Social Media


Sassy Mama’s Family Travel Guide To Penang, Malaysia

George Town Penang Malaysia kids family travel
TravelPost Category - TravelTravel

For when you want to combine a beach holiday with a bit of history and culture.

Penang is quickly becoming a favourite family-friendly travel destination. If you love a tropical destination with good food (who doesn’t!), endless activities for kids and interesting history and culture to boot, then Penang in Malaysia is for you. With short direct flights from Hong Kong and no time zone changes, it makes for a perfect beach break.

Jump to: 
Family-friendly accommodation in Penang
Family-friendly resorts in Batu Ferringhi
Family-friendly hotels in George Town
What to do with kids in Penang
Where to eat in Penang
Date night in Penang
Transport to Penang and how to get around

Read more: The Family Guide To Cairns And Far North Queensland

shangri-la resort Penang Malaysia kids travel

Family-friendly accommodation in Penang

Your search for family accommodation in Penang will likely be narrowed down to two areas; the heritage city of George Town or by the beach at Batu Ferringhi, each with its pros and cons. If time is on your side, book a couple of nights in George Town so you can easily explore the beautiful UNESCO-listed heritage old town, before finishing up with a couple of nights by the beach.

Family-friendly resorts in Batu Ferringhi

With big-name family resorts lining the coastline, it’s no wonder families (especially those with young kids) choose to stay at the beachfront resorts of Batu Ferringhi.

Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa

The Shangri-La has long established itself as a premier five-star, family-friendly resort and its beachfront location in Batu Ferringhi is no different. The expansive property is nestled in vast tropical gardens and promises well-appointed rooms and a relaxing family getaway.

Sassy Mama tip: The hotel shares its kids’ club with the Golden Sands, right next door, so you’ll still have access to its fantastic kids’ facilities.

Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort & SpaBatu Feringghi Beach, Penang, Malaysia,

golden sands resort Penang Malaysia kids travel

Golden Sands Resort Penang by Shangri-La

This is one of the older hotels in Batu Ferringhi and, while the rooms are a bit dated, you and your family probably won’t spend all that much time inside because of the fantastic children’s facilities. The “Splash Zone” (shown above) and the Cool Zone Kids’ Club are reason enough to stay at this family resort. The kids’ club is open for little ones aged 5 to 12 years and has a wide variety of daily activities, including indoor and outdoor games, arts and crafts.

Golden Sands Resort, Batu Feringghi Beach, Penang, Malaysia, [email protected],

park royal water slides Penang Malaysia kids travel

PARKROYAL Penang Resort

The rooms at this resort are spacious, newly renovated and most have ocean views. The Koko-Nut Kids’ Club is great fun (it’s complimentary for children over 5, babysitting is available for a charge for younger kids), is supervised by friendly staff, has a ball pit and slide, and plenty of arts and craft activities to keep the little ones amused. Outdoors, the kids can splash about in the pool, slip down the waterslides or let loose in the Amazonia water play area. And that’s all before you’ve even hit the beach!

PARKROYAL Penang Resort, Batu Feringghi Beach, Penang, Malaysia, +60 4 886 2288, [email protected]

holiday inn Penang kids club Malaysia travel

Holiday Inn Resort Penang

This is a good, mid-range beachfront family resort. The hotel is split between the beach wing (located on the beachfront) and the tower wing, which is across the road (but accessible by an overhead walkway). Families should definitely consider booking the Kids’ Suite which features one queen and two single beds in a larger room. Kids under 12 stay free when using existing bedding and you should definitely check out the newly-renovated Playlab (pictured above) with arcade games, a slide and ball pit, and board games.

Holiday Inn Resort, Batu Feringghi Beach, Penang, Malaysia,

doubletree Hilton Penang Malaysia kids travel

DoubleTree by Hilton

Situated just outside Batu Ferringhi (about a 5 to 10-minute drive), this is a very family-friendly, mid-priced hotel option. It’s not right on the beach, but there is an overhead bridge that takes you to the sea without having to navigate the busy road. If you’re travelling with kids, you can book interconnected family rooms (a king and a twin room each with their own bathroom, sharing a common entryway), or upgrade to a one or two-bedroom suite. The staff are extremely friendly and each made an effort to get to know my toddler. There is a kids’ club and also the TeddyVille Museum which introduces the history and culture of Penang through teddy bears.

DoubleTree by Hilton, 56 Jalan Low Yat, Batu Ferringhi, Penang, Malaysia, +604 892 8000,

hard rock hotel Penang Malaysia kids travel

Hard Rock Hotel, Penang

As our kids become teenagers, we often find they don’t want to hang out with their parents, but they are that little bit too old for the kids’ club as well. The Hard Rock Hotel treats the teens like rockstars at the TABU Teens Club with pool and foosball challenges, as well as access to Xbox and Playstation games. That’s not to forget the younger ones! Kids aged 4 to 12 years are entertained at the Roxity Kids Club, while parents of toddlers can make use of the Lil’ Rockers Infants Club indoor play area. The hotel is modern and big on the rock’n’roll theme, as you’d expect from this brand!

Hard Rock Hotel, Batu Feringghi Beach, Penang, Malaysia,

Family-friendly hotels in George Town

Hotel Jen

Hotel Jen is located just on the edge of the historic district, making it an ideal spot to base your family to explore George Town. It has family rooms with a pull-out sofa for kids to sleep on, or opt for a suite or apartment for even more space. There is a family dining plan and all kids under six years dine free at the buffet when accompanied by a paying adult (up to two children per adult).

Hotel Jen, Magazine Road, George Town, Penang, Malaysia, +604 262 2622, [email protected],

Seven Terraces

This heritage hotel was originally constructed in 1893 and has now been lovingly restored. If you have time, be sure to take the hotel’s guided tour. Even when relaxing with a cuppa (or cocktail) by the pool, you’ll feel immersed in the culture of the city. This is a boutique hotel and, while kids are welcome, there aren’t facilities like the kids’ clubs you find at the beach resorts. The rooms, however, are very spacious and can easily accommodate the whole family (there are duplex rooms and rooms with separate living areas).

Seven Terraces, Stewart Lane, George Town, Penang, +604 261 8888, [email protected],

Muntri Mews

Like Seven Terraces, Muntri Mews is a boutique hotel in a restored heritage building. Rooms and apartments are large with space for the whole family.

Sassy Mama tip: There is a great restaurant on-site — see Mutri Café below.

Muntri Mews, +604 261 8888, [email protected],

Read more: Car Seat Laws When Travelling: What You Need To Know

George Town Penang street art family kids travel

What to do with kids in Penang

Street art and heritage buildings at George Town (UNESCO World Heritage Area)

George Town is famous for a number of things – amazing street food, lovingly restored heritage shophouses and street art. In 2012, a Lithuanian artist was commissioned to give some of the buildings a bit of a facelift and the result is stunning murals dotted around the city. It started quite the trend and now you’ll find all sorts of installations. Street Art Penang has a long and short walking route worth following if you want to tick as many off the list as you can, or this map provided by the city is a great help too.

As you stroll through the town, you’ll find beautiful 1920’s shophouses at every turn. You may be lucky enough to be staying at Seven Terraces or Muntri Mews which immediately immerse you in the culture but, if not, be sure to stop by the Cheong Fatt Tze Blue Mansion (especially if you’re a fan of Insta-worthy pics!). A sure bet to start your wandering is Armenian Street and you can work your way outwards from there.

Penang Hill and funicular railway

Penang Hill offers panoramic views over Penang Island and across to the peninsula. Once at the top, there are a number of easy nature trail walks through the rainforest and The Habitat, an eco-experience featuring canopy walks and ziplines. Stop for lunch or afternoon tea at David Brown, a nice little restaurant set in a lovely English-style garden where the kids can run around. The best way to get there is by the funicular railway, a reason to visit in itself!

Beach time!

They may not quite be the beaches of Thailand, but they sure are nice. There are plenty of water sports (jet skis, banana boats, parasailing etc) on offer along Batu Ferringhi Beach, or you can just have fun building sandcastles and splashing about. Two things to note – sometimes there are jellyfish off the coast so swim in the designated nets, and it’s best to book watersports through your hotel to ensure safe equipment and/or adequate insurance coverage.

Entopia – Penang Butterfly Farm

A visit to Entopia is well worth scheduling for a fun morning or afternoon out of the hotel with kids. Wander through the gardens and spot lizards, snakes (in enclosures!) and, of course,  butterflies! Plus there’s a whole indoor exhibit on all manner of creepy crawlies. There’s also a reasonable cafe, so you can make a coffee or lunch stop if need be.

Sassy Mama tip: Check Klook for discounted tickets.

Entopia, 830 Jalan Teluk Bahang, Penang, Malaysia, +604 8888 111, [email protected],

Batu Ferringhi Night Markets

It’s hard to miss the bustling night markets as you stroll out along the main road in Batu Ferringhi. They have the usual array of knock-off clothes, bags and watches, kids’ toys and knick-knacks. Combine a stroll through the markets with a stop at the Long Beach Food Court for a cheap and cheerful dinner.

Where to eat in Penang

Red Garden Food Paradise

This lively hawker centre in the heart of George Town is full of fantastic local and international eats. Go hungry and try a bit of everything! There are steaming bowls of laksa and Hokkien mee, or even pizza and pasta if you are craving some western fare. There’s often live music as the night kicks on, so you can really make an outing of it!

Red Garden Food Paradise, 20 Leith Street, George Town, Penang, Malaysia,

tek sen restaurant George Town Penang Malaysia

Tek Sen Restaurant

This unassuming family-style restaurant serves up heritage Chinese-Malaysian cuisine. We love that you can choose from small, medium or large plates, depending on the variety that you want to order and the size of your group. It’s busy and only takes reservations for groups of five or more people, so be prepared for a short wait.

Sassy Mama tip: Order the “Home Recipe Double Roasted Pork with Chilli Padi”. It’s a delicious dish of sticky and slightly spicy caramelised pork. Yum!

Tek Sen Restaurant, 18 and 20 Carnavon Street, George Town, Penang, Malaysia, +6012 981 5117,,

Mews Café

For a casual alfresco meal (or opt for a reprieve inside in the air conditioning!), the Mews Café is a great choice. Choose from a mix of Malaysian classics or western staples for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Mews Café, 77 Muntri Street, George Town, Penang, Malaysia, +604 263 5125, [email protected],

Long Beach Food Court, Batu Ferringhi

This is a great local and cheap dining option in Batu Ferringhi. It’s a typical hawker food centre where you choose your table and go to visit stalls individually to order your food. The kids are sure to find something that takes their fancy from char kway teow (fried flat rice noodles), Malaysian satay, BBQ seafood as well as Thai, Indian and Japanese cuisines. Failing that, there’s always the pancake and ice-cream stand!

Long Beach Food Court, Batu Ferringhi Beach, Penang, Malaysia

Read more: Travel Tips: How To Help Babies And Toddlers Overcome Jetlag

kabaya dining room George Town Penang Malaysia travel

Date night in Penang

If you’re lucky enough to leave the kids with a babysitter (we stayed at the PARKROYAL where this was a very reasonable MYR23 per hour and also at the DoubleTree by Hilton where it was MYR20 per hour — less than $50 HKD!), then treat yourself to a well-earned date night! It is much more comfortable exploring George Town in the cooler evenings, and you can enjoy some fabulous food and drink options without interruptions.

Kebaya Dining Room

Visit the Kabaya Dining room at the Seven Terraces Hotel for an evening of classic Indo Straits and Chinese Nyonya dishes. The chefs have taken inspiration from the local cuisine (with help from the Nyonya Aunties!) and combined it with flavours from Vietnam and Thailand while using French cooking styles. Save this one for an adults-only dinner!

Mish Mash

The one thing often missing on a South-East Asian holiday is a quality cocktail. So often you’re served up poorly mixed concoctions and left paying tourist prices for the privilege. Not so at Mish Mash! Serving up well-mixed cocktails, artisanal spirits and a wide selection of whiskeys from all over the globe this is well worth a stop for a refreshing tipple.

Mish Mash, 24 Muntri Street, George Town, Penang, Malaysia, +6017 536 5128, (coming soon),

George Town wines Penang Malaysia travel

Georgetown Wines

This gorgeous little wine bar is across from Red Garden food centre and the perfect place for a civilised nightcap amongst the fairy lights. It pours a selection of both Old and New World wines by the glass or the bottle, and serves up tapas dishes as an accompaniment.

Georgetown Wines, 19-19A, Lebuh Leith, George Town, Penang, Malaysia, [email protected],

Transport to Penang and how to get around

There are direct flights from Hong Kong to Penang with Cathay Dragon, with a flight time of around 3.5 hours. You can also travel on connecting flights via Kuala Lumpur.

Once in Penang, you’ll likely need a car to get around, especially if travelling with kids. Metered taxis are readily available as is ride-sharing service, Grab. It is about a 45-minute drive from the airport to George Town and about one hour to Batu Ferringhi.

Read more: Sassy Mama’s Complete Guide To Hoi An, Vietnam

Featured image courtesy of Getty, image 1 courtesy of Shangri-La Penang, image 2 courtesy of Golden Sands Resort via Agoda,  image 3 courtesy of PARKROYAL via Agoda, image 4 courtesy of Holiday Inn via Agoda, image 5 courtesy of DoubleTree by Hilton via Agoda,  image 6 courtesy of Hard Rock Hotel via Agoda, image 7 courtesy of Seven Terraces via Agoda, image 8 courtesy of Lightscape on Unsplash, image 9 courtesy of Tek Sen, image 10 courtesy of Kabaya Dining Room, image 11 courtesy of George Town Wines via Facebook.

more sassy mama

What's New

We're social

We're social

What we're up to and what inspires us