Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas in Penang: With Kids

We enjoyed a most untraditional Christmas Day in Penang. I woke late to the stirring sounds of Christmas bells ringing at a nearby church. By 9.30am I decided to wake the boys (were these the latest sleeping children in the world?) to unwrap their presents from Santa who stretched his powers of deduction to find us here!

Gifts were small and simple this year as we're travelling with way too much luggage, but the boys impressed me with how excited they were with what they received and took the unusual day in their stride.

The 'core zone' of old Georgetown on Penang island was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008 and just a short walk from where we stayed. The architecture was beautiful, dating back to when Penang was colonised by the British in 1786. Some buildings were restored to old world glory and other terrace buildings looked 'shabby chic' with weathered paint work and overgrown gardens. I loved the decorative tiled facades on homes and shop fronts with bold signs in Chinese.


Bob finds a tiger at a Chinese temple.

Lanterns at a temple

None of this holds much interest for the little travellers, but luckily Georgetown also has a modern and quirky attraction: street art.

In recent years international artists have left their mark on the landscape in the form of unique artworks, the cleverest incorporating aspects of the urban environment in the picture.
I'm not the first to blog about this: you can find lots of depictions of this art online including recent blogs of my friend Vicky who spent a few days exploring Georgetown and developing an obsession for finding and documenting the artworks.





I loved this whimsical mobile with upcycled items sparkling in the sun.

Tracking down each work of art was like a treasure hunt, and the kids enjoyed following the map to find the pictures and sculptures whose novelty and whimsy appeal to the child within us all. We stopped frequently to browse boutiques and have drinks and treats which made up for not indulging in the usual Christmas feasts.

We tried some delicious chocolate cake and a tub of custard.
We stopped for a 'White Coffee' and enjoyed a delicious sweet/savoury cake with it.

With only two nights in Penang, I'm left wishing we had more time to explore. The food was delicious, varied and cheap, the shopping good, and I highly recommend our Hotel Sentral: excellent service and very comfortable for a reasonable price.

Straight into the hawker food stalls for dinner - fried noodles with prawns and chilli.

An appetiser of deep fried tofu cubes was tasty and the boys loved their chicken drumsticks.

Penang is a destination with much appeal for families with young children and was a superb introduction to our three week holiday in Malaysia. But now, onwards to Langkawi for our long awaited island holiday!

1 comment:

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