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Travel With Bender

Uncovering the best family holidays

Penang, Malaysia

September - November 2012

Who hasn't thought of living on an island? With other island's merely a day trip away, or the exotic Thailand merely an hour plane ride or even a few hours drive to reach the bustling city of Kuala Lumpur.

We are so excited to be spending 2 months on the island of Penang. It is close enough a city like KL with it's super size shopping malls, cinemas and every day conveniences and yet it has the quiet Bali life with beaches, minimal road rules, stray animals.

Penang is highly urbanised and industrialised as one of the most developed and economically important states in the country, as well as a thriving tourist destination. Its heterogeneous population is highly diverse in ethnicity, culture, language, and confessions. A resident of Penang is colloquially known as a Penangite. There are over 46% Chinese and less than 40% Penang. This melting pot of nations is widely renowned for it's delicious cuisine.

Join us as we start our blog in this island of the areca nut palm (a palm tree species).

  • 10 Things To Do With Kids in Penang

    10 Things To Do With Kids in Penang

    Penang, Malaysia

    Who hasn't thought of living on an island? We enjoyed our 2 months on the island of Penang discovering everything to do with our kids. And despite the usual shopping centres and cinemas, we found a list of things to do as long as our arm. Perhaps these would be your favourites too.

  • The 6 Challenges I Faced When Leaving Penang

    The 6 Challenges I Faced When Leaving Penang

    Penang, Malaysia

    Leaving a country or city is always a mission and Penang was no different. In fact it had its fair share of challenges. But, as always we overcame those challenges and it feels good. What are your biggest travel challenges?

  • Top 7 Things To Do in Penang

    Top 7 Things To Do in Penang

    Penang, Malaysia

    We have been to many places in Penang. It seems we have been the busiest we have ever been in this supposedly small Malaysian state. We have made friends, we have enjoyed beaches, played on playgrounds and had a “semi-normal” life… followed by an abnormal amount of things to do.

  • Where To Eat In Penang

    Where To Eat In Penang

    Penang, Malaysia

    During our stay in Penang, we have visited a number of places to eat. I found it so hard to choose the restaurants to eat out despite the number of alternative blogs, tripadvisor and Penang websites. So here is a list of the places we ate and you can decide for yourself, which places you, think you will enjoy the most.

  • My Mum on Orang Utan Island, Bukit Merah Laketown Resort

    My Mum on Orang Utan Island, Bukit Merah Laketown Resort

    Penang, Malaysia

    When my mum decided to come visit us in Penang not only was I ecstatic, but my husband was ecstatic (babysitter back), and my kids were over the moon. We counted down the days to her arrival and then it was time to pick her up at the airport. We went many places in Penang with my Mum including Penang Hill where my son got concussion (thank God mum was there), but there was one journey we wanted to take with her and that was to Orang Utan Island.

  • The Love That Lasts a Lifetime

    The Love That Lasts a Lifetime

    Penang, Malaysia

    “I know you like me.” “What?” “I’ve known for like 6 months.” “Oh.” “So are you going to ask me out?” Thus went the conversation that started the love of a lifetime. When I was 16 Josh asked me out. When I was 21 Josh married me. That means that 2012 we have been dating for 15 years and happily married 10 years. A decade. An achievement.

  • Our Foray into the

    Our Foray into the "Real" Penang

    Penang, Malaysia

    It gets me when people say you haven’t seen the “real” ____. Whether it’s the “real” Disneyland, or the “real” Penang. Where I live and what I experience is real. So what makes my “real” Penang any less real then someone else’s? What makes our perception any more real than someone else’s? I’m pretty sure I’m not living in “fake” Penang. Today we were honoured to have a local give us an insider’s look at Penang. It didn’t change my mind about my “real” Penang, but it certainly was a different side of Penang - one that we thoroughly enjoyed.

  • Penang Butterfly Farm Not As Bad As I Thought

    Penang Butterfly Farm Not As Bad As I Thought

    Penang, Malaysia

    I don’t really “do” butterfly parks. Butterflies are pretty, sure, but a whole park on them, sounds like a 100 yawns a minute. We had managed to skip them in every country we had been to, but at the guests request we must acquiesce.

  • Strangers Partying in Penang

    Strangers Partying in Penang

    Penang, Malaysia

    A group of 8 travelling families converge on Penang to enjoy & share their nomadic lifestyles with each other. Suddenly strangers become friends and friends become family.

  • A Tropical Birthday on Monkey Beach

    A Tropical Birthday on Monkey Beach

    Penang, Malaysia

    That was an absolutely amazing day. 3 boats, 30 people all headed to Monkey Beach. We had a 5 year old’s bday party there with fairy bread (Americans never heard of it!), we swam, we fed monkeys, and we talked for hours. You ever have one of those days that are just so perfect and so unique and so unbelievably mind-blowing you can hardly believe it's real. I am in that moment!

  • Breaking the Ice at the Hard Rock Hotel Penang Foam Party

    Breaking the Ice at the Hard Rock Hotel Penang Foam Party

    Penang, Malaysia

    As the cloud of white foam closed over my head, I felt a moment of panic. My nose was blocked and I gasped. Big mistake. The soapy white bubbles slipped down my throat and I was gagging. I couldn’t get a breath in. Every breath existed of more bubbles. I tried to breath through my nose and was snorting foam. I ran to the shower and got hosed off by a staff member, spitting and gagging and dry reaching.

  • Meltdown @ Tropical Spice Garden, Penang

    Meltdown @ Tropical Spice Garden, Penang

    Penang, Malaysia

    I try never to listen to the labels people place on each other especially the labels they give children. Terrible Twos is a horrible term in which I am constantly refusing to believe, but there are those moments when you are in a lush garden surrounded by beauty and birds singing, water trickling, monkeys jumping, lizards crawling… that can be ruined within seconds with the defiant cries of a my two year old son. Our journey to the Tropical Spice Garden started off with good intentions...

  • 3 days in Penang With My Best Friend

    3 days in Penang With My Best Friend

    Penang, Malaysia

    You know when you just know someone. You met them and already you are talking 100 miles an hour, laughing and there’s that connection that while you may have just met, it had to have been destiny, ordained, planned, because that person completes you. I’m not talking about my soul mate, although my husband completes me in most ways and I love him to pieces. I’m talking about the moment you meet your best friend. Discover what we did with only 3 days in Penang.

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