10 family favourites for your Malaysian bucket list

There is no better time like the present, to start researching and putting together a bucket list of adventures that you would like to go on in Malaysia as a family before you ‘kick the bucket’.

The global pandemic may have put the brakes on all our travel plans, but it cannot stop our minds from racing with possibilities of where to go and what we can achieve in the future.

This is the perfect excuse to spend hours searching the internet for ideas of what you could do. You might even manage to encourage your children to watch travel or wildlife documentaries that might spark their imaginations. It’s also an opportunity to talk to friends and other family members about their travels – which will probably be a great deal more interesting than talking about what they’ve done during lockdown.

If you’re looking for inspiration, below are all of our family favourites that we’ve already ticked off our Malaysian bucket list.

1. Swimming with turtles off Redang Island

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As if a trip to the spell binding island of Redang wasn’t magical enough, stumbling across a sea turtle whilst snorkeling is just unforgettable. It’s one of those moments when you keep saying over and over again to your children how lucky they are. By the hundredth time of you saying it, you can see them rolling their eyes behind their snorkelling masks and diving under the water, so they no longer have to listen to you whittling on…

2. Pier jumping at Batu Batu

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Based just a short boat ride away from Mersing, Batu Batu resort located on a private island is pure laidback luxury. The children literally spent hours jumping off the pier for fun. They made it look so easy, that I agreed to join them. I must say it was slightly more daunting than I had been lead to believe – but so much fun! But if that is too much for you, just washing your hands whilst looking at the most perfect windowless view might be thrilling enough.

3. Knee-boarding on the lake at Putrajaya

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This is a wonderful way to spend an hour or two speeding around a lovely lake, whilst learning a new skill or perfecting an existing one. It’s only fair to warn you though, that because children carry less weight and height than adults they make it look super easy. They will therefore will find it highly amusing when you struggle to mount the board, only to face plant into the water moments later. Have look at our review here.

4. Having your picture taken at the KL Tower

bucketlist 2 - Happy Go KL

Live life on the ledge with a photo on the glass floor of the KL Tower. One of the most memorable things I have done whilst living in Malaysia is completing a very undignified crawl, whilst desperately trying to not look down, on to the glass ledge of the KL Tower. The things we do for a good family photo!

5. Adopt or foster a rescued dog

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Now I know that not everyone has the desire or is in a position to help animals that need a loving home. But after much discussion and research we took a trip to a rescue centre in Shah Alam, to see if we could find a suitable pet. Thanks to the wonderful work of Aunty Aileen who runs the place, we found our new family member, Leah, a loving young dog. You can choose to foster for a few weeks and then adopt if you want to. For more information visit her Facebook page here. Just to avoid any confusion or embarrassment: the centre that she runs is called My Pets Haven and not My Pet Shaven.

After much negotiation and Googling, here is what we have added to our Malaysian bucket list of things we still want to experience:

6. A boat trip to see the fireflies

fireflies tripcarte - Happy Go KL

Since seeing the iconic scene in Disney’s Tangled movie, where she floats around surrounded by fireflies, I have wanted to do the same. So before I leave Malaysia, I will be sure to take a boat tour to see them light up the night sky. Kuala Selangor is probably the most well known place to offer this spectacle but it is also available in Cherating, Nibong Tebal in Penang, Kampung Dew in Perak, the Kuching Wetlands National Park in Sarawak and the Weston Wetlands in Sabah. More about the Kuala Selangor fireflies here.

7. Slip down the slide straight into the sea at Rawa Island Resort

perhentian beaches - Happy Go KL

Having ticked off a stay at its sleepy neighbouring island resort of Batu Batu when my children were younger, we are now ready to visit the more vibrant island of Rawa to take a ride down its helter-skelter slide that deposits you straight into the sea. If a trip here also wets your appetite, visit their website here.

8. Afternoon tea in the Cameron Highlands

scones cameron highlands - Happy Go KL

One day when we need to feel cooler air, want to experience a reminder of England and feel ready to stomach the winding roads to get there, we will be sure to head here for a taste of home and more specifically, afternoon tea at a hotel in the Highlands… For more info on Cameron Highlands with kids, have a look here.

9. A photo at the Sky Mirror sandbar

Sky Mirror 10a - Happy Go KL

A few days a month, a sandbar appears in the Kuala Selangor area. It makes it possible to take amazing photos of the sky’s reflection with your family. You need to take a 30 minute boat ride to the location and it is not always visible. Do book ahead to avoid disappointment. There are a few operators offering a tour, however Happy Go KL have tried and tested Sky Mirror Tour and Travel. Have a look at our review here.

10. Exploring the caves in Mulu National Park, Sarawak

mulu national park sarawak bat exodus - Happy Go KL

The rainforest is impressive enough by itself, but I have been told that the most impressive of sights is watching 3 million bats flying simultaneous out of the Deer Cave. Find out more here.

Hopefully my list will have spurred you on to create your own bucket list of adventures. However, if your idea of fun is something more relaxing, you could pretend to be researching ideas, whilst secretly binge watching the Netflix series Bridgerton or something else equally as wonderfully frivolous!

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