On Christmas morning, the boys were lucky enough to receive a letter from Father Christmas. It read:
Dear Archie and Finn,
I have heard that you cannot carry many presents at the moment so I have had to think carefully about the gift that I am going to give you. I must say, your ‘round the world trip’ does look like a lot of fun! I myself have done a lot of travelling delivering presents- and my, what a world we have! I hope you enjoy seeing it all as much as I do.
I have decided, this year to give you a gift that is not a ‘thing’ but an experience. The memory of this you will be able to carry around with you forever.
Please give your Mummy and Daddy this reference. They will be able to put it into their ‘Sat Nav’ and it will direct them to the place that you need to be:
GPS: N 1 25.642, E 103 37.792
You must go to this place on Monday 9 January 2017.
Please do not ask them before this date where you are going, as it will spoil the surprise and they will get in trouble.
Have a wonderful Christmas, all of you
Father Christmas xx
So, dutifully we set off from Singapore determined to get across the border in the cheapest way, blindly optimistic that the crossing was simple- as people commute across to work everyday, right? It didn't really occur to me that MALAYSIAN people do it every day with no luggage- so for them, yes it was super simple. Less so for us, though.
The border was fine- we had to queue for ages to get our passports stamped and when we got to the second part of the journey, there was masses of queues for buses. We had no idea which queue was for where and duly asked loads of people- none of which seemed able to help.
After about an hour of trying our luck waiting in various queues, we finally found someone with the similar looking ticket to ours. She told us proudly that our service was the cheapest but also that she waited 3 hours last time to get to Johor. We did the only sensible thing and that was to board another bus amongst millions of other commuters and drag our HUGE backpacks on with us. Hobbling through the Monday morning chaos, I was trying to tell the slightly hysterical youngest that everything was ok and we totally knew what we were doing. Fun!
Once on the bus, it was fine- my promises that we would have a seat came true as we barged our way to the bus, using our bags as a battering ram. We had to pay again for that particular bus but it was worth it. The Indian family that Mike paid for too thought so, as the bus driver didn't have any change. Well, in for a penny and all that- and it made their day.
We somehow managed to keep the destination a secret right up to the door- the boys put their caps over their eyes as they wanted the full surprise (they can't be mine?!) They went crazy, screaming and whooping, so did the taxi driver- laughing but now deafened. Their reaction was totally priceless and we headed to the reception desk all a flutter, so excited we were beside ourselves. The boys had been talking about Legoland almost daily since the eldest last went in Summer last year- maybe now we'll get some peace?!
We were lucky enough to be given some money as a leaving gift from friends who went to the same Ante Natal group when I was pregnant with my Eldest. The instruction was to put it towards something fabulous- and so we saved it up to enable us to stay at the Legoland Hotel to make our visit to the theme park even more lego-tastic!
The Receptionist thought we were very funny as all four of us were like children on Christmas morning, so she gave us a complementary upgrade. Hooray for Legoland! Everything really is awesome.
Our room was big and 'Adventure' themed. We had to solve the quiz to get the combination lock number to the safe to release the Lego prize.
We were fairly early so we went straight into the theme park, where it was like a ghost town. There were hardly any people there and we didn't have to queue once. The rides are basically all the same as Legoland Windsor- but unfortunately the Dragon ride was shut the whole time. It didn't matter- there were so many other amazing rides to go on again and again...!
Mini-land was here, but all places of interest were in Asia which surprised me, I hadn't noticed that the one in the UK was all about Europe? I'm sure it probably was though.
There is a new ride which had just opened called Ninjago. It was a shooting game in 3d which was interactive and totally addictive. The only problem though was that someone (who shall remain nameless. It might have been me) got really competitive and kept wanting to better her score- I even made it on the 'Best of the Day' score board. Even if it did make my arms ache so much I was sore the next day, it was worth it.
After an exhausting day in sweltering heat, we retired to our luxury hotel to eat lego-brick-shaped-fries. The food was incredible, a real case of East-meets-West. You could choose curry, noodle soup, fish and chips, pasta bar, seafood, satay and of course an Ice Cream bar. After we ate so much we couldn't move, we retired to the room.
Our room was so comfortable and very different from 'Ali's Nest' that we left behind in Singapore. We just didn't know what to do with all that luxury, apart from stash the biscuits and coffee sachets for later, obviously.
We slept like babies and enjoyed the buffet breakfast which offered a crazy selection of breakfasts from around the world. We were ready for the second day to re-do our favourite rides but also packed our bathers for the waterpark.
The main difference between Windsor and Malaysia is that there is a huge water park, which had about 8 huge slides as well as a toddler splash park and a lazy river- type ride. The best part though is the wave machine that has a big screen showing Lego shows on it. Lego films, in a swimming pool with a wave machine. What a time to be alive! It was hard to get the boys out of it, to be honest.
After a while we were so over stimulated and cross-eyed with primary colours, it was time to leave. We had booked an Air BnB apartment next door to Legoland at 'Afiniti Residensi' which overlooked the park. We had to walk through a mall to get to it, so managed to grab some food on the way in. Lucky, really as out legs stopped working from climbing the steps at the water slides so many times.
The apartment was just what we needed to rest and to rejuvenate before stepping into Malaysia proper. Next stop: Malacca.
What we did:
Where we stayed:
See above for the first night, then: