This is The Beginning. Port Douglas to Kuala Lumpur

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This post is from our first day of travel, our first day as a nomadic family, not quite digital nomads yet, our travel blog wasn’t making enough money for us to call ourselves that. These early months of travel were funded by savings. We’d saved for a year, planned for a year, and now we had freedom. The first part of our journey was to Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. Our first time in Malaysia ever, and I was travelling as a single mum with two small kids.

“It’s been a very long two days, but we’re here, safe, comfortable and looking forward to a good night’s sleep.


 I’ve Learnt a Few Things.

  • The rate at the Travelex counter at Gold Coast airport is negotiable. I wasn’t impressed with the offered rate so she gave me a better one. Which was OK.
  • You have to buy everything, even water and blankets on Air Asia. It was cold, we were glad we had extra layers.
  • The water and snacks on Air Asia are cheaper than they are in Australia, so I didn’t mind buying a few things.
  • They do not enforce the no-outside-food rule at all, nobody asked if we had food, nor did they comment on it.
  •  There really are children who kick seats and slam tray tables for the duration of the flight. The little demons were sat behind us, the mother making no attempt to stop them, it drove us crazy. I always thought it was a myth!
  •  An 8 hour flight during the day feels a lot longer than an 8 hour flight at night, particularly without the distractions of regular meals and in-flight entertainment.
  •  My children are positively angelic on flights, both of them were curled up asleep with their heads on my lap for a good chunk of the time and were endearingly excited about what they could see out of the window.
  • To always have a plan. I should have had a map to find our hostel once we got off the monorail, I didn’t, we got lost, there were tears. A nice lady came to our rescue.
  • Not to lock my valuables in my backpack along with the key to the padlock. The hostel had bolt cutters for just such emergencies.
  • The kids are exhausted and emotional, but they still got excited by monorails and bunk beds. They’re resilient little creatures but slow travel is the only way to go, we need to stay a while and just chill.
  • That Skype is a truly wonderful thing. It was lovely to have virtual Dad with us at bedtime. Free in-room wi-fi is a necessity.

Briefly, What We’ve Done In The Last Two Days

Monday 10am Port Douglas to Cairns, 1.5 hours by car. (would have been 1 hour but we realised I’d left my bank card at home when we were halfway there)


Cairns to Brisbane, 2 hours by plane.

Brisbane to Gold Coast, 2 hours by train at $56 (really expensive and no toilets)

Gold Coast Station to our hotel for the night by taxi $43(really expensive)


Nice sleep in a fairly grotty hotel $85. Again, really expensive for what it was, smelly but comfortable. Arrived about 7pm.

Taxi from hotel to Gold Coast airport at 6am $16 (under 10 minutes)


Gold Coast to Kuala Lumpur by plane with Air Asia 8.5 hours.


Bus from KL budget airport to KL Sentral Station 16MYR  AU$4  1 hour ( public transport is a bargain here!)

Monorail from  Kuala Lumpur Sentral to our hostel, about a dollar, great fun but absolutely packed at peak hour. Nice ladies at the station helped me out with finding the right train, it’s a huge place.


Hostel $50/night, but it’s safe and nice and there is free wifi and coffee, so I’ll forgive them for being a bit pricey. Arrived about 6pm local time.

So goodnight,  I did it, I got us here safely with only a couple of major dramas, I’m quite pleased with myself.

Lots of exploring to do tomorrow!

Back to our main Malaysia Travel Blog page. Many years later we were able to put together this full guide to Kuala Lumpur with kids. From tiny travel blogs, huge ones grow.

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About the author
Alyson Long
Alyson Long is a British medical scientist who jumped ship to chase dreams. A former Chief Biomedical Scientist at London's West Middlesex Hospital she started in website creation and travel writing in 2011. Alyson is a full-time blogger and travel writer, a published author, and owns several websites. World Travel Family is the biggest. A lifetime of wanderlust and over 6 years of full-time travel, plus a separate 12 month gap year, has given Alyson and the family some travel expert smarts to share with you on this world travel site. Today Alyson still travels extensively to update this site and continue her mission to visit every country, but she's often at home on her farm in Australia.

16 thoughts on “This is The Beginning. Port Douglas to Kuala Lumpur”

  1. Great to see your travel has started.

    I can relate to a lot of those things you’ve learnt on a plane! And as for free wifi that is virtually a must nowadays for any traveller.

  2. Well done-pmsl at you leaving your bank card and locking your keys in your backpack, you well-travelled lunatic! Super excited for you to get settled in and looking forward to your adventures. Did I tell you about the time I left my bag in a restaurant in Spain with all my money, my father-in-laws money and our passports inside; I didn’t realise until we got home to PORTUGAL (no one was at the border) ?!

  3. I just wrote a blog post about the type of travel blogs I most like to read and this post fits the bill perfectly! Can’t wait to read more of your adventures and can’t wait to be there ourselves soon.

  4. Congratulations on making it safely – you are a super mum. We have just returned from Cambodia on Jet Star, it is great to get a cheap airfare but you are spot on, everything else is an expense! We did not find the food that good or cheap with Jetstar but we survived. We were discussing the additional expenses you need to add on when getting to a destination – taxi’s, food and drink – in the airport and on the play – then add a lay over and costs seem to blow out.

    Sorry to hear you had a couple of terrors kicking your seats, we travel with a 2yo and 4yo frequently and they know the drill – its hard work, you need to be organised and have the appropriate entertainment to keep them occupied. Our recent trip back was a dream they both fell asleep before the place took off and woke 8 hrs later when we landed – night travel works well.

    Enjoy your travels

  5. You have every right to be pleased with yourself. Well done you and well done your lovely lads. I’ve done the single parent overseas travel gig with 2 offspring so I know it can be a bit tricky and a whole lot scary. Thanks so much for the detailed post with the photos, no doubt written at a time when you must have been exhausted. Like everyone else who has posted, I can’t wait to read more!! Thanks so much for documenting your experiences – I am learning so much from you. Cheers and good luck!

  6. Wow omigod!
    Congratulations! I still cannot get over at how cute those bags are! I love the blue one. My little girl is 4 and she’s only to carrying teeny tiny girly bags for now.

    Congratulations too on the flight! I’ve never been on a long haul with air Asia.

  7. Yay! Glad you finally made it… what an epic journey. Did you yell at those kids or the mother behind you?

    • No, I couldn’t Bethaney, they were only little and I don’t think the Mum had ever flown before, she probably didn’t realise how much it shakes the chairs in front. D ( age 9) did at the end ” Excuse me little girl, could you please stop banging my seat?” What a gent!

  8. So glad you are safe! Did you not say something to the mother, I’m surprised! Not like you at all. Waiting patiently for more adventures!

  9. Woohoo, sounds fabulous, exciting and downright fun! If not a little exhausting. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Can’t wait for the next instalment.

  10. All sounds good. Have fun and give the boys a hug from Grannyxoxo

  11. Yay!! You guys made it! I was rolling my eyes as I read about the kids kicking your seats — WHO let’s their children DO that?!? Tablet/laptop = good plan. ๐Ÿ™‚ Youre boys are a couple of real troopers. Can’t wait to see what you guys get into next. =)

    Happy Travels!


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