The Rambling Family



Back to civilization

We had a pleasant early morning drive back to Yogyakarta from Borobudur for our flight to Singapore.  We enjoyed a final view of morning routines in Indonesia- tons of kids in uniforms on scooters being taken to school, men on scooters loaded with goods to sell… everything like balloons, chickens, greens, and hats.

Yogyakarta airport is small and mostly outdoors.  Only ticketed passengers get to go inside and there is nothing there but check in counters.  When the flight is prepping to board they announce for everyone to go through security and immigration into a waiting room.  So, we spent or last rupiah on some donuts and fried chicken at the outside shops before our flight was called.  Luckily it was called the right number and in English once.!  Not like our crazy experience in Jakarta.

Silk Air was our carrier this time- not a discount airline, but the price and time was the best.  It felt fancy to get food and drinks without paying. Two hours later we were at Changi aiport and it felt like we jumped forward in time and technology.  Singapore is so modern and clean and tidy and easy… It’s like being in a pretty American city.  But safe.  And no gum.  And no food on trains.  Rules. 
Took the subway to our hotel in little India.  It’s great!  We had a blast walking around the area: specifically searching for bindi’s.  Zoe wanted a new stash.  She loves wearing them – it’s her jewelry of choice.  So we got a bunch for cheap.  
We also got some henna tattoos!!  All of us.  They were cheap and sucked in the kids first.  Avi got a cool dragon on his hand and Zoe and I got matching flowers. It was fun!!  I also enjoyed a great takeout Indian meal of “I don’t know” – whatever they had at the food but today.  It was great!!  
The  wanted noodles in the hotel after our dip in the top-floor pool. Tonight it’s fantasia and sleep.  We are a few hours off and heading to bed late. The space-A flight we were going to attempt tomorrow is now the following day.  So we will take advantage of an extra Singapore day and go to the science museum.  And maybe get more bindi’s, or a sari, and definitely some more Indian food. 

Going to school.  
That’s our plane!
Hindu temple in little India, Singapore
Zoe excited for her bindi hunt
Found the mother load of bindi’s and any other costume jewelry you may need.
Avi wanted and needed new sneaks… So he chose these lovely items that I didn’t know lit-up until we walked out. 
Henna for all!!

Singapore Science Centre

We got an extra day in Singapore today as the space-a flight to Yokota got pushed back to tomorrow.

We took advantage by going to the Science Centre. It was really fun!  The kids enjoyed the earth science stuff – volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis.   But the body exhibit was the best!! 
We got to walk down into a mouth and through all the body!  It was cool to slide down the esophagus, and crawl in the squishy stomach, see the heartbeat, and go through intestines. We did it twice!!
The while thing exhausted us all and took all day, so we spent the evening at the hotel swimming and eating ramen.

Heading to the body.



Avi loved this earthquake display

Zoe Echo…

The volcano we spent MUCH time at

worlds ‘only’ fire tornado

hotel pool on the roof


Sentosa for free

Well,  Sentosa for a dollar!  Sentosa island is a large attraction- filled island just off the south port of Singapore. It can get very expensive which prevented us from coming before.

Here is how to do it on a budget!
Take the subway or bus to Harbour Point and walk through the Vivo mall to the waterfront promenade. 
WALK across the Boardwalk. this could be your only expense!  $1 entry fee to Sentosa. It is not far, and in Singapore style it’s artistically covered and includes a series of moving sidewalks to ease the pain.
PACK a lunch.  Food on Sentosa is pricey. 
REFILL a water bottle.  There is a drinking fountain at every bathroom. 
WALK along the main route (called th Festive Walk) past all the shopping and universal studios to the Merlion, then continue up to Imbiah, and on to Palawan beach.  It’s not a distance and there are great free attractions along the route!
Festive Walk – the main walking artery leads from the boardwalk to the Merlion and has numerous fountains to play in.  This is also called the Resorts World.
The Lake of Dreams is the largest of the fountains and features a free light show perrliodically. 
The Merlion is free to see and walk around.  Again, there are some fun fountains and misters in the area. 
Mount Imbiah is free to go up and see the old British gun placement from the 1930s. It’s a nice walk up in the jungle.
Once up in the Imbiah area you can enjoy the Nature Discovery ( a nature center) and adjacent Nature walk for free!
Back past the Merlion continue along the Merlion walk – a very artistic walkway around a long flowing fountain covered with mosaic.  
At the bottom, continue down the hill and left to Palawan beach where kiddos can enjoy the animal & bird encounters for free at the amphitheater.  On the hour from 2pm-5pm.  
Also free is the cool bridge and lookout from the Southernist point in Asia.
A free list isn’t complete without including the beach itself.  Following our walking route you are at Palawan beach which has a fun play fountain and playground.  But you could also backtrack to Silosa or continue further past Palawan to Ujong.  They will all fit the bill for sand, water and views of the never ending barge traffic.  
The monorail is free once you are on Sentosa, so it is the perfect way to make a return trip.
At the end of the day, after returning to the resorts world area you can enjoy the Crane Dance light show happens at the waters edge in the Festive Walk. 9pm currently, but check the website. 


If you are going to take the kids, and choose one thing to do , I highly recommend the Port of Lost Wonder at Palawan beach.  It’s only $8 per kid on weekdays and will occupy hours. 

Also a good deal is the maritime museum   near the entrance to the Festive walk just across the boardwalk.  It truly is experiential and teaches all about the maritime silk route.  Only $5 adult and $2 child, the shipwreck theater presenation extra so I didn’t do it.  

All in all a fun LONG but budget day with two happy happy kids! 


We got on the Singapore flight from Yokota this morning!  Not a lot of competition – there were some empty seats of the 42 available.

The flight is amazing with flight attendents and lots of food! They even give everyone a little media player with movies and games.  I did insist on some schoolwork before the movies.  It’s a 7 hour flight.
I had prebooked a hotel near the southern harbor of Singapore, so we grabbed our junk, toiletted, and walked out the Paya Lebar air base gate. 
Just out the gate is the 94 bus which we rode one stop too many and enjoyed a walk around a neat mosque in the sprinkling rain (which doesn’t make much difference when it’s so humid) back to the subway stop we were trying to get too. The kids especially loved the city bus because it was a double decker and the only seats available were in the back row on top… Hence we missed our stop. 🙂
The subway was as usual.  We ride those a lot and the kids get excited to get seats; which we did, thank goodness, as it was a long 30 minute ride.  
Walked to the hotel as it was getting dark.  But we HAD to stop and check out the giant snails!  Avi found the first and then we spotted them all over.  Apparently they come out after a rain.
We are at the Fragrance Hotel Royal.  Great spot near the jungle park and “waves” walkway we did last visit.  It’s also walking distance to Sentosa island!! That is our goal tomorrow.  
Tonight the kids are enjoying watching “little shiva” while I book our next move in a few days.  

Double decker bus in Singapore

Crowded subway. 

Avi loves the snails!! Sorry the humidity was fuzzing my phone. 

Sentosa day

Went to sentosa island for the day!  It’s a little island south of singapore that is just full of attractions and beaches.  Walked across the boardwalk so it was only a $1 entry fee.

From there is was a fun walk along the shops and fountains and the Merlion to the beach.  The Merlion is Singapore’s symbol animal. Feel free to look it up.
The kids had fun on the walk as there was a ton to see and take pictures in front of, plus we stopped at a candy store.  It did start to feel super hot and humid.  
Our goal was the Port of Lost Wonder.  It’s a super awesome water park for kids.  Reasonably priced, too, which is tough to find in Singapore. Spent 4+ hours here!!  They also have fun activities to spend your “curios” money on – they got to hold a parrot and make a koi craft.  
It’s cool to be in a country with such cultural variety.  The swimsuits here run the gamut!  By far the most common suit is a  kids bodysuit – short pants and short sleeve shirt swimsuit-material bodysuit with a zip up the middle, but there are also a fare amount of euro trunks (ala Avi who refuses to even try on American-style bulky trunks).  Then there are more conservative ladies in fully covering pantsuits – the lifeguards are all in head coverings and total body suits.  But the primary language is English.  Cool place! Did I mention free wifi at a water park!!
It was also not very crowded but for our final half hour when a school group came – as did the rain, so we left the Port. 
From there we also went to see a playmobil show and play with the toys on the beach.  I guess playmobil is having a special event here.  Got dinner at an outdoor stall where Abi shocked me by eating the mysterious and spicy noodles, chicken on a stick, and a fried egg with runny yolk!  
It continued to drizzle rain but we still wandered across the suspension bridge to step on the southern most point in Asia. 
Didn’t walk the 4km back, and enjoyed the monorail.  All in all sentosa worked out to be cheaper and way more enjoyable than I expected. I thought I was heading to an Asian Gatlinburg. Not so! This was classy and nice!!

Mid-Winter Getaway 6 – Travel day

Spent the morning packing up our sprawl if stuff around the cabin. It’s amazing how much we can spread out from just two backpacks. The kids had some leftovers for breakfast and looked for the kitties to say goodbye.

From there we walked back down to Railay West beach and hopped in a boat for Ao Nang.  People just wait around until the boat has enough passengers; doesn’t take long in the mornings.  Another forum was waiting, so we filled the boat and took off.
In Ao Nang we bought bus tickets for the airport, got some lunch (my belly is still funky after the food poisoning a few days ago), and played in a tree along the beach.  The bus ride was double the time of coming to town; it stopped a ton of times and crammed people in. 
The airport check in was easy.  Kids were sleepy, so we got then some lollipops to tide them over.  Tiger Airways is a pretty no-frills airline… Small leg space, no food, drinks, luggage, or assigned seats without extra cost. It was fine, though, for a short hour and a half flight back to Singapore.
Here in Singapore we got on the train and some food before walking to our hotel.  It’s a chill out movie night tonight.  Lunar New Year starts tomorrow, so we considered briefly going to Chinatown.  But we need to wake early and we are all exhausted.  

Mid-Winter Getaway 3 – Another airplane

Of course we couldn’t sleep in this morning, so we packed up our goods – kind of a hassle carrying around winter clothes – and found a park.  Out of town past the end of the line is Pasir Ris park.

It was a nice and huge green space full of open land and jungle.  Avi and I walked the boardwalk trail in the mangrove. He was adorable whispering so we didn’t disturb the crabs that hole up in the muck or the giant lizard we saw running off.  Zoe spent her time gathering plumeria flowers from the grove and stringing them into a vine that Bryan shaped into a crown.  Her backpack now smells wonderful!
After an hour or so, strategically avoiding the beach on the other side of the hill, we wandered back to the train and rode to the airport.  It’s gigantic!  And fancy with restaurants and shopping and a spa and free little carts.  Wonderful lunch of veggie Indian food and an easy walk on our Tiger Airways flight to Krabi. 
You know the one thing that makes Singapore pretty darn cool compared to all he other giant Asian cities is the variety  of people.  Everywhere else we finis pretty homogenous, but Singapore has so many different peoples!  It’s been fun to spot Indian women in sari’s, Muslim women in various pretty head coverings, and lots of Chinese folks.  We hear all kinds of languages but all signs are in English.  Pretty fascinating. But big. And a city (though it is pretty clean). So we are off to Krabi. 
Th flight was only an hour and a half.  Kids slep on Bryan the entire way – seriously fell asleep before takeoff. I tried to sleep but kept getting distracted by the couple beside me who bicker – fought – bantered practicing their English. Apparently he is a horrible packer, breaks things, and needs to shop around because he got ripped off on his lunch purchase and probably that blow up neck pillow and eye mask. She, on the other hand, gets pissed off easily,  feels tired to much, and loses new purchases readily. No offense or argument about all this, just the most matter of fact kind of discussion.  Must be German. Now they are sleeping. 
Once we arrived in Krabi, it was easy to find a shuttle bus to Ai Nang pier and a boat ride to Tonsai.  This is supposed to be the relaxed rock climbing area of Krabi.  Seems a bit crowded with young college age folks to me.  The place is awesome though!  Huge cliffs tower around the crescent beach.  The beach is kind of rough, though, with sharp crumbled shell sand.  Ouch. 
In the evening we had cool entertainment.  5 base jumpers launched off the highest cliff and landed on our beach!  Then there were fireworks and a fire twirling show at a bar near our bungalow.  
We are staying at a cheap hotel in a grass hut just off the beach.  It’s not nice but the price was good and it was available… Lots of stuff was booked when I was looking last minute.  Should be just fine for sleeping and showering. 
So some pictures….

Watching the demolition out front of our hotel while Bryan figured out how to get to a park. 

Crossing the street in Singapore

On the train spotting buses, bikes and backhoes

Pasir Ris park

On the mangrove boardwalk

Changi Singapore airport
My neighbors on the airplane when they finally shutup.
Boat to our beach
One if the numerous kitties around the place!

Mid-Winter Getaway 2 – Somewhere warm

Well that was goal… And we made it.

Woke early in Japan and took a taxi back to the terminal gate of Yokota air base. We checked in for the next flight – to Singapore.  The kid played in the nice play land until roll call.  Bryan’s name was this selected!  And, to be honest all the folks – mostly retirees – got on the flight.
After check in I used the incredibly slow internet to book us a cheapo onward flight to Krabi Thailand, and arrange hotels. Then, we got on!
This flight was unlike any other space – A I’ve done!  We weren’t on the flore or given earplugs… This was like an airline.  Well, half an airline.  The back 1/3 of the plane had airline seats and 2 flight attendants and food and drinks and little videos.  It was comfy.  7 hours later we landed in Singapore at Paya Lebar air base.  Spent some time rearranging some things after learning that next weeks flight schedule is not normal due to lunar new year.   Then we hopped a cab to our hotel.  
Singapore is expensive,  but I found a hotel chain called the Fragrance hotels that are nice and reasonable.  
In the evening we walked to the subway and out to harbor front.  We had hoped to walk up the hill to a cool view point and pedestrian bridge but the trail wasn’t lit, so we took a bus up.  It was neat!  The bridge made me nervous, though the kids nor Bryan cared.  We had a snack and then came back to the hotel. Tired out.  
Tomorrow were off to the Thai beaches.  Singapore is interesting, but we really want a relaxing outdoors vacation not a hectic expensive city vacation.

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