When it comes to taking some time off, who better to do it with than your family? A short and sweet family weekend getaway can be a great way to recharge your body, mind, and soul. There are some additional considerations for a family trip when you travelling with young children or elderly family members. So family-friendly destinations that are nearby are your best options — they’re easier to get to, short travel times and have attractions to entertain all age groups.
We’ve mapped out some of the best family-friendly destinations near Malaysia for you and your family!
Family Weekend Getaways
1) Koh Samui, Thailand
Average travel time from Kuala Lumpur: 1 h 40 min
What’s shiok: Relaxing beaches, Buddhist temples, jungle adventures, vibrant nightlife, delicious Thai food
Top Family-Friendly Attractions
Suitable for kids aged 7 years old and above, Samui Go-Kart has a 500m long track that’s both challenging and entertaining.
Coco Splash Adventure & Water Park
The whole family can enjoy a wet-and-wild day at Coco Splash Adventure & Water Park in Lamai. With huge waterslides, bungee trampolines, and bumper boats, there’s no shortage of fun activities here.
Ang Thong Marine National Park
Go island-hopping at the Ang Thong Marine National Park located just an hour northwest of Koh Samui. Explore exotic lands, go snorkelling, and take a kayak to explore some hidden coves.
Must-eats in Koh Samui
Koh Samui has no shortage of affordable (and tasty!) Thai street food. The most common ones you’ll find there are pad thai (stir-fried noodles), fresh coconut ice cream for the kids, and khao jee (grilled sticky rice) which is perfect for a midday snack.
Pad thai / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 / Cory Gurman
Best Places to Stay for Families
Chaweng – Chaweng is the heart of Koh Samui and is easily the island’s busiest area. Here you’ll find a wide selection of restaurants, hotels, clubs, bars, and tourist attractions.
Bophut – If you want to avoid the crowds, head straight to Bophut where it’s more peaceful and you get the local flavour of Thailand.
Lamai – Lamai is the next most popular area in Koh Samui after Chaweng. Here, you’ll find Lamai beach, several spa resorts, shopping outlets, and a nightlife scene comparable to Chaweng’s.
Best Atas Hotel: Vana Belle, a Luxury Collection Resort, Koh Samui
Best Budget Hotel: Chaweng Noi Pool Villa
Average travel time from Kuala Lumpur: 4 h 50 min
What’s shiok: Night markets, heritage sites, kid-friendly tourist attractions
Top Family-friendly Attractions
Simulating different natural environments, Taipei Zoo is a feast for the senses. The main highlight of the zoo is undoubtedly the two pandas that reside there.
Eat and shop at night markets
Taipei is known for its night markets teeming with cheap street food and bargain deals. The most popular night markets are Shilin Night Market, Raohe St. Night Market, and Ningxia Night Market.
Visit all the museums
There is no shortage of museums in Taipei. Give the kids an educational trip by allowing them to soak up Taipei’s rich history at the National Palace Museum, Shung Ye Museum, and more.
Must-eats in Taipei
Taiwanese cuisine has several variations but is heavily influenced by other Southeast Asian cuisines. Popular eats in Taipei include scallion and daikon, pancake, pearl milk tea, and beef noodle soup.
Beef noodle soup / CC BY-ND 2.0 / Krissyho
Best Places to Stay in Taipei
Da’an – Da’an District is one of Taipei’s most peaceful and safest areas. It’s a good choice if you’re looking to get away from the hectic city life and enjoy a more local vibe.
Songshan – If you’re only looking to visit for a couple of days, Songshan District is an ideal place to stay at. It’s close to the airport and it’s where you’ll find Raohe St. Night Market.
Shilin – Shilin is a great place for families to stay at because it has a lot of family-friendly attractions and hotel accommodations. You’ll find Shilin Night Market here as well as the world’s first cat cafe, Cat Flower Garden.
Average travel time from Kuala Lumpur: 2 h 15 min
What’s shiok: Breathtaking heritage sites, rich Indonesian culture, several exhilarating outdoor activities
Top Family-friendly Attractions
Visit the temples
Yogyakarta has an abundance of temples for visitors to admire. The most popular ones are Borobudur Temple and Prambanan Temple which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Visit the Taman Sari Water Castle
This “castle” is made up of four areas: a large artificial lake, a bathing complex, pavilions and pools, and a smaller lake. It’s a wonderful place to go exploring on foot.
Watch a performance of the Ramayana Ballet
One of Yogyakarta’s cultural treasures, the Ramayana Ballet is not to be missed. It tells the story of the epic Ramayana saga.
Must-Eats in Yogyakarta
For the best culinary experience, it’s best to head straight for Yogyakarta’s street food stalls. Must-eads in the city include
- charcoal coffee
- gudeg (jackfruit stew)
- satay klathak (goat or mutton satay)
Gudeg / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 / Antony Pranata
Best areas to stay
Malioboro – Malioboro is located in Central Yogyakarta and has an abundance of street food and affordable hostels. You can also enjoy a horse cart ride which is a tourist novelty.
Jalan Prawirotaman – This is one of Yogyakarta’s quieter districts and is close to a lot of good eateries.
Sosrowijayan – Sosrowijayan is extremely well-located with a wide selection of affordable and mid-range hotels. It is close to a lot of tourist attractions, too.
Best Atas Hotel: Hotel Tentrem
Best Budget Hotel: Amaris Hotel Sagan – Yogyakarta
4) Ipoh, Malaysia
Average travel time from Kuala Lumpur: 43 min
What’s shiok: Affordable Malaysian street food, laid-back old town vibes, street murals, exciting cave temples
Top Family-friendly Attractions
Explore cave temples
Ipoh’s most popular tourist attractions are its cave temples. There are several scattered throughout the city with the most popular ones being Kek Long Tong Cave Temple and Perak Cave Temple.
Check out the town murals
For seemingly sleepy and conservative town, Ipoh has a surprising number of street murals you can take photos in front of.
Visit the Lost World of Tambun
This amusement park is Ipoh’s biggest tourist attraction and houses a huge water park, a zoo, and hotsprings — perfect for a fun-filled day with the family.
Ipoh is a Malaysian food paradise with the best food being found in the streets. Some must-eats in the area include Ipoh’s signature white coffee, beansprout chicken, and chee cheong fun (steamed rice rolls with soy sauce).
Beansprout chicken / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 / Linus Mak
Best areas to stay
Old Town – This is the most popular area in Ipoh and is where you’ll find a cluster of historic colonial buildings as well as an array of hotels and restaurants.
Gunung Rapat – Gunung Rapat is where you’ll want to stay if you want to be close to Ipoh’s many cave temples.
Tambun – Tambun is home to many hot springs as well as the Lost World of Tambun.
Best Atas Hotel: Cameron Highlands Resort
Best Budget Hotel: Merton Hotel Ipoh
Average travel time from Kuala Lumpur: 7 h 10 min
What’s shiok: Anime and manga, exquisite Japanese food, fast-paced city life, vibrant Japanese culture, efficient transport system
Shibuya Walking Food Tour
One of the best things about Tokyo is its food. Go on a Shibuya Walking Food Tour where you can simultaneously enjoy good food and Tokyo’s iconic sites.
Visit the many museums
There is no shortage of museums in Tokyo. Some noteworthy museums include the National Museum of Nature and Science and the Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation.
Tokyo Dome City
Forget Disneyland! Enjoy a day at Tokyo Dome City instead located right in the heart of the city. Rides, food, and games await the whole family.
Must-Eats in Tokyo
It can be hard to sample all of Tokyo’s best eats in a single weekend trip, but if we had to choose, we highly recommend tendon (rice bowl with fried vegetables and seafood toppings), tsukemen (dipping noodles), and chanko nabe (protein-rich stew for weight-gain).
Tsukemen / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 / CLF
Best areas to stay
Shinjuku – Shinjuku is one of the best areas to stay in Tokyo for its close proximity and easy access to all the tourist attractions. It has everything you need: hotels, shops, restaurants, and more!
Roppongi – This area offers a diverse mix of hotels, nightclubs, and restaurants. It has the most vibrant nightlife scene in all of Tokyo.
Shibuya – Shibuya is a great place to stay if you want to go shopping. It’s conveniently located and offers easy access to all the tourist destinations via train.
Best Atas Hotel: Tokyo Disneyland Hotel
Best Budget Hotel: Bunka Hostel Tokyo
Average travel time from Kuala Lumpur: 1h 45m
What’s shiok: Relaxing beaches, slow-paced and laid-back atmosphere, affordable Vietnamese food
Visit the Vinpearl Safari
Vinpearl Safari is Phu Quoc’s first safari zoo featuring 3000 animals of 150 species from around the world. This is a great place for kids to come face-to-face with all their favourite animals.
Hike the Ganh Dau Trail
The Ganh Dau Trail is a light, easy trail that’s suitable for all ages. The surrounding greenery is mystical, lush, and beautiful.
Phu Quoc Go Kart
Kids will enjoy go kart racing at Phu Quoc Go Kart. It features a 320 m long track with sharp curves. There’s no age limit, but you have to be at least 1.5 m tall to drive!
Noodle soups and seafood dishes reign supreme in Phu Quoc. A few must-try dishes include banh canh (fish and pork noodle soup), bun rieu cua (crab soup), and banh xeo (sizzling pancake).
Bun rieu cua / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 / || milsom ||
Best Places to Stay in
Ganh Dau – Best known for Dai Beach, Phu Quoc’s most beautiful beach, Ganh Dau is Phu Quoc’s upscale area where all the 5-star hotels and resorts are located.
North Bai Truong – This area is perfect for families who want to stay in the thick of the action in Phu Quoc. There’s a wide assortment of restaurants as well as cultural and historical places.
Bai Vung Bau – This area features a number of affordable resorts and hotels with several quiet areas to relax and unwind. Vung Bau Beach is also close by for families who want to spend some time by the beach.
Best Atas Hotel: JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa
Best Budget Hotel: Island Lodge Phu Quoc
Average travel time from Kuala Lumpur: 1 h 5 min
What’s shiok: Pristine beaches, breathtaking natural landscapes, vibrant nightlife,
Spend a day at Oriental Village
Oriental Village is Langkawi’s outdoor shopping complex which offers souvenirs, clothes, and food. There are also a number of fun activities for the kids, including ziplines and cable car rides.
Take a ride on Langkawi Cable Car
The Langkawi Cable Car is the steepest in the world and gives you breathtaking views of the island.
Go on an ATV tour
For adventurous families, you can go on a whole day ATV tour exploring rice fields, farms, and go through rainforests.
Must-eats in Langkawi
Enjoy local Malaysian street food such as nasi lemak (coconut rice), nasi ayam (chicken rice), and pisang goreng (fried banana with chilli).
Nasi lemak / CC BY 2.0 / Khairul Abdullah
Best Places to Stay in Langkawi
Pantai Tengah – Pantai Tengah is the place for you if you’re travelling on a budget. There are a number of bars and restaurants and is close to the beach.
Kuah – Considered the heart of Langkawi, Kuah is one of the most convenient places to stay for tourists. It’s home to many shopping and dining options.
Tanjung Rhu – This is Langkawi’s most family-friendly area. It’s relatively peaceful and features the island’s 5-star hotels and resorts.
Best Atas Hotel: The Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa
Best Budget Hotel: Bed Attitude Guesthouse Langkawi-Hostel
And that’s a wrap! 7 fun-filled destinations near Singapore that you and your kids will surely enjoy. Where is your next family weekend escapade?