Author Topic: TR (w/ pics):2 weeks in Asia with a 2 yr old  (Read 15674 times)

Offline morgs

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TR (w/ pics):2 weeks in Asia with a 2 yr old
« on: September 04, 2014, 05:16:39 PM »
DISCLAIMER
We (myself, my wife, and 2 yr old) have returned not too long ago from a 2 week trip to Asia including Hong Kong, Thailand, and Singapore. There are a few reasons why I am taking out the time to write up a trip report. Firstly, I have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge and bothered a lot of people from the forums that I feel it is only right to give back by posting a tr to help more people down the road. I also know how much I enjoy reading everyone else’s trip reports and pics so I hope you all enjoy this like I enjoy yours. Secondly, when researching this trip, I did not come across a lot of info pertaining to doing Asia with a 2 yr old-the vibe I got was generally that it can be done with a baby but it might be too difficult with a 2 yr old (especially a very active one). So, I would like this report to show that not only is it doable but you can even have an awesome time in Asia with a 2 year old.  This TR may be a bit long as I will try to include as much detail as possible (especially details that pertain to having a young child with you), but will also try to include as many photos as well to break it up. Some of the info may sound redundant to other TR’s and the forums, but then again I want to keep all the details for my own records as well……-anyway….enough of all that…..
So, after 4 trips to Europe we were basically able to check off most of western Europe (sorry that you have not seen any TR’s on those but I was not so into the DDF till more recently-but if there is an interest I can def. post old TR’s on those as well). SO together with enough convincing from some of our friends who had already done this trip we decided to take the plunge and head over to Asia for this year’s trip. We were a bit apprehensive before we went because it was something entirely new and we did not know what to expect and because we were doin it all with a 2 year old (almost 2 to be exact-21 mths).
GETTING OUT
We booked TLV to HKG on ELAL in business for the first leg of our journey ( after we got back we called it a trip but before we left-travelling to Asia seemed more like a journey). Now one of the best things AA ever did was consider Israel to be part of Asia as a roundtrip from TLV to the rest of Asia is a mere 60,000 mils in Business!! Our flight was scheduled to leave at 10 pm on Wed night (night after 9 Bav)-we planned to get to the airport a bit early because  in my research I found that the King David Lounge in TLV offers free 20 min massages (either I just let everyone in on a secret or you are all saying-now he wakes up…..anyway), so I made a res. Online before for 2 massages. But of course we live in Israel so when we told the taxi driver to come at7 that meant come at 8. We checked in and got to the lounge at about 850 and the reception lady tells us that bec. Boarding is at 915 its now too late to get the massage. I was not about to take no for an answer because of a taxi driver so I went upstairs to the “spa” and found the masseuse there and asked him if he minds giving me just a 15 min. massage and he happily agreed (he didn’t seem to mind that I was interrupting his busy schedule of playing games on his iphone). At 915 we left the lounge to head over to the gate. Now, because this was an overnight flight at the start of the trip we needed to be sure that our kid slept at least for most of it, so we decided to give him Benadryl before boarding to help him (as when he is in a place with a lot of other ppl he is usually to busy for that). TIP: try benadryl at home first to make sure it has the desired effect!!!! Basically, for the first 3 hours he was a jack in the box, bouncing off the walls :'( :'(-so most of that time was spent in economy where you can make as much noise as you would like. Finally  finally, we managed to get him to fall asleep and were lucky that there was one empty seat in business, so I laid it down flat for him and there he slept for the remainder of the flight. As soon as he was out, my wife also laid down and went to sleep and I promptly sat down for some wine ;D and a delicious steak dinner. The rest of the flight was uneventful and we arrived in HKG at 130 PM local time on Thursday.

After finally falling asleep.....


HONG KONG               USD $1=$7.75 HKD
Before we left I was a little disappointed as the forecast called for clouds and thunderstorms all 5 days there. When we got there we had a pleasant surprise as there was not one drop of rain the whole time! After clearing customs the first thing was to find a local sim as we had a few imp. Calls to make right away. To buy a sim in the airport go upstairs to departures and there is a china mobile stand where all the shops are. I bought a 3g sim for 80 HKD($10US) which lasted me my whole stay (both net and calls). After they set up the phone for us we went downstairs to buy passes for the metro system (there is a stand before you exit customs but the lines there are pretty big so go outside and over to airport exit “b”-as the stand right where you come into the arrivals hall also has big lines-and there was almost no wait).  We bought “airport express travel pass” which included a round trip on the airport-city express train and 3 days of unlimited MTR use (which can really be up to 4 because the card counts 72 hours  from the first use and then gives you until the end of that day) $300 HKD each ($38 US). We hopped on an express train which comes every 10 min and takes 24 min. to get to Kowloon. HKG MTR is a great way to get around the city-it is clean, air conditioned, and runs frequently and on time. After getting to Kowloon station we had to get over to the Intercontinental Grand Stanford hotel, so I found out that the AE train has a free shuttle service to take you to your hotel-but after hearing that there was a 10 min wait for the next shuttle and that the IGS hotel was the last stop we high-tailed it over to the taxi stand. I was a little nervous with our driver as he must have been in his late 80s and had to take off his glasses and put the paper with the hotel address up to his face to see where we wanted to go-but about 15 min later we were in the driveway of the hotel ( and we were only out about $4 US).
The Intercontinental Grand Stanford is a fabulous hotel! The rooms are spacious and clean and the service is impeccable. I booked 2 nights using points (50,000 points pn) and 1 free night cert. We got upgraded to a harbor view room which was great (especially on Shabbos afternoon-to sit and watch the harbor……).

The Room


The view


Corner Seat


 After settling in we headed over to Kehilat Zion for mincha/maariv and supper at Mul Hayam. The food at Mul hayam was great and the service was too-prices are steep though… We had the cigars and the spring rolls for an appetizer and the chicken breast Milanese and scotch steak for mains.
(The food pics are not great as we were sometimes too busy with our kid to rem to take pics so I cropped them off the pics we took of the 2 of us at the table)
Chicken Breast Milanese


Scotch steak


  (We also tasted their schnitzel and fries that my kid would not eat as it seemed that the Benadryl was starting to kick in again and he became enemies with his high chair). After leaving the restaurant we decided to walk back to the hotel as there was a MILD breeze blowing (believe it or not) so instead of feeling like 105 it only felt like 100 degrees out. After 5 min of walking we looked in the stroller to see why it was so quiet and saw that our kid fell asleep. We decided to take advantage and walked along the whole promenade and avenue of  the stars (about 1 hour) and back to the hotel.

View of the HKG skyline from the Kowloon side


Random free Cantonese cantorial concert on the Avenue ;D
 

It took about 2 hours and a lot of frustration to convince our kid (who of course woke up right when we got back to the hotel) that it was not 5 in the afternoon, but rather 10 at night and past his bedtime and not time to play.

Friday turned out to be a gorgeous day and after a late wakeup and a bowl of cereal we were off to the star ferry to head across to HKI (Hong Kong Island). The water was a bit rough and after keeping our food down we got off on the other side (it takes about 10 min to cross). 

The star ferry


By the time we got there it was time for lunch (as the rest. In the JCC closea t 2 pm on Friday) so we grabbed a taxi and headed over there. As we pulled up I realized that I left the passports back at the hotel-so I geared up for a fight to get in so we would not go hungry. After pleading with the guard and promising we were jewish and were only coming to eat lunch and not cause any harm to the building, and that my kid was really hungry……… we then had to speak to like 2 other people who finally okayed us in. The dairy rest. is now closed for renovations so only the meat rest. was open. The food was ok, as well as the service, but the prices were lower (you get what you pay for I guess…).  My wife ordered a coldcut salad (which was not very exciting) and I had the sweet and sour chicken and rice.

Chinese Chicken


After lunch we took a taxi to the peak tram but the line was about 1-1 ½ hours long and Shabbos was coming so we decided to hop on the MTR and visit the ladies market instead.  (TIP-visit the peak tram early or late to avoid the lines-they are open from 7am to midnight).  The market was really fun and we got the hang of the calculator game pretty quickly. We spent about an hour there and then headed back to the hotel to get ready for Shabbos.

Ladies Market


The hotel is very accommodating whe it comes to Shabbos requests, so the concierge arranged a bellboy for us to wheel the stroller to kehilat Zion Fri night (we did not take him before Shabbos as he was taking a late nap and we did not want to interrupt it) and Shabbos Morning($50 HKD-$6.50 US each time). The gabbai of KZ arranged for one of the Filipino workers to wheel him back after the meals ($50 HKD-$6.50 US each time).  Kehilat Zion was absolutely amazing as far as hospitality goes!! The food was excellent and plentiful and the “locals” were very welcoming. Our kid had a great time there because he mad e a lot of new friends as we met another family there (fellow ddf’r-who is btw our inspiration for traveling-HKG and Thailand with 5 kids-wowowowowowow!!!!), and Shabbos was overall relaxing and fantastic!!

Motsei Shabbos, we went to the Temple Street night market (mostly the same stuff as the ladies market but not as many ppl selling toys so my kid was not too pleased to say the least) , bought some more stuff, and headed back to the hotel.

A rest. at the night market (just to show how they live there-check out the blue bucket ehere they clean the dishes... :P)


Sunday began with switching over to the Hyatt regency TST (due to points cheshbonos….) which was not a very big deal -5 minute cab ride away. We went up to the club lounge for check in ( they check in diamond members up there)and were upgraded to a view room on the top floor which was not ready upon checkin as it was early but we left and they delivered our luggage and set it all up before we got back. The hotel is ok-room was nice size with a nice bathroom nut not the cleanest we have ever seen. I used a Hyatt cat.1-4 cert. here.

The Room


 We then took 3 elevators down to get down to the MTR level which is right below the hotel (you get to save yourself some time from being in the heat that way-but 3 elevators?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?)   and took it over to Ngong Ping (home to the glass bottom cable car). The lines looked worse than they really were and after about 45 min we had our tickets for the cable car-1 way glass bottom and return on the regular one. We waited about 10 mins for a cable car and were on our way. The experience of a glass bottom cable car was really pretty cool (for those who have been to the glass floor in Chicago Sears/Willis tower this will be eh), and the views of the airport are really awesome!

View of the Airport from the cable car

 
Up on Nogong Ping we did not find much to do, so we just walked around for some time, saw some free roaming cows and other livestock, got some ice cream at 7-11 and went back to the line for the cable car. When we got there though, the wait for a reg cable car was 45 min to an hour (everyone says summer months are off peak in hong kong-I wonder what peak season looks like….) and our kid had had his share for the day so we asked a nice “guard” if there were any options and he told us we could upgrade the ticket to a glass bottom return and there was no wait for those. We proceeded to do that and were down in 10 min. (TIP-take the reg cable car on the way up and the glass bottom on the way down-if you buy that type of ticket-as there was 0 wait on those both ways).

After getting back down we took the MTR all the way to HKI, got out, and took a cab to the JCC (luckily the same guard was there and remembered me as I forgot the passports again) for the famous Sunday night all you can eat bbq. (TIP-if you are in hong Kong, stay for Sunday-you do not want to miss this.) From sushi, to steaks, to cream puffs-there was tons to eat!!!! We were planning on heading out at 730 to make it to the light show but everyone told us not to waste our time ( I did not need a second invitation to stay longer at an all you can eat instead of seeing a light show), so we hung around until about 9 and then took  a taxi up to the peak. (Beware-the road is very windy-do not do this after the all you can eat….). The taxi got us there in 15 min and cost about 60 HKD=$7.50US and def. beat waiting in the line for the peak tram. The view up there is breathtaking and we were lucky to get a clear night which made it even better.

View from the peak


When we were done taking pics, etc. we went to check out the tram line just to make sure we should indeed take a taxi back down as well. (TIP-never mind the earlier tip-there will always be a huge line whenever you go to the peak tram-plan ahead!!!!)
Monday morning was an early one as we had a direct flight to Phuket on Thai Airways at 1020 AM. We took the train back to the airport, and by the time we checked in (there was an issue with my wife’s ticket as there was a schedule change and United reconfirmed the res. Without issuing a new ticket number so that took some time and nerves until it was all sorted out) we had to go straight to the gate for the flight. We got those tix before the deval for 17,500 united points pp in business. The flight was a short one (2 hours) , the hard product was awesome, and the service was great. (Most of business on that flight was actually occupied by us and the other DDF family that we met in HKG on Shabbos (anyone on that flight probably thought there was some glitch like the delta glitch for that flight…..)

Thai Buisness class A330


Meal-it's Hermolis-YAY!! ;D


NEXT UP……PHUKET!!

Offline rots5

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Re: TR (w/ pics):2 weeks in Asia with a 2 yr old
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2014, 05:24:28 PM »
great stuff!!!
If you have any questions please search and then ask. PM me for detailed help.

Offline morgs

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Re: TR (w/ pics):2 weeks in Asia with a 2 yr old
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2014, 05:34:32 PM »
great stuff!!!
You were my inspiration..... :D

Offline rediplus

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Re: TR (w/ pics):2 weeks in Asia with a 2 yr old
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2014, 05:36:07 PM »
Great TR!!! Can you post some info on the points and how you used them ?

Offline sruly101

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Re: TR (w/ pics):2 weeks in Asia with a 2 yr old
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2014, 05:40:12 PM »
GREAT TR!!! waiting for the rest!

Offline morgs

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Re: TR (w/ pics):2 weeks in Asia with a 2 yr old
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2014, 05:44:02 PM »
Great TR!!! Can you post some info on the points and how you used them ?
can you explain your q a little (i think I included that info in the post).....

Offline Let3

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Re: TR (w/ pics):2 weeks in Asia with a 2 yr old
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2014, 06:13:22 PM »

Offline morgs

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Re: TR (w/ pics):2 weeks in Asia with a 2 yr old
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2014, 07:04:35 PM »
thanks!!!

Offline htg123

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Re: TR (w/ pics):2 weeks in Asia with a 2 yr old
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2014, 07:35:27 PM »
You're truly inspiring me! Very informative. Thanks for giving back. Looking forward to the rest...

Offline Dan

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Re: TR (w/ pics):2 weeks in Asia with a 2 yr old
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2014, 07:50:26 PM »
Great job so far!
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

Offline TimT

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Re: TR (w/ pics):2 weeks in Asia with a 2 yr old
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2014, 07:53:32 PM »
Like. Really nice & clear photos.

Offline efflpetzel

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Re: TR (w/ pics):2 weeks in Asia with a 2 yr old
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2014, 11:26:42 PM »
Well done mate

Offline smart brit

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Re: TR (w/ pics):2 weeks in Asia with a 2 yr old
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2014, 11:56:44 PM »
Great TR
Waiting for the rest
Ps I would love to read the TR from the family of 5 too

Offline EMCC

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Re: TR (w/ pics):2 weeks in Asia with a 2 yr old
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2014, 01:06:41 AM »
Anything stand out about KZ on shabbos? Any special foods you would rarely see in a shul or Chabad house?
"Disclaimer: I don't believe everything I write."  - ChaimMoskowitz

Offline jaywhy

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Re: TR (w/ pics):2 weeks in Asia with a 2 yr old
« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2014, 01:07:13 AM »
Great TR. Keep it coming :)