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Phuket Day Trips: Kayaking in Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

Phang Nga is a shallow bay spanning 400 km² in the Strait of Malacca, between the island of Phuket and the mainland of the Malay peninsula of southern Thailand. A large section of the bay has been protected as the Ao Phang Nga National Park since 1981.

Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

While many visitors know this area as “the place with the James Bond Island” there are actually 42 islands in the bay, many of which are more spectacular than the movie set location and well-worth visiting.

Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

We discovered geological formations that awe awe inspiring: soaring limestone cliffs, secret caves, forested wetlands, mangroves and wildlife galore. Mudskippers, fruit bats, fiddler crabs, monkeys, kingfishers and sea eagles were just some of the wildlife we encountered during our day at sea.

Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

In order to see this beautiful part of the world, a boat is obviously required. We chose the highly rated tour group Two Sea Tours – a company unique in this particular tour with their extremely early departure time. The majority of tour groups leave mid morning and all arrive at the same locations at the same time, making them crowded. In contrast, we were picked up at our hotel at 5:30am. By 6:30am we were speeding through the emerald-green waters, watching the sun rise.

Two Sea Tour owners Mam and Philippe both have extensive experience in the travel industry – which is evident in their very-well thought out tour of Phang Nga Bay. While the boat is registered for 55 passengers, the maximium they will take out at a time is 16, so the boat and also the stops on the way, are never crowded.

Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

Our first stop was Panak Island, where we canoed with our guide, Suk, a local Thai national, through caves filled with fruit bats to an internal lagoon. The silence in the lagoon hung like a mist on us – to say you could hear a pin drop would be an understatement.

Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

In hushed awe we paddled through the lagoon, each wondering, “Are we on a film set? A new Jurassic Park movie, perhaps? How was it possible that such a stunning and solitary place on Earth existed?”. With mud skippers flapping in the shallow water around us, and a brightly coloured fiddler crap marching among them, it felt like we had jumped back into a time from long ago.

Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

The second stop on our sea kayaking adventure was Hong Island, kayaking past the spectacular limestone karsts that jut vertically out of the water into another private lagoon. Our private paradise was occasionally disturbed by the odd person or two with a private boat, but we pretty much had the bay to ourselves.

Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

Stop number three was Khao Ping Gan, also known as “James Bond Island”. The famous rock, Koh Tapu, only briefly featured in the 1974 film, The Man with the Golden Gun, but it was long enough to attract a steady influx of daily visitors ever since.

Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

A quick walk around the island is long enough to spend there, and within half an hour we are speeding off again on our boat, enjoying a delicious, freshly cooked Thai buffet lunch, on the way to our last stop for the day, Lawa Island.

Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

Lawa Island is a tiny, remote island jutting out in the bay with a private sandy beach for us. We spend a peaceful hour swimming, canoeing and watching a wild monkey stalk his way up and down the beach in search of snacks.

Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island Phuket Day Trips: Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

We are back at our hotel at around 2:30pm, tired from our early start, but with eyes full of the breathtaking scenery we witnessed during our day.

What memories to be made, indeed.

This is Thailand as we had hoped to find it – a small slice of paradise leaving us speechless with wonder.

Phuket Day Trips: Two Sea Tour of Phang Nga Bay & James Bond Island

More info:
We booked our tour directly through Two Sea Tours twoseatour.com.

Fresh fruits, snacks, pastries, cookies, soft drinks and water were provided (free) all day.

If giving a tip (and we recommend that you do), the suggested amount is around 200 to 500 baht with a minimum of 100 baht.

Tour price: for 2 adults and one child in one canoe, 10,400 TBH ($390AUD)

Where to stay:
In Phuket we stayed at the Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort for three nights, and the Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort and Spa for three nights. The tour picks up from both hotels.

Thanks to Two Sea Tours for use of the additional pics.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort and Spa

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

When choosing a Phuket hotel to relax and indulge with the family, the Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort and Spa is an ideal choice.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

This beautiful Phuket resort has a fantastic location for travellers wanting to be close to tourist attractions such as the Big Buddha, but far enough away to feel like you’re staying in a small village. Really, it’s the best of both worlds.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

The Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort and Spa is about an hours drive from Phuket airport, 10 minutes from Patong, and directly across the road from gorgeous Karon Beach. The low-rise resort sprawls around three pools, with a distinctly jungle-feel to it thanks to all of the gorgeous plant life.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

Our Plunge Pool Suite was just divine. We had a main bedroom with a king bed plus tent for the little one to play in, overlooking our own private plunge pool. Swoon.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

The connecting living area had a rollaway bed for the kiddo to sleep in, but she often ended up sleeping in the big bed with us.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

The little details told us loud and clear that families were incredibly welcome at the resort. The tent in our bedroom was filled with toys for our daughter to play with, she found a little treat on arrival and discovered a scavenger hunt trail to get her busy around the resort.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

Phuket is crazy hot when we visited, so the powerful air conditioning was very welcome! Our room also featured a massive bathtub, rain shower, free wifi and tea and coffee making facilities.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

Each morning of our three-night stay we enjoyed breakfast at the Horizon Cafe, where a buffet served up Asian and international cuisine.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

My fave was the omelette station, but I also couldn’t resist the pancake machine. There was a wide variety of food to try: pastries, bread, brioche, muffins, yogurts, cereals, fruits, salad, cheese, pancakes, crepes, sushis, congee, stir fried noodles, fried rice … there wasn’t enough time to try it all.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

The resort has five restaurants including the Horizon Cafe. During the day, we enjoyed lunch at Joe Kool’s Poolside Grill, where our choices include traditional Asian cuisine or more Western fare – perfect for fussy little eaters like our daughter.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

One evening, we indulged in a fancy dinner at TAi restaurant, where we were served upmarket, traditional Thai cuisine.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

While the husband and I love all the Thai food our fussy daughter is happy to dine on fish and chips, pasta and very cheesy pizza.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

We dined almost every meal at the resort and thought the prices were extremely reasonable. An average adult meal would cost around 250THB (around $10AUD), and we were extremely happy with the quality of the food, as well as of the resort itself.

As you can’t drink tap water in Thailand, the hotel provides plenty of complimentary bottled water in the rooms every day. If you dine at any of the restaurants, however, and ask for water, you’ll be charged 45THB for it. A small amount, but you can also just carry the bottles from your room around with you for free.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

There are three gorgeous pools to keep visitors cool. The main pool, the Lagoon, has a swim up bar and fun activities during the day such as the “walking on water” blow up balls, or water volleyball.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

The Oasis Pool is quiet, set in a secluded area with a jacuzzi.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

Lastly there is the Kids’ Pool, where a twisting waterslide and mushroom shower have been built to entertain the little ones. The slide is sadly closed for renovation, but the pool is so shallow that it’s still a fave.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

When the heat gets too much, there is the fantastic kids’ club, Kids World, to provide entertainment.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

Parents are welcome to join their kids, or drop them off if they are over four years of age.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

Daily scheduled activities run to keep kids amused, such as umbrella painting, fan painting and pop up card making – or kids can just play with the toys, take time out watching a movie and play video games (this was a huge hit with the dads!).

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

Kids who enjoy cooking can try a pizza making class. We’ve been cooking a lot at home so this was a fun activity to try. Cheese made her own pizza from kneading the dough to putting on the toppings, placing it in the oven, and then, of course, eating it when it was done.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

The Novotel hotels pride themselves on being family-friendly, and this Novotel was no exception. For 299THB per child per day ($11AUD), kids at the resort can enjoy an all-inclusive kids’ menu, smoothies and soft drinks, a welcome surprise and daily treats, kids’ club, in-room kids’ movies, and daily kids’ activities at Kids World.

We found this to be a particularly good deal as it would cover our daughter’s lunch and dinner plus any snacks/drinks she wanted during the day.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

It’s not a relaxing holiday without a visit to the spa, and the Novotel’s In Balance Spa was just what I needed. After choosing my oil from one of five “scents” (I went with relaxing lavender) my 90-minute stress relief massage flew by. At 1600 TBH ($60AUD) it’s an incredibly reasonable deal.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

Our stay at the Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort and Spa was over way too quickly. It’s such a gorgeous spot with so much to do that it’s easy to see why so many families with little kids come to enjoy themselves and never leave the resort! If you do, however, feel like exploring there’s plenty to see.

Places of note nearby:

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & SpaWat Suwan Khirikhet

Karon Night Markets

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa
Karon Beach (with playground)

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa
Karon village

Patong is a short car or shuttle away

Big Buddha, Phuket, Thailand

Big Buddha (depending on traffic, 15-30 minutes drive)

Old Phuket Town, Thailand

Old Phuket Town (30 minute drive)

We rented a car through the hotel to take us to Big Buddha and Old Phuket Town. The cost was 700THB per hour, with a minimum of three hours required for booking, and the fourth hour free.

Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa Hotel Review: Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

When to visit Thailand:
We visited Phuket at the end of monsoon season (early October), and did experience quite a lot of rain. The rain was mostly in the mornings and late afternoon/evening, however, so there was still enough of the day that was try to get out and enjoy.

What to pack:
Mosquito repellant
Sunscreen
Loose, light layers that offer additional sun protection and also cover knees and shoulders if you are planning on visiting any of the temples.
Hat, swimmers, sunglasses, goggles

Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort and Spa
568 Patak Road, Karon, Muang Phuket, Phuket 83100
Tel: +66 (0) 76 358 666
Fax +66 (0) 76 358 645
E-mail: H8825-RE@accor.com
Website: novotelphuketkaron.com

Thinking of staying at the Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort and Spa? They are currently offering this this half board promotion.

Thank you to the Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa for hosting our stay. All opinions are my own.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

8 Things To Do In Neisko, Japan, With Kids

8 Things To Do In Niseko With Kids via christineknight.me

Japan is one of my absolute favourite countries to visit. The culture is exquisite, the people welcoming and the cities and scenery spectacular. Like I said, already a huge, raving fan. I last visited Japan when I was footloose and fancy free, way before little Cheese came along. I can’t wait to take her back to experience this beautiful country, particularly a city called Niseko, in the Hokkaido precinct.

Niseko is renowned among ski and snowboarders for having the best ski terrain in Japan. Set amongst snow-capped mountains, and close to hot spring resorts (AKA onsen), this is a town that is majestic to visit any time of year.

8 Things To Do In Niseko With Kids via christineknight.me

While Niseko is known for its snow, it’s actually an ideal holiday location for all seasons – particularly for active families like mine. If you’re thinking of visiting Japan this year with your kids, consider adding Niseko to your itinerary, and enjoy some of these eight family-friendly activities. If you want even more ideas on planning your trip, you can check out Vacation Niseko.

8 Things To Do In Niseko With Kids via christineknight.me

Snow sports
Winter is peak season in Niseko for a very good reason. If you’re a snow bunny, this is the time for your family to visit and enjoy sports such as snow tubing and sledding. Families with kids aged three and over can enjoy these exhilarating winter sports at Hanazono Adventure Park, located at Hanazono 308, accessed from Hirafu village via frequent, free Hanazono shuttle buses.

8 Things To Do In Niseko With Kids via christineknight.me

Local cuisine
You can’t visit Japan without enjoying their regional dishes. Take kids to visit Hokkaido’s famous dairy, Milk Kobo, serving locally made ice cream, yogurt and milk, plus vegetarian dishes. They have cute souvenir shops, too. Milk Kobo can be accessed via the Niseko United Shuttle bus and is open year-round except Dec. 31st and Jan. 1st.

8 Things To Do In Niseko With Kids via christineknight.me

Summer water sports
Niseko sits on the twisting and turning Shiribetsu river, which means summer is filled with exhilarating water sports. Get on the river in a 2-person inflatable kayak for a Ducky Tour, or enjoy a relaxing rafting tour. Older kids can try SUP – stand up paddleboarding. It’s very easy to learn and a fun way to explore the river.

8 Things To Do In Niseko With Kids via christineknight.me

PURE Nature Activity Centre
When you’re staying in the mountains, there’s going to be a lot of nature to be had. If you want to really get out and enjoy the scenery, visit the PURE centre at Niseko Village for a wide range of family-friendly activities, including mountain biking, ziplining, horseback riding and hot-air ballooning. Tree Trekking particular looks amazing – kids can walk among the trees on a network of ziplines, nets and ropeways.

8 Things To Do In Niseko With Kids via christineknight.me

Indoor Rock-climbing
When you want a break from the great outdoors, indoor rock climbing will keep the kids busy for hours. A great activity that the whole family can enjoy, or you can sit back and enjoy a coffee from JoJo’s Cafe while the kids scrabble up the rock faces on their own at the Niseko Adventure Centre.

8 Things To Do In Niseko With Kids via christineknight.me
Zipline
The whole family can clip on a harness and fly on a 200 metre zipline, 10 metres above the mountain. The zipline runs year-round at Hanazono Adventure Park, located at Hanazono 308. It is accessed from Hirafu village via frequent, free Hanazono shuttle buses. Participants must be over 100 cm and below 100 kg. The zipline experience lasts roughly 30 minutes.

8 Things To Do In Niseko With Kids via christineknight.me

Ski school
The perfect opportunity for your kids to learn how to ski from expert instructors. Vacation Niseko will arrange it all for you, and ensure your child is booked into the correct class at NISS, their premier ski school. Kids aged 3-6 yrs can join the Tic-Tac Kids Club for a full-day program in Hanazono, a large area with three magic carpets and minimal hill traffic, making it a safe place for little ones to learn the basics. Classes are limited to 6 kids. Older kids can join the Yuki full-day program (7-14 yrs), where they will explore the slopes around Hanazono and Niseko with their instructor. Yuki groups are separated into skiers and boarders, and are limited to 8 participants.

Doumu Glass Gallery
A cultural experience I would love to explore is glassblowing, which the Shiribeshi region is renowned for. Glassblowing artist Kazuo Ikeda is known for his elegant and simple glass work, with his shop located near Hirafu in Higashiyama. At the Doumo Glass Gallery you can attend a sandblasting workshop and create your own Japanese-style glass or beer mug.The Doumo Glass Gallery is close to Milk Kobo, making them a great pair of activities to do together. Both are easily accessed via the Niseko United Shuttle bus.

8 Things To Do In Niseko With Kids via christineknight.me

Where to stay:
Choose from a range of accommodation from apartments to townhouses, depending on your budget. The most expensive time to visit is winter. In the off season, accommodation is a fraction of the cost, making it a fantastic option for a summer, autumn or spring holiday. Check out your options at Vacation Niseko.

Getting there:
Niseko is a two-to-three hour drive from New Chitose Airport, just outside of Sapporo. While it is an international airport, most international visitors will need to fly into Tokyo or Narita and catch a flight from there.

This post was produced in conjunction with Vacation Niseko.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Entering the Forbidden City, Beijing

The Forbidden City via christineknight.me

During my 2007 trip to Beijing, we were taken to see the Forbidden City – one of China’s biggest tourist attractions, with around 7 million visitors a year (up to 80,000 a day!).

This spectacular palace was home to 24 imperial Chinese emperors from the Ming dynasty in 1420 to the end of the Qing dynasty in 1912. The Forbidden City is located right in the center of Beijing (near Tiananmen Square) and is now home to the Palace Museum.

The Forbidden City via christineknight.me

For 500 years the palace was off limits to the public, hence the name “Forbidden City”. Nowadays you can enter what is the largest palace complex in the world for around $10AUD. The palace is also China’s best-preserved and largest group of ancient buildings, making it an amazing trip back in time when you visit.

The Forbidden City via christineknight.me

We had a tour guide for our group, who was full of interesting info that wasn’t on the audio tour – such as during our visit renovations were obviously in progress on the roofs. Our guide noted that the palace was so large that by the time they had finished re-painting all the roofs they would need to start re-painting the first ones they began with all over again.

The Forbidden City via christineknight.me

It was at the Forbidden City that I had my first introduction to a dirty “hole-in-the-ground” Chinese toilet. Unless things have improved since our visit, I highly suggest you hold it rather than also experience this traditional gem.

The Forbidden City via christineknight.me

Set aside most of a day to really explore the entire palace. Comfortable shoes are advisable.

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The Forbidden City
Opening hours:
April-Oct 8:30-17:00 (60CNY)
November-March 8:30-16:30 (40CNY)

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Climbing the Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China via christineknight.me

I had a mild panic attack recently when I realised that I’ve travelled far and wide but very few of my journeys have actually been blogged. What kind of travel blogger am I?! Since I don’t get to travel as much these days with my preschooler in tow, I decided to go back through my travels and add them in so all of my adventures are chronicled in the one place. Starting with the Great Wall of China.

I visited Beijing in 2007 on a work trip and was so excited when I found out that one of our organised activities was the climb the Great Wall of China.

The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications built along an east-west line across the northern borders of China from the 3rd century BC to the 17th century AD. The wall was built to protect the Chinese empires against invaders, with a total length of more than 20,000 km. While some sections of the wall have crumbled away, some still exist to an extent that they can be climbed, as the wall has been rebuilt, maintained and renovated constantly.

We climbed the Badaling section of the wall. It’s the most famous section, the most complete, convenient and accessible, and is also the closest to Beijing (70 km). As a result, however, this section of the wall is always teaming with tourists (like us!). I didn’t find it overwhelmingly busy when we visited, however, so I wouldn’t be put off by this. The Badaling section has had the most renovation and is well maintained, making it the safest section to walk of the wall, too.

Most parts of the Badaling Great Wall were built during the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644 AD) to defend Beijing against raids from northern Mongolians.

The Badaling section of the wall is 12 kilometers with 43 watchtowers, but only 3.74 km and 19 watchtowers have been restored and are opened to visitors. While that sounds like a short stroll, it’s an exhausting walk up hill, and your calves will remind you of it for days to come. Take plenty of water and wear very comfy shoes.

Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me Great Wall of China via christineknight.me

Heading to China? Get ideas on a two-week itinerary here.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore via christineknight.me

You’ll need to devote an entire day to see all that Gardens by the Bay has to offer. This popular attraction consists of three large garden areas, the main, and most popular, being Bay South garden, which houses the Flower Dome, Cloud Forest, Supertrees Grove and Children’s Garden.

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore via christineknight.me

The Flower Dome is an indoor hothouse bursting with manicured gardens right out of a storybook. The dome features flowering plants from around the world – there’s even an Australian section with bottle brush and other native plants. Most popular are the statues within the garden beds. From elephants, mythical dragons and giant bees to children’s picture book characters, the flower dome tells stories beyond pretty blooms.

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore via christineknight.me Gardens by the Bay, Singapore via christineknight.me Gardens by the Bay, Singapore via christineknight.me Gardens by the Bay, Singapore via christineknight.me Gardens by the Bay, Singapore via christineknight.me Gardens by the Bay, Singapore via christineknight.me Gardens by the Bay, Singapore via christineknight.me Gardens by the Bay, Singapore via christineknight.me Gardens by the Bay, Singapore via christineknight.me Gardens by the Bay, Singapore via christineknight.me Gardens by the Bay, Singapore via christineknight.me gardens-by-the-bay-19 Gardens by the Bay, Singapore via christineknight.me

The next dome is called “Cloud Forest”. It takes visitors up an indoor mountain through a circular path, behind a waterfall.

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore via christineknight.me

The “mountain” is clad in beautiful epiphytes such as orchids, ferns and peacock ferns.

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore via christineknight.me Gardens by the Bay, Singapore via christineknight.me Gardens by the Bay, Singapore via christineknight.me Gardens by the Bay, Singapore via christineknight.me Gardens by the Bay, Singapore via christineknight.me Gardens by the Bay, Singapore via christineknight.me Gardens by the Bay, Singapore via christineknight.me

Both the domes are extremely accessible for wheelchairs and strollers – there are elevators to all areas of the gardens.

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore via christineknight.me

The Supertrees Grove is filled with tree-like structures with heights that range between 25 metres (82 ft) and 50 metres (160 ft). They are vertical gardens at the top of which is an elevated walkway, the OCBC Skyway, between two of the larger Supertrees, giving a panoramic aerial view of the Gardens. The Skyway closes in inclement weather, which is unfortunately what happened on our visit.

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore via christineknight.me Gardens by the Bay, Singapore via christineknight.me

While kids will enjoy all of the features of Gardens by the Bay, a trip to the Children’s Garden will be a highlight of your trip. Perfect for kids aged one and up, the children’s garden is renowned for its fabulous water play area.

gardens-by-the-bay-38

There is a toddler zone for kids under 5, and a larger area for children 6 and over. With clean bathroom facilities and a shaded amphitheater, it’s obvious why this is a hot spot for families. Kids aged 6 -12 will also enjoy the Rainforest Tree Houses and the Adventure Trail nearby. You can visit this area for free, which is an added bonus in very pricey Singapore.

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore via christineknight.me Gardens by the Bay, Singapore via christineknight.me Gardens by the Bay, Singapore via christineknight.me Gardens by the Bay, Singapore via christineknight.me

Gardens by the Bay
18 Marina Gardens Dr, Singapore 018953
Standard Rate for two domes: Adult: $28, Senior Citizen (>60 years old): $28, Child (3-12 years old): $15

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Travel Guide: Singapore With Kids

Travel Guide: Singapore With Kids via christineknight.me

We had a brief three days in Singapore on our world trip. While we barely scratched the surface of what there is to see and do in the city, we do have some tips on how to enjoy your Singaporean experience with kids.

Getting around
The best way to navigate Singapore is by taxi. They are very cheap and fast – but do not have children’s car seats. We took a Boostapak travel booster seat with us (it doubled as a backpack) to use in taxis. While it’s not as safe as a booster seats with a back or a five-point harness, it’s better than the alternative of nothing. Or, if you’re staying close to public transport, try that instead.

Climate
Singapore is hot and sticky all the time. Pack light clothes and a hat and sunscreen. The locals spend a lot of their leisure time in pools for a reason.

Where to eat
Singapore is extremely kid-friendly, including a lot of the restaurants. For ideas on where to eat out with kids, check out local Beverly Burgess’ blog. She eats out with her two young children extensively.

What to do

Travel Guide: Singapore With Kids via christineknight.me
Sentosa

Sentosa Island is where Singaporeans go to play. The resort island is visited by around 20 million people each year, with attractions like beaches, golf courses, Universal Studios Singapore, Adventure Cove Water Park, Marine Life Park, the Merlion, hotels and restaurants.

Travel Guide: Singapore With Kids via christineknight.me

Sentosa can be reached by monorail or cable car from Mount Faber – the most scenic option. You could probably spend a good five days just on Sentosa with kids.

Travel Guide: Singapore With Kids via christineknight.me

On our outing, we took the kids on the Sentosa Skyline Luge, which was a big hit. The luge ride goes downhill, then, after the ride, a chairlift brings riders, luge carts, and the helmets back to the starting point.

Travel Guide: Singapore With Kids via christineknight.me

We ate at Slappy Cakes at Resort World Sentosa, where pancake mixture arrives in squeezy bottles so kids can make their own creative pancakes.

Travel Guide: Singapore With Kids via christineknight.me

A brief stop at Candylicious sent the kids into a sugar frenzy. They pushed mini carts around the store and picked a few small items each to take home.

Travel Guide: Singapore With Kids via christineknight.me

Cool down at Palawan Beach – the most kid-friendly beach on Sentosa. it can get very busy on weekends, but it’s a great spot regardless. Clean bathroom facilities, shallow, calm water, play equipment, and a Playmobil area with toys the kids could play with.

Travel Guide: Singapore With Kids via christineknight.me
Chinatown
A walk through Chinatown is a colourful experience. Market stalls assault the senses and kids can choose cheap trinket souvenirs. You might have a monk-sighting like we did (check out his giant phone!), and try some local food.

Travel Guide: Singapore With Kids via christineknight.me
We stopped by the Noodle Man, renowned for his authentic, hand cut noodles.

Travel Guide: Singapore With Kids via christineknight.me
Kids can watch him make their noodles from scratch. They taste so good you’ll order a second bowl.

Travel Guide: Singapore With Kids via christineknight.me
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum

A Tang Dynesty-styled Chinese Buddhist temple in Chinatown that gets its name from the Sacred Buddha Tooth Relic it houses. The temple overwhelms the senses with colour, incense and the chanting of buddhist monks.

Travel Guide: Singapore With Kids via christineknight.me

Gardens by the Bay
This attraction requires a full day to see everything. Consisting of three large garden areas, the main, and most popular, being Bay South garden, which houses the Flower Dome, Cloud Forest, Supertrees Grove and Children’s Garden.

Travel Guide: Singapore With Kids via christineknight.me

The Flower Dome is an indoor hothouse bursting with manicured gardens right out of a storybook.

Travel Guide: Singapore With Kids via christineknight.me

The Cloud Forest takes visitors up an indoor mountain through a circular path, behind a waterfall.

Travel Guide: Singapore With Kids via christineknight.me
The “mountain” is clad in beautiful epiphytes such as orchids, ferns and peacock ferns.

Travel Guide: Singapore With Kids via christineknight.me
The Supertrees Grove is filled with tree-like structures with heights that range between 25 metres (82 ft) and 50 metres (160 ft). They are vertical gardens at the top of which is an elevated walkway, the OCBC Skyway, between two of the larger Supertrees, giving a panoramic aerial view of the Gardens. The Skyway closes in inclement weather, which is unfortunately what happened on our visit.

Travel Guide: Singapore With Kids via christineknight.me
While kids will enjoy all of the features of Gardens by the Bay, a trip to the Children’s Garden will be a highlight of your trip. Perfect for kids aged one and up, the children’s garden is renowned for its fabulous water play area.

Travel Guide: Singapore With Kids via christineknight.me
There is a toddler zone for kids under 5, and a larger area for children 6 and over. With clean bathroom facilities and a shaded amphitheater, it’s obvious why this is a hot spot for families. Kids aged 6 -12 will also enjoy the Rainforest Tree Houses and the Adventure Trail nearby. You can visit this area for free, which is an added bonus in very pricey Singapore. Read more about our experience here.

Want more ideas on what to do in Singapore with kids? Find cool things to do over here, or where the locals go to play over here and the best hotels to stay in here..

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Parenting Around The World: Beverly Burgess In Singapore

The installment of parenting abroad is brought to you by Beverly Burgess, a blogger and marketer extraordinaire. Beverly lives in Singapore with her three boys: husband Chris, and sons Hunter (4) and Carter (almost 3). Beverly has also lived in Australia and China, which is where her first son was born.

Parenting Around The World: Singapore via christineknight.me

Giving birth in Shanghai

Both my husband’s and my companies moved us to Shanghai to look after regional operations, which was an unforgettable experience for us. We had a huge culture and language shock, but loved our time there.

My pregnancy was a bit of a surprise, and none of our friends were pregnant or had children, so I really stood out – we still went out clubbing when I was full term! I was out daily and out jogging three times a week until the day I went into labour, much to the shock of the locals – I was told it’s uncommon for local women to venture outside when they’re in their 3rd trimester.

I gave birth in an expat hospital and the care given was superior to any other country. It was absolute luxury, but did cost almost US$20k!

As I gave birth during winter, we had to deal with a newborn in sub-zero celsius weather. We were always bundled up and baby bath time was a real headache. Thankfully, we lived in the middle of the city so everything was within a few mins walk. I could easily pop outside to pick up a few groceries and get my hair washed and blow dried (which cost only about U$8).

Parenting Around The World: Singapore via christineknight.me

Moving from Shanghai to Singapore

My husband’s company transferred us to Singapore when our son Hunter was 4 months old, and I made the decision to quit my job to be a full-time mum. It was the right decision for us – Singapore’s air quality is much better, and we found everything simpler and cleaner.

Parenting Around The World: Singapore via christineknight.me

Pregnancy in Shanghai vs in Singapore

The stark contrast of being pregnant in Singapore was very evident to me when I was pregnant with our second child, Carter. Seeing a pregnant woman in Singapore is fairly common, so no one pays much notice. In China, being pregnant meant having a lot of people (especially the older folk) fawn over you – I felt like I was having a royal baby there!

Childbirth in a Singapore hospital meant having access to one of the world’s greatest health care, but also felt like a production line in comparison to the extremely personal service in Shanghai where there were only 2 to 3 women staying in the maternity ward, and 6 nurses on staff.

Parenting Around The World: Singapore via christineknight.me

Adjusting to life in Singapore

Singapore is easy living, it’s fun for singles and safe and accessible for families. Everyone speaks English and it boasts excellent restaurants, shops and kid-friendly activities. I haven’t heard any parent complain about making the move to Singapore! The expat population is huge and our area is also very multicultural, so our neighbours are Europeans, Australians, Americans, Japanese, etc.

Parenting Around The World: Singapore via christineknight.me

Play time

Water play is HUGE in Singapore, thanks to the constant heat and humidity year round. We swim 3-4 times a week, go to water playgrounds, and have lots of pool parties with friends. Singapore also has indoor playgrounds galore, which you can often find us at. And, of course, dining – take your pick of any cuisine you feel like eating, and there’ll be a restaurant serving it near by!

Parenting Around The World: Singapore via christineknight.me

Safe and accessible

Everything is easily accessible, malls and restaurants are almost all very family friendly, and the weather is always warm. It’s also an extremely safe country with low crime rates, something that we really appreciate now that we’re parents.

Parenting Around The World: Singapore via christineknight.me

The school system

The local school system is (in)famous for being notoriously cut throat. Grade One kids come home with homework (and wait til you see the level of knowledge they’re expected to have!), and primary school children are known for going straight from school, to enrichment classes or tuition, to going home to do homework. There is little time for simple things like going to the playground.. and they’re only seven years old!

Parenting Around The World: Singapore via christineknight.me

Raising multicultural eaters

Singapore is so multicultural that we eat the world’s cuisine, as I like to call it. We cook a lot of pastas, roasts, and also rice dishes.

Singapore is also renowned for their hawker centres, where you’ll find delicious food stalls at great prices. Some of the top choices for local food are Hainanese Chicken Rice, Laksa noodles, and Chicken Satay. They’re delicious!

Parenting Around The World: Singapore via christineknight.me

Holidays abroad

What’s surprising is that, despite being in Asia, a lot of Singaporeans go on holidays in Europe, America, and other countries on the other side of the world! Singaporeans love to travel.

But if we want to stay closer to home (and spare us all a painful long-haul flight), then popping over to places like Bali, Hong Kong or Japan is an excellent choice since there are often cheap deals on flights to these places.

Parenting Around The World: Singapore via christineknight.me

Making friends

It was very easy to make friends with our neighbours, who are almost all expats and eager to make new friendships. It’s unfortunately much harder to go beyond a casual acquaintance with a local, because many have deep set friendships with people they went to school with and have always hung out with all these years. It can be extremely cliquey and they generally will not invite an ‘outsider’ to hang out with their old school gang!

Parenting Around The World: Singapore via christineknight.me

Kids and discipline

Singaporean children do display better discipline, due to the intensity and expectations of being in a local school. In general, though, Singaporeans are quite a blessed bunch and almost every family has a domestic helper to do all the household chores and cooking, so the children are very fortunate that they are usually not expected to help out at home!

Parenting Around The World: Singapore via christineknight.me

Parenting and societal norms

It’s normal for both parents to work in Singapore, and to work long hours. Because of this, time with their children is precious, so parents are willing to splurge on amusement parks, childrens plays, and dining with their kids. I’ve never seen more families out shopping and eating with very young children (especially late at night) than I have in Singapore!

Because both parents often work, Singaporean kids usually have a late bed time. Toddlers can sleep at 10PM! My kids are actually an anomaly as they have a 7PM bedtime (my husband and I really value our adult-only peace and quiet!).

Parenting Around The World: Singapore via christineknight.meBeverly Burgess is a social media addict, having worked in the online space for 7 years at Microsoft and eBay. Having blogged for over two decades across Australia, China and now Singapore, Beverly entered an alternate universe at warp speed when she went from career-driven shopaholic and social butterfly … to juggling being a wife and a mother of two kids.

All within three years.

The career is now replaced with the privilege of being a full-time mum, but the urge to shop and socialize still remains (albeit with two obliging children in tow).

And, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Beverly blogs at: http://beverlys.net
You can also find her on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/BeverlysNet

Linking up with Bron and Karin.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Where To Eat And Play In Brisbane With Kids

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com While I spent a lot of my childhood summers on the Gold Coast, I’d never visited Brisbane. Absolutely no reason why, other than that the opportunity hadn’t presented itself until recently. After a blogging conference on the Gold Coast, I stopped through Brisbane on the way back to Sydney and spent two days exploring the best that Brisbane has to offer families. If you’re planning a trip to the Sunshine state, you could easily spend a couple of days enjoying Brisbane with the kids. Here are my tips on a fun family holiday in Brisbane: Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com Eat and play at Gasworks Plaza
Book a table at Buzz for lunch right next to the gasring. You’ll enjoy the delicious food (the quinoa salad was divine) and gorgeous interiors by local designer Anna Spiro of Black & Spiro, and the kids can run off steam in the adjoining park. Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

After lunch, take a stroll down to the nearby riverbank. Kids can bike or scoot along the river, and will enjoy the street art and statue of Gloria the sheep, a tribute to the Teneriffe wool stores that lined the river in the early 1900s.
76 Skyring Terrace, Newstead

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com Shop at Growing World, Emporium
This gorgeous children’s store is filled with educational toys and books from all around the world.
1000 Ann St, Fortitude Valley

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com Rock out at the Brisbane Powerhouse
The redeveloped powerhouse is a centre for art and culture. Check out the (often free) events for families, or just drop by on a Sunday to experience live music and markets (the pop-up Suitcase Rummage markets are on once a month).

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

Kids can roam inside the powerhouse, spot some cool graffiti art and dance to indie-pop and rock bands. Make a day of it by enjoying an early dinner or glass of wine at Bar Alto. Grab a balcony table overlooking the river while babies are napping and older kids are playing with your iPhone or colouring in.
119 Lamington St, New Farm

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

Run wild at New Farm Park
Set the kids free in 18 hectares of gardens and open green space. The attached New Farm Park playground is a local family favourite with fortress-like constructions winding through huge fig trees.

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com
No-fuss family dinner at Eat Street Markets
The perfect dinner option for families with no pressure for kids to sit down and behave. 60 industrial shipping containers have been converted into mini shops and restaurants. Choose your meal from local food vendors (Italian, Mexican, potato rings on sticks, sweet potatoes fries and much, much more is on offer) then camp out on astroturf covered giant blocks to enjoy live music while the sun goes down.
Macarthur Avenue, Hamilton

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com
Book a free city tour with Brisbane Greeters
Our tour guide, AnneMarie White, was a local expert who showed us the best places to eat and shop in the James Street district with and without kids. A remarkable woman with a background in broadcasting, it was a pleasure to learn about Brisbane through her own experiences.

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com
Chic shopping and dining at James St
Leave the kids with Dad for an hour or two while you check out local Australian designers and boutiques. Sass + Bide, Camilla, Zimmermann and more await your credit card.

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com
Feeling peckish? Harvey’s Bar and Bistro is a great breakfast and lunch choice with or without kids.

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com
If you’ve got a serious sweet tooth like I do, be sure to pick up a treat from the iconic Joceyln’s Provisions. While you’re deciding which delicious cake to order, poke your head inside their kitchen to see the pastry chefs hard at work.

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com
Play time: South Bank Parklands
As well as being the cultural centre of Brisbane, the South Bank is filled with family-focussed entertainment.

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com
Get arty at the QAGOMA
The Queensland Gallery of Modern Art is a top choice for adults and children. Most of the gallery is free entry, including the Children’s Art Centre. Their current major exhibition, “Harvest” (open till Sept 21) celebrates food in art and includes interactive features for older children, as well as kid-friendly art such as large sculptures and a Shangai supermarket installation.

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

Take littlies to the children’s exhibition, “Pattern Bandits” (open until Nov 2), where they can explore a world of colour, shape and pattern in a completely hands-on environment. The free exhibition features craft activities that can be taken home or left to be put on display. Kids will particularly love the kaleidoscope corridor where they can see their own faces turned into bright patterns.
Stanley Place, Cultural Precinct, South Bank

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

Segway Tours with X-wing
Older kids will love seeing Brisbane’s South Bank on a mini-segway. Zoom along the river bank with a helpful guide to tell you all about Brisbane.

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

Get a bird’s-eye view
Take a spin on the Wheel of Brisbane for a panoramic view of the city.

brisbane-318

Streets Beach
This man-made beach with white sand and lifesavers is a summer oasis on the Brisbane river shore. It’s perfect for families, with shallow lagoons, sprinklers and crystal clear water.

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com

Stop for a bite at South Bank Surf Club
After a swim at Streets Beach, stroll the the nearby Surf Club for a relaxed fish and chips.
30aa Stanley Street Plaza, South Bank

Where To Eat & Play in #Brisbane with Kids via brunchwithmybaby.com
Sweet Treats at Cowch Dessert Cocktail Bar
Brisbane’s first dessert and cocktail bar offers build your own fro-yo, ice cream and a range of other sugar-coma inducing desserts.
2/179 Grey Street, South Bank

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

LIKE Beverly’s Net on Facebook!

Facebook - Beverly's Net

So I’m ten thousand years late to the game (give or take…), but I’ve finally finally FINALLY gotten my personal site a page – Beverly’s Net on Facebook!

For years I’ve resisted, thinking it a little naff (and kinda embarassing!!) to have a page dedicated to… errrr…. yourself and your own blog on Facebook. But then everyone seems to be doing it and I’m a jump-on-the-bandwagon kinda person I guess, so here I am!

Appreciate your support and, well, niceness, if you decide to give me a LIKE over on Facebook. You’ll get blog updates, of course, as well as bits and bobs from my Instagram (normally private and only for friends) as well as cute little articles I find online.

Thanks! 🙂

[pssst! Facebook doesn’t always surface everything, only to a select number of Likers. To get all updates, you’ll need to checkmark “Get Notifications” (see photo above)]

 

Beverly Burgess
Beverly is a social media addict, having worked in the online space for 7 years at Microsoft and eBay, before popping out her 1 yr old and 2 yr old boys. She is all about Family, Food and Fashion. She blogs at http://beverlys.net/blog