Kuala Lumpur is fabulous and, having lived in 11 other countries over the past 17 years, I’d have to say that Malaysia is high up on my personal list of easiest, nicest, places to live. But, every once in a while, it’s nice to have a little getaway from the norm.Fortunately, if you do fancy a change of scenery, there are many options available to you, and most of them are within an hour’s drive from the city. From nature walks and waterfalls in Banda Jaik, to outside pursuits in Berjaya Hills, to coastal beach fun in Port Dickson, there is literally something for everyone.
I’ve put together our top 6 picks for family day trips. I would love to be able to add Fraser Hill to this album, but ….it’s still on our to-do-list! (We’ll get there one day!) In the mean time, enjoy planning your next little day of discovery, and make the most of your weekends, S x
Berjaya Hills in Bukit Tinggi is only a 50-minute drive from KL. It comprises mainly of a French-inspired resort and village called Colmar Tropicale, which, having lived in the real town of Colmar in France, I can say it definitely resembles the real thing with it’s colourful little houses with wooden-slatted windows!
You don’t need to be a guest at the hotel to enjoy its surroundings. Instead you can opt for a day pass to get on to the estate and enjoy a number of different activities. We like to wander the streets of ‘Colmar’ and grab a drink on the terrace before heading out on other adventures. We loved their Japanese Village which houses a Tea house in a Tropical Forest where you can rent a Kimono and take part in a ceremony, and also the Botanical Garden which, although fairly hilly, was a nice place to walk around.
Other activities (please note that there may be additional charges) include an Organic Farm, Horse stables offering rides and lessons, Rabbit Farm, and an Adventure Park with Paint Ball, a Canopy Walk, Flying Fox and Rock Climbing. There’s a lot of thing to try ….even if only for a day 😉
Janda Baik: This will be your escape to sheer nature. With endless trekking possibilities and beautiful walks through the green of the countryside, you can hike beside rivers and find hidden waterfalls along the way.
Situated less than an hour from KL, this offers such a change of scenery that you will find yourself completely transported to the depths of the forest. Wander around, get ‘off the beaten track’ or splendor in lots of local eateries for a bite to eat. It’s a fabulous place that completely captured our hearts and makes for a great day trip if you want to be outdoors in the fresh air.
Putrajaya :Under an hour from KL you’ll find the ‘planned city’ of Putrajaya, which acts as the administrative capital of Malaysia. I remember our first visit and being really surprised by this perfectly manicured city with clean-cut roads and buildings set around a man-made lake.
A boat tour is definitely worth a try as, not only will you learn some interesting facts about Putrajaya, but you will also get some stunning views and some great photo opportunities. Close to the Cruise Tasik Putrajaya boat terminal is the infamous Putra Mosque which you are allowed to visit and have a look around; suitable clothes are distributed free of charge and there’s a small play area nearby too.
We have enjoyed a couple of trips to the city and have visited the Botanical Garden, the Wetlands Park and also the impressive Taman Putra Perdana which has a lot of space for cycling, a children’s playground and great views over the city and lake. A little unknown fact about the Putrajaya Challenge Park (Taman Cabaran) on the outskirts of the city is that they offer FREE rock climbing to children under 12 and while it’s only a fairly small room, it’s certainly a good place to start for a little beginner!
Putrajaya also hosts a number of great events throughout the year; look out for their Hot Air Balloon Festival, as this was an absolute delight this year!
Genting Highlands: The main attraction for us has to be the fabulous ride on the SkyWay Cable Cars that takes you above the green hills of Genting and up to the hotel resorts at the top. Pick the right day and the views are just stunning and something the whole family will enjoy. The resorts and casinos once you reach the top can be a little overwhelming, but have a wander around – there’s always street performers and a show on for free on their central stage. Grab a bite to eat, or try one of the many attractions that is housed in this massive complex. From SnowWorld to Ripley’s Believe It or Not, to a bit of retail therapy; it’s Disney, meets Cirque du Soleil, meets Las Vegas in it’s own crazy way but needs to be seen to be believed!
Personally we like the Chinese Temple that is also up in Genting and makes for a nice stop. Chin Swee Caves Temple again offers great views (on a clear day) and has lots of nice features and colourful statues to enjoy.
A day at the beach is certainly a change from city life in Kuala Lumpur. We have been down to Port Dickson at least 3 times in the past year and have always been extremely lucky to find beautifully clean beaches and very few people. Little ones will love the open space of the beaches that also always offer a little playground, and there are water sports available too, should you wish to do something a bit different. Last time we went we took our kite and found a nice spot for that too!
Although the beach may be your obvious stop, I have to say that the Army Museum located just off the beach is extremely worth visiting. We all loved seeing the tanks, planes and other vehicles on display but especially enjoyed exploring the tunnels that they have built underground which takes you on a walk through history. The museum is completely free of charge!
Visit the Tanjung Tuan Lighthouse and have a work through the forest to see some lovely cliff top views or check out the Alive 3D Art Gallery; all possible in a day trip.
Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary: This is a little bit further outside KL, but you will still do it in less than 90 minutes and it is totally worth the trip.
Feed the elephants, watch them in the river at bath time, see the baby elephants being bottle-fed and learn how these amazing creatures are rehabilitated after being rescued from the wild. We had the most amazing time here and fell in love with elephants just that little bit more.
It can be fairly hot as you spend the majority of your time outdoors so be sure to take your hats and sun cream! If you wish to take part in bathing with the elephants, it is a fairly popular activity so it would be worth phoning and booking in advance to avoid disappointment.
It’s worth noting that the Sanctuary only opens after 12 noon daily so, as you’re making the trip out Pahang, it’s worth first visiting Deerland in the morning to make the most of your day. Deerland lets you hand feed the deer, and have a wander around the ground where you’ll encounter a lot of other animals too from pythons and hedgehogs, to raccoons and rabbits! It’s cheap to enter and you can spend an hour here before heading over to see the elephants, which are just down the road! A perfect combo for a day trip