Our vacation at Singapore Airport!

We had to do a quick dash out of Jakarta to Singapore for a visa renewal. We had the choice of flying in and out again, in one day; or staying overnight. With three young kids under 5, a day trip, regardless of the short distance to Singapore, is still exhausting. Our day begins at 5am where we get an early flight (to avoid traffic) and we don’t reach our destination until the afternoon. From the excitement of flying on an airplane and missing their naps, my kids are so tired (and feral). I can’t imagine immediately boarding a plane to return home again!

So we decided to stay the night at The Crowne Plaza Airport hotel in Changi Airport, Singapore. We chose to make this an adventure for our kids and show them a fun time.

Crowne Plaza is the perfect hotel to stay in for an overnight visa run. Having the ability to watch airplanes take off and land directly from our hotel room was a dream for our children. We had two interconnecting rooms and there was plenty of space for our family of 5. The hotel is also very focused on efficiency and convenience.

We arrived at Singapore airport during lunch time and had a special treat of MacDonalds in Terminal 3. The kids needed a reboot and a Happy Meal was perfect. We checked into our hotel where they all had a very late nap at 3pm. After a nice swim at the hotel’s pool, we headed out for dinner. Instead of eating a boring meal at the hotel, we decided to go and explore Terminal 3 again and enjoy the amazing facilities there.

We literally had hundreds of activities and restaurants to choose from! The kids went sightseeing at the amazing Indonesian Tourism exhibition where they had a robotic Kodmodo dragon. The installation had swings, bridges, telescopes and a mini Borobudur! There was also a carnival with rides and games!

We enjoyed a very kid friendly meal at Pastamania where they had kids meals with activity sets that we later used on our trip home. Our children traced patterns with crayons, watched some cartoons and played at the terminal’s playground. We were also able to buy some groceries at a mini supermarket, Cold Storage. There were also lots of retail and designer shops too. The sky train was also a hit.

It was a fun break and it felt like we were away for weeks! Unfortunately, doing a visa run and being forced to leave the comforts of our home is not an enjoyable experience. I generally still don’t enjoy traveling with my kids because they are still so young. It’s exhausting and difficult. I don’t get any sleep because the children are out of routine and tired. We had several meltdowns, including from myself! If there’s a way of making this process easier, then our mini vacation definitely was the best solution.

So next time you’re passing through Singapore airport, take your time and look around. It’s a great place and definitely family-friendly fun!

Discovering WA in a Campervan

Whenever expats ask me for advice on where to travel overseas to from Jakarta, I suggest Western Australia and not the other parts of Asia. The capital city of Western Australia is only a four-and-a-half-hour direct flight with Garuda Indonesia. There aren’t many other countries that you can fly to directly from Jakarta, therefore the west coast of Australia is a perfect destination for families who seek fresh air and open spaces.

Western Australia is exactly what you would imagine Australia to look like. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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

A Million Things To Do in Jakarta

I recently spoke to an Indonesian friend of mine about how great Ancol is for children and was bewildered to discover that he hadn’t visited Ancol since he was a younger child, 20 years ago! He lives in Jakarta and has three kids!

This conversation has inspired me to start a new Instagram series with 1,000,000 different things that expats (and locals) should do and discover in Jakarta. It will be somewhat of a ‘Bucket List’.

Stop making excuses about traffic and go on this wild ride with me!

Follow me @the_expat_housewife_of_jakarta