The Joys and Pains of a Package Tour

We are now into our second day in Kuala Lumpur, our second city we have visited in Malaysia using a package tour from Malaysia.com.  This is far enough into the trip that we are able to draw some conclusions about using a package tour for the first time.  While we are overall glad that we used the tour, there are some definite downsides.

On the positive side, our guide/driver, Balan, is great.  He’s very nice, mostly knowledgable, and is patient for us when we need to stop to take care of the needs of a 6-month-old.  Also, it was great to have a driver to take us to the Batu Caves, the Orang Asli Museum, and the Royal Selangor Pewter Factory today – both are quite a ways from the center of Kuala Lumpur, so it would have been much more difficult to have figured out how to get to them without a driver.  All three were very interesting an well worth a visit that would have been much more difficult to arrange.

In general, it has been a great way to get from city to city, as well, without having to worry about figuring out bus and/or train connections on our own.  While such logistics are a fun part of our travel in Europe, it would have been too much this time with Douglas.

Also, the tour takes us to some great places we wouldn’t otherwise have known about.  For example, we wouldn’t have known about the Pewter Factory that we visited today, and we wouldn’t have thought of eating the wonderful brunch with great views at the top of KL’s telecom tower that we enjoyed yesterday.

On the flip side, we also wouldn’t have gone to the touristy and cheesy restaurant at which we had lunch today – the meal was very similar to yesterday’s (in the tower), but without the view.  There have also been a couple of times when we’ve wished that we could just explore on our own, or take care of Douglas’s schedule on our own without the tour schedule.

So, we are very glad that we modified the original schedules proposed by the company.  We added some free time to ourselves to explore the cities in addition to the original plan.  This allows us to get the city overview from a Malaysian tourguide and to get transportation between cities and to the outlying sights, but still allows us time to explore on our own and to find restaurants on our own.  I think it’ll be a long time before we’re ready to join the motorcoach tours, but this compromise is working really well for us.

Also, the pictures from this trip are available at http://finneytravel.shutterfly.com.

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About Lance Finney

Father of two boys, Java developer, Ethical Humanist, and world traveler (when I can sneak it in). Contributor to Grounded Parents.
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