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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!