family trip to Malaysia

Old Nov 20th, 2010, 10:26 PM
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family trip to Malaysia

We're off to Malaysia over the Christmas break. 2 adults, 2 kids: 13 and 9.
Wanted to start in KL, rent a car and drive north up to pulau Pangkor, across to Cameron Highlands then southish to Kuala Lipis and Taman Negara and further south to Melaka before going back up to KL along the coast.
We have heard it will be better to stick to the west and centre because there will be less rain (except possibly in Taman Negara). East coast during monsoon is wet everyday I heard.
Does this sound feasible road wise and time wise (we have 2 weeks)?
Any highlights we should also see along the way/any places to definately avoid?
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Old Nov 21st, 2010, 06:04 PM
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I think this sounds very feasible time-wise. Your drives should be doable in a half-day or so. Roads are generally in very good shape, and signage is in English. (Malaysia is about the only place in SE Asia where IMO self-drive is a good idea; the other two are Singapore and Hong Kong where of course your don’t need a car). Malaysia is a really beautiful, and underrated, place. Lovely people and great food.

If you are going over Christmas, you would want advance bookings at hotels in Pankor I believe. You may find most good accommodations already booked out. Could be the same in the Cameron Highlands. Otherwise I think you could be more flexible in terms of hotel bookings.

To the best of my knowledge, you can’t take cars onto Pankor. I don’t know anything about the cost of availability of parking for the ferry, I assume you have some info on this. As this is a popular spot for people from KL, I believe you will find parking, I just don’t have any reccos. As the 25th is a public holiday, and many schools are on winter break for much of December, you may find parking (and hotels) to be crowded.

I think you may find Taman Negara to be fairly rainy, as you will have gone over the hump of mountains which divides the Malaysian peninsula, and will be on the east coat which is affected by the winter monsoon. However, in a rain forest, they get a good bit of rain anyway. If you are prepared for the possibility of heavy rain, I still think you would find it enjoyable.

On your way out or back to KL, I would try to stop at the Batu caves. Can be done in a half-day, and they are interesting, IMO. About the only chance to see Hindu temples in Malaysia (other than little India in KL). I would certainly say to try to do walks/hikes in the highlands and enjoy the cool temps.

I wonder whether going to Penang/Georgetown would be more interesting than Malacca. I like them both, but Georgetown is larger and offers a bit more. There are also nice beaches in that area, which can’t be said about Malacca. I don’t think you would be unhappy with either, but thought I would mention it. It would also save you some driving, as Malacca is fairly south for them rest of the itin you have planned.

Yes, the beautiful east coast is does have the winter monsoon in December. It is not worth going there at that time, IMO. If you like Malaysia, perhaps you can plan a trip another time to take in this really lovely area.

I you have not read it, there is a great little book called <i>Tales from the South China Sea</i> by Charles Allen. It is a history of the British colonial experience in SE Asia, and a good bit of it describes Mayalaysia (and esp Pahang which has a colourful past). It’s an older book, but the info is still current. It may be of interest to you before you journey. And of course lots of Somerset Maugham stories are set in Malaysia as well. You should be able to find these books in KL book shops if you can’t find them at home or on-line.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2010, 05:38 AM
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Thanks so much for the great response and thoughtful tips!
We have been to penang and georgetown before so we didn't want to include it this trip.
Love Maugham stories set in asia and will seek out the book you mention. I am also reading The Harmony Silk Factory right now by Tash Aw. Very timely.
Thanks Again.
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Old Nov 26th, 2010, 09:11 AM
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Hi. Please excuse me for jumping in on this thread. Cicerone you helped us extensively in the past with our trip to Hong Kong.
we are a family of 5 including Grandma and we will arrive in Singapore early January 2012 - I like to plan/think ahead! Option 1, drive up to Langkawi - a similar trip to the one in this post, or Option 2, fly to Phuket - we have about 8 days. The children want to have resort time and love to swim and snorkle and night market, hence the Phuket thinking.
We have to get back to Singapore to fly home to Cape Town.
Gathering all thoughts and opinions at this stage
thank you for your time
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Old Nov 30th, 2010, 04:54 AM
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Cameron Highlands, it's one of my favorite Malaysia destination. You come here to relax, and enjoy the cool refreshing atmosphere. Imagine sipping your favorite English tea, and nibbling the scones spread with butter and strawberry jam, while taking in the beautiful picturesque scenery of vegetable farms, tea plantation and montane jungle forest.

HIGHLIGHTS

* Guesthouse Tours
* Boh/Bharat Tea Farms
* Robinson Rose Farm
* Kea FarmTreks
* Robinson Waterfall
* Gunung Beremban
* Gunung Jasar


WHAT TO BUY


* Tea - Probably as good a place as any to buy tea and gift packages.
* Flowers - Cheap but not of much use to the backpacker.
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