Friday, June 13, 2014
Took a trip to Penang again, my favourite Malaysian city thus far. As we went with the extended family this time, there was not much sightseeing. June is the warmest and most humid month for Singapore and Malaysia so my mum and aunt were most comfortable in air con. So Batu Ferringhi beach and lots of walking was out. Lol.
We stayed at Evergreen Laurel Hotel this time, to accommodate the budget of the extended family. The rooms were big and comfortable and the staff were friendly. But as there is no longer a free shuttle, we had to take a lot of cab rides to Gurney Plaza. Min is RM10 to go to Gurney Plaza, a Capital Mall run shopping centre. For the sake of convenience esp with young kids where you may need to go back to the hotel often to drop off shopping or let them rest/shower etc, I will still pick G Hotel.
On the first day, we had a late dim sum lunch at Xuan xin restaurant. I let the gals enjoy a mini manicure at Charmaine Nail Salon at Gurney Plaza for RM14. No such luxury in Sg cos it's too expensive. For dinner, we went to the open air Gurney drive Hawker centre but it was too warm for my mum and aunt. Queues were very long as we only went there at 8pm.
The next day, we went to Prangin Mall. There are two Atriums. Atrium A is more happening whereas Atrium B is quiet with quite a lot of shuttered shops. The main reason of going of Prangin mall is because of Kidland. It is Penang's version of the popular KL's Kidzania. Because it is school holidays, it is RM30 for 5 hrs of play, either 10-3pm or 4-9pm. If it is a non school holiday, you can play the whole day there. The place is big and occupies 2 floors. The entrance is at Level 4 while exit is at Level 5. There is a small café at level 5 near the washrooms and exit.
Kids can choose their favourite professions at Kidland, go into different rooms, don different uniforms and 'work' for $. The learning experience is guided by their staff once the kids are inside the rooms. But since it is the gals' first time, and we are not sure if they can navigate the rooms on their own, hb accompanied them for an additional RM5.
Kids can earn kidmonics $ then they can choose how they want to spend their money. They can either use their money on experiences (eg. indoor pg, face makeup, clayart, cookie making etc) or they can use the $ at the souvenir shop at Level 5. The gals tried out Bomb Disposal, IT, Police, Photo Studio. After earning hard and getting $70+, the gals chose to spend their hard earned $ at the indoor playground and dramatic face makeup. Not enough $ to buy souvenirs but hb got them a small toy each for RM10.
Went for a day tour (more like a shopping tour for my mum and aunt) on our last day in Penang. In the morning, we went to Pulau Tikus to buy our favourite 'dou miao'. I love this crunchy dou miao from Penang. Can't seem to find it anywhere else. It tastes wonderful just stir fried with some garlic and soy sauce. As yummy as I remember it. We visited the 3d museum to take 3d effect photos, Penang Botanical Gardens to see free roaming monkeys and also to Kek Lok Si. So, I managed to eat my Air Itam Penang Laksa this time.
When I asked the gals what they enjoyed most about Penang. Both said Kidland. I have been to Penang 5 times so far. People always ask me why I keep going back. I can't really describe why.
To me, the biggest draw to Penang besides the food has always been its people.
When we were walking around in Prangin Mall, not knowing the way to Parkson. A young chap on the automated massage chair overheard us and directed us to the right way. When we did our foot reflex massage at Prangin Mall, the massage therapist shared tips with us when we asked what was nice to eat around here. With his help, we tasted one of the best Char kuay teow and yummy chicken rice for just RM3. Even the hotel concierge lady was attentive and helpful towards my mum who couldn't walk very steadily. Guiding her to board the mini bus transport though she had a stern looking face (whom my brother said looked like a teacher or a principal). My brother commented that even the drivers sound their horns in a friendly manner. Just a short, light honk instead of the long dragged out horning that Singaporeans do to vent their frustration and impatience.
I feel welcome at Penang, not like a tourist, but like one of them. Their service attitudes is one of the best I encountered too. While it is nice to discover something new every time I go back to Penang. I hope there is something that doesn't change ie. the warm and humble Penangites.