Penang Young People

How well-equipped is this city for those raising infants/toddlers? Specifically, are there public places to change diapers, maintained playgrounds, etc?
When it comes to baby-changing facilities in public places, Penang is not very well equipped, although they do exist in some public places. Also, there are very few well-maintained playgrounds throughout the city. It is important to note that Georgetown is not very well-suited for pushing a stroller, as the street side areas are crowded and sidewalks are uneven with many curbs and steps.

Where can I get a list of reliable childcare providers/nannies?
The best resource is usually the expat associations and their networks. Neighbours and colleagues can also provide recommendations. Your neighbourhood community center is a good resource in finding reliable childcare providers within the area. You may also want to contact nanny agencies or placement agencies that offer professional sourcing of qualified care givers or contact Crown.

Discuss any safety issues for children in this city.
The concerns of parents in Penang are the same as those in other very large urban areas. The biggest hazards here are heavy traffic, open cement drains, taxis not equipped with safety belts, lack of fencing around pools and balconies that are not equipped with appropriate railings. Children should always be accompanied and supervised by an adult. It is recommended that you speak to your international school to find out whether there are any particular concerns specific for your area.

What are the most popular kid-friendly attractions in the area?
Some fun and cool things that kids love to do and visit in Penang are:

  • Bird Park
  • Bukit Jambul and Reptile House
  • Butterfly Farm
  • Esplanade
  • Penang Botanic Gardens
  • Seberang Jaya
  • Teluk Bahang
  • Tropical Spice Garden
  • Youth Park
  • Water sport Center Jalan Batu Ferringhi
  • Adventure Zone in Batu Ferringhi
  • Escape Theme Park @ Teluk Bahang

For more information on the attractions listed above, check on their websites.

What are the most popular activities for kids after school or on weekends?
Most schools have after-school activities, such as competitive school sports teams and various special interest clubs. They also enjoy going to the movies, game arcades and shopping with friends.

What's it like to be a teenager in this city? Are there any particular challenges I should be aware of as a parent?
Living in Penang as teenager can be an exciting and fun experience, but like many parents, those in Penang have their concerns about safety. Given certain security risks in neighbouring countries with regard to gatherings of foreigners, teenagers are asked to maintain a good degree of awareness when out in public places. Schools are excellent at disseminating information on security matters to all school children and parents. There have been times when the freedom of teenagers has been somewhat restricted by the schools, but these periods are infrequent.

Much of the life of a teenager revolves around the school that they attend and the neighbourhood that they live in. Most teens are involved in some after-school programs, whether in sports or drama club. And, as mentioned above, they love to go to spend time with their friends and do fun things. Most teens generally move about the city rather freely using taxis and public buses.

The legal drinking age in Malaysia is 18, but the Malaysians tend to be rather generous about allowing most foreign teens to order a drink at local bars without checking age. Drug possession is punishable by death in Malaysia. Consequently, access to any illegal drugs is severely limited within Penang and doesn’t pose a problem among the teenage group.

Adjustment to any new place takes time, but we feel once they get settled in and meet new friends, they are going to love it here!

Are there any organizations/social groups in the area that cater exclusively to young people ages 12-17?
Most of the activities for teenagers are provided through the schools, but there are a few church groups and other groups through the expat organizations. There are a number of recreational opportunities that the youth may participate in. These include scuba diving, mountain biking, wind surfing and jungle trekking.

I want my child to get the most out of our stay in this country. Are there any specific opportunities to teach young people about the local culture?
Some of the international schools offer Bahasa Malaysia language classes for students. If your children are not involved with this aspect of the culture, it is easy for them to take part in any of the numerous festivals and celebrations that happen throughout the year. Functions are held at local shopping complexes, expat organizations, hotels and other public places in conjunction with such events as the Lantern Festival (Chinese), Deepavali (Indian Festival of Lights), Lion Dances (Chinese New Year) and Hari Raya (Malay New Year).
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