Our last couple of weeks in Penang were a little quieter as we took in a bit more of this wonderful part of Malaysia…
We had all been looking forward to this day for a while and we certainly made the most of it. By purchasing online tickets we saved 15% and we were emailed a code that was all we needed for the day – used for entry into the park, booking a locker if needed (only 10 MYR/$3.33 NZD for the day of unlimited access) and creating and using your e-wallet (so no need to carry cash on you during the day) to purchase food and drinks – super easy. We wanted to make sure we got the most out of the day so we arrived just after opening at 10am. Logan and Lincoln set out to do Level 1 (of 3) of ‘Monkey Business’, the main ropes course at the front of the park and Braxton and I went to ‘Zoom Bugs’. There are so many great activities at Escape and we spent the first couple of hours exploring all those we could try, as some have height/weight minimums/maximums.
As midday approached we had built up quite a hunger and headed to the food court area which is three main stands – ‘drinks & ice creams’, ‘western food’ and ‘local snacks’. The boys decided to have some ‘western food’ consisting of things like burgers, chicken nuggets, fish and chips etc and their combos which included a drink were 15 MYR/$5 NZD. Logan and I went for the local option and had char koay teow (fried noodles) with a drink for 18 MYR/$6 NZD – it was surprising pretty good. As we sat down for lunch a Malaysian rain shower (heavy and short) passed over and was pretty much gone by the time we were refueled and were ready to head back out into the action. We headed back to some of our favourites and then Logan and I decided to try the zip line courses high amongst the trees, aptly named ‘Flying Lemurs’. Some of these were pretty high and fast, but it was an awesome experience. After this, we were ready to let the kids try to dunk us in the ‘dunk tank’ and cool off a bit.
Braxton was crowned Zoom Bug champion of the family as he managed to get full speed out of his sized ‘bug’ and he also really enjoyed doing the 2 courses in the ‘Monkey School’. Lincoln had fun on the ‘Jumping Jacks’ trampolines, doing backflips with ease and we all had a few thrills together down the ‘Tubby Racer’ track (not so much fun pulling the tubes up the track though….) Logan and I both did the 20m jump off a solid tower and we are so glad we did all the zip lines.
We would totally recommend Escape to anyone planning to visit Penang, it was an amazing day out for the family and we could have easily spent more time here (we left just before the 6pm closing time). Total spend for what you got was such awesome value – adults tickets (with 15% online discount) were 70.55 MYR/$23.52 NZD, children 4-12 years were 46.75 MYR/$15.58 NZD, we hired a locker for the day for 10 MYR/$3.33 NZD and spent 78 MYR/$26 NZD on lunch, drinks and ice blocks during the day. If you are feeling extra adventurous, you can also camp at Escape for one or two nights. I did see that they state that this is “the call to the wild” and “it is not a hotel or ‘glamping’.” and while we aren’t “campers”, this might have been something we would have considered if we hadn’t already had accommodation paid for. Brilliant day out – huge thumbs up from all of our family. 👍
Kiwi Sunday Roast
As we were nearing three months into our awesome world adventure we were talking about some of the foods we hadn’t had for a little while or were missing, and a family favourite was discussed – a roast. When we were living in New Zealand we would often have a roast meal on Sunday evenings, particularly in the winter, and while it was definitely not winter weather in Penang we decided we would all like to have one.
I remembered that when we first arrived at the apartment I had seen some very small forks in a drawer, and they reminded me of my mum’s small corn cob holders that she has had forever (many of you may remember something similar as well – not sure if they were a Tupperware item from the 80’s or not??). Lincoln and Braxton used to use these when staying with Nana and Poppa and these little forks would be perfect for them to use to eat corn on the cob on roast night.
We had seen pre-cooked chickens at the local supermarket, Cold Storage, at Gurney Plaza and it wouldn’t take much to roast up a few vegetables, with peas and some gravy. We purchased some potatoes, local sweet potatoes (in place of the New Zealand kumara), carrots and some corn on the cob at the markets.
This particular Sunday a heavy and longish rain shower came through in the early afternoon and it was nearly 3pm before I could head out to walk down to the plaza. Once at the supermarket and on closer inspection of the pre-cooked chickens (they looked a little small and dried out), I decided to not take the easy option and cook a nicer, plumper looking fresh whole chicken (and for a lesser price). I still had enough time to get back to the apartment, get the chicken prepped with a little butter, garlic and herbs under the skin and in the oven and cooked by a reasonable time for dinner. I added a few extra things to the shopping basket and also grabbed some ice cream and sprinkles for the boys as a little dessert treat.
On my walk home I called Logan to put the oven on so it was nice and pre-heated and ready to get that bird in and roasting up ASAP. He also chopped up some garlic we already had in the apartment and when I got back it wasn’t too long until the chicken was in the oven and cooking away nicely. I sat down to cool down for a bit and then about 15 minutes later there was a bang and some lights went out…. we checked the fuse box and sure enough some switches were off. We turned them back on and tried a few times to get the oven working again but that fuse was completely out. To plan B…. luckily we also had a microwave in the apartment, so after a quick search of Mr. Google (having never done this before) I had some instructions on how to cook a whole chicken in a microwave and got that back cooking again. The vegetables now needed to be boiled and I decided to finish them off in the roasting tray placed over one of the gas hobs to crisp them up in a little butter. The peas, corn and gravy were still status quo.
While I wasn’t planning to be standing over so many hot pots and pans in 35 degree heat for this meal, in the end it was all worth it and the boys were very excited when they saw everything laid out on the table ready to devour. Lincoln decided that the corn was his favourite and Braxton’s favourite was “everything”!! Sounds like a pretty satisfied family to me. 😊
Penang Bird Park
Lincoln was very keen to visit the bird park in KL but as the recent reviews on TripAdviser weren’t that good we decided to give it a miss. We then found there was a bird park here in Penang, over on the mainland in Butterworth and the most reviews seemed more promising. We took the ferry from the Pengkalan Raja Tun Uda Ferry Terminal in Georgetown over to Butterworth on the mainland. The ferry ride took about 15-20 minutes and we didn’t have anywhere to pay going in this direction however we saw a ticket booth when we disembarked, so you must only purchase tickets if you travel from Butterworth to Penang. Tickets prices are pretty minimal anyway, adults are 1.20 MYR/$0.40 NZD and children are 0.60 MYR/$0.20 NZD.
It was a pleasant start to the day and once we arrived on the mainland we headed to Apollo Markets as Logan was keen to check this lot out. These weren’t as good as some markets we have been to but we managed to find a few things to snack on for brunch before heading to the bird park. We arrived around 11.40am and were told the 11.30am bird show was just starting, so we paid (adults 38 MYR/$12.67 NZD, children 20 MYR/$6.67 NZD & 1 MYR/$0.33 NZD for our camera??) and went just around from the entrance to watch the show. There were just 2 other families there at this stage and we saw a couple of macaws do a few tricks, a white bellied sea eagle swoop in and out from afar a few times, some cute little barn owls and some pelicans eat some fish. After the show we were able to take our own photos with a hornbill on our arms but the boys weren’t too keen on that as their claws looked a little too sharp.
We began to wander around the park and while they do have a huge array of birds (who knew there were so many species of pheasants, hornbills & owls though), the enclosures and surroundings (plus lack of visitors and staff) made us feel like we had stumbled across a forgotten part of the world. Don’t get us wrong, we do love it when there aren’t many people to contend with when we are out doing paid activities/adventures, but this was just a little too eerie. The boys enjoyed seeing all the different birds, and even a random crocodile and a couple of reticulated pythons thrown in for good measure. We spent a couple of hours at the park, had an eager emu jut it’s head a bit far over the fence at us a few times and the boys even managed to let the macaws eat out of their hands. So not a complete waste of time for the time and money spent here but lots of room for improvement.
Penang Avatar Secret Garden
Ever since hearing about this reasonably new attraction in Penang from Linda at Kiwis Fly The Coop, we had been wanting to check it out and visit in the evening to see the full effect of the lighting features. We were nearing the end of our time in Penang (& Malaysia) and we finally got there on our last night – we were definitely not disappointed.
We arrived just on dusk and saw some of the lights in the gardens up to our left, but right in front of us was a beach front area with animal shaped plants and statues so the boys were off to explore this area first.
Next it was up into the gardens and it is so hard to describe how stunning it was and while Logan did a great job on photography of the lights at night, it really was amazing to see it first hand. A lot of the lights around the trees changed colours, there was a huge amount of lit up tulips of all different colours and we saw hundreds of tiny lights on near invisible strand hanging from a group of trees that looked so much like a mast of tiny glow bugs.
More photos of the Avatar Secret Gardens are on our Facebook page and we hope this continues to be a free activity, it’s a definite ‘must-see’.
Well, what a wonderful 6 weeks in Penang, we had an awesome time and have so many great memories and experiences to take away with us from this gorgeous part of Malaysia. Our apartment was in a great location and the review of it can be found here on our ‘homes away from home’ page. Now it’s time to say goodbye to Penang and Malaysia and start some new adventures across the border in Thailand.