Hong Kong with Young Kids (2017 Edition)

Four years after we first brought the kids to visit Hong Kong, we are back here with now 3 kids in tow. What a difference 4 years made. Besides a bigger family now, the girls have also grown, no longer the can-bring-them-anywhere toddlers. But for some reason, Hong Kong now seems slightly more kid friendly than before. And we definitely welcome that.

Many hotels are offering kids-centered program and kids/family friendly rooms, although not at pocket-friendly prices (unless during off peak seasons). There is even a whole mall dedicated to kids! It’s branded as the world’s first multiple intelligence kids mall! How impressive!

Transportation seems easier than before as blogged in this entry. The main reason to be accredited to technology advancement. The regular taxi scene remains unchanged as from 30 years ago, according to a local there. There are still the same nostalgic Toyota Crown 4 or 5 seaters taxi, with the addition of a new taxi type, which is the maxi cab which is mainly for wheelchair bound passengers. But they are still 4-seater taxis.

Now with Uber and online travel agencies like Klook, booking a transport in Hong Kong was a breeze. For this trip, we used mainly Klook to book our transport as we can be guaranteed an MPV which can accommodate all of us, plus our luggages. It’s so easy to book through the app and cancellation just requires a 24hour advance notice. Plus the year end promotions offered, the pricing was quite attractive. I wonder if anyone would still arrange airport transfers with the hotels which charges at ridiculous rates.

Here’s our simple itinerary for a 6 day trip

  • Free and easy at The Wonderful Worlds of Whampoa
  • The Peak
  • Hong Kong Park
  • D(iscovery)-Park
  • Central
  • DisneyLand

Our main interest being, to enjoy the cool weather and also to let the kids have some holiday fun.

This trip, we explored the area of Whampoa, Kowloon for the first time. Several bloggers wrote about it and we too, decided that we could give it a try. So here’s my account of our experience in this part of rarely-a-tourist-area place.

Harbour Grand Kowloon

Hotel room was average but the lobby was, Wow! There’s a very good-reviewed restaurant serving buffet and it must be very popular as a wedding venue because there was a wedding here every day during our stay

We booked 2 connecting rooms here and the kids were happily zooming around from one room to the other. The hotel had a very grand and spacious sea-view lobby, which gives an instant feeling of relaxation in the middle of a festive(read crowded) period. The room was average with adequate amenities and toilet was equipped with bathtub! But wait till you see the exterior!

Nice view coupled with nice weather, no wonder everyone’s smiling

A breathtaking view awaits us at the rooftop with an aquarium-styled heated outdoor pool with a city view as the backdrop. The weather was too cool and windy for a swim so we did not try. Best to be all wrapped up in our cosy jackets!

We took a nice evening stroll behind the lobby after checking in, just to catch the lovely sunset, watch the city light up and see traditional junk boats sail past.

Getting their sweet treat from the hotel cafe for completing their daily tasks

The kids had their fun participating in their VIK (Very Important Kids) program where they get treats and stickers by answering some questions given out daily

The Wonderful Worlds of Whampoa (flash required)

whampoa map

Map of Whampoa, in case the flash site cannot be loaded

When we first chance upon this place we were quite doubtful of it being ‘Wonderful’. There were not a lot of reviews on TripAdvisor and the reviews were not that great. And from the street view on Google map, the place looks a little far our imagination of wonderful. One blog that we read also had the same initial doubtful feeling but ended up surprisingly convinced. And I’m glad to say that we made a good choice for a family stay. It’s quite true as per the reviews that there is nothing much to rave about the shopping there and the prices are on the slightly high side. According to 1 local, the area is more for the middle-income residents which explains why, but if you are looking for high-end shopping, you might be disappointed that there are none here. So what do we find wonderful about Whampoa?

Aeon

The iconic ship building housing Aeon mall, with some restaurants and food court and retail shopping

Aeon mall in the middle of everything! Formerly known as Jusco, Aeon is a retail group originating from Japan. If you have been to any aeon stores, you might know that they have very interesting range of things, even supermarket items!

Photos of only some parts of the whole Aeon Mall (located at the Ship building)

Bright, spacious mall, well stocked supermarket with a wide variety of goods, retail items like clothing, baby essentials and shoes for example. There are also sections for beauty items, stationery and household items. Really convenient for us especially when I had to cook for the baby. The supermarket stocks fresh produce like corn, potatoes and eggs which were mostly imported but were really fresh and very yummy, as approved by the little ones.

Some of the items bought at the supermarket for making baby meals

Meals whipped up from the ingredients using an electric lunch box

And the cooking tools. Love the collapsible bowl invention. Its so convenient to bring around

Whampoa Garden

The Whampoa area consists of a few main buildings named as the different Worlds. For example, Treasure World, Fashion World, Gourmet Place were our main interests for kids (Treasure), shopping (Fashion) and food (Gourmet). All the Worlds were within walking distance from our hotel. Along the way from our hotel to the main Worlds, are the residential blocks, with many other shops and eateries filling up the ground level, for example, Maxim bakery, Watson and Cafe De Coral are some of the shops that we pass by everyday.

Street view and overall map of Whampoa

Sometimes we drop by the playground and let kids do some workouts. The MTR is also within walking distance and is the first stop of that line so it’s easier to get a seat.

JumpinGym at Treasure World

JumpinGym Arcade at Treasure World

We were excited to know there’s a huge indoor playground nearby for the kids here. The kids had lots of fun and did not complain about the walking. The pricing of the rides were not cheap though, but at least the kids were kept entertained. There were shops like Toys ‘R us, Popular Bookstore and Dr Kong here as well, in case you are buying stuff for the kids. Oh, and McDonalds is here as well, anytime for a french fries and nuggets meal. There is also a very large branch of Marks and Spencer’s here. Happy shopping for the Mummy and playing for the kids and the Daddy.

The Peak

A trip to Hong Kong doesn’t feel complete without a trip to the Peak. We arrived early hoping to skip some crowd. And had the famous Mak’s noodles for breakfast. There was no queue here to our pleasant surprise. Too bad the kids didn’t really fancy the food and preferred my home cooked food prepared for the baby instead. At least they had some breakfast. The Peak Tram queue was incredibly crowded so we skipped that totally.

Central

Then we proceeded to the center of the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong city, Central. The plan was to let the kids hop on the longest escalator in the world but apparently they weren’t too keen. We had barely just started a few flights when they started complaining of hunger, tiredness. Ok, enough, next stop please. And while we looking for a place to rest their legs, we chanced upon this little retreat in between the buildings that the kids definitely welcome. Suddenly all that tiredness vanished. Kids.. 🙄

Hong Kong Park

Staircase everywhere so it’s common to see people carrying stroller up and down.. 

Since we were in the vicinity and had some time, we came by this park after reading many good reviews. The kids playground here was really a game changer. It’s like 6-in-1 playground. We usually only get one if them at any one place but over here we have 6 of them all together. Ok I guess we will be stucked here for some time. Surprisingly, we didn’t. The kids got stricken by static a few times while sliding down the slides they were tearing, so we ended the trip early. Not sure it’s the jacket or the dryness that’s causing the static, what a pity.

D(iscovery)-Park

Huge kids mall

We checked out of Harbour Grand this day to proceed to the happiest place on earth, DisneyLand! So we booked our driver for pickup and made a detour to this new mall hailed as the world’s first smart mall for kids. It was really a mall that kids wouldn’t mind coming. Now, only if I more time here to shop while hubby looks after all the kids…

Disneyland

Four years ago when we came here, the girls were too young to enjoy the rides. They were also crying away when taking photos with character, intimidated by the size of the character costumes. This trip, they sure outgrown all of it and had lots more fun that now they are asking to go back again. I was secretly expecting the baby to be crying away upon seeing the characters. Surprise, surprise, he was so excited like as if he met an old friend, attempting to lead every character off to somewhere to play, making everyone bursting out in laughter.

Bub, getting all his favourite characters to follow him home

Here’s a tip. For a Disney trip with little girls, always prepare a/few set of princess costume. In the happiest place on earth, girls would love to dress up even if they usually don’t .

We did not stay at the explorer Lodge for this trip but we dropped by to take a look. Really new and nice. Shall try the next time.

Finally, it’s going home time.

Changi Airport Terminal 4

We were so fascinated by our brand new Changi Airport Terminal 4. It’s spanking new and it’s high-tech. Even the restaurants look so interesting. As we had a baby in tow, we could not try the self check in terminal, so we went straight to the counter.

Even the toilets was so nice, we had to take a photo (bottom left). Baggage weighing machine (bottom right)

Cathay Pacific

We saw this irresistible promotion on Cathay Pacific for Premium Economic that we decided to give it a try. We had a pleasant surprise when we got a free upgrade to Business Class on the departure flight due to a change in aircraft. First experience on business class! Super worth. We did try the premium economy flight not he return flight and the seats were indeed more spacious than the economy.

The kids can’t wait to go back to Hong Kong Disneyland. Hope we get to go back soon! But for now, its back to school, back to work time!

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Taiwan for Young Kids and Baby (Part 1) – Luggage Packing and Taking the Flight

This must be our third trip to Taiwan with kids. Have been meaning to pen down the trips happenings but always too engaged with other stuff. So finally, I’m determined to come up with this series of posts for the first trip with our 2 kids and 1 baby.

This is Bub’s first trip so we picked somewhere that’s so kids friendly and familiar so it’s easier to manage.

We decided on Taiwan because

  1. Flight to Taiwan is a manageable 5 hour direct flight.
  2. The weather is not too cold and not too hot at this time of the year
  3. Easy to engage private driver for transportation
  4. Lots of kids friendly Minsu and places to go.

Packing for Trip

Years back when we had only 1 baby, we packed lots of baby stuff for our trip, including jar food, blender and cooker for cooking and blending food for the weaning baby. Most people were overwhelmed with what we packed.

First trip with Baby #1 to Hokkaido. Sweet corn and Pigeon baby apple juice from local supermarket. Potato, brought from home.


2nd baby time,  We had double the number of diapers to bring and milk powder for the elder one so we dropped the blender and the jar food but still brought the cooker for sterilizing of bottles and cooking and We also standby some packets of ready food like ready cooked rice and baby soup. 

Dry ingredients from home, fresh ingredients from the local supermarket.


With the 3rd baby, although the sisters are done with diapers, we totally dropped the cooker and brought sterilizing tablets instead. And only cereals for food, since Bub just started weaning. For the next trip, we’ll probably use thermos flask to cook porridge. We tried it previously and it works amazingly! 

But the luggage was still huge, considering now we had 5 pax worth of stuff to pack. 

In the end, we managed to pack with 2 big luggages, filled to almost maximum weight, for 3 adults (including my mother-in-law) and 2 kids, 1 baby! But our luggages were being tagged as heavy weight, so hopefully the handlers would be more careful with it. Cannot imagine if we were to pack the same as baby #1’s time, we’d probably need like 3 luggages? Not forgetting we still have 1 stroller.

2 big luggages to start with and some foldable bags that were opened up to put our purchases at the end of the trip

Heavy weight. Lucky no need to repack


The vacuum bags were my savior. I stuffed the clothes in and vacuumed until they lay flat in the luggage for easy packing 🙂
We were lucky that Bub was still breastfeeding so we didn’t have to bring much formula milk, just some, in case. The hardest to estimate were the diapers. We didn’t intend to buy over there in case we were not familiar with the brands there or we totally can’t find any. So we brought all the diapers we need, plus some extras. Heavy!

This is roughly what we packed just for the kids

Packing list for kids and baby travel


The weather in Taiwan at this time was a cool 16+deg to 24deg so we don’t have to bring any thick jackets, just some pullovers or light weight jackets. 

Pullover with covered toes pants, save the need for socks that kept sliding off

For bottoms, it was useful that I brought along some leg warmers for days that was unexpectedly colder.

Overalls plus front zip jacket for layering and leg warmers because this day was supposed to be warm but ended up quite chilling

And here’s the medicine inventory 

Reddish rash around the cheek

  1. Zertec – for allergy and cold. We experienced 1 time that our baby was allergic to air/dust (according to PD) and developed rashes. Bub had the same symptom this trip and we were prepared for it. 
  2. Cough medicine 
  3. Biogaia probiotics tablets for stomach discomfort (for the older kids)
  4. Paracetamol 
  5. Brufen 
  6. Thermometer
  7. Anti diarrhea
  8. Anti vomit medicine

Thankfully we didn’t need any of the other medicine for this trip although we did get the girls to take probiotics daily as preventive measure.

The Flight

We usually reach the airport around 3 hours earlier than flight time so we can have a quick meal and more time to check in. 

There are many playgrounds around the boarding area such as this one located near Gate A15 at Changi Airport Terminal 3.

Things to do at Terminal 3 if you are early


We almost always take the Singapore Airline unless it doesn’t fly to the place that we want. Singapore Airline usually have priority boarding for families with kids, so do check in and standby at the boarding gate early!

Take a look at these!

Bub resting on the bassinet, Nat enjoying a movie, Nic writing a postcard to send back home. Goodies for both kids and baby!


We took budget airline with the kids before and had a miserable flight with bored and cranky kids, sleepy but no proper flat bed for baby to nap and ate expensive but simple airplane meal that if you were not fast enough to order, you only get to buy biscuits or tidbits stuff. *Major wails.. 

So above picture sums up the different treatment if we travel on non budget airline. 

The baby goodie bag was something new for us. Didn’t remember they had such gift but was really heartwarming. In the bag was 2 M size diapers (the air stewardess enquired about baby age when we boarded the plane with priority queue), 1 packet of wet wipes, a bib, a plushie and a paper bag for disposal of anything. Then they set up the bassinet seat and topped up with a waterproof mat and a blanket for baby.

And then of course there was the usual hassle of carrying baby in and out of the bassinet during turbulence and landing. The worst part was having to buckle up with the infant seatbelt even when the baby was sleeping so nicely halfway through. 

Brightly colored waterproof mat to lie on


Then comes the usual routine for take off and landing. Milk time for Bub! I did standby the pacifier for him to suck on in case he was not hungry for milk. It was important for them to keep swallowing something to clear the blocked ears encountered with the change in pressure during take off and especially landing. Some kids started screaming away during the landing, possibly due to the discomfort. For the girls, we prepared gummies, biscuits and milo and hubby makes sure they keep drinking or eating so they can clear their ears with the swallowing action. 

Once you managed to settle baby into bassinet for a nap, the next thing to do? Eat! Our stewardess did check with me whether I would like to have my meal as soon as baby is napping so she reserved my order in advance. I just had to inform her as soon as I had chance to eat. And eat fast! Because you never know when baby’s going to wake up and disturb your meal or the next turbulence that require you to carry baby out of the bassinet. Life of a mum! 

1 mum who was sitting next to me had to eat with 1 hand and carrying her kids with another  arm because her kid just had a major meltdown. I helped her take out and keep her tray table as she was having some diffulty managing.

Oh have I mentioned that its a good idea to bring your baby carrier on flight? After the plane landed, there would be some waiting time between disembarking and getting the stroller. So it’s really convenient to strap up the baby so you can be hands free to carry other baggages. 

And so we landed in Taoyuan Airport, Taiwan. We almost fainted when we saw the snaking queue at the customs. Then we had a savior. The ‘angel-officer’ came up to us and led us to a family counter, queueless! It wasn’t convenient to take a picture but if you happen to be there, the family counter is at Counter 20.

1 thing about the flight booking on SIA. If you have Krisflyer points to redeem for you and your infant, it’s totally impossible to redeem it online. Go straight to Ion and get the customer service to help. Don’t even try the phone call, unless you have a lot of patience with the heavily accented telephone operators. And for some strange reason, when I tied the infant ticket to my ticket, both of us had our names cut off during the ticket printing at check in. The Officer claimed that we didn’t enter full name which we 100% disagreed. It’s a system glitch. So do check your tickets and have the ticketing officer do the amendment if it happens. 

Next up will be the write up for our first stop – Yilan and the incredibly fun hotel Silks Place Yilan

Car lovers paradise