Strategic Spots for Georgetown With Very Young Kids
Traveling in a hot, humid country with kids, especially young ones (2 years old and 9 months old) can be extra brutal. The kids’ bodies aren’t equipped to handle the extremes in temperature, especially when they are used to more modest climates like San Francisco.
We noticed that they would whine or cry when we were eating or walking in the extreme heat, so started to orient our travels around places we could “recharge” with some air conditioning.
Sometimes the destinations, themselves, we airconditioned. Sometimes they were just selected pitstops from which we would rest and then try to get to the spots we really wanted to get to.
#1: Yes Hotel
Yes Hotel has air-conditioning, but there’s not a ton in this area on the outskirt of historic Georgetown.
However, it is really close to International Hotel. For lunch time, this has so many options.
The food is sumatran, and what’s amazing about this stall is there’s probably 50 different dishes. Some of these are really kid-friendly. Our two-year old, for example, at the following:
- white, silky bean-curd
- crispy fried “fish chips” – small whole fish crispy, like potato chips
- dried anchovies with peanuts – slightly spicy, but she was okay with it with rice
- beef lung – okay, I snuck this in, and she was eating it for a bit – it’s super tender
This is probably a shorter excursion, but I think it’s worth having because the food is so good and of amazing variety.
60, Jalan Transfer 10050 Georgetown Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
#2: E&O Hotel
Nice view, comfortable inside, and relatively close to Fort Cornwalis.
The appeal here is the view along the seaside. It’s one of the few wide side-walks I have found where there are no cars.
Our two-year old would walk around, look at the ocean, then go inside and wander up and down the stairs (to my chagrin since I needed to go up and down with her).
The lunch was actually fantastic for not only us two adults, but for the 2-year old, as well. I ordered the Executive Lunch which serves several tiffins of nyonya food. Nyonya food is my favorite cuisine in Penang. Some of was spicy, but some of the non-spicy dishes mixed with white rice were surprisingly appetizing for the toddler. Normally I have really low expectations for hotel food, but the food at **Sarkies Corner was good.
Yes, more expensive than a regular Penang meal. For us, we were the only people there, so even though Rachel was acting up a bit, there weren’t any other patrons to bother. They were really nice and even gave her her own plastic dining set (even though she tossed it).
Sarkies also has some nice desserts, which also helped the little one settle down.
Not much else to do here, but a good 2-hour excursion. If you have a little more energy, you’re really close (a short walk if only Georgetown were strollable), to the Bayview Hotel’s Three-Sixty. Or you could save it for another time, which we often do.
This can be a stand-alone activity with the kids, or it can be combined with #2’s E&O Hotel.
The outdoor Sky Bar gives you a great view of Georgetown. The metal fence around the area is safe but there are chairs and sofa up against the fence that little toddlers can climb. So this does need you to be pretty vigilant.
Our 2-year old just enjoyed walking up and down the wooden deck, which made it easy to monitor her while looking at the beautiful skyline.
You can also go inside and sit on sofa/chairs that are low to the ground. They have mostly regular dining tables, but about three clusters of lounge-style chchairs which are low enough to have young kids sit up in.
#4: Tek Sen Restaurant and China House
A regular dinner outing for us has been to take the toddler and baby to Tek Sen. Unfortunately, they do not have air conditions.
Howver, Tek Sen has a wide open dining area with lots of windows for air flow, and they have a clean and ready supply of baby chairs. Warning: the baby chairs’ pretty much all have broken straps so while it was fine for our 2.5 yo, not the safest for the 9 mo.
From Tek Sen, it’s a decent walk along Campbell and then Armenian Street to get to China House. I found it’s okay to let the toddler to walk if one of the section is totally empty, or to play with the crayons in the area right outside of the wine bar (unfortunately, ours liked to pick at the crayons with her fingernails after she got bored of drawing, and then took to the playing cards and tossed them around. Oh well).
The courtyard with the small pool is nice for the toddler to walk around, as well. I wasn’t sure if it would be swarming with mosquitos, though, given the standing water, but the few times she’s walked through, she has been fine.
There are parts of China House where a loud toddler would not be welcome, so I would try to keep her away from there. Unfortunately, once in a while, she would break free and head over there, so that is the word of caution.
The upstairs has an art gallery, but it is not kid friendly. There are stairs and actual drops from the platform straight to the floor, so while a good way to get a feel for the local art-scene, you’d have to hold and carry the kiddies in this area.
That said, we took both of them with us multiple times. Why? In the end, gula melaka ice cream quiets any toddler down.
#5: [Hameedya] and then [Moustache Houz]
I’ve written about Hameedya under my post on Indian food in Penang and it is a good starting point for kids.
First, it is air-conditioned and spacious on the second floor. When we went in 2014, the area we new, so clean, as were the baby chairs.
The food was palatable to our normally picky eater. The famed murtabak – egg, chicken, flour wrap – was consistently muched by our 2 year old, as was the mango lassi and the bandung – a drink made from rose milk syrup. The latter two are nice and cold. Plus the naan is always a fave.
From there, we typically would walk to Moustache Houz. They do have private rooms upstairs, but you need to spend RM80 minimum, so we would just stay downstairs, have a crepe cake and the toddler would be relatively fine. Just need to make sure she doesn’t break free and go up the stairs.
#6: Prangin Mall
This could be a destination of its own. After all, it is a mall.
But as a visitor, I actually have been trying to avoid needing to spend too much times in a mall. Malls basically look the same, whether in Penang or in the midwest, so why bother?
That being said, here were some parts of Prangin we could recharge with the 2-year old:
Some very basic play areas that were pretty fun. Adults can’t actually enter most of the areas with the kid, so 2-years old was about pushing things. But I could go with her into the ball room (you know, those rooms with lots of little plastic balls)….and I did sneak up one level in the maze area just to make sure Rachel was okay (she wouldn’t climb up otherwise).
Well, we didn’t have the coffee. But it does have a familiar decor with air conditioned comfy chairs to take a break before heading back out.
Some dining options
There wasn’t anything that specifically stood out for eating, for both toddlers and adults. They did have a pancake stand which, obviously, was appealing for the toddler. But nothing substantive.
Penang Famous Cendol
If you want to try cendol with a place that is both air conditioned and has places to sit, you could try this.
Hardly the best cendol around, but it’s not gag-awful like some that we have tried.
Armenian Street Heritage Hotel
Thought this was close to something. But it wasn’t. But spaacious with a few seating areas. Little one could run around relatively safely while we took a break.