I had an exciting, action-packed whirlwind trip through Malaysia with my 15-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son recently where we had five flights and stayed in eight hotels in 14 days.

Malaysia is a wonderful place for Australian families to visit as it’s a doable five-hour flight, very affordable, hospitable and English speaking is ubiquitous.

The food is delectable throughout Malaysia. From the hawker street fare of Kuala Lumpur to the world-recognised traditional Malay cuisine in Penang, and the fresh seafood and Muslim-influenced food on Langkawi Island.

MOV Hotel, KL
Bustling KL from MOV rooftop

I loved the variety of the travel experience, from the exciting hustle and bustle of the KL metropolis, the culture-infused traditions of Penang, and then the relaxing, undeveloped island experience of Langkawi. It felt like visiting three different countries within one!

Return flights with Air Asia from Perth to Kuala Lumpur for the three of us were only $1240. We also had three domestic flights within Malaysia with Air Asia for less than $100 each, however, I was disappointed with the lack of customer service available and for this reason would think twice about flying with this airline again.

There were complications with every flight, and no one was available to address queries either by phone or email and the bot chat service didn’t address any problems. One flight was delayed five hours and we were only compensated with a cheeseburger and most flights I was separated from my children, despite booking tickets early. This was the only downside of our trip, Malaysia itself was fabulous and all of the hotels were exceptional in their service and quality.

MOV Hotel, KL

We arrived in KL at midnight and caught a $40, one-hour, Grab ride (popular Asian hail riding service) to our first destination – the fun, trendy boutique MOV Hotel, situated downtown in the heart of the city. We loved the modern, sleek room and were keen to explore the bustling nightlife we witnessed lit up from our windows and pool terrace. It was an exciting, colourful party vibe with bright lights and pumping music.

We wandered through KL’s largest hawker street food market, absorbing the intoxicating sights and aromas of fruits, seafood and kebabs. The pungent smell of durian – the cherished Asian fruit delicacy was omnipresent – which to our Western senses, smelt like dirty laundry and rotten meat. The collage of colours, smells, lights, and sounds was enthralling, sparking our curiosity and stimulating our senses; why we love traveling to exotic places.

Hawker street food in KL

The streets were busy but organised. Crossing the roads was easy with efficient traffic systems and safe crossings.

We rolled back to our hotel in the early hours of the morning, observing a mix of partying westerners, local hospitality workers, and some street workers, including quite a few ladyboys. The kids experienced the big, wide cosmopolitan world.

MOV Hotel is a fabulous place to stay in KL, to experience the exciting nightspots and shopping during the day. We visited the high-end fashion of the Pavilion shopping mall which featured more than 700 stores, showcasing Cartier, Gucci, Prada, Tiffany, and an exhaustive range of designer brands over nine storeys.

We had lunch at an American-style diner in the Pavilion, where we feasted on nachos and milkshakes for about $30. The choice of eateries was immense, with a massive range of international cuisine on offer.

Chinatown, KL
Chinatown, KL

As much as I enjoyed window shopping through the high-end brands, Chinatown was a more realistic option, it was fun to rummage through rows of markets offering counterfeit designer shoes, handbags, perfume and sunglasses. The kids loved it! My daughter bought a large bottle of J’Adore perfume for $20, my son a pair of Nike Jordans for $40 and I bartered a stylish navy-blue Prada handbag for $30, as well as a couple of Ray Ban sunnies for $20. I could not tell the difference between the original and the imitation products – the quality was impressive!

Chinatown was interesting – old, dilapidated buildings fused with traditional colonial architecture. I didn’t see too much poverty, only encountering one beggar to whom I felt compelled to donate some Malaysian Ringgit.

Downtown KL

We sat on a classy restaurant patio that evening absorbing the bustling KL entertainment over a delicious meal which comprised money bags, a crab salad, duck curry, several wines and fruity mocktails for around $60.

Given our short trip to Malaysia, I booked a 40-minute flight to Penang for around $200 for the three of us, instead of a six-hour train or bus journey.  

We took an hour Grab ride from the airport to Double-Tree by Hilton, situated on the north of the island set in a tropical, resort setting, where we were greeted with a Nutmeg Mocktail, garnished with nutmeg fruit.

Beach at Double-Tree by Hilton, Penang
Beach at Double-Tree by Hilton, Penang

The service and facilities at Double-Tree Hilton, Penang were first-class. The staff was lovely and helpful, and the hotel had so much on offer – a Kids’ Club, spa, fitness centre, Teddy Bear Museum, pool, fuse ball, a large pool with a relaxed resort setting, a kids’ splash pool, a conference centre, a ballroom which facilitated a wedding, and a band played on Friday and Saturday nights.

The hotel was situated across from the beach, offering sweeping views of the tranquil sea dotted with islands.

Double-Tree by Hilton, Penang
Double-Tree by Hilton, Penang

We stayed in a One-Bedroom Sea View Suite that was spacious with a lounge area, separate bedroom, and a separate lavish bathroom. Their toiletry products were Crabtree Evelyn, which was nice since we didn’t take toiletries with us, allowing for space given we only took carry-on luggage, to ease traveling.

We traveled five minutes down the road to the gorgeous Shangri-La Rasa Sayang, Penang which was located in the popular tourist district of Batu Ferringhi. Living up to its classic image of luxury, serenity, and class, this resort was exquisite. 

We were welcomed into the exclusive Rasa Wing which included a Club Lounge that served complimentary all-day tea, coffee and soft drinks, High Tea, and evening cocktails and canapes.

Rasa Wing, Shangri-La Penang
Rasa Wing, Shangri-La Sayang, Penang

The canapes were delectable – mussels, fried fish, chicken pieces, fresh fruit, and mini desserts. It was equivalent to an evening meal with personalised service from our comfortable lounges. The dress code was casual, cocktail – no swimwear, thongs, or singlets allowed. This region housed many discerning international travellers, mostly European.

The Shangri-La Sayang Rasa Wing also granted us access to the main hotel’s extensive breakfast buffet or the Club’s more intimate buffet with an la carte menu, including delicious Eggs Benedict, waffles and fresh fruit juices.

Our accommodation was gorgeous – a spacious Rasa Junior Suite King, which lived up to the lavishness of the brand’s code, with a glamorous bathroom, toiletries, a large bathtub, a separate shower and luxurious robes and linen, and a huge balcony with an enormous bath from which to look over the rainforest grounds and pool.

Malaysia is renowned for the art of reflexology. I had an amazing beach reflexology/massage at Father & Son Reflexology, the oldest beach massage family in Penang. By massaging my feet, the masseuse was able to tell me so many health truths – including I have low blood pressure, wear reading glasses, had a sore right knee from jogging, sore, tight shoulders, strong ovaries, and genetic short-term memory challenges which could be improved by using chopsticks to rewire the brain! I was blown away.

Father & Son Massage & Reflexology, Penang Beach
Father & Son Massage & Reflexology, Penang Beach

Instead of a four hour ferry ride and two-hour journey to the ferry, we flew 40 minutes to Langkawi, from which we took a 30-minute Grab ride to Pelangi Beach Resort & Spa. It is set on the palm-lined white sands of Langkawi island, offering unspoilt sea and island views, including Rebak Island which was our next destination. It is a short walk from the centre of Pantai Cenang, a tourist restaurant and shopping district.

Pelangi Beach Resort & Spa housed waterfront chalets from which to soak in the tranquility of the island. The lobby was stately and expansive, as were the spa and restaurants – characteristic of traditional Malaysian architecture mixed with opulence, where original hotel elements had been reused in the refurbished, renovated complex.

The resort was serene and leafy, with water features throughout, a magnificent winding pool, and sea views omnipresent throughout the hotel.

Our Family Room was comfortable with a king-sized bed, a separate king single, separate bathroom and a private porch that offered majestic sunset views over the water and islands.

Cenang, Langkawi
Cenang, Langkawi

Guests were offered complimentary buffet breakfast at both restaurants – Spice Island offering traditional Malay fare and the Pelangi Grill which served delicious Western cuisine, including mimosas.

Langkawi felt like another country. It is Muslim and the vibe was entirely different from KL or Penang. There is also no tax, making alcohol and chocolates inexpensive.

Telaga Seafood restaurant

We had a delicious seafood meal on the street at Telaga Seafood for $30. My plate was filled with prawns, octopus and fish, all freshly caught from the ocean, and chips and salad. The kids had salmon, salad, fries, and fresh watermelon juice.

We left Pelangi for Rebak Island Resort & Marina, which was a 10-minute speed boat ride. This is a special island resort, so peaceful, immersed in native tropical rainforest.

Our room was large, with fresh fruits and a bottle of wine, and overlooked the ocean and pool.

The pool was a hub and the poolside bar offered evening entertainment with a musician singing old classics.

Activities at Rebak Island Resort & Marina were freely available including kayaking, volleyball, tennis, pool, and bike riding.

Rebak Island Resort & Marina, Langkawi
Rebak Island Resort & Marina, Langkawi

The meals were infused with traditional Malaysian cooking styles and flavours.

We had an amazing experience at the Westin Resort & Spa, Langkawi. We stayed in a luxurious one-bedroom villa which had a large, private pool and front access to the beach through our own gate.

Westin Villa, Langkawi
Westin Villa, Langkawi

We were treated to a private BBQ in our villa the first evening with a personal chef and waiter. This included three salads, an assortment of breads, lobster, steak, lamb, prawns, and three desserts. They set up our outdoor area for the dining experiences with all the cutlery, candles, and environment for five-star dining.

Our accommodation was exceptional! A humungous bathroom, a large bedroom featuring a king-size bed, and a huge living and dining area with a self-contained kitchen. There was also a separate bathroom.

The Westin is fantastic for families with so much on offer – squash, pool, basketball, soccer, netball, bike riding, SUP, kayaking, and a catamaran.

Westin resort, Langkawi
Westin resort, Langkawi

The Kids’ Club offered great daily activities including Batik painting which engaged my children, plus nail painting, Master Chef, T-Shirt painting and sand art.

We flew back to KL to arrive at the luxurious St Regis. Our St Regis Suite was opulent with a large powder room, a huge dining and living space, a large bedroom, the biggest dressing room I’ve seen, a separate bathroom with views from the bathtub overlooking the KL lights, and a technological toilet that was warm to sit on, and included a myriad of buttons and settings to filter the bottom cleansing process!

St Regis Suite, Kuala Lumpur
St Regis Suite, Kuala Lumpur

An exciting part of the St Regis experience was their passion for Christmas. Decorations adorned the hotel and their special Christmas Staycation was amazing!! The kids decorated gingerbread houses with a personal chef, painted Nutcrackers, decorated a Christmas tree in our room, gingerbread men, and Christmas decorations which we brought home with us.

We were treated to a mouth-watering Christmas menu in our room of Surf and Turf with the thickest, juiciest steak, fresh king prawns, a smoked salmon salad, and an assortment of desserts. There was also a children’s menu of spaghetti bolognaise or fish and chips for the less adventurous child.

Christmas Staycation, St Regis, KL
Christmas Staycation, St Regis, KL

In the morning, my son discovered a stocking hanging from outside our door with sweet treats and teddy bears.

We then had a magnificent night at the Hilton KL, where we were greeted by beautiful staff, a Jungle Bird cocktail, the Hilton Kuala Lumpur signature cocktail/mocktail, sweet delicacies, a box for each child with their names in chocolate and specially selected treats, and a personalised welcome greeting on the king-size bed made of palm fronds, flowers, and towel art.

Hilton KL warm welcome
Hilton KL warm welcome

That night we had an amazing, unsurpassed virtual reality experience at dinner with eight courses paired with a fantasy story at the Banquet of Hoshena. It was truly magical!

The staff was terrific, arranging a wake-up call and take-away breakfast of coffee, fresh orange juice, pastries, fruit, and a western-cooked breakfast for us to take on the plane ride home.

Beautiful staff at Hilton, KL
Beautiful staff at Hilton, KL

It was a magnificent holiday in Malaysia – accessible and suited to families, with so much to offer. It is very affordable, and luxurious but also infused with traditional Malaysian culture. I’m surprised more Australian families don’t visit Malaysia, it was a beautiful experience for me and my two children.

My children and I recently stayed at the Novotel in Nha Trang, which is a top pick for gorgeous ocean views and beach access. It offers prime residence in the hub of the energetic tourist resort.


Nha Trang is a 6.5-hour car ride from Ho Chi Minh City, however, we enjoyed a short one-hour plane flight which was inexpensive at just under $100 per head.

Situated in the heart of the city, the Novotel is fantastically located, downtown within short walking distance of evening markets, restaurants and bars. It is also conveniently located to museums, pagodas, scuba diving and golf.

Novotel Nha Trang has its own private beach, with glorious views of islands and sweeping white sands, lined with palm trees. Nha Trang beach was voted one of the 29 best bays in the world. The hotel offers island tours including boat rides to the Disneyland-like amusement park on Vinpearl Island.

The beach was a favourite hangout with bars and restaurants down on the sand. The water was magnificent – clean and warm with decent waves for swimming. The hotel provides free beach loungers.

We stayed in a family room that was comfortable and clean, with a King Size bed and bunks. The bathroom was spacious and included a shower and bath. There were fresh fruits, delicious cakes, and cute towel animal creations awaiting our arrival.

Delicious fruit and sweets awaiting our arrival.

We had a private balcony that offered impressive views of the majestic coastline, which lit up at nighttime.

The hotel’s room service offered an appetising menu and the freshly-cooked food was delivered quickly. All-round, the housekeeping was excellent.

Also with ocean views, was a clean, sparkling outdoor swimming pool with bar service.

The buffet breakfast was extensive with a range of international cuisine from exotic Vietnamese street food to sushi and traditional Western fare. Fresh fruits, juices and pastries were plentiful.

The hotel also included a classy spa as well as a gym and fitness centre.

The staff was lovely and informative about local services, which was helpful given English speaking was limited elsewhere.

Perth Weekend Guide

We’ve found some fantastic fun and engaging things for the kids to do in Perth year-round, all you have to do is choose where to go first!


Are your kids bubbling with energy? These activities are sure to keep them entertained all day.

Zone Bowling Joondalup

Looking for a place with it all? With bowling, laser tag, an arcade and yummy food, Zone Bowling will keep them busy for hours. Visit: https://www.zonebowling.com/venues/wa/zone-bowling-joondalup


LatitudeAir Joondalup

Take the kids to LatitudeAir Joondalup to climb, bounce and fly. With over 3,000sqm of aerial entertainment, including trampolines and climbing walls, get the kids ready for a day packed full of activity. For more information, head to their website: https://latitudeair.com/?_ga=2.60282477.1790865332.1605578656-66651972.1605578656

The Climb Zone

At Kerem Adventure Park, the Climb Zone is a fun adventure packed experience – with high ropes, low ropes and rock climbing in a safe and fun family environment. Go to: https://www.theclimbzone.com.au

Adventure World

A favourite for the whole family, Adventure World is now open with awesome rides for everyone. If you’re a thrill-seeker, check out the big scary Abyss or the Kraken. Or if you’re looking for something a bit tamer, go see the Hawaiian resort-themed Kahuna Falls. There’s even something for the little ones in the Dragons Kingdom. Visit: https://adventureworld.net.au

Island Aqua Park

Located in Hillarys, this floating aqua park features climbing walls and slides, and is suitable for children 6 years and over. Just make sure to book 48 hours in advance. Go to: https://islandaquapark.com.au

Trees Adventure

Just one hour out of Perth, this action-packed treetop and zipline adventure is suitable for kids 4 years and older, and offers a great range of courses and challenges for the whole family to enjoy. Hopefully you’re not afraid of heights! Go to: https://treesadventure.com.au/park/lane-poole-park/

Bibra Lake Regional Playground

This playground has something for children of all ages, with everything from water squirting bulrushes to educational giant rocks telling local Nyungar stories. Located near Bibra Lake on Progress Drive, this playground has plenty of activities including a double flying fox, rope obstacle courses and climbing frames, and plenty of shade, so you can even bring a picnic. For more visit: https://www.cockburn.wa.gov.au/Recreation-and-Attractions/Parks-and-Playgrounds/Bibra-Lake-Regional-Playground


For the older kids, this fun and new Virtual Reality experience is suitable for children 11 years and older. Much more than just gaming, VR-ARRIVAL delivers extraordinary experiences, transporting you, your friends and family into immersive virtual worlds. Boasting the best in professional VR headset (HTC Vive Pro) and room-scale motion-tracking technology, VR-ARRIVAL lets you experience virtual reality at its very best, with unmatched immersion and realism. Walk freely inside virtual worlds and literally step INTO the experience. Visit: vr-arrival.com.au 


Keep them learning and growing on the weekends, by making their time off fun but educational.


A family favourite located on Hillarys Boat Harbour, the Aquarium of Western Australia is the place to see and learn all about the underwater creatures of our coast as you go on a journey to learn and gain respect for our sea life. There is plenty to see and do, including diving or snorkelling with the sharks. For more info, go to: https://www.aqwa.com.au/

Fremantle Prison

Fremantle Prison has some fantastic experiences such as an Escape Tour, for children aged 5-12; and their making a mark art workshop! With tours for children aged 8-12, the prison is an excellent and exciting place to learn while you play, getting a glimpse into the life of a prisoner at Fremantle prison.  https://fremantleprison.com.au/visit-us/

Boola Bardip Museum

Located in the heart of Perth, the new and improved Perth Museum has finally reopened its doors and has a multitude of fun programs and activities to get up to. From their “Blast off! Stop Motion Animation” program about meteorites and our solar system, to their “Virtual Vortals program” about virtual reality and interactive digital adventures, plus many more. See: https://visit.museum.wa.gov.au/boolabardip/tours-programs-events

WA Maritime Museum

This weekend, head on down to the Maritime Museum in Fremantle to learn all about the fascinating world of the Vikings, with activities such as a Vikings themed game show, a choose-your-own-adventure story, or just relax and enjoy a fun-filled adventure of sailing, raiding and exploring. Go to: https://museum.wa.gov.au/museums/maritime


Gravity Discovery Centre and Observatory

Located only an hour north of Perth, become a rocket scientist for a day with their rocket making activities, and on Thursdays get the chance to become a space explorer with their school holiday program. Visit: Gravity Discovery Centre


Are you an animal-loving family? There’s plenty of activities to get out and see some furry (or not so furry) friends.

Perth Zoo

A family favourite for wildlife is the Perth Zoo. There is plenty to do, from kids and youth programs to watching live streams of the animals and Zoocoustics where you can see some of the best emerging Australian musicians with your loved ones. Set in the lush gardens of the Zoo, these unique live acoustic music sessions will have hearts fluttering. There will be food trucks for those looking for a bite to eat, or pack a picnic and bring your own food with responsible BYO drinks. General tickets are $30. Perth Zoo members receive a discounted ticket price of $25 (A valid Perth Zoo membership card must be present upon entry).  For more information check out the website:  https://perthzoo.wa.gov.au/programs

Caversham Wildlife Park

Located inside of Whiteman Park, get the chance to meet a wombat, feed a kangaroo, meet the koalas or feed some penguins. Visit: https://www.cavershamwildlife.com.au/daily-attractions/

Yanchep National Park

Have a little explorer on your hands? There are more than 400 caves reported at Yanchep Park, each offering contrasting experiences. Not only this but there are koalas to visit, kangaroos to see, golf to play and the opportunity tolearn about the rich culture and history of the Noongar people of Australia’s South West. For more, go to: https://parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au/park/yanchep

Cohunu Koala Park

Have a chat with over 30 talking parrots, see dingoes, kangaroos, emus, deer and koalas, just to name a few of the animals that live at this park. Take a ride on the Cohunu Park Railway for $4, it zig-zags its way throughout the park most weekends & public holidays (subject to weather conditions). Visit: https://cohunu.com.au/pioneer-steam-museum/


Penguin Island

Just a five-minute ferry ride away, the beautiful white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters is an island known for its wildlife. Join them for a cruise to see some dolphins, rare Australian sea lions, as well as the world’s smallest penguins. Plus the chance to swim, snorkel, picnic and explore, Penguin Island is a dream for animal lovers. Go to: https://www.penguinisland.com.au/#welcome-1

Swan Valley Cuddly Animal Farm

Are cuddly farmyard animals more your style? With entry including free tractor/train rides, a free merry go round ride, free bottle and bucket feeding, and free tea and coffee for the grown-ups, this is a lovely day out for the family. Visit: https://www.cuddlyanimalfarm.com.au

Toodyay Fairy-Tale Farm

Located in the Avon Valley town of Toodyay, this family built and owned farm has a range of indoor and outdoor displays of all your favourite nursery rhymes and fairy tales, friendly farm animals for the kiddies to interact with, and even a vintage toy museum. Go to: https://www.fairytalefarm.com.au

Far from a boring, predictable place to visit, Singapore is now a very appealing travel destination for Australian families.

Many years ago I did a stopover in Singapore en-route to Europe. I found it be ‘nice’, but, to be honest a bit dull. So when my husband suggested a family holiday to Singapore, I wasn’t overly enthused. When the time came to go, it was with some trepidation that I boarded our flight; however, I am happy to say it was completely WORTH IT. I can honestly say that it was one of the best family holidays we’ve ever had!

Highlights include

  • English is widely spoken
  • Clean and safe
  • Good, cheap public transport
  • Good shopping
  • Not much time difference

Top Tip
When planning your holiday, don’t book a transfer from the airport. These are ridiculously overpriced and taxis are cheap and readily available.

Sentosa Island

Where do I start?? This place just teems with fun and adventure. We did a ‘Swim with the Dolphins’ package and it was truly magical.

  • Dolphin Island
  • Adventure Cove Waterpark
  • S.E.A. Aquarium
  • Universal Studios
  • Underwater World
  • Singapore Cable Car

For more information visit


Singapore Zoo

This is a great zoo to visit. You can stroll around at your leisure or hop on and off the trams.

  • Jungle Breakfast with the Wildlife
  • Animal Shows
  • Animal Rides
  • Follow the ‘Feeding Trails’
  • Rainforest Kidzworld (bring your bathers!)
  • The Night Safari (one of the most popular tourist activities in Singapore)

For more information visit


Explore the neighbourhoods

Did someone say shopping?

  • Chinatown
  • Little India (not that great for prams but good for cheap shoes!)

For more information visit



Gardens by the Bay

These are massive gardens spanning over 100 hectares.

Some of the gardens are free and some you pay to visit.

There is something for everyone here.

  • Cloud Forest (amazing)
  • Children’s Garden (Bring your bathers!)
  • OCBC Skyway
  • Supertree Grove

For more information visit


Clarke Quay

This spot has a great vibe to it. It’s a terrific place to have dinner and relax.

  • Restaurants
  • Great cocktails!
  • Stroll along the waterfront
  • Catch a boat tour along the river
  • Watch and play in the fountain that shoots out water from the ground.

For more information visit


Handy Hint
Singapore doesn’t follow the same school timetable as us. If you can avoid their school holidays it can sometimes be cheaper and less crowded.

Where to stay

There are several places that spring to mind, from bustling Orchard Rd to Clarke Quay and Sentosa.

  • Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort (higher end hotel)
  • Novotel Clarke Quay (good mid-range hotel)
  • York Hotel Orchard Rd (good mid-range hotel)

Top Tip

If you want to save some money, go for something slightly further out.

Getting there

Direct flights take just over 8.5 hours and there are several to choose from.

For more information visit





Movenpick Resort and Spa in Phuket ticks all the boxes for a satisfying and enjoyable family holiday.

Set in the family-oriented precinct of Karon Beach, Movenpick Resort and Spa is a wonderful choice for families holidaying in Phuket and is one of my favourite resorts to go with children.

The location is ideal, with a beautiful beach, and many dining, shopping and entertainment options, all within close walking distance.

The hotel caters for all families’ needs with a Kids Club, four swimming pools and six fantastic restaurants offering a very high standard of food.

Additionally, the resort provides daily water activities and a complimentary Chocolate Hour – A Movenpick original feature – which includes a selection of chocolate sweets and treats.


The standard of accommodation is exceptional.

We stayed in a Two Bedroom Family Suite which was perfect for a family, set amongst the lovely tropical gardens and very closely situated to the main family pool area. In fact, it was the best hotel accommodation in which I have experienced with my two children – so spacious, well facilitated and in a great position opposite the Little Birds Kids Club.

It has a large screen TV in the family area and in each of the bedrooms, which includes a good range of family-friendly channels, including Nickelodeon.

We were able to use the hotel’s X Box too which the kids enjoyed and suited me when I felt like an afternoon siesta.

This accommodation is massive with a large living space, adjoining bunkbed bedroom, a King and Twin bedroom, each with their own generous en-suites.

This space easily accommodates a family of six. It has three mini bars which all included complimentary tea and coffee facilities

The family style accommodation is positioned close to the The Little Birds Kids Club, for children aged 4 to 12, which offers many creative and stimulating activities for the children including soap making, candle making, tie dyed t-shirt creating.


We spent many hours relaxing around the fabulous main family pool area, which features a large free form swimming pool, swim up bar and water slide, as well as daily water activities.

There are an additional three public pools on site and some private accommodation offers its own plunge pools.

Movenpick Resort and Spa has six fantastic restaurants which serve amazing cuisine across a variety of International styles ranging from Thai to Brazilian.

We enjoyed a delicious buffet breakfast each morning which included a large variety of international cuisine at Pacifica, which also offered a-la-carte Thai and western lunch and dinner.

OrientAsia serves the most scrumptious Thai food, as well as an array of other Asian fare. It was fresh and delicious, and the décor was tasteful and authentically Thai, creating a delicious local experience.

The hotel’s Mint restaurant offers a cool, fun, evening vibe with lots of yummy share plates, oven baked pizzas and refreshing cocktails, in an alfresco balmy setting opposite the beach.

My favourite dining option I experienced while in Phuket, was at El Gaucho Restaurant – Movenpick’s Brazilian restaurant, which offers churrasco – where we were able to choose from a succulent selection of grilled prime cuts, served straight from a skewer at our table. It was a fun and special experience, and the meat was cooked perfectly.

Another unique feature offered at Movenpick is the Chocolate Fondue experience at Café Studio. I have never encountered an experience like it. It was creative and extensive, including a large range of fruits and baked treats with melted chocolate and Movenpick’s own signature ice-cream. It has to be tried to be believed!

The Spa at the resort is very special. Aromatic oils, gentle music and comfortable furnishings create a soothing ambience and my Thai massage was exquisite!

The staff at Movenpick are delightful – warm, friendly and helpful. Staying at this resort was a wonderful experience for me and my children.

The Hyatt Regency in Phuket is a stylish, beachfront resort in Kamala Beach.

Classy experience at the Hyatt Regency

“In fitting with the sleek, upmarket look and feel of the Hyatt Regency hotel, the accommodation was modern and stylish.”

The Hyatt Regency is a high-quality resort offering an exceptional standard of accommodation, food and service. The design is very modern and stylish, offering a luxurious experience. 

It is beachfront, offering expansive, uninterrupted ocean views from all vantage points throughout the premises.

The hotel is well situated for relaxation, in the peaceful setting of Kamala Beach, yet is close enough to Patong (10km) for those who want to take advantage of the popular shopping or nightlife on offer.

In fitting with the sleek, upmarket look and feel of the Hyatt Regency hotel throughout, the accommodation is also modern and stylish.

We stayed in a Two-bedroom Regency Suite, which is contemporary and very spacious. It includes a King Bedroom, a Twin bedroom, lounge/dining area, and huge balcony with outdoor dining/living space and ocean views. This is ideal for a family of four, with loads of space in its 97 square metre floor plan. 

A favourite part of our Hyatt Regency experience was access to the Regency Club, which offers complimentary breakfast, drinks and delectable cocktail hour, inclusive of a plentiful spread of delicious cocktail food and refreshing drinks.

The Regency Club also has an infinity pool, which was lovely to enjoy while watching the sunset with a glass of wine and appetizer.

And positioned close and handy to the Club is the hotel’s Kids Club, enabling parents quality adult time to enjoy the Regency Club or the nearby Sunset Grill restaurant, which offers fine BBQ grilled steak or fresh local seafood, in a romantic setting, also with full uninterrupted views of the ocean at sunset.

The pool area is huge, and complete with a bar setting and large restaurant very close by.

The buffet breakfast is of a high quality, offering a huge assortment of Western and Eastern fare, ranging from cakes and pastries to curries and dumplings.


The Chava is a quiet, relaxing and intimate resort that is ideal for families wanting a safe, comfortable and friendly getaway in Phuket.

Luxury at The Chava Resort

“The accommodation was magnificent. We stayed in a 2-bedroom suite which was luxurious and huge!”

The Chava Resort is a gorgeous boutique hotel on Surin Beach, Phuket, which offers an intimate, friendly feel, making it very suitable for families.

I particularly noticed how warm and friendly the staff were. They provided a lovely, personalised experience.

The free-flowing pool was a great hub to hang out and relax with the family. The food was sensational, and dining was ambient, around the lush tropical pool setting.

The menu was not limited by the hotel’s relative size; the range of dishes on offer was extensive and a very high quality.

We sampled a range of delectable items from the restaurant, including a tasty seafood basket and the local, Thai signature dishes. It was all fresh and extremely flavoursome.

I enjoyed a fantastic Thai massage in the comfort of my bedroom, which was great as the kids watched TV while I could properly relax, since travelling on my own with the children restricts the opportunity to venture out of the hotel alone.   

The accommodation was magnificent. We stayed in a 2-bedroom suite which was luxurious and huge!

The suite took up a generous 160 square metres of floor space, which included two large bedrooms, two generous bathrooms, including a massive bath, a large flowing living, dining space and open plan self-contained kitchen.

Many families like to have chefs come into their room to prepare a meal for them in the comfort of their own living space which is a fun and novel idea, and the kitchen and living space cater well for this.

There were three TVs – one in each of the bedrooms and another in the lounge area.

The living space also offers a large balcony with an entertaining area which overlooks the pool.


Cockatoo Island was a wonderful find – a local adventure for my family.

Set in the middle of Sydney Harbour, Cockatoo Island is easy to visit with frequent ferries, yet feels removed from a city environment.

Cockatoo Island is a wonderful, easy getaway for families to experience glamping under the night’s sky. This is so much fun for kids!

Surprisingly, it was a relaxing and tranquil environment, as well as a unique experience in which we learnt about the Island’s rich heritage, having been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, for its important place in Australia’s colonial development involving aboriginal, convicts and World War II history.

There were fun things to do as a family, including tennis, giant chess and a fascinating audio tour of the Island’s heritage.

But, probably the best part for us was glamping! We hadn’t been camping before (mainly due to my lack of practical resources to make it happen!), so this option was so convenient and enjoyable.

We got cosy in a spacious and kit-out tent, which comprised two separate bedrooms, a family room and and a small outdoor deck. Waterfront.

The beds were comfortable and everything had been thought of including an esky, lamp, snug, holiday chairs and tables.

There is also a cinema experience and opportunity to toast marshmallows by a campfire in traditional camping style.

While this was all great fun, I really relished the stay in their 1916-colonial style apartments. These were so romantic, maintained in sync with the colonial style, yet offered all the conveniences I have become used to – heating and fans, a modern kitchen, TV, lovely BBQ, deck and patio area and loads of space!

Cockatoo Island frequently offers events and exhibitions. For more information visit www.cockatooisland.gov.au/events