The “Little School*” (as it’s known) is a Waldorf Steiner school (for ages 18 months – 6 years) located in Tanjung Tokong. This school is special to us because it was the first pre-school Remy went to and to this day he is still friends with a lot of kids he met there!
Many people reading this post will be familiar with life in Penang, and that things are a little different to the way they might be back in our “home” countries. I remember marveling that the school was basically in the jungle (it’s not at all), and thinking how fabulous it was that in the morning the kids are encouraged to play outdoors and get dirty, exploring new things and just being kids. Then the “aunties” basically line them up and hose them down, helping them change into a clean set of clothes for food and indoor play or naps.
In fairness it’s been a long time since we were there but I know it’s still a popular choice and one thing remains constant… that Lin and her husband “Uncle” (as he’s known) Yang are what makes this school so special.
*Back in the old days (pre-Covid), Lin had the “big school” located on a beautiful sprawling property in Jesselton (I remember some great lion dances there), which is where the older kids went, but now they have consolidated on the corner of Fettes and Mt. Erskine. So because Uncle was running the little school when Remy was there I have a soft spot for him because of his ever cheerful nature, his infinite patience and his way of making the children see the wonder in the world.
Tenby Schools Penang is an International School that offers both the British and Malaysian curriculum. The campus already boasts beautiful tennis courts, a swimming pool and an all purpose hall, but it is currently undergoing what looks like a significant expansion. Located in the Permai neighborhood of Tanjung Bungah, Tenby welcomes children aged 3–18 years old.
Guest contributor wanted for this post! Do you (or did you recently) have a child at this school? Would you be willing to recommend it?
Please get in touch!! I can’t wait to hear from you on this or any other post you’d like to share.
Hailing from its sister school in England, Stonyhurst is set to open in September 2022.
You can see the building site developing behind the Tanjung Tokong Lotus’s, and there is a scale model in the window of the Stonyhurst temporary offices (opposite Subway in Straits Quay Mall) if you want to see what it will look like.
They are currently accepting applications for September 2022 intake.
This post was written by Guest Contributor: Alicia Robinson Alicia is a London born and bred mother of 2-year-old twins who has a love-hate relationship with the British weather.
Ginger Island Kindy is a home/condo-based private crèche located in Tanjung Tokong providing nursery and day care services for children aged 18 months – 5 years.
The center is both academic and play-based, offering the ideal balance of the two. My children know how to hold a pencil, match colors and distinguish their 123’s. They have also benefitted from a variety of educational and hands-on activities including: languages, maths, science, music, PE, art, and other play-based activities.
Because each group is limited to a very small size, the children are able to move and interact freely and safely (and occasionally get to go on outings too!) The team is also able to provide attentive care, and are very nurturing to the kids.
What I appreciate the most about Ginger Island is the small group sizes, the flexibility of the drop-off and pick-up times, and the blend of academic and play-based approaches, daily access to the playground for physical activity, and a well-followed schedule with personalized interactions… all of which prompted me to share this wonderful crèche with other parents as well!
Open Monday to Saturday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday by special arrangement only. Food is provided
Penang’s Tropical Fruit Farm is situated about 800ft above sea level on the hilly terrains of Teluk Bahang in Penang, making it an ideal location for cultivating many types of tropical and sub-tropical fruit trees. The orchard was developed in 1993 with the aim of conserving rare and exotic fruit trees from far-flung corners of the globe such as Central and South America, Central Africa, India, the Middle East, the Caribbean, the Pacific Islands etc. Today the orchard boasts of the largest collection of fruit in Southeast Asia with over 200 different species, and the list is still growing.
It’s a wonderful place to visit with the kids as there is lots of room to run around and explore. They enjoyed the quick buggy ride up the hill and farmers plucked fruits right off the trees for us to sample. At the end of our wander, we sat and ordered a giant plate of the most delicious, sweet tropical fruit to snack on, and drank large refreshing juices, all while enjoying the stunning views.
There is a big gift shop where you can also sample different honey as well as gut healthy enzymes (which taste surprisingly good) and purchase various souvenirs.
Definitely one of the places you should go and explore on our beautiful island… and they are open 9am-5pm 365 days of the year!
Don’t let the name fool you – the Saanen Dairy Goat Farm surprises visitors with a lot more than just goats!
This family owned 3-acre farm is another one of Penang’s little gems nestled in the verdant green hills of Balik Pulau. They has been producing quality organic goat milk, yogurt and ice-cream since 2009.
Much to our delight, we discovered that besides the beautiful milk-colored goats, there was a whole host of other animals to play with and feed. Food packets are for sale and sometimes you can help bottle feed a kid (baby) goat. And if you are extra lucky (like I was) you can even give a baby hedgehog a mini fist-bump!
It’s a great place to visit and spend a few hours. Don’t forget to buy some of their delicious and organic products and help support our local farmers. (I not so secretly hope that they start selling goat cheese on our next visit…)
Fun facts: Compared to standard cow, rice, soy or nut milks, goat milk has more protein per serving (8g/cup), and is more digestible. It’s loaded with calcium and other minerals, is good for your skin, and is delicious. The flavor overall is mild, with an almost nutty taste and earthy undertones, and the milk has a smooth creamy consistency.
You won’t find a bowling alley like this one anywhere else in the world! It’s located on a prime piece of real-estate on Farquhar Road, just next to the majestic E&O Hotel. At the far end of the lanes you will find one picturesque window to remind you of just how unique Penang Bowl is, with its stunning views of the Straits of Malacca. Established in 1973 (quick math that’s almost 50 years ago!) it has maintained a chic vintage charm to it.
While we ended up having tons of fun, I wish that there were a couple of lanes with bumpers for the kids, and some smaller/lighter bowling balls. As far as catering to children that would take it to the next level, but as it stands it is still a great destination for family outings, parties, or just a couple of quick games.
Shoes are available (and required) but note that they don’t have very small sizes so if you have little feet, bring thick socks!
Some of you might already know Arieff as he has been ‘barista extraordinaire’ at Let’s Meat for the past 5 years; but what you might not know is that he is also the coolest licensed (under the National Skate Accreditation) skateboard coach in town!
After School Skate Session, as it’s name very much implies, happens each weekday afternoon from 4-6pm at the Youth Park skate park. If you haven’t been there before, it’s located behind where the kids playground is, more towards the base of the hill. It’s the most beautiful setting to find a bunch of skate ramps and it’s nice to be surrounded by nature for that hour.
Ever since he was a kid Arieff always dreamed of becoming a pro-skater, and his passion for it is reflected in his teaching. Being with kids reminds him everyday of the reason he started riding in the first place: to have fun! And they do!
Friends recently introduced us to this terrific Japanese concept ‘board game cafe’ which was not at all what I was expecting! Deep in the heart of Jelutong, on the second floor of a strip mall is this very modern cafe where everyone plays games and hangs out. And the bonus is that the food was really tasty (we had the popcorn chicken), the coffee was delicious and the staff are super friendly!
We played with the other 2 parents while the kids played their own games, the other tables were full of people of all ages – from families, to teenagers, to adults. When you enter along a wall are scores of boardgames to choose from. I didn’t recognize any of them (don’t expect any Parker Brother games there) but one of the great things Kohii is that the staff helps you set up the games and will explain them to you so you can start playing right away and not worry about having to learn everything by reading 6pt instructions!
Memberships are available and offer significant savings. The board games are also available for purchase so if you play something you love you can also take it home with you. Be sure to make a booking but it’s a great way to pass the afternoon with the kids!
This place is very special to us and if you haven’t been, you should go! It’s also baby friendly as there are paved paths for strollers. Kids and adults of all ages will relish breathing in the fresh, cooler, rain-forest air and feel immediately more relaxed and happy.
There’s a giant swing that the kids love and are great for photos, those who are more adventurous should try to zipline courses. The honeymoon course is a short tandem ride if you don’t want to make a big commitment, and I believe it’s the only one open at the moment. When the full course is available that’s truly an adventure and there is nothing like the feeling of flying through the canopy of one of the oldest rainforests in the world. We are so lucky to have the people at The Habitat, working so hard to preserve the natural beauty of Penang, and allowing the public to enjoy these green spaces.
Ok let me back up and start with some basics. There are 3 ways for you to get to The Habitat:
1) You can take the funicular from Ayer Itam
2) You can rent jeeps based just outside of the Botanical Gardens (off Waterfall Road) in Jesselton. This is a fun and wild ride and also comes with a pretty hefty price-tag.
3) The healthiest and most economical option of course is to hike up the hill!
You purchase a day pass when you arrive and they offer some ad ons like a 3-D experience and some short videos. You can then do a guided or unguided tour. Sometimes it’s nice to just wander around peacefully by yourself and sometimes it’s even better to be shown all of this amazing stuff around you that you might not even have noticed.
We had a birthday party up there with several families and kids of all ages. The food was catered and delicious, there was shelter for when it rained as well a clean showers. They organized fabulous guides who pointed out interesting things along our nature walk as well as organizing a scavenger hunt and some games.
Being alone up there under the stars with your friends was a priceless experience. It may have not been the most comfortable… I am not a camper by nature and my bones didn’t appreciate it, but my soul did and the kids absolutely loved it!
Another thing we got to experience during our overnight stay was the Night Safari. This can be arranged even if you aren’t camping up there and it’s incredible to see the different animals that come out at night and hear their different songs.
The Habitat needs everyone’s support to be able to continue the important conservation as well as research work that they do. Before Covid they managed to get Jane Goodall to come and experience one of Penang’s true treasures!
Whether you stop by for a walk or camp overnight, it’s a lovely place to visit and I also highly recommend their gift shop which offers high end Malaysian-centric merchandise and it’s attached to a lovely little spot for lunch or a coffee.
It’s so exciting to see life getting back to normal and kids getting out and exercising again. The Super Saturday Sports Club is a great Saturday morning activity run by 2 qualified P.E. teachers, Jon and Kirsty Abel, on the ever-improving Tenby campus.
Kids range in age from 5-9 years old and the idea is for them to get out and run around, play games and have fun being together in a healthy and supportive environment.
Different games are picked each week depending on the groups of kids, and what they want to play. They range from Remy’s favorite: Yoshi, to all different types of tag, swimming, badminton, capture the flag and many more.
Parents can sign up on a weekly basis to allow for flexibility (which is ideal for weekends in case you want to get away). You just have to fill in a form but you can get all of the details below:
Explore, discover & experience science at Tech Dome (KOMTAR, Georgetown).
Tech Dome Penang is Penang’s 1st Science Discovery Centre. It’s a unique concept, utilizing the allocated space to create “a world within a world”, a miniature city made to tell the story of technology through interactive and immersive engagements. It showcases innovation, learning and entertainment in such a way as to bridge the understanding of technology and its impact on its visitors.
The entrance is tucked away somewhat behind where the carousel is…not the most obvious place to look but we were surprised by the size once we found it.
We love Escape and every-time we leave we wonder why we don’t go all the time!
Start your morning on the ropes side which is good for kids and adults of all levels (plus the water park doesn’t open until later). The toddlers will most likely prefer the water park but regardless there are some activities for them. Meanwhile there is so much for the slightly older kids (approx. ages 5+ depending on size and bravery!) to do.
We did the trapeze, ropes course, trampoline, scaled the side of a building and jumped off another!
Then as the sun gets higher in the sky and you are nice and sweaty, head over to the water park (which only opens in the afternoon) for a quick shower and then a refreshing dive into one of the many pools. Enjoy the worlds longest waterslide – take a ski lift to the top and have a long relatively lazy ride through the rainforest canopy and back down into the cool turquoise pools. There are dive pools, banana slides, high dive boards and Ninja Warrior type courses… and the list goes on, all set in a very mellow and chill atmosphere.
There are lockers and showers available. The staff are very friendly and gift shop is well stocked too with swimwear, sunblock and floats of all kind. Food is available for purchase (it’s pretty good, chicken sausages, fried chicken, etc) with long tables making it a great place for birthday’s, day trips, family outings and weekend activities!
It really is one of Penang’s gems. A note to out of towners with kids: a good weekend itinerary would be to stay at the new Angsana Hotel (https://www.facebook.com/angsanatelukbahang) and enjoy a day or two at Escape but then continue driving around to explore the western side of the island to Balik Pulau where there are loads of interesting activities. Click on the tags to find out what other fun awaits you there!
This is a lovely little stable tucked away in Balik Pulau. The spot itself is really beautiful and the horses, ponies and other animals, (like donkeys and spotted deer) are happy and well cared for.
Children and adults can pay for rides and I think they now also offer lessons. There is a nice covered area which is a perfect spot to relax and have a picnic or even celebrate a birthday!
The only drawback is that they don’t open until 2pm and close at 7pm. I usually find myself with the motivation to goto Balik Pulau in the morning but if you plan your day right you can hit up a few special spots before going to the stable and end up having dinner in a rice paddy field under twinkle lights!
Tanjung Bungah, IKEA Batu Kawan and coming soon to…Gurney Plaza!
Project Rock is one of our favorite places – probably because we have an avid young rock climber in the family!
The BIG Project Rock is located inside the same mall as the IKEA in Batu Kawan. There is a small climbing space for babies and toddlers and safe areas for kids of all abilities to climb. The staff are very friendly and help you with everything so no experience is necessary. It’s also a great place to host a kids birthday party!
The Tanjung Bungah location is above Let’s Meat at Permai Park in Tanjung Bungah. This is a much smaller gym with significantly lower ceilings but is perfect for children! They offer late afternoon classes for kids (just contact them for more information).
And coming soon their brand new location which has just been announced at Gurney Plaza. Stay tuned for updates!
Climbing shoes are available so remember to bring socks and wear comfortable clothing.
Located in the heart of beautiful Jesselton, SCIPS is a well established British Curriculum International Primary School currently educating children Nursery (age 3+) through Year 6.
Established in 1963, with lush and verdant landscaping, the school retains an intimate, caring and nurturing atmosphere. It’s gentle approach and play-based learning for the Early Years fit perfectly within the ethos of the school and SCIPS kids were always known to be happy and respectful. Plus they have the cutest (and most sensible) Batik uniforms which are perfect for our hot weather!
Take the stress out of planning your child’s next birthday party (or your baby shower, 100 Days celebration, etc.) and call Allyson and her crew at Birthday Castle! They offer a large range of services from table and party decor, to face-painting, to hosting and coordinating your event.
Claiming to be Penang’s first balloon store, One Image is located in the heart of Georgetown. They have a decent selection of party supplies (plates, cups, hats, etc.) but as their name suggests they specialize in helium balloons!
Hin Bus Depot has always been a special place for us – we just love it there! It’s open all week but every weekend there is a handicraft market with live music and lots of food options. The ambiance is always fun and relaxed.
Come and chill on some lawn chairs while your little ones run on the grass or skate on the quarter pipe, see some art, have a coffee or a bite and relax to live music. Support local artisans, mostly selling handmade soaps, jewelry, artifacts, clothes, crafts, food and more!
A home based bakery turning out some of the most beautiful, inventive and charming designs. Plus I know for a fact that the double chocolate fudge cake is worth every calorie! Contact Ling (and do it early) as she tends to get booked up!
You’ll find a family friendly environment, with loads of kids of all ages and from all different schools. Kids play on a brand new, beautiful pitch at the Powiis junior school in Tanjung Bungah.
Teenagers help the coaches who make it fun and engaging, and a full hour zips by without even the thought of a screen or device. They play rain or shine – except when the now infamous “lightening-o-meter” says it’s unsafe (and then we get the most amazing Scottish accent weather updates!)
It’s always all smiles (and lots of sweat) afterwards so remember to bring a few Ringgit to buy a well-earned popsicle or drink, (which is where you sign in as well). There and lots of places to sit and watch the kids play and there’s a small playground to entertain the toddlers too little to join in.
It’s RM35 for walk-in and you get a discount if you sign up for their packages.
Classes are on Monday, Wednesday and Friday (starting May 2) at 5.30pm. Saturday pick-up games start at 10am and parents can join in too!
Flow is located in Permai 32. Once you climb the stairs you will find a clean, modern aesthetic dojo (or is just called a gym?) with black gi (uniforms) creating a graphic contrast.
Poppy runs the training sessions with a mixture of discipline/respect and fun. Martial arts are known to help with a child’s development. They say it’s good for concentration, discipline, coordination, memorization, team work and of course self defense. This also comes in handy when kids are just horsing around because they learn what their limits are.
All of the coaches are great with the kids and there have been usually at least 2-3 coaches during the classes supporting Poppy.
Evening and Saturday classes are available for kids of all ages and levels.
JG is a very popular gymnastics center located above the Prima Tanjung food court. Classes range from kinder gym to adult tumbling, from fun kid classes to more serious training there is something for everyone!
This is not a traditional drawing and painting class but Claire offers a creative approach and a sensory experience (especially for the little ones) that is unique and progressive.
As a parent it’s been terrific because that’s where Remy has done all of his real “messy” art and I haven’t had to set it up or clean it afterwards! There was so much freedom in what he could do that Remy took to it so well…and really enjoyed himself! We definitely give this two paint-covered thumbs up!!
Art classes are also available to older kids who have produced some amazing things…
Also enquire about hosting a birthday party there!