With Dave's crazy work hours and me busy at home with the four kids, we decided this spring, a vacation was definately in order. I called United airlines and just kept checking dates and destinations for us to use our frequent flier miles for six tickets. We were lucky to get the tickets to Malaysia because we decided to go during Golden week, which is a week long holiday here in Japan, and one of the only times Japanese people vacation, so flights can be tricky.
I had been interested in Malaysia because a neighbor of ours used to live there for four years and said it was all English speaking. She also had some nice photos and colorful artwork, so I was intrigued. Another co-worker of Dave's went there for Christmas and we took their recommendation on where to stay. It's hard to find a big room in Asia, let alone one that will allow us to stay in a room with four kids. What I envisioned of our stay at the Sheraton resort was a big tall hotel on the beach, what we got were small "villas" with four bedrooms each, spread out over a resort village. There were golf carts driving around continuously taking people to the lobby, the pool, the spa, etc. It was quite remote. While we were looking for remote, we also are used to living in a large city with lots of stuff at our fingertips.
Here we go, the kids dream, riding the Rapit train to the airport:
Here's a picture of our "villa", our room was in the front by the ocean.
Here, if you were in the jacuzzi tub, and opened the porch doors, you would see the ocean.
A picture of the workout center, treadmills overlooking the beach:
Monkeys are like the deer or squirrel of Malaysia, one of our taxi drivers told us that they put about 10,000 to 20,000 to sleep every year. It was a treat for the kids to see them running about so freely, but I was still leary.
Here are some photos of the resort grounds:
This boardwalk took us from our room to the pool/beach:
Here is the pool, complete with swim up bar:
Another view from the pool, looking out to the ocean. The back end of the pool, kind of waterfalled down into a drain, from here, it looks like it flows into the ocean:
This rock had pads you could lay on under these umbrellas for even more seclusion, the kids loved this spot:
We didn't really leave the resort because the point of the trip was to just relax, but we are always on the go, so relaxing wasn't easy. So, we ventured out a few times, once to go to Kuah town, the biggest city on the island (of course to get Starbucks)- but to go shopping and see what interesting things they sell. It was supposed to be a large modern mall and to us, it was a bit disappointing because it was a lot of run down shops, and many duty free shops, the whole island is duty free. There were cigarettes, make-up, and a lot of chocolates. It didn't inspire us enough to go back a second time. In the 7-11, we did find some funny food items:
I remember eating Cottage fries as a kid, do they even still sell them in America:
They changed the name of the japanese snack pocky to rocky, and it's even made by the same company:
Our donuts for breakfast, more like "cupcakes":
Malaysia is just north of the equator, so it's quite tropical. I have never felt such warm inviting ocean water. We chose not to go snorkeling this trip because I got nervous since the area they take you has lots of sharks, and I know they're not great white, but I knew the kids might never want to go in the ocean again if they saw sharks. We saw plenty of little fish and crabs on the tiny beach by the hotel. Here's one of the crabs, they were green, kind of strange:
Enjoying the beach:
We decided to leave the resort again to do some sight seeing and went to the Oriental Village, where there is a cable car that takes you over 700 m up. Now, I already don't really like heights or being on a ski lift, but after seeing my friend's pictures of her trip on the cable car (and her panic attack), I decided not to go on the cable car with Dave and the three boys. On the way up, a woman in the car with them panicked and she had to get out at the halfway point to go back down. Here are some photos from their trip:
In the cable car:
The cable car system:
A suspension bridge at the top to get more views, (NO THANKS!):
The view looking down from the bridge:
For our final adventure, we went to a Wildlife reserve, where we saw lots of tropical birds and some monkeys that we could feed. Here, Addison got bit by this ostrich:
And Nathaniel got attacked by this peacock, so the day was quite thrilling for the kids.
When we got in the taxi at the hotel, the driver informed us it was cheaper to pay him for four hours than to get him to drop us off and then get another taxi back, so we hired him and he essentially gave us a tour of the island and provided us with lots of information about the island. It ended up being a nice day and then he took us to another area of the island called Cenang. We had read about it and the abundance of bars and restaurants that were supposed to be on its main strip, but after our Kuah town disappointment, we were reluctant to go. He assured us it was nice, we went there and it was great!! So many restaurants to choose from, we ate at an italian one, and it was sooo good. Unfortunately, my camera was in the trunk of the cab, so I have no photos of this. All in all, that cab driver really enhanced our experience, and for the five hours he drove us around and talked to us, it only cost us a mere $45.00!!!! He told us in a year, he only sees a handful of people from the US, which I guess makes sense, since the Caribbean is much closer to get to from US. So, I thought that was neat, if we weren't living in Japan, we probably never would have vacationed in Malaysia.
On the last night of our stay, Addison touched this caterpillar on the porch and ended up with two huge welts on his arms. They are gone now, but it made me realize that next time, we should bring benadryl and bug repellent.
And yes, I did manage to get one family picture. Here we are happy and relaxed from our nice vacation: