At Four Seasons Langkawi, the entire Resort is your kids’ playground. Imagine your little ones touring a mangrove swamp, spotting tropical animals, or taking a yoga class with other kids from all over the world. And you? You are basking in the quiet paradise of a private cabana, enjoying an intimate picnic, taking a cool dip in the lagoon, or uncovering the secrets of Asian cuisine at a cooking class…
That’s the idea behind Kids For All Seasons (KFAS), a complimentary recreational and educational programme for resort guests five to 12 years old. (Children under five can join with a nanny or parent, or resorts can arrange for babysitting.) It is open 9:00 to 5:00 every day of the year. Kids can go all day or just for an hour or two. Programming includes games, activities, arts and crafts. Not your average camp, the VIP offerings are pretty extraordinary—at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru, for example, kids can help with coral reef restoration and earn a certificate for their efforts.
This month, HFWT is spotlighting the KFAS programme at Four Seasons Resort Langkawi, Malaysia. We spoke with Farly Khalid, Activities Manager, about their programme.
HFWT: We understand you have an interesting new excursion for kids at Four Seasons Resort Langkawi, Malaysia, right?
Farly: Yes, it’s called the Monkeys and Mangrove Kids’ Safari Adventure. Basically, kids six to 16 gather in an outdoor classroom — a boat — with our resort naturalist, Swamp Skipper, Aidi Abdullah. He takes them on a 90-minute, early-evening excursion through the mangrove wetlands.
HFWT: And mangroves are…?
Farly: The mangroves are a forest that sits between the land and the sea. This is a complete eco-system that has all the various components able to survive in salt water. They are usually tidal in nature and harbour many creatures that are interesting. Mangroves are also nature’s greatest nursery for fish.
HFWT: What might kids see?
Farly: Monkeys, of course! Tangled roots, caves, lizards, eagles, crabs that talk and even fish that walk. This place has trees that form communities like us — nurturing their young and then giving them a head start in life. Kids will get a mangrove trivia fact sheet and a certificate for completing the trip. We encourage them to bring a journal and camera to document all the amazing, exotic wildlife and plants they’ll see.
HFWT: What’s interesting about the Malaysian mangroves?
Farly: There is incredible diversity, and there are more species of fish that breed here than you can imagine. There is also great diversity in the crabs. One outstanding feature of the mangroves is that there are almost no mosquitoes flying around zapping you. Our naturalists will answer any and all questions.
HFWT: What key learnings will kids take away?
Farly: To respect nature and become stewards of the environment. They’ll get to connect to nature and explore a whole new habitat.
HFWT: Is there a cost?
Farly: Yes, this excursion is MYR 60.00; or families can schedule a private tour. But our (daily) KFAS programming is free.
HFWT: What are some of the KFAS highlights at Langkawi?
Farly: Spotting tropical animals, playing in our resort’s gorgeous surroundings, kite-making, learning simple Malay, singing, story-telling, learning about insect and plant life, traditional Malay dance, weaving, fishing, the beach, yoga.
HFWT: Yoga… for kids?
Farly: Children crave movement and motor stimulus. Our kids’ yoga program helps channel these impulses in a positive way. It’s led by our resident yogi. It’s a creative, playful approach towards health and wellbeing. It’s held outdoors and he includes traditional postures such as animal poses, plus breathing meditations and storytelling.
HFWT: What’s the appeal of Langkawi?
Farly: We feel the main draw to our idyllic island is the retreat to nature and how that helps “heal” on different levels. We have now begun to build on activities that take you into the heart of nature to reconnect — either through eco-adventure or a rejuvenating spa therapy or quiet couple’s time or fun family discovery and learning time. And by the way, we’ve just been selected by the 2011 Reader Survey a “Top 20 Family Resort” in Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report Online!
Farly Khalid is Activities Manager at Four Seasons Resort Langkawi, Malaysia. He joined Four Seasons two years ago as a naturalist, then took on the role of activities manager, responsible for developing, conducting and promoting excursions. Previously, Farly worked as a licensed tourist guide for travel agencies, where he led tours in three languages. He also enjoyed a stint as a flight attendant, visiting 20 countries around the world. Farley loves meeting people and leading innovative programs that are not only creative and exciting, but top-notch.
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