On a business trip to Pune, we planned to spend a day in Lavasa. Based on the Italian town Portofino, Lavasa is a privately planned city built near Pune. It can be easily said to be one of the most beautiful man-made place in India.
The artistic corridor parallel to the lake has hotels and cafe on one side and lake on the other side. Its a beautiful sight not only in day-time but also at night. There were plenty of activities for children. We arrived by evening and stayed at Mercure hotel. After having a stroll on the riverside, we called it a night and planned for an early day the next day.
We were greeted by sumptuous breakfast at the hotel who were helpful in preparing baby food as well. There were variety of options for kids on the lakeside. We started with toy-car ride and then we went for two-seater bicycling. After that, we went for boating in the lake which was quite refreshing in the sun. There was a place with family games options but our little one was too young to enjoy that.
Cycling in Lavasa
Boating in Lavasa
Out of numerous dining options, we chose to have lunch at the Country club which offered a panoramic view of the lakeside and town. The club provides a plethora of leisure facilities that include a world-class spa, restaurants, a pub, a gymnasium and indoor games. The time was well spent over there too and we had fun. In short, top activities to do in Lavasa with a baby will be :
The marvelous and beautiful palace in the Man Sagar lake in Jaipur is known as Jal Mahal. This lake was basically constructed by the rulers to fight famine and shortage of water in Rajasthan as a dam. However, the palace underwent many renovations and now stands as a famous tourist attraction in Jaipur. Though, the palace is a five storied building but only the top floor is exposed. The road corridor connecting the main tourist attractions of Jaipur basically the Amer fort and the Nahargarh fort runs through this road. Generally tourists are not allowed to visit this palace, but we managed to visit it with our little one.
We reached the palace by a traditional wooden boat through the clean lake. Our son enjoyed the boat ride and was fascinated to find the sailor using oar to splash water and move the boat forward. The air was misty and refreshing. As soon as we stepped in the palace, we were amazed by its wonderful architecture. There was a narrow corridor running in the periphery of the palace and it was very airy. The ancient Indian Maharajas were wise to come up with such a clever architectural plan. Since there was no electricity, they kept the palaces well ventilated in the center of the lake to make it cooler.
After spending sometime in the palace, we went on its terrace and was awed by the gardening done there. We could really imagine how the Maharajas and their allies must be having good time in the past. It was a beautiful view. The Jal Mahal palace provides a picturesque view of the lake , and the surrounding Nahargarh hills. You can also spot small islands in the lake which act as wintering grounds for migratory birds. Overall, the trip to Jal Mahal went very well.
Someone wisely said – What we eat,reflects the culture of our society.The multicultural ethnicity of Singapore furnishes it with multi-cuisines. Singapore is one of the topmost places when it comes to having options in food. The luscious and mouth-watering Singapore local food is influenced by Chinese, Indian & Western tradition rendering a unique delicacy to all the food menu.
Though we tried almost all famous local food options like Dimsums, Ice Kasang, Biryani, Roti, Chicken rice, and curry puffs; we relished more on the below mentioned items :
Kaya toast & soft boiled egg with Tea – It was so yummy and light,just what is required in a tropical climate. It made for most of our breakfasts. The most famous place to have this is ‘Toast Box’.
KAYA TOAST, SINGAPORE
TOAST BOX, SINGAPORE
Huanian chicken rice – Served at most of the hawker centers along with presence in food-court of varios malls, it was a spicy and wholesome food. We loved the ones served by ‘ Mini Wok Zhi Char’.
Refreshing coconut ice-cream with berries at Co+Nut+Ink was simply out of the world. I think that it is the first ice-cream to be so healthy.
Nasi Lemak – Though traditionally, Nasi lemak is a Malay fragrant rice dish cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf; there has been many variations to it. For example, the rice can be crispy or may be made soft (as per your requirement)
Ice-cream toast is a must for everyone. As traveling require a lot of walking, an ice-cream toast was what energized us in the daily heat. There were numerous vendors in Orchard road who provided different kinds of ice-cream flavored toast at very reasonable rates.
We must have missed on a lot of other food options available but with a baby, we managed to try quite a few of them.
While travelling, are’nt we supposed to succumb to the bed at dusk with a kid? Are’nt we supposed to let the baby sleep properly by putting him on bed early? Well, we thought not to. Challenging the general mindset and course of travelling with a toddler is what sometime suits you. So, we decided to do the same. Wandering around different places the whole day used to make our son tired by evening and he used to take naps in his pram (which was pretty convenient). We used to take him along with ourselves for long strolls as Singapore is a very pram-friendly country.
But when he was awake, we still used to manage our time well. Though, you cannot go clubbing and pub-hopping with a little baby , but this does not mean that you cannot explore the city. Some of my favorites nightlife ideas in Singapore along with my baby are :
Walking across Clarke Quay and watching the river
Clarke Quay is a historic riverside quay in Singapore with lots of attractive art houses,museum and amazing dining options. We used to have dinner around ‘Riverside festival village’ and spend the rest of the time watching the beautiful Singapore river. There is also a G-Max Reverse bungy place in this area which we used to watch (cannot go on such ride,be it with or without kid).
Leisure walks in Orchard Road
With a bunch of shopping malls and infinite dining options, we used to go for dinner to this place as well. After dinner, we would walk off leisurely to our hotel which was twenty minutes from this place. Though, most of the shops used to close around ten in the night, we never found a decrease in the liveliness of the place. There were numerous rides situated in and around the malls for kids. And our baby used to enjoy in them. There were play areas too situated across ‘Toys R Us’ and other such children-centric shops.
Boat rides in Singapore river can be done from a number of places,primarily – from Marina Bay sands area or the Clarke Quay area. Though we stayed near Clarke Quay, we preferred going on boat rides from the Merlion area.The ride used to take us around the landmarks of the Rafffles’ Landing Site, Asian Civilisations Museum, row of old shophouses along Boat Quay, Fullerton Hotel, Esplanade Singapore, Singapore Flyer and Marina Bay Sands. It was beautiful.
Watching the Light and Sound show in the Marina Bay Area
Marina Bay event plaza is always full of tourists as well as locals. The crowd sits across the pavement even before the show begins and you can have cold-drinks and other snacks while getting some fresh air. The show is for free and is a great show for kids.
With dozen of impressive gardens and parks, Singapore has a wide range of places to keep nature-lovers busy. Different categories of parks like historic parks, coastal parks, community parks, marine parks, nature parks and riverine parks to choose from, we prioritize the interest of our child and went to the ‘Singapore Zoo’ and ‘Jurong Bird Park’.
Singapore Zoo is a wonderful place for kids. All animals are kept in their natural environment, making the whole experience to be very refreshing and pure. The tram ride is very convenient to go from one place to another. However, we preferred walking as we did not want to miss any animal. Numerous shows like the ‘Splash safari show’, ‘Animal Friend Show’ and ‘Elephants at work and play Show’ are not only entertaining but they are educational too. With numerous zones and countless animals, the whole zoo experience was tiring as well as rewarding.
Splash Safari Show
Thrilled by seal playing with a ball
I still remember the priceless expression on my child’s face which was full of joy and curiosity throughout the zoo. He observed most of the animals and could make out if they were friendly or not. After attending shows and watching numerous animals like the tiger,lion,panther,zebra,giraffe,kangaroo,polar bear and so on; we were drenched with sweat. With scores of ice-lollies and ice-drinks, we were able to cover most of the zoo’s attraction.
So we thought to leave but were suddenly reminded of the ‘Rainforest Kidz Area’. We reached there and for the next hour, our little one was busy playing in the ‘Wet Play Area’ with other local kids. There were many dining options in the zoo. Out of which, we chose to eat at KFC which was strategically located near the ‘Wet Ply area for children’. We could eat and watch him play at the same time. Once I changed his clothes, he dozed off on the pram and we headed back (walking again as we did not wanted to wake him up by sitting in the tram).
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS SINGAPORE & RESORT WORLD SENTOSA
One of the most accurately rated place to visit is the Universal Studio. To avoid the effort of packing and unpacking, we did not stay in Sentosa. Rather we preferred to visit it from our hotel which was located near Clarke Quay. So, to make the most of the day, we reached Universal Studios at around 10 am. It was a breeze to enter as there was no rush. Though I have been to the universal studios located in Paris, but this trip was special as the little one was accompanying us. It was his first ever theme park experience and it went very well.
As he had not even reached 80 cm mark (so tiny and cute) for his height, there were not many rides, he was allowed onto. But , we made the most of the approved rides. We started with the Madagascar rides and as our little one is very fond of animals (i wonder why all babies love animals), he thoroughly enjoyed it. The first ride was more like a boat ride with beautiful scenarios on the sides and the second one was a go-round ride; both were comfortable with baby.
SCI FI CITY
Canopy flyer in the lost world and treasure hunters in ancient egypt were awesome experiences for our baby too. He loves dinosaurs and was pleased to find so many different kinds around him. (Though he got petrified with a robotic dino on a van who was promoting the shows by roaring loudly) We were able to attend most of the shows like the Rockfellas at the New York and Sesame Street show in Hollywood. Being a weekday and our early arrival accounted for such a great use of time as we did not miss anything. There were ample food options and once we had lunch, our son slept in his pram. That was when we decided to explore Sentosa.
We wanted to go to the Adventure Cove Waterpark, but our little kiddo was not allowed for any of the rides there so we gave it a miss. The whole holiday was supposed to be for our son and therefore we only wanted to do what he loved. So, we took the monorail to the Siloso beach. After walking so much, we just wanted to relax on the beach and by the time, we were all set; our baby was awake and ready to play (its always like this – the moment we think of relaxing,he is awake for more fun). The beach was very clean and was a good place to sit, with sunset views in places. While the little one was busy making a sand-castle, we clicked pictures and enjoyed coconut ice-cream. After a short dip in the sea, we headed back to our hotel.
Though I love nature and parks, I had double thoughts of going to ‘Gardens by the bay’ as the pictures which I had seen suggested it to be more of an artificial place. But, we went there to let our baby observe different kinds of trees and flowers and we were not disappointed.
Spread over hundred acres, this garden has a spectacular view. There were so many things to do and so many attractive domes to visit. We entered through the South Gate and after having a light snack at McDonald’ which is conveniently located at the beginning of the park, we entered the flower dome amidst light thunder. It was a wonderful sight inside. The best part was that we did not get wet.😊
We moved towards the OCBC Skywalk afterwards but it was closed due to rain. So that was sad.
Our little one started getting anxious as it was his nap time. So, we took him to the Children’s Garden. He had a good time over there and all the kids did not mind getting wet in the rain. After a tiresome day, we went back to our hotel.
Standing Tall (he’s so tiny)
At the Garden (im the one giggling away)
Though my trip to this place was not perfect,but I will like to share few tips for future :
Always carry your children’s costume and other essentials required for water park (as Singapore has plenty of such places around major attractions)
The visit to ‘Gardens by the Bay’ require full day if you want to visit all that it has to offer (you also get discounted tickets for visiting more places)
Avoid rainy day to visit this place as the most amazing site is closed if it rains.
You get good pictures of the ‘Supertree Grove’ only from the outside 😉