We’re less than two weeks away from our next big adventure – two months travelling from Bangkok to Singapore. I’ve been spending a lot of time getting organised. It’s amazing how much time travel planning takes. It’s something I really enjoy so I’m not complaining. I’ve been researching for a few months – the best guesthouses to stay in, the most family-friendly beaches, how to get from A to B. I like to have a virtual guidebook in my head but not plan more than the first few nights after arrival. Flexibility and preparedness make for great travel.
What have I been doing?
- Booked our first two nights in Bangkok. We’re staying at New Siam II Guesthouse – where I always stay in when in town. It’s off Soi Rambuttri, near Khao San Road but quiet and family oriented. Lee is worried about the accommodation. Really, he is extremely anxious about it. He’s not used to staying in hotels that aren’t four or five star – let alone somewhere called a “guesthouse” not a “hotel”. I’ve tried explaining the concept to him. He doesn’t get it. It’s barely roughing it – we’re getting a pool, AC, TV and hot water in a good location for around NZ$30 a night! I’ve told him we can switch to their fancier hotel across the road, New Siam Riverside, but I don’t want to spend the extra money so I’m determined to make him like it. I’ve been “managing his expectations” and trying to get him prepared to spending time in a non-Western country. He is worried about the smell, food hygiene, humidity and bus rides. It doesn’t help that someone told him Bangkok is horrible and the whole place is an open sewer. If I find out who that was I’ll kill ’em!
- Booked our week in the Perhentians. The Perhentians in Malaysia has limited accommodation and the good places get booked out months in advance. The accommodation is notoriously bad value – not that nice and darn expensive. We’ll be spending the equivalent of our daily budget in Thailand on only a room in the Perhentians. My sister Alice and her partner were there for five nights last week and they did some legwork on our behalf, checking out a few of the bungalows. We decided on Tuna Bay as the beach looks great, the bungalows are on the flat and they have the best boat for getting to the island.
- Booked a flight from Kota Bharu to Kuala Lumpur. I spied a promo fare on Air Asia and since we had to book our Perhentian accommodation I figured we may as well book our flight down to Kuala Lumpur straight after. At NZ$60 for all three of us it works out cheaper than taking the train or bus.
- Bought travel insurance. This is the kind of travel planning I don’t like – reading and comparing travel insurance policies is boooooring. I’m pleased because I think I’ve found the best option for us and it’s a company we can use when we are 100% location independent (i.e. not just travelling to and from New Zealand) as the insurer allows us to purchase a policy when our travel doesn’t originate in New Zealand. You can read about how I found the best travel insurance for New Zealand nomads here.
- Booked a flight from Singapore to Christchurch. This was a bit of a big decision for us – deciding how long we needed in Asia and if we were going to return to Australia or New Zealand afterwards. In the end, we decided nine weeks in Asia was long enough and to head straight back to New Zealand. I found a really good fare from Singapore to Christchurch through Kayak. It’s ticketed through British Airways but the flight is actually Qantas. It cost us about NZ$600 each which was much cheaper than flying to Brisbane and on to Christchurch a few weeks later. The only negative with this is we’re probably going to have to leave our Mountain Buggy stroller in Australia. It’s too bulky for travel in Asia.
My mum is coming over from New Zealand for eight days. She arrives tomorrow so Reuben and I are driving down to pick her up from Brisbane airport – about an hour away. I’m really looking forward to her being here. It’s nice to have an extra pair of hands to help. Reuben is becoming increasingly demanding and gets frustrated when I’m not paying him attention – hello, terrible twos!! This makes it really hard to get any work done on the computer whether it’s blogging or travel planning. I’m hoping a change of scenery will help. I’m sure he will get a lot attention and stimulation while we’re travelling.
How do all you other mummy bloggers get work done when young children demand so much of your attention?
Me and Sarah stayed at New Siam II on your recommendation a few years back, and it was great. I think you need to tell Lee to stop being a sissy girl (!) 🙂 Jokes! How exciting, I’m very jealous I would love to go back to Thailand soon. Looking forward to hearing of your travels. Loving the blog by the way, great stuff!
I remember that. I think we just slipped notes under each others’ doors but didn’t manage to meet up. I’m sure your little man would love a trip to Thailand.
I’m looking forward to reading about your experiences in Malaysia. My son and I were in Singapore, Thailand and Cambodia in 2007, but we skipped Malaysia. We will be visiting there for the first time next spring.
Thanks for your comment. Love getting them on my blog posts and knowing someone is actually reading them.
Would love to hear any tips you have for Thailand and Singapore with kids. How old was your son when you visited?
Where are you planning on going in Malaysia?
I have just stumbled upon your website through Lonely Planet.
I too love the planning, I think more than the actual holiday. I spend months comparing hotels, places to eat, things to see.
I look forward to reading your continuing blog.
Thanks for your comment. I really do love the planning side of things. It gives me great pleasure to find the perfect accommodation, the best price on a flight and the something I would never thought I’d end up doing at home.
Have you got any travels coming up?
Yes we are heading of to Thailand for 10 days next month.
Whilst I envy your long term travels we unfortunately cannot get away for that length of time due to my partners business. So instead we plan a holiday twice a year at this stage with a toddler(preschooler now) it has been to Asia due to the close proximity to Australia. We do chose a different destination each trip.
You can follow our travels on my website http://www.toddlersontour.com.au/category/about-us/
Hope there are some tips to help you along your journey.
Looking forward to hearing about your travels
Thanks for the comment. I’ve actually looked through your site before and found it really helpful.
Where are you going on your trip to Thailand? I normally love Bangkok but finding it quite overwhelming this time with a toddler. Will be updating with a blog post soon on what’s been going on since we’ve been here. We’re going to Kanchanaburi tomorrow and I’m really looking forward to getting out of the city.
Thanks for the positive feedback on the website.
We are heading to Pattaya (I know its the sex capital) for 6 days. We are staying at the Grand Centara just north of the strip and having a 4 year old figure we will be tucked up in our hotel room before the night life gets going.
We are then going to Bangkok for 4 days. Trying to decide if its worth taking the pram for a couple of shopping days.
Definitely bring a stroller. Even if you only use it in the malls. A smaller, folding one is best. We bought a $25 cheapie from KMart and it’s been great. Much easier to fold up and throw in the back of a cab than our big Mountain Buggy.
I stumbled upon your blog when I was looking for recommendations for a hotel in Bangkok and when I came here I realized I also saw your pic on the Vagabond family site. Such a small world 🙂
We are heading off to Cambodia tomorrow but will be “back” in Singapore May 11-15th. Just wondering when you plan to be here, our little one is always keep for a play date and it would be great for Karl and I to swap stories with a like minded family.
P.S. My husband is also having panic attacks about the whole Cambodia thing – and we are staying in a resort!!!
Gosh that is funny! I’ve just had a look through your blog. Singapore looks great. I can’t wait to go there. We’re not there until the end of our trip in late-June.
We will be in and out of Bangkok for the next few weeks though. Are you coming back through Bangkok at all? Reuben is always keen for a playdate too. He’s a wee bit younger than Hudson but loves playing with big kids.
Where are you going in Cambodia? I was there a few years ago on my own and LOVED it. Tell you husband not to worry!!!
How exciting 🙂 we would love to travel to Malaysia and Singapore…tell hubby he will have the best time even if the place is not five star!!
Actually he will probably enjoy the stay more because you will all be saving money.
How exciting that your Mum is coming over to spend time with you all…yep those terrible twos are fun…but then again so are teenage years!
Actually Reuben might have so much fun with your Mum that you will get time out! We dont get much family support but when we do we make the most of it…and escape for a couple of hours!
So jealous aobut your up coming trip.
Thanks for your comment. I agree that we will have a far better experience not spending hundreds of dollars on a 4 or 5-star hotel. Large hotels are so insular. I don’t want to miss any of the street action. That’s what I love about South East Asia!
How long have you been on the Sunshine Coast? We’ve been in Mooloolaba for two months. The weather is so fantastic.
Have you been up to Maleny? There’s a raw/vegan cafe up there too.
We were on the Sunshine coast for about 7 months but moved onto the Mackay area 🙂
We loved exploring the area (especially the beaches) but still we didnt get to see everything.
Maleny is gorgeous – they have the best shops! Didnt try their raw/vegan cafe up there – will have to add that one to the list for next time!
Looking forward to following your Thai trip 🙂
Wow, you are diligent. I’m sure you will have a great time. We stayed as a family in Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi but missed the Perhentian Islands due to the monsoon. You will have a blast. Malaysia is very welcoming and the food is awesome. Well, not as great as in Thailand though…:)