While Malaysia doesn’t usually pop up as the number one holiday destination, there are many options for a lovely family holiday with kids. I’d like to share a couple of itineraries for your inspiration that start in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. From there you can choose whether you want to continue to Langkawi, Penang or Kuching in the Borneo island – as only you can decide your best place for family trip in Malaysia.
Kuala Lumpur (2 to 4 days)
Beat the heat with water
Source: Sunway Lagoon
Beat the heat and have a splash at Sunway Lagoon water and theme park. It offers more than 80 awesome attractions, including an extreme park for adventure seekers and a scream park for horror fanatics, so you will easily spend a day there. We’ve covered the prices and directions in this article on the amusement parks in Malaysia.
Feed and wash elephants
You must not miss the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary, just a short drive away from Kuala Lumpur. This ethical sanctuary is dedicated to displaced elephants whose habitat was endangered by the modern development; later they’re released into the wild in the national parks.
Your kids (and you) will enjoy bathing the elephants in the nearby river and feeding them the sugar cane and peanuts (sold in the park). The elephant riding might be available but you’ll need to enquire at the sanctuary.
Take a shot with monkeys
Source: Conor MacNeill
No trip to Kuala Lumpur is complete without a visit to the Batu caves north of the city. 272 steps to a series of caves and cave temples are guarded by the gold statue of Hindu deity Lord Murugan and… monkeys that thoroughly inspect bypassers for any food. Note that monkey feeding is prohibited and they might get aggressive when attempting to get your food; simply don’t carry any in your hands to avoid the confrontation.
Feed the hornbill and other tropical birds
Just in the city centre lies one of Kuala Lumpur’s hidden gems – KL Bird Park. It’s home to around 3000 birds and allows visitors to feed ostriches, hornbills and peacocks which are well-known for being more friendly among the birds. The park also has a playground and cafe that is connected to the aviary (yes, you can lure the birds with some toast!).
Ready to move on? Follow our Kuala Lumpur itinerary and head to Perdana Lake garden which is a 7 minute walk from the Bird Park.
Pamper the sweet tooth
And let’s not forget an occasional treat to sweeten your family trip in Malaysia. Recently, Kuala Lumpur saw the upsurge of cafes offering some pretty cool / cute desserts: toast jenga, rainbow bagels, rose-shaped gelato or hardware-tool-shaped chocolates that will definitely tickle your fancy!
It’s time to leave the capital of Malaysia and spend 3 to 7 days in either of these family-friendly locations:
Besides the usual must-do in Langkawi items:
- Cable car and Sky bridge
- Swim in the waterfalls: Seven Wells Waterfall and less crowded Durian Perangin
- Easy jungle treks (tours catered for the whole family are available)
- Simply relaxing on a beach
you should also try other activities that Langkawi has to offer!
Kayak and watch famous Langkawi eagles (from afar)
Visit the mangroves, the saltwater partially-immersed forest during one of the eco-kayaking tours. These easy tours include a stop at a bat cave and White Bellied Sea Eagles watching. If you’re lucky, you might spot monkeys, snakes, otters, other birds or monitor lizards.
Snorkel among tropical fishes
The best spot for snorkeling in Langkawi is at Pulau Payar protected area. Spot the colorful tropical fishes, large corals and even feed harmless baby sharks at the coast.
Climb tallest trees
Another must stop for active families vacationing in Langkawi is Skytrex Adventure Langkawi tree-top park. Conquer the obstacles high in the jungle canopy and ride the zip lines!
The usual tourist list for Penang island should definitely include:
- A visit to Batu Ferringhi beach
- Colourful cyclo rickshaw ride in UNESCO listed Georgetown
- Penang hill and funicular tram ride
- Posing with famous Penang murals
- Snake temple (hold snakes), Kek Lok Si Temple and Liberation Pond (feed fishes and turtles)
as well as these family-centered attractions in Penang:
Have fun in ESCAPE park
The adventure play park Escape is set in nature, far away from the city, and has something to offer for all ages. Climb trees, fly through the forest on a zip line and explore the underground burrows! Check prices and how to get there in our article on Malaysia’s best amusement parks.
Alternatively, you can opt for an easy hike in Penang National Park or a refreshing morning or evening walk in the Botanical gardens.
Trick the camera at 3D museum
Snap fun pictures in the 3D museums like Made in Penang Interactive Museum, Upside Down Museum or Penang 3D Trick Art Museum. They are one of the most popular attractions on the island – and we guarantee your family will love the experience!
Tropical fruit farm & Butterfly farm
Take an educational tour about tropical fruits and spices that ends with a bottomless fruit buffet and a glass of freshly squeezed fruit juice at Tropical fruit farm (all fruits grown there are organic!). You’ll actually be surprised to learn how a pineapple and peppercorn grows, or what are rambutan, jackfruit and papaya, the local fruits popular in Southeast Asia.
On the way back to town, you can also stop at Butterfly farm with more 15,000 free-flying butterflies.
Visit Sarawak Cultural Village
One of the top tourist attractions in Borneo and rated #3 activity to do in Kuching on Tripadvisor, Sarawak Cultural Village is the best place to learn more about the indigenous tribes and their culture. Play the local games, try traditional bamboo rafts and pose as an intimidating jungle hunter!
Observe animals in their natural habitat
Kuching will definitely spoil you for choices! Which do you prefer: the orangutan sanctuary, bat caves, a nocturnal frogs pond visit, an easy hike to see proboscis monkey and bearded pigs, or a river boat ride to look for crocodiles and dolphins? Maybe all? Check our overview on the animals and how to find them in our Kuching attractions article.
Kuching is also known for easy and safe jungle treks (no leeches) and lovely waterfalls to take a refreshing dip, without the crowds that tend to flock to Taman Negara. And opt for a stay in a longhouse or jungle hut for the fuller experience.
Enjoy your trip to Malaysia!
What do you think of these short vacation ideas in Malaysia with children? Share your experiences with us in the comments.