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?