Traveling to Penang with kids is great because the island has, besides some interesting beaches, many festivals and events and the iconic Penang Ferry, so many things to do for families with their children — consider taking them to Komtar, which has at least 13 cool things your children will love.
If you come to Penang for the first time, don’t forget to get yourself a Malaysia tourist SIM card, read our suggestions on the best budget hotels in Penang, and check out this list of things to do in Penang for first-time visitors, which include a visit to one of Southeast Asia biggest Buddhist temples, Kek Lok Si temple in Air Hitam, and our list of 26 Penang Foods to start your food hunt (without forgetting the best Western Food in Penang, that kids certainly love to eat). But you’ll need a more focused and kid-friendly itinerary to make your children really happy in Penang.
This post should give you at least 32 answers to your main question: what is there to do on Penang island with kids? From theme parks to beaches, hiking trails filled with interesting Malaysian animals, child-friendly restaurants — including a restaurant with playground — Penang has a lot of things to do and places to visit where you and your children will spend a great time.
In full transparency, you will see some links to tours provided by Klook, a famous travel provider in Malaysia and the region. If you like this blog and these suggestions, please note that, if you buy any tours through some of our links, we will get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Consider it a small way to say thanks, and keep Penang Insider going.
Ready? Here’s our list:
What to do in Penang with children
This theme park in Teluk Bahang is perfect for a full-day of action-charged activities. It’s a beautiful set of ziplines (pulleys connected to stainless steel cables, and attached to the trees) set into a patch of rainforest for maximum play effect. Kids and adults can come here to play together, climbing platforms and swinging like monkeys across some of Teluk Bahang’s most pristine canopy. Escape also has a newer park, too, Escape Adventureplay, that’s a good alternative to the beach, with water slides and all those fun water activities.
It’s opened from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6pm and closed each Monday for maintenance. Check more on Escape Official Website
There are several categories of tickets and online discounts, starting at RM97 per children up to 12 years old and seniors, while adults pay RM147. If you want an RM7 discount, you can buy your Escape Tickets online from our partner Klook at this link.
2Take a Rickshaw Ride in George Town
There are very few places left in Asia, besides Penang, where you can still try a traditional pedal rickshaw. It’s a very fun thing to do with kids: let the rickshaw driver slowly take you around the streets of George Town and Penang Little India, and spot the heritage buildings from a very unique, romantic perspective. Rides are especially good in the morning when the weather is fresher, or between 6 and 7.30 pm, right before sunset. You can find rickshaw drivers on most street corners in the town, but we recommend using this discounted 3-hours-long heritage rickshaw tour via our partners at Klook.
3Penang Hill by Funicular Train
(image © Marco Ferrarese)
A trip up Penang Hill using the funicular train is a nice experience for families. The new trains, to be honest, rock up and down the hill very quickly compared to the old wagons, which have now been replaced but still offer very nice views over Penang. On the top, besides gorgeous views over the Straits Sea, you’ll be able to take nice walks, sit down for a coffee and cake, and visit the old bungalows on top of the hill. Don’t forget to bring your children to The Habitat, a very interesting nature walk we also describe below.
If you don’t feel like going to the hill by yourself, you can consider this 4-hours long tour of Penang Hill and Kek Lok Si Temple.
4Try the ferry from George Town to Butterworth
The RapidPenang ferries connecting George Town’s Weld Quay with Butterworth are the heart and soul of Penang. They are still running, and are an interesting (and FREE, if going from the island to Butterworth, otherwise it’s only RM1.20 per head) way to experience the island. You’ll rock over the waves on an old ferry, for sure, something that any kid would love. Try to take a space near the exit gate, from where you can see the mainland coming up close.
READ MORE – How to Travel on Penang Ferry
5Visit Kek Lok Si Temple
One of Southeast Asia’s biggest Buddhist temples, Kek Lok Si is full of colourful, quirky statues, and has an open pavilion with many Buddhas. It overlooks part of Penang Hill, and offers panoramic views all the way to the sea. Children will love to climb up and down the steep staircases, watching turtles in their pond, and marvel at the many statues. The temple is particularly beautiful during Chinese New Year, when it’s lit up with thousands of LED lights for a whole month. Entrance it’s free and you only pay RM3 if you want to access to the huge statue of Goddess Kwan Yin or a multistorey Chinese pagoda set in beautiful gardens. When you visit, don’t forget to taste Air Itam laksa, certainly one of the best places to eat Penang laksa.
It’s easy enough to come here by public transport, but you may consider taking this 4-hours long tour of Penang Hill and Kek Lok Si Temple.
6Shop at Batu Ferringhi’s Night Market
Enjoy a number of tourist trinkets and souvenirs at one of Penang’s most famous night markets, set along Batu Ferringhi’s main tourist walk. Your kids will be delighted by the number of objects on sale here… it literally provides hours of free entertainment.
7Penang Bird Park
If your children love animals, and birds, in particular, this is the place to go for a great day out with family. With more than 300 species of birds, of which at least 150 are Malaysian, this long-established park (on the mainland in Seberang Prai, about a half-hour drive from George Town. If you come here, don’t forget that there are a lot of things to do in Bukit Mertajam, too) is the place to see flamingos, parrots, tropical birds, and even ostrich. The entry fee is RM38 for adults and RM20 for children, and you can read more about the park at their official website.
What was called “the Butterfly Farm” for years re-branded as Entopia, and offers a much larger space to observe insects, creepy crawlies and other small animals. Take your time to stroll inside Natureland, a living garden vivarium with 15,000-odd free-flying butterflies, or browse the Cocoon, two floors of learning exhibits and indoor activities all dedicated to insects and bugs. It’s a great place for kids, but certainly educational for people of all ages.
Admission prices are RM65 for non-Malaysian adults, and RM40 for children and seniors, and include an all-day access pass. But we are sure you’d love to use a 10RM discount by buying your Entopia tickets directly from our partner Klook. Click here to claim your discounted tickets.
9Avatar Secret Garden
If your children love fantasy and science-fiction movies, you must take them to see Penang Avatar Secret Garden in Tanjung Tokong. It’s a real-life replica of the stunning Tree of Life of Pandora from Spielberg’s movie “Avatar”, set in a pretty landscaped garden, and in walking distance to the beach. We suggest that you get there about a half-hour before sunset so that you’ll be able to take a stroll on the beach before visiting the park. You could also sit with your kids on the rocks that dot the shore, watching one of Penang’s best sunsets. As soon as the darkness comes, go to the Avatar Secret Garden and see how its surreal LED-powered lights fire up in multicolor. We bet your children will love this.
You can read more about it visiting our ultimate guide to Penang Avatar Secret Garden.
10Tropical Spice Garden
Set in a beautiful location between the sea and a forested hill, the award-winning Tropical Spice Garden is a collection of tropical plants curated by local artist Rebecca Duckett-Wilkinson. It’s not only perfect as a location for pre-wedding photography, but also to take your kids on a discovery tour of some of Malaysia’s, and Southeast Asia’s, rarest species of plants. The recently added Poison Garden is a very instructive walk among poisonous plants, whose uses and misuses are richly described with educational panels. We suggest you get an audio tour for yourself and your kids, in order to maximize your fun and learning experience. You can also participate in their guided day or night walks.
Adults pay RM31 for an audio-tour, while kids up to 12 years old pay RM18. To get your advanced and discounted audio-tour ticket, please buy tickets online from our partners at Klook using this link.
Tucked at the side of Waterfall Road, the Youth Park is another section of Penang Botanic Gardens that few non-locals seem to know about. It’s the starting point of a few interesting treks, like the hike to Moongate Station 5 and has a basketball court, a nice field for soccer matches and jogging, plenty of space to walk around, and most important, it’s filled with big, beautiful tropical trees. If you wanted to show your children how Penang looked like in the eyes of its first explorer, this is the place to go. It’s perfect on a Sunday afternoon, for a casual snack seating at the flanks of Penang’s forest. Entry is, of course, free of charge, and there’s plenty of free parking provided. Don’t miss this place if your children love nature and being outdoors.
Set inside the Golden Sands Resort in Batu Ferringhi, Adventure Zone is a paradise for kids aged 10 and below. It’s a fully air-conditioned, secure playground area equipped with indoor slides and other modular playground activities. Remember that your kids must wear long sleeves and socks in order to be able to use the bigger, more fun slides. It’s a perfect spot to get out of the sun for a couple of hours, and have some air-conditioned fun.
Non-registered resort guests pay RM33 per two hours session, while guests pay RM45 for a half-day package. Accompanying adults, of course, enter free of charge.
13Cycling around Straits Quay
If your kids like bicycles, the area around Straits Quay, recently refurbished with a dedicated bike lane, it’s a good and safe spot to cycle away from cars. The area is close to many expatriate residential condos, a shopping mall, Tesco (where you can do good grocery shopping in Penang) and even a marina lined with shops, so that you’ll always have something to do when your kids are tired of pedaling around. Best of all, it’s totally free.
Set on top of Penang Hill and protecting a very old, pristine patch of rainforest, we have already told you why you should visit the Habitat. Your kids will certainly enjoy this guided walk, and especially the newly installed ziplines, called “Flight of the Colugo” (read our full review here). Imagine why: they’ll be soaring above the thicket, gliding above some of Penang’s oldest forest. Don’t forget Curtis Crest, Penang’s first elevated canopy walkway with amazing panoramic views over the Straits Sea stretching all the way to Gunung Jerai in Kedah, especially at Sunset — sunset walks are available, too.
The Habitat also has a nice restaurant overlooking a peaceful side of Penang Hill and the sea, a perfect choice for a family lunch.
Please remember that you can buy discounted entry tickets to the Habitat’s through or partner Klook using this purchase link.
15Audi Dream Farm
Set in ample grounds off the main road to Balik Pulau, the Audi Dream Farm is another awesome place to get out of the house for a few hours, and experience the most bucolic side of Penang. This place is half educational park, half petting zoo filled with farm animals, from chicken and rabbits to horses, parrots and ducks, deer, even one camel, and many types of local trees and flowers. Besides walking around and enjoying the farm’s labyrinthine paths that take visitors to meet all the resident animals, families can enjoy a simple lunch and a good selection of drinks.
Among Penang’s many museums — too many, we are afraid — this is actually pretty good, and especially appeals to kids. It’s a celebration of the teddy bear, a children’s best friend, in all its forms: this is Malaysia’s first and biggest collection of teddy bears, with some dating back as far as the 1900s, which re-tell Penang history in furry splendour. It’s a perfect activity to while away an hour or two and leave with some nice family pictures.
Kids up to 2 years of age enjoy free entry. For all the others and their parents, our partner Klook has easy to buy, discounted tickets at this page.
Another interesting museum for children with an interest in food, the Wonderfood Museum is a quirky gallery of over-sized Malaysian dishes. Yes, they are more than life-sized… they are just giant and incredibly realistic! If your idea of fun is taking a selfie while pretending to dunk your kid into a giant bowl of Penang laksa, this is the place to go. It’s also an excellent, fun place to start teaching your kids about the great diversity of Penang food, and start discussing what you’ll have for dinner next.
You can buy Wonderfood Museum entry tickets in advance from our partner Klook using this link.
18Jurassic Research Centre at The Top Penang, in KOMTAR
KOMTAR is Penang’s highest building and was partially unused for decades. It recently re-branded, adding a number of children-friendly attractions, among which the Jurassic Research Centre is quite interesting for kids with an interest in natural history. Here you can walk around while glancing at mechanical reproductions of dinosaurs, moving exactly as they roamed in their original ambient. This instructive and fun theme park to spend part of an afternoon, it opens from 11 am to 8 pm on weekdays, and a bit longer on weekends.
19Tech Dome at KOMTAR
If your children love science or science fiction, Penang’s first science discovery center Tech Dome is the place to take them. Housed within the Geodesic Dome of KOMTAR, it was built with an RM28 Billion investment. The Tech Dome has about 120 exhibits and “games” such as the Human Gyro — be prepared to spin and float in the air as if you were in outer space. Cleverly divided into different levels of entertainment for kids, teenagers and adults, the Tech Dome is a fun trip for the whole family. Your kids will explore and learn about basic scientific concepts as they play. The Nao Robots are especially fun, so much so as the various programs on offer, which include, among others, an indoor flight workshop.
Children below 5 enter free, while up to 13 years of age they pay RM 32/16 (foreigner/local price). Adults pay RM 56/28 (foreigner/local price).
20Akuarium Tunku Abdul Rahman
This medium-sized aquarium in the fishing village of Batu Maung, in the southeast of Penang, is a good diversion for children with a love for marine life. There are 25 tanks here, with angle fish, damsels, a few sharks, parrotfish, fox face fish, squirrelfish and many others. Since getting into Penang’s waters is not very recommended, this is a perfect choice for your children to take a look at what’s supposed to be lurking off Penang’s shores.
An easy drive from either expat-centric Tanjung Tokong and Tanjung Bunga or George Town, Penang Botanic Gardens are relaxing and well-manicured, and perfect to bring your children for a day out. The gardens are very popular with local joggers who come here in the mornings or late afternoons to run along the park’s circular road. Less sporty types and families with kids can use the golf carts that shuttle around the park every 20–30 minutes. The Botanic Gardens are also an ideal place to come and rest, or lay a blanket in the grass and relax in nature. Don’t think of having a picnic here though, as the resident population of macaques is very well used to snatch foods and goods from tourists.
22Hin Bus Depot
George Town’s prime art gallery has a welcoming outdoor space where, beside skateboard ramps, cafes, and a stage, guests can come and hang out. Kids will love the quirky sculptures and the trees, and if coming on a Sunday afternoon, you’ll be up for the Hin Pop Up Market, one of Penang’s best alternative markets where local artists and small entrepreneurs sell anything from handmade foods to poetry fanzines, books, artworks, and buttons. We are sure that even children will love to take a peek.
23Art & Garden
Don’t miss a visit to this unique garden curated by glass-architect Fuan Wong, which mixes nature with sculptures and art installations. There are some 300-odd plant species on the property, and several artworks by both local and foreign artists, set along a perfectly-manicured tropical garden. Your children will love to walk around the labyrinthine forested paths, meeting the resident turtles, and being awed by the sculptures and paintings that literally pop up from the surrounding environment. It’s open from 9 am to 6.30 pm, and costs RM30/15 for adults/children. More information on their website.
24Tropical Fruit Farm
One of Balik Pulau’s oldest attractions is still a great place to visit with children in tow. On a guided tour of the Tropical Fruit Farm you will learn about and experience 250-odd of Malaysia and the world’s best tropical fruits. Before you leave, the all-you-can-eat fruit buffet, paired with fresh fruit juices, will make both adults and children happy.
25Hike to Turtle Beach and boat it back
Penang’s National Park is the smallest in Malaysia, but offers great nature and hiking for those kids with a craving for exploration. The hike to Turtle Beach, a long, white part of northwestern Penang’s coast, has a small turtle hatching sanctuary where children can see baby turtles. On the way there you can also stop at Penang’s Meromictic lake, one of only a handful in the world, where salt and freshwater float over each other, without ever mixing. You can hike to turtle beach from the National Park’s headquarters in about a hour and a half, and then hire a boat to take you back — it costs about RM30 per person in a small group of at least 6.
26Hike around Teluk Bahang Dam
The Teluk Bahang Dam is Penang’s biggest at 680mt, and even if it’s not open to tourism, it’s fun to walk around it. From its crest, you’ll be able to see some scenic views of Penang’s northern coast. It’s a perfect place to bring your kids and let them experience a more natural part of the island, without the need to go deep into the forest. If you are lucky, you may see one of the Dragon Boats practicing for their races, which are most often held in this dam.
A fantastic horse-riding center situated in the Sungai Burong area of Balik Pulau, Countryside Stables opened in 2012 and to date has about 30 different horses. From Arabian horses to Polo Ponys, Thai and Burmese horses, the enthusiastic owners always have the best match for horse lovers, young and old. You can have some fun feeding hay to the animals and taking a relaxing stroll around the lush surroundings. Highly recommended on weekends, but be aware that it can get pretty packed.
28Let’s Meat @ Permai Gardens
This American-styled restaurant is not only great for burgers, chips and salsa, and other Western-styled mains — it’s definitely one of the best children-friendly restaurants in Penang. Believe it or not, it has a full-scale children playground inside, so don’t be afraid to come here, park your kids, and indulge into your most succulent Tex-Mex fantasies amidst a cacophony of kiddie-sounds. It’s near the TAR college in Lembah Permai, check their website here. It’s open Monday to Saturday, and closed on Sundays.
29Amanville spaceU8 @ Gurney Plaza
This is the perfect “children parking lot” if you need some quiet time to shop. Located inside Gurney Plaza, one of Penang’s best shopping malls,Amanville is an indoor playground for kids aged 10 and below. They have, among others, a trampoline, a sandpit, a small zipline, a climbing wall, cinema corner, interactive slides, and air guns. You can also stick around as your children play, enjoying Amanville’s wi-fi and air conditioning.
30Batik Painting with Rozana
Come have some fun for the whole family by learning the ropes of batik painting in Penang. Rozana’s business is well-established and offers a crash-course in the fine Malaysian art of batik painting. At the end of the session, of course, you will get to bring home your pieces.
Contact Rozana’s Batik to arrange your appointment.
31Hard Rock Hotel
The Hard Rock Hotel in Batu Ferringhi has a very nice outdoor pool by the beach. Beside hotel customers, even the general public can buy a membership (it’s about RM1000/year for a family of up to four adults) that gives access to the hotel’s massive pool, water slides, water cannons and a swim-up bar. It’s popular with expat families who like to spend their weekends by the beach, while their kids play in the water.
32Bukit Merah Orangutan Island
Technically not in Penang but in neighboring Perak state, Bukit Merah Orangutan Island is an important conservation center near the foodie-heaven of Taiping and the beautiful offbeat rivertown of Kuala Kurau that will bring your kids close to one of the Malaysian forest’s most elusive animals. It’s only about an hour’s drive south on the North-South Expressway. The orangutans here are left free to roam on a man-made island and can be observed at play or during feeding time. We are big fans of orangutans, and have observed them both in the wild and in semi-wild conditions all around Borneo and Indonesia — Bukit Merah is the closest experience you can have in West Malaysia, and in such proximity to Penang. Bring your kids on a weekend and trust us, they’ll just love it.