Quick Batam Getaway 15-16 Dec 2013

We did a quick one night Batam Getaway with Aunty Linda and family when they were in Singapore this December. Though it was short, it was definitely a good and relaxing trip and a refreshing time with family.

I realised that this is actually probably my fifth trip to Batam! Through the years, have been to Batam for school trips, planning retreat, church camp etc. My last most recent trip was just 2 years ago. It was one of Daniel’s first overseas trip. One of the things I like best about Batam is that it is an hour behind Singapore. But somehow, though it is just an hour, the pace seems much slower and that fast paced Singapore. It is a good place to just chill and slow down. I remember the last time I was there 2 years back, my watch actually stopped working. And amazingly, the moment I got back to Singapore, it started ticking away again. And during that trip, I actually felt as if I stopped noticing the time and simply just relax. No rushing to beat the clock and to complete tasks!

Thus was looking forward to this trip after a hectic week – post renovation cleaning and preparation for Yuping’s wedding the week before. All in, it was a good trip. Love our hotel – Harris Batam Centre. It was contemporary with vibrant colours. And it was just 5 minutes walk from the shopping area too. We had some great food too. Love the Indonesian meals we had. We also had a seafood dinner. I have had seafood at Batam at the same place (Golden Prawn) numerous times but what was so special about this time was that we chose our ‘live seafood’ that we wanted for dinner. That was fun!

For activities, as it was only one day, we didn’t do much other than just R&R. Wanted to do a massage but somehow, the timing was not right. As always, bringing the boy on a holiday meant that it was difficult to get any kind of shopping done. So we didn’t shop much too. I just got the main thing I came to Batam to buy and that was it. Wacoal undergarments are really a good buy in Batam and it is a must buy whenever I come since I discovered that the last time I came 2 years back.

Another highlight was the one hour or so I spent with Daniel and Adora at the arcade while Daddy went for spa. The arcade in Batam costs so much less. Paid for about five sing dollars worth of credits and had about slightly more than an hour of entertainment. Can never get that in Singapore arcades! What I also like about the Batam arcades is that the games are much simpler and fun …… although some might say backward. But I actually prefer these than some of the complex machines back in Singapore. In Singapore, I don’t really like walking into arcades as it is super noisy and has a scary atmosphere (for lack of a better description!).

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Phuket Family Holiday Day 4

It was a rainy day today.

It was pouring when we awoke and continued to pour for a good part of the morning. Hence we could not do much in the morning. While the baby took his morning nap, Ivan went for another massage. I just stayed in the room with Daniel and occupied myself on my ipad.

When the baby awoke from his nap, the rain seemed to have stopped. We decide to head down to the beach. We walked there – it was only about 10 min walk. Along the way, we found some cheap t-shirts and bought a few. Thank God the weather cleared up and we managed to spend some fun time at the beach. Daniel really enjoyed playing with the sand and we spent quite some time on that activity. After lunch we headed back to the hotel and spent more water time in the afternoon in the hotel swimming pool.

For our last night in Phuket, we walked to the shopping area for dinner. I enjoyed taking in the sights of the little town as we strolled that evening. Just love Southeast Asia, for some inexplicable reason and I was just enjoying the moment of being in the middle of life in this part of the world. We walked past shops, restaurants and some houses too. Life here is sure somewhat different from urbanised and modern Singapore.

We had an interesting dinner. We walked past a night market selling lots of local food and snacks. We just bought a couple of different stuff and headed back to the hotel with the food. It was a lot cheaper and yummier too than our previous meals in Phuket. So far, we had been going for restaurants and fastfood because of practical reasons – cleanliness and baby chair.

Hence concluded our family holiday in Phuket.

Tomorrow morning, we will be flying back home to Singapore.

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Phuket Family Holiday Day 3

We put the baby for an early morning nap and headed to the beach late morning when he awoke.

Unfortunately, we were only on beach for less than 30 min before it began pouring. But still, Daniel managed to have some fun with the waves and sand. The waves in Phuket are really huge!!

We had a quick lunch at the hotel. I satisfied my craving for Phat Thai 🙂

The baby took a nap and I went for back massage. Unlike Ivan, I did not quite enjoy Thai massage. I prefer more relaxing and less ‘aggressive’ massage.

In the evening, we walked to shopping mall again. Along the way, we stopped for coconut drink and mango rice dessert at one of the stalls along the way. Yummy!

We had dinner at a nice Thai restaurant.

Shopping that night was more fruitful. Ivan bought 5 pairs of shorts to replace his old shorts (long overdued!!). Before going back to the hotel, we bought tons of Thai foodstuffs from the supermarket – tribute for family, cell group, colleagues and friends.

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Phuket Family Holiday Day 2

I had bad dreams on my first night in Phuket. I dreamt there were huge grasshoppers/locusts at my parents’ place. I was screaming in my sleep as I typically do when I see insects! Ivan says that it is probably because Thailand is not a very ‘clean’ place.

We went for our elephant tour the whole morning. It was fun! We got up, close and personal with the elephants. We went for and elephant ride and our elephant trainer allowed us to ride on the elephant (not on the seat) while he took photos for us. Of course he asked for tips for that. But we were quite happy to help him earn some extra money in exchange for a thrilling experience. Love the elephants. They are so big, strong, powerful and yet, so gentle. Sat in a cart pulled by 2 oxen too.

We wnt back to the hotel all hot and sticky as it was  hot day. We washed up and put the baby to sleep for his nap. While the baby was sleeping, Ivan went for a back massage which he thoroughly enjoyed.

At 3pm, we awoke the baby and took the hotel’s free transport to the shopping mall. Taxis are expensive!! 200 baht (about $8) for a 5 min trip!!

We walked around the malls for a while looking at souvenir items but did not get anything. Eventualy, we took a pit stop and did pedicure. Daniel was well behaved and sat in the pouch carried by Ivan while we both did pedicure. Daniel even helped me to choose a pretty nail art design for my nails 🙂 The pedicurist was also kind enough to trim Daniel’s nails  for free.

We had dinner at subway and then walked over to the night market.

I definitely do not like shopping at the night markets. Bargaining was painful. We made a few buys which we later found that we could have gotten the same thing at a lower price. After that, Ivan became more shrewd and tried to nail down the lowest possible selling price for the same item by asking around. There are tons of stalls selling similar items! Anyway, I find the whole haggling experience painful. We headed back to the hotel early (about 8 plus) as we were hot and tired.

I prayed that I would not have any more bad dreams.

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