After 3 years, we finally had our first overseas family vacation. As long as it took us to have our first baby. An awfully long time for anyone who used to travel at least twice a year.
Honestly, I didn’t think my travelling pleas would go through with the Bo seeing how cautious he was during my first pregnancy with Liam. But after 2 years+ of parenthood, 2 successful staycations with Liam, being so in sync with his routine and getting better at managing our lovely little firstborn; I think we quite deserve it. That was until we realised I was pregnant for the 2nd time again…just when we were about to take Liam on his first vacation earlier this year.
But if I could wait for 2.5 years, what was another 3 months till I passed the 1st trimester right? Thankfully with everything going well during this 2nd pregnancy and the go ahead given by my obgyn who was even scheduling my visits once every 8-10 weeks because apparently there wasn’t “much to monitor”, the Bo happily obliged when I told him that it was time to give ourselves and Liam a babymoon trip before our 2nd little chungkin comes along.
And then it came to decisions on destinations. I started shortlisting countries with flight duration under 5 hours as I didn’t want Liam’s first flight to be too long.
Australia was our first choice till I realized that it was starting to get really cold with winter approaching. The thought of lugging heavier luggages filled with winter clothes for the 3 of us seemed fairly unappealing. Plus I didn’t think I’d have the energy to dress and undress Liam in and out of his winter wear every day with a bigger-by-the-day pregnant belly.
Hong Kong was our next choice, since we were pretty familiar with the city & always had a soft spot for it. Until a close girlfriend whose a local there and also currently pregnant with her 2nd child advised how pram and baby unfriendly the city is with the lack of elevators, escalators, baby changing rooms, high chairs in eateries. Deep down, I also knew Hong Kong was more for us adults than for Liam.
Phuket. I’ve had my fair share of beach vacations to Bali, Koh Samui, Sabah, Gold Coast but surprisingly I’ve never been to Phuket. So when my cousin and some mummy friends kept recommending how much their kids enjoyed their time there, I decided to consider it.
Wasn’t till I did some reading up on the level of kids friendliness on Phuket that I realized what an ideal first family holiday destination it actually was.
It literally ticked all the boxes on my checklist.
√ short flight of 1hr 20min
√ it being a beach destination which worked perfectly for my little beach boy
√ awesome choice of family-friendly hotels available. The one that I saw had amazing water slides, sand within the pool vicinity and a huge kids club
√ fairly good weather during this time of the year which meant that we could pack light and make the most out of our days there
√ authentic thai food. I’ve been craving for lots of spicy and sour thai food during this 2nd pregnancy
√ affordability. Total cost of our flights, accomodation, rental car, food was similar or slightly more than the price of a weekend stay at RWS
√ overall kids friendliness. Most eateries on my to-eat list have highchairs and a kids menu available
Mum gave us a wakeup call at 445am to inform that she was coming to pick us up in an hour’s time as we had to be at the airport by 630am for baggage check-in.
I barely clocked in 2 hours of sleep due to some procrastination in packing our bags the night before and being overly excited about the trip.
Liam however managed a 530am wake up time with zero signs of grouchiness and was in a seemingly good mood. He was willing to change up with minimal fuss, saying all his “pleases” and thank yous” in his sweetest voice in all his requests.
“(We’re) going to sit airplane. Go Phuket!” he repeated excitedly while on the way to the airport. I love how my son randomly adds new words to his vocabulary and surprises me.
Sure, there were the initial struggles to buckle the little fella on board. But after some cajoling that he could buckle up together with his best bud – Dudley the (soft toy) dog, he eventually agreed to do so. Phew! Also helped that our little speed adrenalin junkie was excitedly distracted by the plane’s takeoff on the runway that he didn’t fussed about being strapped in after that. Double phew!
I was about to catch a much needed power nap when the captain announced that we were starting our descend into Phuket. Say what? Right. I forgot how quickly time flies with a short flight AND a toddler in tow (well, I wanted a short flight right?)
Thankfully upon arrival at Phuket International Airport, I was relieved to be ushered to a much shorter queue (the tired looking pregnant lady and impatient noisy toddler combo probably did the trick). We cleared customs and got our bags within 15 minutes! WHEE.
It was a breeze collecting our rental car at the airport too. I’m happy that we went along with the decision to rent a car because it made getting around Phuket much more convenient and hassle free for the family. We relied on the free maps available at the airport and easy-to-follow road signs on the first day but eventually switched to using the GPS (which we activated via a prepaid sim card for 150 Thb (approx. S$5.80) giving us unlimited data usage on our mobile phone) later on which was perfect for lazy bums like us 🙂
It took a 45 minutes drive before we arrived at our stay – Grand Centara Beach Resort Phuket. I’ve always been a villa girl so I didn’t quite know what to expect apart from the mostly good (& mixed) reviews I read on Tripadvisor. Turns out the staff were really sweet in taking care of our needs. We got our room and bags settled quite promptly as they took note of our early check-in note during the booking, and headed for our first Thai meal for the trip at The Secret Cliff !
While the prices here are slightly pricer – I’m guessing to pay for a gorgeous unobstructed view of the Andaman Sea, attentive service from the staff, pretty decent food, lunch at The Secret Cliff was a nice way to start our first day in Phuket. Liam really enjoyed looking at the sea view throughout lunch saying “wow, beautiful water” – surprising me again with new words.
Right after lunch, we headed back to the resort for a siesta. Oh golly, felt so good to plonk our tired bodies on the super king size bed and clock in a nap till the bell rang and we were surprised with this:
Little did I expect the resort to take note of a casual comment that I left during my booking under “reason for stay”. I was impressed. And who else but our littlest was the most excited at the huge macaron that greeted him as he woke up from his nap.
P/s: Read about the beach and water activities we did in Part 2