Taking a young family to a far away land may seem daunting. However, Gavin, his wife Moya, and four-year-old Sienna took the bold step to journey to Malaysia for two weeks. Find out how they overcame their worries, and why you should take your family to Malaysia next.
Finding our feet
After our arrival, and following the advice of the hotel receptionist, we found ourselves walking down a dark alley. Tired and hungry, having flown halfway around the world we were in search of some food before bed. Minutes later our senses were overwhelmed by the sights, sounds and smells of a bustling street food market.
Sienna clung to Moya, unsure what to make of this new experience. We picked a restaurant, sat down at one of the tables on the street and chose some dishes from the picture menu. Minutes later our food arrived, and Sienna burst into tears. She was tired, hungry and nothing looked familiar, not a fish finger or French fry in sight! The chopsticks intrigued her, and with a bit of encouragement, she tried some of the strange looking food, then a bit more… Within minutes she was eating everything in sight with her chopsticks and loving it. Breathing a sigh of relief, I knew this was to be the first of many great memories from our adventure around Malaysia.
We had previously visited Thailand and decided that it might be best to stay by the beach, for the most part. However, the memories that stood out for Sienna were the days we went on small adventures. After some research, Malaysia caught our eye. With its reputation of friendly, children loving, people, good food, widely spoken English, beautiful mountains and white sand beaches seemed like the perfect choice. With a bit of research, we found Rickshaw Travel and immediately loved their approach of combining bite-sized trips to create the ideal customised trip.
This was how we found ourselves at the Jalan Alor food street in Kuala Lumpur having an incredible meal (and converting Sienna from fish fingers to fresh Malaysian food!).
The next day we awoke to a steamy hot Kuala Lumpur. After breakfast on the rooftop terrace of our hotel, it was time to explore the city. We visited the observation deck at the top of the KL tower for the mind-boggling views. Then perused the shops in the mall below the Petronas Twin Towers (we may have taken advantage of the air conditioning…!) followed by some relaxation in the KLCC Park while always keeping an eye out for a sprinkler to run through to cool off.
Kuala Lumpur was a vibrant city, after a full day of sight-seeing and a week’s worth of ice-creams it was time to move on.
Taman Negara National Park
The next morning, we headed for the tropical jungles of Taman Negara National Park but not before our hotel receptionist asked if she could paint a Henna tattoo on Sienna’s hand while we waited for our bus transfer.
After a bus ride to Jerantut and lunch in a local cafe, it was time to take a long boat for the 3-hour journey up the Tembeling River to our next destination. Although it is possible to reach Kuala Tahan by road, venturing there by the river was a much more exciting option and gave us a real feel for the jungle.
While in the Taman Negara jungles we climbed to the top of the Bukit Teresek viewpoint, ate at floating restaurants and went on a night walk where we saw some gigantic insects. We also came across a Tapir, and not deterred by the huge insects, we jumped off the wooden boardwalk into the bushes to get a closer look! The highlight of our time in the jungle, however, was the canopy walk, 500m of swing bridges up to 50m high in the canopy of the forest.
Sadly, it was time to leave Taman Negara and our wild friends. Our next stop was the Cameron Highlands.