This week we chat to Sally from Tips 4 Trips about her favourite family holiday in Asia – Penang, Malaysia. Have you considered Penang with kids?
We are HUGE fans of Penang; it’s the incredible street food keeps drawing us back. But we are yet to visit with the boys. Sally has most definitely convinced us that Penang is a perfect destination for young families!
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi, I’m Sally and I write Tips 4 Trips. I have been travelling since I was a baby with my parents. As a young adult I road tripped around Australia, backpacked around Europe and took tours to the USA and Mexico. Now I enjoy taking my son (who is now 9 years old) on family adventures.
2. How many times have you travelled to Asia and and why do you love travelling there?
As a family we have travelled to Asia 10 times. We live in Perth, Western Australia; Asia is just so close and cost effective for us to visit. Yet each time we go we try to explore different regions. Since the age of two years we have taken our son to Bali four times (staying in different locations around the island), Singapore, Phuket, Kota Kinabalu, Pattaya, Bangkok and Penang twice.
3. Why is Penang your favourite destination?
There are so many things to do in Penang. I love the delicious foods from a variety of cuisines, a range of shopping options from flea markets to upmarket boutiques and lots of family friendly educational attractions.
4. What are your top 3 things to do in Penang with kids?
My top three picks for family travel attractions are:
Entopia by Penang Butterfly Farm
Penang Spice Garden
5. Where did you stay?
As we have visited Penang twice we have stayed at two different family Penang hotels.
The first was the Golden Sands Resort by Shangri-La. This resort was perfect for toddlers. I liked the large shaded wading pool, mini water slide and soft white sand to play in by the bar on the beach.
The second trip my son was six years old. We stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel in the Lil Rock Suite, the room was perfect for families with school age children with a separate portioned off area in the room. There were also lots for the kids to do around the pool with three water slides, splash zone, and pool side games every afternoon. The only dampener to the hotel was the very LOUD music constantly playing. If you’re into that then it’s perfect.
6. What did the kids eat?
My son’s a bit of a pain when it comes to eating. He is fussy. So we made a deal where alternate nights we chose a place that offers pizza and chips, the other nights we would eat local. He even got a little adventurous and tried satay chicken and fried rice.
7. How did you get around Penang with kids?
When we travel we like to use the public transport as much as possible. In Penang there is a great public transport system called Penang Rapid. It is cheap and easy to navigate.
If you are travelling further around Malaysia, you may be interested to know that you can get the ferry from Penang to Langkawi.
8. What is your top tip for travelling to Penang with kids?
My top tip for families travelling to Penang would be to research the family accommodation. There is lots of choice and it is just a matter of finding the best fit for you and your children. The most popular tourist resort strip is in Batu Ferringhi (45min drive from the capital of Georgetown). The resorts along this northern beach were built in the 1970’s so most of the rooms are a little smaller however they have all been refurbished. Each of the family Penang hotels has a different budget and specialises for different age groups.
9. What item could you not have done without in Penang?
During our last family vacation to Penang staying at the Hard Rock Hotel in the Lil Rock Suite, the room had no balcony. So I was glad that I had packed my pegless clothesline to stretch across the shower to hang out our swimming clothes.
10. Where are you off to next?
Our next major family holiday will be in April to Khao Lak and Phuket, Thailand. This trip was originally booked for October 2017 however due to a medical emergency just days before we were due to fly out we had to cancel. Thank goodness for travel insurance – you just never know when you are going to need it. In the meantime, we are off to Australia’s South West for a getaway to explore the giant Karri and Red Tingle forests.
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