A Travellerspoint blog

Four Countries in Five Days

We decided it was time to finally move onto our beloved Thailand from India and we might as well stop in Malaysia on our way. We knew that there was a recently opened Legoland in Johor Bahru, Malaysia and Audrey and I decided to surprise the kids. We told them we there were some really nice temples in Malaysia and we were going to be stopping by for a couple days to blitz a couple temples. Here was our rather ambitious itinerary:

Day 1: Take a local bus for many hours to Kochi (Audrey's birthday present)
Day 2: Wonderla (see http://mcnouye.travellerspoint.com/143/)
Day 3: Get up at 5 am to fly from Kochi to Johar Bahru (JB)
Day 4 and 5: Legoland
Day 6: Singapore
Day 7: Get up at 5 am to fly to Thailand

All sounds totally reasonable with 3 kids, right?

Things went exactly as planned for the first few days. Audrey spent her birthday getting jostled and bounced around for about 4 hours on an Indian bus (during which time she added her contribution to Ammas Ashram http://mcnouye.travellerspoint.com/142/). Through sheer luck the bus ended up dropping us off right at the door of our hotel in a city of two million people. Trust me when I say that no amount of planning in India could have worked out so perfectly.

The next day we spent a fun and interesting time in Wonderla, got to bed early and up at 5 am for a flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia then a second short domestic flight to Johor Bahru to surprise the kids at legoland.

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Legoland, a bit of first world fun.

We arrived later in the evening, had a quick meal and went to bed. One of the first things that struck us about Malaysia was how incredibly well developed it was. There were roads where people actually followed the lines, nice new cars, very friendly people and a great hotel. After spending two months in India and Sri Lanka our bar was set fairly low and we were really amazed at how nice the cities are. It is comforting step onto an elevator and not fear a power outage.

The next morning we were a little slow getting going with the 2.5 hr time change and travelling the day before but got to an almost empty amusement park just after lunch. We exhausted ourselves in the water park, went around the roller coasters multiple times without getting off and generally had a fun packed day. On day two we repeated the experience but Audrey was nursing a migraine and I was limping while kids were still going strong. We came back to our hotel, gobbled down some food and collapsed in bed once again. On to Singapore the next day.

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Thanks mom and dad for an awesome trip to Legoland.

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How many times can we go around without getting off (or getting sick)?

Now in fairness, Singapore was a complete last minute addition to the plan. Audrey and I had had a half day in Singapore on a layover during our honeymoon in which we flew through customs and had a lovely little bus ride through the city seeing a few sights. We had three days in JB this time and seeing as we could see Singapore from our hotel room and we were told that we could get there in ten minutes we figured what the heck, let's go there for a day.

The day started out at about noon when we walked to the bus station, passports in hand to find the bus to Singapore. Seeing as it was lunch time we grabbed a sleeve of Pringles and a bottle of water to keep the kids going for the time being (we were going to be in Singapore in ten minutes, right?) After an hour of walking and waiting in line we had cleared Malaysia immigration and we ready to board the bus. When asked by the bus driver where we wanted to buy tickets to my response was "Singapore." He laughed, thinking I was joking and asked, "yes, but where in Singapore?"

"Ummm..... Queen Street", I replied. It was the label on the bus and I thought it sounded good.

Ten minutes later we were in Singapore...or more precisely, we were on Singapore soil but we had to get off the bus to clear immigration customs and immigration. After waiting in line again we were cleared for entry we again in line for our bus. We talked our way onto the bus as there was standing room only after we assured the conductor we could handle standing for our little (ten minute?) jaunt over to Singapore.

Two hours later we arrived with hungry and exhausted kids at our destination: Queen street, Singapore.

As it turns out, asking to go to "Singapore" is a little like taking a bus to "Toronto." You end up getting dropped off somewhere in a city with no internet, no guide books, no local currency and hungry kids at 3 pm. We saw a Subway restaurant and dragged the complaining kids there to get some calories into us all. With everyone fed we figured out which way it was to the harbor front and started making our way through the streets and malls to the subway station. At 5 o'clock we had some money and were ready to get the train to the harbour when Audrey pointed out that we had a 3 hr trip back to JB and needed to be up in less than 12 hrs to be on a plane to Thailand. After apologizing to the kids we turned around and walked back with our tail between our legs to Queen street bus terminal and got on the bus back to Malaysia.

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Thanks mom and dad for the really crappy trip to Singapore.

The next day we were up early, again, this time for two plane flights, a two hr bus ride and a two and a half hour ferry to Koh Phagnan in Thailand. The five of us, all exhausted, collapsed in our lumpy beds and slept like babies on this beautiful island. I think we will be staying here and catching up on homeschooling for a couple weeks. No more 4 countries in 5 days for us!

Posted by McNouye 09:09

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Comments

Ahhh the adventures of travelling in less developed AND moderately developed countries... OF COURSE it will be a 10 minute bus ride to the city JUST over there.... glad you made it to THAILAND. Have some mango and sticky rice for us and a daily smoothie for each of the kids!

by Jen

Audrey's b'day trip and Legoland for the boys - perfect. Singapore?? Only if you like big, clean cities, unless you lunch at Raffles. Hope you did not drop any Subway trash on the street. The Singapore police will be looking for you.

by Donna hamar

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