Wonderful Malaysia

Traveling with kids in Malaysia

Traveling to Southeast Asia with children is not particularly advertised. However, most holidays in region are perfectly suitable for children. Always check beforehand to determine if a certain organized trip is age appropriate. Visitors of Wonderful Malaysia often ask the question if it is possible – and if it is wise – to travel to Malaysia with small children. Looking only at all fun attractions in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, it is clear that the answer is ‘Yes’. However, as parents, you do need to take certain things into account that you do not have to think about in non-tropical countries. Malaysia is a fantastic country for children. There is an enormous variation and so there is always something to do. The kids will not get bored that easily in this country.

Great things to do in Kuala Lumpur

Berjaya Times Square Theme Park


In every city in Malaysia, there are a few big shopping malls and because they also serve as a social meeting point for the locals (also kids), you will often find many fun attractions within the malls. Each mall has a cinema and a big bowling alley. For example, the Berjaya Times Square mall has a bowling alley – Ampang Superbowl – with a whopping 48 lanes. However, the shopping mall is mainly – world – famous due to the indoor Berjaya Times Square Theme Park, where a roller coaster with loops thunders past the railings of the balconies of the various levels.

Sunway Lagoon


Next to the big Sunway Pyramid Mall – which is quite a distance from the Kuala Lumpur city center – lays the enormous aqua theme park called Sunway Lagoon, very popular amongst the locals and lots of fun as a day trip away from the big city.

Genting Highlands Theme Park


One of the biggest (and most hectic) kids’ paradise in Malaysia is about an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur. Genting Highlands is an entertainment city with many attractions (including numerous casinos) and with a huge kids’ theme park. A big advantage of this theme park is the coolness of the highlands; a possible disadvantage are the crowds. We had never seen so many families with kids in one place. The theme is currently closed for renovations and expected to open in 2016 as the world’s first Twentieth Century Fox Theme Park.

Kuala Lumpur Bird Park


Within the beautiful Lake Gardens, the biggest park in Kuala Lumpur, you can find the popular KL Bird Park. Here you can see thousands of birds. Children will have a great time, and they will learn a lot about all the bird species you can see here too. Especially popular is the World’s Largest Free-flight Walk-in Aviary; where you can see birds flying around you or even have birds sitting on your shoulder.

KLCC Aquarium


Another popular attraction for kids is the KLCC Aquarium. Here you can see thousands of fish species, many species can also be found in the seas surrounding Malaysia. This great attraction is located right in the center of Kuala Lumpur, nearby the huge Suria KLCC shopping mall.



If you are traveling with young children and are looking for a fun day out in Kuala Lumpur, you should consider KidZania; an indoor family educational and entertainment center which offers an interactive learning and entertainment experience for kids in a kid-sized city to deliver the first-of-its-kind edutainment fun. The KidZania experience is about real-life experiences, empowering, inspiring and educating kids through role-play. It is located near a nice shopping mall, so you can combine this with some nice shopping afterwards.

Adventure trips with kids

Apart from the big cities, you also have many beautiful attractions which are equally pleasant for children and adults.

There is enough to do on the Malaysian peninsula. Visiting the beautiful National Park Taman Negara is absolutely a highlight of your trip; though you will spot few big animals, there are lots of smaller ones, birds and insects. The longboat trip to the nature reserve on its own will be liked by the children. The highlands are also great as a change (it is a lot cooler and you can go for lovely walks). Especially popular are the Cameron Highlands, where your kids can also visit one of many tea plantations.


The islands of Langkawi and Penang can also be visited with children, usually visiting these islands is an excellent finale of a tour organized by the travel agency.

At the Oriental Village at Langkawi Island there is an enormous cable car – Panorama Langkawi – which takes you to the top of the mountain to see the beautiful panoramic view of the island. Langkawi has numerous other great attractions that your kids will love.


Penang has a tropical fruit farm and a beautiful butterfly garden. There are quite a few nice temples and numerous other sights. The night market in the small coastal town Batu Feringghi is also great fun for kids.

If you want to visit the best dive and snorkel islands during the dry season – April until October, then you should travel to east coast islands like Perhentian, Redang, Kapas or Tioman. You can snorkel, swim and even dive together with the children. Besides many beautiful fish species, there is a big chance you can swim with huge turtles (especially abundant in the seas around Perhentian Island).


Kuala Gandah is a small village just a few hours away from the capital Kuala Lumpur, where you will find an elephant sanctuary. You can feed and wash the elephants, which is yet another great experience for the kids (please do not ride on the back of elephants as they weren’t built for that). Also nearby Kuala Lumpur is the small village of Kuala Selangor. Here you can visit the firefly park (in the evenings) and witness millions of fireflies (lightning bugs) once it is dark.

In Borneo you can for example easily discover the jungle (basic level). You will choose an easy to reach and accessible nature park instead of the really hard core jungle trips. A visit to one of the traditional indigenous people will also be memorable for the kids. In the northeast of Borneo (close to Sandakan) you can also visit Sepilok, the orangutan reserve.

There are also various other attractions, such as the humongous Gomantong bat cave, Turtle Island where you can observe turtles and the amazing Kinabatangan river (3 to 4 hours’ drive from Sandakan); where you can see elephants, orangutans, proboscis monkeys, crocodiles and many other kinds of animals and birds. A true adventure for children!


If your kids love theme parks, you should consider a visit to Johor Bahru in the south of Malaysia near Singapore. Here you have Legoland Malaysia; with over 40 rides, shows and attractions. Highlight is Miniland; where over 30 million bricks of lego where used to recreate numerous Asian landmarks.


All in all there is so much to do with children on tour through Malaysia. Apart from all these huge attractions, there are often also small activities which will be of extra fun for the kids. The locals are always very nice and sweet with children. They will often be spoiled and will get far more attention than they need.

A beautiful description of a proud parent with children

Our kids traveled with us for a couple of months, they spent a long time in airplanes and buses but still were easy to handle. Most travelers are surprised when they realize that you can still go backpacking once you have kids. Our kids talk to everybody and get a lot of attention in return. Observing things with the kids gives you another view on the country, because they will notice completely different things than you. Children’s simplicity … A new world opens up. And if they cry from time to time…it doesn’t matter. Give them some attention and they are fine again. For years our kids have behaved so well on the plane. It is the biggest experience in their lives. And why do you travel….because as parents, you enjoy it. You want something more than Center Parcs, European beaches or similar. And kids like everything…So, you travel because as an adult you like it, you are doing it for yourself. In the process, you try and make it fun for the children too and you organize some activities that they really like. So, people with kids, keep flying!!!! Everyone has been young and has cried before. No reason to miss out on these great adventures…

Malaysia is a safe country

Malaysia is an exceptionally safe country, but rule of thumb is not to do or undertake any crazy things (the ones that you would also avoid in your own country). Driving in Malaysia is safe too, highways are often in excellent conditions. Roads in local towns might force you to drive slowly. Self-drives are particularly popular at the peninsula.

Protect yourself and your children

You should always be well prepared (for example during day trips): take enough water, enough DEET to protect yourself against mosquitoes, Dengue does occur a lot and it is not pleasant (read: life threatening!). If your family doctor advises malaria treatment, then go ahead with it. Only in a few regions in Malaysia there is a risk of Malaria. If you do not like Malaria treatment for your children (for example because they are too young for it), just avoid those areas.

It is also important that you and your children are well informed in advance regarding the tropical regions. Apart from the vital protection, you should also carry sun screen wherever you go. Adults usually get sunburn within the hour, children are often a lot more sensitive. You can buy sun screen in Malaysia too.

Visit Malaysia 2014

2014 will be an important year for Malaysia, as it has been branded ‘Visit Malaysia 2014‘. During this year there will be many events to celebrate Malaysia’s tourism achievements and potential. Many events are also great for kids, so if you are planning a trip to this wonderful country, make sure you do so in 2014.

Have fun in Malaysia.


Tourism Malaysia

24 hours in Chinatown

24 hours in Chinatown

I visit Kuala Lumpur so often each year I’ve started to feel like a local. That is a local of Chinatown where I invariably spend all my time.

It’s probably a little sad but if I’m only in KL overnight — frequently I am there longer also — I go directly to Chinatown to the same shops, hairdressers and hotel I always go to.

The night time action in Chinatown. Pic: Joanne Lane.

The night time action in Chinatown. Pic: Joanne Lane.

I’ve kind of developed a bit of a routine that doesn’t change much from visit to visit. This is because it’s really nice to wander a familiar neighbourhood when you’re so used to being out of your home territory and do the same things and not feel like a tourist, despite it being a touristy area of course.

I don’t promise these experiences are for everyone, but here’s my schedule and the things I like to do.


I more often than not arrive at LCCT airport where there are regular buses to KL Sentral for as little as RM 8 one way or RM 14 return. These pretty much run 24 hours a day so you never have to wait too long. They also have buses for other destinations including KLIA, Genting and other areas. If you arrive at KLIA there are similar bus services and trains.

Once I’m off my flight and have my luggage I head for the bus – leave the departures area and head outside and walk around to the right of the arrivals area where you’ll see lots of buses.

I’m usually pretty tired after a flight so I try to get a bit of shut-eye on the ride as it’s incredibly smooth and long enough to sleep (about one hour duration).

From LCCT I then take the LRT to Pasar Seni where it’s a short walk to my guesthouse.


I always stay at Matahari Lodge (Jalan Hang Kasturi, tel. +603 2070 5570). I’ve been going there for years – ever since they opened and they’ve even changed hands once. It’s a budget establishment but you get a private room which is incredibly clean. The bathrooms are shared but also impeccably managed—they provide shower shoes–and they have free WiFi and breakfast in the morning. There’s also a lounge, a TV, plenty of books to read and you can keep food in the fridge if you like.


By this stage if I’m tired it’s bed time, if not I’ll pop into the night market in Chinatown to get something to eat. There’s so much to choose from – chicken cooked in clay pots, banana and chocolate roti, satay chicken, grilled fish, buffet style free for alls (usually at lunch time and a great one under one of the overpasses on Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock) and more. You can eat from streetside stalls or sit down and watch life go by with a Tiger Beer or two. I love it. I also love to wander around and look at some of the odd things being brewed, cooked and eaten – durian unmentionables (not for me), cubes of rice, soya bean matter, prawn on sticks, coconuts and numerous unidentifiable objects.

Clay pot chicken. Pic: Joanne Lane.

Clay pot chicken. Pic: Joanne Lane.



I always schedule in a bit of pampering during my time in Chinatown. I know it’s touristy but there was excellent Chinese reflexology on the second floor of Central Market when I was there earlier in the year. The manager told me they have quite a high turnover of staff but the quality is much better than the options in Jalan Petaling – I’d concur with that. It was something like RM 60 for an hour.

I’ve also been to a hairdresser near the Reggae Bar (literally around the corner) a few times where they do fantastic hair cuts and massage. There was an Indonesian girl there last time I went who did the Indonesian style cream bath – ask for it!


As I’m usually heading home from KL I always pop into Central Market to do some souvenir shopping. My nieces love the little knicknacks I pick up there and I’ve got their Christmas presents there the last few years. There are little Malaysian dolls on pencils, cute Batik purses, little boxes to store things in, kitchenware, scarves you name it. It’s the perfect place to spend a few Ringgit and get the last things you need.

The other shopping item I’m guilty of is DVDs. These are sold throughout Chinatown and I always pick up a few movies to bring home – something to watch on my laptop on the next flight. It’s worth bargaining—I’ve paid various prices over the years—and you should always ALWAYS check the quality first – they have DVD players there and will give you a viewing.

A wander

If I still have time I’ll usually wander down Jalan Petaling to enjoy the activity. Because it’s a historic area with plenty of interesting Chinese shophouses and temples I’ll usually pop into one or two of the latter of these – most often than not the Guandi Temple that’s just around the corner in Jalan Tun H S Lee from the Matahari Lodge. This is a very local joint with people coming in and out and lighting incense, saying their prayers and making merit. I enjoy sitting in the corner and watching them passing in and out. It’s quite atmospheric.

Atmospheric sights at the Guandi Temple. Pic: Joanne Lane.

Atmospheric sights at the Guandi Temple. Pic: Joanne Lane.



As on arrival, getting back to LCCT or KLIA is a breeze. It’s worth checking the schedule for buses departing KL Sentral however just in case you find you have to wait there for a bit – not worth missing your flight.