Travelling with kids: Langkawi

During my September term break (which is a misnomer because I still had to report to work every day, it was just that I didn’t have to teach), I decided on a lark that we should go on a holiday.

Work had gotten in the way and I was so completely and utterly drained that I realised I needed a break. Plus, the haze was so, so awful, we were dying to see clear blue skies and breathe in clean air.

I’m really a beach girl at heart and I decided that I wanted to be by the sea. There’s just something soothing about the crashing sea waves and the glow of stars in the night sky. Being at the beach makes me feel at peace and contented. The husband thought it would be fun for us to check out a new beach in the region which was child-friendly and so Langkawi it was.

Langkawi 2015

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Travelling with kids: Legoland, JB

Over the weekend, we took a day trip up north to visit Legoland. As the husband was recounting to a friend, theoretically, this would be our fourth visit since the theme park opened. The first trip was with a tour operator, pre-children, which was a COMPLETE DISASTER. The lines to go into the park were so long that we could not even get near to the entrance. We gave up, complained to the tour guide, who told us that our tickets allowed us to go back again.

The second time, we went when Aidan turned one, utilising our tickets from the previous visit. Again, STUPID. The park did not have anything to offer a one-year-old kid who was not yet walking so we strolled around, sweated under the March sun, and then left.

We got wiser and waited before embarking on our third trip. This time, we decided to celebrate Aidan’s third birthday by taking him to the park and true enough, it was a HUGE HIT. Kiddo LOVED it.

This time, we thought we’d do a quick day trip up to revisit some of his favourite rides, with his cousin in tow (along with my sister, brother-in-law and mum). And it was brilliant! Never mind that it poured cats and dogs in the afternoon, we had heaps of fun during the rest of the hours.

The first stop of the day was to catch the Ninjago live show, The Realm of Shadows, since the nephew is a huge fan. I had no idea what to expect and was surprised by how clever it was. Imagine almost life-sized Lego Ninjago puppets being controlled dextrously by puppeteers dressed in ninja outfits. I won’t spoil the rest of the show for you but I was pretty impressed.

When the show ended, Aidan asked to have a go at the Driving School in Lego City. He had loved it during our last visit and wanted to try it again. He was so cute – he took his driving very seriously and had his game face on throughout.

We then went to the Market Restaurant to grab a bite. I was not expecting food at a theme park to be anything more than barely decent but I have to say that my nasi briyani was pretty good (RM28, comes with drink and dessert). It was quite legit and the husband’s rendang was not bad too.

The next stop of the day was to the Shipyard playground opposite the restaurant but unfortunately, it started raining! Initially, I held out hopes that it was a passing drizzle but nope, it turned into a full fledged crazy monsoon downpour and the rides were stopped for safety reasons. We dashed back into the restaurant to wait it out and it took almost two hours! Kudos to the management though. They rallied all the frazzled guests in and barely 10 minutes after we had settled down, they launched a Christmas live show in the restaurant.

Thank goodness we were travelling with the sister – the boys kept one another entertained by running around and under the table while the adults could sit and have a chat. Zac even managed to grab a quick nap in papa’s Tula (he finally crashed after refusing to sleep the entire morning!). So it wasn’t too bad after all.

Once the rain grew lighter, I discovered that, serendipitously, I had stashed the boys’ raincoats in the stroller AND the husband had thoughtfully packed an umbrella along. The boys donned the raincoats happily and had fun dashing about in the rain while we strolled around Miniland.

Then off we went to Lego Kingdoms for a bit of jousting. Well. I tell you, motherhood has done a number on my brain. Pre-kids, I thought the jousting ride was sort of silly. As a mother, I thought my kid was so adorable bouncing along on a plastic horse as it traversed round some greenery. We waited 15 minutes for a ride that lasted all of 30 seconds. And we were gushing at how cute our kids were. MOTHERHOOD.

After that, it was MUMMY’s TURN. The sister and I trooped up to The Dragon’s Apprentice rollercoaster hoping to get some thrills. Haha. We kind of forgot that this is a theme park for the kids. After we had screamed our lungs out, we were all pumped up and going YEAH MORE but the announcer was like, Thank you and goodbye. WHUUT.

While the boys geeked out in the Build and Test, we took our mama and bubba up the Observation Tower. I do wish the ride was a wee bit longer, the view was such a beautiful one. Once it was over, I decided to bring the littlest to Duplo Playtown since the poor thing could not go on any of the rides. He was happy toddling here and there, collecting Duplo pieces and passing them to my mum. I was thankful that he had a space to play and work those legs.

When we finally joined the older boys in Build and Test, he was not left out either.

Suffice to say, by the time we left Build and Test, it was almost dinner time. Yikes! By then, the boys were exhausted and cranky and we decided to head out for dinner before going home.

BUT. They wanted one last ride and so the papas queued with their boys to have a turn at the boating school.

The last time I tried the ride with A, he said, “I want to drive the boat, mummy.” It ended up with me steering and navigating while he smiled and waved at papa. Bah. This time, I was pretty pleased to see that he was behind the wheel. What a difference nine months make!

Before we said our farewells to the park, we had one last stop. While the boys went into the The Big Shop, I sat with my mum and the littlest outside where they had a fab Santa display, complete with a sleigh and reindeer.

Now, if you are thinking of heading up to Legoland during the holidays, here are some tips for you.

Stay overnight: We had combo tickets but because of the lack of time, we didn’t manage to go to the water park. Back in March, when we stayed overnight, we had such a leisurely time checking out both the theme and water parks. Highly recommended, especially if you have littles.

Pack raincoats and brollies: We were lucky that I had stashed some raincoats earlier, they really do came in useful. You could purchase the Legoland ponchos as well.

Bring along a stroller: Ours was such a godsend. The bigger boys could sit in it when they were tired, and it was holding all our things, including bottles of water for everyone. You’d need to park the stroller when going on rides but it’s pretty safe, as long as you remove your valuables.

Wear sensible clothing and shoes: There’s a lot of walking to be done and it can get really hot and humid.

Factor in traffic jams at the customs: We didn’t think the traffic would be bad on a Friday morning and were stuck in the line for a while. It was worse when we headed home at night – we left for the Tuas Second Link at 8pm and only reached home at 1030pm. My brother-in-law drove to the Woodlands checkpoint by mistake and was stuck in the traffic for almost four hours! By then, my boys were snoozing fitfully in their car seats.

Legoland Christmas Extravaganza

For the month of December, the kids can write their wish list of LEGO products at The Big Shop every Friday to Sunday. 15 lucky kids then get their wishes fulfilled.

Also, in this season of giving, Legoland Malaysia is offering an Annual Pass Gift Pack where you can purchase four passes for the price of three and be given the opportunity to personalize a 2×6 LEGO brick for free. Adult passes are RM320, Child passes are RM245, and the premium passes are RM450 each.

We had so much fun, we are planning our next trip, and the sister and I are contemplating getting annual passes. There are still so many rides that we (or rather, I) had not tried, like the Technic ones. I really want to go on that roller coaster. Plus the boys didn’t get to sit on the Legoland Express. We’ll hopefully get to stay overnight this time – I hear that there is going to be musical fireworks on New Year’s Eve. Very, very tempting!

Disclaimer: I was given a set of complimentary tickets to the park. No monetary compensation was received and all opinions are mine.

Travelling with kids: Crowne Plaza Changi Airport

Okay so this doesn’t quite qualify as travelling since technically, we did not leave the country. But we had such a blast that I thought I ought to share it. Travelling by bus and MRT, can?

So yes, back in December, I was pretty exhausted from work and I really wanted a break. Due to personal reasons, however, we ruled out going overseas and decided to have a family staycation. And as all family holidays go, our staycation revolved around our littles. What would be convenient for us? What would they like?

I chanced upon Crowne Plaza Hotel Changi Airport’s Family Planespotting package and thought it was a fab idea. I mean, we practically live at the airport every other weekend. Seriously. The husband and I love watching planes take off and the little man loves taking the Sky Train. Plus, we get cheap parking and a myriad of food choices. Win!

We decided on a night’s stay over on New Year’s Eve as a mini celebration of our anniversary too (15 years and counting).
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Travelling with kids – Montigo Resort, Batam

Travelling with kids – Montigo Resort, Batam

During my maternity leave, we planned to go on a family holiday since the husband would be on sabbatical and we could also celebrate our wedding anniversary. Initially, I considered going back to Krabi – which is one of our favourite getaways as a childfree couple – but decided not to because I wasn’t sure how Zac would fare on the plane.

In the end, swayed by a summer flash deal, we plonked our money on a 3D2N stay in Montigo Resorts in Batam.

Of course, things never go as planned in our household. The boys got sick and Zac was hospitalised one day before we were due to depart. GAH! Thankfully, the staff at Montigo Resorts were very accommodating and allowed us to postpone our trip, as long as we were able to show them proof of hospitalisation.

But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise – all of us enjoyed ourselves so much! The resort was family-friendly, beautiful and comfortable, and it was a truly rejuvenating break for us after all that we went through.

Montigo_1
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A passport photo (gone wrong)

So the time has come to make a passport for Elliott. The husband is against taking him overseas because he thinks that it will just be a very tiring “holiday” for the adults since Elliott won’t remember anything. I am also a little fearful about meltdowns on board a plane thousands of feet up in the air with no where to run. I get really envious when I hear of friends taking their little ones on holiday where undoubtedly, it is extremely tiring for the parents but I would so love to go overseas with the little man.

Finally, I managed to arm-twist convince the husband to go on a very very close destination that does not require any plane ride. Best of all, both our mums will be coming along so I have plans to run off to have a much-needed massage and spa session. We will be heading to the exciting island of…Batam.

Don’t laugh please. It’s overseas, requires a passport and importantly, is only a 45-minute ferry ride away! I’d take what I can get, thankyouverymuch.

So yes, it was time to make Elliott his first passport. I see many new parents doing it themselves with a digital camera and a white background so I decided we’d do it too.
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Travelling With Kids: Keep Learning & Carry On

We just came back from our first family road trip in Japan and woah, was there much to learn about doing a self-drive with kids in tow! We have shared our noob parent learning points from this travel milestone on MaybeBaby, so do head over here if you’re preparing to go down this road (haha *snort*, pun fully intended).

We embarked on the trip confident that we were seasoned travellers – it wasn’t our first time travelling with both kids – and returned humbled by the realisation that every trip is an opportunity to learn how to be a better traveller – and a better parent.

So, how did the trip go? Let’s start with the things that went well:

  1. Choice of Destination

Other than the usual considerations like cost, safety, weather, availability of family-friendly accommodation and activities, etc. one of the more important factors we take into account when selecting a destination is the time zone. Japan is an hour ahead of Singapore, which means that we wouldn’t have to deal with bright-eyed, bushy-tailed babies in the wee hours of the morning (hang on, that sounds like the normal routine huh…) and return home with messed-up schedules a week later.
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