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Malaysia / Borneo / South East Asia with children

(29 Posts)
Bayleaf25 Tue 05-Mar-13 13:59:14

We are hoping to have a 3 week holiday next year with the kids and are thinking about Malaysia (KL and Langkawi) and then maybe a Borneo extension.

If anyone has done anything like this I would love to hear about your holiday.

If this works out very expensive we may consider Thailand (or anywhere else in S.E Asia instead.). If anyone has any recommendations I would love to hear about them.

What is the best time of year to visit Langkawi / Borneo??

Thanks for any thoughts / advice.

Astelia Fri 22-Mar-13 11:01:11

Hope you have a lovely time, the diving/snorkelling should be good!

suburbophobe Fri 22-Mar-13 09:16:42

Astelia, I am going to Tioman. Will be there for a week grin

GrumpyKat Sat 16-Mar-13 14:42:43

I like KL, it's a proper city but not too big and easy to get around. We go every year on our way out to Thailand/Bali etc and it's far easier with kids than Bangkok
I second Koh Lanta, it's lovely and really good for kids with long safe beaches.
You do need antimalarials to go up to Sabah but you can travel to Kuching without.
Dd is always happy in KL, you could also look at the Perhentians or Lang Tengah in Malaysia if you want quiet. On the west coast LGK is nice but also quiet, and Penang has the most awesome food.
SIN has plenty to do, the zoo is awesome.

footyfan Fri 08-Mar-13 00:01:12

If you fancy that part of Thailand again, then how about staying in Krabi and going out to some of the islands from there (Koh Lanta etc)?

Nice dilemma to have!

Pinkhellebore Thu 07-Mar-13 19:18:13

We've done this trip and had a fantastic time. Langkawi is great for the beach, there are a few day trips to do e.g. The cable car that the kids enjoyed but there are lots of different hotels with a wide range of prices and some are more out of the way than others, it depends on what you like. KL iis fine with kids for a few days. We found staying somewhere with a pool helps to offset being in a big city. Our kids enjoyed going to the market, going on the local transport etc but in small doses. We also found inside activities for the middle of the day when it was just too hot for them. We have done Borneo with and without the kids. With the kids we compromised as the youngest was under 5 and stayed at the rasa ria in sabah which is on the beach but has a small orang Utan sanctuary next door that you can walk to which they loved and still talk about years later. You do need to check the weather works in all the locations when you want to go as it rains at different times of year. We have done Easter and summer as christmas is peak holiday time there and very expensive.

Lilymaid Thu 07-Mar-13 14:57:11

Nudging in on this thread as we are thinking of going out for a holiday in that area of the world but at Christmas. I had thought of Sabah (Borneo) as it might give DH a chance to climb Mount Kinabalu. I also fancied Penang or Sri Lanka.
We would be with our DCs but they are in their 20s - so interested in stuff like diving and a spot of adventure! Unfortunately, Christmas/New Year isn't the best time weatherwise, I think? Purpose of holiday would to meet up with one DC who works on that side of the world!

Bayleaf25 Thu 07-Mar-13 14:45:24

Oh gosh, such a dilemma. Our children will be 11 and 8 at the time of travel. I quite like the Sri Lanka idea but DH isn't keen. We have been to Thailand pre-children & I would like to go again but to different islands (we've been to Koh Tao, Koa Samui, Koa Phangan (not sure of spelling) on East coast & to Phuket & Phi Phi on the West coast. Which other islands are great?
I would like to have some time chilling on the beach / snorkelling etc but it would be good to fit in some wildlife & culture as well.
Thanks for all the replies, it's great fun to plan.

specialsubject Thu 07-Mar-13 13:38:04

I love Singapore - the food, the things to do, the history, the culture and just about everything else. Beaches not worth it (murky water, view of tankers) but that's not what you go there for. Plenty of swimming pools.

drinkable tap water, no malaria, miniscule dengue risk. About as safe as you can get in the real world, too.

I also really liked Georgetown (Penang). Also there's a nice cool bit up the hill if it all gets too much!

Astelia Thu 07-Mar-13 06:25:10

I would recommend Borneo certainly but I am not a fan of KL, there is very little to do there for children or adults. Singapore has tons to do for all ages and is definitely worth a visit. Langkawi has nice beach resorts but there isn't much else to see or do. I would go for Koh Samui or Tioman over Langkawi. Have you thought about Bali?

footyfan Thu 07-Mar-13 02:46:37

Malaysia and Borneo are both great places to go - but I think there are much better places in Asia to go with children.

You don't say the age of your kids - but if they're younger I'd recommend Singapore or southern Thailand. If they're older then northern Thailand, or Cambodia.

So many great places in Asia - you can't go wrong anywhere really!

ripsishere Thu 07-Mar-13 01:22:45

I want to go on that trip exex!

exexpat Wed 06-Mar-13 22:33:12

You may want to do it independently rather than with an organised group, but it might be worth looking at the kind of itinerary offered by one of the family adventure holiday companies to see what might be fun and feasible, eg this one, but I think a lot of companies do similar things.

PoppyWearer Wed 06-Mar-13 22:27:34

IIRC, we went in May/June. Easter would probably be a good time.

PoppyWearer Wed 06-Mar-13 22:26:52

Is it ok if I lurk?

Have done a KL/Langkawi/Borneo holiday pre-DCs (it was fab!) but not since and would love to take them when a bit older.

DH went there as a child and loved it, but I do agree KL maybe not the best - Singapore would be fantastic though.


Roseformeplease Wed 06-Mar-13 22:22:30

We get two weeks of school hols in October (also very tied) and went then. It was a bit rainy in the afternoons on the West / South Coast but travel inland or North and the weather became completely dry. Better weather over Easter, however. But we swan every day, the weather was glorious with just the afternoon downpour.

HuevosRancheros Wed 06-Mar-13 22:18:49

Rose - what time of year did you go to Sri Lanka?
Would love to go, but tied to school holidays......

AllSWornOut Wed 06-Mar-13 21:11:59

KL not JK of course. And yes, the food was fantastic <drools>

AllSWornOut Wed 06-Mar-13 21:10:31

We did a driving holiday in Malaysia when DS was 1yo. We picked up the car in KL but didn't stay there (already been for work several times and didn't want to go again) and drove down to Malacca. From there drove up into the Cameron Highlands and then down into Penang. We spent 2-3 days in each place but could have spent longer, particularly in Penang.

We spent a few days beforehand in Singapore which I would definitely choose over JK if you absolutely want a city break.

Might be a bit tame if your children are older but we all enjoyed ourselves.

suburbophobe Wed 06-Mar-13 21:02:27

What an interesting thread! And how timely!

A friend of mine - old hand at travelling - just left for Malaysian Borneo yesterday. She goes every other year. There is no malaria there (where she goes) and it is nowhere near the insurgency which is on the south coast, she is on the north coast.
She's only ever had a great time there (and for someone who has been 36 times in East Africa also as a safari guide I trust her judgement).

I can imagine KL is no fun for kids. East Asian cities are hard enough to deal with for adults who don't live there - too big and busy, too noisy, too polluted. (I was in Jakarta last summer, couldn't wait to get out).
Having said that I hear Singapore has more children's facilities and is more clean and well organised, if more expensive.

The Lonely Planet book has the three combined so I guess it is easy to move between them. Why don't you look at their forum to get an idea....

I am biting the bullet and going to join her for a jaunt when she is back in Malaysia. I will be spending Easter in Langkawi and then we are off to another tropical non-touristy island and afterwards to Malacca.

Malaysia I hear is easy to travel in, excellent public transport system, cheap, good food (Malay, Chinese, Indian), and lovely people who don't hassle you for anything.

Can't wait!

Roseformeplease Wed 06-Mar-13 20:37:51

Best family long haul - by miles - Sri Lanka. Monkeys and wildlife everywhere, lovely food and scenery. Gorgeous beaches. Not sure about since the "end" of the war but we loved it about 6 years ago and took 2 children - 5 and 7 who still talk about it.

Stokey Wed 06-Mar-13 20:34:03

We went to Lang Kawai when dd1 was 6 months. It was May and a bit too hot tbh, but we loved it. Not a great deal to do but lovely food and beaches which kept us happy. We combined it with a trip to Australia to see family. Am pretty sure we didn't need malaria pills.

Stokey Wed 06-Mar-13 15:26:45

We went to Lang Kawai when dd1 was 6 months. It was May and a bit too hot tbh, but we loved it. Not a great deal to do but lovely food and beaches which kept us happy. We combined it with a trip to Australia to see family. Am pretty sure we didn't need malaria pills.

Bayleaf25 Wed 06-Mar-13 14:28:55

Thanks for all your useful comments, maybe I should start another thread titled 'sell me your best family long hall holiday'. I'll take a look at rendang island though. X

ripsishere Wed 06-Mar-13 00:21:50

I am living the dream in KL right now hmm. The weather at the moment is sticky and quite nasty TBH.
I honestly don't think children would be terribly amused by KL, my DD certainly isn't and she is almost 12. Perhaps it's familiarity breeding discontent.
Rather than Lankawi, I'd probably head for Rendang island. It takes a bit more of an effort to get there but it's cleaner and more paradisiacal - if that's even a word.
Make sure all your vax are up to date too. Measles is apparently a big problem in MY.

specialsubject Tue 05-Mar-13 18:38:51

KL is an interesting city for a few days, but probably not for kids. Obviously very hot and steamy, and quite polluted too.

Langkawi is pleasant enough, nice warm sea, good beaches - but that's it. You can get beaches a lot closer to home if you are from Europe.

neither is malarial (although both are dengue zones), but Borneo is definitely malarial.

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