Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — January 2019

We arrived in Malaysia just in time for new years but ended up being too exhausted to do much about it. Getting there from Hoi An had been a bit stressful and the apartment we’d rented turned out to be not exactly what we’d thought it was. (Cramped and looking directly onto a construction site and a graveyard…) Thankfully after a few days we moved into a gorgeous apartment, with scarily high views from the 27th floor and a swimming pool and gym just a step out the door. So all was well.

KL has cleaned up a lot since my memories of it 20 years ago. It’s a fun city with a lot to offer, but the heavy traffic (at almost all times of the day it seemed) made it a bit hard to get around. Still we had a good time with lots of activities for the kids.

The first day we headed to the centre of the city to check out the city park and with the soaring twin towers behind. It has a fantastic public playground with shallow pools for kids.

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The bird park was also a lot of fun and teeming with birds. We had a hard time gauging how bird-friendly it really was though. The new section with a giant walk-in bird enclosure is great. We saw a bird catch its own fish from a ‘natural’ stream. But as we went on it seemed a bit run-down…and then we found a dead chick abandoned in an incubator. Good lesson in itself – now the kids are way more into the idea of totally free-range farm eggs…

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We had a fantastic day at the Petronas tower science centre. Seriously, Europe (and the States) needs to catch up on how to make really great, interactive science centres for kids and adults. *But* (I guess KL was great with with caveats for me…) the centre is apparently owned by an oil company, which explained the complete lack of any exhibits talking about the extreme problems of oil, despite the museum including a whole room constructed as an oil rig. As far as I remember there was nothing about global warming at all, and very little about renewable sources. So science mixed with propaganda? Of course we talked about all this with the kids…and still had a huge amount of fun with what was there.

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We also visited the canopy walk in a city park and then tried to go to one in a national reserve outside the city.

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Sadly the one outside the city had been closed in 2017, but we found a beautiful little waterfall with a pool that was perfect for swimming and full of little fish happy to nibble at our toes. It’s always fun to meet other homeschoolers with different backgrounds and reasons for turning to alternative education — which we do fairly often while travelling like this. At the waterfall, we met a Muslim homeschooling family from Liverpool and had a good chat about life and education while the kids tried to catch fish.

Look at these amazing trees!! And apparently this is all replanted forest.

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A fish!

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A huge highlight for the kids was the educative ‘theme-park’ Kidzania. The kids get to select jobs to practice from a wide range of 60 possibilities, from pilot to milk processing inspector to toll booth operator. Our kids especially loved being firefighters, McDonald’s burger makers (!?…they got to make their own happy meals), window cleaners and beauticians. (Look at that great makeup Nuki did for Izumi…when I first saw it I thought he’d got a black eye.)

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We’re still in Malaysia, now on the island of Penang. We’ll head overland to Thailand in a few days and then, a few weeks later, down to New Zealand.