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Nov
09

Where in the world?

We have a very general idea of where we want to go on this great worldschooling adventure.  We will definitely be going to China, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore.  Other countries that are on my radar are the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.  I would really rather not have my children take any anti-malarials so that really limits our destinations.  Australia and New Zealand would break the budget but I’m thinking that if we could get a cheap flight to Australia we could buy a little camper van and tour around that way.  We also have quite a few friends there which would not only make the trip more interesting but cheaper.

So for now I am in the research stage, trying to decide where to go.  As we plan on traveling very, very slowly I don’t want to take on too many countries.  Here is the loosey goosey plan so far:

China

I’m thinking a month will do it.  On the hit list are the Terra Cotta Warriors, Panda Bears, the Great Wall, Hong Kong, and Yangshou.

Thailand

One month in Bangkok (I’m considering getting the kids’ rabies vaccine here as it would be about 1/3 of the cost of doing it in Canada)  I would love to get an apartment here and take in the sights slowly because it is such an in-your-face city.

One or two months in Chiang Mai.  I want to do a cooking class here and hopefully do some volunteer work with the Thai Freedom House.

Many, many months in southern Thailand lazing on the beaches, drinking fruit shakes, gorging on seafood, and admiring the sunsets.

Malaysia

One month in Kuala Lumpor.  The first time we were in Malaysia we didn’t fall in love with it.  However, our friends over at Our Travel Lifestyle have made me rethink our first impressions.  It seems to have so much on offer for children: playgrounds, museums, zoos, science centres, not to mention a wonderful foodie culture. .

One month Perhentian Islands. We missed these on our last trip but I’ve heard good things about them.

A few weeks Cameran Highlands.  Strawberries and tea plantations, how can we go wrong?

Singapore

I’m not going to speculate on how long we will spend in Singapore.  It is ridiculously expensive so it will all depend on if we can find good, cheap accommodation.  I really want to take the kids to Sentosa Island to see their AMAZING aquarium, dolphin shows, light shows, train rides and all else it has to offer.

That’s as far as I have got on our planning stage.  It is so hard to plan for when the departure date depends on the sale of our house.  I have a feeling it will be a real scramble between the time the house sells and the time we leave.

I would love to hear your comments and suggestions.  Places we shouldn’t miss?  Places I should be looking at?  What?  You live somewhere I want to go and you have a spare bedroom and would love to be our tour guide?  Definitely drop us a line!

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11 comments

  1. Tracy Burns says:

    Sounds like lots of great plans! KL definitely has a lot to offer for kids but its a big big city. Have you considered Penang – OK so you know we love the place but if it was me planning time in Malaysia I would spend two weeks in KL (possibly broken up to make the most of flying in and out of KL cheaply with AirAsia) and a month in Penang. KL has more science/themepark style attractions but Penang has more to offer in terms of beaches, getting back to nature. I guess it depends what you want – if you want the action of a big city go to KL. If you want something a bit quieter and easier to get around but still with all the facilities of a city go Penang.

    Have you seen anywhere that you can rent by the month on Perhentians??? I’d love to know. Koh Samui and the nearby islands are supposed to have great beach bungalows to rent for $200/mth!

    Hoping to make it to Chiang Mai soon, everyone seems to love it!

    1. loveisliving says:

      Thanks for the feedback Tracy. Your are right about KL being the central hub. We will probably be through there a bunch of times catching flights. I’ll take Penang in to consideration but I do really want to spend lots of time in KL. We love big Asian cities. Funny because we really don’t like big cities here. I think it has to do with the fact that the public transportation is usually very good in Asian cities, whereas in Canada we are still trying to get our act together!
      I haven’t found a monthly rental in the Perhentians but I’m sure we could get a good rate just for staying the long. I don’t need a kitchen because I don’t plan on cooking!

  2. Nadine says:

    Dear Amy and Mike and boys

    As I mentioned before, I had written a long answer to your planned itinerary, but I don’t remember much of it now.

    One of my main points was to say that you are about to take a break from a scheduled life, so make the most of your freedom and throw all your plans out of the window. Just do what you like to and take it one by one. Or plan it all and than do it different (that’s a bit our style… we love making 500 plans and then let go of them and do it just how it comes, drift)

    Our boys enjoyed cities for a little while, because there are usually really good playgrounds, good parks, nice “treats” like a cinema, a nice ice-cream or so, but cities are very draining. When you go for a walk you they need to stay close to you and hold hands and be careful and “don’t run”, “watch out”, “stay here” you know what I mean? You are constantly on the guard. And Chiang Mai is also a city! It’s the second largest town in Thailand.

    One month for China is very little. You will be rushing through a country that is incredible for children. But don’t stay in the cities. Chinese cities ARE super draining. Yunnan is great for children, Gansu, Sichuan, Guangxi….

    And of course, take a break of one or two months when you get to Koh Pha Ngan in Thailand. You can rent houses there for very little (about 200 Dollars a month). Just get there, put your luggage at a scooter rental and explore the island, find a nice location and rent it.

    I know you say you are not planning on cooking, but I think a kitchen is GREAT when you are a family. Having three meals a day in a restaurant with two children will be more stressful than preparing one or two meals a day yourselves. You don’t have to cook, just make picnic style meals. And being able to make a cup of coffee or tea yourself, not having to get everybody ready and go to a restaurant each time you just want a drink… that’s soooooo nice. We always love staying somewhere for a while and finding a little house or apartment for rent and becoming independent, away from restaurants. One meal a day in a restaurant is enough. Menus become sooooo boring after a while. They all seem to sell the same… Well, that’s how we experienced it, maybe our children are specially “difficult” in restaurants. I don’t know.

    I totally agree on the comment by another reader (was it Tracey?) about Penang. It’s one of our favourite places. Anyway, all of Malaysia is simply wonderful and Malays sure know how to make playgrounds. Malaysia is very safe, clean, has great medical facilities, is super friendly, has GREAT food, good transport and lots more. And Penang is amazing. Although, for children, it’s also not the best place to stay more than lets say one or two weeks. We always stay in a small hostel near Love lane. And we often take the 101 bus (I think that’s the right number?) to the Youth Park. It’s a park with huge playgrounds and three swimming pools in tropical setting, lots of monkeys and lots of monitor lizards and birds etc.It’s a little heaven. Near there is the Adventist Mission hospital (for anybody, also people without religion) in case you need a check up or anything. Penang also has great food! And water refills from filter stations in the streets. And a sea front, and wonderful people, and beautiful houses, a little India (a nice way to experience India without the negative sides of India, i.e. dirt, dishonesty, smells, men touching etc., Little India in Penang is amazing!). There is a little China too etc. It’s a town that blends it all together and has one festival after the next.

    And from there you can head to the Cameron Highlands if you like.

    Maybe even take a boat over to Sumatra to go and see the Orang Utans with your boys.

    You will have a great trip!!!!! Just a shame that we will have left here by the time you come and we will go your way when you are leaving there…

    We are currently scouting American websites for vehicles… trying to find a good pickup truck to transport our new camper cabin. This is new territory for us as we haven’t had a car in about 2 decades. But it’s exciting.At the same time we are trying to figure out what books we should buy when in Switzerland. I mean school books for the boys. They will start 5th and 3rd class while we are away… and in Switzerland there is no real homeschooling, there are no curriculum etc. you are just on your own. Luckily I have a friend who works for a school book publisher so she managed to advise me a lot on what is good. It can’t be too difficult… 🙂

    So, I wish you some more exciting weeks before you departure. Enjoy the butterfly feeling in your tummies and stay save.

    Nadine

    1. loveisliving says:

      Thanks for your comments Nadine. I
      I find China to be overwhelming, that’s why I thought we would just do a
      few chunks of it. It is such a big country! I certainly have more research
      to do there. I’ve always felt comfortable in Asian cities but I see your
      point about having to always be on guard when traveling with children. It
      certainly won’t be as easy as it was pre-children! One good thing about
      our plan is, as you say, it is flexible. If we like somewhere we will stay,
      if not move on. And I’m sure once we have found our travel groove with our
      kids we will have a better idea of what works and what doesn’t.
      Thanks again.

  3. Tarn says:

    Amy,

    Airasia is having flight to Australia and New Zealand, perhaps you want to check it out at http://www.airasia.com.

    Have a great time 🙂

    Tarn

  4. itsasmallworldafterallfamily says:

    Hi, just found your blog because you visited ours. We’ve been on the road for a couple of months now and are loving it. We’ve found self catering accom really suits us, tired children and restaurants don’t mix. Sometimes we just get a takeaway and bring it back. We really like taking it slowly too. Today we’re having a slob day. We’ve watched TV, done a little school work, caught up with emails, been to the playground, skyped my brother and that’s about it! The kids love days like these as much as the doing days, and it suits us too. We’re going to be in Asia from the end of march and we’re really looking forward to it.

    1. loveisliving says:

      Gotta love those do nothing days! We aren’t in it to collect stamps on a passport or tick off the sights on a list. What we are really looking forward to is just being together. I’m sure we will have many days lounging by pools, building sandcastles, or just hanging out 🙂 Thanks for visiting the blog!

  5. forrestblogging says:

    Great itinerary, just got to say that Campervanning in Australia is not really a cheap option: http://nobeatenpath.com/?p=1859

    Have fun planning, and good luck!

    1. worldschooladventures says:

      Yeah, that seems to be the general consensus. The great thing about our type of travel is the lack of true itinerary. We are completely flexible in our plans so if we don’t make it to Oz it is no big deal. I didn’t want to have to cook for ourselves anyways!

  6. nicole curry says:

    I would add Viet Nam and Indonesia. We spent 10 months in VN and it is truly an amazing country, the people are lovely and very child friendly. We’ve been in Bali for 6 months and love it the boys are all learning to surf even our youngest (6) and we found a great school http://www.greenschool.org .
    Next long stop for us is NZ I think but, not before we check a few more places off of our list around Asia…Nepal, China/tibet, Sri Lanka….Bhutan…so many places to see!
    Look forward to reading about your adventure!

    1. worldschooladventures says:

      Thanks Nicole! Vietnam is on our maybe list but I could see us going there if only for the food alone! We spent three months there in our 10 month honeymoon around SE Asia and loved it. We’ve also been to Bali before and have been talking about it again. It would be a great place to learn about culture for the boys and I hear they have some great art classes on offer. Thanks for stopping by our blog, I’m checking your blog out now! 🙂

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