Our trip to Kota Kinabalu with a 4 year old with links to tips on flying with kids and packing lists for the family. Plus information on entertaining children at the resort and family day trips out in Kota Kinabalu.
I was all organised with a preparation plan in place for our trip to Kota Kinabalu with kids. However as anyone who has travelled with children will tell you, it can all go awry with one little hiccup or in our case a stomach virus.
We were due to fly out to Kota Kinabalu on Saturday afternoon. My plan had been to drop Lewis, our 4 year old son at Kindy on Friday, have a relaxing massage and then home to pack in peace. Lewis had other plans. At about 1am on Thursday night/Friday morning he started vomiting, which continued every 40 mins. Not only was he not going to get to school, I wasn’t getting any sleep and there went my massage!
My only consolation was that stomach viruses tend to last about 24 hours. So with that thought I carried on. Lewis spent the morning laying on the couch watching ABC4kids while I packed using my packing lists to ensure I did not forget a thing. I even got enough time to write a quick post about “Tips to Prevent Loss of Luggage“.
Meanwhile my partner Steve headed off to work to finish some last minute items. Oh to be a man who at the last minute throws a pair of shorts, half a dozen T-shirts and jocks into a bag and declares himself packed.
Just after lunch we were on our way to the airport, you would never know Lewis had been so ill the day before. It’s amazing how quick kids recover.
On the flight – Tips for Flying with kids
We arrived into Kuala Lumpor at 10pm and made our way to the KLIA Transit Hotel. Around midnight I woke up not feeling well and spending the night back and forth the bathroom. I was not well! By morning I was exhausted and Steve began to feel unwell. But we had a flight to catch at 8am. It was the longest 2 hour flight; both of us feeling awful and Lewis demanding attention.
Finally we reached Kota Kinabalu, collected our luggage, bought a taxi voucher and were driven out to the Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa.
Whilst checking in at the lobby we looked out to the pool and thought this place looks amazing – I wish I felt well enough to enjoy it now!
We could see the crystal clear pools over looking the sea and neighbouring islands. There were families all ready sitting on shaded lounges while watching their kids slip down the slides and run under the various water jets at the splash zone. Big kids or were they adults enjoying pounding each other with water balloons.
After resting a couple of hours in our room that over looked the lush green gardens around to the sea, I felt better and took Lewis to the kids club. The staff there were great, they were happy for me to stay with Lewis while he familiarised himself. By 5 pm Lewis started asking for food. Poor thing we both had felt so unwell we had forgotten to feed him. We ordered room service and settled in for the night.
In the morning we both started feeling alot better and ventured to breakfast. The buffet was one of the best. Including extras like dim sum, home-made yoghurt, and fresh vege juices. They also had a staff member dressed up in cartoon characters to entertain the kids.
Our daily pattern began to form. After breakfast I would take Lewis to the kids club for the 10am craft session while Steve relaxed in the room. Then the 3 of us would head to the pool. We thoroughly enjoyed the water-slides, splash-zone and water balloon fights. Eventually hunger would set in and we would order a bite to eat by the pool before making our way back to the room. At 4pm I would take Lewis back to the kids club for more craft, Steve would meet us there so that I could enjoy the complimentary yoga or floor pilates. We have learnt to work together allowing each other some down time resulting in a much more enjoyable holiday.
To see more of the Sharngri-La Tanjung Aru and my review click HERE.
Orang-outang Rehabilitation Sanctuary
We took a couple of day trips during our week long stay. We went to visit the Orang-outang Rehabilitation Sanctuary at the Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort. For 30MR each we caught the hotel shuttle for the 45 minute drive. This gave us an opportunity to see a bit more of Kota Kinabalu. What really amazed us was how clean the streets were. No rubbish piled on the verges, no dirt washed across the streets.
Before entering the sanctuary we were advised to apply insect repellent and you really do need it as we heard others complaining of mosi bites. (So remember when packing for the day and your medical supplies to include children’s insect repellent.) There is a multilevel viewing platform to observe the orang-outangs and monkeys swinging through the emerald green vines as they come in to eat fruit that has been lay’d out. It is such a fantastic sight as this is not a small zoo enclosure. It is a very large natural sanctuary where the young orphaned orang-outangs get to live until they are mature and ready to be released back into the wild.
For more photos about our day trip to the Kota Kinabalu Nature Reserve visit HERE.
(UPDATE 2016: The orang-outans are no longer at the Nature Reserve – the rehabilitian program is now complete.)
Another day we caught a taxi into town and spent the morning shopping in one of the large shopping malls. Kota Kinabalu is a bustling city with plenty of shopping, eateries and markets.
We spent a few evenings in the city combining a dinner out with shopping. It was cooler to get about in the evening and provided us with some additional dining options.
More Things to do
There is so much you can do whilst visiting Sabah including taking ferries out to the neighbouring islands, snorkelling, tree top walks, steam train rides, the list just goes on. However for us, our holidays are mainly about relaxation and reconnecting as a family.
So whilst the stomach bug didn’t ruin the holiday it certainly slowed us down for a couple of days – but maybe we just needed that.
What is your family’s goal when travelling?
You can see more pictures on Facebook.
See our first You Tube Video of the pool at Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa