Carissa Morais hits Penang for the sights, sounds and activities of Occupy Beach Street
Penang’s Project Occupy Beach Street plus great theme parks and sports activities
Sunday mornings just got better for families in Penang. Occupy Beach Street is an initiative endorsed by the Penang government. It’s a car-free day when the public can utilise the traffic-free roads for six hours of fun-filled activities. Four roads dedicated to the pursuit of enjoyment seems like a really good idea, so what can you find at Occupy Beach Street? Music bands, magic shows, snake charmer performances, general knowledge quizzes, lucky draws, food, homemade trinkets for sale and even soccer matches and basketball games. Here, we take a look at the Sports and Play Zones where kids and adults can work up some sweat.
Snakes and Ladders used to be just another board game, until it became life-sized. It’s hard to miss the setup plunked right in the middle of Beach Street. Just like in the regular board game, you need to throw the die to determine your next move, but this one is giant-sized and the kids will enjoy seeing how high they can throw it. Traditional games like ‘ayam musang’ are alive and well at the Play Zone too, and at least millennial young ‘uns can take a break from those pesky iPad games over here.
Head over to Bishop Street for a faster pace. Here, scooters and air wheels are available for rent and make the scene a lively one for kids (and kids at heart). Whizzing
through the roads can be really fun if there’s hardly anyone around: This usually happens early in the morning before the Sunday sleepin crowd waltzes in. But whatever time you visit, take advantage of the car-free roads and hire bicycles for the day.
On some weeks, Occupy Beach Street kicks in some groove with zumba sessions, flash mobs and dance performances, where you can dance away with the family. Sometimes there are martial arts workshops offering demonstrations and guidance in practices like kung fu. We like that there’s a lot in store – from art and culture to sports and food – for everyone in the family. However, don’t be too disappointed if you’re here on a week that’s a little quieter than others. There may not be as many vendors, but there will still be fun happenings for the family. Check out the event’s Facebook page from time to time to see the line-up so that you’ll have a chance to try out a wide range of activities.
Lebuh Pantai, George Town, Penang (012 430 2251/www. facebook.com/ occupybeachstreet). Until Jun 28. Sun, 7am-1pm.