happiest being around his wifey (I certainly hope so!) and his 2 chubi-s sons. 

But to tell the truth, I think both kids are happier than the birthday boy.
Both were having fun exploring Rasa Sayang Resort the moment we reached. We had a stroll at the pool area and also walked near the beach.

They enjoyed watching tourists doing water activities.

And so here are some photos of our boys with the birthday boy.
I like Khye's round tummy here. :)
 

 

And a photo of our boys with mummy.
This is the buffet dress so that I can eat lots and lots and lots without popping a button. lol.

And when we walked into Spice Garden, Shern was ecstatic when he saw the chocolate fountain. Although he didn't like the marshmallows there. (too pampered with Huey & Wah's gourmet marshmallows!).
And he had a chocolate chip pancake topped with an ice-cream, and lots of sushi-s, and some satay-s, and also drank a small pot of black chicken herbal soup! I think he ate a lot for a 5-yr old. 

As for Khye, he ate 4 sticks of chicken satay-s, and some sushi-s.

Both were very well-behaved. After finishing their food, they did some drawings on the Boogie Board, and I also brought an activity book each for them with washable marker, so Shern had fun doing the activities while Khye just simple doodled on it.
Khye actually doodled out of page onto the glass table, so it was good that it was washable ink and I simply just wiped it off! If not I would have to buy them a new glass top table. :P
  
 

And after that, Khye sat quietly and played with some toy cars, and after that he even played with the sugar packs, taking them out one by one. Whatever, as long as he sat still and quiet. lol.
 

The birthday boy ate way more than supposed to, so all his hard work at the boot camp earlier in the morning was wasted. lol. 
I on the other hand was busy taking food for both kids and also myself. So I ate way less than usual when I am at a buffet. 

And then I cut a big slice of chocolate mousse cake from the desert table, and I whipped out a candle from home (I am clever like this haha!) and we sang the birthday song to hubby and blew the candle there and then. Everyone was staring because Shern sang way too loud. Haha.

Look at all three boys' happy faces!
 


And before we left at almost 9pm, the boys were still energetic (sugar high I suppose!) and was still chasing each other and had so much fun.


And Shern finally declared that he loved this hotel.
Little did he know that staying a night at the hotel would cost an arm and a leg. lol.
Well, both my kids sure know how to enjoy as they promptly plopped themselves on the comfy sofa in the lounge after a meal. :)

And hubby received a giant Iron Man wall sticker from my cousin. (both are superhero fans!) and it is now up on our wall.
Khye was quite scared of it initially, but later got over it. He even posed with it the next morning. :)



Anyway, hope the birthday boy had an enjoyable day.
Happy birthday Hubby!
You are OUR SUPERHERO!
We love you lots! 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Places To Go In Penang With Kids

Penang is a beautiful place. I feel blessed to be living in Penang.

I’m always finding places to bring my kids to, especially during the weekends or school holidays. There are actually many fun things to do with kids that we really enjoyed. 

So I decided to compile a list of places in Penang which you may bring your kids (though not all are very kid-friendly). 
Most of them I’d already featured in my blog under "Cuti-cuti Penang", but I think an all-in-one post list would be useful for some parents out there, scratching their heads on where to let the kids run wild in Penang.

So here goes my list of places to go in Penang with kids:

(erm, I started this list in my draft for more than 6 mths...)


1.Youth Park (Taman Belia)
 

Top on my list is Youth Park, a favourite recreation park for locals. The park is full of swings and slides and more to make the kids really happy. There are also many exercising equipment, mostly in working order for the adults to enjoy. And there is a skating ring, where people use it for riding their scooter and also kids on bicycles. Behind, there is another skating ring where I see most people use it for skateboarding. Besides those, there is also a very big field, a hall for some ping pong sessions and such, and even a public pool. I think there are more things there which I’m yet to check it out, like the archery field.

I like Youth Park for its many trees and it is very well-shaded. The place is big, and even with many people there during the weekends, you don’t feel that it is too crowded. Parking is plentiful, and you are sure to find a space, although you may need to walk a bit if you happen to park at the very end of Youth Park. 

Both my kids love this place, especially Shern as he appreciates it more. But now that Khye is getting more mobile, he is learning to enjoy the slides so I forsee more visits to this place very soon!

Read more about our visit to Youth Park!

Admission: Free



2. Adventure Zone

Adventure Zone is located on the recreation grounds between Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa and Golden Sands Resort – adjacent to the Par 3 Executive Golf Course and tennis courts. You can park your car at the Golden Sand Resorts car park, where you would see the Adventure Zone signage very clearly.
With the price tag of RM22 (weekdays) and RM33 (weekends), this is the place to go as a treat. But I can assure you that it is worth your money. 

Adventure Zone is an entertainment venue for the family. It is about 10,000 square feet comprehensive air-conditioned indoor facility, fully padded and kid-friendly and quite child-safe. And the best thing about this place is that the scale of this place is big enough for adults, which means that I don't have to bend and duck through everything, and I don't have to be afraid of getting stuck in some holes. Haha. Adults can enjoy the place as much as their kids! 

The highlight about this place is their Drop Slides. The Hyperglide Astra Slide is attractive for toddlers and small children. The Double Drop Slide is for brave children and younger teens, and the Demon Drop Slide is a 24 feet vertical drop which is challenging for all ages!
To tell the truth, I'd only tried the Hyperglide Astra Slide and even that was a bit too fast for me, lol. But Shern had even tried the Double Drop Slide! 

This is a great place to go when Penang gets too hot and you need an air-conditioned place to cool down your kids. And also a great place to go when it gets rainy. So, rain or shine, this is the place to be! 

Another good thing is that you only need to pay for the kids, and accompanying adults go in for free! Just remember to wear long sleeved top if you want to go on the slides, and wear socks at all times. 

Check Shern out when he went to Adventure Zone for the first time at 2yo, and watch him go down the Double Drop Slide!

Admission
Children: RM 33 per 2 hour session
AdultsFree of charge with paying children.
Tel (604) 886 1911 | Fax (604) 881 1880
Email adventurezone.gsh@shangri-la.com
Opening Hours: 10am - 7pm





3. Penang Butterfly Farm


Penang Butterfly Farm was voted as the most popular attraction in Penang at Tripadvisor, so I'm sure you'd expect the place to be great. 
Well, the place is a great place!   


There were not only butterflies, but some insects and other small animals. 

[Updated 1 Sep 2014]
I'd recently brought my kids there. Read about our fabulous visit here, with us learning many great stuff from the guides there, and also a live show where Shern handled leaf insect and also got to hold a big frog on his hands! 


HOW TO GET THERE

Just drive all the way up to Batu Feringghi and Teluk Bahang. At the roundabout, take 9 o'clock and then just drive straight. There will be a clear signage that reads the Penang Butterfly Farm is on your left.

VISITING HOURS:
Monday - Sunday, including Public Holidays - 9.00am - 6.00pm (Last Entry at 5.00pm)
(Open 365 days all year round except half-day on Chinese New Year Eve)

ADMISSION RATES
Adult - RM27.00
Children (4 - 12 years old) - RM15.00

MYKAD Holder - RM18.00
MYKID Holder - RM10.00



4. Teluk Bahang Dam
 

If you are in the Teluk Bahang area, and you love the outdoors, you may want to make a detour to the Teluk Bahang Dam. You will appreciate its scenic surroundings with rocky beaches and calm water. 

During the early morning or in the evening, you may see many people doing some exercising or hiking up the dam. We'd brought Shern there for cycling, or just to admire the vast space and beautiful lush greens there.   
It's a nice evening to spend there with kids to appreciate nature.

Check us out where Shern exclaimed the dam is 'wow....so big' the first time he was there!

Admission: Free


5. Teluk Bahang Fisherman Jetty

This is another place to stop by if you happen to be still in the Teluk Bahang area. 
The directions to the jetty is easy. Just drive all the way up to Batu Feringghi and then all the way straight. When you come to a roundabout, just take the 12 o'clock and continued 'til the end of the road. Then you will come across the National Park/Taman Negara entrance. 
It is the same entrance. Go inside the gates but then look onto your right. The Teluk Bahang Fisherman Jetty is just there. You won't miss it. 

When we reached, we could see that there were 2 jetties side by side. 
On the right is the old, rickety, wooden jetty. 
On the left is the new jetty made of steel and with railings. 

Have fun exploring and walking along these 2 jetties with your kids. Though me, being a mum, chose the more safe, new jetty of course! But if you are the sporting parent, you may want to brave with your kids to try walking on the old wooden jetty. 
We've seen a man riding a motorcycle on the old jetty so I'm sure it won't go crumble down the moment you walk on it! Haha.

This is us checking out this Teluk Bahang Jetty. We'd been back a few more times since then, and we'd love watching the sunsets from there!

Admission: FreeHow To Get There: Just walk straight into Taman Negara's front gate entrance at Teluk Bahang, and the jetties are on the right.



6. Trishaw Ride

Penang is one of the rare places you will still see trishaws on the road. There are about 200 trishaw in Penang which are mostly scattered around Georgetown area. Penang trishaw comes in many names, Rickshaw, trishaw, or locally referred to as beca.

It is the best way to see and explore the city of Georgetown in a much slower pace. You will be able to cover every nook and cranny of Georgetown heritage trails using the eco-friendly mode of transportation.

I used to ride the trishaw back from the market with my grandma very often when I was a little girl.
So when I took my kids for a ride on the trishaw, I was actually relieving my childhood memories.

So have a trishaw ride with the kids and support this trade, and I'm sure it will be a hit with the kids! And if possible, do some famous street art trail hunting in the heart of Georgetown!

Where to flag down a trishaw: There are lots at the Penang road near the Continental Hotel, or be like us and flag down any at the heritage area in town.



7. Ferry Ride

Another means of transport to get from the island to the mainland, or vice versa is by ferry.
Penang Ferry began its operations in 1920, making it the oldest ferry service in Malaysia. These iconic ferries ply between the Seberang Perai mainland and Penang island, ferrying both passengers and vehicles to and from the island.
The 15 minute ferry ride allows visitors to enjoy the spectacular view of Penang island. We drove our car to Weld Quay to take a ferry ride from there to the mainland. Once our car got onto the ferry, we could get off the car to enjoy the view and sea breeze from the ferry.
Check out our ferry ride!

Pedestrian
Adult : RM1.20
Children (between 5-12 years old) : RM0.60
Vehicles
Bicycle: : RM1.40
Motorcycle : RM2.00
Car : RM7.70

How To Get There: if you are a riding the ferry as a pedestrian, you may want to take the public bus to the ferry terminal. Catch Rapid Penang Bus 101 or 103 to the pier and walk through the ferry's undercover walkway on the left of the bus station to the Ferry Terminal.



9. Penang Bird Park, Butterworth

Penang Bird Park is located on the mainland, Butterworth/Prai. Instead of taking the Penang Bridge, we went there by ferry. This Bird Park isn't much, and I'm sure a far cry from Singapore's Jurong Bird Park. But if you happen to go over to the mainland, you might want to have a look.

Signage from the ferry terminal to there isn't very clear.  Basically from the Ferry Terminal, just drive straight for like 10 minutes. Then there is this big road on a left and just turn in there. The road should be Jalan Todak. (I don't remember seeing any signage about the Penang Bird Park). But just turn into the road, and you will see the entrance of the Bird Park on your left.

There weren't many visitors when we were there a few years ago, just a few people here and there. But on the good thing about it is you have the entire place all to yourself. I was not afraid to let Shern run and walk around, as I could keep an eye on him easily. 
Check out our visit to the Bird Park here!

Address: Taman Burung Seberang Jaya, Jalan Todak, Seberang Jaya, 13700, Perai, Pulau Pinang
Tel: 04-399 1899
Opening Hours: Daily, 9am-7pm
Admission Tickets: Standard: RM29 for adult / RM15 for child | MyKad: RM18 for adult / RM10 for child





10. Penang Hill (Bukit Bendera)

People always say 'If you've never been to Penang Hill, you've never been to Penang!"
Penang Hill is one of our family's favourite place to go! We've been there countless times. Well, to tell the truth, the main reason we always go up there is to give Shern his train fix. lol.

But aside from the funicular train ride up 833 m (2,723 ft) above sea level, which is just a mere ~6 minutes ride one-way and is wonderful, it is still pretty nice to be up there with the cooler air and fresh climate.

There is a beautiful garden at David Brown's, at Strawberry Hill just a minute walk away from the Upper Station. It is a quintessential British colonial Restaurant and Tea Terraces.It's garden is lush and very well landscaped. It offers British food and is rather pricey for us, but if you can afford it, the environment is really very nice. 
We went there once with Shern and it was nice but pricey.

Or you can just have a nice ice-kacang at the food court nearby like us that costs only a few ringgit. Food there is rather poor, but the ice-kacang there is decent. 

My kids go up there for the playground which is situated on top of a flight of steep stairs, just next to the Indian temple. Shern and Khye usually spend about an hour at the playground, as the air is cooler there. 

Or for RM30, get a Buggy ride and they bring you around the Penang Hill to the off-path nooks and crannies. We tried it once and we quite enjoyed it. 

There are many other things up there, with the Owl Museum and the recently opened Love Locks. And some of the places there offer steamboat meal, which I think is awesome for dinner. Hot meal over cool air, with the view of lighted up Penang, isn't that sound just great?

And ohh, if possible, score a front seat ride on the funicular train ride down the hill like what we did, and you have the ride of your life!
A few more posts of our visits can be found here and here

Contact Details: Perbadanan Bukit Bendera Pulau Pinang, Jalan Stesen Bukit Bendera, Ayer Itam, 11500 Pulau Pinang.
Tel: 04-8288880, 04-8288839, 04-8288861
Funicular Train Tickets: Standard: RM30 for adult / RM15 for child | MyKad: RM30 for adult / RM8 for child




11. Kek Lok Si 

Kek Lok Si is also known as the Temple of Supreme Bliss, and is said to be the largest Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia, and I think one of the most famous in Penang. 

The temple consists of many prayer halls, pagodas and bell towers but there are two structures that especially dominate the scenery when looking at the temple from afar. These are the seven-storey pagoda that dates back to the temples founding and the other is a newly built huge bronze statue of Kun Yin, the Goddess of Mercy. 

To reach the main building it’s a bit of a walk – you will have to climb a long walkway of stairs before reaching the infamous temple pond and the entrance to the main building. Or alternatively, you can drive up there and from the car park, is just a short walk to the pond. 

The best time to visit Kek Lok Si is during the Chinese New Year celebrations, when the temple is adorned with thousands of bright hanging lanterns. At other times, there is still much to see.

Read about our most recent visit with the kids during CNY last year here, and it was great!
But strollers are NOT recommended because there are lots of stairs, so either your kids walk or you babywear them. Unless you have strong arm muscles to carry them. :)


Address: Kampong Sungai Keluang, Jalan Air Itam, Air Itam, Penang
Tel: +604 828 3317
Opening times: Daily, 7am-9pm
Admission Fee: Free, except for RM2 each for entry into the pagoda and the RM2 for the Sky Lift for each way.




11. Straits Quay
 

Straits Quay is another place we frequent as it is located quite near to our home. Straits Quay is located in Seri Tanjung Pinang, which is about 20 minutes from Georgetown. 

Aside from the shops and dining restaurants in Straits Quay, we love the seafront and also the wide smooth road, which is ideal for cycling and riding the scooter. 
We spend many hours here for Shern and Khye to do some cycling or scooter-ing (as Shern calls it) while we just enjoyed the sea breeze. 

There is also a Bouncing Castle and big Trampoline for the kids to drain off excess energy, but they are quite expensive at RM10 each.  
We also like the nearby playground there as it is usually more breezy there with the sea breeze, so usually it is quite popular and crowded, so we needed to keep a watchful eye on our kids. But then this is also good as Shern makes quite a few new friends here every time we go there.

Straits Quay is also the place we always go on New Year's Eve to usher in the new year with fireworks display. Done that in 20112012 and 2013

Admission: Free
Car Park: free under 1/2 hour, and RM1 per day.



12. Chew Thean Yang (CTY) Aquarium
 

This is another nice place to go if you want to knock an hour or so off. CTY Aquarium is a pet centre located along Burmah Road, Penang. There are many animals/fishes/sea creatures being displayed for sale, so is like a mini zoo/aquarium for kids. But please take note that no photography is allowed in there.

It is a good place for kids to see the actual animals/reptiles/sea creature than just reading or seeing them in books. I brought Shern there to see turtles/lobsters/prawns/rabbits/parrots and etc so it was a fun place for us to identify the pets together.

The highlight for my kids is the Koi pond where they you can buy fish feed from them for RM1/per packet and they allow us to feed the fish, and photography is allowed here. Both Shern and Khye had so much fun feeding those fishes. 

There is a limited parking space behind the building, and is free for members if you purchase something from the shop. Else, is RM2 for non-members if I'm not mistaken. If car park is full, you may need to park quite far away.


Address82 Jalan Burma10050 George TownPenang
Opening HoursMonday - Sunday, 11am to 9.30pm
Admission: Free, except for parking 




13. Beach Play

Penang does not has the cleanest beach, but a beach is a beach and is very fun in my kids' opinion. Both of them likes sand play and will spend hours just digging the sand. 

Penang being an island and surrounded by beach, it is therefore free sand play for the kids. Who need a sand pit in the house when sand play is so easily attainable? hehe.

Staying quite near the beach stretch, I usually bring my kids to the one nearer to our home, which is just opposite the main road. The sand there isn't real fine, but it would do. But if you like fine sand and nicer beach cove, just go further to Batu Feringghi stretch and the beach there is nicer.

I just need to bring buckets and pails and some spades, you know those beach tools. And I usually bring a large bottle of water for them to rinse the sand off their feet and hands after that because Shern is a clean freak. And also it will be less messy when they get onto the car. 

How To Get There: Just get off the Tanjung Bungah/Batu Feringghi stretch as soon as you spot any beaches you like. But Miami Beach and Shamrock Beach are two local favourites which has food vendors during the afternoons and on weekends.



14. Project Occupy Beach Street (every Sunday morning)

This Project Occupy Beach Street is held on Beach Street/Lebuh Pantai every Sunday morning from 7am-1pm.  Every Sunday, Project Occupy Beach Street will temporarily barricade major streets adjacent to Beach Street/Lebuh Pantai for family-friendly, community activities that the public can be a part of. This is in conjunction to the state government's initiative for Penang Car Free Day, where everyone can utilize the six-hour, traffic-free space for brisk walking, jogging, biking, dancing and social activities!

There is also a weekly street market where you can shop for local accessories, clothes, souvenirs, handbags and more. 

There are different family-friendly activities such as music performances, street soccer, skateboarding and more. Shern had his first try at Batik Painting there!

Read about our first time there, and also view Shern's first Batik Painting!

Address: Lebuh Pantai, Lebuh Bishop, Lebuh Gereja & Gat Lebuh Gereja, George Town, Penang
Admission: Free

Opening Hours: Every Sun, 7am-1pm



15. i-Play Toy Library
 

As a Penangite, this is one of the places you should go if you have young kids like me. Firstly, you need to register them as members in the children library, which is RM2 a year, and then RM12 a year if you want to enjoy the i-Play facility. 
Is a real bargain because for only RM14 a year, you get to enjoy the educational toys available there whole year round!

The place is child-friendly, air-conditioned, spacious, and reasonably clean. Though of course the practice of washing hands after play here is important because this is a public space. 
I like that they have very new and well-kept toys, which most of them are made of wood. 
The toys there are educational toys and they also have sections on pretend-play and such.

And as a children member for your RM2/year member fee, you get to borrow 4 books and 2 magazines for 2 weeks. 

Read about the i-Play Toy Library here, and also the books we'd borrowed!

Penang Children Library (Georgetown) 
Address: 11, Jalan Scotland10450 Penang 
Tel: 04-2287010 
Email: kkanak@penanglib.gov.my 

Admission: You need to be a member to enter. Members are rm12/year for kids. 

Opening Hours: 
Wednesdays to Fridays 2pm-5.30pm 
Saturdays and Sundays 10am to 5.30pm (Lunch break 1pm-2.30pm) 
Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays as well as Public Holidays




16: On Board Lady Martina


I was lucky to go on board Lady Martina before it was launched, and I had a wonderful time.  
Lady Martina is a water limousine service that ferries between Straits Quay Marina and Eastern & Oriental Hotel

I'm sure kids will be thrilled with a speedboat kinda ride, but just make sure you hold on to younger kids so that they don't fall into the water.

Updated: 
We went there again with my kids and also with my sis and her family.
Although it was hot but it was a great experience and also the highlight of their short school holiday!

Tickets:
For Straits Quay shoppers, bring along your single purchase receipt of RM50 to get two tickets at RM10 each. Big spenders with a single purchase receipt of RM100 can enjoy the breezy cruise with five tickets at RM10 each
11.30am | 1.30pm | 3.30pm | 5.30pm * 6.30pm
(Only on Saturday, Sunday and public holiday that does not fall on Friday)



UPDATED 24 Nov 2014


17: Saanen Dairy Goat Farm




We had a great time, together with some friends when we visited this Saanen Dairy Goat Farm 2 months ago.
The place is quite small, but is great for families with young kids. 
The admission is free which is a great plus and also they provide provide free grass stalks for the visitors to feed the goats, which to me is another great plus!

Both Khye and Shern had a great time getting close and personal to these goats and Khye had a great time feeding them the stalks and Shern even fed the baby goats some goat's milk!

Saanen Dairy Goat Farm
Address: 298 MK 1 , Sungai Pinang , 11010 Balik Pulau, Pulau Pinang, Balik Pulau (erm, we used Waze to get there!)
Tel: 0195163017

Opening Hours: 10am - 5pm daily
Admission: FREE




18: Penang Botanical Gardens


We only managed to have a short morning stroll at the Botanical Gardens about a month back. But whatever we saw made me want to go back for more. We hadn't been going there for quite awhile since the last renovation.
Their landscaping just outside the entrance is already captivating, with the lotus ponds and fountains and water lilies. 

And since we spotted the mini train parked just outside the entrance, I knew we would be going back again with Shern who is a train lover. 

Just remember not to bring any food inside the Botanical Gardens as there are many monkeys hanging around (literally speaking!) watching your every move, and they may try to snatch it away from you, or your kids. So beware!


UPDATED 4 Mar 2017

19. Countryside Stables Penang

We visited the Countryside Stables Penang at the end of February with a few of my friends and their kids and my kids had an awesome time feeding the horses, donkeys and miniature horses. They also got a chance to do some horse grooming and had a ride on the donkey/horse. 

It was quite a close and personal encounter where they know the name of the donkey or horse they rode on. And the place was really well kept with 2 very passionate owners.

Just type the name of the place into your Waze and it will bring you there alright. 
If not, then below is the address if you are familiar with the Balik Pulau area.

Countryside Stables Penang
Add: Lot 603 Pantai Malindo Kampong Sungai Burung (off Jalan Baru), 11000 Balik Pulau, Penang.
Opening Hours: 2pm - 7pm

Tel: 012 4080678 / 012 4871107




So there you are. 19 places to go in Penang with kids. There are so many more things to do in Penang, but here it is for now.
Anyway, I wish you will find this list useful, and I hope you love Penang as much as I do!
Cheers!

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