Where did you go?
We went to Malaysia and Thailand for 3 weeks in January 2015. We visited Chiang Main in Thailand, Penang in Malaysia and Langkawi in Malaysia (we decided to only visit areas where Malaria and Dengue were not prevalent). We stayed at the Eastern and Oriental Hotel in Penang for 4 nights. The hotel is a stunning, colonial building with amazing, friendly staff and fantastic food. I cannot even describe how gorgeous it is. The bathroom was one of the highlights. It had his and hers toilets and dressing areas, a lovely old style bath tub. There are two pools and a shop and a small museum which explains the hotel’s history. The room had a balcony with a great view and a lovely wooden cot.
Who did you travel with?
My husband, my son, my father and cousin.
How old were your kids when you travelled?
My son was 8 months old.
How was the journey there?
The journey was so much better than we could have imagined. We flew with Emirates and stopped over in Abu Dhabi for 3 hours. We had a cot on the plane on both legs of the trip which made all the difference. There was loads of leg room and the baby was able to sleep. We arrived into Bangkok at 8pm and even though the baby slept well on the plane he slept through the night in the airport hotel so jet lag was not an issue. We flew to Chiang Mai for 4 nights and then onto Penang. On arrival we got a taxi to the hotel. I had pre booked one with a car seat and the journey took over 30 minutes as we arrived at rush hour so I was happy that I did.
What was the food like at your destination?
The food at the hotel was lovely. I think it was the best buffet breakfast that I have ever had! The dining room is lovely and has high chairs. There are indoor and out door sections. The staff always made a fuss over our son and even carried him around to look out the windows and play at the reception desk. He loved the food. There was every type of food you could imagine. The dinner at night was great too.
Were you able to find all your baby and toddler essentials at your destination (formula, food, wipes, nappies, medication etc)?
We brought formula but ran out in Penang where we were able to pick up formula in a department store which our son liked. It was really expensive though, about €25 for a container. We also brought Ella’s Organic fruit pouches and some Ella’s dinners. These lasted for the whole trip. We brought enough nappies for a week and were able to buy good quality nappies everywhere at a reasonable price. Wipes were also available everywhere such as in the 7/11 convenience stores. Some restaurants had high chairs but not all.
How was the public transport system?
We generally used taxis as they were cheap when necessary which was not often as we walked everywhere.
Did you use a baby carrier or a stroller?
We brought both but the baby got quite hot in the baby carrier so we only used it for temples where there were lots of steps. He was happier in the stroller as he was able to look around. Part of the stroller went missing on the flight from Chiang Mai to Penang but the airline tracked it down the following day and delivered it to our hotel. The stroller was great in the evenings as our son slept and we were able to eat in the hotel restaurant.
What kind of activities did you do?
The hotel has two great pools with a lovely kids area. We liked the pool on the fourth floor as it had a great view and a fantastic bar selling lunch. We did a lot of walking around the UNESCO protected part of Georgetown. We ate out in a gorgeous Chinese restaurant recommended by the hotel. We also went to the snake temple and to Penang Hill to admire the views and visit the fantastic temples. We ate street food and had coffees in some of the lovely coffee shops in the old colonial buildings around the city. We did a bit of shopping in a department store to get out of the heat too. On our last night we went to Batu Ferrenghi and had dinner and walked through the night market.
Overall, did you have a good trip?
It was an amazing trip. We were nervous before going as it was so far away but when we got there it felt very safe and comfortable.
Do you have any advice for parents travelling to the same place?
Bring plenty of sun protection. Don’t worry about mosquitos too much as there are not a lot there.