Family trip to Singapore and Malaysia
Aha, a fun holiday with your family! Both Singapore and Malaysia have become one of the most sought after destinations in South-East Asia. During this trip you will be exploring colonial architecture, nature and urban fun through my eyes
Jonker Street, Malacca (Source: William Cho)
This is what I would suggest regards spending time in both countries:
You could fly into Singapore and spend about 3-4 days in the city. From Singapore you could travel to Malacca, Malaysia by bus which will take about 5 hours.
Many bus companies operate from Lavender St. bus terminal directly to Melaka Sentral. Bus schedules vary between companies but some operates have hourly buses. Best show up and buy tickets in advance if you want to travel on Saturday morning and return Sunday afternoon as many Singaporean tourists have the same idea. The fares can vary starting from around S$14-S$50 one way depending on class of the bus.
Bus rides often take any time between 3.5-5 hours depending on how long it takes to cross the Singapore-Malaysia borders, which during peak periods can cause massive delay. You will have to get your passport stamped at each end of the border and you must bring all your luggage with you when you are making an entrance into each country. Generally, the bus will wait for you at the border but sometimes they will expect you to catch the next bus if you take too long going through custom.
Make sure you remember what you bus looks like (the number plate is quite a handy thing to remember). The buses will also have a 20-30 min rest stop along the way where you can purchase food and use the toilet facilities (whose cleanliness can be questionable). The Singapore custom has decent toilet facilities, if required.
(Source: Malacca travel guide - Wikitravel)
At the most you could spend 2 nights at Malacca. Then head to Kuala Lumpur by bus which will take about 2 hours journey.
Southbound buses now leave from new bus terminal Bersepadu Selatan, which is located just next to LRT station and KTM Komuter station Bandar Tasik Selatan. Easiest way to get there from Chinatown is walk to Kuala Lumpur old railway station (just opposite side of canal from LRT Pasar Seni station, use overpass) and take KTM Komuter train for RM1.10 or take LRT from Masjid Jamek station. Buses are leaving every half hour, cartel price of ticket to Melaka Sentral is RM12.20 with all bus companies, ride takes 2 hours.
(Source: Malacca travel guide - Wikitravel)
In Kuala Lumpur, explore the city through sight-seeing, shopping and eating. You could spend a comfortable 3 nights at the city. Lastly, travel to Georgetown by flight and stay for 2 nights. End the journey by traveling back to Kuala Lumpur and take the flight back home.
Chijmes, Singapore (Source: Eustaquio Santimano)
Day 1 - 3
Singapore is a beautiful garden city and a country. From the moment you step out of the airport, you will be amazed at the beautiful well-manicured gardens which continue throughout the city.
Singapore is a nice place for a family vacation. There are several places in the city where children can have an amazing and exciting time. Hence, I would highly recommend keeping aside your Singapore visit for your son’s fun time. I am sure your child will have a memorable experience which will not be forgotten even in years to come. If you have the time, make sure you do check out the Singapore River area.
Here are my recommendations for a fun filled family vacation in Singapore.
Scarlet Ibis (Source: Schristia)
Jurong Bird Park, the largest walk in aviary has 380 species of birds. The attractions here are the Bird Discovery Centre, African Waterfall Aviary, Lory Loft Aviary, Southeast Asian Birds Aviary and the award-winning African Wetlands.
Make sure you take time to watch the show at the park which is sure to entertain your child. You could explore the place on foot or use the monorail.
This is what travelers have to say.
The bird park follows the same concept as the zoo and the night safari. One can explore the park by one own, take a ride with a "train" and see some good animal shows.
Just like the other parks the number of animals is limited however the presentation is excellent. Staff is friendly, enthusiastic and helpful. The drinks and deserts at the restaurants are good but the food is average and pricey.
All in all a good one time experience.
(Source: Jurong Bird Park - Jurong - TripAdvisor)
A Singapore experience wouldn't be complete without a day at the Jurong Bird Park. There, we saw all kinds of birds one couldn't ever imagine. We first took a monorail ride around the park before we explored the area on our own. At least, that already gave us an idea on how big the place was. Birds of prey were inside cages while the ones that thrive in wetlands are kept in the open.
Try to catch the birds show at the Pools Amphitheatre and the pelicans' feeding time. Don't miss: To feed the lories at the lory loft. They are my favorites! You don't have to go after them. They'll come to you when they see the cup in your hand. Be amazed by the: Penguins. You'll remember Happy Feet when you see them.
Hours: 8.30am to 6.00pm daily
Admission: S$18.00 (adult), ) S$12.00 (child)
Songs of the Sea Show on Sentosa Island, Singapore (Source: Michael Spencer)
The fun park at Sentosa Island could be the highlight of the trip for your child. There are several enjoyable rides and there is an underwater world, where you get to see all kinds of sea creatures.
Don't miss the show 'Songs of the Sea' which happens in the evening. I can assure you from my personal experience that both adults and kids will enjoy this show by the sea. The downside of the place is the crowd. It can really get crowded especially on weekends.
There are lots of wonderful things to see at Sentosa Island, Singapore. You can have an underwater world experience, view the wax museum, ride the cable car over the bay, see Merlion, and lastly, don't miss out the musical fountain & laser light show! You'll definitely fall in love with it!
(Source: Latest Reviews of Sentosa Island)
Songs of the Sea review given by the traveler.
Go see this show - it's a great way to end your visit to Sentosa. Just ignore the corny storyline & enjoy the spectacular effects ! My kids totally enjoyed the show, was glad we stayed back for the 8.40pm show after the earlier one at 7.40pm was sold out.
(Source: Songs of the Sea Reviews - TripAdvisor)
Hours: Mon to Sun, from 9am to 6.30pm
Tel: 1800-SENTOSA (736 8672) / +65-6736 8672
Universal Studios Singapore, Sentosa Island, Singapore 2 (Source: Eduardo Mariz)
You could spend the entire day at this Hollywood theme park and lose track of time. There are just too many things to do and see at the vibrant Universal Studio, be it the shows, thrilling rides, dances, music, and the list goes on. Do not miss the 4D show and Steven Spielberg's special effects show.
A travelers' account of the theme park:
Went to universal Singapore on a Thursday and it was empty. It's not the biggest park but still lots of fun. We managed to go on all the rides/attractions and see the shows. Then managed to walk around a second time to enjoy the rides again..... Longest wait for a roller coaster was about 5 mins.
There are free lockers(first half hour) everywhere to chuck your bags and backpacks in while your on the rides so don't be shy to bring a packed lunch! There is also a 7/11 just outside the main Gate so buy a bottle of water. The food in the park isn't that expensive tho. ($10/12 a meal with drink) and there are water fountains everywhere to top up your bottle. All together a great day out. Rained for about an hour by all the rides stayed open. Water world show is a must!!!!
Hours: Daily 10am to 7pm
Address: 11 Sentosa East Mall, Singapore 099054
Day 4 - 5
Rich with historical sites, this port city is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here are a couple of attractions that count as the best places that you could visit in Malacca.
Also here's a link on what more you can do here.
Baba Nonya Heritage Museum (Source: Divya and Deepak)
This is a traditional townhouse of Peranakan culture of Malaysia. The displays include Chinese hardwoods & ceramics from China.
Here are some travelers' reviews.
The museum is opened from 10 am -- 12.30pm and from 2pm -- 4.30pm. So please do go early if you want to view the exhibits. They do keep strictly to the opening hours. Since each guided tour lasts about 30 -- 45 mins, the "last tour" will be at around 12pm and 4pm. So it's better to go earlier. The tour groups also tend to be big.
For instance, I was there on a Sunday morning and there were about 20 plus of us in one group. Yes, the guide can be rather fierce and demanding in asking people to pay up first before they can view the exhibits... but her demeanour improved when the tour started. You can tell that she is rather proud of her Peranakan heritage. :)
Also, no photography is allowed in the museum. I like the museum very much and appreciate that most of the things there were previously the private collection of Mr Chan (the owner) who has very kindly opened up his family home to allow others to view these Peranakan artefacts. The museum is so famous that even the China President Mr Hu Jin Tao went there in November 2009.
A large single family residence with a lifetime collection of furniture and possessions will give you a feeling for the lifestyle of a successful businessman in old Melaka. Craftsmanship is in all the details of the house, like the ornate staircase assembled without nails because they are bad luck. The staircase features a lid and a lock at the top to keep out the robbers and husbands who stay out too late.
Admission: RM8 (adult), RM4 (child)
Hours: 10:00-12:30 & 14:00-16:30 Wed-Mon
48-50 Jl Tun Tan Cheng Lock Chinatown Tel: 06 283 1273
Jonker Street (Source: Adrian Lim)
This residential area has beautifully decorated houses, temples and mosques. There is also a number of restaurants and shops that have come up in the area.
More on Jonker Street from some travelers.
Jonker street creates an all total different atmosphere and its great pleasure to have a walk down the street.
Though chinese dominated, there are however plenty of things to be seen/ done and it easily takes a good 2-3 hours to have a complete stroll.
Honestly speaking, we were there only for an hour or so but we felt that the time spent was way too less for the kind of market that it is.
I could see a chinese temple mid-way inside which there was some performance going on and it looked to be interesting. Due to lackof time, we could not attend it..
Also to mention an old man sitting beside the street with his guitar was playing great music (to collect money ofcourse)..
A lady juggler (somewhere from west) was making good effort to keep the on-lookers entertained
Theres no better place for soveneir shopping in Malaysia than Jonker street.
Busiest during weekend nights! Every weekend, there are cultural shows or interesting events on the stage of the street entrance. And Jonker street turns into a not-to-be-missed night market during weekends. Antiques, foods, clothes, and many others unique items aro on sale. Try the local delicious Cendol or many other delicacies. Situated in old town, the buildinds along the street are of almost a century old and most of them are utilized as restaurants and antique shops.
Day 6 - 8
Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia was once a small mining town. It is now one of the bustling metropolises in South-East Asia. The city is great for shopping, food, and it has some of the cheapest 5 star hotels in the world.
Here are 5 things to do with children in Kuala Lumpur. Apart from that, I have listed some of the must-see places in the city.
Quality Nice Food (Source: Jeremy Eades)
This is the place to visit in Kuala Lumpur for shopping, restaurants and night-life. The Golden Triangle consists of several streets in between the 3 streets of Jalan Imbi, Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Raja Chulan, forming a triangle. Shop here for better deals than Singapore.
Visitor's take on the place.
Another area of interest to the traveller is the Golden Triangle. Although predominantly a shopping and night-life district, it is also home to the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) and the Petronas Twin Towers, once the world's tallest building. In the nearby KL Convention Centre is the Aquaria KLCC which contains some 5,000 varieties of tropical fish.
Just south of the Twin Towers is Menara KL Tower, which is situated on top of Bukit Nanas (Pineapple Hill), a forest reserve right in the heart of the city. PDA-Guided views from Menara Tower (RM38, 9AM-10PM) being at 276 m, are far superior than those from the Petronas Towers (viewing deck at 170 m), and come highly recommended since it allows first time visitors the chance to orient themselves quickly about the layout of the city.
It is however, not a particularly easy place to reach by public transport, so use either a taxi or the "hop-on/hop-off" tourist bus that makes a continuous circuit through the city.
(Source: Kuala Lumpur travel guide - Wikitravel)
Petronas Twin Towers (Source: Chelsea Hicks)
This impressive twin towers has become an icon of Kuala Lumpur. Petrona Twin Towers dominate the skyline of the city and is visible from all corners of the city. You can get the view of the city from the skybridge. The tour of the skybridge will cost you RM 10.
Visitors' review on the towers.
Our friends had told us that its worth seeing the towers both in day light and night as the views are very different, and both very beautiful. We did the same and first saw towers at around 5, that is in day light. Then went inside and did some shopping (most of the shops inside KLCC are high end, but you can try Isetan which is very reasonable). After couple of hours towers are lit and they look magnificent !!
After a short introductory movie that explains all about the building of the towers etc we all crammed into the lift and traveled fast up to the 42nd floor where we could walk out onto the skybridge for 10 minutes to view the city and surrounding hills. This is a definite must do when in Kuala Lumpur.
Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur 2 (Source: Eduardo Mariz)
Located in the northern suburbs of Kuala Lumpur, Batu Caves are a series of limestone caves which is a sacred place for the Hindus. In order to reach the caves and the temple, you will have to climb 272 steps along the way.
Some reviews by the visitors.
Very nice and interesting place must visit. The atmosphere is so serene and climbing the steps to see the deity is a even more wonderful experience. However, I think the management should think of making some alternative arrangements for senior citizens who are unable to climb the 272 steps so that they can also visit the temple.
Batu caves is now more accessible than before. KTM now have a station located just outside the Batu caves. Only costs 2rm for return frm KL central. The stairs may look a bit daunting to climb at first, but the view from above really worth it. Along the way, there are lots of monkeys.
(Source: Batu Caves - Kuala Lumpur - TripAdvisor)
Inmy 4th Anniversary-101 (Source: amrufm)
Islamic Arts Museum has one of the best collections of Islamic art. The building itself is worth seeing. The museum exhibits includes artefacts, porcelains, Islamic text, weaponry and more.
Reviews on the museum.
I was pretty impressed with this museum. The architecture was lovely and the exhibits were fascinating. The museum focused on the history of Islamic culture and religion worldwide.
I enjoyed taking pictures of the numerous domes in the building.
I stopped in as part of the KL hop on hop off so it was extremely convenient to get to.
we weren't expecting too much when we got here but we were pleasantly surprised. the building itself is beautiful, with its proud dome structures. so much to see and take in.
Hours: Daily 10am-6pm
Admission: Adults RM12, children RM6
Jalan Lembah Perdana Tel: 03/2274-2020
Day 9 - 10
Georgetown, the capital city of Penang is listed under UNESCO World Heritage site. The town has a relaxed atmosphere throughout the day except for the evenings. Evenings come alive with food stalls and people are out having a good time.
Some of the interesting attractions are listed below.
Khoo Kongsi side view (Source: Khoo Kongsi side view)
Khoo Kongsi is the clan house of the Chinese Khoo clan. The house is used as a temple as well as a meeting hall. The richly decorated carvings on the roofs, pillars and walls are a reflection of the ancient Chinese art and architecture.
Visitors' accounts of the house.
I've been to the Khoo KongsI four times over the years and, although the building is not large, every time I go I see something new. The admission price has gone up to RM10, but it's still worth it to see the incredible craftsmanship that has gone into the building. There is a very worthwhile and informative museum in the basement (recently renovated). They have also taken down the netting from the front of the building that kept birds out; this is an improvement. It can be a little difficult to find, so it's helpful to have someone take you there, or go in a taxi.
(Source: Khoo Kongsi - Georgetown - TripAdvisor)
The architecture is awesome. I believe it is one of the best Chinese-Style building in Malaysia. They claimed it to be "Heritage Jewel of Penang" and I have no doubt about it. The mini musuem give a brief picture of how Chinese (origin from China) travel all the way to Penang and start a new life here. And I believe this is a common stories for all Chinese in Malaysia about a century ago.
Another fascinating things of Khoo Kongsi is, they keep a big stack of record of their family tree! It's really fun that we can really trace back to every single ancestors of ours! The best time to visit Khoo Kongsi is during Chinese New Year. Just imagine watching Chinese cultural shows with awesome background! The entry fee is RM5, which is a little bit high for Malaysia standard. However, it sure worth your money and time for a short visit to Khoo Kongsi in the Canyon Square.
Hours: Daily 9 am to 5 pm
Admission: RM 10
18 Cannon Square, 10200 Penang, Malaysia. Tel: +604-261 4609
E-mail : email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Grand 'ol House (Source: William Ng)
Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion used to house Cheong Fatt Tze, a successful Chinese Hakka merchant. The mansion built as per the Feng Shui principles was constructed by the craftsman from China. This sprawling mansion has 38 rooms, 5 granite-paved courtyards, 7 staircases, and 220 windows.
Couple of reviews on the mansion.
This mansion which was owned by one of the richest Chinese businessmen in Penang has been lovingly restored. All visitors have to follow a guided tour which are at 11am and 3pm. The guide filled us in on many interesting facts and stories that really made the whole place come alive for us. It is all the more impressive as the mansion was restored entirely by private investors and without the support of the government.
It seems that for a long time, it was largely derelict as the descendents did not really want anything to do with the place until a couple of Malaysian architects came along with the idea to restore the place using their own money. Interestingly, there are actually rooms which are let out to tourists. Thats something that I would really like to do perhaps on my next trip. This was definitely the major highlight of my trip to Penang.
I thought the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion was brilliant! I went on the 3pm tour, guided by Poh who was an excellent guide and pointed out all the beautiful architectural features as well as discussing feng shui and the history of the building.
With RM12 = less than $3 I don't think you can complain about price and if it helps keep buildings like these in top shape and open to the public then I'm more than happy to pay it.
If you go on the 3pm tour then the Eastern & Oriental is just a short walk away for a lovely afternoon tea venue too.
Hours: 11:00AM and 3:00PM sharp
~ Penang ~ (Source: Mohammed Al-Naser)
This would make up my itinerary for your 10 days trip to Malaysia and Singapore. I hope you will enjoy your vacation!
If you require information on hotels, kid friendly restaurants and other nitty gritties for your travel, do not hesitate to contact us again. We would be more than happy to give you suggestions on them.
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