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Family friendly - Penang or Kota Kinabalu

Family friendly - Penang or Kota Kinabalu

Jun 15th, 2008, 12:18 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 30
Family friendly - Penang or Kota Kinabalu

We are planning a family holiday with our two kids - the eldest is 4 1/2 and our 5 month old baby. Travelling end August, early September and plan to be away for 3 weeks. We've narrowed our choices down to Kota Kinabalu or Penang with a couple of days in KL.

Any thoughts on Penang OR Kota Kinabalu/Sabah? Should we try and see both in our 3 weeks?

Any other area of Malaysia a must see? Highlands? Melaka?

In either Penang or KK we're looking for accommodation near a nice beach and with a pool and large rooms, but not too keen on the 4 and 5 star rated places. Can anyone recommend a comfortable place where we'll also have to option of sightseeing nearby and trying local food?

Any other tips on Malaysia with children would be greatly appreciated, thank you!
rach70 is offline  
Jun 15th, 2008, 01:04 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 6
You should be able to include both Penang & KK in your 3-week plan.

KL only requires 2-3 days. May be day trip to Melaka or Genting Highlands (great theme park for kids!). Sunway Lagoon is also a popular water theme park.

If you like nature, visit Cameron Highlands but allocate 2-3 days.

Accommodation wise, family friendly resorts are normally 4-5 star ones that have kids' clubs/activities. In Penang, stay at Batu Ferringhi beach area. I personally love the look of Lone Pine Hotel as it's not the typical resort with 500 rooms (plan to go there in October), can't comment on the family friendly factor though.

From Penang, you can also visit Langkawi via ferry (2 1/2hrs), spend 2-3 days. Many great resorts there too.

In KK, stayed in Sutera Harbour resort before. Definitely great for families, lots of recreation facilities.

I do not have children, may be others on the forum can recommend tips on M'sia with children.

All the best!! Email [email protected] if you have further questions.
minsyd is offline  
Jun 17th, 2008, 04:27 AM
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Thanks minsyd! If finances permit then we'll do Penang 4 /5 days, KL 2/3 days and KK 7 days. I find it's easier to allow the kids to settle in rather than try and uproot them too much.

I'm interested in checking Lone Pine out. I've read good reviews so far - does anyone else have any thoughts on this hotel?

In KK I've been recommended Shangri-La Rasa Ria, even though it's quite a hike from KK itself - we just want to chill and do a couple of day trips. I've also heard good things about Nexus - has anyone reading this stayed at either resort?

rach70 is offline  
Jun 17th, 2008, 05:38 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,988
The Shangri La that is closer to town (Tanjung Aru) near KK gets much better reviews. And its proximity to town means you can go into KK for a meal or to shop, etc.

The beaches in Penang aren't all that nice. The Lone Pine is often said to be one of the best resorts, but frankly, the reviews I've read and the people I've talked with have not been impressed. You might consider staying right in Georgetown at the E&O. The hotel is fabulous, they have a wonderful pool, and the suites are huge. You are also right in Georgetown, so there is interesting sightseeing for the adults, great hawker food, and excellent restaurants. You might be interested in reading my Penang Trip report - if you do a search on Penang you should find it. The title has my name in it.

You might also find some interesting info in Kathie's Borneo Trip report.
Kathie is offline  
Jun 17th, 2008, 06:34 AM
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Thanks Kathie,

Yes the E&O looks gorgeous! Now I'm just doing my sums and trying to decide whether to splurge in Penang, or work up to luxury towards the end of the trip instead. :0)

I'll go check reviews of the other Shangri-La in KK.
rach70 is offline  
Jun 17th, 2008, 06:37 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,988
When we stayed at the E&O we were able to get our suite for half price due to a special on the E&O's website. Good luck!
Kathie is offline  
Jun 17th, 2008, 07:30 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 179
With very young children, I suggest that you keep to developed part of KK and west coast peninsular. Don't try to do or see too many places, the tropical heat won't be kind. Hop from one point to another by air con taxis. Here's my suggestion ....

2/3 days Kuala Lumpur
- Bukit Bintang city center or if you prefer non-touristy shopping hub, go to One Utama of The Curve in the outskirt. Huge place you can spend the whole day
- KLCC Twin Tower / the Aquaria will interest your kids
- FRIM Rainforest Research Center in Kepong. See a good collection of mature rainforest trees, without the hassle of jungle trekking

2 days Cameron Highland
- Sg Palas tea plantation is a must-go. I know this is not very cheap but with kids in tow it's best to hire a taxi (at Tanah Rata) to take you around. You can go everywhere at your own family pace. It should cost RM100-180. Tell the taxi man you want to cover
1. Smokehouse
2. Kea Farm
3. Sg Palas tea plantation and teahouse

3/4 days Penang
The island is touristy. Sign up for bus tour offer by hotel or get a private taxi tour. Places to cover
1. Spice Garden
2. Butterfly farm
3. Cannon Street heritage trail
4. Gurney's streetfood

2/3 days Kota Kinabalu
Places that may interest your family
1. Lokawi Wildlife Center
2. Mt Kinabalu Park (day trip), Poring Hot Spring. No one goes home without a nice family photo at Mt Kinabalu foothill
3. State Musuem

OK, with your 3 weeks' plan I know you have extra days. Between KL and Penang, perhaps you can squeeze in 3/4 days for Taiping, Ipoh and Pangkor island ... fishing island, cave temples, lake gardens, Lost World of Tambun water park, the best kept Taiping zoo, Orang Asli aborigine villages ... etc.

Here's what you can expect to pay for taxi (assuming fuel price stays at current level) ....

KL-Ipoh RM280
Ipoh-Cameron RM120
Ipoh-Lumut / Pangkor jetty RM100
Ipoh-Taiping RM120
Taiping-Penang RM180

If you don't like uprooting your kids too much, you can base yourself in Ipoh and make day trips to Taiping and Cameron. Better still, you should try renting a car and wing KL-Penang route at your own leisure.
TravelTwiddle is offline  
Jun 19th, 2008, 04:12 PM
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Posts: 30
Thank you... lots of food for thought there!
rach70 is offline  
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