Long weekend in Central Java

We decided very last minute to book a short weekend away over the Easter break. Recommended by a single friend who has no children himself, we took a huge chance and decided to stay at a coffee plantation resort called ‘Mesastila Magelang’. This is a beautiful eco friendly resort, over looking Java’s countryside with mountains in the background. We took a short 1 hour flight to Samerang airport and was picked up by the Hotel’s car. It was a scenic 1.5 hour drive to our hotel.

The resort’s entrance foyer is an old railway station that they moved and restored. It was so charming and gave us an instant feeling of ease.

Our children immediately fell in love with the place. They couldn’t decide what to do and explore first! The gigantic gong, an interesting reflexology walk, a big chest board game, croquet balls or simply sitting on the rocking chairs!

Our children loved the kid’s room with an outdoor play area. They had toys, craft and bicycles. Our favorite hang out was the jungle gym in the middle of the trees, where we all joined in the fun and played the obstacle courses together.

Each afternoon, we enjoyed the tea which had delicious finger food and freshly brewed coffee or herbal tea. I was quite surprised to find that our children loved the herbal tea. The tea magically changed colors when we squeezed lemon into it. It was such a calm and laid back setting. We really felt a world away from Jakarta.

Our days were filled with lots of outdoor time together. We explored the huge grounds and walked around the plantation. They had goats, horses, fish ponds, organic farms and beautiful gardens. Our lungs were filled with so much fresh air!

I was so impressed by their restaurant. Mesastila emphasize on fresh, and healthy food with low fat options. They used vegetables from their garden and it tasted really good! They also had a great kid’s menu and the staff were so friendly. We sat at the same table each night, which was outside, next to a big lawn. We let our kids run around and play while we waited for our food to arrive. Even in the dark, we all had a great time together.

We didn’t bring our nanny on this vacation but we still felt like we had a relaxing break. I was lucky enough to have a 90 minute Hamman spa treatment at the spa after our children went to bed.

Fresh cocktail drinks were delivered to our rooms at night, so hubby and I could kick back, sitting on our patio in the cool night air. Bliss!

Through the hotel, we organized our own car to go on two day trips. We drove to Borobudur at 2.30pm in the afternoon to explore the ancient building as the sun was going down. It was a 1.5 hour drive and the crowds were less than the morning tour, where to see the sunrise, you have to leave your hotel at 3am! We had our own tour guide and took our time absorbing in the beautiful 9th century Buddhist temple.

There are approximately 130 steps in total, to get to the top of Borobudur but our kids actually enjoyed themselves. I thought the trip would be more difficult however with the timing that we chose to go (after lunch and their naps), everyone seemed to be fine!

Our other day trip was to a railway museum, Ambarawa Railway Museum. There we got to ride a real steam train that was commissioned on 1913! It was a scenic and bumpy ride through the countryside, along the river and villages. The train was busy and full of Indonesian tourists. Everyone was so friendly and we all enjoyed sitting next to each other, cramped in our tiny seats. We sang songs, shared biscuits and took lots of selfies together! It was such a great adventure!

All in all, I loved this weekend away and highly recommend Mesastila to other young families! It’s really opened my eyes to travel within Indonesia and how, with the right planning, it’s quite easy and enjoyable to travel with our three young kids. I can’t wait to do more!

Taman Mini

Today is the first day of school holidays and like every school holiday, I get really excited and look forward to exploring Jakarta with my kids! We finally, after all of this time, went to Taman Mini! Taman Mini is a huge park made up of little mini attractions. There is an entrance fee that you need to pay initially as you enter with your car. Then, once you decide which attraction you want to visit, you are charged an additional entrance fee per park. The grounds is huge so you need to drive around with your car to get from one place to the other. It can get rather expensive at the end of the day but you can really only focus on one or two attractions. Children under 90cm can enter for free.

We left home early at 830am and arrived at the first attraction, the Aquarium and Butterfly Park / Bug Museum at around 930am. It was only 2,5000 Idr per person to enter however I was really disappointed with these two attractions. Firstly, as an animal lover, it absolutely broke my heart to see the condition that the sea creatures were kept in. Even my two year old son asked why the fish looked so sad. The tanks were tiny. The actual fish on display were amazing with a great variety. I saw an Albino soft shell turtle for the first time and two enormous Giant Arapaima fish.

 The Butterfly Park was a nice change to the dark aquarium. It was good to walk around the outdoor caged garden. 

After much confusion of where the entrance was, we drove to our main attraction which is Taman Legend Keong Emas. This is a theme park with various rides (train, rollercoaster, ferris wheel etc) and a Dinosaur park. The entrance fee had two options. You either chose the ‘All Inclusive’ package which, for 130,000 Idr per person, you get 8 rides plus entrance into most of the areas inside. The other option was to pay for each ride separately. We chose the ‘All Inclusive’ ticket but in hindsight, it wasn’t the best choice because 80% of the rides were broken and not working! We weren’t told this information at the time of purchasing our tickets, which was a real disappointment. I also got a loyal card for our entrance and received a free entry for our next visit. For some reason, my friend didn’t get the same card and they had no explanation as to why they couldn’t give her one!

With young children, we packed our own lunch for the day trip and was told that it wasn’t allowed inside the amusement park. Security checked our bags and told us we had to remove all of our food, including kid’s snacks before we could enter. So we sat outside and ate our lunch before entering. This was a real hassle with 5 young children, with no where to sit and eat properly. So don’t bring your own food if you plan on going!

Overall, our children had fun, which is the most important part. They were terrified of the Dinosaur Park, of course! But they loved the little rides, including the train. The waterpark was their favorite attraction, and my least!   

I would recommend Taman Legenda for the Dinosaur Park and the outdoor space. It’s worth a visit. I will definitely explore other parts of Tamin Mini again because there is so much more to still see and do. It’s still worth the trip out there to explore what else is in the mini park.


Taman Mini Indonesia Indah

Jl. Cipayung RayaJakarta 13840, Indonesia

Open 7am – 10pm

A spontaneous adventure- Tangerang fun!

I love spontaneous adventures! Last Saturday morning it was raining in Jakarta so I decided to take a chance and drive an hour away to our neighboring city ‘Tangerang’. I have only been there a couple of times to Ikea and ICE but once I googled kid friendly attractions, I found so much to do!

I decided to visit a planned urban park that I have always been keen to see. ‘Scientia Square Park‘ is an outdoor development designed to create a space for families to play and get active in. There is a small fee to enter and once inside, you can pay for additional activities. Continue reading

Our family vacation to Phuket- Part 2 Family friendly resorts

This family vacation was THE BEST! Bringing our Indonesian nanny along (more info. in Part One), allowed me to achieve a good mix of family time, fun nights out with hubby, and some relaxing alone time!

The main reason why it worked so well was the resorts that we stayed in. I absolutely loved them!

The first resort we stayed in was a budget, family style resort called Sunwing Bangtao. Continue reading

Our family vacation to Phuket: Part 1- Going on vacation with our nanny

Last November 2017, we had an extraordinary family vacation in Phuket. This was our first true vacation overseas as expats with kids where no vaccinations or visa runs were required (those are exhausting.) We were miraculously able to enjoy ten days in beautiful Phuket without any illnesses, or too many melt downs or trauma!

The main reason why our vacation was so enjoyable was because of two factors; firstly, we brought our nanny. Secondly, the resorts we stayed in were very family friendly (more details in part 2). Continue reading

Beautiful Bali!

For those who know me, I try to avoid traveling as much as possible. It’s simply too difficult and stressful to leave my haven (and household staff) in Jakarta and globe hop with three young kids. Last week however, we spontaneous decided to go to Bali during school holidays. We literally had 1.5 hours to pack and leave for the airport! I’m surprised we even pulled it off, considering my nanny wasn’t even there to help me!

Living in Jakarta, we are so lucky to be located right next to the tropical paradise of Bali. Continue reading

We Love Jakarta

As you all know, I am currently taking a break from Jakarta at the moment, so a lot of my posts have been around life outside of the Big Durian. With the Christmas holidays coming up, many expats choose to fly home for the Silly Season however some expats decide to stay also.

If you are one of the few who will be staying in Jakarta over the break, please check out one of my dearest friend’s website for lots of fun activities and travel ideas for those living in Jakarta.