We first went to Penang when Lewis was 3 1/2 years.
How do we fare travelling with a toddler in Penang?
For once we booked early! It was just by chance that I found a great deal. My sister had mentioned one of her favourite family holiday destinations was Penang and so I started doing some research.
I typed in some random dates into Webjet to get an idea on flight costs and times and discovered that Malaysian Airlines were having a sale. A bit more Googling and I had decided on the Golden Sands by Shangri-La. We booked the 7 day holiday (our cheapest holiday yet.)
On departure day I sent Lewis off to 3+Kindy and I went home to pack in peace. At midday I collected Lewis, Steve came home from work and we were off to the airport. We checked-in, bought duty free and made Lewis run up and down the concourse till boarding. The flight was pleasant (we got 5 seats to ourselves). On arrival into Kuala Lumper we found that our connecting flight to Penang was delayed an hour. Now we would not be arriving into Penang until 2am.
*NOTE: If I was to travel this route again I would break it up with a stop at the KLIA transit hotel. It was quite exhausting arriving in the wee small hours.
Arriving into Penang and our driver was waiting for us. He advised that it would take 45 minutes to get to our hotel in Batu Ferringhi. The streets were empty and we flew past colonial, Arabic and Asian buildings.
The next morning we woke to find a lovely view across the mountains around to the ocean (I had emailed the hotel a week before asking to be in a room away from the mosque. They obliged.) We found the huge breakfast buffet and ate while overlooking the pool and ocean.
We spent the first day relaxing by the pool and exploring the hotel with a sleep in the afternoon. By the evening we were ready to step outside we found the mini marts, restaurants, day spas, food halls and after 7pm the nights markets come out. One point to note we took our pram with us the first night – it was so difficult to navigate the uneven foot paths, high verges and narrow crowded corridors or the night market – needless to say it didn’t come on any following evenings out.
By the second day we were ready to start exploring the island. I had no idea that Penang was so big. We caught a bus into Georgetown for less than $2 for all of us. When we arrived we had no idea where we were, anyway we just walked along and stumbled upon the Paragon Shopping Centre. It was huge with some good priced items. We ate lunch here – very nice and then caught the bus back and spent the rest of the afternoon by the pool.
We continued to explore the island as the week progressed and we became more proficient at using the Rapid Bus Service (Lewis really enjoys the novelty of catching a bus). We went up to Penang Hill taking a ride on the Funicular Train that Lewis loved.
We went up market shopping at Gurney Plaza plus took a Cultural Tour of the old town and Penang’s Chinatown – probably not the best move with a toddler, he did get quite restless during the day.
We finished everyday by swimming in the pool and having a “Happy Hour” cocktail at the bar on the beach. Then making our way along the main strip to find another delicious restaurant and then later browse the night stalls on the way back.
On our last night we took a trishaw ride up and down the length of the main strip. Lewis loved it, you can’t go past unusual forms of transport to amuse kids.
We coped quite well with our toddler. He loves public transport and any other form of unusual transportation, I just have to remember to choose activities that he will find entertaining.
Over all this was one of our most relaxing holidays. Steve asked for the next holiday to be longer. Hurrah!!!
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