The idea of travelling with kids can seem quite daunting for some, while travelling for 7 months with kids can sound down right crazy! But with some planning, an extended holiday with the entire family can be a great experience for all. Having said that, we are only 2 months into our 7 month trip so my next post may be “don’t ever travel with kids”. The first leg of our holiday, which was 5 weeks in Hawaii, went as smooth as smooth can be. Very little to no culture shock, only a slight time change and a comfortable climate all amounted to a lovely beginning to our trip. Once we hit Malaysia however, we were thrown a few curve balls.
With a huge time zone change of 16 hours, culture shock, extreme heat and a couple of illnesses thrown in just for good measure, the first week of our two-week stay in Malaysia started a little rough, to say the least. What kept us going was carefully planned outings that the whole family could enjoy and taking into account everyone’s needs, especially considering that children can have a much harder time with heat. The huge time difference makes it difficult to keep in touch with friends and family back home, but with today’s technology and again with some planning, you can stay well-connected. I highly recommend Skype or something similar, as it is nice for everyone to see a familiar face from home now and again.
In Kuala Lumpur dining out is easy, cheap and delicious so why not? With such a wide variety of restaurants on every corner you are sure to find something to suit every palette. Our favorite stop most mornings was Old Town White Coffee which was right in our metropolitan square condo complex. Callum and Lydia usually had the steamed bread with peanut butter (Roti Kukus Mentega Kacang) and some hot lemon & honey water. Paul liked the deep-fried tube things that I called chinese donuts with baked beans, while I loved the veg curry with naan (Campuran Kari and Paratha Kari Kentang) and coconut rice. On top of the good food, the staff here were always so friendly and welcoming.
One of our points of interest was Brickfields Little India. We went early in the day so it was quiet (nothing like Chinatown) allowing us to leisurely stroll through different shops and take in the atmosphere. Lydia really wanted to have a henna treatment and even though there were oodles of options in Little India, we decided we would wait until Sri Lanka. Mostly, I wanted to have some time to research the whole idea. One of our favorite sights in Little India was watching the merchants making the Jai Mala Garland (centre pic above). These beautiful garlands are used for decorative purposes and in Indian wedding ceremonies where the bride and groom exchange Jaimala, similar to the exchanging of wedding rings. Jaimala is symbolic for unifying two souls into one.
because of the heat in Malaysia and given our poor old Canadian bodies are just not used to it, we tried to plan only one outdoor activity a day. Again, the kids especially are susceptible to the extreme heat, so we took lots of breaks and would head indoors for some air conditioning and liquids to cool down often. The transit system in KL is not great, while the taxi service is typically quick and affordable. We downloaded an app on our phone called myteksi, which allowed us to simply input our location and destination and then wait for a taxi to grab the call. It almost always happened within minutes (Super quick, so you’re not standing around waiting with impatient kids) and it saved trying to explain where you wanted to go. I do have to say though, we found most Malaysians were comfortable speaking English as English used to be the official language.
After exploring Little India we headed into a nearby mall to cool down, refresh and regroup. Once we all felt rejuvenated, we headed to The Islamic Arts Museum. Not high on the priority list for the kids, but rated number 1 on Trip Advisors list of top ten things to do in KL, so this was one of those times where compromising came into play. The Museum proved to be a lovely choice, as we all enjoyed some aspect of the visit.
I marvelled at the architectural features of the building while Lydia loved the clothing and Jewellery section. Callum and Paul were all over the weapons and armor. The Islamic Arts Museum is a quiet, roomy space filled with significant artifacts. The first floor has an art gallery with pieces from around the world while the second floor is equipped with a retail shop and restaurant. The third and fourth floors house islamic artifacts. Admission for the Museum was 50 ringgit (about 16 dollars Canadian) for our family of 4.
Wooden window carving at the Islamic Arts Museum.
Some of our best days in Malasia have been hanging out with family at Desa Park, which included Dim Sum lunches, swimming in the pools, feeding the fish at the lake and having a few drinks poolside at the club.
we are now off to Bali for a couple of weeks and welcome the opportunity to chill at the beach again. With some well thought out planning and discussions, I am confident that our whole family will continue to enjoy our travels together.