Malaysia is simply an amazing place to travel to with kids. We spent 3 unplanned weeks there with wonderful snorkelling, wildlife and made friends for life. Get tips and ideas for your trip to Malaysia reading some of our stories here.
Malaysia, one of our favourite countries on our round the world trip so far.
Boat taxi Perhentian islands
We cut our planned time in China short by 2 weeks as we could not face to process of applying for visa extensions. By paying a small fee we managed to move our planned flight to Kuala Lumpur forward and thought why not stay for 2 weeks somewhere in Malaysia before our next planned flight to Australia. Having traveled inland in Nepal and China for 2 months we were longing to swim in the sea and found cheap flights from Kuala Lumpur to Kuta Barhu, from where we would get the taxi and boat to the Perhentian Islands. Go there its amazing!
Ingrid spotting her 1st giand green sea turtle just off the beach in Turtle bay
Friends in Kuala Lumpur
Our next stop in Kula Lumpur was on our way back from Australia and Bali before heading off to Thailand. This time we stayed with our new friends , Eun, Sean and Scott who we met in Perhantian Islands 6 weeks earlier and with some old friends of ours from London. Kuala Lumpur is such a great place, it even has some amazing indoor climbing.
As we came back to Kuala Lumpur (KL) for the 3rd time in 2 months it felt oddly familiar and we were all happy to find ourselves back in this cosmopolitan and friendly city.
With the help of the host to the Airbnb place we stayed at last time we were here, we had a arranged to get our laptop fixed while in KL so headed straight out from the airport out to the suburbs of KL by taxi. Taxi is very cheap in Malysia and makes such a convenient way of travel. You can also use Uber which makes getting around really easy in the big cities.
While we were waiting for the computer guys to finish evening prayers we had a quick bite to eat in the street cafe next to the shop. As the plates of Nasi Goreng, Ayam with the wonderful blue coloured rice arrived, we felt happiness and relief to be out of the tourist hub of Bali and back in a Malaysian city just having a nice tasty meal among locals.
New friends but friends for life
Before arriving in KL we had contacted Eun, who we first met 6 weeks earlier on the Perhentian islands. Her children and ours really clicked and so did we, so when she invited us to stay at her flat next time came to KL we thought it a great opportunity to see them again. Scott had been counting down the days until he got to meet his friend Scott again and was too excited that day had finally come.
What a lovely break from hotels and guesthouses it is to stay with friends. As luck would have it, the day we spent with Eun, Sean and Scott also turned out to be Seans 10th birthday. So while exploring the park by the KLCC towers and walking the streets of the city centre we made sure to get presents, birthday banners and balloons to surprise Sean with when he came back from school!
After the birthday dinner with the kids, Eun took Paul and I out with a friend Emilia to see the night life of KL while her nanny looked after the kids. This was the 1st night out without the kids that Paul and I had had in 4 months so we made sure to make the most of it!
We had martinis on the 24th floor of the Helipad bar, free rum and cokes at Loco and 4 blowjobs in 21 bar….Great times and a big hangover with new friends!
Old friends for us & new friends for the kids
The following day we had arranged to stay with old friends that lived for some time in London. Noah, Marie with their 2 girls Luna and Lana plus the dog Ellington. The kids clicked straight away and Scott enjoyed a 3rd day of playing with other children and all the toys on offer.
This short but great stay with friends has been a lovely break for all of us. We have enjoyed having other people around to talk to and hang out with. It great to see Ingrid and Scott taking turns telling our friends one story after the next of the experiences we have had on our travels so far.
It is in this moment that I can clearly see how far they have come and how they have grown in confidence these past 4 months. They are getting very good at telling stories of amazing and funny cultural differences that they have picked up on a in the countries we have visited so far. Ingrid loves to talk about the mountains in Nepal and China, while Scott loves sharing details about the great animal encounters we had in Australia and Malaysia.
After this lovely break with new and old friends away from the main tourist hubs we are filled with new energy to take on the next stage of our journey through South East Asia and eventually South America
I was soo excited to discover that Asia largest indoorclimbing gym can be found in Kuala Lumpur! My fingers were itching just thinking about going there to try it out. As we had a day to kill in KL before flying out to Australia it seemed a perfect time to go and check it out.
It all worked out beautifully as Camp 5 climbing is located in the worlds 4th largest shopping mall Utama 1 and we had a few things to get before hitting Oz that we could get at the same time. We decided that the boys would go shopping while the girls went climbing! Perfect plan if you ask me:-)
The sign up process at Camp 5 was simple, quick and cheap. We paid £10 for Ingrid and me to climb for the day and to have our details registered. That means that when we stop by KL on our way back to SE Asia we can come back for more. Yey!
The bouldering walls are really varied and has a lot of routes on offer. We spent 1 hr working our way round the caves and the main walls. We also dedicated an hour to the top ropes and auto belays, of which there are 4. The walls here are higher than in the UK 14-20m. Also, one of the top rope walls is synthetic rock, which is great training for outdoor climbing.
For those loving lead, there is an amazing choice of walls with a great range of grades. The longest route is a 30m overhang which looks totally awesome!
6 wks of no climbing and the last 10 days on the beach have unfortunately left my hands with baby soft skin and I was gutted to have to call it a day after just 2 hrs….We will be back soon though!
Snorkelling with turtles right off the beach on the Perhentian Islands
Our 10 days in Perhentian Islands Malaysia was such an amazing contrast from our busy schedule of the many thing to see and do in China. Its low season now as the monsoon hit these islands mid October and most hotels and restaurants close until after Chinese New Year in February.
The feeling of having nowhere to go and nothing to do…except for swim, snorkel and do some school work was simply amazing. We had opted for a slightly more expensive hotel with pool on the big island to allow us all to recover from our intense time in China and this worked really well. We loved the cheap and amazing food, the soft sand between our toes, crystal clear water and some great animal encounters on these quiet and remote Islands.
10 different beaches dotted around the 2 islands all have a slightly different offering in terms of swimming, snorkelling and food. There are no roads here so boat taxi’s on every beach that can take you from one island to the next or simply to another beach. We loved the Perhentian Island Resort beach RIP the best as it was great for swimming and snorkelling directly off the beach. We also enjoyed the 30 min jungle trek to get here from Arwana resort on the other side of the island where we were staying.
The snorkelling here is so accessible and truly spectacular.We saw all sorts of fish, big and small and even had a swim with wild giant green turtles in Turtle bay.
Unfortunately great crowds of Malay tourist with varying swimming ability and knowledge of the coral reef, meant some areas were really crowded with people standing and sitting on the coral.
We were pleased with the change of food and menus in China to the Malay cuisine and even more so when we discovered how cheap it can be, once you are out of the mani hotels and resorts. Small beach cafes offer chicken, fish, prawns, squid, fried rice and other local delicacies such as Nasi Goreng and Tom Yam soup. A typical dinner/lunch for 4 cost us around £15.
Good to know about Perhentian Islands
All payment are made in cash and no ATMsare valuable on the island so bring all the cash you need. You can get money from the main hotels if you need to but it is expensive to do.
Food in the resorts is expensive and there is only a tiny selection of things, food and snacks to buy in a couple of shops across the 2 islands. You are better off bringing the things you need with you from the main land
Malaysia is a Muslim country and many Malay tourists are on these islands. Most men and women bath in the pool and sea fully clothed, so its good to be aware and respectful.
Wifi is very poor overall on the islands so prepare to disconnect and enjoy the peace and quiet of doing nothing.