So my family have been travelling around Malaysia recently, to Kuala Lumpur from Kuantan.
Travel around Malaysia is a great adventure.The buses are usually very good. I've travelled with Transnasional, Plusliner and Bulan Restu and have all been very good. I've also travelled by car from Kuantan to Melaka via Segamat. It's a 5 hour ride and goes through the jungle where all you see is tree after tree after tree, which makes it even more interesting when you see a lone house or shop or roadside stall etc.
However, add 2 or more young children to the travels and things can become very difficult.
Taking our children around KL has been challenging this week. The hot weather is of course the main factor on the list of difficulties. Another, particularly in KL, is the awful traffic jams all around the city, seemingly at any time of the day or night.
The next point is illness. Children, especially very young ones, are a lot more susceptible to illness when travelling. Lauren, our 4-year-old daughter, never seems to eat well when we travel. And because she doesn't eat well, her stomach is always painful. However, we have found that she will eat the "oat krunch" biscuits, a McDonalds Happy Meal, or KFC mashed potato!
Our 1-year-old Leah doesn't appear to have any eating problems while travelling, but she did pick up a fever, which was the result of shared bacteria from Lauren, who picked up a cough. So travelling with young children can be an unpleasant experience at times.
To counter this as much as possible, we always take a large medicine bag with us containing everything we've collected from recent trips to the clinic and pharmacy. Included is fever medicine, panadol, runny nose medicine, stomach pain pills, diahorrea medication, nose inhalers, Caffox for my headaches, various creams for skin allergies, gripe water, cough medicine, tiger balm, vicks vapour rub etc etc.
Obviously, baby wipes and nappies are absolutely essential for babies. Where possible, a pushchair would be very helpful too. Napkins and handkerchiefs are a must as babies seem to get runny noses quite often when travelling.
If travelling by plane, like we sometimes do from KL to Kuching, you might need a lot of empathy for the young ones. Lauren's ears get painful on the descent, whereas Leah sleeps for the entire flight! You must know how to calm your children, and show a lot of love. Be ready for a lot of carrying as young children get extremely tired and bored very quickly when waiting for extended periods of time, like at airports.
We want to make our children's travel experience as sweet as possible. It's occasionally quite tricky to distinguish what is worthy of correction, and what simply needs a hug and a kiss. A lot of things we deem as wrong in our children's behaviour is actually just them being children. A travelling outing can become extremely hard when we get in the trap of scolding our children, just because they are bored or tired. If we allow that boredom to fester, then they will start doing irritating things, like Lauren complaining continuously, or Leah pulling Lauren's hair, nose and ears!
As a result of this, we have to take a lot of small toys and other bits and pieces to keep our children occupied and interested in something. At times it feels as though we are packing everything including the proverbial kitchen sink, even though we try to travel as light as possible with 2 young children.
We dreaded taking our young children travelling around Malaysia for the first time. However, if you are well prepared, it can be a good and positive experience for a young family travelling round Malaysia.