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Friday, June 26, 2015

Hua Hin Santorini Park

Almost exactly 7 years ago, the hubby & I travelled to Europe for our UNforgettable honeymoon trip. 1 of the most romantic places we had covered during the trip was Santorini Island, Greece.

7 years later, here we are, not at the real Santorini, but at Santorini Park at Hua Hin with our 2 kids.

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Actually this park didn’t remind me of Santorini. It reminded me more of Mykonos, another island in Greece. Let’s look at the real thing:


Quite similar isn’t it? Winking smile

There were many retail shops such as Ed Hardy, Nike and a couple of cafes within Santorini Park.

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And there were many interesting structures and fixtures for us to take photos with!

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^cats can fly here!

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^ I see 3 tweety birds here…

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^Look at the staircase’s railings… made of a piece of log. Interesting…

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^ How lovey dovey!

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I absolutely love the semi-3D designs on the wall too!

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^you can tell, they were feeling very very hot!

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Another plus point was the very clean toilets available here.

And then we came to the fun part of the park… For the kids.

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^ Water squirting octopus.

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^ Water play was very much enjoyed under the scorching heat!

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^ Horsery rides hooray!

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We paid for a 40-minute ride but the kids could only manage 10 minutes.

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There was a giant ferris wheel but the hot weather deterred us from taking a ride on it. Didn’t want to risk any serious sunburns here. Disappointed smile

And then we chanced upon an old style carousel. It had 2 storeys of horses and carriages and it was empty at the time we were there! COOL!

As with the other rides, we had to pay additional for this one but thank God (for once) Jensen was below height limit so his ride was free!

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^5 minutes of pure joy!

As we were with our kids + we weren’t sure about how good (or rather how scary) the Haunted House attraction would be, we gave it a miss. *Phew* [I’m really not too keen on Haunted Houses esp the Thai ones!]

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Alright, it was enough time under the hot sun, so off we went [read: ran] to the cafe near the entrance for some refuge and of course some oh-so-refreshing gelato and cool drinks.

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All in all, I think Santorini Park is more recommended for families with younger kids. It is a pretty cool place to take pictures and have some fun at the amusement park section. However, the weather was just too HOT to really enjoy the park to its max. We should have visited the park towards the evening when it was cooler.

You can read about more attractions here at this post:

Opening Hours
Mon – Fri 10:00 am. - 08:00 pm., Saturday from 09:00 am. - 10:00 pm., and Sunday & Public Holidays 09:00 am. - 09:00 pm.

Entrance Fees

150 baht per pax for non-residents. Fun rides not included in entrance fee price.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Family Trip to Hua Hin (Part 1 – Amari Hua Hin Resort)

We had been to Bangkok, Krabi, Phuket and heard of Chiang Mai. But Hua Hin??

Yes, that was the place in Thailand that my family and I went.. with the kids in tow! Hua Hin is a seaside town where the Thai King lives and it is a THREE hour journey [gulp] away from Bangkok. Sounds pretty adventurous for a family with 2 active young kids…

^Look at their super happy faces when they arrived at the airport!

We spent 3 days in Hua Hin then another 3 days in Bangkok. And I must say we all thoroughly enjoyed the Hua Hin league of our trip. It exceeded our expectations! 
Here are the highlights...

We booked a private van (Thai Happy Taxi) to fetch us from the Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok to Amari Resort in Hua Hin. The van was a 10 seater with space for 6 luggages. This comfy but long (THREE HOURS!) trip cost us 2,900 baht. I understand there are also public vans available at a much cheaper rate but we had heard those drivers speed. Having the kids with us, we chose to pay more to a reputable company to provide safe and comfortable transportation for our family.
^#7LimsInTH going abit gaga due to the long journey.

I would suggest you 'arm' yourselves with drinking water, snacks, a book or fully charged phone or card games to entertain yourself and a jacket as it could get cold in the air-conditioned van for 3 hours! Along the way, we stopped over at a petrol kiosk so we could have our toilet breaks and restock drinking water and snacks.

After a sleepy ride, we finally reached Amari! It was beautiful, clean and at the time when we were there (last 3 days of May), it was totally un-crowded. Look at the morning buffet 'crowd'.

Here's a cafe situated right within the hotel lobby. How cool…
Too bad the hubs and I did not have the time to patronize and chill out at this cafe. My siblings managed to do so. Apparently the coffee was nothing to rave about though the complimentary cookies were surprisingly good and the serving generous.

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Photo credit: Valerie Lim

We sure were glad we had managed to snatch a very good deal for this hotel stay. Definitely more than worth every cent we paid!
And just look at the view we’ve got from the balcony of our room! 

We had informed the hotel that it was our wedding anniversary, and we were in for a lovely surprise when we first stepped into our room... 
^Happy 7th Anniversary Hubby! Love you so much…

Sweet. And every room came with a complimentary glass jar of coconut candy. 

We had a great time swimming (& floating) in the beautiful and regular shaped swimming pool. It even had a jacuzzi corner which my sons called "Bubble Land". We swam in the pool every evening when the waters were warm and super inviting! We ordered fruit juices (1 for 1 during happy hour) and drank it while swimming. My sis even fell asleep at the pool side in the cool evening weather. What a great experience! 
^Look at how comfy he was floating about in the water...

Opposite the hotel were some cafes, massage parlours, pubs and eateries. We managed to sneak out one evening near midnight to 1 still-opened massage parlour for a soothing pre-bedtime foot massage. By the way, I always find it amazing how these parlours could suddenly find the needed manpower at such a last minute notification and in the middle of the night. We walked in seeing only 1 masseuse and when we told them there were 5 of us who wanted to do the massage, a stream of masseuses walked into the parlour after 5 minutes. Highly resourceful!

I was careful about eating street food but my siblings went opposite to those street stalls and had themselves a very good bowl of beef noodles each that cost 40 baht a bowl.
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Photos credit: Daniel Lim

Their review: SHIOK!

And when we were too tired to bring the kids out to eat, we ordered the very affordable in-room dining meals. Western & Thai foods as well as desserts etc are available, and the main dishes cost ónly about s$10 per dish! 

Now look at my smoked salmon bagel that cost slightly below s$10! It was delish and the fries were crispy.
We had also tried their pastas and kway teow soup and I must say the food were mostly above average and up to expectations. .

Another reason why we chose Amari was because they had a kids club where we could dump place our kids without paying additional charges. Do note that kids below 4 needs to be accompanied by an adult. When we were there, there were no staff supervising or watching the kids. Not sure if it was because there were only 4 kids including our kids then. The kids club do offer some ad-hoc programs, otherwise the children could do coloring, watch DVDs, play Wii, read story books, play toys all in an enclosed air-conditioned room.

Photo source:

The brother managed to do an early morning run to the beach he said was about 10 mins walk away from the hotel. Alternatively, the buggy could drive up to Shoreline Restaurant (food was average but very romantic ambience… imagine sitting by the beach during sunset and having dinner and champagne with your partner…) which was just situated by the beach. I guess there was nothing fantastic about this beach. There were jellyfish warnings so I doubt anyone would swim in it.
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Photos’credit: Daniel Lim

At the end of this Thailand trip, we were convinced that it was important for us to book a good (read 5 stars and above) hotel whenever we brought the kids along with us. This was because the kids at their young age would tire easily and we end up spending alot of time in the hotel/resort room. No regrets staying at Amari with its excellent service and amenities (especially swimming pool!), close proximity to massage, cafes and the Hua Hin Weekend Night Market (see my upcoming post).

After blogging about Hua Hin, I do feel like going back again soon already! *Dream on*….