Mama Beach Residence on Phi Phi Island

Mama Beach Residence on Phi Phi Island

We found a fabulous place to stay on Phi Phi island that was about an hour’s ferry ride from Phuket or Krabi, Thailand. With a sweeping view of the Andaman Sea and a private beach right in front of our room,  our stay at Mama Beach Residence was one of the highlights of our Thailand island-hopping vacation.   We loved the fact that the beach was within a minute’s walk from our room.   We also loved the fact that Phi Phi island (Phi Phi Don to be exact) had a laid back feel to it.  The island had no roads, no public...
Phi Phi Island-hopping without the crowd

Phi Phi Island-hopping without the crowd

Krabi has over 150 islands, stunning limestone rock formations, clear emerald water and beautiful beaches like the ones on Phi Phi island, but many came and left these islands feeling utterly disappointed.  Who could blame them when throngs of tourists fill almost every inch of the beach.  Those who wanted to take a dip in the waters of the Andaman Sea barely had any area to swim with countless boats lined up along the beach.  Don’t believe me?  Just google “Phi Phi crowded” and look at the photos from other visitors. Well, what if I tell you that there...
i-City Malaysia

i-City Malaysia

i-City Malaysia is a family park which offers several attractions like Snowalk, Trick Art Museum, Red Carpet Wax Museum, Space Mission, Submarine, Waterworld and City of Digital Lights.  Located in Shah Alam, it takes about 30 minutes to drive to i-City from Kuala Lumpur.   i-City Snowalk Our first stop was to visit Snowalk – the biggest snow themed park in Malaysia.   Walking around at below 5 degrees celsius, we went through an ice tunnel and an ice house, saw ice penguins and other ice sculptures. There were also a number of different icy rides to try.  The...
Avani Sepang Goldcoast Resort

Avani Sepang Goldcoast Resort

Avani Sepang Goldcoast Resort is a beachfront resort located on Pantai Bagan Lalang which is about an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur and a 3-hour drive north of Singapore.  It features over-water villas that, together, form the shape of a palm tree. See the above picture courtesy of Avani Sepang Goldcoast Resort.   This was the exterior of our villa.   Our two-bedroom villa was very spacious for the five of us, with a gorgeous master bedroom, a second bedroom with twin beds, and a living area.       There was an extra room to chill out and...
Angry Birds Activity Park Johor

Angry Birds Activity Park Johor

Angry Birds Activity Park Johor Bahru, Malaysia is Southeast Asia’s first Angry Birds theme park.  Located on the third floor of the new Komtar Johor Bahru City Centre (JBCC), this 26,000 square feet indoor park offers fun activities for the whole family.   Playground for the Little Ones The first area near the entrance was an activity area for young kids.  There was the Red Bird Sona where kids were given simple maths questions and they had to run to the correct answer.  Definitely more fun (and more tiring) than doing it on a PC or tablet. There was...
Malacca – Exploring a World Heritage City

Malacca – Exploring a World Herita...

Malacca (also locally known as Melaka)  is one of the most fascinating cities in Malaysia.  Colonised by the Portuguese, Dutch and British for over 400 years over its strategic location for maritime trade, its rich history has earned itself the title of Unesco World Heritage City in 2008.  It is probably the only place in the world that has ruins of both Asia and Europe. With my son learning History in school, I thought it was a good idea for him and the girls to learn a bit about Malacca’s history in a fun way.  We explored the historical sites on a trishaw, toured...
Malacca Jonker Walk Night Market

Malacca Jonker Walk Night Market

The Jonker Walk Night Market is one of the top attractions to visit in Malacca. Every Friday and Saturday evenings, Jonker Street comes alive with a flurry of street stalls showcasing local food, clothing and a variety of souvenirs.  My family and I visited the night market and found it to be rather interesting.   Located in Malacca’s Chinatown,  the start of Jonker Walk is  near this big Chinese junk boat.  You can’t miss it when standing in front of  Malacca’s  Hard Rock Cafe.   There were so many quirky knick-knacks on sale throughout the...
Melaka River Cruise

Melaka River Cruise

The Melaka River Cruise is a great way to spend an evening in Melaka (a.k.a. Malacca).  The 45-minute long cruise is available from 9am to 11:30pm and departs roughly every 30 minutes.  While the sights are easier to see during the day, the nice part about cruising in the evening is that you get to see colourful illumination of the buildings, bridges and other attractions along the river.  The evening breeze is nicer too.   The Melaka River played a big role in Melaka’s history, but in the past, the waterway was not clean and the buildings along it was never...
Wings of Time Show at Sentosa

Wings of Time Show at Sentosa

The Wings of Time show at Sentosa is the latest night show that is available daily at 7.40pm and 8.40pm. The show, which cost $10m to produce, is set outdoors at Siloso Beach against the backdrop of the open sea. The 25-minute show tells a tale about two friends, a mysterious pre-historic bird and their  journey across several landscapes and time to find the bird’s home.   Although a display of light and water is not new and has been seen before in the predecessor show called Songs of the Sea, the choreography and artistry of the Wings of Time show is...
Gardens by the Bay – Orchid Extravaganza

Gardens by the Bay – Orchid Extrav...

Gardens by the Bay is having an Orchid Extravaganza from 16 August to 21 September 2014.   Gardens by the Bay – Flower Dome There were two areas in the Flower Dome with the orchid display.  The first was near the entrance where three tepees were adorned with colourful orchids.   The second area was the flower field at the centre of the cooled conservatory.  Even though it didn’t cover a large area, there were over 18,000 orchid plants on display.   As we stepped into the flower field, the scent of flowers filled the air.  I didn’t know...
KidsSTOP Singapore Science Centre

KidsSTOP Singapore Science Centre

KidsSTOP Singapore is the latest attraction specially for children between the ages of 2 to 8 years old.  Located at the Singapore Science Centre in Jurong,  KidsSTOP is about inspiring children to imagine, experience, discover and dream.   Imagine @ KidsSTOP The girls’ first stop is the Built zone where kids get to experience working in a building and construction site. Donning hard hats and safety vests, kids get to play with a workbench, excavators, and push a wheelbarrow loaded with bags of cement.   Kids can also learn how to arrange a system of gears...
New York City – 10 things to do with kids in 48 hrs

New York City – 10 things to do wi...

New York City is a city that needs no introduction.  It is famous for so many things like Broadway, Wall Street, Statue of Liberty, and the Empire States Building.  I planned the trip to include places that my kids would be familiar with like the Central Park Zoo from the movie Madagascar and the American Museum of Natural History from the movie Night at the Museum. You might think that we were crazy to spend only 48 hours in New York City after travelling 18 hours halfway around the world, but the trip to the Big Apple was part of our New York and Orlando vacation.   Not...
Disney Hollywood Studios

Disney Hollywood Studios

Disney Hollywood Studios is a theme park in Orlando, Florida that is well worth a visit.  With the Backlot tour,  Extreme stunt show, and the delightful Fantasmic show, my family thoroughly enjoyed ourselves despite the hot weather.  We were lucky to see a Star Wars Parade when we were there.   Star Wars at Disney Hollywood Studios Star Wars’ Darth Vader, R2D2, Chewbacca, the storm troopers and many others made a special appearance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios when we were there.       Of course, since it was a Disney park, Mickey and gang also got...
Cameron Highlands

Cameron Highlands

Cameron Highlands in Pahang is the biggest and arguably the best highland resort in Malaysia.  Popular amongst both locals and tourists, it provides a cool respite from the sweltering heat of the lowlands.    The sprawling lush valleys about the size Singapore has much to offer nature lovers.  My family stayed 2 nights in Cameron Highlands and did a full day local tour of the beautiful countryside.  We visited tea plantations, strawberry farms, Rose Valley, Lavender Garden, Bee and Butterfly farms, the Brinchang night market and more.  Here are 10 places to visit or...
Cameron Highlands Butterfly Farm

Cameron Highlands Butterfly Farm

The Cameron Highlands Butterfly Farm is located near Kea Farm and has a large enclosure with hundreds of butterflies fluttering freely. There is a variety of butterflies each with stunning-looking wings.  Here are eight of my favourites.   My daughter was happily touching all the butterflies within her reach.   Check out this amazing picture of a spider eating a butterfly.  How is the spider going to swallow the butterfly?   Butterflies were not the only thing at the Cameron Highlands Butterfly Farm.  There were also other animals outside the enclosure like...
2 Degree Ice Art @ Marina Bay

2 Degree Ice Art @ Marina Bay

There’s a place in Singapore with a temperature below freezing point and that is at the 2 Degree Ice Art exhibition.  Located at the Marina Bay area, the 2 Degree Ice Art is the largest ice sculpture exhibition in Singapore. The 2 Degree Ice Art  features ice sculptures from award-winning ice carving masters. There were ice sculptures of world-famous landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty. There were also local landmarks like the Merlion and Sir Stamford Raffles.     The orange-coloured wall below is actually an ice carving, believe it...
Cameron Highlands Strawberries

Cameron Highlands Strawberries

Cameron Highlands in Malaysia, is famous for two things – tea and strawberries.  It’s hard to walk around Cameron Highlands without seeing strawberries. From strawberry milk shakes, strawberry ice cream, strawberry cakes, strawberry cushions, strawberry keychains, strawberry bags, strawberry t-shirts – you name it, Cameron Highlands got it.   After all, strawberries can only grow in cooler climates and being near the equator, the hot weather is not conducive for strawberries to grow unless it is high up the mountains like Cameron Highlands. Even before...
Camping on East Coast Beach

Camping on East Coast Beach

Have you ever tried camping by the beach?  My family and I decided to go camping on East Coast Beach in Singapore during the Chinese New Year holiday when prices of flights and hotels go sky high.    We got to stay overnight with a full view of the sea, and we don’t have to pay a cent!   Not bad eh? Well, when you have a great deal like that, it doesn’t come as a surprise that like-minded families did the same.  Even when we arrived early in the morning, the beach was already packed with tents.  Even those who were supposed to celebrate Chinese New Year were...
Batam Holiday Inn Resort Getaway

Batam Holiday Inn Resort Getaway

Batam is the nearest Indonesian island to Singapore that is accessible by a 30-minute ferry ride from Singapore.  My family stayed at the Batam Holiday Inn Resort for a quick getaway to recharge and unwind.   We got there from a ferry at Harbourfront Singapore to the Waterfront Ferry Terminal in Batam and walked about 5-10 minutes to the hotel.  Another way is to take the ferry to Batam city centre and take a 15-20 minute cab ride to the hotel.   Batam Holiday Inn We got a 2-bedroom suite online for a price that was many times cheaper than the resorts at nearby...
Sunrise on Gunung Brinchang at Cameron Highlands

Sunrise on Gunung Brinchang at Cameron H...

Gunung Brinchang (Mount Brinchang) is the highest peak in Cameron Highlands in Malaysia that can be accessed by car and at 2032 m above sea-level, it provides a stunning view of the sunrise.   Up a watch tower we stood, with fresh cool wind blowing against our faces, we witnessed the sun sneaking a peek through the clouds and casting its light directly on the mountains to mark the start of a new day.   As the sun rose higher, its light passed through a small opening and shone on the clouds below. Despite the cloudy sky, we still got the chance to see an amazing...