Malaysia has been awesome!!
I have been surprised how awesome, actually, as I have been to Malaysia many times in the past and have been ambivalent about it, and preferred the surrounding countries. However, with kids, it is a fantastic destination.
They are quite different destinations. Kuala Lumpur is lots of fun with many activities for families. We could have spent a lot longer here happily. Our hotel here was awesome which helped us enjoy our stay even more. It’s great to be staying above a massive shopping center!! We didn’t even come close to doing all the things we want to do here, so we look forward to coming back. As Kuala Lumpur is the hub of Air Asia, I’m sure it won’t be long until we return.
Johor Bahru was an ok stopover. Our primary reason for going there was to see Angelina at Little Big Club and this was great!! It is definitely somewhere to consider visiting if you are going to Malaysia or Singapore, especially because it it is a lot cheaper to stay here than Singapore.
Our resort stopover in Port Dickson was the perfect way to unwind for a couple of days before flying home. Such a lovely place, and I got to live my long held dream to stay in an over-the-water chalet. This is definitely somewhere I can see us coming back as well, preferably without the kids!! Although it was a perfect place for a family as well. It is close to Kuala Lumpur airport, so the perfect place for a relaxing, tropical stopover.
One of the reasons we loved Malaysia is that it is nice and easy, while still being cheap. It is a modern country and many people speak at least some English. I think that after Singapore, it is probably the easiest country to visit in Asia. The cultural mix of Malays, Chinese and Indians is interesting and means lots of great food!! I find the people quite reserved, and not as friendly and relaxed as nearby Thailand, but travelling with young kids warmed many people up to us and that made a big difference to how I felt about the country compared to previous times. The amount of attention the kids got was just about perfect. Not overwhelming, like it could be in the Philippines, but enough to make us feel very welcome and to make times when we were travelling around, eating or sight seeing easier as people helped in little ways.
I think all of this, the many attractions for families and how far the Aussie dollar goes in Malaysia, makes it a perfect destination for families.
My only (minor) complaint would be that the country is quite conservative, and this means dressing more conservatively, not much alcohol around, and I could often feel quite awkward at pools. For example, I did seem to clear out Middle Eastern Muslim patrons from the pool in Kuala Lumpur, and I wasn’t even wearing a bikini. This was not the case in Port Dickson, and I felt completely comfortable there, although you still didn’t have things like pool bars, like I would expect in resorts like this in other countries.