Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Singapore/Korea Holiday - Singapore Part I, the basics

Yikes! I'm still catching my breath after our three-weeker away. The purpose of the trip was to show off the Master to family still residing in our respective Mother Lands. We discussed doing this trip about a year ago and finally got round to booking it at the start of this year. It was a bit tricky trying to predict what the Master's needs would be at the 20 month mark and the only regret I have is not staying in Korea longer!

We have more family in Singapore so figured a longer stay there was necessary, whereas in Korea, it's just my mum's immediate family and my dad's uncle - also, it's much more densely populated in Seoul, Korea and thought because it's more on the overwhelming side, better to keep it short and sweet at 5 days? Seriously. It was jam-packed. Wish I'd thought that bit out more carefully lol (especially seeing as commuting anywhere is like minimum 20-30 minutes by subway+walking).

Anyway, I'll get to Korea in due time. First up, Singapore!

Getting There and Staying Where

It was around a 10 hour day-flight there and Christchurch has a direct flight (like once a week I think?) that leaves at 11am - which means, fun times trying to amuse a toddler all day in cramped seats!! Since he's under 2, he could fly for free on my lap. We requested a bassinet which ensured we got front row of economy, but more importantly, meant more leg room! And we were incredibly lucky that out of 4 flights, only 1 unlucky passenger ever had to sit in our row; so actually it was like we got a free seat thrown in and we definitely made use of it! 

Be prepared...

We actually didn't use the bassinet on either of our day flights 'cause the Master fell asleep in my arms watching Elmo on the iPad. We were so worried he'd be fretful and screaming on all of the flights that I packed a small baggy of individually-bagged ear plugs to give out to unfortunate fellow passengers - we were so fortunate we didn't need them at all! He slept, watched Elmo and ate his meals happily with no qualms; so much so, we had other passengers complimenting him on his good behaviour! One man even said, "He looks like the sorta kid you can take anywhere!" HAHA. That's right. That tantrum in the middle of Ballantynes neeeeever happened :)

"What happens to the Maui?"

We packed our Phil&Ted's portacot into a large suitcase (along with the hubs's gear) and we carried on our Mountain Buggy Nano stroller in its travel case - no problems fitting into the overhead compartment! Though we did have every single travel desk and gate person question us ("No, we don't want to check it in," "It's a carry-on; it's small," "Yes, it's airline-approved," "This is the travel bag it fits into; it's tiny," grumblegrumble). I bought the small fart a Trunki just prior to leaving (last-minute addition!) and I'm torn between whether it's a blessing or curse; yes, he enjoyed pushing it around and riding it, but maybe a little TOO much - he got mad when it was taken away from him (eg. xray machines).

Singapore - if you're unfamiliar - is EXTREMELY hot. Pack shorts and tank tops and jandals. That is all you can afford to wear in the humidity. Walking out of the airport is like walking straight into a sauna. Walk slowly. Accept the temperature and move sloooowly.

Wear very little

I also had no idea the Master would fare terribly in the extreme heat. I'm told we went at the best time of year and while we were there, the locals all said it was at its most bearable level of hotness. Yet still, the smallest amount of exertion caused the wee one to sweat like crazy. He was very cranky in the heat and we had to make sure he was drinking plenty of water.

We stayed at Raffles Town Club on Plymouth Avenue. It's primary function is as a club for members but it does have a few rooms available to members or members' guests (alternatively, you can stay there if you're a member of a reciprocal club). We chose to stay at this particular place and not closer to say, Orchard Road (where all the fun shopping is!) because we wanted to be as close to family as possible, seeing as that was the reason for us going there in the first place. And luckily for us, this place was a less-than-10-minute walk to the hubs's aunt's house (where his mum was also staying while she was holidaying).

Raffles Town Club

Pretty much everyday started the same way: the Master would awake around 5-6, we'd watch Elmo in bed for a bit, then the hubs would take the wee one in the stroller and walk to his aunt's house. I'd sleep-in, play on my phone, order room service and eat in silence while reading the news. They'd return at around 11 for the Master's minimum-2-hour nap. And let me tell ya; THAT made my holiday. I didn't care what I did for the rest of the day, it always started out awesome lol. Any other mother would agree that that's a dream holiday right there hahaha. I'm just completely ignoring the couple of days where the time-difference took a while getting used to eg. having the Master wake at 3.30am, 4am etc. (we just stayed firm with the 7-8pm bedtime and midday naps and we eventually came right). 

Brushin' teeth at the crack of dawn
A happy morning with room service and no one to disturb me ;)

After the fabulous morning, we'd either go for a swim or go out shopping (my only requirement being 'somewhere air-conditioned') and for dinner we'd either go to the aunt's house or go to a food court.

A bit more about the hotel part of Raffles: we booked the Straits Suite (large floor area is now a prerequisite to any accommodation for us after a particularly stressful stay in a small hotel room half a year ago). They have a couple of different rooms available and overall, we were super pleased with our room. It was spacious and kept cool by the AC; the decor was a little old-fashioned but I think that's intentional and a huge part of the charm. The maids were incredibly friendly and accommodating - I felt bad because I hardly ever left the room so often their window of opportunity to turn down our room was like... two hours tops just after lunch lol. 

The bathroom

The bedroom
View of the bathroom from the bedroom
View of the bathroom from the entrance - commode is separated!

Wee living area
View of living area from entrance
Where the Master slumbered - door separating us from him was KEY. 

I only ate at the restaurant for breakfast a handful of times; the servers are friendly and helpful. But I much preferred lazing in bed on my own once the boys had left and then eating on my own too hehehe. 

'American Breakfast'
Mee Goreng
Nasi Lamak
Roti Prata (and chicken curry)
Kaya Toast (and soft boiled eggs)
Croissants and Muesli

The pools are lovely - there's a more grown-up pool area with gazebo's and loungers etc. but further down there's a kiddie pool (shallowest point is around 58cm deep) with two little hydro-slides. There's a height restriction for the slides (1.5m tops) but I went down it anyway with the little munch and it was awesome fun hahaha. No lifeguards so I unleashed my inner rebel :P

Spying on my boys from our room

There's also another middle pool that has jets/bubbles you can turn on (I never figured out where from) but the wee one much preferred the kiddie area or the really shallow bit near the bridge. 

There's a bowling lane on the other side of Raffles and a mini-arcade. We went bowling last time we were here but not this time cos... hahaha can you imagine with a toddler!? Sliding down the gutters?? We also used the gym there last time but again, it wasn't really the sort of thing on our agenda with the Master about! 

Next post will have a few more details about what we actually got up to while we were away.

::breathes out::

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