Road trip - driving to Malaysia for holidays

Wondering where to take a vacation with the kids this coming holidays? How about a road trip to Malaysia? Here are 6 great driving destinations (besides your usual Lego land/Hello kitty land).

A road trip is great fun for the family. There are no restrictions to your travelling plans, and you can make pit stops whenever you like.  However, you should always observe safety measures and have a reliable and comfortable car on a road trip.

Get a car with a good engine that is fuel- efficient so you need not worry about spending too much time at petrol kiosks.  Make sure that the car is roomy so that your passengers (i.e. the kids) are comfortable.

You also want a car that is easy on the driver, like the Citroën Grand C4 Picasso, whose electric parking brake and Hill Start Assist System help you set off or manoeuvre on slopes, giving you more confidence while driving on hilly terrain.

Taking a road trip in the tropical heat means that you need a car that keeps you cool and comfortable during the journey.  The Citroën Grand C4 Picasso has air condition and temperature controls in the front row and row 2 passenger seats so the passengers have the freedom to adjust it to suit their needs.

It also has rear windows with retractable roller blinds to filter light so your kids can be sheltered from the sun while still enjoying a clear view of the scenery.

Without further ado, here are 6 child-friendly destinations in Malaysia that you can drive to within 7 hours from Singapore.

Malaysia Road trip destination 1: Kota Tinggi (State of Johor)

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Driving time*: 2 hours (42 km North-East of Johor Bahru)

Drive through either the causeway which is faster or theTuas check point which is less complicated. Spend the night at the Kota Tinggi Rainforest Resort, or choose from a variety of resorts in Desaru, a short drive away.

Things to do:

  • Catch Fireflies at Kota Tinggi
  • Telok Sengat Crocodile Farm - Trick performance by Malaysia’s crocodile Dundee
  • Lombong Falls - enjoy the many wading and swimming pools at popular waterfall.

Malaysia Road trip destination 2: Desaru (State of Johor)

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Driving time*: 2 hours 15 mins (125km North-East of Singapore)

You have quite a few beach resorts to choose from.  We recommend Lotus Desaru beach resort, Pulai Desaru Beach Resort and Desaru Golden Beach Resort.  Travel via the causeway to Kota Tinggi, then follow the signboard to Desaru.

Things to do:

  • Desaru Ostrich Farm - See chicks hatch in an incubator and ride on a real ostrich. Entrance fees are between RM 6-10.
  • Desaru Beach - 25km of white sandy beach to picnic on, enjoy the lush tropical greenery and beautiful sunset and indulge in a myriad of activities such as swimming, fishing, snorkeling, and horse riding.
  • Desaru Fruit Farm – Go on a guided tour with explanations on the features of the unusual, never-seen-before tropical fruits and even sample some of them. The fee for a guided tour for walk-in visitors are: RM20 per adult, RM 10 per child (3-12 years old), including a fruit platter.

Road trip destination 3: Danga Bay (State of Johor)

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Driving time*: 1 hour (70km North of Singapore)

Stay at the newly opened Tune Hotels-Danga Ba, just 15 mins walk to Danga Bay city and close to all the shopping, dining and entertainment facilities.  You can get to Danga Bay from Skudai Highway or Jalan Skudai.

Things to do:

  • Festive street mall (Danga Bay) - a shopping paradise with 280 retail lots selling all kinds of apparels, handicrafts and food.
  • Danga Park – perfect for frolicking in the kids’ pool and playground
  • The Danga World – a theme parkwith 20 different amusement rides and a petting zoo with over 180 species of animals like tiger cubs, lions, red handed tamarin monkeys, etc.
  • Danga Cruise 8 – Dine on the sea cruiser while you sail along the Straits of Johor, especially great to watch the sunset.

Road trip destination 4: Melaka (Malacca)

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Driving time*: 3 - 4 hours (200km North-West of Singapore)

Stay at one of the chalets in the Meleka tropical fruit farm if you want to have a closer experience with nature. Or you can lodge at the A’famosa resort Hotel which boasts top quality accommodation and easy access to nearby facilities and attractions. Take the North-South Highway, drive along E2 and leave the expressway at the Ayer Keroh exit.

Things to do:

  • Butterfly Farm - witness over 200 butterfly species and let the butterflies rest gently on your shoulders.
  • Melaka Zoo - second largest zoo in Malaysia, with at least 1,200 animals from more than 200 species of mammals, 100 species of birds, and 22 species of reptiles. Must visit the zoo’s mini safari and catch the Malayan Gaur, the Serow and the Malayan Tiger.
  • the Peacock Paradise the Bird Park - the world’s largest aviary walk, which contains over 100 free flying birds from 50 species within a netted enclosure, including Flamingos, King Fishers, Wood Packers, Parrots and Horn Bills.
  • The Gadek Hot Springs - Chill and relax in this natural hot spring pool surrounded by coconut and palm trees.
  • Melaka tropical fruit farm - Savor fresh tropical fruits like the durian and rambutans  and visit the mini zoo, where your children can interact and learn about animals like camels, ostriches, goats and rabbits etc
  • A’famosa resort- enjoy the many facilities,  A’famosa Water World, A’famosa Animal World and stay at the A’famosa Resort Hotel.
  • Light and Sound show at Bandar Hill, Padang Pahlawan –learn about the history of Malacca, the local people, culture and food.
  • Melaka River Cruise - explore the whole city, its historical sites and the scenic beauty of the place while it sails through the Melaka River.

Road trip destination 5: Kuala Lumpur

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Driving time*:  5 hours (307km North-West of Singapore)

There is a wide selection of hotels in KL to suit your needs and budget.  Travel up to KL via the North-South highway. Be sure to take a rest stop, probably at Malacca.

Things to do:

  • Kuala Lumpur Deer Park - mingle with and feed the friendly deers in one of the most beautiful landscapes in Malaysia.
  • Putrajaya Wetland Park - the largest constructed freshwater wetlands in tropical region; a must-visit for nature lovers.
  • Flying Fox Park - Enjoy an exhilarating Flying Fox Ride where you will be strapped safely in a harness and helmet, attached to a steel cable which is strung through the forest at KL Tower, before launching off the takeoff ramp and gliding through the forest treetops.
  • Shah Alam Go-Kart race track -The 25 min journey is worth it if you like speed.  Kids age7 onwards are allowed to ride.  Younger kids can go-kart with you on the 2 seater!
  • “Become One Day Pilot" – a great opportunity to understand basic flying and learn to fly an aircraft by yourself.  Kids can sign up as long as they can follow instructions. Located at Subang Airport Terminal 3.
  • Petronas Twin Towers –The view from the twin peaks are amazing, not to mention the residents that call it home - Petronas Philharmonic Hall, the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, several shopping arcades, restaurants, and a science museum
  • Cosmo's World Theme Park – spend an entire day riding on the plethora of exhilarating amusement park rides with your family in the largest indoor amusement park in Malaysia.

Roadtrip destination 6: Bandar Sunway

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Driving time*: 4 – 5 hours (320km North-West of Singapore)

Check into the Sunway Lagoon Resort hotel where Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall and Sunway Lagoon await. Take the 2nd link at Tuas if possible as it is a straight road, thus easier to drive.  Also, the road signs are less confusing as you do not have to pass through Johor Bahru. Follow the road towards KL and veered towards the North-South Highway. Drive all the way straight until you reach the Seremban signage, then look out for PJ/USJ and follow this direction to KL Sunway Lagoon Resort.

Things to do:

  • Sunway Wildlife Park. Feed and enjoy the amiable and exotic wildlife!
  • Sunway Lagoon Theme Park. Get into the adventures of the ‘Wild Wild West’ and the ‘World of Adventure’, and walk on the world’s longest suspension bridge measuring 428m in length - minimum height restriction of 90cm apply.

*Traveling time is an approximation and may vary depending on your speed, traffic conditions and number of pit stops.

NOTE: Always be aware of your surroundings and practice alertness at all times. If you are not familiar with Malaysian roads, it’s best to get a GPS system (eg. Garmin) and download a Malaysia Map from Malsingmaps.com.

Also read: 5 new experiences to share with your kids in 2018