Singapore is choke-full of fun, educational activities for the whole family to enjoy, but let’s face it, nothing beats a trip out of our little red dot to inhale some foreign air and soak up a full-fledge vacation (don’t get me wrong I love staycations but that’s another story for another day).
Thing is, with a kid in tow, it’s not going to be easy breezy to get that sea-breeze you have been craving for months. Thankfully, we are surrounded by a plethora of charming homestays and attractions perfect for a short vacay. What are you waiting for, it’s never too early to start packing your swimsuits and sunglasses…
1. UK Farm, Malaysia
Plot 8, Project Pertanian Moden Kluang, KM13 Jalan Batu Pahat,
86000 Kluang, Johor, Malaysia
Nope, there’s no need to jet off to the UK for such stunning sunsets and tranquil moments. Just an hour and a half drive from Singapore, UK Farm is the getaway you have been dreaming of to escape from all the urban worries and into the embrace of good old mother nature. Join the meticulous house guides and visit the various attractions like the feedstock processing factory, sheep pens, fruit farm, nursery, Ostrich Park, and the Jakun Village.
Let your child get up close with the adorable goats and sheeps (yes, petting and feeding is allowed here), and then marvel at being surrounded by birds, chickens, and swans while sprinkling those enticing foodstock. The DIY activities tailored made for the little ones will also allow them (and their parents of course) to gain new insights about the many different aspects of farming. Back to basics education. We like.
2. Kota Tinggi Waterfall
Jalan Lombong, 81900 Kota Tinggi, Johor, Malaysia
In terms of waterfalls — of which Southern Malaysia boasts of many — Kota Tinggi is one of the most majestic and beautiful. Before the advent of Wild Wild Wet and numerous other water theme parks, this was how people enjoyed water entertainment. Take a leisurely swim with your little ones at the dammed pools at the bottom of the cascading falls.
Do climb to the top tier of Kota Tinggi Waterfall. It is less crowded, more peaceful and the falls are more scenic and dramatic. Hold on tight to the kids as pathway is narrow and can be slippery. With its abundance of wildlife, Kota Tinggi Waterfalls also doubles up as a birdwatchers’ paradise.
Kota Tinggi Waterfalls is about an hour and a half drive away from Singapore.
3. Sea Gypsy Village Resort & Dive Base, Malaysia
Pulau Sibu, 86800 Mersing, Johor, Malaysia
Located on the north eastern side of Pulau Sibu (an island off the coast of Mersing, Johor Bahru), the Sea Gypsy Village Resort’s is renowned for, among many things, its cosy wooden and atap Malay-style chalets.
Sea Gypsy’s charm lies in its understated simplicity. No posh pretentious décor nor vibe, just good old, back-to-basics. Create precious memories by fossicking for shells with your little ones along the shore, playing on the handmade wooden playground and channeling your inner Tarzan (or Jane) on the rope swing. Other great optional child-centric activities include T-shirt painting, jungle hunts, and even a pirate costume workshop. Prices are affordable by Singapore standards.
The resort is a three hours drive from Singapore via Woodlands, The Causeway & Johor Bahru.
4. Teman Negara
At 130 million years old, Taman Negara is home to one of the oldest virgin rainforest in the world. Introduce your little ones to the the wonders of some of the most amazing natural beauty on earth through activities like fishing, camping, jungle trekking, and mounting climbing.
Saunter across the world’s longest canopy walkway — 530m long and 40m above ground — and enjoy the magnificent panoramic views of flora and fauna along the way.
By public transport, Taman Negara is about six hours away from Singapore.
5. Cameron highlands
Take in big gulps of fragrant highland air in Malaysia’s largest hill-station area. The highlands, named after explorer Sir William Cameron, were developed during the British colonial period, and features beguiling gardens, bungalows, and even a golf course.
Pick strawberries at the Big Red Strawberry Farm. Visit the BOH Tea Plantation, which happens to be the largest black tea manufacturer in Malaysia. The view from the BOH Tea Cafe is spectacular, so do remember to make a pit stop here for that. The BOH Tea factory also provide tours for you to learn about the tea production processes with your child. Who knows, he might just grow up to be a respectable tea connoisseur!
Cameron highlands is about a five hours drive away from Singapore.