Our Family Travel in 2012

Family Travel: Stone Mountain Park Atlanta

Happy New Year 2013

My favorite post that I love to write each year and I have been consistently keeping it up for all 4 years of blogging is our family travel year end review post. With a lack of posting in the past few months, it’s surprising for me to see that we have done quite a few adventures this year. I can’t say enough of how bless we feel to be able to afford the chances to explore the world with our family. I hope you will find this post not as a bragging on ‘hey-see-where-I-go’ but more of an inspiration to create your own family adventures with your family.

JAN: Appalachian Ski Trip, Blowing Rock, NC

 

Family Travel: Appalachian Ski with Kids

We continued our ski-bug-bite from the previous year trip to Keystone resort with family ski trip with a group of friends to Appalachian Ski resort in North Carolina. The ski resort is nothing compared to the Colorado mountain but it’s the companionship that made the trip. Kids enjoyed playing in the snow when we got snowed in for a day and had a blast on the slopes the next day. It’s a great alternative for us to get some ski time near Atlanta area.

FEB: Cataloochee Ski Trip, Maggie Valley, NC

 

Family Travel: Cattaloochee Ski with kids

Yet another short ski trip from Atlanta to satisfy the kids new favorite sport. For a beginner in skiing, the Cattaloochee ski resort in North Carolina area is perfect for us. The within-driving distance from Atlanta, low-key ski resort, more affordable lift ticket and ski rental are great for us to learn how to master our skill after learning from Keystone Ski school. But we know eventually we will need to plan a proper ski trip out West or even further up North for them to enjoy. But this trip was yet another successful fun trip for them. It goes to show that traveling with kids doesn’t have to be fancy.

MAR: Legoland Discovery Center, Atlanta, GA

 

Legoland Discovery Center Atlanta with Kids

In March, we explored our own backyard and checked out the newly opened Legoland Discovery Center in Atlanta. With a boy whose currently toys collection consisted of only LEGO, it was beyond happy for Mr. Z.

APR: Walt Disney World, Orlando, FL

 

Disney with Kids- Disney's Art of Animation Resort: Playground

This month, we were invited to attend Disney Social Media Mom celebration in Disney World and got a chance to get a sneak peek at their new Disney’s Art of Animation resort, a great new addition to Walt Disney World resort that we plan to stay on our next trip.

APR: Stone Mountain, Atlanta, GA

 

Legoland Discovery Center Atlanta with Kids

During Spring break, we stayed in town and visited Stone Mountain park to check out their new attraction, the Geyser Towers. Kids had fun on the hot day.

JUN: Month long visit to Thailand

 

Phuket with Kids, Phuket, Thailand

The summer of 2012, we spent 2 months in Thailand with my family. It will take us a while to write about our visit. We took several side trips from Bangkok to Hua Hin, Rayong, Phuket and Ayutthaya. It was one of the highlight for us to be able to spend a big chunk of time with cousins and relatives.

JUL: Hong Kong

 

Family Travel: Hong Kong with Kids

With our long stay in Thailand, we took advantage of cheap airfare from Air Asia and went to Hong Kong for a few days. We explored the island slowly and enjoyed our time walking, eating and sightseeing.

JUL: Singapore

 

Family Travel: Singapore with Kids

On our way back from Thailand, we had a stopover in Singapore for a few days. My family flew there with us and we had a great time checking out Universal Studio Singapore and eating chilli crab. It was a short yet sweet trip for us to end our summer in Asia.

SEP: Anniversary trip to Savannah, GA

 

Trip to Savannah, Georgia

We escaped for a couple trip to Savannah to celebrate our anniversary. I fell in love with this historic mossy town. We plan to bring the kids back with us later this year. After all, Miss J is a girl scout so she has been asking about a visit to Savannah for a while.

After that, we have been staying put in town. I guess the months long trip to Asia has done it for us. It makes me realized that I love to travel but I also love to be home in my own bed, taking my dog for a walk and having coffee with my friends. So the last quarter of the year was all about friends and parties.

It has been yet another blessed year for us that we can continue to pursue our love of travel and adventures with our children.

So here come 2013, we are excited to the new adventures. What are you most exciting about your 2013 plan?

 

And if you have free time, you can check out our family travel in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.

 

Travel Photo: Tian Tan Buddha (The Big Buddha) in Hong Kong, China

Hong Kong with Kids Tian Tan (Giant) Buddha

The Tian Tan Buddha or the Big Buddha is located in Po Lin monastery in Lantau island, Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Independence Day 2012 – Fireworks Video

Hong Kong Indepence Day 2012 Fireworks video

As promised, here is the video of the Hong Kong Independence Day 2012 Fireworks. We didn’t get to stay at the waterfront of the Victoria Harbor but still had a great view of the show. Read more about our experience celebrating Hong Kong Independence Day here.

Hong Kong Independence Day 2012 Firework Video

Hong Kong With Kids: Celebrating Hong Kong Independence Day

Hong Kong With Kids - crowd on Salisbury road

On our recent visit to Hong Kong with kids this past summer, we did it in a way that many probably scoff at especially if they used to the fast pace of visiting multiple tourist attractions in one day.

After some research and looking at what to do in Hong Kong with kids, we decided to have a rough plan but also allow for some flexibility if we get too tired.

Hong Kong With Kids - Suvarnabhumi Airport Bangkok Thailand

Our first day in Hong Kong we only had a few items on our to-do list (like visiting the Nan Lian garden) but after an early morning flight from Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok, we decided to just forget it and took a quick nap in our room at the Citadines Ashley and headed out at night.

Hong Kong With Kids - Night time-2

And we were in for a big surprise. As we walked out of our hotel and headed toward Nathan street, we noticed several detour signs and lot of polices. I vaguely remembered at our check-in that our hotel reception mentioned something about firework. Hmm.. It was hard to pay attention when you were sleepy. With the street closure that allowed us to be able to walk the street that typically fills with cars and buses. When would we be able to take this shot in the middle of the street in Hong Kong?

Hong Kong With Kids - Night time-3

Asking around we found out that it was the Hong Kong Independence Day. The Hong Kong Independence day is July 1 which is the day that Hong Kong was transferred back to China. As a special administrative region (SAR) of China, Hong Kong has a different political system from China and for family planning to visit Hong Kong from the USA it means one good news. No need for Chinese VISA which can cost upward to $200-$300 for your family.

There was a firework celebration planned at the Victoria harbor where we headed anyway. So we went with the crowd and headed to the Victoria harbor.

Hong Kong With Kids - Victoria Harbor Independence Day

We didn’t realize how big of the event was until the start of the fireworks show. It was amazing and they pulled out all the fancy fireworks to celebrate the national day. One down side though it kinda ruin our experience with the Symphony of Lights the next night.

With the amount of people who came out to watch the firework, it was surprisingly orderly and safe. We saw the policemen everywhere directing the human traffic as we moved along the Salisbury road. With a few detour, we were back on Nathan road and headed back toward our hotel.

Hong Kong With Kids - Night time Independence day

Less than 30 minutes after the final firework was fired to the sky, the street was clear and back to normal business. It was a fun night out for all of us to participate in the celebration of Hong Kong Independence day.

Hong Kong With Kids - Independence Day

Now most of you probably wonder where are the pictures of the firework. Well, being an amateur photographer and yet want to use manual mode, I managed to capture zero good picture for the firework. However, thanks to our resident videographer, Mr. Rojo, we will put up the video later.

Hong Kong with Kids: Comfortable Stay @ Citadines Ashley Serviced Apartment

Visiting Hong Kong with Kids

Hong Kong is a bustling metropolitan that I consider comparable to New York City of the East. With only 426 square miles and over 7 million people, it’s one of the most dense population city. So when we planed our family trip to Hong Kong, we knew we couldn’t expect the accommodation to be anything near what we used to in America.

Luckily, my sister has visited Hong Kong several times so she pointed us to the right direction. We chose to stay in Kowloon side to reduce cost and easy access to many night markets. After comparing to a few options, we booked a room with Citadines Ashley Hong Kong serviced apartment for under $200 a night. I considered it’s a great value for this big city.

Comfortable Room for the Whole Family

The room at Citadines Ashley is not the typical hotel room with bed and table. It’s a small serviced apartment with extra sitting area that can be converted into additional bed at night time. This is nothing new to many of the family sized room we have stayed but the best part for this room is the partition that allows a little bit of privacy. The partition allowed us to be able to put the kids to sleep while we caught up on late night movie.

Even though, the room size is probably not bigger than typical hotel room we used to in America, but the arrangement and the design provides a sense of space and we didn’t feel like we were on top of each other. Every nook is creatively used to maximize the space.

Another plus for this room is the small kitchenette completed with small refrigerator, microwave, sink and stove top. But we hardly used the kitchen though since there are so many food for us to try in Hong Kong. But it’s still nice to be able to store fruits and drinks for late night snack.

Just Perfect Amenities we Need

It would be nice to have a pool or a gym. But to be honest, we hardly use those amenities when we visit a city. With so many things to do in Hong Kong, our short visit was already jam packed with fun activities. However, there are certain amenities that we love and couldn’t live without but hardly standard for most accommodations naming free Wi-Fi. It’s always a pet peeve of mine having to pay extra for free wifi when we know how easy and cheap it is to provide as a complimentary service. So I’m happy that Citadines Ashley doesn’t skim on this essential feature.

The rate that we booked also come with free breakfast for 3 guests each day. So we were able to save on top of the room rate by having breakfast at the cafe.

Great Location for Exploring Hong Kong with Kids

No matter where you stay, the best advice I could give is to find your accommodation near the MTR station. Then you won’t have to worry about the long walk back to your room after a full day of sigh seeing in Hong Kong.

Our apartment is located on Ashley road which is less than 5 minutes walk from the Tsim Sha Tsui station. It made a whole world difference for us in term of exploring the city even at night time. With the convenient of quick walk we even ventured out to the Temple Night market after dinner. Walking along the busy Nathan road at 10pm was an experience we couldn’t easily find from other cities.

So for family who looks to find great accommodation but not yet ready to embrace the whole hostel thing, Citadines Ashely is definitely one worth looking into.