Motherhood was quite a trial and terror for me, especially when my son was younger. No, not because he is a special need child and have different milestone in comparison to his peers. I realize that rather late but because I fell prey to the society’s expectation on his milestones, especially the uneducated and terribly uninformed friends and relatives. My son and I, we both thrive when I finally stopped doing what people expects me to do as a parent and goes against the norm. Life gets less stressful and less depressing when I stopped listening to the advises of ‘parenting experts’ all around me. That said, we started to get out of our comfort zone and started exploring our country to widen our horizon and experience things first hand. Couldn’t be more glad that I decided to take that step and if I could turn back time, I would do it again. Only sooner.
Traveling with a young child can be quite a hassle when it comes to transportation, planning a memorable itinerary for each trips and not to mention sleeping arrangements and accommodation. But I have a few tricks up my sleeves when it comes to making the most out of a trip without burning a huge hole in the pocket; which is sign up for an all in planned vacation.
Plenty of travel agencies in Malaysia is offering planned vacation packages for the whole family, but I’m much more inclined to sign up for packages offered by local homestays instead of travel agencies. Stayed and visited plenty of homestays during my FAM trips with Tourism Malaysia and I vouch for their hospitality and planned iterinery. My two favourite homestays got to be Homestay Bukit Gantang, Perak (stayed there for a couple of days during Railway Tourism trip in 2014) and Banghuris Homestay in Sepang. Activities in both of these two places beats a luxury vacation flat, I kid you not. There is a certain charm where you stay with a host and their family, I must say and both my son and husband enjoyed our stays a lot.
I’m constantly on a lookout for what local homestays have to offer and so, when Homestay Festival was held back in May, I couldn’t resist but check it out. I thought perhaps I could sign up for some planned vacations in some of the homestays in Malaysia.
Tourism folks who made the event possible
Here’s checking out booths featuring participating homestays from all over Malaysia.
Spotted some interesting ones.
One of the common planned activities that is usually included in most of these homestays’ itinery; batik painting.
And craft-making session. Here’s a craft making session activity hosted by Homestay Haji Dorani during the Selangor Homestay Festival 2015.We arrived just in time to join in and weave our own masterpiece.
I failed terribly because I’m very bad with my hands but here’s my son, AlienGoTravel’s masterpiece. Weaved grasshopper. Not too shabby, eh?
Speaking of arts and crafts, some homestays also produce high quality handmade souvenirs.
Pretty keychains, don’t you think? These are handcrafted.
It is interesting to note that each of the participating homestays supports small businesses and entrepreneurs and I directly help to increase their revenue. Local products can be seen being sold at each of the booths and I was told that some homestays is also offering factory visit to tourists who are interested in learning the trade or those who are interested go experience first hand on what happen behind the scene when stuff are made. So yes, you can expect visits to keropok lekor factory or visits to palm oil or coffee factory in some homestays. Play your card right and you’d probably have it included in your homestay vacation packages.
Some homestays even have spa facilities and offers traditional training for those who are interested to learn the trade.
Cultural dance performance to entertain visitors who visited the festival can be seen at intervals. And yes. You can also learn folk dance in some homestays too. I recalled one from Terengganu offering ‘Ulek Mayang’ dance class to their guests. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of that particularly homestay, so if you are interested, you’re going to have to Google that.
Malaysia is a very interesting country and have quite a lot to offer when it comes to tourism. Apart from interesting places to visit, we are also rich with cultural diversity.Why not give our own backyard some exploration before we globetrot and take on the world? I certainly want to do that, and hopefully I could write my first hand experience on what homestays in Malaysia have go offer in the nearest future.