Penang, Malaysia

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Playing in Penang

Our younger son, Joaquin, had to go to Penang for a tennis tournament a few months back.  Since he’s still very young, he had to be accompanied by me, and his dad and his older brother, too.   And so what was originally just a trip for tennis competition became a chance for a family get-away. 02

Joaquin just turned seven years old that month but he had the determination and stamina of a 10-year-old.

He was part of a team from Singapore with kids aged 7 to 12 years old.01

The matches for 10U was held at Penang Sports Club in the city of George Town.

This yearly event is called the Penang Open International Age-Group Tennis Championship.03

The club has grass courts but the kids played on synthetic grass.

Playing against a 10-year-old Korean

Joaquin was still short and inexperienced so he was like David playing against Goliaths.05

Playing against a 10-year-old Malaysian
Partnering with a 10-year-old boy from Uzbekistan whom he just met

Joaquin has just started his journey in tennis and so joining the tournament was a good opportunity for him, and for us parents, to gain experience.   It was pretty amazing to see the kids fighting and trying their best in every match.  It was encouraging to see them develop friendships with their opponents.

Joaquin chatting with his Korean opponent through a translator (the boy in yellow)

It was hot during the entire week but I wouldn’t miss any chance to see my boy play in his first regional competition.  So armed with a thick coat of sunblock and my floral umbrella, I braved the sun.

Tennis mum in the making?

My hubby, also excited about this event, sometimes helped Joaquin warm up before his games.

Tennis dad in the making, too?

Benjamin, who tagged along, also took the opportunity to hit some balls.

Benjamin in action

Where We Stayed

During that week in Penang, the team stayed at Hotel Royal, the official accommodation for the tournament.  It was not the prettiest of hotels, but it served its purpose.

We took the apartment suite of the hotel because I needed to cook for Joaquin.  The room was big and it was better than I expected.

It has a walk-in closet, a bedroom, and a living area 

Everything was clean. The toilet looked newly renovated.  The water was strong and everything was working.  But I think the secret is not to expect too much unless you’re in a 5* hotel.

Living and dining area
View from our room – George Town and the Straits of Malacca

Around the Town

After the tennis matches, we tried to see a bit of the city.

Refurbished shophouses


Street art, Penang has many of this
Street shopping
My favourite shot during our trip


Shophouses where we had a delicious Nonya dinner
Umbrellas hanging from the ceiling of the restaurant
Kitchen antiques displayed at the restaurant
Antique irons also at the restaurant

A trip to Penang would not be complete without a visit to a hawker centre.  The iconic Gurney Drive Hawker Centre was our choice.  It is located beside the Gurney Plaza Mall.  Just make sure that you eat at a table that belongs to the shop where you bought your food from, otherwise, they’ll chase you away like what happened to us. 25

We also had dinner and some drinks at G Hotel’s Tree Bar.   G Hotel is next to Gurney Plaza and apparently not far from the tennis venues, hence something we can consider on our next visit.

No one is giving up tonight

What Lies Beyond Georgetown

After the tournament, we treated our little tennis player to an afternoon at the beach.

Based on my quick research, we could go to the beach in front of Shangri-la’s Golden Sands Resort at Batu Ferringhi.   The hotel driver confirmed that it is the best public beach in the area and so that’s where we went.

Camera shy boys, in front of Golden Sands

The sand was gold in colour and water was not so clear.  The kids did not mind at all.  29All they cared about was that there was sand under their feet, waves that would splash on their faces and a wide space where they could run freely.30



We will see you again soon, Penang, because Joaquin is already looking forward to the next tournament.



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