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

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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.

 

 

 

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

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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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 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

Unlike many travel destinations where visiting once is enough, Penang gives me all the reasons to return again and again. A large proportion of population in Penang are made up of Penangite Chinese and this makes it even easier to communicate with the locals and travel around.

When I arrived at Penang airport, my first task was to purchase a local SIM card (1GB for RM$26). Knowing that there would be lots of traveling, transport cost was one of the major factors to take into consideration. With a SIM card, I would be able to get connected to local network and more importantly, explore Penang by Grab service instead of hailing normal taxis which could charge you exorbitant fees. I figured out that using Grab service would end up saving about 50% to 60% in transportation cost.

Snake Temple

My first stop was the Penang Snake Temple. It made sense to have this attraction in my initial itinerary as it was just three km from the airport in Sungai Kluang, Bayan Lepas. Built in honour of Chor Soo Kong at about 1850, legend has it that he was also a healer and sometimes gave shelter to the snakes of jungle.

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Being a tourist attraction, the snake temple has attracted locals to set up shops selling touristy items.

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Penang is well known for its street art. I was given a glimpse of some of the masterpieces at the entrance.

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The temple is filled with the smoke of burning incense and a variety of pit vipers. The vipers are believed to be rendered harmless by the sacred smoke, but as a safety precaution, the snakes have also been de-venomed but still have their fangs intact.

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I skipped the altar section and went straight to the snake exhibit.

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I was encouraged by the staff to feel the python and most probably, he would be asking me to carry the snake and take pictures for a fee which I declined politely.

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The snake farm was situated inside the temple. This was the spot to go if you were looking to get near to any kind of snakes.

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Venomous vipers, huge pythons and different types of cobras were found here.

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It was a worthwhile experience visiting the snake farm. I was a tad surprise that the snakes were quite active instead of coiling at a corner sleeping away.

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Albino pythons which the snake handler told me they do not bite humans.

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A huge python which I was cautioned not to touch it.

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A rare sight of an albino cobra spitting its venom. Did you see the venom on the screen?

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Another active cobra spitting its venom. I learnt that cobras which do not have “eyes” on the back of their hoods are usually able to spit venoms.

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Not a spitting cobra.

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The snake handler invited me inside the King Cobra’s house.

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He said this king cobra only dine on snakes.

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The king cobra was captured in Indonesia.

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Trying to get closer to this 3m long king cobra to snap a picture.

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The king cobra was getting stressed out and started to get aggressive. I am getting out of here..

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Other residents in the snake farm included quails.

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Cats. Shouldn’t they be allowed to roam around?

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An over 100 year old land tortoise.

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And many geckos. I thought the snake temple was worth paying a visit though one should not spend more than an hour inside.

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Outside the snake temple, there were 2 coffeeshops selling Chinese roasted delights and Indian dishes.

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Opening Hours: 06:00 – 19:00

Location: Bayan Lepas

Price Range: For Temple: FREE

Snake Farm: Adults – RM8, Kids – RM6

Lee Clan Jetty (姓李桥) Georgetown

Visiting the clan jetty is one of my checklist items. I have always wanted to visit these waterfront settlement housings located along the main road of Pengkalan Weld.

Clan Jetties map

Image Credit: Penang Discovery

While many visitors chose to flock to Chew Jetty (pretty touristy), I decided to pay Lee Jetty a visit first.

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As I stepped foot onto Lee Jetty, I paused on a corner observing the traditional houses built on stilts that made them looked as if they were forever stuck in a time capsule. Nevermind that I had to battle with the sweltering heat. It was an experience exploring these heritage buildings.

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The Clan Jetties are unique Chinese settlements that have been around since the 19th century. There are eight different clans that still reside here, with each individual jetty named after their surname. Look at the villages on stilts that house the descendants of Chinese immigrants.

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A girl returning to her jetty house after school.

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Various types of houses.

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An elderly resident stood at his gate and beckoned me to try out the ice cream. I did not try though.

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I reckoned if the owner turned this residence which was situated next to the sea into an Airbnb, there would be many bookings.

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Unfinished construction of bridge crossing.

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After Lee Jetty, I moved on. My next destination was the popular Chew Jetty which was about 5 mins walk from the Lee’s. Along the way, I snapped pictures of the streets.

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A Jambul song bird.

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Have you tried Penang white coffee before?

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A local coffeeshop outside the Tan Jetty selling cold beverages. What a perfect respite after soaking in the afternoon heat!

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Another food stall at Tan Jetty but there was nothing much to see there so I continued walking.

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A bicycle rental shop.

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A local “mama” shop.

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Selling cold beverage is one of the best options in Penang. Here is a lorry conveniently transformed into a drinks stall at a corner of the road.

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Chew Clan Jetty 姓周桥 Georgetown

As I mentioned, Chew Jetty is a touristy spot where you could see some of the wooden houses transformed into shops selling souvenirs and eateries.

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Hey, Ahmah and Ahsoon (Grandma and Grandson) at the entrance of the Chew Jetty. One of the factors contributing to the popularity of the Chew Jetty was due to the movie of Ice Kacang Puppy Love ( 初恋红豆冰).

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When you are tired from walking, renting a bicycle is an option.

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A house that is pretty dated.

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More houses were built inside. While these traditional jetty houses were pleasing to the eyes, visitors would need to take note that some of them belonged to the locals and taking pictures of their residence were prohibited.

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As you delved into Chew Jetty, these touristy shops became a common sight.

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Street art souvenir post cards and apparels on sale.

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Note books with street art imprinted on the covers.

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Penang white coffee – I think you can find these in NTUC over in Singapore though you have to pay a premium for them.

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Back to old school days! Have you tried these ice sticks before? 🙂

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A hip café opened by youngsters selling fruity beverages.

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A stall selling durian puffs. Do give it a try if you are feeling peckish.

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A street dog lazing in the afternoon.

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On the right of this picture was a restaurant selling big bowls of ramen.

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It did seem ironic to me that this restaurant was selling Japanese ramen instead of local cuisines. After all, visitors wanted to visit Penang to try its famous local dishes right?

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So huge! Don’t think of trying it if you are not travelling with a food buddy.

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Boats lining up along the Chew jetty. It is a nice place to enjoy the scenery as well.

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As I completed my tour of the Chew Jetty, I popped by the coffeeshop near the entrance to try out their coffee.

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The smell of aroma coffee for RM1.10.

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 Address: Pengkalan Weld, George Town, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendol & Joo Hooi Cafe

Just directly opposite the Chew Jetty are the streets to spot all kinds of street art. As such, you would not need to travel by car. Just walk across the road will do.

However, I decided to visit Joo Hooi Cafe for my lunch and chendol. The Penang Road Famous Teochew Chedol and Jooi Hooi Café are located at Lebuh Keng Kwee

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I was snapping some pictures and in a matter of few minutes, the queue started to form again. You have the option to dine inside the café (or I called it as a coffeeshop as it was not air-conditioned) instead of standing under the unforgiving heat. I chose the former.

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Joo Hooi Café packed with customers on a typical weekday. If you are intending to visit Joo Hooi Café, you would have the chance to taste most Penang famous dishes such as Assam Laksa, Char Koay Teow, Lor Bak,  famous Chendol and Ice Kacang.

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Whipping up many dishes of irresistible char koay teow, I am sure she had won many fans.

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I ordered these 2 dishes – enough to fill up my empty stomach.

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The prawns tasted juicy and nice!

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Choose to gulp it down or savour at your own pace. On a fair note, I wouldn’t say the best Penang food are found here but Joo Hooi Café certainly provides a one-stop location for you to get a taste of local delights.

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There was this stall also selling char koay teow outside Joo Hooi Café. The owner plied his trade using his left hand.

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Each plate of char koay teow cost RM6, cheaper than that from the stall at Joo Hooi Café which cost RM7. A downside was that you would need to stand on the roadside to eat.

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Address: 475 Jalan Penang, 10000 George Town, Penang, Malaysia
Opening Hours: 11.30am – 5pm daily

Ming Xiang Tai Pastry 名香泰餅家 @ Penang Road

Stepped through the old shophouses (just beside Joo Hooi Café) you would find Ming Xiang Tai authentic Cantonese-style pastries.

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Fresh pastries of different flavours on display.

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Some notable pastries on sale include Trishaw Egg Tart, Salted Egg Tart, Salted Egg Pastry, Pandan Kaya Puff, Wife Pastry, Wutaro Yaki and Wedding Cookies.

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The most popular item at Ming Xiang Tai has to be the Ko-Cha Siew Bao which is selling at RM2.20 per piece.

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Take a bite on these Golden Pillows (stuffed with chicken meat). Each piece sells for RM2.20.

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I bought a few pieces and tried. Even after I left them overnight, they still tasted as nice!

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Stuffing inside the Golden Pillow.

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Stuffing inside Ko-Cha Siew Pao.

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Tastefully designed boxes fitting for gift giving.

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More than just eating, this trip to Penang presented the chance for me to explore pictorial worthy ambience. I took my time in Ming Xiang Tai and feasted my eyes on its rich interiors, decorated with traditional household items dating back to 1940s.

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There were many more places I covered which would be shared in subsequent blogs. If you think its good, share it!

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Address: 475-A , Jalan Penang George Town, Malaysia (beside Joo Hooi Café)

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