Wait – are the school holidays here again? It can be hard to decide where to bring the whole family for a vacation each time, especially when it is a short break and you aren’t planning to go too far. And looking for something everyone will like can be a challenge!
Luckily, there are many family-friendly things to do across Malaysia that you may or may not know about…until now. So we’ve compiled a list of 21 different experiences you can enjoy for the upcoming holiday. Take your pick!
CULTURAL/ EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCES
1. Urban Hijau, Kuala Lumpur
Urban Hijau is a permaculture project in Kuala Lumpur that helps city folk return to their roots through sustainable farming methods. Bazaars, workshops, farm visits and other activities take place throughout the year, which means there is something new for your family to experience each time. Plus you’ll get to learn about healthier lifestyle options and ways to care for Mother Earth.
2. Historical City of Melaka (Melaka)
This little state in Peninsular Malaysia packs a punch when it comes to its cultural heritage and Nyonya food. Crowned a UNESCO Wold Heritage Site in 2008, it is a destination both tourists and locals flock to for a quick getaway. If your family haven’t been to Melaka before, an introductory sightseeing experience of the historical town helps you appreciate it more.
Read next: Alternative Melaka: 8 Ways to Travel Deeper
3. Johor Bahru Heritage Trail, Family Edition (Johor)
Johor Bahru is the capital of Malaysia’s southern state, with a blend of urban and heritage buildings. Along the Johor Bahru Heritage Trail, there is a myriad of historical buildings and cultural landmarks.
If you have small children, you can join a storytelling tour even the little ones would like. Learning about the town’s past is all the more interesting when bonding through activities on the go and munching on traditional charcoal toasted bread.
4. Sri Mahamariamman Temple (Kuala Lumpur)
Sri Mahamariamman Temple is Kuala Lumpur’s oldest Hindu temple. Located at the edge of Chinatown, the extravagant temple is home to many dramatic statues and embellishments. Whether you are fans of the architecture or the rich history behind the temple, it’s bound to open your eyes to the colourful culture we have in Malaysia.
5. The Valley of Hope (Selangor)
Not many people know about The Valley of Hope in Sungai Buloh, but that’s what makes it so fascinating. Once shut to the outside world, the secluded neighbourhood is filled with untold stories about a community forced to be separated from their families. Be sure to meet some of the few remaining locals there.
6. Mah Meri Cultural Village (Selangor)
The Mah Meri is an ancient Orang Asli tribe residing on Pulau Carey. Skilled in woodcarving and leaf origami, the tribe still preserves these age-old traditions and are happy to pass down their artistic knowledge to visitors. Visiting the Mah Meri Cultural Village is a great way to expose them to a whole new culture. You and your loved ones can learn leaf origami and woodcarving, as well as try on traditional costumes to take part in their Mask Dance.
7. Titi Eco Farm (Negeri Sembilan)
If what you’re seeking is a peaceful, no-fuss holiday away from the concrete jungle, Titi Eco Farm has it. Roughly 90 minutes away from Kuala Lumpur, this organic farm in Negeri Sembilan has a vegetable garden, orchard, ostrich farm, lotus pond and other eco landscapes. Your family can even stay overnight in a long house or semi-detached chalet, which overlooks the farm.
8. Kuala Kubu Bahru (Selangor)
Pure relaxation within Nature, warm hospitality, strange myths and traditional local pastries – what an interesting mix for visitors who come to Kuala Kubu Bahru! From chilling by the creek at Sungai Chiling, to visiting the temples and famous dam at the town, soaking in the hot spring and tasting their local delicacies, it’s worth the short trip from the city.
9. Sekinchan (Selangor)
Situated just over an hour away from Kuala Lumpur, Sekinchan is on most people’s lists when it comes to chilled, last-minute getaways away from the city. The vast paddy fields and Pantai Redang are not to be missed, but you can always take it farther by learning to make fishballs and mend nets at the fishing village. It’s a different way to experience Sekinchan, and one for the scrapbook.
10. Pineapple fields at Simpang Renggam (Johor)
Instead of having the children chant about “who lives in a pineapple under the sea”, how about showing them what a sea of pineapples looks like? At Simpang Renggam, visitors witness how pineapples are harvested and turned into local products. It goes without saying that you should tickle your tastebuds with some of the town’s pineapple-infused dishes like nasi lemak, fried noodles and meehoon!
11. KOREF Eco Farm Resort (Johor)
Haven’ stay at a farm! KOREF combines eco tourism and rice farming for a full-on farm living experience. There are group activities such as hands-on rice harvesting, exhilarating obstacle courses, bamboo rafting flying fox and fish catching. It’s farm life made fun!
12. Cameron Highlands (Pahang)
Where better to have a short vacation than at Cameron Highlands, one of Malaysia’s most popular holiday destinations? The cool breeze and lush landscapes somewhat whisks you away from the busy pace of life, even if just for a weekend. Want something different? Visit the Mossy Forest on Mount Brinchang before rewarding yourself with fresh strawberries and BOH Tea.
13. Rainforest Tree House (Johor)
The Rainforest Tree House is all about escaping from the city and enjoying a simple, sustainable lifestyle. Located in Kulai, the minimalist retreat offers eco-friendly features such as hammocks on the balcony, where you can kick back and relax in the middle of a forest. You could be the Malaysian version of ‘The Swiss Family Robinson’.
14. Magical River Trek (Selangor)
Families who love the outdoors, take note. If you have a free day in Klang Valley, it is time to get on a wet and wild adventure in a Malaysian rainforest. A wilderness expert will lead the way as you trek through a rainforest, climb across boulders, cross the river and stare in awe at the mountain range in the background. Great for a breath of fresh air and exercise! The enchanting, multi-tier waterfall at the end of the trail is worth it.
15. Ulu Muda Rainforest (Kedah)
Sprawled across 160,000 hectares in Kedah is the remote Ulu Muda tropical rainforest. 14km away from civilization, you and loved ones can get back to Nature with a wildlife boat cruise, tubing adventure, jungle trekking, cave exploration or well-deserved rest in a cozy ecolodge.
16. Balik Pulau (Penang)
Close to Balik Pulau town lies a labyrinth of small roads and passageways that are best explored on bike. Sprinkled around it are paddy fields, orchards, fishing villages and kampungs. With so many little hideaways, it’s like a scavenger hunt, only you get to see the countryside up close and personal.
17. Batang Kali (Selangor)
Tucked in the Hulu Selangor district, Batang Kali is a treasure trove of cultural and natural resources. Your kids would love the colors of the country’s 2nd largest orchid collection, and tasting luscious fruits at an organic guava farm. Along with that, you get to make the town’s signature loh mee and see how traditional sesame crackers are produced.
18. Machap Baru Hakka Village (Malacca)
There are seventeen Chinese New Villages in Malacca, the biggest of which is Machap Baru. Mostly populated by Hakka families, the village is rich in Hakka customs and history. To get a taste of local culture, learn to make green tea buns and have exotic Lui Cha rice or fragrant Roti Kok.
19. Kampung Sungai Lima (Selangor)
Most people know Pulau Ketam but overlook this quiet village just a boat ride away. Located 20 minutes away from Port Klang, the charming Kampung Sungai Lima brims with quaint murals, a bustling marketplace and close-knit community. Another way to admire the beauty of the village is on a sunset cruise, as you watch the day melt into night.
20. Kuala Sepetang (Perak)
Slowly rising as the next rural attraction, Kuala Sepetang is a coastal fishing town 30 minutes away from Taiping. It is famous for its charcoal making industry, mangrove eco park, bird-watching sites and firefly colony.
21. Kampung Fun in Bekok (Johor)
To get to Bekok, you can hop on a train and pull in at a century-old railway station, which makes you feel as though you have been transported into a world locked outside time.
One of the highlights here is a rubber tapping workshop, where the family can experience what life was like for rubber tappers back when it was the main industry at Bekok. Another fun activity you can do is stargaze at night – something most city kids might not have done before! Sniffing these experiences is much easier when you have someone with local knowledge though, so you might want to get a local to guide you.