I went to HK thinking it was going to be a piece of cake.
Itinerary – check.
Warm clothes – check (don’t listen to your friends, go with your instincts and remember that your kids need warmth)
HK dollars – check
Five-star hotel booked – check!
Guess what I didn’t check? RAIN! On the day we were supposed to go to Disneyland, it POURED. In our nicest outfits – all planned back in Singapore because we wanted to take nice photos – we waited, waited and waited more for the rain to stop. We even joined a queue for this Michelin star dim-sum place while waiting for the rain to stop so we all could go to Disneyland.
By 2pm it was still drizzling, but we bought another umbrella (to supplement my office-bag umbrella) and we taxi-cabbed to Disneyland only to see people exiting the park in ponchos looking completely miserable. The cold wind was blowing and we felt totally unprepared. My husband and I knew we had to return another day. This meant that we had to forgo another outing and those tickets were neither open nor refundable. WEATHER.
The next day we were greeted with sunshine and thankfully we had a wonderful, dry day and evening at Disneyland HK.
Lessons learnt from this:
1. If you book landtrip tickets from Singapore, ensure these are open tickets. Fortunately the Disneyland tickets were open (as were the Ocean Park tickets). Our tickets to the Peak unfortunately were non-refundable.
2. Go with your gut on dressing. My colleagues who had recently visited HK told me it was warm but I heard that the cold wind had picked up. I packed sweaters and jackets as well as mittens for the girls (we used it all).
3. Frankly, shopping was boring for my girls. One fellow traveller suggested I should just leave the girls in the hotel. Perhaps that’s hope for they are older but definitely not now.
4. I had heard people talking about the MTR. We didn’t touch it but used taxis most of the time as there were four of us and it was usually more convenient — no need to cross multiple lines, walk a lot more between platforms and to stations. It was more expensive but we got to see most of HK as well instead of going underground via the MTR. Plus our kids got to nap in the taxis.
Travelling with kids means extra baggage — of patience.
Julie Melwani is mum to Tasha and Trisha, both 7.