Ask Joan: Your travel dilemmas solved

Kuala Lumpur, Lankawi, big family fun in Ireland, taking a scissors on holidays

 Batu Cave is the biggest Hindu temple outside India

Batu Cave is the biggest Hindu temple outside India

Sat, Oct 5, 2013, 01:00

My parents-in-law have moved to Kuala Lumpur for two years and we plan to visit them with our two children (aged four and six), in December for three weeks. We’re thinking of spending the middle week in Langkawi and wonder if you have any recommendations for family hotels with a variety of things to do, as we will have parents-in-law with us. Also, any recommendations for KL and surrounding areas would be great. – SL, Dublin


That sounds like a very exciting trip and the weather will be nice and hot. Kuala Lumpur is famous for shopping and you will probably fill another suitcase. The modern shopping malls at KLCC and the Pavilion in Bukit Bintang are good. Central Market and the Petronas Towers are a must. For a real Asian feel, the bustling Petaling Street in Chinatown is worth a visit to haggle over prices and eat some street food.

KL has great architecture with an eclectic mix of old Malaysian, Art Deco, neo-Classical and very modern. The Petronas Towers were the world’s highest buildings from 1998-2004 and are no less spectacular having being outstripped by other towers. Read more about KL’s architecture on savoirvivrekl.blogspot.ie, written by a local.

Beyond the city the Batu Cave is the biggest Hindu temple outside India. The world’s tallest statue in gold, Lord Murugan, stands outside it, 42m high.

The children may love to see and/or ride elephants at the Kuala Gandah Sanctuary. If the grandparents could be persuaded to babysit, a night at the YTL Majestic Hotel in Malacca would be a treat (majesticmalacca.com).

Langkawi has great sandy beaches. The Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort is ideal for families. It is a four-star resort and costs about €1,200 for the week for the four of you. You will find better value resorts on hotels.com and booking.com.

The children may enjoy a jungle trekking or mangrove nature tour with junglewalla.com. And the adults will love the views from the panoramic cable car ride (panoramalangkawi.com).


We are an extended family group of 22-25 people celebrating a special birthday. We’re based all over Ireland, and would like to get together in the south or southwest in late October/November (not the bank holiday).

Our requirements include family-friendly accommodation (ideally self-catering attached to a good hotel), preferably four-star-ish with child-friendly activities in the region and – this is the important part – a couple of really good seafood restaurants that will be able to cater for our large group. – DM, Mayo


Kenmare Bay Hotel jumps into my head when I think of family groups visiting the southwest. It has lovely self-catering homes and a great leisure centre . Best of all, it is in Kenmare where there is plenty for everyone to do (kenmarebayhotel.com, October weekends from €89 per night). There are plenty of good seafood restaurants in the area. I would suggest the Boathouse at Dromquinna Manor. Opening times vary in October and November, but they will open for a big group (064-6642889).

The Maritime Hotel in Bantry has modern self-catering suites within the hotel and a good pool area. The hotel restaurant menu has a selection of local seafood. Suites are from €120 per night, themaritime.ie. Bantry has a couple of nice seafood restaurants, O’Connor’s Seafood (027-55664) and the Fish Kitchen (027-56651).


I read that you can bring small scissors in your hand luggage. I cannot find anything on the Aer Lingus website. Does this just apply to the UK? –AME, Dublin


I hate travelling without a small scissors too. You can take a small pair through security and on airlines out of Ireland – it must be no more than six centimetres from fulcrum to tip. There are details on the Aer Lingus and Dublin Airport websites. If you use the search box, you will find them.

However, the part that’s hard to determine is the return journey. Every airport has different rules, and applies them differently. If you do bring them, post them home: that way you won’t have to worry about security.
Send your travel queries to jscales@irishtimes.com

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