POSB Smart Buddy – FREE Watch with E-Payment for Schools and Selected Merchants

The POSB Smart Buddy programme / 储蓄银行智能伙伴计划 was launched in in 19 primary schools in August. This ground-breaking programme uses wearable tech (a free watch) to teach students how to save and spend wisely by helping them track their savings and spending habits digitally.

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Image Credit: POSB Smart Buddy

What makes POSB Smart Buddy watch stands out is the function of e-payment. The watch helps children take an early step towards digital payments and also monitors their activity levels. Parents can in turn remotely pre-set their child’s daily allowance, send them emergency money, and monitor their kids’ spending, savings, eating habits and activity levels – all with an accompanying app.

The programme further creates a digital payments ecosystem within the school where the school’s canteens and bookstores are set up with digital payment terminals. Students can simply tap and pay with their free POSB Smart Buddy watches.

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Image Credit: POSB Smart Buddy

During the demo session, we were given a first-hand experience to set up the Smart Buddy watch and made purchase on the spot.

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The steps to purchase were straightforward – basically, you would just select your orders and click “Pay Now” at the terminal.

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Tap your Smart Buddy watch over the Nets machine and balance will be deducted.

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Parents can monitor their kids’ expenditure from the app, anytime and anywhere!

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You can also use your Smart Buddy watch at any of these merchants.

Look out for the NETS contactless symbol when you pay.

Paired with a mobile app, you can instantly allocate allowances, check on savings or spending, and be informed of your child’s whereabouts with the bus tracker and in-school locator feature. Most of all, you get to do them all while on the go.

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For more information on POSB Smart Buddy or requesting your child’s school (if they are not yet on board) to adopt this programme, click here.

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Face to Face Noodle House (面对面) @ City Square Mall

Fans of Face to Face Noodle would not need to travel across the causeway to get a taste of the authentic Sarawak noodles. Riding on the success of its outlets in Malaysia, Face to Face Noodle has an outlet in City Square Mall.

Face to Face’s special noodle recipe traces its roots to Sarawak over 100 years ago. The story begins when the founder’s great-grandfather picked up the technique of making Jook Sing noodles, one of the rarest forms of noodle-making in existence. A decent stall selling fresh homemade noodles, it soon won the hearts and stomachs of many Sarawakians and the rest was history.

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It was one of the weekday nights that Big and Small M wanted to try something they like. Having an outlet here spared us the hassle of waiting for an opportune time to visit Malaysia to get a taste of it. The ambience here was very different to that of the Malaysia outlet we visited previously which you can find it here.

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Our orders included:

HOUSE SPECIALTY PAN MEE (DRY) – Homemade noodles in rich broth served with minced pork, crispy anchovies and onsen egg.

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Genki Herbal Chicken Pan Mee (Soup) – Homemade noodles in traditional herbal soup served with tender chicken, enoki mushrooms and various herbs.

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Creations Pork Pan Mee (Dry) – Homemade noodles served with minced pork, cooked in signature gravy, wantan crisps, braised egg and meat balls.

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Traditional Sarawak Kolo Mee (Dry) – Springy homemade noodles served with minced pork, char siew, and fried wantans.

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Overall, the broth was flavourful and the thick and flat noodles added extra texture which gave a good bite for a decent family meal. Click here to see their menu.

Address: Lot 02-23/24 City Square Mall, 180 Kitchener Rd 

Opening Hours: 11am to 10pm

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All photos, information and opinions, unless otherwise stated, in this post belong to Katong Kids Inc. Reproducing or copying them for use on third party sites without our written permission are strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

The Changi Village Story: Eat, Play and Explore

Tucked away at the far eastern coast of Singapore is a small and yet well-known neighbourhood by name of Changi Village. Those who love photography, cycling and sight seeing would inevitably hop into a bumboat and head to Pulau Ubin. Even if you are not “that” adventurous, Changi Village can also offer you as the ultimate destination to experience some of the best-kept treasures in Singapore.

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Just the mention of Changi Village Hawker Centre would remind everyone of some of the popular Nasi Lemak stalls there. Personally, I feel that the Nasi Lemak tastes largely the same and I have no preference of any particular stall to patronize.

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If you get to travel to this far eastern side of the country, remember to come with an empty stomach. The lure of irresistible Nasi Lemak – rice cooked in coconut milk, mixed with some slices of cucumber, fried ikan bilis and peanuts, fried egg and chicken wing or drumstick and lastly, smeared with delicious sambal is sure to win everyone’s heart.

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You can call this place super ulu but it is not going to stop hip cafes and eateries from opening here. Chocolate Origin specializes in chocolate cakes and confectionaries. It uses the finest ingredients to get the cakes tasting oh-so delicious, ensuring all goodness when you take a bite.

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Crepes & Puffs is a quaint cafe boasting a wide range of delicious confections for all taste buds. On weekdays, it even attracts loyal customers dressed in their office attire who come for its artistically created crepes, puffs, pastries, cakes and other treats.

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Delicately prepared by Shanghainese chefs, Tang Tea House is famed for the freshness and authenticity of its halal dim sum ranging from chicken pau, har kow, siew mai and steamed chicken dumplings.

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Stepped into the corridors of these blocks you can find traditional shops selling…

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Chap Huay Tiam certainly brings us back to the old school days. Myriad of tidbits, old school biscuits and customized goodie bags for all occasions are what you can find here.

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Photo Credit: chaphuaytiam
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Photo Credit: chaphuaytiam

Not heading to Pulau Ubin? Try renting a bicycle here and explore the vicinity!

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ST Bakery serves a variety of fresh bread and cakes. The prices are reasonable and affordable too.

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Johor Bahru Pau / Tim Sum [新山手工包點]  selling unique assortment of delicious paus which includes black sesame pau, chicken, pork big pau, braised pork pau, Amy Yi’s Jumbo Pau, Sured-Win Jumbo Pau and other dim sum items.

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More shops around the blocks.

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If you are feeling adventurous, take an exploratory trip down at Changi Point Coastal Walk which stretches 2.2km.

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Also referred to as the Changi Boardwalk, you may even catch views of the waters out towards Johor. Last but not least, remember to bring along your insect repellent and sunblock when you are here!

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All photos, information and opinions, unless otherwise stated, in this post belong to Katong Kids Inc. Reproducing or copying them for use on third party sites without our written permission are strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

 

Itinerary Compilation: Penang Travelogue in a Nutshell

One trip to Penang is never enough. All it takes is just a 1.5 hour flight to experience the best foods and charming landmarks that Georgetown, Penang has to provide. This is a compilation of my Penang travelogue in a glance. All you need to do is to click onto the individual blog title and it will direct you straight to the blog post. Happy sharing and reading 🙂

Penang Travelogue – (Part 1): Snake Temple, Lee Clan Jetty 姓李桥, Chew Clan Jetty 姓周桥, Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendol, Joo Hooi Café and Ming Xiang Tai Pastry 名香泰餅家

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Penang Travelogue – (Part 2): Toh Soon Café 多春茶座, Penang Street Art Painting, Penang 70s Ice Ball, Khoo Kongsi and Lebuh Armenian Old Coffeeshop

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Penang Travelogue – (Part 3): Gurney Drive Hawker Centre, Kimberly Food Street, Kopi and Toast @ Gat Lebuh Chuliah

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Penang Travelogue – (Part 4): The Flea Market @ Lorong Kulit

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Penang Travelogue – (Part 5): Penang Hill (Bukit Bendera), MoonTree 47 @ Muntri Street, Chocolate and Coffee Museum and Pinang Peranakan Mansion

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Penang Travelogue – (Part 6): The Gurney Resort Hotel and Residences

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If you enjoy reading our travelogue, do give a like on Katong Kids Inc Facebook Fan Page by clicking here.
Disclosure: All photos, information and opinions, unless otherwise stated, in this post belong to Katong Kids Inc. Reproducing or copying them for use on third party sites without our written permission are strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

Penang Travelogue – (Part 6): The Gurney Resort Hotel and Residences

It might be a challenge to strike a balance between finding a hotel with spacious room that comes with decent rate. While doing my research on a hotel that meets my criteria, I eventually decided on the Gurney Resort Hotel & Residences in Georgetown, Penang.

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Nestled in the heart of Gurney Drive and near to major shopping centres in the likes of Gurney Paragon and Gurney Plaza, The Gurney Resort Hotel provides every visitor with an entirely different experience of accommodating in hotel rooms that may come with sea views.

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The first impression that The Gurney Resort Hotel gave me was the expansive lobby. There were ample and comfortable resting points in the lobby area.

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I was welcomed with warm hospitality by the hotel staff and The Gurney Resort Hotel thoughtfully arranged for me to stay at the top level with beautiful sea views.

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Two Bedroom Suite

Before I checked into my Studio Suite, I was given a tour of the hotel’s Two Bedroom Suite which comes in a whopping size of 950 sq. ft.! If you are traveling as a family, the space factor would be well-taken care of. A large living room with a sofa bed that comes with kitchenette make a good fit to spend quality time as a family.

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There are 2 bedrooms that consist of twin beds.

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And a queen-sized bed.

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You would not be blamed for spending too much time in the bathroom with such a breath-taking view of the sea.

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Deluxe Suite

Not to be outdone by the two bedroom suite, the Deluxe Suite boasts a size of 515 sq. ft. with a hollywood twin bed that can easily accommodate 2 adults and 1 child. The living room contains the essential facilities that made my stay ever more comfortable. A plus point of my experience in the Deluxe Suite was the strength of the air-conditioning. It was strong and quiet, providing me with the much needed cooling environment after much walking during the day.

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Free Wi-Fi was provided during my stay which was an essential life-saver. The hollywood twin bed occupies the centre of the room.

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The deluxe room may looked dated but it exuded a calm and relaxed resort vibe. I loved this glass panel from the bathroom that made me felt connected to the hotel room.

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A lovely view of the sea from my Deluxe Suite.

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Facilities

The Gurney Resort hotel boasts a wide range of facilities for guests to indulge in. Infinity pool is the theme that every hotel cannot do without. Needless to say, you can also find it in the hotel. Take a dip in the pool overlooking the picturesque neighbourhood of Gurney Drive.

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The outdoor swimming pool with sliding feature seeks to keep your little ones entertained.

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Hop over to have a game at the soccer table, billiard pool, table tennis and arcade!

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An outdoor volleyball court.

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Gym facilities are in place as well.

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Hotel Dining

The Coffee House of The Gurney Resort Hotel also serves a wide array of international, fusion, and local flavors, including a la carte menus and a hearty buffet spread. Here I am, waking up early in the morning for breakfast and hotel guests were streaming in.

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The breakfast has a spread of more than 10 appealing cuisines which are bound to satisfy your taste buds. The chef was busy preparing my favorite omelette.

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Nyonya Lam Mee is also known as “Birthday Mee” in Penang and it is usually served during birthday celebrations to symbolize longevity. The yellow rice noodles is cooked in gravy made of stock of prawns and chicken.  It is then served with toppings like colored shredded eggs and chives.

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This was my favorite dining spot during my stay as it had a scenic view of Gurney Drive.

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Apart from breakfast, The Gurney Resort Hotel also provides in-room dining round the clock. When your hunger pangs strike, you would know your meal is just a call away.

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Fish and Chips coupled with banana boat ice cream sprinkled with chocolate chips.
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Cream of mushroom soup

The Gurney Resort Hotel sits along the tourist belt of Gurney Drive. Do check out this hotel in your next visit to Penang.

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Click here to get connected to the Facebook of The Gurney Resort Hotel

Click here to get connected to the main website of The Gurney Resort Hotel

Click here to know the latest promotions.

The Gurney Resort Hotel & Residences | 18 Persiaran Gurney, George Town, Penang, 10250, Malaysia | Phone Number: +60-04-3707000

Interested to visit Penang? You can check out my Penang Travelogue via this link.

 

We love to travel! Click here to follow Katong Kids Inc Facebook Page and stay tune for the next blog post.

All photos, information and opinions, unless otherwise stated, in this post belong to Katong Kids Inc. Reproducing or copying them for use on third party sites without our written permission are strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

Penang Travelogue – (Part 5): Penang Hill (Bukit Bendera), MoonTree 47 @ Muntri Street, Chocolate and Coffee Museum and Pinang Peranakan Mansion

It was a short 3 days trip but I was contented with the places I managed to cover. On the final day, I am determined to cover some important landmarks to pen down in my travelogue.

Penang Hills / Bukit Bendara

If you feel that the weather in Penang is hot and humid, try beating the heat by taking a tram ride up to experience the cooling environment of Penang Hills. I booked a Grab from Gurney Hotel and the 9.5km distance took me about 10 mins to reach.

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Penang Hill or affectingly known by locals as “Bukit Bendara”, is one of the most popular tourist attractions.  Setting on a hill with elevation of about 833 m (2723 ft), you would need to take funicular railway. From my experience, it is better to plan your visit here by 10am as anytime later would require you to queue up pretty long before you can hop onto the tram. I guess that is the time when most tourists have taken their breakfast in the hotels and coaches would be sending them here.

If you are an adult tourist, a 2-way ride would cost you RM30.

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The ride took about 10 mins before reaching the peak. Along the way, the funicular railway would make intermediate stops for locals (who are staying up the hills) to alight.

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Look at the crowds!

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The first point that greeted me was the “Sky Walk”.

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The Sky Walk is a suspension bridge hanging over the treetops. It is opened daily with no admission charge. It’s time to pause here and see the breath-taking view of beautiful Penang.

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Surrounded by pines tree, the serenity of the hills will provide a much needed breather and relaxation from the hustle and bustle of city life.

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From the Sky Walk, I also caught the view of the famous 13.5km long Penang bridge. What a majestic sight of an eagle hovering over and greeting us!

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There are some notable changes to Penang Hill since my previous visit 3 years ago. I noticed they have included additional “attractions” within the hills such as Little Village, Love Lock and Owl Museum.

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The Little Village is a beautiful spot to take wedding shots. Take a walk in and you will find the Love Arch, Dwarf Village, Rabbit Garden and the green surroundings of Mother Nature.

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The Dwarf Village.

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Just a 2 min walk up the hill would bring you to this attraction called the Love Lock. This is an adaptation of the popular love lock concept around the world, in the likes of Rome’s Ponte Milvio and Germany’s Hohenzollern Bridge, which has found its place atop the scenic Penang Hill.

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Launched on Valentine’s Day of 2014,the lover’s promenade hosts the promises of eternity for couples who seal their affection with creatively-decorated padlocks.

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Padlocks of various sizes are available for you to purchase and profess your love before sealing it at the wide fence.

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The Owl Museum might be an activity you would like to look out for. The museum open daily from 9am to 6pm and it is South-East Asia’s first museum dedicated to owl-themed art and craft. It boosts a fascinating collection of over 1,000 exotic and unique arts and craft artefacts collected from 20 countries including Japan, South Korea, Uruguay, China, Vietnam, Thailand, England, Indonesia and France.

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The museum’s owls are made from a myriad of materials such as wood, stone, metal, glass, clay, plastic, buffalo horn, seashells, beans, plant fibres, crystal, porcelain, earthenware, paper and recycled items. Special collections on loan from private collectors are also on display.

I did not visit the Owl Museum as I was short of time.

Penang Hill Owl Museum
Photo Credit: Penang Trails

The famous David Brown’s restaurant at Strawberry Hill.

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Exploring the flora of Penang Hills which houses some interesting plants such as Dipterocarp forest, parasitic plant, Exorhopalia Ruficeps, Hazel Maingaya Malayana and many more.

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Climbed up the flight of stairs and I made some interesting discovery…

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Located on Penang Hill is a 32 counder cannon that is not short of historical value. It is made of bronze, an alloy of copper and tin commonly used in 18th and 19th century artillery. This cannon was probably transported from town to hill as an ornament or to warn the presence of pirates.

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A children’s playground and on the right is the Sri Aruloli Thirumurugan, or better known as the Penang Hill Hindu Temple, is one of the oldest Hindu temples in Penang. I did not dwell here for long as I vividly remembered we were badly bitten by mosquitoes in the previous trip.

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The other end of Penang Hill houses some eateries for me to satisfy my hunger pangs. Astaka Bukit Bendera is a 2-level food court at Penang Hill (Bukit Bendera), within a short stroll from the upper station of Penang Hill Railway.

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Penang Hill Lily Ice Kacang is one of the stalls at the lower deck. Worth to give it a try if you have a sweet tooth! Penang Hill’s opening hours are everyday but you need the train to go up there. The train service is from 6.30 am – 10 pm on Monday to Friday. On weekends or public holidays or school holidays, the train operates from 6.30 am to 11 pm.

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Address: Perbadanan Bukit Bendera, Jalan Stesen Bukit Bendera, Air Itam, 11500 Pulau Pinang, Malaysia.

MoonTree 47 Cafe

I read much about Muntri Street that it is famed for its wide range of themed cafes in Penang. Situated along the Jalan Muntri in Georgetown Penang, Moon Tree 47 cafe makes it a cool place to chill out with friends while enjoying the Peranakan styled interiors and old school settings.

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I thought MoonTree 47 has the “instagram worthy” factor. Just the whimsical setting at the entrance was enough to draw me in.

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Alas, the staff did not allow me to take pictures of its interiors without ordering anything. I was not a nice touch and thumbs down to the customer service. Nonetheless, I ordered some light snacks and took the opportunity to take as many nice shots I could of this place.

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There was an open courtyard with water feature which I loved to hang around while enjoying the sight of aquarium fishes vying for feeds.

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Nothing much to say here but pictures are certainly worthed more than a thousand words!

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A dated Dumex tin.

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A local resident of MoonTree 47.

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This is my order – 3 spicy chickens with lemon tea. It looked so appealing to me. Time to treat my tastebuds with delicious snacks. My expectations of MoonTree 47 were high. While the interiors met my expectation, the customer service fell short. Very short. One of the spicy chickens was uncooked and tasted cold (supposed just taken out of the fridge) when I took a bite. I feedback to the owner nicely and he offered to cook it again but I politely declined as I needed to make a move. The outcome – no discount was offered to me and I had to pay for the uncooked chicken. 😦

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Address:47 Muntri Street,10200 Georgetown,Penang, Malaysia Penang, Malaysia

Chocolate & Coffee Museum

I continued walking and chanced upon Chocolate & Coffee Museum which was previously known as The Chocolate Boutique on Leith Street, in George Town, Penang. It specializes in retailing branded and high-end chocolate products, mostly to foreign tourists who arrive by tour coaches. The boutique occupies a double storey bungalow that was formerly the New China Hotel.

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Admission to the Chocolate & Coffee museum is free. The best part of this museum, to me was the air-conditioning.

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Usually there will have a tour guide who will explain to you about the history of chocolate and how they are manufactured.
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The museum was quite small and I completed the tour within 10 mins. Near the exit was a chocolate section where you can purchase many varieties of chocolate. I find them quite pricey and did not buy any since I am not a fan of chocolate too.
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Address: 22, Leith St, Georgetown, 10200 George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Pinang Peranakan Mansion

Next on my itinerary was the Pinang Peranakan Mansion. I have a knack for anything that has to do with Peranakan and what’s more, visitors are allowed to take pictures here. I heard there is another Peranakan Museum in Melaka which does not allow visitors to take any photos.

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The Peranakan is a prominent community in the Straits Settlement particularly in Penang, Melaka and Singapore. I thought Pinang Peranakan Mansion is a must visit for all to experience a glimpse of to have a glimpse of their rich lifestyle and of their many customs and traditions. Many well-known personalities have visited the mansion and one of them was Ho Ching.

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Fancy to have a trishaw ride?

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This Chinese courtyard house was much like a typical large Baba home of eclectic style, incorporating Chinese carved-wood panels and English floor tiles and Scottish ironworks.

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In Straits Eclectic and Chinese homes, the front hall or parlor is typically separated from the rest of the house by an ornately carved wooden screen. It was said that this timber divider acts as a ‘ spirit wall’ to prevent evil spirits from entering by obstructing their straight paths.

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The main staircase incorporates the use of both local and imported materials in its construction, handrail with balusters of cast iron, from Glasgow, Scotland.

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At the second level of the mansion, the space was prominently occupied by over 1,000 pieces of antiques and collectibles. This Baba Nyonya museum is also housed in one of Penang’s heritage mansion of eclectic design and architecture.

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A traditional bridal room with typical Nyonya matrimonial bed. A perfect place to take wedding photos.

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I don’t remember there was a section selling jewellery collection in my previous trip.

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A complete tour of Pinang Peranakan Mansion would take between 1 to 2 hour. The admission fee for an adult is RM20 while it is free for children below the age of 6.

I was amazed that I was able to cover that many places in Penang (there was not much trace of fatigue in my legs).  This trip was packed with many wonderful memories and the local street food of Penang would definitely be a strong draw for me to return again.

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Address: 29, Church Street, 10200 Penang, Malaysia

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Interested to visit Penang? Click here to follow Katong Kids Inc Facebook Page and stay tune for the next blog post.

All photos, information and opinions, unless otherwise stated, in this post belong to Katong Kids Inc. Reproducing or copying them for use on third party sites without our written permission are strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

Penang Travelogue – (Part 4): The Flea Market @ Lorong Kulit

A man’s trash is another man’s treasure. I have a penchant for exploring flea market. Early in the morning, I took a Grab car and made my way down to the flea market at Lorong Kulit which is located next to the City Stadium.

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Lorong Kulit operates from 6am to 1pm daily. When I reached there at 8:30am, only half of the stalls were opened. By 10am, most of the stalls were set up for business.

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This place was pretty rundown and may not strike a chord with people. Before arriving in Penang, I read up on blogs introducing Penang and I thought most of them were quite “commercialized”, mostly sharing on the main attractions which I thought would not bring justice to many unloved spots in town.

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It was said that Lorong Kulit had a reputation for being a thieves’ market. There are times when you may chance upon stolen goods among other used goods on sale. But seriously, how would anyone be able to differentiate?

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This van was literally filled with junks!

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As time passed by, Lorong Kulit roared to life. Curious onlookers would gather and browse for any interesting goods they could buy at bargained prices.

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Old watches, hand-held games, necklaces and books.

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A friendly uncle greeted me while reading his newspapers. He might not have much products to display but his countenance exuded self contentment and happy with a simple life 🙂

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Electrical, hardware stuff, old shoes and luggage on display.

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Old mobile phones in which some of them belonged to the first generation!

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I was really tempted to buy a used mobile phone here but decided against it as it would be a hassle to find charger and battery separately.

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Mobile phones of many brands and surprising, not a single iphone could be found!

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Old kettles, pots and clocks of which some of them could be antiques.

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Stones and old krises.

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Pirated DVDs as well.

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Household pets on sale too!

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Hamsters and mice.

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Sugar gliders which were prohibited to be kept in Singapore..

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Tropical fishes (swordtail).

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Budgies (Budgerigars) which are an extremely popular pet bird. My parents allowed me to keep them when I was young as they were quite cheap (about $15). I kept a pair but it did not last long as they were smart enough to open the cage and flew away.

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They even sell used stuff toys. I would be surprised if anyone buys them for their children.

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There is no guarantee what you would unearth at Lorong Kulit flea market. Even if you leave this place without buying anything, I am sure that the experience of browsing through the stalls would be greatly pleasing to your eyes.

I had an interesting encounter as well. After exploring Lorong Kulit, I wanted to book a Grab car to bring me to Lebuh Armenian only to realize that the earlier Grab trip was still in transit. I was puzzled and messaged the previous driver to end the trip (in which he did). When I tried to do a fresh booking, that previous driver accepted my booking immediately. It dawned on me that this Grab driver was actually waiting for me and to prevent me from booking another driver, he deliberately chose not to end the trip so that I could make a booking through him again. Something new I learnt. What an experience!

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Address: 625, Jalan Dato Keramat, George Town, 10460 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

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