Our 4D3N family trip to Desaru

Posted by ~Summer~ on January 10, 2024
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We love travelling as a big family and are blessed to be able to bring our parents, who get along really well, on holidays overseas. Even though we gather quite often at our place for festivities, it's different when you visit a foreign place and go sightseeing together.

The last time we went abroad together was in December 2019, right before the pandemic hit. We went to Club Med in Bintan and it was an enjoyable trip for everyone. I do wish we can bring our parents to further places like Japan or even Europe but it costs a bomb even for our family of six alone, which is why we are still sticking to neighbouring countries for now. By that, I do mean Malaysia. Yup, but that's better than nothing, right?

Upon reading how there are activities catering to both the young and old, we decided on visiting Desaru during the June holidays. It turned out to be a wonderful, absolutely memorable 4D3N trip for us so here's sharing our itinerary and all the fun things we did as a family.

Day 1 - Check-in + SK Mall + Ostrich Farm + Dinner in Jade Garden Seafood Restaurant

While we drove our 7-seater Toyota Wish to Desaru so that we could have a car to ferry us around, it could only for the six of us as we had to make space for the luggage and lots of bags. Thus, we bought ferry tickets for the parents and picked them up at the terminal in Desaru when they arrived. The car ride didn't take longer than three hours and it was fairly easy to get to Desaru by following the GPS.

Since we had a big group of 10 pax, we rented an entire house that came with two stories, a huge living space, a fully equipped kitchen, a front porch and four bedrooms. This cost us less than S$180 per night which was really reasonable and affordable. I booked mine on Agoda and if you just key in Desaru and look around, there are plenty of homestay choices and we would take this over hotel anytime because it helps to save a significant amount of money. Granted, you do not get facilities and there is no breakfast provided, but we make do with what we have and we brought back our own breakfast each day - which is good since the parents can choose what they wanted to eat. Take a look at the house below.

For the boys, the highlight was this huge tub in the master bedroom and they were so happy playing in it together. I always remind Asher that it won't be too long till Ansel grows up and they both get too old for this, so cherish the brotherly, fun times while they last.

As for the girls, they fell with love with three cute cats who hung out at our porch and were tame enough to pat and be carried. So much so that they gave them each a name - Sparks, Oreo and Kopi.

While we waited for the hubby to pick the parents from the terminal, we hung out at a neighbourhall mall called SK Mall. There's not much shops to boast about but the kids did have fun playing on the kiddy car rides, claw machines, games and also enjoyed a candy floss treat. Sometimes, I prefer smaller and less crowded malls like this as compared to the bustling, megamalls. You know what I mean, right?

The highlight of Day 1 was visiting the Ostrich Farm which is about half an hour's drive from where we stayed. It wasn't our first time seeing and feeding ostriches up close but this was the first real Ostrich Farm so that made it kind of special. Not only did we see newborn chicks, we also stood on an ostrich's egg, saw how an ostrich egg has to be meticulously opened by drilling and nailing, and tasted a delicious ostrich egg omelette and sponge cake.

The kids enjoyed the feeding very much and all our parents had a go at giving the ostriches corn kernels and vegetables too. We also took a nice family photograph here which is the first one in this article and my favourite of the lot. It was also nice that the staff here spoke in both English and Mandarin so that our parents could understand the farm tour.

For dinner, we made our way to Jade Garden Seafood Restaurant which is not far from the ostrich farm. Yes, I think it's quite the norm to eat more seafood meals when you are in Malaysia since it is much cheaper than in Singapore. I have to say that my kids (and myself too) don't appreciate seafood much - yes, they don't really fancy crabs, lobsters and prawns even though we tell them these are expensive stuff - but it was nice that we were able to treat our parents to a delicious meal and see them happily tucking in. I supposed the kids would be happy just eating KFC, haha, which is what I would like too.

While our parents were eating heartily, the kids were happy to quickly finish their food and go for a night stroll with a beautiful view of the sea. I guess travelling in a big group means even if the likes and desires of everyone might differ vastly, you compromise, give in and do your best to make everyone happy. That's all we want from a holiday, right? Joy, relaxation and priceless memories.

Day 2 - Adventure Waterpark Desaru Coast + Dinner in Desaru Seafood Corner

On the second day, we made our way to the Adventure Waterpark for some splashing good times. The kids love going to waterparks and what this one so special is that my Dad and Mum joined us too, woohoo! While my parents-in-law decided to drive the car around to visit temples and go shopping, my parents told me that they would join us so they could play with the kids too. Awww, it's what I would wanna as a grandma too next time and hopefully, I can still go on exhilarating theme park rides with my grandchildren.

The weather was kind to us that day so we went on nearly all the rides around the park. I love how there is usually a kids zone so that the younger ones can hang out here while the older ones can go for more exciting rides. Ansel was just too happy to have his siblings with him and they took turns to take him down the slides. I love seeing all their smiles and besides being the caretaker, I am also the videographer because I make sure I capture those happy moments so we can compile them into a video to remember for a lifetime. 

The park is rather huge and there are some rather special rides and activities that we don't have back at home. For instance, you can go on an exciting viking ride, paddle boat against a waterfall backdrop, play a game of mini ball, play chess, go into the dunk tank or even go on a roller coaster ride that is sure to make waves.

See what I mean, right? I was so thankful that my mum was able and willing to go on the roller coaster ride with the kids so I could capture this very precious moment (I already sat with the kids before that, yeah? It's not like I wanna miss out on all the fun too because the kids will be very sad if I opt out of all the fun just to take photos). 

There is also a gigantic wave pool which was where Ansel hung out with the hubby while the rest of us wandered around. One of his favourites was the lazy river and he loves to sit on me in the float and just go round and round - which was exactly what we did for an hour or so. 

By the way, you can top up a fee to book a hut to get some shade from the sun, which was what we did so that my parents could rest when they needed to. Ours was located right in front of the wave pool and it was pretty awesome because there was real sand all around. Did we stay till the park closed? Of course, we did. 

For dinner, we went to Desaru Seafood Corner and our favourite dish there was the stir fried lala. The kids were all exhausted when we got home so we relaxed, played with the cats, and had a family movie night on the comfort of the couch.

Day 3 - Teluk Sengat Crocodile Farm + Desaru Fruit Farm + ATV Ride + Dinner in Nelayan Seafood By The Coast + Firefly Tour

For Day 3, I had booked a tour in advance and we were in for an exciting lineup of activities from morning to night. You can search for any tours you like as there are quite a lot to choose from but ours was booked with Desaru Fruit Farm and you can check out their list of tours here. When planning your itinerary, do check out whether the attractions are closed on any days, for instance the waterpark is closed every Tuesday, so you can avoid making any wasted trips.

Our first stop of the tour was to visit Teluk Sengat Crocodile Farm which is about half an hour's drive away from Desaru. I have to say that we were not very impressed by it and it pales in comparison to the Langkawi one which we went years ago. Initially, we were told that there was feeding activity available and the staff told me it cost RM20 for three pieces of chicken. So I reckoned all four of my kids and probably our parents would wanna try it out so I bought two sets of it, assuming that at least six people would get to 'feed' the crocodiles. It turned out that you merely pay to watch the staff feed the crocodiels and he did so from the second level and threw the chickens - yes, we are talking about whole chickens here - one by one into the pond.

So yup, we watched him throw a total of six chickens - he was surprised that we bought so many but well, the instructions weren't clear to begin with - and the crocodiles got to eat a little more that morning. The farm is small in size and can be completed with 30-45 minutes, including the feeding, so we said goodbye to the crocodiles and made our way to the next stop.

Our next stop was Desaru Fruit Farm and after walking along a trail to learn more about some locally grown fruits, the kids were delighted to see that there was a mini petting farm where they could feed rabbits, chickens and goats. Yup, there is no doubt that animals excite my kids much more than fruits, haha. There is also fish pond nearby and fish feed can be purchased. One very special animal that we fed here are the.... llamas! Yup, there was a pair of beautiful, tame llamas and I went with the kids to feed them some grass - this was done at a fee, of course. 

An activity that I was very much looking forward was the ATV ride, woohoo! For this, kids 16 and below had to ride as a pillion with an adult so thankfully, we had just enough pax to make it work.

While my mother-in-law was afraid to ride alone and chose to do with with my father-in-law, my parents, the hubby and I each took a kid with us so that made 10 of us on five double ATVs, woohoo! Once we put on our helmets and listened to the safety briefing, we were all set to go!

See, even Ansel had a terrific time! According to my mum who has been on a few ATV experiences (yes, she is quite an adventurous and daring mum as you can tell by now - that is where I get my genes from too), this one was considered quite long - a full 20 minutes or more - so it was pretty worthwhile since it was included in the tour package.

Both lunch and dinner were provided too. We had our lunch at the Fruit Farm and were totally impressed with wide range of super fresh fruits along with yummy dishes like fried chicken, green curry, prawns and tom yum soup. Dinner was by coast at the famous Nelayan Seafood Restaurant and we were treated to a nice meal including calamari, lobsters and steam fish. No, you don't get to pick from the menu for either meal so you just have to eat whatever is served. We were pretty satisfied and happy with what we got.

That's not all for this very happening day! After taking a walk by the beach where the kids found lots of crabs, we made our way to our boat ride which was going to take us on a firefly tour. How fun to do it with both the kids and the parents, right?

The big question: Did we see any fireflies? The answer is yes, we did! There was dozens of them which looked like flickering green dots and the captain made sure all of us on board were able to see them. One of the staff even took a leave which had a firefly on it to pass to Ansel so he could hold it. How nice! It was all too dark to be filmed, of course, but it is also the memories and experience that will live in our hearts.

Day 4 - Playground + Tanjung Balau Beach + Home Sweet Home

On the last day, our parents chose to go sightseeing together and the hubby gave them a lift after breakfast. The kids and I went to this nearby playground to have fun and what was awesome was that the cats were with us too, as if knowing that it was time to bid farewell.

We bought some pop pop snappers to let them try and it was Ansel's first time playing with them so it was quite amusing and heartwarming to see them smiling and having fun.

After packing up and checking out, we were not ready to head home just yet. The kids had been wanting to check out the beach so we made our way to Tanjung Balau. It was an awesome afternoon because not only was the weather good to us, the kids were also thrilled that the beach was teeming with marine life like small fishes and crabs. So we went fishing (and released them after), flew a kite, built sandcastles and just enjoyed our last day of holiday as a family. While it was awesome being with the parents, I also appreciated this afternoon that we had all to ourselves as a family of six too.

So we came home looking way more tanned than before, had lots of sand and dirt in our luggage, but also brought back a treasure trove of happy smiles and precious memories. It's always wonderful to go on family trips, even though we all know that underneath those joyful pictures are the usual tantrums, meltdowns and bickers.

I know we will cherish this trip for a long time to come and in fact, the kids have watched the video I made for them dozens of times already because it just feels nice to reminisce and talk about the happy times every once in a while. Here's the video, in case you are keen to watch it too.


That marks the end of our 4D3N stay in Desaru. Till our next overseas trip!


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