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Planning to visit Malaysia soon? Want to know what the best places to visit in Malaysia are? You are in the right place!
Malaysia is a fascinating country with so much to offer; from white sandy beaches to dense rainforests and jungles, to historic cave temples and elusive wildlife such as Orangutans and sea turtles. It’s no wonder it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world!
Even Kuala Lumpur, the bustling capital, has something special to explore. If you’re thinking of destinations for families in Malaysia, do not underestimate its cities. There’s a fascinating cultural mix and it’s home to some of the best food in the world – the whole family will love what it offers.
But not many people think of Malaysia as a family holiday destination, but we’re here to change this perception. This guide lists all the top places to visit in Malaysia for families.
- Why Malaysia is Malaysia one of the best places for families?
- The 16 Best Places To Visit In Malaysia For Families
- 1. Kuala Lumpur
- 2. Sunway Lagoon
- 3. Port Dickson
- 4. Legoland Malaysia
- 5. Ipoh
- 6. Cameron Highlands
- 7. Penang
- 8. Langkawi
- 9. Perhentian Islands
- 10. Cherating
- 11. Kuching
- 12. Sandakan
- 13. Malacca (Melaka)
- 14. Taman Negara
- 15. Kota Kinabalu
- 16. Gunung Mulu National Park
- Before You Go
- More Asia Travel Tips
Why Malaysia is Malaysia one of the best places for families?
Not only are the locals incredibly welcoming to kids, but there are so many amazing things to do in Malaysia with family. In fact, it is my top pick of all the destinations in the world for a family vacation.
Malaysia is an easy place to travel as English is widely spoken and there’s a great bus system. There are also many cheap domestic flights and it’s affordable to hire drivers or you can drive yourself.
There are many opportunities to explore so many different diversities in culture, nature, and landscapes – from the rolling hills of Cameron Highlands to the untamed jungle of Borneo or the tropical paradise islands in the Perhentian islands. The best part is that this all comes at a very affordable price tag.
Getting Around Malaysia
Malaysia is quite easy to get around and has a great bus network that connects you to most places in the country. There are 160 bus operators and more than 6,000 bus routes, so you can always be sure to find a bus to wherever you want to go. You can book tickets online through BusOnlineTicket.com.
However, if you’re planning on visiting Borneo, there are some areas that are not connected by buses. For example, the wildlife corridor is somewhere you’d be better off visiting with a guide who knows where to look for the elusive animals.
If you feel like having a little more freedom and flexibility, you can rent a car through Rental Cars.com, which is the world’s biggest car rental booking service that compares all the major brands like Hertz, Avis, Alamo, and Europcar.
You can also get cheap internal flights from places like Penang, Langkawi, Koto Kinabalu, and Sandakan. Check Skyscanner to find a deal.
The 16 Best Places To Visit In Malaysia For Families
Now you know a bit about how to get around Malaysia, it’s time to start planning where you’re going to visit. Here are the best places to visit in Malaysia for family fun!
1. Kuala Lumpur
The capital, Kuala Lumpur, should definitely make it to your list of best places to visit in Malaysia with family.
It’s the largest city in this country and is full of attractions fit for a family. You could just spend your vacation time here and do so many varied things, from exploring the Batu Caves to dining on incredible Chinese food on Petaling Street in Chinatown.
Not to mention watch the fountain show opposite the Petronas Towers, where you’ll also find a huge playground and water play areas.
But favourite attraction in Kuala Lumpur is the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park, which is also next to the iconic Petronas Towers.
This isn’t just one of the biggest bird aviaries in the world, but also has some of the most beautiful gardens I have seen anywhere. Walking around here is truly a pleasure for everyone and reminds you that you are in the tropics.
Kids will also love visiting KLCC Park.
On the edges of the park are Aquaria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur’s aquarium, and Petrosain’s Discovery Centre (a fun science museum).
Another great family attraction in KL is KidZania. This international chain is my kids favourite place to go anywhere (even above the Disneyland) and allows them to try out many different professions while making money in a little KidZania world – it’s so much fun!
In addition to these more kid-focused attractions, it’s worth visiting some places that mom and dad will enjoy too. If you’re not afraid of heights, head to the 86th deck of the Petronas Twin Towers, the tallest twin towers in the world.
It’s also worth visiting the National Museum of Malaysia, the National Mosque, KL Forest Eco Park and, of course, do some shopping.
KL is one of the biggest shopping cities in the world, and its central market is the perfect place to do some souvenir shopping as it has over 800 stalls.
The best family vacation in Malaysia definitely should involve visiting Kuala Lumpur for at least a few days.
Top tip: It’s essential to buy tickets in advance for the Petronas Towers as they are likely to sell out.
Where to Stay in Kuala Lumpur for families
Berjaya Times Square Hotel
This hotel is one of our favourite places to stay in the world thanks to a variety of room types including two bedroom apartments, the biggest city hotel pool I’ve ever seen and its location.
The hotel is connected to Berjaya Times Square, one of the biggest shopping centres in Malaysia, with tons of shopping, eating and entertainment options including an indoor theme park. It’s the easiest place to stay with kids.
2. Sunway Lagoon
While you can visit Sunway Lagoon on a day trip from Kuala Lumpur, it’s also one of best places to visit in Malaysia with kids as a separate destination.
Located between KL Airport and Kuala Lumpur, Sunway Lagoon is a huge theme park, shopping centre and hotel complex which is a town of its own.
It’s a really fun and easy place for a holiday in Malaysia with family, since the theme park is so well laid-out.
The theme park itself has six different zones, including dry thrill rides, a water park, animal park and a fun Nickelodeon Lost Lagoon area that’s perfect for little ones.
There are a range of hotels with varying standards connected as well as the big shopping centre with many food options and entertainment like ice skating and a cinema.
Where to Stay near Sunway Lagoon for families
Sunway Clio Hotel
This is a modern and luxurious hotel option on this site, which connects to the shopping centre and is just moments to the entrance of Sunway Lagoon.
The hotel has a great infinity pool and connecting rooms for families.
3. Port Dickson
Port Dickson is maybe the least known of these top family holiday destinations in Malaysia, but it’s one of the easiest and nicest to visit if you are looking for some quality family downtime.
Port Dickson refers to a stretch of coast close to Kuala Lumpur and is just a short drive from its airport.
There are many beautiful beaches here and some low key attractions for families like an emu farm, an army museum (with old equipment kids will love) and a small indoor theme park.
Our favourite part of Port Dickson, however, is the fabulous and affordable accommodation on offer.
If you have ever wanted to stay in an over-water villa with your own private infinity pool, this must be the cheapest place in the world to do so!
While Port Dickson is not the best place for family trip in Malaysia for people wanting lots of action, it is a winner for fun, quality relaxation perfect for families with toddlers like us!
Read more about Port Dickson here.
Places to stay in Port Dickson for families
There are some great family-focused resorts in this area with over-water villas including:
This iconic hotel actually has the Guinness World Record for the most number of pools in a resort!
It has many room types including over-water villas situated so they form a hibiscus shape from the air (look out for it when you are flying into Kuala Lumpur!).
We love the over-water pool villas which are large enough for our family of five and have their own infinity pools and saunas on an outdoor deck.
There are an amazing array of facilities here including an indoor play centre, games arcade, water park, archery and so much more.
4. Legoland Malaysia
Located in the southern part of peninsular Malaysia near Singapore is the famous Legoland Malaysia in Johor Bahru.
This place to visit in Malaysia with family is perfect for those who enjoy theme parks, rides, and many lego-building projects! There is also a 4D cinema showing many different lego movies as well as a Legoland water park next door.
It’s particularly good for younger kids but older kids (including parents!) will enjoy it as well.
The best part is that it rarely seems to be busy and all three times we have been, we have been able to go on every ride as many times as we want!
Try to avoid weekends and Malaysian and Singaporean school holidays to also have this great experience.
Where to Stay near Legoland for families
You will all absolutely love this lego-themed hotel.
Located adjacent to the theme park, coming here is like entering a whole lego universe with lego-themed rooms, lego activities and events throughout the day and puzzle activities to unlock secret treasure in your room!
Most rooms are built with families in mind with two separate sleeping areas accommodating families of up to five. They come in one of four themes – pirate, kingdom, ninjago or adventure.
Ipoh is located a couple of hours north of Kuala Lumpur and is a fun and interesting choice for the best place for family vacation in Malaysia.
Ipoh is the capital of the state of Perak and is home to about 650,000 people. It’s famous for its cave temples, and colonial era architecture. The city is home to many diversities, from Malay, Chinese and Indian.
It has a gorgeous downtown area which is fun to wander and admire the architecture. There is the Old Town with some majestic government and other buildings and many cute, smaller streets. This is also a great place to see old Chinese stophouses and try some of the local cuisines.
The most fun part of exploring Ipoh, however, is definitely finding the street art in the central area. It makes for great family outing in Malaysia as you all try to find the next piece of street art first!
The street art mostly shows images of activities past Ipoh residents may have taken part in during normal daily life. Looking for this art and exploring Ipoh’s laneways is one of the best tourist attractions in Ipoh.
Ipoh is also known for their cave temples and a visit to one or two of these should definitely be on your agenda.
However, the best place for family day in Malaysia is at Sunway Lost World of Tambun.
This theme park on the outskirts of Ipoh must be in the most gorgeous setting of any theme park in the world. It’s surrounded by limestone hills and greenery. It really does feel like you are in a lost world!
Here you can go on rides, visit the water park, learn about tin mining and visit a petting zoo.
We especially enjoyed the afternoon pool party where we could bob around while watching live shows surrounded by the beautiful hills.
Where to Stay in Ipoh for families
Lost World Hotel
Located at the Sunway Lost World of Tambun theme park, this hotel is in a beautiful location which makes visiting the park extra easy.
It’s also a great choice if you would like to visit their hot springs and spa in the evening which has special kid areas.
There are a range of room types including family suites and a glamping option at the theme park.
6. Cameron Highlands
The Cameron Highlands is located about two hours east from Ipoh in the cool highlands in Malaysia making this best place in Malaysia for family holiday perfect for families who would like some cooler weather!
It’s also a gorgeous and fun place to explore with rolling hills, hiking trails, waterfalls and jungles.
The Cameron Highlands is best known for its tea plantations and you will find plenty here. You must visit at least one! There are also strawberry, bee and butterfly farms.
It’s the perfect place to enjoy some low key attractions together while learning more about how the world works at each of the outdoor attractions.
There’s also plenty of places where you can learn about the unique flora and fauna of Malaysia such as at the Mossy Forest, and the chance to learn more about the Orang Asli, Malaysia’s indigenous people.
Places to stay in Cameron Highlands for families
Nova Highlands Resort and Residence
This well located hotel has some of the Cameron Highlands attractions on-site or very close by with bee and strawberry farms and a butterfly park being just a short walk.
There is also a cinema, arcade games and restaurants in the shopping centre below the hotel.
There are many room types. We loved the affordable and spacious three-bedroom apartments.
Penang is our top pick for the best place for kids in Malaysia, although I admit that I am biased after living there.
Penang island is located off the western coast of peninsular Malaysia. It is a short flight from Kuala Lumpur or a four-hour drive.
The capital city, Georgetown, is the second largest city in Malaysia and its town center is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Beyond exploring and learning about Penang’s past in the town center and seeing all the stunning colonial mansions (make sure to check out Cheong Fatt Tze’s mansion), there is much more to do in Penang. It’s also another top place to wander around and look for street art.
You can enjoy the beaches in Batu Ferringhi, visit the award-winning ESCAPE park where you can zip line, rock climb, climb around in trees, enjoy the water park, or get lost in the jungle at Penang National Park.
It’s probably the most popular tourist destination in Malaysia besides the beaches.
Penang has some of the best food in the world so this is also where you should encourage the kids to be more adventurous. Visit as many hawker center night markets as possible and try as much food as possible.
Failing this, the hawker centers do tend to have some western options so everyone should be happy.
Taking a funicular ride up Penang Hill is another fun activity and our kids loved Youth Park where you can swim in free pools surrounded by nature.
If you are looking for some adult time, many resorts in Penang offer kid’s clubs.
Where to Stay in Penang for families
Hard Rock Hotel Penang
This well presented hotel right by Batu Ferringhi beach is home to a fantastic pool and water playground area that you will all love.
There are also kids clubs for all ages from infants to teens.
There is a range of room types with some great features for families. The Roxity Kids Suites come with a separate sleeping area for the kids complete with their own minibar, playstation, books and toys!
They also have a courtyard option which gives you a private outdoor play area for your kids.
Langkawi is one of the most popular family vacation destinations in Malaysia and rightfully so.
This is probably the Malaysia you picture you see when you shut your eyes. Gorgeous beaches, aqua water, and breathtaking scenery are in abundance here.
You will also find many attractions that are great for kids including a wildlife park, fruit farm, aquarium, and Langkawi Sky Bridge.
There are many water activities including sunset cruises and island hopping and also other natural attractions as well. You can kayak through mangroves or zip line over the jungle before relaxing in hot springs.
Langkawi is well set up for tourists and there are many great resorts where you and your kids will be well taken care of.
This is a very easy best place for family holiday in Malaysia and you are all sure to love it.
Where to Stay in Langkawi for families
The Andaman Langkawi
This gorgeous hotel is wedged between the rainforest and its own private (and fantastic) beach.
There is a range of room types including suites with their own private pools right by the beach.
There are a ton of facilities at this resort including a huge pool area with a water slide and a coral nursery where the resort is helping to grow and replace coral lost in the Boxing Day Tsunami. Kids can go on special snorkeling tours of it.
There is also one of the better kids clubs we have experienced and a range of restaurants and bars.
9. Perhentian Islands
If you are looking for the perfect island getaway in Southeast Asia without the crowds, the Perhentian Islands are your answer to where to go in Malaysia with your family.
Located off the east coast of the northern part of Peninsular Malaysia, these are two islands that are just a short boat trip from the mainland.
The most popular island for families is Perhentian Besar, while the backpacker crowd prefers the Perhentian Kecil island, the smaller island.
Best visited from April to October, you will find pristine beaches, clear water, and some fantastic snorkeling and scuba diving.
There is some great snorkeling right off the beach in places so this is the perfect time for the kids to learn if they haven’t yet.
There is jungle trekking and kayaking. There are not a whole lot of adventure activities here, so we’d recommend this place for a family vacation in Malaysia for people who want to be surrounded by nature.
Where to Stay in Perhentian Islands for families
Perhentian Island Resort
This resort is in the best position on the islands with its own beach (pictured above) which is one of the most beautiful and calm as there are rules about where boats can go.
The bay is home to turtles and it’s a great place to snorkel.
It’s also one of the few resorts with a pool on the islands along with having tennis courts, beach volleyball, and more.
Click here to see the latest reviews and prices.
Cherating Beach is arguably the best beach area on the east coast of peninsular Malaysia.
There are some gorgeous beaches here as well as some top resorts, but it’s still relatively undeveloped and makes for a good stop when exploring this part of Malaysia.
Attractions and activities are low-key, but if you like turtles, you will love the nearby Turtle Island. At this one of the places to visit with family in Malaysia, you will find conservation efforts to save endangered turtles.
Otherwise, Cherating is about the beach and relaxing.
Places to stay in Cherating for families
Club Med Cherating Beach
The Cherating Resort is one of the best in Malaysia with its own beaches and jungle to explore.
It has a huge range of facilities from one of the best kids clubs anywhere for all ages to a stunning adults-only pool to tennis courts and a trapeze.
This is an all-inclusive resort with all meals, most alcohol, and activities included.
There are nightly shows and themed dinners and there is a lot to love about this resort which caters incredibly well to families.
It’s our kids’ #1 pick of what to do in Malaysia with family.
Don’t forget Borneo when planning places to go in Malaysia with your family!
The island of Malaysian Borneo does feel quite different from peninsular Malaysia and there is a lot on offer here too.
Kuching (meaning cat in Malay) is a relaxed, pretty city and the capital of the state of Sarawak.
Its picturesque location on the Sarawak River leads to it having one of the nicest places to explore in all of Malaysia with beautiful riverfront walks that have a great atmosphere in the evenings.
Cat lovers will also love the cat statues that are sprinkled across the city and the tacky (in a good way) Cat Museum.
There are other interesting museums and temples in Kuching too but what you are most likely to love is all the day trip opportunities to explore Borneo.
Kuching is a great base from which to explore more of the jungle, culture, and wildlife in this region. The Bako National Park is one of the best places to visit near Kuching for rainforests and wildlife. It’s the oldest national park in Sarawak.
You can visit the Sarawak Cultural Village to learn more about the cultural groups that make up Sarawak. Or visit a real longhouse in use today, or Semenggoh Wildlife Centre where you can see orangutans in the wild to visiting national parks, and see sea turtles in the wild.
There is so much to do here!
For families who want some jungle adventures in their places to visit with their family in Malaysia, Kuching is perfect.
Where to Stay in Kuching for families
This hotel is in a beautiful spot by the Sarawak River in the centre of town. It’s the best location. Make sure you book a room with river views.
There is a range of facilities including pool, gym and many restaurants. The best part is that it may be one of the most affordable Hilton hotels in the world as well!
Another Borneo option for where to bring kids for holiday in Malaysia is Sandakan.
Located on the opposite side of Borneo, in Sabah state, this small city is the gateway to one of the most famous attractions in Borneo, the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre.
The center is set up to help orphaned orangutans that need to learn how to care for themselves and cope in the wild.
There is an area with baby orangutans and then the older orangutans are in the wild as they learn to become less dependent on the twice-daily feedings that occur here.
Visitors can attend the feedings where you are likely to see many orangutans swing in. It’s an amazing experience!
Also in Sandakan is a moving World War II memorial and museum dedicated to the prisoners of war from the Borneo Death Marches.
The city itself is nice enough to use as a base with some lively markets and some good places to eat.
Where to Stay in Sandakan for families
The Hotel Sandakan is the best option for families who want a hotel in a central spot in downtown Sandakan.
It is simple but good value with family rooms available and two restaurants.
13. Malacca (Melaka)
Malacca is well known for its stunning river walk, which is one of the most vibrant areas in the city. It’s full of cafés, live music venues, and restaurants.
One important landmark in Malacca is the 17th-century Stadthuys building, a former residence for Malaysia’s governors but has now turned into an Ethnographic Museum.
Malacca is also a great place for adventurous foodie families, since Jonker Street, the center of Chinatown, is the number one place to visit for street food.
It’s also where you’ll find Malaysia’s oldest Chinese temple, Cheng Hoon Teng.
Perhaps the most iconic attraction in Malaysia is the Christ Church Melaka, a Dutch church known for its terracotta red exterior.
There is a lot of history to explore in Malacca and is probably somewhere mom and dad will appreciate the most, but children will enjoy some of the theme parks in the city such as Melaka Crocodile & Recreational Park and A’Famosa Water Theme Park.
Where to Stay in Malacca
Top 1 Family Lovers Water Themepark Suites
Since much of Malacca’s attractions are about history, why not stay somewhere more suited to the kids? This resort is the number one place to stay in Malacca for families.
It has an incredible pool with waterslides, bumper cars and more. There are family rooms available for those with young children, plus an onsite restaurant and garden.
Each room comes with a balcony, a kitchenette and a dining area so you can even make simple meals if you want to.
14. Taman Negara
If you’re looking to take your kids to the jungles to see what Malaysia is really all about, then you’ll want to visit Taman Negara.
It’s a huge national park that’s located on the Malay peninsula and is made up of tropical rainforests that are estimated to be 130 million years old.
One of the most popular things to do here is to take a canopy walk through the rain forests trees, as well as take nearby boat trips down the Tembeling River or trek up to the top of Mt Tahan, which is 2,187 meters high.
The park is home to many elusive animals, including tigers, macaques and birdlife. It’s also a great place to look for Malaysia’s enormous rafflesia plant, one of the largest flowers in the world.
Where to Stay in Taman Negara
TEBiNG Guest House Taman Negara
Located just outside the park, this is a simple guest house with comfortable rooms and an excellent location.
It’s just 200 meters to the Kuala Tahan Jetty and the guest house will even help you with hiking tours.
15. Kota Kinabalu
Kota Kinabalu is the capital of Sabah in Borneo and is the gateway to Kinabalu National Park. It’s the starting point for hikers wanting to hike the highest mountain in Malaysia, Mount Kinabalu, and is also where you can take trips into the elusive rainforests to see wildlife in its natural habitat.
The coastal city is known for its bustling markets, beaches and waterside domed mosque, Masjid Bandaraya Kota Kinabalu.
Some family-friendly places to visit in Kota Kinabalu are the Mala Mala Cultural Village where you can learn about indigenous tribes, and the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park which is a great place to go snorkeling.
Read our post on why you should visit Kota Kinabalu with tips on what to see and do!
Where to Stay in Kota Kinabalu
Mercure Kota Kinabalu
The Mercure hotel is a clean and comfortable hotel in the city center of Kota Kinabalu. It’s a great base for exploring all the top attractions and features four restaurants, an outdoor pool and modern furnishings.
Each morning, guests can have buffet breakfast from the Maupassant restaurant. For fussy eaters, Fratini’s Past & Pizza specializes in Italian cuisine.
16. Gunung Mulu National Park
Another rainforest destination for families in Malaysia is the Gunung Mulu National Park. It’s a protected rainforest in the Sarawak region of Malaysian Borneo.
For nature lovers, you’re going to go wild for this place. It’s famous for its moutainous peaks and huge caves – the most famous is the bat-filled Deer Cave, which is said to lead to the Garden of Eden.
Through the cave you reach a hidden valley and a waterfall wrapped in a cacoon of limestone cliffs.
The landscape here is gorge-ous, with jagged limestone rock formations and cliffs. This is a great place to go hiking and looking for rare orchids.
Where to Stay in Gunung Mulu National Park
A unique experience in Gunung Mulu National Park is to stay at a homestay. This is where you stay with a local family in their guest room, and you can even share a family dinner with your host.
This is a great way to introduce your children to a new culture and way of life.
Since you can;t stay in the park, this is how you can stay the cloest to it.
Before You Go
So there you have it, those are 16 top places to visit in Malaysia for families. As you can see, there are a lot of unique places and each has something different to offer. We hope this guide helped you plan your next trip to Malaysia.
Before you go, make sure to book your accommodation in advance. Prices tend to increase when you book last minute, so check out booking.com in Malaysia to see what’s on offer!
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