Family Desaru trip September 2022

Flight prices are crazy high right now, and we're waiting for the year end to fly off for a great family holiday. So right now we've been doing road trips into Malaysia with the kids.

Having done Legoland 3 times already (Kids love it) and Batam once (Review posts - click here and here)... We decided to drive up to Desaru last weekend at the start of the September school holidays. 

WE GOT CAUGHT IN THE MASSIVE JAM on the causeway heading up there on Friday afternoon. 5 hours... FIVE HOURS to clear the second link. We started at the causeway in Woodlands, but after 30 mins of traffic hardly moving ( seriously we moved like 5 car lengths in that 30 mins), we detoured to Tuas instead. Still jammed, but at least moving a bit faster than Woodlands.

We had planned to arrive in Desaru at 1.30pm, go to the Ostrich farm and then have lunch before checking in to the hotel at 3plus. In the end, we only reached desaru at almost 5pm. GAHHHHHH. So we checked in straight away, and went to dinner starving. The rest of the trip was great, and we extended on extra night so we would drive home Monday instead of Sunday (no jam). Here are the places we went to and how it went-

Westin Hotel

We stayed at Westin Hotel. It has a Kids club, which we didn't end up using as we were always out and about. They have a decent sized pool and a baby pool. At the lift lobby there's a foozball table, and in the basement a pool table, ping pong table and other games for families to enjoy.

Apart from the pool, there's a private stretch of beach for hotel guests. Well maintained, has a little cafe and also a booth for booking water sports. But like min age is 8 years old for the water sports so we couldn't do the Jetskis and stuff Myla wanted to try. 

Michael was so happy just to play in the sand. And Myla got to swim in the sea which is very very clean and clear. 

Beach towels are provided for hotel guests. It wasn't too crowded, even though the hotel was at full capacity that weekned.

A beach front hotel is great because you can just walk back to your room and shower once you're done. Very convenient. It would not be fun dragging sandy and tired kids on shuttle busses to the other hotels in this area.

Our room was just below 500sgd a night... which I feel is pricey for Malaysia la... but most of the nice hotels in this area are about this price. 


And you can't put a price on comfort... OMG their beds are heavenly. 

The rest of the room facilities are up to expectations. Clean and new and modern. Quite typical of a 5 star hotel... but nothing really like WOWWWW. 

Room service is quick enough, 30 mins or so... no complaints. Also, even though their room pricing is ex, like Singapore prices... their food and room service is much cheaper when compared to SG prices. Just something I noticed. 

Their buffet breakfast is good. Very wide selection. Especially great if you love fresh juices, they have many types of freshly squeezed juices on free flow. 

We were always down for breakfast at 7 plus am. With no queue. But by 8 am... the queue starts building up, so go early! When we left the hotel to head out for our day (this is after returning to our rooms after breakfast to rest), so like 9plus am... the queue for breakfast is insane. Snaking. 

Hard Rock Cafe

The closest hotel to the Westin is the Hard Rock hotel. We went there for drinks and the live band one night. We almost stayed there this trip but my friend who stayed there a few weeks prior told me not to. 
She said service was bad, and the rooms were not clean. Gave her dirty looking towels etc. Not worth the price tag.  The good thing about Hard Rock though is that it's right where the Desaru Adventure Waterpark is, making it very convenient.  We had to take the shuttle bus to the Waterpark from the Westin. (Oh and the Shuttle bus never came to pick us up from the Waterpark when it was time to get back!!! WTH. It just didn't turn up as scheduled and we waited and waited it never came). We ended up paying some Malaysian uncle we passed by to drive us to Westin.

Nelayan at Tunamaya Beach Resort

Just a 5 min drive away, is the awesome restaurant called Nelayan. We had dinner there on our first night in Desaru. It was never in our itenerary but we just went for it because it was close by and we were starving upon arriving. Our plan was atually Jade Garden for seafood but that's a 30min drive. 

No pictures cos so shagged and hungry after the massive jam on the causeway. Didn't have the mood for pics lol. 

The food was excellent! Totally recommend that you go there. We ate at 3 different dinner places this trip and they were all fairly similarly priced, but Nelayan was by far the best. One of the best pepper crab I've had. 

Desaru Seafood Corner
Our second night we drove out a little further (around 15 mins or so), to a stretch where there's loads of eateries and supermarkets etc (Also has doctors clinic if you need). 
Desaru Seafood Corner is not bad. I would recommend it. Service is great and food is good too. 
They have live lobsters, not crazy priced.
Must have the scallops.
The lobsters we had were done nicely, but a bit too bland tasting for me (this was like some special broth... Adamson found it tasty though so maybe its good and I'm just used to like pepper crab taste haha). 

Lotus Desaru Seafood
On our third night, we went back to Nelayan cos yummy. But when we arrived, they were fully booked and could not accommodate walk ins  :(  So sad. So we drove out and came across some huge banners outside Lotus Desaru Resort saying they had great seafood. So ok let's try.
Being there was somewhat nostalgic because it's a resort I came to with my family when I was a kid! (Never had their seafood before though). The resort pretty much looks the same, with loads loads loads of activities for kids. Actually, if you're on a budget, you can consider staying here as it is much cheaper like from around 100sgd a night. But of course, not so luxurious la. The interiors are like old chalet standard.

You can stay here. but maybe don't eat here. Lol.  Not nice ah.... and wasn't like cheaper than Nelayan etc. The Steamed seabass in soy sauce was really good... I give them that. But the pepper crab... the pepper sauce.. it's like the kind you get when you go western food stall and order pepper steak that kind of taste. And their chili crab, was like sambal chili type of taste. WTH.

Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark 
If travelling with kids, this is a must go. MJ and Myla loved it. Compared to Adventure cove Sentosa and the Water park at Legoland Malaysia... this one in Desaru is better. If you have young kids like 5 years old and below, this place has much more for them compared to Adventure cove.
Lots of slides and rides which they can take. And for the older, taller guests, there are a few huge water rides/slides.And one roller coaster. 
It opens at 10 am and was not so crowded, but towards noon, super packed. The queue for the roller coaster was 45 mins then. So if you go, start at 10 am and tackle the roller coaster first while there's no queue. There are no express passes.
Their wave pool is larger than the one at Advennture Cove. Life vests (baby sizes to adults) are available for free. 
Entry to the water park is 110rm if I remember correctly. Kids 3 and above also same price as adults. We pre booked a 'beach' Cabana. These are the cabanas flanking the wave pool area. It was 300 ringgit to book it and it included snacks, drinks and lunch, as well as one small towel.
Ok, it's not like luxurious... it's more like a beach hut. But there's a fridge to keep your drinks cold.
The snacks provided ....
Lunch was a choice between black pepper (chicken? or maybe beef haha I forgot) rice and chicken rice. Both tasted so so. 
But MJ loved the chicken rice, and he's fussy. So it's a win!
Having a cabana is useful because it gives you a 'home base' to like put all your stuff so you don't have to carry it about the park. I also told the kids, if you ever get lost, we meet back at this cabana. Oh btw, when getting assigned a Cabana.. go for the lower numbers... those are a shorter walk to get to. We didn't know. They gave us #17 and we were like ok... then we got there and ughhhh had to walk quite far down to get to it. 
Remember to bring sunblock, and to reapply. I applied one layer on the kids. and that was it. We all got burnt lol. If you stay at Hard Rock, there's a special side entrance straight into the waterpark. If you stay elsewhere, you aren't allowed to use that entrance as a short cut. So do get the shuttle bus timings confirmed with your hotel. If you stay at Westin, double triple confirm the timing ... cos damn shit.. our shuttle didn't show up (we waited 30 mins, no show).

Bujang Firefly

Bujang Firefly is a seafood place and a fire fly tour. We didn't eat there, just went for the fire fly tour which is 20rm for adults and 15rm for kids. Tours start at 8pm. It's about a 30 min boat ride where you will get to see fireflies. It's a beautiful sight.

When you get on the boat.... sit in the middle section facing the water. No one told us this, so we got on and sat in the front of the boat. But the middle is where all the firefly action is at   :(   It was still an enjoyable experience. But if we go again, we would sit in the middle.
No photos because got to keep it dark when firefly watching. Also they don't photograph well, so just put your phone away and enjoy the ride and sights. 

I would not recommend eating there. Read the reviews and it was mediocre. And when we went for our tour, the line to get a table for dinner was super long and not moving.

Desaru Ostrich Farm

It's not very large. You can complete the place in 30 mins, 1 hour if you really really stretch it.
It's 20 rm for adults and 15rm for kids entry. And the food (for feeding ostriches) is 5rm for a bunch of veg and some corn.

There are 5 friendly and greedy haha ostriches roaming the grounds. And many many more (not tame) behind the barriers. You can feed all of them except the babies. There are also some polish chickens on the farm. 
Kids below 30kg can ride the ostriches. It's 20rm per ride and you get a certificate that says you rode the fastest bird on land. lol. The kids loved it. 
The ostrich for rides was blind folded to keep them calm, but other than that, they looked chill and not bothered by the kids on their backs.
They don't sell the ostrich eggs (unless you want to buy the empty shell)... but they do sell ostrich omelettes. Heard from others that it tastes like chicken egg omelette so we didn't bother. 
Our kids had a great time. Adamson & I enjoyed ourselves too, despite the horrendous jam on the way in. The Westin is a place we would gladly return to... unless you have somewhere else to recommend? 

Desaru is an awesome destination. (Thanks Wyleen for recommending it! haha)