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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Once Upon a Time... in Hongkong!

After weeks of contemplating whether to visit Australia, Korea or Japan, we finally booked our flight for a much needed vacation to Hongkong. It does seem like an exhausting trip as I was planning it with Disneyland, Ocean Park & The Peak on the list, as we are traveling with our then 23 months old toddler with boundless energy. But heck it - we want to have a blast of a time with our beloved boy, so let's go!

Goodbye Singapore! We got up at 6am to get to the airport.
Planes..... When I grow up..
Dressing your toddler for a flight, a tip would be to pick basics that are comfortable to sleep in. (Note: I don't mean pajamas) This means no tight fitting shirts, bottoms with uncomfortable clasps. Best choices are bottoms with elastic bands & a light long sleeved top.

Packing for a vacation, especially with a toddler is no easy feat. Coupled with the winter season, our luggage came up to 33kg! Here are some packing tips from our experience:
1. Check with the hotel if they loan strollers, bottle sterilizer, bottle warmer, baby toiletries beforehand so you can skip bringing these items
2. Bring medication for common ailments if available
3. Bring comfort toys, books & food for a (hopefully) fuss free plane ride
A blissful sight: Toddler sound asleep on flight
In flight entertainment, occupying him for five mins
4. Bring a favourite or new video to entertain in hotel room
5. Prepare snacks for your toddler as they may not like to take main meals and get hungry
6. Always use bottled water, boil the water to be extra safe when preparing milk
7. Start packing a week ahead!
For a comprehensive list of what to pack on vacation for a toddler, this is a good guide

We stayed at The Langham Place for its convenient location - right above Mongkok MTR, so traveling to the other areas was a breeze. It is linked to Langham Mall with good shopping & food selection, Ladies' Market selling women's accessories, clothes, bags, Sai Yeung Choi Street South selling electronics & sports wear, as well as Argyle Centre selling affordable fashion items. We stayed in the Vital Place which can house a king size bed comfortably. Their beds were also ultra comfy and luxe - we couldn't drag ourselves up & out every morning.  Love how they place creative soft touches in the room & of course the bath tub which is a must have on our vacations.

View from our room
Aiden jumped right in as soon as we checked in!
Peek-a-boo from the bathroom
Cheers to our 4 year wedding anniversary
Day 1: Food and more food!
We headed straight for dim sum & mango dessert after dropping off our luggage. Can't wait to overindulge in the long list of must eats! We took it slow on the first day, eating and walking the streets & Langham Place Mall. Our first stop was to 稻香 (Shop B, 3/F, Grand Tower, 639 Nathan Road, Mong Kok) for dim sum, and 許留山 for my favourite mango desserts.

Quite disappointing despite good reviews
Ordering dessert at 許留山
Can't keep his hands off to take a picture
Day 2: Disneyland
An exciting day for Aiden, visiting Disneyland, a magical place where all the characters he knows come alive!
Prepping him for Disneyland
Can't wait to get in!
Getting excited upon seeing Mickey Mouse
We're finally here!
Avoid the queues - order online & pick up your tickets at the automated machines
Ready to go!
Aiden's first meltdown - riding on the carousel. He couldn't calm down.
It was all... YELLOW. Aiden was quite frightened and kept his eyes closed most of the time in the theatre
Slinky Dog Sling - Go to Toy Story Land first as it is one of the latest addition
Handsome reward
Best child actor
A long long wait to have a minute of their time & a picture to remember
To infinity and beyond!
Shades for the stylish boy
Aiden in Boots
Bear (Lotso) on the loose!
... and we live happily ever after
Disney Parade - we nearly missed this as there was a change in timing, so check early
It's Winnie the Pooh!
It ain't always a bed of roses, know that I love you always - Happy 4 years!
He was dancing to every tune he heard, everywhere we go.
Our little adult - keeping warm with a cool pose
We stayed to watch the fireworks which was a really magnificent, extensive show! Aiden was initially very scared and clinged tightly onto me but he enjoyed it in the end. 

Day 3: The Peak
Haven't been to The Peak during day time on my previous trips to Hongkong, so I thought it'd be nice we do it once.

Tip: Check out the ticket counters at the Lower Peak Tram Terminus before joining the queue as there are express lanes, and a shorter queue if you are purchasing Tram Tickets with Madame Tussaud's & Sky Terrace Viewing. On how you can get to The Peak.

Here are pictures of the view from the top, and the fun (& drama from Aiden) we had at Madame Tussaud's.
Breakfast at 翠華 before we set off
My cuddly one
Cool dudes
And we huffed and puffed along the way to the Tram Terminus
He is afraid to take the tram to The Peak - closing his eyes throughout the ride
How steep!
Us goofing around the wax figures at Madame Tussaud's. Had to juggle the bags we were carrying holding mostly Aiden's barang barang (diapers, milk powder, milk bottle, change of clothes, water bottle and so on), a hysterical toddler who was desperately pleading with us not to go near the wax figures, and us wanting to take pictures with the wax figures. It wasn't a very good experience.

Aiden's second meltdown: He kept pulling us away from the wax figures.
Who's she, mummy?
Hello Ah-Ma & Ah-Gong! Calling from the White House
Mummy wearing different hats
Sharing the limelight
He has the upper hand!
Let's have tea!
'Kick ah!'
Belting a tune after a dramatic time with the wax figures
A pity visibility wasn't very good today.
We are at The Peak!

Mirror mirror - enjoys mimicking daddy
Like a boss

Super funny- he nodded when I asked him if the scenery was nice (eyes closed)
Run Aiden run!
Dinner at Yung Kee
Signature roasted goose - must eat!
We left The Peak and went to shop at Central before having a yummy dinner at Yung Kee (32 Wellington St  Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong). As we were returning to the hotel, I started feeling weak and couldn't sleep well that night. Aiden also started showing symptoms of stomach flu- vomiting and fever.

Day 4: OWWWW! 
We were supposed to visit Ocean Park today. We set out for breakfast and Aiden felt ill & fell asleep in my arms. I felt unwell too, and couldn't eat much either so we returned to rest in the hotel room. At this point, I wasn't sure what was causing all these symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea. My tummy hurts so bad, I swear it is comparable to or more painful than contractions during childbirth!
Like father like son
All ready to brave the cold
Breakfast before Ocean Park
Nice healthy soup
Sleepy, sick child of mine
We didn't make it to Ocean Park, all plans for the rest of the day were also cancelled. We finally went to see a doctor recommended by the hotel in the afternoon and were diagnosed with stomach flu & prescribed a cocktail of medication to take. We suspect this was caused by the water we drank - lesson learnt: I will be extra careful next time and use only bottled water to be safe.  

Hongkong may be memorable to most of us for excellent food & shopping. Although I didn't get to experience all the food & shopping I would love to, this trip is made even more memorable with Aiden & I falling sick with stomach flu which was a really painful and worrying experience. I was in great pain and could hardly take care of Aiden, when he needed me most. We were especially worried for Aiden as he had high fever and risk dehydration with high frequency of bowel movements. Also, imagine the pain he is going through when I can barely take it myself. Darren was very worried & stressed, watching over both of us through the night after arranging for the earliest flight out & packing all the luggage. 

Day 5: Home Sweet Home
How glad we were to see Aiden slightly better as we left Hongkong. And how blessed we are to have my parents who helped nursed Aiden back to health while I rest & recuperate at home.
We're coming home! Poor boy who lost weight.
Bye Bye!
A vacation to unwind and relax with the family didn't quite turn out to be. We are happy for the times we spent there, and Aiden still remembers Disneyland fondly whenever I speak to him about it. Looking forward to the next family holiday!


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