LIKE many parents out there, travel blogger Wilson Ng and his wife try not to travel with their two young sons to crowded places at the moment due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
“We are delaying our overseas travel plans until the pandemic is over. The destination is always there and we can wait, ” says Ng who blogs about his travels at PlacesAndFoods.com.
But with all the offers and incentives for Malaysian holidaymakers to travel locally, Ng says he will not waste the chance to enjoy more of the country’s charms with his family, especially during this year’s school holidays.
“We are planning to take them to an island resort or have a theme park staycation in the next school holidays.
“We want the boys to have some activities on the beach since we live in the city. For theme park staycations, we just want them to have fun, ” he says, recommending staying on the beaten track for families with young children.
“Our boys love Legoland in Johor and taking the cable car up to Genting Highlands to enjoy the cool weather.”
Ng shares that he can’t wait for his boys to get older and take them to explore Malaysia’s natural wonders.
“One trip I plan to go on when they are a bit older is to drive around Langkawi and go on the mangrove tour to watch wild eagles.”
To keep safe during the pandemic, Ng and his wife have prepared face masks, sanitisers, wet wipes and medicine for their children.
“Most children are not big fans of face masks so we make sure they always clean their hands with soap and water.
“Hygiene is always important and we also make sure they do not touch their faces or hands into their mouth.
"The most important thing is to teach them to have good hygiene habits. This is not just for the coronavirus outbreak but for their well-being their whole life, ” he says.
Ng feels tour operators and hotels can step up to ensure traveller’s safety from infection during the outbreak.
“They can do simple temperature checks for everyone, have sanitisers around and keep things clean and sanitised all the time for things like door knobs, door handles, chair arms and more.
"They can also do a simple safety briefing for guests, ” he suggests.
Malaysia’s beautiful beaches are also sun, sand and sea lover Myn Lee’s ideal destination for families looking for some time away during school holidays.
“Malaysia is full of beautiful places, so it’s really hard for me to pinpoint exactly which destination is great for Malaysian families looking to go on holiday during the school holidays.
"But as a person who loves the sea and the beach – I would say, head to the coast!
“The weather on the islands off the east coast of Malaysia might not be ideal this early in the year, but the beaches and islands on the west coast like Langkawi, Port Dickson, and Pulau Pangkor are great family places to visit to get a little sun-kissed, ” says the former radio DJ, who writes about her travel adventures at SheWalksTheWorld.Com.
Lee also feels that one of the many things tour operators and hotels can do to help parents keep their children safe during the outbreak is to constantly remind people again and again to wash their hands and practice good hygiene, such as to wear a mask if they are sick or not to sneeze or cough openly.
She adds, “Parents with younger children should always carry around hand sanitiser or wet wipes, as children tend to go around and touch everything they see.
"Maybe tour operators and hotels can provide free hygiene care kits too?”
Medical experts say if people want to travel, it is better for them to travel to the outdoors or be in a natural environment during the Covid-19 outbreak.
It is also healthier, says travel blogger, Lily Riani. Children can exercise while getting some sun and fresh air.
She recommends going squid jigging in Trengganu, but if the sea is still choppy, she says the Setiu Wetlands state park, which is over an hour from Kuala Trengganu, is a good place to explore.
Lily also encourages Malaysians to take their children to visit the other natural wonders in the country like Gua Kelam in Perlis and the Bako National Park in Sarawak.
For the more adventurous, and older, children, Lily who has a travel site called Travelholic recommends white water rafting on Sungai Kampar in Gopeng, Perak.
In Gopeng, you can also explore the fruit orchards and small villages while soaking in the lush greenery of the area.
For those staying in Kuala Lumpur or planning to travel to the capital from other parts of Malaysia, Lily says they can still enjoy some nature as well as have fun, outdoor activities at the various parks in the city – from the Bukit Nanas Eco Park, Tugu Negara Trail to the Lake Garden.
Outdoor adventure lover Andrew Sia says other than the usual places like Cameron Highlands, Penang and Pulau Perhentian, families can also head to Sukau, Sabah, to explore the jungle by boat on the Kinabatanagan river.
Or they can try Sepilok, near Sandakan, where they can visit the sun bear and orang utan rehabilitation centres.
“To help parents keep their children safe while travelling, tour operators and hotels can disinfect the buses, lifts, lobbies more often.
"They can also encourage them to keep healthy, sleep well, drink more water and take more vitamin C, ” the travel blogger adds.
Like Lily Riani, influencer and travel blogger Mr Jocko also feels that Kuala Lumpur has many interesting outdoor places for families.
“Due to the coronavirus outbreak, we need to keep safe and limit our activities. But, it doesn’t mean we cannot travel.
“If you’re heading to KL with your family, why not visit the newly revamped Taman Tasik Titiwangsa?” he suggests.
For those looking for a difference but do not want to wander off too far, he suggests Homestay Kampong Agong in Penaga, Penang.
At the homestay, children can experience the kampung life in traditional wooden houses surrounded by coconut trees. And not forgetting take a ride in a giant swing over the paddy field!
Jom cuti cuti Malaysia!
Did you find this article insightful?