Penang – Good food everywhere?

The impetus for us and my sisters-in-law to drive all the way up to Penang was not so much the resort for the kids, but the food! My mum-in-law and my mum followed us up to help keep an eye on the kids. The first day, as the kids were busy playing in the resort, we decided to have a simple lunch at the bar & grill for the convenience. So for dinner, we wanted to eat some good, fresh, cheap seafood. A few people recommended this place for seafood. The garlic and butter fried fish was good, as was the black pepper squid. The salted egg crab was not bad, but some of the dishes we ordered were pretty average. I guess it was because we didn’t know which were their speciality dishes. When we left, we saw that the other tables had dishes which looked yummier than ours!

Lobster with noodles

It was about a 10 minute drive from our hotel, but the kids did not like this place as there were stray cats hanging around our table while we ate.

Supposedly the best seafood place in Penang

The next day, with so many kids in tow, we decided not to venture far for lunch. We drove to this Thai restaurant which is just a couple of minutes from our hotel. They have live seafood in the tanks at the entrance and the kids were amazed to see the giant fishes and giant prawns. But as we walked right in, we realised that this restaurant over-looked the beach. What a lovely surprise. 

Lunch by the beach

We couldn’t resist ordering their geoduck sashimi as it was cheaper than back home. It is one of my mum’s favorite dishes and since it was her birthday that day, we decided to give her a treat. The kids enjoyed it very much too. 

Fresh geoduck sashimi

Back at the resort, the kids wanted to swim some more so in the evening, we left them all to my mum while we headed into town in search of some good food. My SIL was bent on buying good tau sar pneah home and she heard that Ghee Hiang made the best ones. She drove all the way to buy it but the branch had just closed so she went to the Jalan Macalister branch. The hubs and I found it pretty average, although the almond cookies were not bad. This is probably the most famous biscuit brand in Penang as it has a heritage of over 150 years.

Ghee Hiang at Jalan Macalister

After she was satisfied with her purchases, we went in search of one of the most popular char kway teow stalls. There was hardly anyone waiting so we placed our order. Then the uncle asked if we were eating here or take away. We said “eat here”, and half expected to hang on to our plates and eat while standing. Then as it started to drizzle, we went across the street for shelter. That was when we realized that the coffee shop across the street was filled with people sitting at tables with no food. They were all waiting for their char kway teow!

Roadside char kway teow at Jalan Siam

We waited for about 40 minutes for our food. We all agreed it was the best CKT we have ever eaten. In fact, that was my brother-in-law’s third CKT that day and he said that the others were not great at all. While waiting for our food, we chatted with the coffeeshop owner and he recommended another shop for tau sar pneah.

Rain or shine, he’s here

It was just round the corner so we decided to go and take a look. 

Ban Heang

We felt that this pneah is better than the previous one so we bought a couple of boxes home as gifts.

More pneahs..

Somehow, we had the misconception that everywhere in Penang would be serving great Penang hawker fare. But we realised that you actually have to know where to go for the good food, and you would have to know what to order.

Murals by Ernest Zacharevic

Unfortunately, we did not have enough time to do a couple of other things we wanted to. One was to hunt for the fascinating wall paintings on the streets of Georgetown. They were painted about a year ago by Lithuania-born artist Ernest Zacharevic for the George Town Festival 2012. A good friend just came back from Penang with her kids and they had a great time playing real life ‘treasure hunt’ for the murals. But if you have young kids in tow, another option is to rent a trishaw and the driver will take you around to all the different murals.

Another place we wanted to check out was Macalister Mansion. When we went there, they were hosting a private function. What a pity. It’s a boutique hotel which looks like an old English mansion and there are whimsical animal statues all around the hotel. Apparently, they serve good Penang laksa there.

Another dish we did not get around to trying was Nasi Lemak. A relative recommended the popular stall at Jin Hoe cafe at Pulau Tikus. You have to get there early in the morning as they sell out very fast.

Sane tip: I guess if we ever do return to Penang, we will have to make it a longer trip when Kate is older. Then we’ll have more time to drive around and enjoy the street food. And we’ll definitely fly there instead of driving up. The drive home was rather agonising as Kate was cranky due to insufficient sleep on the trip and she cried for a big part of the 9-hour journey.

Save tip: Penang is a great destination for a family trip on a budget. A flight there on a budget airline is not expensive, and there is so much to entertain the kids and so much street food to keep the adults happy.

Related post:

Penang – Golden Sands Resort

~ – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Penang – Golden Sands Resort

We had to go to KL for my mum-in-law’s birthday so we decided to make a family trip out of it. We chose Penang as I heard that Golden Sands Resort has an indoor playground within the compound which would be handy for Kate if she gets bored of the sand. Besides, the hubs was keen on going to eat all the authentic Penang food so we were game for the 4 hour ride up from KL. It was a relatively uneventful drive up, and we managed to get Kate to nap for half the journey, and we kept her happy with snacks and toys for the other half. Penang is more modern than I expected and apparently they are more affluent than the other states as the manufacturing industry fuelled their economy. We passed several hotels that dotted the beach, but we missed our hotel’s entrance as the signage was rather discreet and we had to U-turn back.  After we checked in, the kids were itching to stretch their legs and they immediately changed into their swim wear and headed for the beach.

Fun in the sun with their cousins

We were rather disappointed in the quality of the sand as it is not fine like Redang or even Pangkor Laut resort, and the water is not clear. After awhile they headed back to the resort swimming pool.

#3 ready to catch #5

This slide may look simple but they played here for almost 3 hours!

And… caught!

Somehow, #3 became the designated catcher.

E’s turn

This slide is partially shaded during the day so the kids played here most of the afternoon.

That was fun!

The shallow pool was good as there was a big shade over it.

Nice relaxing swim in the pool

They played in the water until dinnertime and we went out for seafood. The next day, we had breakfast at the hotel, then we decided that the kids should play at the indoor playground as it was too hot to swim. The older kids went wild with all the different slides there. We have never seen a slide this steep at any other indoor playground. Only #3 dared to try it.

Demon Drop slide (24 ft vertical drop slide)

I saw many kids sitting for a couple of minutes at the top psyching themselves up before they dared to take the plunge. But after the first try, they kept going back. This slide is most suited to those 10 and above (or younger, for the dare-devils! Min age – 7 years old)

Customized drop slides from UK

#3 took Kate on the Hyperglide Astra slide and she enjoyed it! I think they are grooming her to be a dare-devil.

Grab a sack and get ready to slide!

The kids spent most of the 2 hours on the slides. Their younger cousin who is 3 did not dare to go on the slides, although she did manage to entertain herself with the rest of the play areas. This indoor playground would be best enjoyed by kids 5 years and above who would dare to go on the slides. As for Kate, I reckon it’s because she’s too young to have developed a fear.

Kate clapped her hands when she landed!
There is also a small play area for the younger kids. This area is free if they don’t intend to play at the main play area.
Toddler Zone (for the under 4s)

After 2 hours, we went out for lunch then the kids registered for the Kids Club activities. That day, they were having T-shirt painting (RM20), followed by free play at the indoor playground, and when the sun went down, they headed out to the pool for group games. As the kids were occupied, the adults took the opportunity to get their massage and foot reflexology by the beach. The massage hut is very spartan, but at RM60 for 1 hour of massage/foot reflexology, we weren’t complaining. Besides, with the sea breeze and the sound of the waves, I couldn’t be happier.

Massage by the beach

My mum took Kate back to the room for her afternoon nap. Meanwhile, the kids made friends with this lovely lady and they had a great time playing ‘Monkey’ with her, while her husband and kid looked on. A big shout-out to Vicki from Melbourne, whom #4 fondly named ‘Pink Shark”. She’s a real hilarious lady and just watching her play with my kids with her constant banter made me realise that parenting doesn’t have to be a dreary job. 

Their new friend, Vicki

Vicki left to tend to her son and they went to join the pool games which had just started. They made friends with a lovely 9 year-old girl from Oregon. (I think my kids learn more about Geography from newly acquired friends than from school!)

Pool games organised by the Kids Club

Seeing that they were all in good hands and were enjoying themselves, I found a hammock a slight distance away and relaxed in peace.

Time standing still.. what a lovely day

Kate woke up from her nap and the hubs took her swimming. He couldn’t find her swimming costume. This is what happens when the hubs is in charge. Oh well.

Kate wearing #4’s extra pair of swimming shorts

All in all, it is a good family holiday destination. The indoor playground, the Kids Club and the swimming pool with the slide are enough to keep them occupied for a week. The only disappointing thing was the rough sand. While the kids were occupied with playing, the adults were occupied with hunting down the best Penang food… More about that in the next post.

Adventure Zone

Opening hours:
10am – 7pm

Admission fees:
For resort guests:
Children RM40 for half day
Children RM 20 for 2 hours

Children: RM 30 for 2 hours

All children must be accompanied by a responsible adult at all times.
Socks must be worn when on the play equipment.
Long sleeved shirts must be worn when using any of the Drop Slides.
No wet clothes or swimming costumes in the play equipment area.

Related post:

Penang – good food everywhere?

~   mummywee – parenting 6 kids in Singapore without going mad or broke  ~

Berjaya Times Square Theme Park – Kuala Lumpur

Last weekend, we drove up to KL for my mum-in-law’s 70th birthday party. I asked the kids if they wanted to spend the afternoon in Bejaya Times Square and they all shouted “Yes!”

We used to take them there every year when they were younger, but as they grew up, we explored further holiday destinations. Going to Times Square was one of their school holiday tradition and they missed it very much.

Our road trip began at 7am

We allowed the kids to watch a movie on the iPad for awhile, and once we hit the highway, got them all to take a nap. The older 5 had a nice long nap while Kate fell asleep only 10-minutes before we reached KL. That’s how it always is, isn’t it!

We had lunch, checked in, then headed straight for Berjaya Times Square, which is located in the Bukit Bintang area. We always stay at Park Royal Hotel as it is within walking distance from Times Square, Overseas Restaurant and Pavilion (a huge mall that I love).

If you are wondering which hotel is more suitable for your family, Park Royal is newer and nicer, while Berjaya Times Square Hotel is well-worn, but the rooms are larger and more convenient if you have young children.

It sounds illogical, but they still prefer this theme park compared to Disneyland, Universal Studios and Legoland simply because it is in air-conditioned comfort and everything is very compact and you don’t have to walk as much. The upper floor is for the younger kids and they have a whole range of rides suitable for tots from 1-6 years old.

Kate on the Merry-go-round

Besides the merry-go-round, they have the bumper cars, viking, bumble bee, train ride and botanic drive.

Bumble Bee

They had a swell time with their cousins, and could have happily played the whole day if given the chance! There’s also a mini movie theatre which screens different movies throughout the day.

Botanic Drive
Crazy bus

#5’s favourite is the bumper car. Even on a Saturday, the queue for each ride is only about 10 minutes long.

Honey Bump

I remember Parkway parade used to have this viking swing when we were kids! The good ol’ days..

Molly’s Cool Swing

They have 2 playgrounds, one for older kids and one for toddlers. They also have a mini theatre where movies are screened for free.


The toddler playground..

Don’t ask me why she wanted to go down head first!

For the adults, teens, and brave tweens, the lower floor has enough thrilling rides to keep them entertained for hours.

Dizzy Izzy

#1 asked me to accompany her on the rides but there’s no way I’m going on any of them!

Spinning Orbit

In the end, she went on this roller-coaster by herself as none of her younger siblings dared to join her. 

Supersonic Odyssey

I heard lots of screams coming from this one.

DNA Mixer

After about 2 hours, the kids were still playing happily so I passed Kate to my mum and headed downstairs to FOS. We used to joke that it’s an acronym for ‘Full-of-Singaporeans’ as we were likely to bump into a fellow Singaporean.

Factory Outlet Store

The prices are really cheap, but it is not always possible to find the correct sizes for the kids. However, this time I managed to find lots of bodysuits for Kate. What a steal at RM30 for 3 pieces!

Love the captions

It is interesting how this is a Muslim country and this mall is not one of the newer malls, yet their Christmas deco can rival Takashimaya’s in scale. 

Nice big Christmas tree

The kids played until it was time to head across the street for their grandma’s dinner party. It was a surprise party with about 70 guests and everyone managed to keep the surprise! This is our favourite Chinese restaurant in KL.

Restoran Oversea

At Times Square, we tried to get Kate to have a nap but she couldn’t as it was too noisy. First time in her life that she did not have a nap in the day. Before the first dish was even served, she drank her milk and promptly fell asleep. As we did not have any more boot space to bring along a stroller, she slept on 2 chairs.

Seriously K.O

They have quite a lot of good dishes like the big head prawn, salted fish with slice pork, special bean curd and their steam fish. But the most popular dish is the char siew which has to be pre-ordered.

Oh so succulent

Longevity bun

It was a long day filled with lots of fun and excitement for the kids. We walked back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep before driving up to Penang the next day.

Sane tip: Even though this theme park is old, we have come every other year and the kids can spend a full day here. I find it enjoyable as it is not under the hot sun and we don’t have to wait long for each ride.

Save tip: For a theme park, this is really value for money. It cost us about S$15 each for a whole day of fun!

Operating Hours:
Mon-Fri: 12noon – 10pm
Sat, Sun, Sch hols/Public hols: 11am – 10pm

Admission rate:
Adult (13 & above): RM48
Child (3-12): RM38
Family rides (only 4 rides at upper level): RM25
Family (2A & 2C): RM138
Senior Citizen (55 & above): RM15

~ – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

We’re off on a road trip

It’s the school holidays and it’s time for a family holiday. We’re driving up to Malaysia to celebrate my mum-in-law’s 70th birthday. We’re giving her a surprise party there as most of her siblings live in Malaysia. Then we’ll head off to the beach for some fun for the kids. This is the first time we’re going on a road trip with the 6 kids!

They packed their own luggages, except for Kate of course

See you when we get back 🙂

~  mummywee – parenting 6 kids in Singapore without going mad or broke  ~

Our very first camping trip

(written by #3)

Over the National Day weekend, my #4 sis and I went camping with my aunt and uncle, and about 10 of their friends. The place that we were going to camp in was in Malaysia so we had to drive there. We saw a lot of greenery on our journey. It took us quite a long time to drive there but it was all worth it. After driving for about 4 hours we reached our destination. We were greeted by this beautiful scenery.

The first thing we did was to pitch our tents. We chose a flat spot right near the waterfall. It took us just 5 minutes to set it up. Ours is a 4-man tent and it has a rain cover. 

After settling down, we all went to have a swim at the waterfall. One of the uncles told us to jump into the water so that we would smell like the natives and the insects won’t bite us. I don’t know if that is true but we all jumped in. The water was freezing! After swimming for about an hour, we got out and changed.

Then we gathered the BBQ things and brought it down near the water. The adults needed to start a fire to cook the food. They dug a tiny hole in the sand and poured special charcoal on it. They did not need to light it up as when they threw the charcoal in, there was a fire automatically. They found 2 small logs which they placed at the 2 sides and then they laid the grill on. We roasted satay, pork, beef patty, sausages, mushroom, capsicum, pineapple, cucumber and pumpkin. We got our tent chairs and waited for the food to cook. The food was delicious!

When we needed to pee, we went behind the ‘pee tent’. It was actually a huge banner propped up by 2 long sticks. At night we went into our tent to sleep. It was quite a warm night. When we woke up the next morning, we sat by the waterfall. It was so peaceful and nice. 

Mummy asked us which was the best part of our trip? We enjoyed the whole trip very much but the most fun part was being massaged by the waterfall 🙂

(note from mummywee: Before they set off, I asked #3 to take some pictures and prepare a post. However, after they returned I found out that the place is part of a private property and visitors are not allowed. I didn’t want to disappoint #3 for all her effort so I decided to share with you her pictures. In future, I will definitely include details about getting there etc for places that are open to public)

Sane tip: Good for the kids to relax in the beauty and serenity of nature. Keeps them sane.

Save tip: Free lodging, free meals, free entertainment… what more can I ask for 🙂 

~ mummywee – parenting 6 kids without going mad or broke  ~