Phuket Luxury Hotel Stay @ MAI HOUSE Patong Hill

 Ensconced in the lush tropical hillside overlooking Patong Beach and the sparkling Andaman Sea, MAI HOUSE Patong Hill’s exotic 79 rooms offer peace and tranquility to every guest.

In this trip to Phuket, our family planned to “travel less and enjoy more”. We were not keen to do much walking along the streets (as we have been to Phuket before) and wanted a hotel that is away from the hustle and bustle of Patong streets. It is no wonder then that MAI HOUSE Patong Hill become the accommodation of choice for us.

To make it even sweeter, MAI HOUSE Patong Hill is a new hotel that opened in Apr 2017.

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Mai Lobby – A Sanctuary of Light and Retreat

As we entered the hotel, we were warmly welcomed by the peaceful atmosphere of the lobby. Subtle traditional touches such as the round sofa with wooden furnishings reminded us of the hotel’s locality. Checking in was a smooth and pleasant affair. It was a nice touch by the hotel manager who came out and reminded us not to leave our belongings in the taxi when we arrived from Phuket International Airport.

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We were impressed that MAI HOUSE thoughtfully created ample thick and luxuriant sofas within the lobby area and harness the natural lights to allow guests to chill out and relax while enjoying their privacy.

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A perfect spot to chill out while gazing out over the tropical report pools and out to the distant horizon. We loved to plonk ourselves on these couches while awaiting for the hotel’s shuttle service.

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The Opium Den or “Libation Lair” is the heart of MAI HOUSE. Inspired by the Opium dreams of Hokkien pioneers of Phuket, this open-air sanctuary of relaxation and refreshment is where we love to while away during the day.

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These vintage fans provided much cooling for us when we returned to the hotel!

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It is often said that the first impression last. What we admired about MAI HOUSE was the warm professionalism of its staff. While exploring the picturesque lobby, we were provided with warm towels and welcome drinks to freshen up.

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We noticed MAI HOUSE has thoughtfully designed the hotel to be child-friendly. There is a baby-changing room in the lobby area that also comes with a toddler toilet bowl which is not often you can find in most hotels.

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Mai Family Room – Our Abode

Our accommodation was The Family Room, a spacious 34 sqm chic and whimsical-themed room. Specially designed to easily accommodate 2 adults and 2 kids, Big and Small M’s eyes brightened up when we stepped into the room. Thrills and excitement added to the atmosphere as they explored the room with much expectancy.

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The Family Room consists of a king-sized bed and 2 x bunk beds. Each bunk bed was tastefully placed with colourful pillow, enough to draw the little ones to dwell there peacefully before they ran riot. In between was a colorful bean bag suitable for kids to chill out.

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Our king-sized bed was huge and comfortable. Lying down on it was akin to sleeping on clouds!

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We have stayed in many hotels and the beds in MAI HOUSE are one of the best we have experienced thus far.

Disney channel coupled with such comfortable bed was total heaven for them! They loved to snuggle up in the bed and watched cartoons all day long.

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A mini kitchenette that comes with microwave oven.

We thought the cups were really cute and eye-catching!

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Coffee-addicts would be happy to brew HockHoeLee’s coffee – Phuket’s first & historic coffee roaster, with a coffee-maker. HOCKHOELEE masterfully roasts its own coffee on island for Phuketians for decades. Using premium coffee bean in the country, HOCKHOELEE craftly create a unique, rich and beautiful coffee.

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As part of our hotel package, all the drinks (soft drinks, fruit juices, beer and milk) in the fridge are free for guests to consume. They are replenished on daily basis for free.

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Although bathtub was not built in The Family Room, it was made up with a rain shower, which was Big and Small M’s favourite. Toiletries and basic essentials are also sufficiently provided.

With such a beautifully furnished Family Room, who doesn’t want to stay for an extra night?

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Mai Grand Deluxe – Our Abode

Our next few nights is to stay at Grand Deluxe Suites with connecting rooms. 🙂

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The size of each Grand Deluxe consists of 35 sqm of earth-toned luxury that can accommodate up to 3 guests. As MAI HOUSE is a relatively new hotel, every feature we see is just so sparkling clean and new. This room also comes with a writing table, relaxing rain shower, free-standing bathtub and an outdoor balcony.

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We have the option to choose from twin beds or a king-sized bed. Either of which still assures you to a restful slumber.

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Since we had 2 connecting rooms, Big and Small M also got to enjoy their own mini-pool in the form of this jacuzzi tub, all in the comfort of our own hotel room.

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The opium daybed became a little sanctuary for us to watch TV together.

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Stepped into the balcony and it gave us the view of the Mai Sky (sky desk) and hilltops.

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Mai Kids Play

MAI HOUSE has a range of activities to keep us occupied throughout our stay. One of the first games that aroused Big and Small curiosity in the lobby was the shuffleboard. They were amused as they had never seen such games before. Table shuffleboard  is a game in which players push metal-and-plastic weighted pucks (also called weights or quoits) down a long and smooth wooden table into a scoring area at the opposite end of the table.

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Knowing how to play the game was so easy and parents wouldn’t need to fuss over how to teach them to play correctly. We lost count how many times Big and Small M played the shuffleboard. They were simply crazy over the game and kept running back and forth to restart a new game after each ended.

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MAI HOUSE has its own infinity pool and a toddler pool. Lush views of Patong Hills and sweeping views of the Andaman Sea coupled with surroundings of flora and fauna made our swim ever more relaxing.

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The jacuzzi section is in the toddler pool area.

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The toddler pool was not deep and we felt safe relaxing by the poolside watching them frolicking. We were blessed that the weather was not scorching. In fact, it was quite cooling when we were in Phuket and we wouldn’t mind dipping longer in the pool!

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The infinity pool was deeper and we, too, had more serious swims there.

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Big and Small M had a whale of their time playing frisbee in the infinity pool as well.

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While they were playing in the pool, I headed back to the hotel room to retrieve few cans of beverages 🙂

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Head over to the “Pirates’ Playhouse” that has indoor and outdoor spaces designed especially for lively kids (4-12 y.o.). Featuring scheduled arts and crafts activities, climbing wall, sandpit of buried treasure, the pirate fort and much more!

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A play area with slide and climbing feature suitable for younger children below 6 years.

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There is an indoor kids’ club that is air-conditioned and child-friendly. It also comes with a TV screen that kids can catch their cartoon shows. Big and Small M were having a ball of time playing.

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The fitness room is more suitable for adults but Big M is now old enough to have a decent round of exercise on the threadmill.

Small M was amused with the boxing gloves and both of them were training for err…MMA?

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We also visited the Four Elements Spa for Big and Small M to experience…

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Menicure and Pedicure.

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The kids having a whale of their time styling their hair and trying out bracelet braiding.

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Mai Breakfast

One of our favourite past time is indulging in the breakfast buffet. The presentation was lovely, however buffet spread could have been better…

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It has a cold dish section.

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Pastry section for the sweet tooth.

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Cute cylinders used as beverage dispensers.

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We love the aroma of gourmet coffee prepared by the friendly hotel staff.

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Yummy pork porridge.

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Our favorite egg omelette.

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All in all, our stay at MAI HOUSE Patong Hill couldn’t have been better. See you soon, Ms. Patong.

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Click here to book your accommodation.

MAI HOUSE Patong Hill
5/5 Phrabarami Road
Patong, Kathu,
Phuket 83150
Thailand

Phone: +66 (0)76 637 770
Skype: maihousepatonghill
Email: info.patonghill@maihouse.com

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.

Fun with Kids in Perth – (Day 3): The Core Cider House (Fruit Picking), New Moon Dim Sum Restaurant, Fremantle Markets, Cicerello and Kings Park

Hello Perth! It is always good to self drive in Australia as car hire is affordable. The last thing you want to try is taking their taxi. In fact, we rarely come across any Singaporean visitors not self driving when visiting Australia.

Day 3

We fondly remembered the sumptuous dim sum breakfast we had the day before and on our final day, we drove out to Northbridge again to try a new Chinese Dim Sum Restaurant but not before we had a mini-tour of Chinatown in our car.

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We patronized New Moon Restaurant which served steamed dishes from the steamed trolleys.

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Although the outlet had space constraint it was made up by the quality of their dishes.

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Authentic and traditional dim sum dishes are the highlights of New Moon. The staff were responsive and would initiate to approach diners to try out different varieties of dim sum dishes.

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Some of the yummy dishes.

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The sight of BBQ pork buns made us hungry..

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Pork spare ribs and siew mai.

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Mango puddings.

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We will visit New Moon when we return to Perth again.

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Address: 63 – 65 James Street, Northbridge

 

How about more fruits picking? We didn’t get enough of fruits picking in The Fruit Corner at Pickering Brook and ventured back the same place to explore another orchard by the name of The Core Cider House (which was about 1-2km apart).

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The moment we stepped out of our vehicle, the sight of big apple trees greeted us. They were just right in front of our car where we could reach them easily 🙂

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It was a weekend and many locals gathered here for picnic and let their kids played. There is also a restaurant located upstairs which has a full view of the orchards.

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How good is this to laze in their beautiful setting and enjoy the spacious grounds where kids can play and run about safely. What a feel of countryside that is just half an hour drive from the city.

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Our experience at The Core Cider House was much better than The Fruit Corner. We heard that there is an admission fee to enter the orchards but we weren’t sure about that. At least we weren’t charged during our visit. We would only need to pay for the fruits we picked. We reached there just in time before the owner closed the orchards. The friendly staff there shared with us about their knowledge of fruits and the apple picking process. Remember to BYO bags!

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Looked at all these red galaxy apples on the ground!

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Rows after rows of red juicy galaxy apple trees in blossom.

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The kids could reach for the apples and picked them easily. There is nothing like picking fresh fruits straight from the trees – a simple and educational experience for the kids to remember!

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Green apple trees.

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Pear trees.

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This was the best fruit picking experience we had so far.

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The Core Cider House has a apple shed markets that were open at weekends from 10am – 4pm selling fresh fruit, mixed fruit hampers, Core jam and chutney, freshly squeezed orange and apple juice as well as ice cream.

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Address: 35 Merrivale Road Pickering Brook, Western Australia, Australia

Opening Hours: 10am to 4pm

 

Fremantle was next on our travel bucket. The Fremantle Markets only operates from Friday to Sunday. Finding a parking lot was difficult and we eventually found a spot at the highest level of a multi-storey carpark. Be prepared to spend at least half a day when visiting Fremantle and much walking is expected.

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We felt nostalgia and visited the Lolly Shop. Everything was still the same!

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We made a beeline for the ever popular Fremantle Bakehouse and tried the all day breakfast.

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An all day breakfast, famous fluffy pancakes, homemade chunky steak pies and sausages rolls, range of sandwiches filled with local fresh product and tempting rolls are just a few items on offer.

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Next we visited the Fremantle Markets, a busy indoor market dating to 1897 with stalls selling food, local produce, clothes & handicrafts.

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Crowds thronged the Fremantle Markets on a busy weekend.

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The shop owner did not mind that we did not buy anything and happily dished out different variety of juices for us to sample.

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There was an inexplicable joy in us just browsing the market and seeing the fresh fruits and vegetables.

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Address: Corner South Terrace & Henderson Street Fremantle, Western Australia 6959

We bought a huge bag of bread for $2 from the Fremantle Markets and headed to the park to feed the sea gulls.

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Big and Small M had a ball of time playing in the park and mingling with the locals.

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The Tourist Wheel has been in Fremantle since April 2013 and provides unprecedented views of Fremantle town and harbors.

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We visited Little Creatures Brewery which was opposite the park. Little Creatures is an Australian brewing company based in Fremantle, Western Australia, originally established in 2000 by the original brewers of the Matilda Bay Brewing Company.

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Next to Little Creatures Brewery is the Fishing Boat Harbour where we visited Cicerello’s to try its fish and chips.

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We had so much leftover bread which the kids used it to feed the sea gulls.

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We like the concept of alfresco seating overlooking the scenic Fishing Boat Harbour.

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Ordered some simple dishes to try.

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Why spend $1 to buy fish food packed in a small container when you can buy a big bag of bread for $2?

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The kids continued feeding the sea gulls and fishes after the meal.

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Address: 44 Mews Rd, Fremantle WA 6160, Australia

Opening Hours: 9am to 8:30pm

The sky was beginning to turn dark and we visited a neighbourhood playground.

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Before visitng Kings Park and Botanic Garden to enjoy scenic view of Perth City at night.

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Address: Perth WA 6005, Australia

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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.

Fun with Kids in Perth – (Day 2): Canton Bay Chinese Restaurant, Crawley Edge Boatshed (Blue Boat House), Waterford Plaza Shopping Centre, Neil McDougall Park and London Court

We did a lot of walking the day before and were totally exhausted. However, we woke up early the next morning as beautiful rays of sunlight shone into our room.

Day 2

Our apartment had swimming and club facilities which we did not explore much. While some parts of the day were warm, the weather turned chilly during the night. We had a good sleep in such a cooling weather condition.

< Some readers enquired about this apartment. We wouldn’t recommend this as the unit was quite dusty (contrary to the nice pictures in the Airbnb ad. Not suitable for kids or elderly with common asthmatic problems > 

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We stayed at Perth City as it was near to the Chinatown. Many Chinese restaurants are concentrated along Roe Street at the suburb of Northbridge. We estimated the distance was about 4-5km from our apartment. We wanted to try the push cart dim sum and visited Canton Bay Chinese Restaurant. Parking is available beside the restaurant.

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The queue started to form outside Canton Bay. We did not research much and chose Canton Bay by our instinct. It turned out to be a good discovery!

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We like dim sum serve from push cart as it gives a “Hong Kong” style feel. Canton Bay specialises in Cantonese cuisine, prepared by traditional chefs from Hong Kong.

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These are some of the dishes they serve. Yummy!!

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Address: 130 Mounts Bay Road, Perth, Perth, WA.

The dim sum breakfast was sumptuous and we were really full. It was a blessing that the carpark was just beside Canton Bay was the sky started to turn dark. We were praying that it would not rain else our itinerary would be affected. Next on our travel plan, we drove toward the Crawley Edge Boatshed (Blue Boat House).

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Built some time in the 1930s, the Crawley Edge Boatshed has undergone various repairs and renovations over the decades after storms and floods.

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The blue boat house is situated along a stretch of busy road. There is no nearby carpark and we had to turn into this private neighourhood to park temporarily there.

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Crawley Edge Boatshed is a lovely place to take photos. There are periods when the jetty is structurally unsound and visitors are not allowed to step inside to take photos. We were blessed to have the opportunity this time.

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Excited visitors will be queuing up so don’t be shy to ask them to take photos for you. This picture was slightly blurred as the sky began to drizzle.

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Address: Perth WA 6005, Australia

 

The weather turned inclement and started to rain heavily. We were to be back to our vehicle in time. Next, we drove up to Waterford Plaza Shopping Centre which was non-touristy and what we were looking for. Waterford Plaza Shopping Centre is the shopping and social hub of Karawara. It is located on the corner of Kent Street and Manning Road Karawara.

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One of our favorite pasttimes is visiting supermarket – Coles & SUPA IGA!

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Old Chang Kee in Perth! The items are more expensive than in Singapore.

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Address: 230 Manning Road (Cnr Kent Street), Karawara, WA 6152

 

Fun with kids is our theme for this Perth trip. We brought the kids to Neil McDougall park as it has a flying fox which is hard to find in Singapore. Big and Small M had so much fun here!

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This is a looking web inspired playground where there are slides, climbing nets, balancing poles, spinning platforms, stepping stone areas, suspended tunnels and monkey bars within the structure. The nearby big trees provided natural shade during a warm day.

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This is a non-touristy playground where the locals play and some have their picnic. We enjoyed our time here as it gave us a local feel.

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A beautiful lake in the middle of the park with a walkway all the way round.

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Address: 18 Ley St, Como WA 6152, Australia

 

 We had a chance to really explore Perth City this time. The kids had enough of playing at Neil McDougall Park and we returned to the city to mingle with the crowds and admire some of Perth’s elegant architecture in the city.

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London Court is a three- and four-level open-roofed shopping arcade located in the central business district in Perth, Western Australia.

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Night comes early in Perth. We headed to Chinatown (Northbridge) for dinner.

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Old Shanghai is a family-run food court with retro Chinese decor and outdoor seats.

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The food stores were pretty much the same from our previous trip.

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Address: 123 James St, Northbridge WA 6003, Australia

We had simple dinner at the Uncle Billy’s Restaurant. The food wasn’t that fantastic though.

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Address: 9/66 Roe St, Northbridge WA 6003, Australia

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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.

Fun with Kids in Perth – (Day 1): The Fruit Corner, Swan Valley Cuddly Animal Farm, The Margaret River Chocolate Company, The House of Honey and Twilight Hawkers Market in Perth City

We love Perth. So much so that we don’t think we will get bored going back again. We can’t be more thankful to settle on Perth in our travel plans as it takes just a mere 5 hours flight for us to experience a totally different culture. We were there in 2013 and this time round, we did our homework and knew where to explore before arriving in Perth.

I would like to recommend readers to download Perth’s local app – Buggybuddys. This app gives us the latest information on what’s on in Perth, including knowing the upcoming events, family activities, playgrounds and attractions to visit. It’s very useful in helping us to plan our itinerary.

Day 1

We aimed to get the maximum mileage from this trip and we arrived early in Perth at 7:40am to collect our rental car, Hyundai iMax from Avis. We chose an MPV as it was spacious enough to contain our luggage and let the kids sleep when they were tired during the road trip.

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This trip was almost everything about kids. As such, we planned many activities that they could be involved and learnt at the same time. We love anything that has to do with fruits and farm visits. So, here we were at The Fruit Corner for an attempt at fruits picking for apples, plums, cherry tomatoes etc.

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It was the autumn season in which the weather was supposed to be cooling. However, it was not what we expected. We could feel the sun blazing down on us when we arrived at the orchard. We were thankful that we did not bring much thick clothing after some deliberation.

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The Fruit Corner has a little shed that show-case its home-grown fruits for visitors to purchase.

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Gigantic pumpkin!

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We had to pay an admission fee to enter the orchard where we were given a pull cart to store the fruits that we picked. Big and Small M had so much fun plucking sweet plums. They were so fresh and sweet and we were allowed to eat it on the spot.

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The plums were ripe for harvest. They could be seen everywhere on the trees.

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We originally planned to bring our harvest back to our Airbnb apartment before trying them but the sight of these plums tempted us so much that we gave in. Look at how juicy it is!

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The owner brought us to sight apple trees. We came at the right time as the green apples were ripe for harvest as well.

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Most of the apples were well-grown and we didn’t need much effort to single out which of them were suitable for harvesting.

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The weather was warm that day but we were oblivious to that as we were engrossed in exploring the orchard.

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Big M having a hands-on experience in apple picking.

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She had her share of fun too.

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The cherry tomato orchard. It is a rounded, small fruited tomato thought to be an intermediate genetic admixture between wild currant-type tomatoes and domesticated garden tomatoes.

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We did not try them though as we were not used to eating cherry tomatoes.

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Fresh local grown fruit and veggies. The Fruit Corner is a family owned and run since 1953, this is a great place to visit where you can even pick your own veggies. Take a drive down and see the freshest produce direct from the farm gate.

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Address: 1 Bracken Rd Pickering Brook, Western Australia, Australia

Opening Hours: 9am to 3pm

 

We had a fruitful time doing fruit picking and next we brought the kids to get up close and personal with farm animals at Swan Valley Cuddly Animal Farm. Every visitors would have visited Caversham Wildlife Park during their visit to Perth and since we had been there, we thought it would be good to give it a miss and visit a “less commercialized” farm place.

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The picturesque Swan Valley is well-known for the many vineyards, restaurants, cafes, boutique breweries, chocolate factory and art galleries. However, little has been known that there is a small animal farm here. While it may look dated, it does give visitors the local feel of what an Australian animal farm looks like. We paid $18 per adult and $13 per child.

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What to do here? Animal feeding! It may sound so boring to the adults but it does give so much excitement to the kids. Cuddly Animal Farm has prepared many buckets of animal feeds at the entrance for us to pick up and feed the animals and hey, you can feel free to feed as many rounds as you like.

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When we were there at Cuddly Animal Farm, we did not come across any tourists. The visitors were all locals. Without driving far out to Margaret River, we could also experience animal farms near to Perth City.

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For the first time, we had a chance to see how the farm animals in the likes of chickens, ducks, hamsters, guinea pigs, lambs and piglets live together in these cubicles. The experience was especially surreal for us as it was akin to seeing the story of Charlotte Web comes alive right in front of us with how these cute creatures living together in harmony, albeit some occasional squabbling.

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Stepped out of the shed, we were greeted by varieties of birds in the aviaries.

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Restless piglets pacing up and down in their sty.

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Little Billy Goat?

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Bouncing castle.

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A carousel or merry-go-round amusement ride for the kids (unlimited play).

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A large outdoor farm to meet and greet the “Aussie” animals such as llama, horses, cows, deer, lambs etc.

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The sheep were in high need for shearing.

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Deer can be found around the world. They are native to all continents except for Australia and Antarctica. There are about 100 types of deer, including the whitetail deer, reindeer, elk, moose, mule deer, blacktail deer and caribou.

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Entry includes:

Farm Animal Interaction | FREE Tractor/Train Rides | FREE Bouncy Castle (Under Cover) | FREE Bottle & Bucket Feeding | FREE Playground | FREE Merry-go-round RIDE per child | FREE Tea/Coffee from the Farm Urn for ‘grown ups’ | FREE BBQ & Picnic Facilities

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Address: 128 John Street, HENLEY BROOK 6055 Western Australia

Opening Hours: 9:30am to 4pm

 

Time for a short break. It is not surprising to know that Australia produces one of the best tasting and quality chocolates in the world. In Perth, there are 2 popular chocolate outlets to visit – Whistler’s Chocolate Company and Margaret River Chocolate Factory. We chose to visit the latter for some reasons. Firstly, we had already visited Whistler’s Chocolate Company during our previous trip and secondly, we could try some of the chocolates in Margaret River Chocolate Factory for free. Did we say it correctly?

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Welcome to the world of chocolate. These 3 big bowls of chocolates are free for visitors to taste as much as they can. We are not big fans of chocolates and welcome this free-tasting.

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Hundred of delicious chocolate products are on sale.

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Chocolate products include hand made truffles, bars and pastelles, chocolate coated delights, specialty chocolates, chocolate sauces, sugar free chocolate and more. There’s a corner called Chocolate Window where you can see how they make the chocolates too.

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Ice cream.

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We had our lunch at the cafe. Chips are very much a popular item on their menu.

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Located next to Margaret River Chocolate Factory in the Swan Valley is Providore which is housed in a spectacular, purpose built facility on West Swan Road.

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They had a vineyard and we saw fresh green grapes growing on the trees!

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Address: The Margaret River Chocolate Company – Swan Valley ( 5123 West Swan Road, West Swan WA 6055 )

Opening Hours: 9am to 5pm

 

Bees and honey are very much a part of Aussie culture. Next on our itinerary we visited The House of Honey. The House of Honey proudly specialises in raw, pure, unpasteurised and unadulterated varietal honeys. They practice harvesting honey only when their bees have capped the cells allowing the honey to fully ripen and mature into an exceptional taste.

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If you are expecting to see beehives everywhere you might be disappointed. There is a box mounted to the wall with with real bees sealed by a glass panel inside the cafe and that’s all we get to see. We guess The House of Honey is seeking to offer more experience in terms of honey tasting.

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With many varieties of honey, visitors can get to taste them for free.

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Small M couldn’t resist trying the honey again.

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Have you tried honey ice cream before?

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The Sticky Spoon Cafe offers some nice cakes, pastries and beverages for visitors to dine in the indoor or outdoor area.

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With some uninvited guests at times 🙂

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Address: 867 Great Northern Highway (Corner of River Road) Herne Hill, WA 6056

Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 10:00am to 5:00pm

 

Much of the day was spent exploring different places. We finally checked into our Airbnb apartment. We chose Perth City as our accommodation as it was central and accessible to most places in our travel plan.

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This was the 2 bedroom apartment that we stayed.

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With a spacious balcony area.

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We spent the first night exploring Twilight Hawkers Market in the heart of Perth City.

The Twilight Hawkers Market is Perth’s original & biggest Street Food Market bringing the tastiest street food from around the globe to the heart of Perth.

Held in Forrest Place from 4.30pm – 9.30pm this is the place to be on a Friday night over summer – meet with friends after work, grab a bite to eat pre-show or bring the family into town to enjoy the ambience of this wonderful market serving up authentic, delicious street food with live local music to add to the atmosphere.

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We really enjoyed checking out the different stalls and trying the different delicacies.

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Eclairs and macarons..

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German Sausages.

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Spanish paella.

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It was a memorable sight to see the crowds congregate and dine at the city square.

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And we joined in the fun as well 🙂

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Address: Forrest Pl, Perth WA 6000, Australia

Opening Period: Every Friday night from October – April each year

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

I wandered up to Campbell Street after my lunch at Joo Hooi Café and unknowingly I stumbled upon Toh Soon Café which was one of those places I wanted to visit in Georgetown much to my surprise.

Toh Soon Café 多春茶座

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There are many blogs on Toh Soon Café so I am not going to rave about how good it is. I had read that customers would usually wait up to an hour or two just to get a seat.  I had originally planned to come here at 8am in the morning to queue up and I was surprised to find a seat immediately in the late afternoon. So fortunate!

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The hot water for making of coffee was scooped from the big oil drum and the staff toasted the bread directly over charcoal oven. It was not an easy job as crowds streamed to Toh Soon Café at all times of the day. Imagine how busy the staff would be.

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Toasting in progress.

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Fragrant coffee pair with simple kaya toast bread. If I don’t remember wrongly, this cost about RM4.50.

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A simple and nice aroma of Hainanese coffee with condensed milk.

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To make it easier for readers to find Toh Soon Café, look out for Ban Heang pastry shop. Toh Soon Café is just beside it.

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Address: Lebuh Campbell, George Town, Penang Island 10200, Malaysia

Penang Street Art Painting

 Here in Georgetown, the street art and wall paintings would keep you mesmerised throughout the day. These murals have successfully transformed quiet streets into whimsical and thought provoking ones.

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It all started with a street art project called Mirrors George Town by George Town festival 2012. Since then, street art has been popping up all over the inner city and has stirred up quite a media frenzy with Singapore being a nearby country also catching the wall mural fever.

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Regardless of whether the wall murals were popular or not, they could be seen everywhere.

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Cat hanging from the balloons.

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Local community in Penang.

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The ever popular Boy on Chair. The mural is located across the street from the Anak-Anak Kota clubhouse and Khoo Kongsi entrance.  It was painted by Ernest Zacharevic during the 2012 Georgetown Festival.

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A Girl Preparing Fire with charcoals, just opposite Boy on Chair.

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This wall mural could be found at Ban Heang pastry shop beside Toh Soon Café.

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A Cat Prancing Upon a Rat which was part of the 101 Lost Kittens Project.

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Along the street Lebuh Armenian you could find this painting of 3 little girls with different costumes.

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The Shouting Boy.

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Two Men Pushing the Wall.

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The Trishaw Man selling Goods.

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A Lady Offering Joss Sticks on the Altar.

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Skippy the Giant Cat at Gat Lebuh Armenian.

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The Musicians.

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The Boatman.

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Brother and Sister on a Swing.

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Boy buying Soya Bean Curd.

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Kungfu Minion breaking out.

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At the intersection of Lebuh Victoria and Gat Lebuh Armenian, you would reach Ming Xiang Tai Pastry shop.

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Little Children on a Bicycle street art mural painted by Ernest Zacharevic.

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Lion Dance Breaking Out of a Wall.

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Magician at Lebuh Armenian.

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This shop provides bicycle rental.

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Exploring more street art at night.

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Just checking out the wall murals could take you almost a day. By the time I finished, my shirt was drenched with sweat. So, wearing comfortable shoes and light clothing would be useful. I guess it would be tiring to remember where are each wall mural located. My take is to grab a street map which is readily available at the airport and hotels and head down to the streets to stroll at your own pace. You may be amazed by how much you could cover within a day and the best part of it is that it is free!

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Penang 70s Ice Ball

Apart from being famous for street art at Armenian Street, it is also popular with visitors who can satisfy their cravings for 70s ice ball.

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The popularity of ice ball goes back to the old school days. Over here, an ice ball sells for RM5.

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My impression of the size of an ice ball should be similar to that of a fish ball. I was wrong. I was pleasantly surprised it looked pretty huge.

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About the size of a small bowl.

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Rainbow ice cream and peanuts stuffed inside the ice ball.

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A must-try dessert in Penang!

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Khoo Kongsi

The Khoo Kongsi is a large Chinese clanhouse with elaborate and highly ornamented architecture, a mark of the dominant presence of the Chinese in Penang, Malaysia. Leong San Tong exhibits rich Southern Fujian architecture. It is found along Armenian Street, near to the Dragon Ice Ball.

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Intricate carvings everywhere on the walls, pillars, and roof.

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The entire building is covered with intricate tiled shard work, mural paintings, wood and stone carvings.

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Take a walk behind the courtyard and see the life of the locals.

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Anna & The King (starring Chow Yun-Fat as King Mongkut and Jodie Foster as Anna Leonowens), was filmed at UNESCO world heritage site Khoo Kongsi!

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Delve further inside you can find more art gallery and a small museum.

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Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi opens daily, including Sundays and Public Holidays from 9am to 5pm.

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Address: 18 Cannon Square, 10200 Penang, Malaysia

Old Coffeeshop @ Lebuh Armenian

A set of kaya toast and coffee is expensive in Singapore. Not surprising. However, there is this old coffeeshop at a corner of Lebuh Armenian Street that serves decent and wonderful toast.

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The interiors of this coffeeshop are pretty dated but customers continue to be allured by its charm.

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And this set of kaya toast and bread cost only RM2.70!

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With more to come, stay tune for the next blog post 🙂

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