Malaysia with Kids: Our Family Travel Guide – Southeast Asia with Children

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We love exploring Malaysia with kids. So much so that we’ve spent close to 16 months in and out of the country (so far, anyway). And we may still return again. Malaysia has beautiful islands, dynamic cities, incredible wildlife and some of the best food in the world. Read on to find our Malaysian family travel tips.

Malacca Trishaws: Malaysia with Kids

MALAYSIA WITH KIDS

You will discover so many family-friendly activities in Malaysia with kids. In fact, when families new to Southeast Asia family travel ask me where would be a good starting point in the region, I often suggest Malaysia.

Our Family Travel Guide for Malaysia with Kids

Why Malaysia with kids? Well, the country uses English widely, and the infrastructure in Borneo and the Peninsula makes it easy to get around by car, on foot or by public transport. The weather is warm all year. On top of that, there are a dizzying array of cultures and cuisines to experience, including Malay, Chinese, Indian, and indigenous people, to name just a few.

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Malaysia with Kids - Family Travel Guide

Malaysia is Kid-Friendly

The capital, Kuala Lumpur, is a sprawling metropolis full of parks, museums and other fun and educational activities. Cities like Malacca have a fascinating history full of pirates, spices, and UNESCO-noted buildings.

Islands like Tioman, Redang and Langkawi offer luxurious tropical beaches, while the tea plantations of the Cameron Highlands offer cooler weather and a step back into the colonial past.

Then, of course, there is Penang, a destination unto itself, which has a bit of all of the above and more. And this is just on the Peninsula!

Cross to the other half of Malaysia, and you have orangutans, native tribes, and dense rain forests. Borneo is full of hiking, kayaking, scuba diving, whitewater rafting, and much more. And oh…the seafood!

I’m barely scratching the surface here. Head to Malaysia with kids, and you’ll find something for everyone.

Read: Our Penang with Kids Island Guide

Malaysia with Kids - Family Travel Guide

Waterfall in Langkawi: Malaysia with Kids- Family Travel Guide

Jalan Alor in Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia with Kids: Family Travel Guide

Leaf Monkey - Malaysia with Kids: Family Travel Guide

Multiculturalism at Work: Malaysia with Children

On a personal note, I believe that the country’s complex multinational, multi-ethnic and multi-faith history (as well as its present and future) is a worthy experience for families interested in the concept of world citizenship.

Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim state, and if you live in Western countries and watch Western media, it can be very easy to see all followers of that faith in a negative light.

Boy in a Mosque: Malaysia with Kids - Family Travel Guide

However, spend a little time in Malaysia with kids, and you realize just how well various ethnicities and religions can get along. I’m not saying that it’s some doe-eyed utopia, but Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists/Agnostics and others on the religious spectrum have coexisted here peacefully for a century. And not just “co-exist.”

Lion Dance: Malaysia with Kids - Family Travel Guide

They don’t just “tolerate” each other: Muslims wear Santa Claus hats at Christmas, and Christians attend Ramadan feasts with their neighbors at sundown. Buddhists get henna tattoos for Diwali, and Hindus celebrate Chinese New Year with friends at local temples.

People don’t just tolerate each other — they actually seem to like each other, too.

Candle Light in Hindu Temple: Malaysia with Kids - Family Travel Guide

Large incense at a Buddhist temple: Malaysia with Kids - Family Travel Guide

I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I’m sure that there is tension or disagreements under the surface that I don’t see, but I truly think that coexistence in such a diverse population was valuable for our children to experience.

I could attempt to list each and everything we did while we were in Malaysia, but the post will already be incredibly long, so I’m just adding what we think is best to pass on to other travelers.

Believe me: there are many, many more places to eat, sleep and play in Malaysia with kids, but these are just the ones I feel most comfortable recommending. Every family is different, of course.

TRAVEL TIPS: MALAYSIA WITH KIDS

Mosque on the water: Malaysia with Kids - Family Travel Guide

Bring a Jacket

Malaysia is super hot and humid year-round, so lots of buildings have the air conditioning cranked. Oh, it feels great when you’ve just traipsed in from the tropical heat outside, but after ten minutes it can be freezing, especially if you walked in sweaty and in shorts & sandals. We always brought a jacket or sweatshirt to the mall and often brought socks and a fleece jacket (yes a fleece) to the movie theater.

Hand Etiquette

Malays use their right hand for eating, shaking hands, pointing, etc. Try to do the same. This is not strictly enforced, so if you’re left-handed, don’t stress, but FYI. It’s also very common to eat with your hands, sans utensils. There is almost always a sink nearby for people to wash their hands afterward.

Time Concept

If you stay for a while, you’ll discover that “Malay time” is similar to the “mañana culture” of Spain and Latin America. Two o’clock doesn’t mean two o’clock, and “I’ll fix it today” usually means “I’ll get to it sometime this week.” Don’t fight it (at least not too much) as it won’t change much and only give you an ulcer.

Eating in Malaysia

Visiting Malaysia with kids means lots of great eating experiences. Malaysia is an eater’s paradise. Thanks to geographic location and a dizzyingly mixed cultural history, you can find so many types of food that you and your kids will love. There is Chinese, Thai, Indian, Sri Lankan, and Malay flavors, to start. But if you’re looking for pizza and burgers, you’ll find plenty. In our neighborhood in Penang, we also had Mexican, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese and even Bulgarian!

If you like spicy food, you’ll find plenty, but unlike many places in Southeast Asia, Malaysia has lots of non-spicy options, as well.

Malaysian shopping malls are an experience unto themselves, and their food courts and in-mall restaurants will satisfy just about any need. That said, our favorite places to eat are the hawker centers. These are basically where a dozen or more street food stands get together under one roof. The food is cheap, fresh and delicious, and this way you can try many things at once. Highly recommended.

Read: Malaysian Food You Should Try
OR: Food in Vietnam, Spain, Japan and Other countries

Driving in Malaysia

The peninsula has an excellent road system, and we drove all over it, but on the highways, people seem to only go 30-50 kilometers above or below the speed limit. The result: one really fast lane, and one really slow one.

We’d often got into the fast lane to pass a cement truck plodding along, only to have a white BMW appear out of nowhere flashing its high beams at us to get out of the way.

Keep in mind that people will ride your bumper at over 120 km/hour on highways if they can’t get around you. My advice is to oblige them, but keep watch for extremely slow vehicles entering the other lane.

Some villages have no other major roads to turn to, so it’s uncommon for a tractor or bulldozer to pull onto the highway to reach the next town three exits away.

Muslim Customs and Taboos

Swimming Suites Guide: Malaysia with Kids - Family Travel Guide

Malaysia has an ostensibly secular government, but there are certain factors of Muslim culture that you should be aware of. For example:

Public Dress Code: Bikinis and other revealing clothing are ok at pools and beaches, but it’s best to put on some clothes when walking into a cafe, restaurant or other public indoor space.

Alcohol: It is available at most non-Halal restaurants and convenience stores. There aren’t any official open-container laws, but don’t get blatantly hammered around local Malays.

Pork: Pork products (and alcohol too) will often be in a far corner of grocery stores like TESCO. And with pork, the Malay cashiers won’t touch it. Instead, there will be a Chinese- or Indian-Malay guy in the pork section to wrap it and put a barcode on it, then when back at the register, so you hold that item for the cashier while she scans it.

Cash Register in Malaysia: Family Travel Guide for Malaysia

WHERE TO GO IN MALAYSIA WITH KIDS

Fruit Market: Malaysia with Kids - Family Travel Guide

Wow, where to begin? I guess it depends on what you’re looking for. Do you want vibrant city life? Or would you rather chill with a cocktail on the beach?

Are you keen to dig into the UNESCO sites and the country’s rich and diverse history, or would you rather find playgrounds and swimming pools?

Malaysia has all of this and more, including nature and wildlife opportunities that you won’t find anywhere else. Here are a few of our recommendations:

KUALA LUMPUR ( aka “KL”)

Kuala Lumpur City: Malaysia with Kids - Family Travel Guide

If you love urban culture, then Kuala Lumpur (KL) is easily one of the best places for a family travel in Malaysia. Many of my friends know this city as a layover or transfer spot on their way to Japan, Bangkok or Seoul, but I’m here to tell you that the place deserves further investigation.

Where to stay in KL? We really enjoyed our time at Lanson Place Bukit Ceylon and at PARKROYAL serviced suites.

There are so many fun things to do in Kuala Lumpur. Here are a few of our favorites.

Stars Archery

Stars Archery in Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia with Kids - Family Travel Guide

That’s right: hand your children bows and arrows (my kids have some experience with sharp objects). Located in Berjaya Times Square, this place has the sanitized look and feel of a bowling alley, and firing at the bullseye is extremely addictive.

The price varies according to how many arrows you get, and I suggest going ahead and getting a LOT. It’s cheaper that way, and once you and the kids get started, you’ll just want to buy more anyway. Believe me: 15-30 arrows go really quickly. And now they also have blowgun (!) rentals, as well.

Is it safe? I think so. Everything is reasonably blocked off and a staff member gives you a quick lesson to get started, so it’s only as unsafe as you and your family make it. Just watch the kids. Make sure they aim in only one direction, and you’ll have a blast.

Read Our Experience: Stars Archery in Kuala Lumpur

Royal Selangor School of Hard Knocks

Royal Selangor School of Hard Knocks: Malaysia with Kids - Family Travel Guide

You’ll find this activity at the top of many “Malaysia with kids” lists, but we spent nearly a year in and out of Penang and never went. When we finally did, in KL, we understood why so many people enjoyed it.

This is a hands-on activity that ends with kids making a tangible object that they can cherish or give as a gift. Like fruit carving, ceramics, silversmithing and wood carving, it involves using tools. The kids love that.

Our girl hammered out a bowl out of pewter, while the boy used melted peweter to make keychains, bracelets and more.

The Petrosains Science Discovery Museum

Petrosains Science Discovery Museum

We’re huge fans of science museums, but only if they handle the whole interactive, “hands-on” exhibit concept well, and I can tell you that this place passes our test. You could spend a full day in here — we certainly did. Fortunately, it’s in a large mall, so food was accessible without much effort.

I should note that this place is owned and operated by Petronas, Malaysia’s biggest petroleum company. So there’s a disproportional amount of info and exhibits regarding the science and mechanics of oil extraction. However, this is a very well done science museum overall, and this can be a teaching moment wherever you fall on the use of fossil fuels.

The Batu Caves

Batu Cave: Malaysia with Kids - Family Travel Guide

The hollowed-out center of this colossal limestone monolith is one of the most important sites for Malaysia’s substantial Hindu population. The statues and temples located inside are definitely worth climbing the 272 steps it takes to reach the entrance. Batu Caves are located just outside of town, but they’re easily accessible by car or train.

If you are in Malaysia with kids in January or February, find when that year’s Thaipusam festival is happening and check out the caves then. It will be packed, I’m sure, but to witness the festival and all the Indian and Sri Lankan people dressed in their most beautiful sari would be a sight not to be missed.

Read Our Experience: Visiting the Batu Caves in Malaysia  

Penang

Penang Street Art: Malaysia with Kids

Man-o-man, there is so much I can say about spending time in Penang with children. After all, we’ve spent about 16 months there in total! Parts of Penang look more like Miami beach than Southeast Asia, but the island has it all: history, food, city life and quiet beaches.

If you have time for only one destination, then consider Penang. It’s easily one of the best places for a family holiday in Malaysia.

Indeed, with its fancy resorts and halal restaurants, this Malaysian island is kind of like the Hawaii of the Muslim world, and you’ll often see tourists from the middle east walking around. It is also a place where rich Malaysians have a second home.

Penang Street Rickshaw: Malaysia with Kids

But Penang is much more than that. The hawker centers, with their plastic stools and steaming pots of deliciousness, serve up some of the best food in the region. And the rickshaws and crumbling colonial buildings of Georgetown have all the history and UNESCO-approved ambiance to transport you to another time.

The mix of cultures, religions, and ethnicities is very prevalent in Penang as well, and its proximity to the Thai border means you can experience notes of the neighboring culture, as well (ie. you’ll see tom yum on lots of menus).

Penang Panthers Team: Malaysia with Kids

Perhaps most importantly, however, Penang with kids is just so laid back. Compared to many places in Southeast Asia, it’s an easy place to stay for a week, a month or much longer. I wrote more about why we chose to stay in Penang here.

Read Our Full Guide: Penang with Kids

Borneo

Borneo Rafting: Malaysia with Kids - Family Travel Guide

Rainforests, wildlife, watersports and more. If you’re in Malaysia with kids who love nature and adventure, then get to Borneo ASAP!

Southern Sarawak is mellow and calm, while Sabah and its capital of Kota Kinabalu pulse with excitement and adventure. We went whitewater rafting. We kayaked in the rainforest. My son went scuba diving and much more.

Find all of our Things to do in Kota Kinabalu with Kids

Malacca

Malacca Neon Rickshaw: Malaysia with Kids - Family Travel Guide

Fountain in Malacca daytime: Malaysia with Kids

Like Penang, Malacca’s downtown is also a UNESCO heritage site. To me, however, the city’s history is far more fascinating than its architecture. If you’re in Malaysia with kids who love history, then Malacca’s the place to be. Once a sultanate and the epicenter of the spice trade, Malacca conjures of stories of ships, swords, spices, and gunpowder.

The city proper is fairly walkable, and if you get tired you can just hop on one of the ridiculously bright trishaws rolling around.

Read More on Malacca with Kids

Malaysia’s East Coast

Swing at Perhentian Islands: Malaysia with Kids

Peninsular Malaysia’s east coast is much less traveled. And if you’re considering a road trip in Malaysia with kids, then we can recommend driving Route 4 from Penang to Kuala Besut (watch out for the Tapir Crossing signs).

Many of the towns aren’t necessarily scenic. That said, the beaches are frequently beautiful and we enjoyed stopping here and there along the way.

Langkawi

Gondola in Langkawi: Malaysia with Kids - Family Travel Guide

This island north of Penang basically straddles the Thai border. Langkawi has many of the same qualities you find that in Thailand’s beautiful islands.

We visited Langkawi twice, using local ferries and renting a car at the dock upon arrival. Highlights included the waterfalls, the cable car, and a close encounter with a huge Malaysian hornbill.

Oh, right, and I almost died while we were there, but that wasn’t Langkawi’s fault.

Read More: Visiting Langkawi with Kids

Hornbill in Langkawi: Malaysia with Kids - Family Travel Guide

Taman Negara National Park

Taman Negara National Park: Malaysia with Kids - Family Travel Guide

Here you’ll find monkeys, tigers, tapirs, wild boars and hundreds of bird species. Add in some aboriginal tribes and now you know just a few of the residents of this huge tropical rainforest. There are a variety of tours and treks available: from one-day outings to several weeks in the bush. Rafting, fishing caving, and bird-watching are also available.

Legoland Malaysia

Legoland Waterpark: Malaysia with Kids - Family Travel Guide

This top-rated amusement park and is quite similar to its sibling in California. It’s a little smaller, and the lego-made buildings reflect the East more than the West, so expect more landmarks from Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and other Asian destinations than American ones. The roller coasters and other rides will be thrilling to young ones but judge for yourself how older teens will find the place.

As with any major theme park (and especially those in Asia), buy your tickets in advance, arrive early and bring sunscreen and water because it will be hot and humid all day.

Cameron Highlands

Cameron Highlands: Malaysia with Kids

Come for the tea, stay for the weather. The higher altitudes here make it significantly cooler here year-round, and the area is full of tea fields, orchards, greenhouses and apiaries, which all offer fun and educational opportunities.

It’s worth stopping at the Boh tea plantation for a tour of the factory and some tea with scones and clotted cream. We stayed at the Orchid Lodge guesthouse while we were there, and had a big room for the four of us.

Read our full guide to the Cameron Highlands with Kids

Cameron Highlands Tea Plantation: Malaysia with Kids

Ipoh

While it doesn’t have the UNESCO recognition, this is still an interesting city. There are lots of things to do in Ipoh with kids, including caving, whitewater rafting, and some famous night markets, as well. Probably the most fun with young kids will be had at Lost World Tambun, a water/amusement park just outside downtown.

Ipoh Lost World: Malaysia with Kids

There are a few waterslides, wave pool, a small rollercoaster, and other carnival-like attractions, as well as an area explaining the history of the area’s role in tin production (more interesting than it sounds). We went in expecting something like Waterbom, the incredible waterpark in Bali that our kids love more than any other.

We were disappointed here because our expectations were too high. The rides here are fun for kids under ten but tame for our then-12-year-old compared to what he had ridden in the past. Great place, but keep this in mind.

One more thing to keep in mind: Lost World has tiger shows, and while they are not unlike any animal act you’d see in other zoos or circuses, they’re still not an ideal environment for wild animals.

I’m not being self-righteous here. We’ve bought our share of tickets to zoos and other animal attractions in the past, but as the years go by we have all become much more selective of where we put out money. If you relate to this, then skip the tiger show. No judgment if you don’t.

Here are our Top 6 Things to do in Ipoh with Kids

SHOPPING MALLS: MALAYSIA WITH KIDS

For better or worse, Malaysia is as much a mall culture as anywhere in the west. Possibly more so.

In a country with a citizenry of such a diverse array of cultures, languages, and religions at its core, these glass-and-concrete monuments to materialism have become the lingua-franca of the country.

Everyone congregates here in the climate-controlled confines of consumerism, and unless you’re card-carrying Maoist, you should plan to spend some time in them.

KLCC Inside: Malaysia with Kids - Family Travel Guide

First of all, that’s where the movie theaters are, and Malaysian movie theaters are cheap and fantastic.

Secondly, many of these malls in Kuala Lumpur have some serious attractions in their own right. If you’re in Malaysia with kids, some of these activities are worth your attention.

Our recommended spots in Kuala Lumpur and Penang are below.

Best Shopping Malls in Kuala Lumpur

Berjaya Times Square Roller Coaster

Berjaya Times Square

We originally went here for the archery, but they also have their own indoor theme park with roller coasters. They also have an area called “Tiny Taipei,” and as you may know, I am a huge fan of Taiwan, so this is a place to get our fix of Taiwanese food.

Suria KLCC

KLCC Twin Tower in the light at night: Malaysia with Kids - Family Travel Guide

This massive building of Suria KLCC houses an aquarium, a 12-screen cinema, a concert hall, an art gallery, and an excellent science museum. It’s also right there at the Petronas Towers, which are a destination themselves. And behind the building is a 50-acre park filled with grass and trees. There is a massive fountain here, as well. This where the KLCC Lake Symphony water show happens. It’s well worth checking out.

KLCC Fountain at night: Malaysia with Kids - Family Travel Guide

Best Shopping Malls in Penang

Gurney Plaza & Gurney Paragon

There are at least ten massive shopping complexes on this tiny island. That said, the two that I will recommend most are Gurney Plaza and Gurney Paragon. They are less than a five-minute walk from each other and should cover most of your needs. They also have great movie theaters, and their proximity to the seaside and to hawker stalls give them bonus points.

Read what others say about Gurney Plaza or Gurney Paragon

Straits Quay

Sailing families know this one best because it’s where many have anchored their boats when cruising through Penang. We spent a lot of time near Straits Quay, but I don’t think we ever bought a damn thing there. Instead, we met other traveling families for a meal at one of the restaurants. Or I met some local friends at the Irish Pub at Straits Quay (one of the only ones on the island).

This is also where the Penang Performing Arts Center resides. Indeed, activities like the drama camp are some of the main reasons we returned to the Penang so much. Straights Quay is also home to the Royal Selangor school of hard knocks, which hold classes on hammering out your own pewter dish.

Other shopping: Night Market in Batu Ferringhi

Most of the stalls here are selling knockoff watches and fake Real Madrid jerseys. However, in-between these stalls you can find some decent souvenirs and stylish home furnishings, such as lamps and pillows. This is where I stock up on cheap sunglasses, as well. Don’t forget to bargain.

INTERNET & PHONE: MALAYSIA WITH KIDS

Unfortunately, Malaysia doesn’t share the same level of internet convenience as its neighbor to the north (Thailand, that is), and there isn’t that much public access to the web.

Public WIFI is NOT easy to find

Starbucks and McDonald’s offer it to their customers. Perhaps I should also say that my personal definition of “customer” translates as “anyone sitting at their tables.” Sure, I bought a coffee or ice cream occasionally, but not always. You still have to sign in and it’s not a private network, but it helps in a pinch. Various other establishments may offer, but the signal isn’t usually strong.

I’m sure that some backpacker hostels have it, and there may be somewhere I just don’t know about (if you know somewhere, PLEASE contact me or comment below so I can share it).

You’ll find internet cafes and “cyber cafes” if you do a google search, but a lot of these places are more for locals to play video games online. Am I wrong? I’d love to be wrong on this. We had an apartment and had high-speed wifi installed, so I stopped looking for places to work.

Prepaid SIM for smart devices

As for prepaid SIM cards for smart devices, Malaysia has a lot of options. And you can pick them up at any mall or at the airport. We went with Celcom because we were told it worked best in our part of Malaysia. That seemed to be right. However, we had terrible reception on the east coast of the peninsula, where DiGi seemed to work better.

It’s easy to top-up your phone in Malaysia as well. Just go to any major convenience store chain and tell them which company you’re with. You pay, and they give you a receipt with a number you punch into your device through a few steps, and boom, you’re done.

GETTING AROUND MALAYSIA WITH KIDS

Kuala Lumpur has an excellent train and bus system. Penang has great buses. Everywhere else we walked or drove. I hired a rental car in Penang from Cedric at Century Rent-a-Car, and would recommend his services without reservation, but keep in mind that he usually rents long-term. I also rented a car several times on the island of Langkawi and it was a quick n’ easy process.

Uber & Grab for Taxi

For all other situations, get Uber App or the app “Grab (used to be known as MyTeksi)” That way, you can always get a taxi pretty much anywhere you are. And you don’t have to haggle because the price is fixed before you get in.

Be aware, however, that some taxis don’t have seat belts in the back. You can request that when you book via app, but that’s no guarantee. We used taxis mostly when going to and from the airport and when there was no other alternative.

Aeroline Bus: Malaysia with Kids - Family Travel Guide

Bus for long distance

For transportation between Penang and Kuala Lumpur, we used the Aeroline bus company. The seats are comfortable and the trip is treated more like a flight. There’s even a steward/attendant, mid-trip meals, and personal entertainment systems. The kids were able to sit in the front seats above the driver. This gave them an unhindered look of the road ahead and they loved it.

There was one time where their TVs didn’t work. The kids griped because they couldn’t watch a movie on the way, but boo-hoo. Every other time it was great. The Kuala Lumpur-bound buses left from Penang’s Queensbay mall (which required a bus or taxi ride for us in Tanjung Bungah), and dropped us off in front of Corus Hotel Kuala Lumpur, very close to the Petronas Towers.

WHERE TO STAY IN MALAYSIA WITH KIDS

As for locations, to base yourself, there are a number of opinions. If you’re just passing through and want to see a lot (of the country, or of the region), look for a hotel, Airbnb or housesit in Kuala Lumpur and venture out from there. That way you have access to Kuala Lumpur International Airport, which can take you wherever you want to go.

If you want a more relaxed atmosphere and prefer to settle in for a while, it’s Penang for us. I’ve heard people say that Malacca with kids is great longer-term. But I just didn’t see it that way (in my limited time there). Penang with children is great for a week or a year, and its local airport takes you to many Malaysian, Thai and Indonesian destinations.

CONCLUSION: Malaysia with Kids

We love traveling in Malaysia with children. English is understood, it’s warm all year round (important to us) and there is plenty of cheap, delicious food.

Have you traveled to Malaysia with kids? Have you spent a family holiday in Malaysia? What did you enjoy? Where was your favorite place? Which restaurant did you enjoy most? Please leave your insight in the comments below, or contact me directly. I would love to hear from you.

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Malaysia with Kids: Family Travel Guide

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means, at no extra cost to you, we might receive a small commission. But only if you make a purchase or book using those links. My opinions are my own and I only recommend places/services that I believe will genuinely help your family holiday in Malaysia or any other travel in Malaysia with kids.

Image credits: #7, #10, #11, #15, #16, #19, #23, #24, #26, #28, #29, #30, #31

Comments

  1. Hi Jason , First thank you for writing this great guide about traveling to Malaysia with kids . In addition I am so glad that you have also written about Borneo which I cant find a reasonable reason of why not Many bloggers and travellers do not write about it , have you ever been to Redang or Tioman Island ? there beaches are wonderful and perfect for snorkelling , my family and I really enjoyed going there . Your website is a very valuable source for my travelling with my family and Qompanion as well in which they write great articles for travelling with family.

    I am really glad to know you loved Malaysia and you stayed over 1 year there , perhaps you can visit more islands next time and write another great review about them .

    Regards ,

    Khadija

  2. Erin Pratley says:

    Thanks for the great guide! I am wondering about vaccinations for Japanese encephalitis and rabies if we are heading to KL, Cameron HIghlands, Taman Negara, and Ipoh for about a month? I have read mixed advice, and really don’t want to do them if we don’t have to (three kids- two of whom who have a total needle phobia!). Thanks!

    • There may be differing opinions, Erin, but Japanese encephalitis and rabies are serious business. We never encountered a single rabid animal case in our years in and out fo Malaysia, and Japanese encephalitis is rare. But there are cases of rabies in the region occasionally, and there are plenty of mosquitos. If your only hesitation is needle phobia, then I’d just make the kids deal with it. We make sure all our shots are up to date

  3. Tiffany Larsen says:

    Jason, I’m so delighted to have found your thorough reviews of life in Penang with kids. We are hoping to move there soon so your site has been a tremendous resource and fascinating read. Right now our biggest holdup is figuring out transportation. We were hoping to be able to use buses but it looks like that won’t be quite efficient enough. We have five kids (ages 11-2) so not sure if larger vehicles are available for rent, but we’re hoping so! We would love to have Cedric’s contact info if you still have it and don’t mind sharing. Thank you, Jason!

    • Hi Tiffany. Thanks for your kind words, and congratulations: Penang is a great place to spend time with kids. A day, a week or even (in our case) over a year! It is possible to use buses only, but it isn’t preferable, I’m afraid. Especially with a crowd your size 🙂

      I’ll send you contacts via email. Would love to hear what you think of Penang later on!

  4. Seems like a really complete guide! I ll definitely dive extensively into it if we make our way there!!

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