Wow, so its Christmas week already, it feels like yesterday I was excited about heading off to Cambodia at the end of July. We have had so many amazing experiences this year and it’s going to be hard to top in 2017 but I’ll give it a red hot crack! So I thought this week we would wrap up the highlights of 2016, including our favourite hotels in each place.
Highlights of 2016 – What a year!
I think it’s fair to say that we’ve had a big year this year at Our3kidsvtheworld, the kids have had amazing cultural experiences and visited some brilliant theme parks. Some more than others as Alannah got experience Japan with me, my mum and sister to celebrate her finishing primary school. Keira will have her turn in 2019 and Caelan a trip with dad in 2020.
Gold Coast, Queensland
So we started the year with a trip to Queensland. We were supposed to go with some friends but as it turned out silly me booked the wrong dates (so much for the experienced traveller)! It was going to cost way too much money to swap dates so we had to have our trips separately. It was a small trip, only 5 days but enough to recharge the batteries and get us through to June. We took walks on the beach, swam in the resort pool, visited the Gold Coast Hinterland, snorkelled on Tangalooma Reef and visited Dreamworld.
I was up every morning to take in the sunrise from the 32 floor of the Mantra Sun City. We had the most amazing view from every window in our 2 bedroom apartment. While the resort is getting a little dated, it’s very clean and because it’s an older resort the rooms are very large in comparison to other hotels we have stayed in recently.
Click here for all posts relating to our trip to the Gold Coast.
Next up was Singapore in June, our main reason for going to Singapore was to visit Legoland in Malaysia which is just over the border in Johor Bahru. This of course was not all we did in Singapore, we packed in as much as we could including Gardens by the Bay, Singapore Zoo including breakfast with the orangutans, the River Safari, the Night Safari and we took the opportunity to spend a night at the Marina Bay Sands.
The Sands was an amazing experience but we spent the majority of our stay at the Holiday Inn Singapore City Centre and this we found to be an amazing family hotel, we also got a free upgrade to an very spacious room. There was plenty of room for the 5 of us and we also received access to the Holiday Inn Executive Club, this enabled us to enjoy a private breakfast in the Executive Club and complimentary refreshments at any time of the day. This was an added bonus to our stay. It’s well located and very easy access to the MRT to get you anywhere you want to go.
Click here for all posts relating to our trip to Singapore.
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Part of the June trip took us to Siem Reap, Cambodia. We ultimately went to Cambodia to visit our sponsor child at Kampuchea House but it was also a long held bucket list item for me to visit the Angkor Wat. I had been putting it off thinking that the kids were to young. How wrong had I been, the kids loved it and really lapped it all up. We stayed there for 7 days which is longer than we have stayed anywhere else and I am glad we did, there is so much to see there. Once again I packed it in, we had 3 days at the Angkor Temples, city tour and visit to Ton Le Sap Lake, a day at Kampuchea House with their 28 orphans including our special little man, zip lining with Flight of the Gibbons, Phare – the Cambodian Circus and plenty of time in Siem Reap as well, eating at the night market and breakfast in Pub Street. We loved Cambodia, I would love to visit again one day very soon.
We, of course, got to stay at another amazing hotel, Prince D’Angkor Hotel. We received a complimentary room upgrade to the Presidential suite on the top floor….! Yes you heard right the Presidential suite! We loved everything about this hotel, the pool area was great for the kids, the restaurant had traditional khmer food for us all to try. The location was wonderful and the staff amazingly attentive and great with the kids. We loved Ravi, he was wonderful with the kids.
Click here for all posts relating to our trip to Cambodia.
This was a major bucket list item for me, I had been wanting to go to Japan since high school so to finally tick it off was a dream come true. We managed to pack so much in to our 10 days and while I loved every minute of it, I came home with an intense feeling of still having so much more to see there. We will return, fingers crossed for 2018, so what did we do, Osaka, Hiroshima, Kyoto and Tokyo. We walked over 10kms everyday, we saw as much as we could possibly fit in, we ate new things, caught super fast trains, I got a photo with a geisha, a lady thanked me for taking my child to Hiroshima, I fell in love with Kyoto, I saw more neon in Tokyo than I have seen in my life, Alannah in Harry Potter World at Universal Studios brought a tear to my eye and I soaked up every little bit of it. What wasn’t there…. enough hours in the day for my liking.
Where did we stay you ask? Well, the Ritz Carlton Osaka of course darling, the number 1 hotel in town. We were again lucky enough to receive a room upgrade and I have to say that this hotel was the best I’ve ever stayed in. I have a real affinity with anything English and this hotel is exactly what you would expect of a superb old English hotel. England was the first place I travelled alone and holds a special place in my heart. This hotel exceeded all expectations with customer service and they go all out to make kids feel welcome.
Click here for all posts relating to our trip to Japan (there are still plenty of posts to come but I’m getting there, like Christmas obviously!)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur is the home of Air Asia which is the airline we mostly fly to Asia with, it requires us to have at least a night or two in Kuala Lumpur. We had two stops in Kuala Lumpur this year, hard life I lead!! This year we took a day trip to Batu Caves, did the Hop On Hop Off Bus again this time with mum and my sister, ate in Jalan Alor for the first time and visited the Petronas Towers twice. We try and do something different every visit and we don’t pack it in while there because we know we will be back there again some time soon! In fact we will be back there in April 2017 but this time we will head to Penang.
The second visit this year we had the opportunity to stay at the Lanson Place Bukit Ceylon Serviced Apartments, the size of these apartments totally blew me away. Don’t even start me on the view from our apartment on the 46th floor mind you! We arrived late and opened our windows to find we were facing the Petronas Towers, it was after 1am when we arrived but after everyone went to bed I sat and looked out the window at the towers and reflected on how lucky I am to be able to live the life I live. What I liked most about this place apart from the awesome location, very close to Bukit Bintang, was that the buffet breakfast is located on the 48th floor, the penthouse suite, so that all guests are able to enjoy the amazing views from the roof top. From my breakfast table I could see the Petronas Towers and KL Tower and get them in one photo, how’s that! Mum had never been to KL so I was chuffed that we had the opportunity to stay somewhere with a million dollar view.
Click here for all posts relating to our trips to Malaysia.
Infinity Pools of the Year
Can’t finish the year without mentioning my well known love of infinity pools so we had the opportunity to stay at two hotels this year with absolutely cracking infinity pools, so drum roll please, here they are:
Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
We loved our stay at Marina Bay Sands and highly recommend a stay here, even if it is only to swim in the pool!
Face Platinum Suites, Kuala Lumpur
Airbnb can often be a leap of faith but we hit the jackpot at the Face Platinum Suites in Kuala Lumpur. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves wont I…..!
So what wasn’t great in 2016
With every new travel experience there are some testing times that when looking back we can giggle about now, so below are the travel mishaps that happened this year:
- Realising I had booked the wrong dates on our Queensland holiday when we were going with friends and they had the right dates. Disappointing but the costs were so high to change our flights with Jetstar, that we just took separate holidays. Click this link to read about my dealings when flying Jetstar at the time.
- Realising that Air Asia had changed my flight time for a connecting flight from Kuala Lumpur to Osaka and then having to rearrange our whole itinerary to one that was not as suitable as the original. This really got me upset especially as I was playing travel agent for my mum and sister, you can read about my issues at, Air Asia, is this really fair!
- Getting food poisoning in Cambodia! Yes it was a nasty bout too but it didn’t stop myself or Alannah and after a good 6 hours of down time, we got on with it but it lingered a few more days for me and set me back 5kgs (it’s not all bad). Luckily we had the presidential suite with three toilets.
- My camera was dropped by a waiter in a restaurant late the night before we headed to Cambodia, we had a 6am flight the next morning and no opportunity to buy another camera. We still had the underwater action camera but every time I look at the photos I think to myself how much better they could have been.
- When I had myself thinking that we were being sold to the live organ trade in Malaysia on the way home from Legoland, very dramatic but Craig has now barred me from watching Criminal Minds.
- When my sister jumped on the train to Kyoto and I stopped to read the sign, the doors closed and she left without us! No amount of banging on the door helped, those trains are late for no one.
My Wrap Up!
So that’s the year that was 2016! How will I top that next year. Well we already have Thailand booked for Easter then we will be heads down saving and organising our White Christmas Road trip to the USA where we will see new year in from New York City! I’m already thinking and researching places for 2018 (don’t tell Craig)! We haven’t done much camping this year so we will be heading off between Christmas and New Year for a week of camping in central Victoria. I’m very much looking forward to relaxing and enjoying some down time by the river.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year. I know a few of you are off to wonderful places in 2017 as I have had a few emails from you, I am always happy to help plan or answer questions in relation to places we have been (or haven’t been!) so please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions.
Thank you again for following along our journeys, we have enjoyed ourselves this year and can’t wait to bring you some new destinations next year. If you have had any great journeys, or ticked something off your bucket list this year, please leave me a comment below, I love hearing about it.
Sal & Co.