Thursday, 22 December 2016

Penang with Kids

We went on a short holiday in Penang in 2014 and decided that we did not have enough of it. That prompted us to return for a 5-day 4-night visit last week and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves again.

This post documents places we visited and our verdicts on them:

1) Escape
My rating: 5/5
J's rating: 4.7/5

At Escape, J went on the high elements, which was called Monkey Business. I eagerly snapped pictures of him tackling the obstacles from the ground till I could see him no more. The trail extended into the forest and I left him in the good hands of my friend's husband, who reported later that J was confident with heights. I wish I had joined them. 

Little An had less to do since she did not meet the height requirements of many of the activities. She attended Monkey School and conquered the low obstacles. I had to help her to manoevre the clip at some points and push her down the zip lines as she was not tall enough. She looked worried at times, but I think it was a good experience for her overall.

The highlight for me was scaling up the Gecko Tower. Having not done rock-climbing for ages, I tried level one and realised how unfit I was. I managed to make it to the top, but think my timing of close to two minutes was quite embarrassing. Hehe.

What we all enjoyed most was the Tubby Racer. We had to lug up a tube each before enjoying an exhilarating slide down. As the tube bumped the sides of the slide, we were actually descending the slide backwards at times. It was cool! We had a similar experience in Melbourne but it was raining then. Thank God for the glorious weather when we were at Escape.

Near the Tubby Racer, we could pan for gold. I managed to find four gold nuggets, but before I knew it, An had returned the nuggets to the trench! We were supposed to place the nuggets in a machine and receive a medal in place of the nuggets. The staff was very kind and gave each of the children a gold medal anyway. An was so thrilled with her medal that she kept it around her neck the whole afternoon.

Good to know: 
- There is a free shuttle service provided by Escape to and fro some hotels at Batu Ferringhi. The pick up times at our hotel were 9.30a.m. and 10.30a.m. The shuttle leaves Escape at 4p.m. for the hotels. 
- Go early (It opens at 9a.m.). There is simply insufficient time to do everything and the queues can get quite long. 
- No outside food and drinks allowed.

2) Escape Rooms 
My verdict: 5/5
J's verdict: 4.2/5

We went to two escape rooms (Flee60 and Escape Room) on two different nights. At Flee60, we had to travel to the past on a Time Machine and retrieve some artefacts before returning to the present. We managed to escape from the room with the help of the game master and felt fulfilled.

The latter escape room did not have good reviews online, but we enjoyed ourselves nonetheless. We chose the theme Up - Bon Voyage as it looked the most inviting. We were greeted by the show's theme tune and balloons that characterise the show. Even Little An was suitably occupied at this escape room.

3) Gold Museum
My rating: 5/5
J's rating: 4/5

All the museums we went to were rather small. Of these, I thought the Gold Museum was the most educational and had the greatest variety of activities. We were told how gold was mined and were surprised to find out that each stone only contained about 3 to 4 g of gold. There were photo opportunities and we panned for gold again. We also got to feel a 50-kg gold bar and watched a demonstration of silver pouring. Gold was not used as the process of pouring would cause some gold to be lost and each gram of gold cost RM200+. 

4) Glass Museum
My rating: 4/5
J's rating: 4/5

At the glass museum, we were warmly welcomed. Each of us was given a piece of glass to decorate. We also watched a man cutting glass using a regular penknife. The upper level had photo spots with mirrors and special lightings and we were shown how to pose in order to achieve certain effects.

5) Dark Mansion - 3D Glow in the Dark Museum
My rating: 4/5
J's rating: 4/5

This 'museum' is mainly for photography. The lower level of the Dark Mansion was a regular 3D interactive museum. The upper level had glow in the dark effects. J was attracted to this museum as he saw people posing with light sabres on the website. Unfortunately, we were told the light sabres were destroyed by a group of preschoolers so we had to make do without them. The saving grace was that the staff was helpful and friendly and did their best to show us how to take photos that optimise the lightings. 

6) Wonderfood Museum
My rating: 5/5
J's rating: 4.9/5

Penang is a haven for food so it was not surprising that there was a museum dedicated to food. Besides huge displays of popular food in Penang, there were quirky food exhibits. We captured a number of happy shots here. Incidentally, J has been learning the Chinese names of certain food items (like 印度煎饼 and 娘惹糕点) and he could use his knowledge at this museum.

7) Penang Street Art
My rating: 4/5
J's rating: 1.5/5

We had a map with all 26 street art pieces and their locations and I thought it was fun to tour Georgetown on foot and look for the pieces at the same time. We saw several families trying to fulfil this mission on bicycles. We did not manage to locate all the pieces as it was scorching and Little An fell asleep. I did find the street art pretty and we also spotted some unofficial ones which were rather cute! 

8) Penang Hill
My rating: 4/5
J's rating: 4/5

I enjoyed the funicular tram ride up and down the hill. The lower station was very crowded though and we waited for sometime before we got our tickets. We paid double the price to get express tickets and I thought it was worth the price as we could skip the queues!

The scenery atop the hill would have been beautiful had it been a clear day. We went when it was foggy but could still make out the Penang bridge and had a bird's eye perspective of the quaint town.

We saw a toy museum, an owl museum and a lavender garden on the hill, but we did not visit any of these as we were in a hurry. The Habitat is in construction and early reviews of guided tours on the Habitat have been positive. I think we did not see enough of the hill as we had to catch a shuttle so we may be back. 

9) Adventure Zone
My review: 5/5
J's review: 4/5

We stayed at Golden Sands resort for 3 nights and had unlimited visit to the Adventure Zone. This was our second time here and I wanted to conquer my fear of the blue slide. In the end, I did not even try but had fun running around with the children. My friend's son was the most courageous and he went on the vertical red slide over and over again. 

My rating: 5/5
J's rating: 5/5

This was a wholesaler for coffee and chocolates and next to it, different kinds of tea were sold. We could sample to our hearts' content and the kids loved the fruit teas. My favourite was soursop tea but I let the kids purchase two of their favourite flavours instead and their choices were lemon and lychee. I regret not buying more as gifts but my thought then was my limited luggage space. Till next time. :)

11) Food

Penang is famous for food, but the best meals we had were at Andrew's Kampong at Batu Ferringhi. We went there on our second night and all of us enjoyed the food so much that we unanimously decided to return to it on the third night. The deep fried ice cream and devilled chicken curry were absolutely delectable and my friends recommend the steamed fish. The fried noodles and sizzling chicken were very tasty too.

Thank God also that when we moved to Hotel Jen on our final night, the hotel was relaunching its Club Room and we had quite a feast.


There were a number of other places that we ran out of time to visit - Teddyville Museum, Upside Down Museum, Penang Colonial Museum, Youth Park and attending a cooking class. I think that means we will be back in Penang pretty soon. :)

Hope you are having an enjoyable holiday too. :)


Celia said...

Pea, what an exciting and fun-filled holiday! How I wish E and I can join you all!

Pea said...

Thanks Celia. :) Would have loved your company. Next year?