I am so excited this week to be introducing you to Elizabeth, one of my favourite family travel bloggers over at Wander Mum. During the course of my blogging journey I have been lucky enough to meet some amazing women, who have the same mindset as me – and Elizabeth is one of them. Her blog is full of inspiring ideas and tips, and this week she shares her family trip to the far East and Dubai, and proves that taking a toddler to Asia is easy peasy!
Over to you, Elizabeth…
What do you look for in a holiday?
I like a bit of everything, culture, good food but I am a big beach fan too! Nothing beats looking out on a crystal blue sea and watching the sunset – bliss!
Where did you go?
Kuala Lumper in Malaysia then onto the island of Langkawi for six nights, then Singapore and back to the UK via Dubai for three nights.
Why did you choose these destinations?
We love South East Asia. I fell in love with it when I went travelling after uni and my hubby shares my passion after we visited in 2007. We planned a trip around seeing my friend who lives in Singapore and wanted to incorporate some city and beach time.
My husband and I and our daughter, Mrs T, who was 19 months old at the time.
Where did you stay?
We took some advice from friends. My sister and her husband recommended the luxury hotel, The Datai, in Langkawi – where we stayed for six nights. It is a truly unique hotel, set in the rainforest – I would love to go back sometime. For Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, we went for location: there’s plenty of good 5 star hotels which are very reasonable in Asia. As we had been to both cities before we chose to stay somewhere different.
Tell us about the accommodation
We stayed at hotels. The first was the hotel at Dubai airport! It was actually really good to break up the journey and get a few hours sleep before heading to KL. We didn’t have to collect our bags or anything so was very easy and helped with the jetlag. The Datai was booked through Otel.com and we got a better deal as we went slightly out of season.
In KL we stayed at the Mandarin Oriental. We first booked it through onhotels.com but the Mandarin Oriental website had an offer on – if you found a lower rate elsewhere – they would give it for 10% less – which was amazing. However, we were only there for one full night so didn’t get to use most of the facilities – which is a shame. In Singapore we stayed close to the Marina at the Pan Pacific hotel which has a spectacular foyer and we have a fairly big room – for Singapore. We booked it through Agoda. For our three days in Dubai we stayed at The Atlantis, one of the few places we could get into due to holidays and events going on in the city. We got it through ebookers.
Were there plenty of activities for the kids?
When there’s a beach, sand and a swimming pool what else do you need? My daughter had a slight issue with the sand (see below) but she found a friend to play with so that kept her happy in Langkawi and KL and Singapore are pretty child friendly. I’m always amazed at how brilliant the Asian malls are – if they start getting bored head there. We even found a huge balloon display in Singapore which went down well!
Your most memorable moment/s of the trip?
Sooo many! My daughter refusing to walk on sand definitely stands out. All this beautiful golden sand and she would only walk on the smooth wet bits, refusing to put her feet on the lumpy dry sand. Was so sweet. We saw monkeys in Langkawi and ate our way through Singapore (they really like to eat)! It was great to see my daughter embracing the local food, too. She’s a big fan of noodle soup! Being blond with curly hair meant my daughter got a lot of attention in Asia – some people couldn’t believe the curls, they kept asking if they were real!
What did you get up to? Any sights, activities you want to shout about?
We went on a brilliant trip on Langkawi’s cable car network which took us high into the mountains and gave us excellent views of the island. Singapore zoo is brilliant too and we enjoyed exploring Chinatown as well. My daughter particularly loved going on the underground system in Singapore (the MRT) – it’s a lot cleaner and more efficient than the one in London . It was helpful to have a local guide (my friend Gen) to show us around and get us to try all the local street food. In Dubai we went to The Atlantis’ waterpark which was good fun although my daughter was perhaps a big young for it. She did love the aquarium which is in the hotel though – it was a big hit!
Was it good value for money?
It was a bit of a splurge and we went for almost three weeks but we got what we paid for and were really happy with the trip. It was a bit more expensive in Dubai as we went during the Russian school holidays and the Golf cup horse racing was on so everywhere was pricey.
Your top tip/s for the area?
It can be hot and humid so be careful with the little ones in the heat and make sure they get lots of water BUT don’t drink the tap water! Be prepared to eat a lot in Singapore. The fusion of cultures means the food is varied and vast – you have to have the chilli crab.
I love this photo of the three of us on the roof terrace of the Marina Bay Sands hotel. My Singaporean friend was taking the picture and is one of about 20! It was rather windy and we were all laughing – our daughter Mrs T found it hilarious. I particularly like this one because my hair is defying gravity!
Would you recommend to a friend?
Oh, definitely. It was a good combination of lots of different elements. Langkawi, is particular, is beautiful and the Datai hotel which is set in a rainforest is unlike anywhere I’ve been before.
What are the five holiday essentials you couldn’t live without?
• iPhone (I’m forever making notes for blog posts in the notes section)
• iPad (lifesaver for my daughter when travelling on aeroplane etc)
• Travel wash for cleaning clothes
• Sun cream
What is your most favourite place in the whole world and why?
Ting! You can’t make me choose, surely!! There are so many great places out there it’s hard to narrow it down. I love the Maldives for its complete uniqueness, its relaxing vibe, crystal clear sea and marine life, Fiji for its stunning beaches, exotic islander lifestyle. Japan’s culture is fascinating and the sushi is simply divine and Thailand for its smiley welcome, its beautiful ruggedness and great food.
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