Monday, 29 September 2014

Weekend Getaway: Port Dickson, Malaysia

This travel post is written by Delphine who blogs at Life in the Wee Hours. She travelled to Port Dickson with her husband and kid(s), Anya (5 years) & Adam (3 years) in August 2014.

This holiday is suitable for a quick getaway over a long weekend. We were there during National Day (not very patriotic, I know) this year. Port Dickson is just about 3 hours away by car or you can fly to KL and get a transfer. Other possible ways of getting to Port Dickson include rail or coach from Singapore or Johor Bahru. There are several resorts in the area and we stayed at Avillion Village Resort. This post reviews the activities and accommodation at that resort.

The grounds of Avillion Village Resort are lush and green, with many animals wandering around freely. We spotted several peacocks near the tennis courts and a few cockerels here and there. My city-dwelling kids were a bit wary of the wildlife but also very fascinated by them. There are three swimming pools: one with a slide that the kids loved, a common pool for all, and one just for adults who prefer to be away from boisterous kids. There are watersports available at the beach (subject to weather conditions) and a gym for fitness fanatics.

You can choose from rooms in the Tower Block or opt for a Garden or Water Chalet. We booked a Premium Water Chalet with a full view of the sea and the kids loved that our balcony extended over the water and they spent a considerable amount of time just sitting out on the balcony on the deck chairs. Their bed was in a cosy nook with windows overlooking the water. The room was charming and comfortable and had an open bathroom concept.

The resort was very kid-friendly with several activities catering to the little ones. There is a playground and a Kids Cabin where Anya strung beads together to make a bracelet and Adam painted a T-shirt. (Actually, his father painted most of the T-shirt.) Kids can also watch movies and play console games in the Kids Cabin. The staff there are quite hands-off so it's not the sort of kids club where you can just dump your children and run away. 

We spent quite a bit of time in the kiddy pool as well. My favourite area for kids is the petting zoo where guests are allowed in for a fixed duration every morning to get up close and personal with the small animals. There are doves, chickens, rabbits and terrapins, and you can feed and interact with the animals. There was no time for the kids to be bored!

I even managed to squeezed in some time for TLC at the spa. While the husband hung out with the kids, I was pampered with a relaxing massage to soothe my tired muscles. The spa is decked out in calming shades of turquoise and sea foam. After my satisfying session, I was led to the back of the spa where I could lounge and gaze out at the sea with a restorative ginger tea in hand.

We had grand plans to visit the pasar malam near the resort on one of the evenings, but Adam fell asleep during dinner and I wasn't too keen to walk around on my own without the rest of the family. While we had most of our meals in the resort, we made a trip out to Restoran Top Seafood and was quite happy with the food there. Otherwise, we spent all our time in the resort. 

While it was a restful 2.5 days there, I think the kids would have gotten restless if we had been there for a longer period of time. We headed to Legoland on the 3rd day and I would say the length of our stay was just right. There are several long weekends in 2015 and a roadtrip to Port Dickson would be enjoyable for the whole family!

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

A Petite Conversation with Pamela [Camping at Pasir Ris Park]

This week on our Instagram account (@petitetravellers), we have been chatting with Pamela from Tan Family Chronicles about her camping trip at Pasir Ris Park, on the Eastern shore of sunny Singapore. Read on to see what you missed.

Picture perfect postcard of Pasir Ris Park

PETITE TRAVELLERS: What is your favourite picture of the trip?

PAMELA: My favourite pictures of this trip are the pictures of this awesome awesome tent that belongs to one of the families that we went camping with. I just think it looks so grand and sheik-worthy. Against the backdrop of the coconut trees and the beach, it looks like a picture perfect postcard!

Tent size doesn't matter. Just have fun camping!

PETITE TRAVELLERS: Describe a funny incident that happened during your trip.

PAMELA: We had friends - a family with two sons, who was coming just to visit us during the day to join in the fun. In the spirit of camping, they brought along their tent even though they weren't going to stay the night as they had something on early the next day. However, when they arrived and saw the huge tents that the rest of us had, they jokingly said "That's it, we're going home now. We are ashamed to even set up our tent!" After they set it up, we could see what they meant, it was a bit small, compared to the size of the rest of our tents. Using Shawna as a yardstick, look at the different between our tent and our friends' tent. It was truly hilarious. We all had a good laugh. The kids didn't mind though, they still went into the tent and had fun! 

Camping with friends and family is fun!

PETITE TRAVELLERS: What do you miss most about your trip?

PAMELA: I actually miss the communal kitchen that we had under that yellow basha. All the families placed our foodstuff and cooking utensils there. And at meal times, we'd all be there cooking our own meals. We mostly bring our own food, but as is typical with Singaporeans, we tend to bring more than we need and everyone usually has enough to share a little with everyone else. There is also the sense of community in helping each other out. So whether you forgot to bring scissors, or cooking oil, or want for a little hot chocolate to add to your coffee for a campsite mocha... Someone is bound to help you out. With most kids, being finicky eaters, we parents also help each other by sharing food with another child who may want to eat that as well. Adults, especially the men, help to finish up any leftover food that has been cooked. It's a real sense of community that is really heartwarming.
Yawning Shawna woke up cheery and went in search of breakfast.

PETITE TRAVELLERS: Any kid friendly tips to share?

PAMELA:  It's important to prep your kids before the camping trip so that they know what to expect and to mentally prepare them for some physical hardship. Most kids would be very excited to want to go camping. So you can say stuff like "You sure you want to go camping? But there's no aircon, you know..." etc. Of course, you don't want to scare your children off camping either even before you embark on your trip. But it is still important to manage their expectations so that you don't end up with whiny children when you're there. 

I love the above picture of Shawna yawning. She had woken up cheery, and went to the kitchen in search of breakfast. Smiling one second, and yawning the next. Despite a less than perfect night's rest, she was still upbeat, not at all cranky, and proceeded to have a very good second day at camp.

Asher enjoying his breakfast together with the beautiful view of the sea

PETITE TRAVELLERS: Describe a special moment you had on your trip.

PAMELA: We were cooking and eating breakfast in the morning after the night we stayed over, and suddenly, I realised I didn't know where Asher was. "Where's Asher?" I asked, trying to be calm. Shawna pointed over to Asher. He had pulled a chair a distance away from the kitchen, to face the sea. And there he sat, looking out on the beach and the sea as he savoured his favourite pandan cake and drank the chocolate milk which Shawna was sharing with him. It occurred to me that it's not true that children only want things to be exciting all the time. Here, I had proof, that children had the ability to appreciate the peace and quiet of looking out to sea as well.

Head on over to Petite Travellers to read Pamela's post on her camping experience at Pasir Ris Park.

For more petite conversations, follow @petitetravellers on Instagram.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Somewhere over the Rainbow: Niagara Falls (Ontario, Canada)

This travel post is written by Angie who blogs at PrincessDanaDiaries. She travelled to Niagara Falls, USA with her husband and her petite traveller, Dana (6 years) in June 2014.

This holiday is suitable for families who enjoy a relaxed free & easy vacation and wish to experience the beauty and magnificence one of the World’s 7 Natural Wonders!

Touring one of the 7 Wonders of the World - Niagara Falls. It turned out to be really family-friendly!

So, finally, we have arrived - after nearly 30 hours of flight traversing across half the world, we have arrived in Canada with our 6 year-old in tow for our first leg of our Eastern USA tour. Jet-lagged as we were, the moment we opened the door to our room at the Marriot Fallsview Hotel, we were instantly invigorated by the sheer wonder of the sight that greeted us – the legendary Niagara Falls right before our eyes.

We chose the Marriott Fallsview Hotel for its location and view...

This being our 15th Wedding Anniversary, we have planned and saved up for a two week free and easy vacation to Niagara Falls, Boston and New York. Battling jet-lag, we freshened up and off we went to explore Niagara on foot. One of the benefits about travelling in Summer is the long daylight hours that allow us to walk around till 8pm or so with the sun still shining bright! We took a 10 minute brisk walk across the pedestrian bridge connected to the hotel to get close to the Falls. Even though it was early Summer, the air was quite chilly (I was so glad I packed our light jackets along). We lingered around the Niagara Fall and the Welcome Centre, snapped many photos before we returned to our hotel room to enjoy the illuminated night views of the Falls.

Views from our hotel room window...

We soon discovered two amazing facts about Niagara Falls:

  • Despite its thunderous power and awesome magnitude, we can actually get so very close to it! In fact, certain parts of the Falls are just a railing away. There we can literally feel the mighty rush of the waters that flow from one of the great lakes. 
  • There are perpetual rainbows across the Falls and at certain times of the day, at the right angle, we can spot not one but TWO rainbows! The view is simply breathtaking. 

    Say Hello to Niagara

    The next day, we booked a Niagara Falls Day Tour with the hotel concierge. On hindsight, we could have done all these on our own and saved a tidy sum as we soon realised all the major attractions are within a stone’s throw of the Falls and easily accessible either through walking or by their public WEGO buses.

    Here are our pick of the Top 8 ‘Must-Dos’ in Niagara Falls (Ontario):

    1. Go Up the Skylon Tower

    The Skylon Tower, in Niagara Falls, Ontario, is an observation tower that overlooks both the American Falls (New York) and the larger Horseshoe Falls (Ontario) from the Canadian side of the Niagara River. Standing at 160 metres from street level, the Skylon Tower offers 360 degrees unobstructed view of the Falls from its outer observation deck. This is a more economical alternative to getting a bird’s eye view of the Falls than helicopter rides.

    Right at the top of the Skylon Tower...

    Skylon Tower

    Hours of Operation: Open year round
    Summer Hours 8:00 a.m. to Midnight
    Winter Hours 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.


    Ride-To-The-Top & Observation Decks
    Adult (13+) $13.91
    Child (age 3-12, children under 3 free) $8.11

    2. Watch the Niagara’s Fury 4D Show

    Niagara’s Fury is a “4D” Universal Studios-styled show which allows visitors to discover the ancient story of Niagara Falls. It starts with an 8 minute animated pre-show, where charming woodland characters narrate the story of how the Ice Age formed the Niagara Falls. Then, in a specially designed, 360 degree theatre, the temperature will drop, water will bubble and spray while snow falls all around. The moving platform beneath will also shake to gives us a glimpse into the creative power of Nature. We like how the film surrounds us with stunning visuals along the mighty Niagara River. We enjoyed this multi-sensory experience very much, definitely highly recommended.

    No photography is allowed inside the 4D theatre...

    Niagara’s Fury 4D Show 


    Adult (13+ years) $13.50
    Child (6 to 12 years) $8.80
    Children 5 and under FREE at all Niagara Parks attractions.

    3. Take the Journey Behind the Falls

    Journey Behind the Falls is an iconic experience that gives visitors the rare chance to go ‘BEHIND’ and ‘INSIDE’ the Niagara Falls! This is a must-see and a must-experience: Imagine descending 13 storeys underground in a shaft elevator and going behind the Falls through the hundred year old passages. A short walk through a tunnel led us to two outdoor observation decks and two portals located directly behind the Falls. The thunderous sound of the waterfall and the sights are awe-inspiring! An unforgettable once in a lifetime experience indeed.

    On this Journey, we saw one-fifth of the world’s fresh water crash down to the basin below. There are posters on the sides of the tunnel walls providing visitors with information about the history and evolution of the hallways we walk through. The entire ‘Journey’ visit takes 30 to 45 minutes, depending on how many photo stops you make. Be sure to bring along a waterproof camera.  Daddy had to wrap his camera with the poncho to prevent it from getting misted.

    Why view the Falls only from the front when you can go to the BACK?

    Journey Behind The Falls

    Hours of Operation: Open year round
    Mondays to Thursdays, Sundays 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
    Fridays and Saturdays 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.


    Adult (13+ years) $15.95
    Child (6 to 12 years) $10.95
    Children 5 and under FREE

    4. Go on the Hornblower Cruise

    The Hornblower Niagara Cruises is the No. 1 most popular attraction in Niagara Falls – for a good reason. This cruise ride is unlike any others – it takes visitors as close as possible to the breathtaking flow of water, to experience the power and mist that makes up the magnificent Niagara Falls. The cruise takes us past the beautiful American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and into the very heart of the famous Horseshoe Falls. Though it looks rather treacherous, the rides ‘into’ the Falls are surprisingly stable and pleasant (albeit crowded at certain time of the year, especially Summer). This iconic 30-minute Canadian “Voyage To The Falls” cruise will delight children and adults alike. You’ve not been to Niagara Falls till you’ve been on the Hornblower cruise!

    A cruise like no other...brings you right into the mouth of the Falls. Thumbs up!

    Voyage to the Falls Cruise (Boats depart every 15 minutes daily).


    Adult (13+ years) $19.95
    Child (5 to 12 years) $12.25
    Children under 5 are FREE

    5. Ride the Falls Incline Railway

    The major hotels in The Niagrara Falls Tourist District are connected to the Falls by an iconic Falls Incline Railway. The Railway allows riders to easily reach the pedestrian crossing over the Niagara Parkway into Table Rock (The Niagara Falls Visitor Centre). Open year-round (from 9am to 10.30pm), the railway is fully accessible and climate-controlled. Tickets can be purchased easily at the self-serve kiosks at the top and bottom of the Incline. We had fun riding the Falls Incline Railway and wanted to ride it again on the last day of our trip but it was closed for maintenance.  We were disappointed but took it as a sign that we should return!

    An enjoyable but short ride down to the Falls...

    Falls Incline Railway

    Hours of Operation: Refer to website


    One Way (All ages) $2.50
    Round Trip $5.00
    Whole Day $6.00
    Children 5 and under are FREE.

    6. Watch Fireworks over the Falls

    One of the memorable highlights of our stay at Niagara Falls has got to be the spectacular Fireworks and night Illumination Displays. Fireworks take place on Fri. and Sun. nights at 10pm in Summer. We were lucky to chance upon the Edgewaters Restaurant which offers the best frontage views of the Fireworks as we dined! Do check the website for the fireworks' schedule. The current season runs from September 5 - November 30, 2014. At night, The Niagara Falls takes on a different grandeur, alluring visitors with its magical colours and magnificent fireworks above the waters. Simply stunning!

    We love fireworks and this was Stunning with a capital 'S'.

    2014 Firework Schedule: Refer to website

    Edgewater Restaurant Niagara Falls
    6345 Niagara Parkway
    Niagara Falls, Ontario
    Canada L2E 6X8
    Open Daily 11:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

    7. Ride the Whirlpool Aero Car

    The Whirlpool Aero Car offers a fantastic view of the lower Niagara River, the rapids and the gorge while traversing over the Whirlpool in a suspended antique cable car! Designed by Spanish Engineer Leonardo Torres Quevedo, the Aero Car has been in operation since 1916. The car is suspended from six cables and traverses the width of the gorge (at almost 1 kilometer in length) while far below the mesmerizing natural phenomena – the Niagara Whirlpool where torrents of water abruptly changes direction. A charming ride which will fascinate the young and old alike!

    Ride over the Niagara Whirlpool, how cool is that?

    Whirlpool Aero Car

    Hours of Operation: refer to website


    Adult (13+ years) $13.50
    Child (5 to 12 years) $8.50
    Children 5 and under are FREE

    8. Breakfast at Perkins

    As our accommodation does not include breakfast, we walked around looking for food the second morning. The locals whom we approached all directed us to Perkins Wyndham Gardens, which required a 20minute walk by foot. We were not disappointed. Perkins Restaurant & Bakery offers a full menu of over 90 assorted breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack and dessert items. Its signature menu items include omelets, secret recipe buttermilk pancakes, Mammoth Muffins, salads and Melt sandwiches. Breakfast items are available any time of day and it is very child friendly. There, we had the MOST delicious and fluffy walnut, banana pancakes ever (topped with the drool-worthy Canadian maple syrup!). For such a splendid meal, it was well-worth the 20 minutes' walk it took us to get there.

    One of the most wholesome breakfasts throughout our trip!

    Perkins Family Restaurant & Bakery
    6170 Stanley Avenue
    Niagara Falls, Ontario
    Canada L2G 3Y4
    Open Daily 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

    How to get to Niagara Falls:

    When planning the itinerary, we read reviews that the Niagara Falls is more spectacular from the Canadian side and set our mind on a visit. We flew Emirates Airline from Singapore to JKF International Airport (New York), transferred to a domestic flight on JetBlue Airways on the same day, arrived at Buffalo International Airport and flagged down a yellow cab which drove us directly across the U.S Borders into Canada where the Marriott Fallsview Hotel in Niagara Falls. The ride took approximately 45 minutes (including customs clearance). We booked the same driver to drive us back to Buffalo Airport at the end of our 3D2N stay in Niagara Falls.

    Snapshots of our memorable Niagara Falls leg...

    One of the joys of travel is to discover new places and experience new cultures with our loved ones. We believe in bringing our children on our travels - that sense of wonderment, the stories, the shared family memories and bonds we would forge, how memorable and priceless! Niagara Falls was one of those places in our family’s bucket list. Though it is commonly seen in brochures or advertisements promoting Canada, this is one of those experiences that no form of media can replicate. You have to see the entire falls and experience its raw magnificent power for yourself. Only then will you know it is far better and more valuable than any pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

    Gorgeous sunsets seen from the hotel room. All photos in this post are copyrighted to PrincessDanaDiaries

    Friday, 12 September 2014

    Camping @ Pasir Ris Park, Singapore

    This travel post is written by Pamela who blogs at Tan Family Chronicles. She camped overnight at Pasir Ris Park, Singapore with her husband and her petite travellers, Shawna (3 years), Asher (3 years) and Isaac (6 years) in May 2013 and again this year in July 2014.

    We went camping in July this year. Most of the pictures below are from that trip, though some are from our earlier camping trip in May last year. The hubs and I have camped before, but that was when we were students in Junior College and in University. This time, we were camping with our children. We found that it was very manageable, though it certainly helped that the people whom we were camping with all had children of their own. 

    That's us this year. Nine tents in all. Eight families - someone brought a one-man-tent for their helper to sleep in. Together, we made such a large kampung (Malay for 'village'), that not all the tents were captured in the photo below!

    Families camping at Pasir Ris Park, Singapore

    The huge yellow tarpaulin above was erected into a basha to act as our kitchen. We placed all our food provisions, pots, pans and whatnot there. The clothes and other stuff, we kept in our tents. There was always someone about and our tents were more or less surrounding the basha, so there wasn't any fear of having our belongings stolen. 

    That's our tent below (in orange and blue) that the kids are helping to put up. Our tent was a basic, no frills, 8-men tent from the Beach Road Army Market which cost us just over a hundred dollars. I took a quick look in NTUC Xtra recently, and they had 6-men tents being sold for $72. Very affordable accommodation, considering it can be reused. 

    Nowadays, tents tend to be dome tents, like the ones you see in the picture below. These are very easy to set up, though you probably need two adults (teens, at least) to do the job. The tent usually composes of at least two parts: the Orange and Light Blue part below that has the tent rods running through it like a skeleton; and the Dark Blue flysheet that goes over the entire tent, which also serves as a waterproofing membrane, in case of rain or strong winds. 

    For five of us, an eight-men tent provided to be ample space. Just make sure that the area you're setting up the tent on does not have stones or roots on the floor, for you'd be feeling it through the thin waterproof groundsheet.

    The kids helping to set up, and take down the tent. Look at the huge flysheet!

    If you think our tent looks nice, look at the rest of our village's tents! I managed to photograph two tents with and without their flysheet. It looks cool when you can see through their frame - with mesh all around, it makes a tent very "breathable" and hence not as stuffy inside. 

    The tent that took our breath away though, is the brown one below! It's like the bungalow of tents! It looked like something out of a movie and surprisingly wasn't even all that expensive! My friend paid S$200+ during a sale from an overseas website. Gosh, makes me want to keep a look out for sales on camping gear websites.

    We didn't have any inflatable beds but one of our friends did. We brought yoga mats instead to sleep on which was comfortable enough for one night. The kids were fine. But hubs and I are getting a bit old to be able to sleep on such a thin layer without some repercussions. So, we are looking out for an inflatable bed to buy for our future camping trips. 

    For our first camping trip last year, I packed pyjamas for the kids as I thought it would be cold at night. But it turns out that the tent was good at retaining our body heat, and we were comfortably warm throughout the night. Helped too, that we were by the beach, so the sea breeze at night provided good air circulation for our tents. All in, we were all pretty well rested for both nights of our 2 day 1 night camping trip.

    Our village tents at Kampung Pasir Ris

    What about food? We cooked pasta for the kids' dinner and they ate instant noodles, sausages and eggs (scrambled or boiled) in the morning for breakfast. Most of our friends cooked similar food. One even made pancakes for breakfast and another made "muah chee" (a sticky glutinous dough that is covered with grounded peanuts) for our tea time snack on our first day.

    The kids had no problem eating as the food was decent. Although, in all likelihood, also because they have been so busy playing and having fun that they are usually famished by the time meal time comes about.

    Hubs has now earned for himself the moniker of 'The Shabu Shabu Man'. This is because since the first camping trip that we came on, he would buy thinly sliced meat and other ingredients to cook in the steamboat shabu shabu style for supper at night when the kids have gone to bed. For this is one of the most enjoyable things about camping - to sit around the fire and talk late into the night. I didn't manage to join them last year as the kids were sleeping ON me. But this year, I managed to extract myself from the tent after the kids fell asleep. The ladies were talking about childbirth and stuff, over cups of coffee. The men were having their own chat over shabu shabu and other food.

    It's really up to you to cook whatever you want to on a camping trip!

    Of course, in any camping trip, it helps to have useful gadgets.  

    The red bag below is actually a water hydration pack, hung up on S-hooks and placed in the sun which served well as a warm water bath! We didn't really bathe there, of course. But it was very useful for hosing down the kids after they came up from a dip in the sea. And S-hooks are supremely helpful for hanging clothes and towels while you're in the bathroom or toilet.

    The jerry can below helped transport tap water from the nearby public toilet for us to use for cooking. And of course, we have the cooking utensils. The small one on the bottom right is a very handy, portable little bunsen burner. The one we brought is the huge one in the bottom left hand corner. It's one that people buy to use for having steamboat. 

    See, this is where we camping as adults now, with kids in tow, in our own country is different from when we went camping decades ago when we were young adults camping in a foreign country. Most of us drive, and so we can afford to bring as many things as we want to. We didn't have to worry about the weight or bulkiness of things we were bringing. These two factors were very important to us in the past, when we usually only go camping because we were climbing a mountain that needed more than a day to ascend and descend from. But now, there is no such constraint as we were still in Singapore, and can easily take a cab, even if we didn't drive. So, you can bring anything you want. The first time round, we even brought our telescope along!

    This is how we camp now, and there is no shame in it. In fact, we want to bring a bigger saucepan the next time. The one we brought this time round was too small for a good shabu shabu session.
    Useful camping gear to have. And sometimes, you just need to innovate!

    The camping ground we chose was a nice flat area, near the sea and a short walk to the beach, public toilets and the playground. In sunny and fine Singapore, yes, you need a permit to camp. You can apply for the camping permit at any AXS machine, or online. Of course, there are rules and regulations to abide by, but most of them aren't very onerous. Click through the two links above to read about it.

    The kids were very naturally drawn to the beach - sun, sand and sea! Well, maybe not the sun. But the kids were having so much fun dipping in the sea that they didn't even complain about the hot sun.The kids ended up pretty tanned by the end of our short 2 day 1 night camping trip. We had forgotten to bring sunblock lotion, but thankfully, some of the other more experienced campers did. So the kids were not totally defenceless against the sun. Note to self: bring easy-to-dry clothes for kids to play on the beach with!

    Nearby public toilet at the camping grouds have shower facilities. Look at our clothesline!

    The collage below are photos from 2013. Before that camping trip, my 3 year old daughter would not play with sand. Or rather, she didn't mind playing with sand, but she would not stand for sand in her shoes or on her feet, between her toes. She just didn't like it. However, the camping trip "cured" her from all fear of sand. She enjoys playing with sand now, and will not fuss if sand gets into her shoes.

    We remembered to bring beach toys last year. The kids had a whale of a time though we had problem sorting out the beach toys as everyone's were mixed in together. We came to a consensus that in future, only one family will bring toys for all to share. We always forget to coordinate though.

    Do you see Isaac holding a crab? The kids found it at the beach.

    Sand, sand, more sand! And a crab!

    Last year, one of our friends even brought his inflatable kayak! How cool is that, huh! Complete with child sized life jackets, hubs took the kids at least 30 metres out to sea in the kayak. Shawna had such a good time that she has been asking to go kayaking every so often. So much so that hubs is tempted to buy one!

    After much deliberation, we decided not to since it'd be another thing to keep in the house and we were trying to declutter. It's great that we have friends who have inflatable kayaks we can borrow from. We're also trying to check out places that rent out kayaks in Singapore so we can go kayaking on our own.

    Inflatable kayak

    This year, we had no kayak to ride in. And it was so hot, that we retreated into the shade to play! We had friends of ours visited us during the day, even though they couldn't stay the night. They brought frisbees, balls and bats. The shady area just opposite our tents was perfect for the kids to run about and not be in the direct sunlight. We even had a mini picnic there with some finger snacks.

    Ample space for running about - in the shade of the huge trees!
    Don't fly the kite too near the trees!

    Come evening, when we could feel the breeze, we started flying kites! That's our kite - a flying lizard with a super long tail!

    We also brought books and games along. Our kids have the habit of reading before bedtime, so the books are a must. The board games are handy too,  since they didn't have anything much to do if they wake up early and the rest of the kids are not awake yet. Last year, the books and games came in very handy when it rained heavily in the early morning of the second day. We played our board games and read while waiting for the rain to stop.

    This year, even though it wasn't raining, the kids still played the games and read the books, even without our prompting. So I'm glad we packed those.

    Board games and books - essentials for a camping trip!

    Late at night, the children had a grand time walking about the campsite with their torch lights and light sticks. And soon, they started going on their own make-believe adventure exploring caves - which were actually the different tents.

    All in, we had a very good time for both camping trips. It's very affordable and definitely so much fun. We are definitely doing this again and it's something that we would recommend all parents to do with their kids.  I hope this post encourages you to do so! :)

    Sunrise @ Pasir Ris Park

    Thursday, 4 September 2014

    A Petite Conversation with Lyn [Harvey and Bunbury]

    This week on our Instagram account, we have been chatting with Lyn from Little Blue Bottle about her Harvey farmstay and Bunbury dolphin watch. Here's the entire conversation, for the record.

    PETITE TRAVELLERS: Was the roadtrip drive scenic?

    LYN: The view as we drove from Bunbury to Harvey (about 40 mins), was stunning. Rolling hills and gorgeous sunshine. Makes joy well up in my soul!

    PETITE TRAVELLERS: What's a special memory from your trip?

    LYN: Wading out to see wild dolphins swim near to shore, completely of their own volition, was a mesmerising experience. All at the very affordable cost of entry into the humble Bunbury Dolphin Discovery Centre. There's also a university research lab on site that does research on these intelligent mammals.

    PETITE TRAVELLERS: Were there any good finds during your trip?

    LYN: Our great find was a bargain rainboat (spot it) at a huge supermart in Bunbury. With kids, trips to the supermarket are essential to stock up on milk and biscuits. Also good for checking out what yummy chocolates they may have, to buy home as gifts for family and friends.

    In this photo, B was doing exactly what the illustrations on the trolley's handlebar showed NOT to do. This girl!

    PETITE TRAVELLERS: What was unique about your destination?

    LYN: I thought the farm was set amidst beautiful landscape. Even though it was not a large working farm, there was an expanse of hill and green fields all around, and a peaceful large dam in the distance.

    I also thought it very unique that a tiny town like Harvey produced such a variety of food. Cheese, dairy milk, orange juice, beef - we found Harvey produce in all the aussie supermarkets we visited, and even saw Harvey fruit juice in Singapore! We bought some here just for the memories.

    PETITE TRAVELLERS: What was your favourite memory from this trip?

    LYN: This photo records a special memory of some of our favourite moments in Perth. We stayed with good friends for most of the trip, and they had constructed this awesome cubby house in their backyard. All by themselves (husband and wife), from a kit.

    The kids had a blast playing there almost daily (there were arm chairs inside the 'room')! It was so much like the dream treehouse I never had in my childhood, that I was happy hanging out there with the kids!

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