Archive for the 'Singapore' Category

List 43/52 – Family Accommodation in Singapore and Malaysia

I’ve been writing about each place we stay in as we go along but I thought it might be handy to have a list all in one spot. So here are the places we stayed in Singapore and Malaysia in July 2013 including costs, links and photos. Finding good family accommodation can be tricky so I hope this helps someone! I’ll do another list for Thailand when we’ve left.

1. Singapore – Hangout @ Mt Emily – $AUD155 – big room with four single beds, aircon, wifi, bathroom and breakfast included. Paddle pool on the roof and great common areas. Read more here.

Edward in the hotel room. We're moving on from here tomorrow.

Hangout @ Mt Emily, Singapore

2. Johor Bahru – Warm Blanket Hotel – MYR 60 ($AUD21) – internal room with double bunk bed, shared bathroom, aircon and wifi. Read more here.

warm blanket hostel

Warm Blanket Hotel, Johor Bahru

3. Melaka – Old Town Guesthouse – MYR 80 ($AUD28) – room with internal window, double bed and two single beds, aircon, wifi, shared bathroom and toast and coffee included. Great common area. Read more here.

our room and common room

Old Town Guesthouse, Melaka

4. Kuala Lumpur – Berjaya Times Square Hotel – $AUD146 – one bedroom suite with separate living area and kitchenette. One king size bed and one extra single bed, bathroom, aircon,tv, wifi for four devices and entry tickets to the Times Square theme park. Big buffet breakfast for four included. Read more here.

bedroom

Berjaya Times Square, Kuala Lumpur

5. Ipoh – Ipoh Boutique Hotel – $AUD55 – one double bed and one single, fridge, aircon, wifi, tv, couch. Read more here.

Our room

Ipoh Boutique Hotel, Ipoh

6. Georgetown, Penang – The Small Inn – MYR70 ($AUD27) – one double bed and one single, aircon, wifi, tv. Read more here.

The Small Inn room

The Small Inn, Georgetown, Penang

 

Singapore to Melaka via Legoland!

We left Singapore last Sunday and headed for Johor Bahru, just over the causeway in Malaysia. In pre-kid travel days we probably would have walked to the bus station but we are learning our limitations and the taxi that drove us the few minutes trip was well worth the money! (about $SGD8). There was a bus there waiting so we quickly bought the tickets ($SGD2.40 for adults and half for kids) and clambered up to the back seat with our bags and stroller. The bus was a smooth ride of about 30-40mins to the border. We got off at the Singapore Immigration checkpoint and were stamped out and then lined up for the next bus that took us a few minutes down the road to the Malaysian checkpoint. Easy!

Bus to Malaysia.

Bus to Malaysia!

We stopped there for a bit and had some coffee and snacks, changed money, etc before heading down to the pre-paid taxi stand to get a taxi to our hostel. When looking for accommodation in Johor Bahru I found it all quite expensive and with not terribly good reviews. Our whole purpose in stopping over in JB was to visit Legoland so instead of staying in the town centre I chose a cheap place (with good reviews) close to Legoland. This meant a 20min taxi ride from the city which cost us 26MYR (about $AUD9.)

In hindsight I’m not sure I would have chosen this option. It might have been better to stay in JB proper and have better access to food options and sight-seeing. However, for the money spent on the hostel ($AUD21) and considering we didn’t spend a lot of time there it was pretty good value. It’s just that it was in a suburban strip-mall type place with not a lot around. It was fairly close to a giant Tesco and mall but too far to walk and we didn’t feel like getting another taxi just for that.

Here’s our quad room at the Warm Blanket Hostel:

warm blanket hostel

Quad Room Warm Blanket Hostel

We had a big double bunk bed, a bedside table and not much more room! The shared bathrooms were just down the hall and good and clean. So pros for the hostel: comfy bed, clean, close to Legoland, cheap. Cons: small room, thin walls (someone down the hall was having a LOT more fun than we were that night. Ed’s crying didn’t seem to put them off), staff not particularly friendly but maybe just not good English, location not so good without your own transport.

The next day it was time for LEGOLAND! Just a five minute drive from the hotel the guy on reception gave us a lift there for 16MYR. Legoland was awesome. We got there a bit before opening time so went to a cafe in the little mall opposite the theme park and had coffee and breakfast. Then it was time to go in! (Tickets were 140MYR adult, 110MYR child and under 3 free, yay for Ed!)

excited Lil

Legoland!

We spent the whole day here. We had lunch inside the park and then when Ed fell asleep in the stroller and it got very hot we went back to the mall (open air but covered and with big fans) and parked him there to nap while we ate ice-cream and rested. Once Ed was awake we went back in to Legoland and did the rides we had missed the first time and our favourite ones again. We were there till 6pm when the park closed and then we had dinner in the mall before getting a taxi back to the hostel.

mall across from legoland

Mall Across From Legoland

Our kids (Lil especially) are pretty much the perfect ages for Legoland. Lil was tall enough and old enough for all the rides and there was plenty that Ed could go on too. I think our family favourite ride was the Egyptian ghost train type one where we got to shoot laser guns at things. We could all go on that one together. Lil and I had fun and got very wet on the water roller-coaster and Lil discovered a love of roller-coasters in general. It’s the first time we’ve taken the kids to a theme park like this and it was the perfect introduction.

Ed and Dave boating

Boats!

building

Building!

Many more Legoland photos on flickr.

So after one more night at the Warm Blanket Hostel it was time to get a taxi back into JB to the bus station and on to Melaka. This taxi was a little cheaper than the pre-paid one we got to the hostel. The bus to Melaka (77MYR total) took 3hrs and was practically empty. Ed slept part of the way and before we knew it we were there. Taxi to our next guesthouse cost 20MYR. I’ll write more about this place another time.

We’re enjoying Melaka and have gotten into a nice routine of doing something in the morning, returning to the guesthouse for nap/rest time in the afternoon and then heading out again for dinner. Melaka is on a river which is stinky but quite pretty. Today we did a boat trip up the river and back again.

River walk Melaka

Melaka River Walk

So that’s the last few days! We all seem to be getting into the swing of this travel thing now. Ed is a lot more relaxed, Lil is trying new foods (a little), Dave even went for a run this morning and my cough is slowly getting better. We’re here till Saturday and then on to Kuala Lumpur.

List 28/52 – The Good and Not So Good About Staying at the Hangout @ Mt Emily in Singapore

Today we’re moving on from Singapore. We’ve realised that when travelling with kids the place you choose to stay is even more important than ever. This place, Hangout @ Mt Emily,  was pretty much perfect for our needs. First the good:

1. There was a good size room with four single beds and a private bathroom with a huge shower.

Edward in the hotel room. We're moving on from here tomorrow.

2. The breakfast was included and was much better than I had expected. Hot and cold buffet, juice, toast, coffee.

3. The rooftop area had great views over Singapore and a ‘standing’ pool that was perfect for the kids to splash in.

Perfect shallow pool for the kids

4. The ‘veg out’ common area was great for hanging out in with Lil while Ed napped in the room. It had a tv, computers, pool table, bean bags, cushions, tea and coffee.

5. The location was quite central and it was a pretty easy walk to the start of Orchard Rd or down to Little India on the other side of the hill.

view from hotel roof

The Not So Good:

1. The hotel is at the top of a hill and reached by a steep flight of stairs if walking. It wasn’t a big deal but was a bit of a hassle with tired kids and sometimes with a stroller.

2. For a budget hotel the restaurant downstairs at night time is quite fancy and expensive. Not somewhere we were comfortable taking two tired kids.

I would definitely stay here again. We booked it through agoda.com and paid $AUD155 a night. Singapore is expensive for accommodation by Asian standards but this was a great starting base for our trip.

rooftop

The first few days – finding our travel feet

Let's do this crazy thing.

Here we are setting off on the big trip. That look on Ed’s face? A sign of things to come. Poor boy has not settled easily into the travelling groove. We’ve had lots of uncooperativeness (removing shoes and pants a favourite method), tantrums, wanting his dummy all the time and general miserableness from him. Lil on the other hand, is much like in this photo.

We’ve also all been sick with colds/coughs and Ed and I have it the worst which I’m sure is not helping things for him. So hopefully once we’re all better he’ll be a happier little traveller.

On the plus side, we’re staying in a great place (which I’ll write more about after we leave) and yesterday we had a successful all day outing to the zoo. (Many zoo photos here.)

posers

I can see that blogging time is going to be limited – we’ve all been going to bed at the same time – so follow on facebook if you want more frequent updates.

At the moment Lil and I are hanging out in the common area doing laundry, watching tv, mathletics, journal writing, and blogging while Dave and Ed nap in the room. We’ve had a quiet morning today. Dave took the kids across the road to a park, then upstairs to the hotel paddling pool. I headed out and found bread rolls (and coffee) for lunch and we picnicked in the room. After nap we’ll head out for some more exploring and dinner.