The first trip of 2019 was to Ranthambore with Abhyaran Hotels. Chhavi and I took the Janshatabdi from Hazrat Nizaumddin to Sawai Madhopur in the afternoon. We arrived at the hotel in the evening after 7.00 pm.
After going for a quick refresh in our spacious room we headed to the pool for bonfire and much needed tea. Every evening a group of local singers perform by the fire under the starry sky. The first day of the trip was almost gone in reaching the destination and recovering from the fatigue.
Tired as we were, there was dinner to look forward to. We joined the buffet dinner at 8.00 pm. The hot roits are served at the table. The buffet offers both and vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. The food had a homely feel. Later I realized they grow some of the produce in their own farms.
After dinner we retired to our room. It was a blessing not to have TV there. Kids are so glued to screens these days. However, my endeavors were only partially successful. There was WiFi at the resort so Chhavi could watch something on the mobile. But we both crashed quickly. And we had a lazy day ahed.
Waking up without an alarm is such a simple pleasure of life, more so when you went early to bed the previous night! We woke up refreshed and it was a beautiful sunny day. After a leisurely breakfast we went about exploring the resort.
We had seen the pool the previous night, now it was time to see the farms, cows, rabbits and hen! The garden surrounded by the the Sahtoot (mulberry) trees is a serene place overlooking the mustard fields.
After a round of the hotel, Chhavi and I walked out to the blooming mustard fields! And it was such great fun. We were peering at the fields by the narrow road. Tractors went past us playing local songs at full blast!
After walking for a while, we found a break in a fence. So, went closer to the field. I had to reign in Chhavi or she could have gone wild with the blooms. Still a few flowers ended up in her hands and in her hair band!
While we were walking back to Abhyaran, we met three little girls coming back from their football practice. If we had more time Chhavi would have loved to join them. After tennis, football is her favorite game!
But we hurried to lunch and the evening safari! Our safari was in Zone 10 which is at the other end of the city. It took us quite some time to reach the jungle. The canter was filled with tourists from Italy. They greeted Chhavi warmly. No two adjacent seats were vacant but the driver offered Chhavi the front seat next to his! Her day was made.
We had no luck with the big cats but then we had gone to the jungle and not a zoo! Even Chhavi understands that. It is always a pleasure to go to the jungle.
We went to the bonfire again after the safari. It was followed by a sumptuous dinner. We wish we had one more day but Chhavi had tennis to get back to.
As we waited for our train from the small Sawai Madhopur station at the sunrise we both knew it was a good start to the year!
PS. Chhavi and I were invited by the Abhyaran Hotel on this trip.
The summer vacation is over, Chhavi has just gone back to school. This was the most fun summer vacation we ever had. We both played tennis, we did the quick trip to Thailand and of course we ended up studying as well. My child will never know the joy of playing non stop for two months, like we did, back in the days when there was no holiday homework! But such is life. Traveling with my daughter is so much fun though!
While Chhavi played tennis and I would wait for my turn, I often ended up discussing summer vacation plans with other moms. I have never understood the logic- if we do not take our kids abroad what will they go back and tell in the school?
I have been travelling abroad since 2014 with Vasudha and Chhavi also known as double trouble. That was the year when Chhavi got her passport but I don’t think she has any inclination to go back and brag in her school. That has never been our motivation for travelling.
This year I heard a new variation of the theme- my children refuse to go anywhere which is not exclusively meant for kids. The first time Chhavi, Vasudha and I traveled abroad it was to Hongkong and primarily Disneyland. But since then the kids have been to Prague with me.
And this year Chhavi and I went to Thailand, we visited Koh Samui. A a lot of people told me that Samui is a quiet place and the kid would not like it. I am happy to say that Chhavi can entertain herself for hours on a beach and in the swimming pool.
I had plans of taking her on a speed boat ride but I was a little hesitant. Those trips are long and the sun is hot. She took the matter out of our hands. She refused to go anywhere.
She was happy to stay at the resort. After breakfast we would go look for water. She would jump in the pool, then get out and go jump in the sea only to be back and jump in the pool again. This is what she more or less did for the entire vacation. She also enjoyed the Jacuzzi in our room at the Royal Muang Samui Villas.
She refused to go out anywhere other than to the street outside to have a few of our meals. There were open air massage shacks which we both enjoyed. She went on a jet ski ride too. All this was available right by our beach, the beautiful Choeng Mon Beach.
I firmly believe that kids can enjoy any destination as long as we are a little creative, listen to them and give them the freedom to voice their opinions. For example when we were in Prague, I realized that the kids like to go to open parks once in the day. They would race me to the top a Castle, visit a church, sit down quietly for a meal in the afternoon but by the evening they would nudge me towards either Kampa or Lanta Park where they could run around, walk or just make a silly game to play.
While we were flying back from Koh Samui I read an article in the in the Silkwinds, the magazine of Silk Air which precisely voice my opinions but in a better way. The authors in their story, Have Kids Will Travel, mention that they took their 2 year old to Angkor Wat. And the kid loved visiting Mr Buddha’s house! You can read the article and the may issue here.
As a parent I feel we already protect our kids too much. I do not want to make their vacations a complete bubble wrap. Until I read the article I always felt unsure when people said their kids refuse to travel if they are not taken to a theme park or a water park or something similar. But when I read that article at 32 thousand feet I exactly understood what I felt.
So if a two year old can enjoy visiting Mr. Buddha’s House, what is wrong in enjoying a beach or a swimming pool? One can just explore a new place and realize that the world is beautiful. As they say in Thailand, we in the end are same same but different!
Chhavi and I took a short break in Koh Samui, Thailand as soon as her summer vacations started. We stayed at the Royal Muang Samui Villas. We are really thankful to TAT New Delhi and the property for hosting us with such care.
This was my 11th visit to Thailand and the first for Chhavi. We flew in via Singapore this time, so we took the visa on arrival at Koh Samui, it was a breeze! However, we were tired after a long lay off at Changi when we arrived at resort. Norbert, the guest relations manager greeted us and took us around the property. We stayed in the Villa 217 which is right next to the pool!
Our room was beautiful. We had a lot of space both in the bedroom and the bathroom. Chhavi’s favorite place was the bath tub with the Jacuzzi. We had a good sleep on all nights.
In the mornings I could hear birds twittering away right from my room. But during my entire stay I didn’t get up even once early in the morning.
A quirky thing I noticed on the roof was a painting of a lizard, which looked a bit realistic but somehow infinitely cute.
We were at the Royal Muang Samui Villas on May 15th and it was my birthday. The hotel staff surprised me with warm messages and a yummy chocolate cake! I totally loved it. A big thank you to them from my side for making my day special!
We loved the unhurried breakfast we used to have at the resort. We enjoyed the fruits, particularly the dragon fruit. There was plenty to choose from in the buffet. I particularly loved their fresh goat cheese!
My child is a fussy eater. But she enjoyed looking at everything and she even tried out a few new things like grilled fish!
We had two dinners at the Spice Zone Beach Restaurant. Our last dinner was with live music which Chhavi enjoyed a lot! I ate pasta, phad thai and rice while Chhavi would share my dish and eat french fries!
We loved sitting by the beach as the sky turned dark and enjoy our meal at leisure!
The Pool and The Beach
However our hot favorites were the pool and the beach. The kid enjoyed it so much that she was not interested in going anywhere else! As she can swim she could enjoy the deep pool too.
There are two waterfalls around the pool and they were her magnets! There was a cascade near the waterfall and we both would park ourselves there!
Then we would run to the beach. If you like peace and quiet you would prefer Choeng Mon beach more than Chewang. The sea is like a giant pond out here. It is safe and immense fun for kids!
I too love being near water and I did not protest when Chhavi refused to venture beyond the hotel!
The Green Effort
I was truly happy to see glass bottles in our room for water! I hate using small plastic bottles on my travels and I was happy that my stay was not generating any plastic bottles which eventually go in a dump.
We also visited there nursery where they grow their ornamental plants for both their properties. They also grow lemon grass, papaya and fruits and vegetables.
This was fourth foreign trip for Chhavi. She has been to Hong Kong and Prague with me and to the USA with her father. Never once she said she wants to go back to a place. To Koh Samui she told me, “we have to do it two times!” It was so much fun for us!