We just got back from a three week trip to Asia. It was a last minute trip and I had zero input into where we were going and staying – which just about killed me. Four kids ago I worked in the travel industry for 12 years and like planning holidays.
We flew Singapore Airlines to Singapore first. SQ is a full service airline and one of the best I have flown. The seats were larger than normal economy seats, the meals were great (for plane food) the kids got activity packs on boarding and their own meals and each seat had backseat screens with a huge viewing selection. The staff were brilliant and they did not stop feeding everyone -highly recommend them.
We stayed 3 nights at the Mandarin Orchard Singapore. I had been to Singapore years prior – the hotel is located in the city centre and is a 5 star property. The rooms were old and outdated, they were small and very cramped for our size family (we had four children with us) I would not recommend staying in this area for families – go straight to Sentosa Island where it is kid friendly and all the attractions are located.Gardens By The Bay was incredible. It houses the largest indoor waterfall in the world as well as stunning gardens, flower dome, skyway, cloud forrest and more. It really has to be seen to be believed. The entire family loved this one. Universal Studios Singapore got a visit – it’s a theme park, it has rides and kids are in heaven. Parents not so much. We ate at local restaurants and there is a mountain of them everywhere. Look at where the locals are eating and you will find a winner. We ate in Chinatown and had some of the best Chinese we have ever had. Singapore isn’t cheap – so bare this in mind when travelling. Next time I would reduce the stop over to 1 night, or stay in Sentosa for the entire trip.
We got a Silk Airways flight to Kota Kinabalu (Borneo) It has been a dream of mine for a long time to visit Borneo – and it didn’t disappoint. We stayed at the Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort: amazing doesn’t begin to describe it.
The resort is located about 15 minutes from the airport. The rooms were large and modern. The resort has two three pool areas including an adults only one and a shallow kids pool. The best part about this resort was the waterpark. Three watersides, a pot that dumps water everywhere every 4 minutes, a climbing frame with a water slippery dip for the younger kids as well as a water bomb double attraction that you can bomb one another in a big water fight. The kids club is huge and the staff are amazing, it is free for children four years and over. Under four you can hire a nanny. Our favourite restaurant was Shang Palace, Chinese cuisine and the best pepper beef I have ever eaten in my life. There is Peppino’s (Italian – delicious and a huge wine selection if you like a drink) and Cafe TATU which was where we ate breakfast – this also had buffet dinners available and a section with a TV, cushions and toys for kids while the parents eat. Right near the pool is an ice-cream saloon where you can sit on benches and scoff ice-cream – the kids loved this. The only eatery I didn’t rate was Coco-Joe’s Bar & Grill, the food was poor and pricey.
A highlight of our time in Borneo was visiting the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park. Seeing the Orangutans was an experience of a lifetime. The park is home to a load of other animals (elephants, monkeys, tigers to name a few) If you visit Borneo add it onto your itinerary.
We went into the city a few times, there wasn’t a great deal to do or see so we stayed around the resort. We went fishing and on an island visit (beautiful but crowded and dirty – save your money) We can’t recommend this resort enough, it was the highlight of our trip and even the normally extremely fussy husband rates it. You won’t be disappointed, it is my new favourite place on earth. 7 days wasn’t long enough.
From Borneo it was a flight to Penang for 3 nights. We stayed at the Shangri-La Rasa Sayang. The rooms were great, the pool area gorgeous and the beach out the front of the resort was pristine. There was a kids club, but once we arrived we found out it was for 5 and over only – no good for us with 2 and 4 year olds in tow. When I enquired about getting a nanny they had access to one nanny for the entire hotel which was a downer. Inside the resort there is Adventure Zone: it is a kids play centre with climbing frames and huge slides – the kids loved it. The husband got a massage, and the girls and I went shopping at the night markets located just outside the resort. There was fantastic local restaurants surrounding the resort, we spent all our time in and around the hotel and didn’t venture out much. Next time I would pick a resort that had an adequate kids club, love my kids but love to be able to have time off on holidays too.
We got the high speed ferry from Penang to Langkawi. If you don’t follow my Facebook page and didn’t see my post on it – DO NOT DO IT. It was torture. Sea sick passengers everywhere. A vomit covered boat. I thought we were going to die. Fly Air Asia between the two.
We didn’t die, and spent our last 5 nights in Langkawi. I had high expectations of Langkawi and it was nice but not as nice as I imagined. We stayed at the Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort. The resort rooms were large and well equipt, the restaurants were great. There was two pool areas. One had a water slide – the other had a kids pool and a small waterpark attached to it with little kids slides and water fountains etc. There was a city centre about 5 minutes away with restaurants etc – a big range. There was a kids club but it didn’t have much in it and the kids were bored there so stayed with us most of the time. We went to the cable cars for a day trip – it was a fantastic experience but they are very high up and steep – if you’re scared of heights be warned. The view from the mountain top was amazing. Langkawi I wouldn’t rush back to personally – Penang definitely.
From Langkawi we got a flight to Singapore (1.5 hours) then a night flight home. An awesome Asian adventure – we will be back Malaysia.