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25 February 2017

Hunting Kids Places in Singapore

Last November I went to Singapore with my husband and our 2 years old daughter. That was the first time she traveled abroad, which I showed her the place I once called home (not that she understood tho). We made her passport last June before we even had any plan to travel overseas. It was just a preparation in case we suddenly had business trip abroad in the future so we could bring her along. Then the chance came when my friend invited us to his wedding in Singapore.

Since I already have visited most of the tourist places in Singapore, and I did not have any particular places to go (except shopping in Orchard of course), I tried to find kids-friendly places for my child to play. So here the list of interesting kids-places we went during our 3 days trip in Singapore.

1. Changi Airport
Nothing beats this airport. The most pleasant airport in the world where you can spend a lot of time without feeling bored (read this post). Children love this place too, with some playgrounds and cute displays here and there. By the time we arrived in the luggage belt, ours were the last standing bags that haven't been taken yet. Changi Airport also provides kids stroller, what a convenient!
Stroller by Changi Airport

2. Far East Organization Children's Garden @ Gardens by the Bay
After we checked-in and relaxed a bit in our hotel until around 2pm, we went out to Marina Bay area. What a small country, in Bugis Junction I bumped into my ex-landlady and her kind family. We reunited again for just few minutes. When I said I wanted to go to Marina Bay Sands (MBS), she said "ah yes, there is a nice children garden, it's free!" I did not know that. I was planning to go there to visit Art Science Museum, you know, the one looks like a hand facing up, just because I've been there several times but haven't actually gone inside the building, and besides... where else to go? Fortunately we met her so then we knew where we should go. It is called Far East Organization Children's Garden, located in the far end of Gardens by the Bay. That place was awesome! Toddler (1-5 years old) like my daughter can play in water fountain coming out of fish sculpture (so cute) and a big playground. While older kids up to 12 years old can have fun in water play/shower and tree house. Parents can enjoy the sights of their happy kids and beautiful iconic Singapore buildings. We spent a lot of time there until it was closed at 7pm.
Playing in Far East Organization Children's Garden

3. Wonder Full Light and Water Show @ Marina Bay Sands
From Children's Garden, we rode shuttle bus service and walked back to MBS. As I know, there was a light and water fountain show in MBS Event Plaza facing the river and stunning Singapore Central Business District skyscrapers, which started at 8pm. We got there earlier before the show started, so we sat down there waiting while our child taking a nap. That peaceful moment when I realized how Singapore can be pretty too and how I did not appreciate it before and how I missed this little red dot a little. The show then began with a mellow mood music. I remember it perfectly, still using the same music and same story. My daughter suddenly woke up: facing black sky above, hearing scary music and getting a little water splash... of course she was screaming and crying. We tried to sooth her and remain in our seats, but it seems the angels supported her. Suddenly the show stopped and they announced there was a technical problem. So we stood up and left the place, without any regret. I had watched that show several times before, and clearly my daughter did not enjoy it. However, I believe kids older than her might enjoy this show a lot.
Watching Wonder Full Light and Water Show

4. Food for Thought @ Singapore Botanic Garden
I browsed in internet about Eateries in Singapore with Playground, and I found a lot! Bumble Bee Mum is my favorite blog which lists all those places. That made me realize how many kids-friendly restaurants were there in this tiny city, compare to big Jakarta city. However I only managed to visit one place. I tried to go to some other restaurants around Orchard, like Bricks n Cubes (used to be in The Cathay) and Tvoila Cafe (used to be in Orchard Central), but they were already closed permanently, so disappointed T_T Is there any kids-playground around Orchard? So Mommy who wants to go shopping would not feel guilty. Anyway, on our last day we had a pretty breakfast in Food for Thought at Botanic Garden which is located near Tanglin gate. Since the playground is outside on a very shady terrace surrounded by big trees, we took a seat outside. They offered breakfast menu until 10am, then the menu changed to heavier meals. It was about 15 minutes to 10am, and I was interested more in lunch menu so I waited until 10am before ordering chicken salad, beef burger and fish and chips kids menu.
Play area in Food for Thought

5. Jacob Ballas Children Garden @ Singapore Botanic Garden
Singapore Botanic Garden itself is already a nice big play yard for children and family, if we bring our own toys and games. Coming there with empty hands? No worries, because there is Jacob Ballas Children Garden inside Botanic Garden, that provides educative activities for children. The activities include sands, maze, water play, and nature learning. It is free to enter this place as long as child(ren) up to 12 years coming with adult(s). Child(ren) alone without accompanied by adult(s) or adult(s) alone without child(ren) are not allowed. The security guards at the gate are quite strict with this rule. It is a gem place for kids located inside Botanic Garden near Bukit Timah gate.

Playing in Jacob Ballas Children's Garden

One tip for tourists with kids in Singapore, always pack your kid's swimsuit or spare clothes when you go out because you will find water play easily around Singapore where your kids can't resist to get into. The sophisticated technology and public transportation in Singapore can also be interesting things for kids. Like my daughter, she was so excited to 'help' us topup our ezlink cards, to tap the cards everytime we took MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) and bus, to ride MRT and buses itself, and many more. Kids are really giving us good examples of enjoying the journey, not just the destinations.

04 February 2017

Review: Sapu Lidi Resort in Lembang

During our trip to Lembang last October, we stayed one night in Sapu Lidi Resort. Sapu Lidi, which means stick broom, is bringing a concept of back to nature. The cottages are spreading along soiled street around a small lake. There are few types of cottages, from small to big one, in the lakeside or not facing the lake. I booked Standard Room so our terrace was not facing the lake (but we could glimpse a little of it haha). All rooms have traditional old decoration and stuff but there are modern items like TV cable, water heater and fast free wifi, of course.

The view from our terrace
Each cottage is standing on its own and having distance to each other, so it was quite private. Not like normal hotels that number their guests rooms, this resort put Sundanese words for each cottage. Our cottage is called Kembang Desa (literally means village flower but metaphorically means beautiful village girl). I took a walk at 6.30 am in the morning circling the lake with my daughter, and it was really refreshing!

22 January 2017

Birthday Bash in Bandung

Since I believed that a birthday should be spent well by traveling, I and the family went holiday to Lembang in North Bandung on my birthday last October. We spent 2 days 1 night all in Lembang, so the title of this post should be Birthday Bash in Lembang but let's use Bandung to make it all start with B.

Bandung especially Lembang is a favorite holiday place for Jakartans. More and more Jakartans coming to Bandung for only weekend getaways, or even one day trip since it's easily reachable by toll road. When no traffic, it takes only 2 hours to go to Bandung. Same amount of time with one way commuting time of urban people going to work in Jakarta, right? But because of too many Jakartans going to Bandung nowadays, toll road is sometimes jammed, and Bandung city is often full with B plate cars (Jakarta car license plate) during weekend. My car was one of them on last 8th-9th October.

We started going out of house early morning around 5.30am to avoid congestion in Cipularang toll road, and arrived in Lembang around 8am. We had a heavy breakfast in Saung Pengkolan 1. Why the number? Because there are 3 locations of Saung Pengkolan restaurant around Lembang. In Sundanese, Saung means house, and Pengkolan means turn/curve. Like its name, this first branch is located on a curved road, with a nice valley view. The restaurant is quite big with Lesehan (sitting on the floor) and seating options and many variants of Sundanese foods, plus Rabbit Satay, a specialty food of Lembang.

View from Saung Pengkolan 1 Restaurant

From Saung Pengkolan 1, we went further up passing by Farmhouse, a family recreation that was happening right now. But we did not stop there that morning, because my our primary destination to Lembang, the place I have been wanting to see since Petualangan Sherina movie 16 years ago (I guess it was the same reason with many other people), was Bosscha Observatory. I spent my university life 4.5 years in Bandung but still hadn't had a chance to visit it until now.

10 January 2017

Footage 2016

It is not too late to say Goodbye 2016, isn't it? As I wrote here last year, I wanted to go to minimum 12 Indonesian cities in 2016... and I made it! I am quite happy with my traveling achievement 2016:
  1. Penang, Malaysia. Just me and husband, much like honeymoon.
  2. Korea, solo traveling ha!
  3. Aceh (Lhokseumawe and Takengon), during Ied Fitri holiday.
  4. East Java (Surabaya, Batu, Malang), for my daughter's 2nd birthday.
  5. Bali, for a business trip.
  6. Lembang, for my birthday.
  7. Singapore, for a friend's wedding. This was my daughter's first oversea trip.
  8. Lembang again, for a friend's wedding.
  9. Central Java (Semarang, Solo, Ambarawa, Dieng, Purwokerto), our first road trip together.
My baby was getting bigger so we could travel more together. All above places were visited with my daughter, except #1, #2, #5. There were many first-time-things happened in 2016, such as her first time on taking train. We made her passport and traveled abroad with her for the first time. We also had our first road trip together, just 3 of us, when going around Central Java by our own car.

On May last year I went to Korea again and did solo traveling again after 4 years, not only to Seoul but also visited few other cities. Some had changed, some were not. The trip was not only seeing new places, but also mesmerizing the old times and reuniting with the old friends. My husband and my kid did not come with me. It was excited in the beginning, but quite painful towards the end of the journey because I could not wait to get back home to my little family. 

That time I realized it's nice to have me-time sometimes, but should be not too long. My life has changed, I am not one person anymore. I was one and then two and now three and God knows how many more will come. My traveling style has changed. Before I go, mostly I would ask myself: "is this place child-friendly? Will my kid enjoy this place?" Maybe I missed some good places (because it's difficult to reach with a kid) but I saw another good places too. Do you know Singapore has some places that can be entered only by adults with kid (for example Jacob Ballas Children Garden)? 

I am still half a type of checklist-ambitious traveler, who's marking all the places I should visit. However half again has turned me into an easy wanderer. Many times during traveling, I spent times on changing diapers, feeding my kid, waiting her sleeping... that I could not finish going all the places I planned to visit. I just enjoy the moments being with loved ones. Like people said, traveling is all about the journey, not a destination, right?

That sums up my 2016 traveling journey. I guess my 2017 will be quite the same with my 2016. Motherhood does not mean you have to give up traveling. Motherhood means traveling is gonna be much more fun.