Q: I’m going to Penang from Kuala Lumpur on August 1 for three days and then coming back to Kuala Lumpur for three days. I have two kids along, and I want to explore both places. Please suggest things to see and do. Also, advise on the nightlife? 

Marco Says:

The island of Penang is an intriguing mixture of colonial British influences and Oriental culture. The historic George Town area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has some gorgeous buildings, mosques and Chinese shops. You should definitely visit the Pinang Peranakan Mansion, a museum that showcases the rich culture of the Peranakans and the Nyonyas. These are communities of Straitsborn Chinese, and descendants of Chinese immigrants who came to the Malay Archipelago between the 15th and 17th centuries. Also, you should take in the Kapitan Keling Mosque for a slice of India—it was built in the early 1800s by Indian Muslim traders. A trip up Penang Hill is well worth a visit, and your young ones will enjoy the funicular railway train that takes you up. There are temples and pretty gardens here, and in the evenings, a lovely view of Penang’s city lights. Devote a day to the pristine beach at Batu Ferringhi, which is an hour from Penang. And here is where the nightlife buzzes too—there is a vibrant night market with an array of good food, apart from pubs and nightclubs. Besides that, Upper Penang Road has a cluster of pubs, bars and dance clubs. As for Kuala Lumpur, obviously the cityscape with the KLCC district, the Petronas Towers and Bintang Walk, with its strip of shops and malls, will take some of your attention. The colourful Chinatown and Petaling Street are popular tourist draws, and you must take a look at the Buddhist Thean Hou Temple, one of the oldest and largest in Southeast Asia. The Indian quarter or Little India Brickfields is also very lively. Around the capital, you must go to Batu Caves, 13 km north of Kuala Lumpur, which houses a 100-year-old Hindu temple. The children will enjoy the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park, one of the world’s largest covered bird parks, that has close to 3,000 birds of 200 species. For nightlife experiences, you will be spoilt for choice in Kuala Lumpur. Changkat Bukit Bintang is widely regarded as the city’s definitive party venue. Chinatown also has a thriving night market with hundreds of stalls selling apparels, souvenirs and accessories at dirt-cheap prices. You will find quite a lot of night stalls at Jalan Alor, which wears a traditional Chinese charm.