What To Do With Kids In Singapore When You Have 48 Hours

When I booked our tickets to visit South East Asia, I was not sure what to do with kids in Singapore when you have 48 hours. Our main goal was to spend the majority if our time in Thailand, and then head over to Singapore to visit Thomas Town for a day or two. Little did I know that Thomas Town was actually in Malaysia. 

If you have a child who is obsessed with trains, and not just any train but specifically Thomas The Tank Engine, then you’ve most likely done your research to find out where all the Thomas attractions are. Aiden has been to Thomas Land in Boston twice, and so in the process of planning our trip to SE Asia, it was only normal that I check to see if there was one there as well.

During my search, I found out that there is a Thomas Town in Malaysia and that with a U.S. passport a visa wasn’t necessary. I immediately got excited for Aiden and looked for tickets from Bangkok to Malaysia and from Malaysia to Phuket. I found tickets for $40 each way to fly into the airport in Singapore which I read was about an hour away. I was originally going to purchase tickets from Bangkok to Phuket, but after finding out about Thomas Town, I absolutely had to change plans. I couldn’t imagine being so close to Malaysia and not taking Aiden to Thomas Town.

After spending 4 nights in Bangkok, we got on a plane and off to Singapore we went. It was a short 2hr flight and as always, Aiden slept. There’s something about being in an airplane that puts Aiden right to sleep.

We landed at Changi Airport – Singapore at about noon, went through immigration, got our passports stamped and took Uber to our hotel (Uber for the win). I didn’t know what to expect in Singapore but I was blown away with how clean, neat and beautiful the city was.

Our plan was to be in Singapore for 1 night and 2 days. We stayed at the Hilton Singapore, such a beautiful hotel, but also expensive. We used Hilton points to pay for it thankfully, but it still costs quite a lot of points. As compared to Thailand of course.

DAY 1

After settling in, we went for a walk around our hotel and snapped a few pics. As you can see Aiden loves to be behind the camera. The weather was hot, but not as hot as Bangkok. There were several underground shopping stores across the street from our hotel, but decided to skip them. (I’m not a big fan of shopping, so I try to avoid malls)

he found a phone booth and said he wanted to call his cousins

beautiful Christmas tree up in November, & it was huge too

We got hungry and found a place to eat as we were walking called Uma Uma Ramen. Couldn’t figure out what to order, ended up ordering it and was not one bit impressed with the food and so we left hungry.

I looked at my watch, and figured we still had time decided to go back to the hotel and grab snacks from the lounge. One of my favorite things about being a Hilton Honors diamond member is lounge access at Hilton properties. When we got to the lounge, there was a lot more than just snacks. They had pastries, salads, steak and so much more. And even an open bar! We ate quite a bit – dinner right! Lol

I went to bed that night more excited than anything because the next day we were surprising Aiden with a trip to Thomas Town. When you have children, you get sooooooooo excited just thinking about things that will excite them. I didn’t tell Aiden anything about it because I wanted it to be a surprise.

 

DAY 2

We all woke up early, got dressed and had breakfast. Their breakfast was great with so many options. We met several people from the U.S. at breakfast. One of the couples we met had a kid Aiden’s age. They told us that their job relocated them to Singapore and they’ve been here about a week and absolutely love it so they’re not complaining. I said to my husband jokingly, “We both need jobs that can relocate us also” and we both laughed.

lots of yummy food options

After breakfast shot. So excited about his Thomas & Friends shirt, if only he knew were he was going 😛

We decided to do some sightseeing before heading to Thomas Town. Aiden was proudly showing off his Thomas shirt to everyone, little did he know where he was going to. We crossed the street and located the hop on and hop off bus. We paid, got on to the top and rode around for about an hour and a half. We didn’t get off on any of the sites, we just wanted to enjoy the beauty of the city.

Aiden the map reader

pics below taken from the top of the bus

After about an hour and half on the hop on/off bus, we got off on one of the stops. We noticed an ice cream shop nearby and decided by to get ice cream. It was our first time trying nitrogen ice cream and it was so good.

After we finished our ice cream, I looked at the time and said to my husband, “I think we should head to Thomas Town now”. I called Uber via the app, and when the driver showed up I told him were we were heading to – Thomas Town, Puteri Harbor. He looked at me like I was crazy and this conversation ensued:

Uber Driver: “Sorry, I can’t take you there.”

Me: (my heart sunk) “What do you mean you can’t take me there, I want to go to Thomas Town – Puteri Harbor.”

Uber Driver: “Puteri Harbor in Johor Bahru, That’s Malaysia, this is Singapore, I can’t take you to Malaysia.”

[Aiden: “Mom, are we going to Thomas Town? I want to go now Mom”]

Me: (so confused) “Do you mean Malaysia is another country?”

Uber Driver: “I don’t have license to cross the border, I cannot take you to Puteri Harbor”

Me: “Okay, thank you”

[Aiden: “Mom can we go to Thomas Town now?”]

I then cancelled the ride via the Uber app and we got out. Aiden started asking a million questions and I was sooooo worried that this surprise may end up being a fail. I quickly grabbed my phone; Hello Google to the rescue. It was at that point that I read “On 9 August 1965, Singapore separated from Malaysia to become an independent and sovereign state. The separation was the result of deep political and economic differences between the ruling parties of Singapore and Malaysia”. This meant, going to Malaysia meant going to another country.

I had this awful feeling, terrible knot in my stomach that I was going to have to disappoint my son. At this time, Aiden knew we were going to Thomas Town and was expecting us to take him there. I was going to have to break it to him that it wasn’t going to be possible. I was upset at myself. How could I have possibly missed this? When I checked the nearest airport to Thomas Town, the Changi Airport in Singapore was what showed up.

Being the Mom that I am, I had to make a way, I just had to. We flew all the way to Singapore so that Aiden could go to Thomas Town and I was going to make sure that my son made it to Thomas Town. When you have a three year old who eats, breathes, sleeps … and the list goes on, Thomas & Friends, you find a way. The crazy part of it all was, our flight to Phuket, Thailand was later that evening. So I had to figure out how to get us to Thomas Town in Johor Bahru, Malaysia and make it back to Singapore on time to catch our flight. And I had to figure it out QUICK!!!

I noticed an office across the street, told my husband and Aiden to give me a second and dashed in there. I spoke to a few people and found out that there was indeed a way to get to Thomas Town. I started feeling some relief. They informed me that there are some Cab drivers who have the permit to cross the border. and also where I needed to go to find them. I thanked them and ran out very hopeful.

I had to come up with a plan quickly and pray it worked out smoothly. It was as follows; We would head back to our hotel, check out and grab all our stuff. We would then take a cab to the location were we needed to take the second cab with the special permit to cross the border. After we found a special permit cab, we would rent it for the day and ask the driver to take us to Thomas Town, and wait for us, and then take us straight to the airport when we were done.

My husband was very skeptical. He kept saying, just forget about it, another time. I looked at my sweet boy as he asked for the millionth time “Mom, where is Thomas Town? Are we going to Thomas Town now? Please Mom, can I go to Thomas Town, please Mom pleasssse” – (in his exact words). I knew right then and there that we had to go to Thomas Town and my plan HAD to work. There was no other way about it, it had to Freaking Work, lol.

As the day went on, I watched my plan become reality right before my eyes. We got to the hotel, got our stuff and checked out, took cab 1 to were we needed to catch cab 2. Found cab 2 right away and the driver agreed to take us to Thomas Town in Malaysia, wait till Aiden was done playing and then take us straight to the airport. We got into the cab, settled in and off we went. We exited the Singaporean border, showed them our passports, had it stamped for exit, rode a few minutes to the Malaysian border, showed passports and had it stamped for entry into the country. It took us about an hour and a half total. Before I knew it, we had arrived Thomas Town.

All I could think of was, YESSSS !!! My plan worked, it worked, it freaking worked!! Well the first part of it atleast, lol. 

Seeing your child light up because he is in his favorite place; Oh Myyyyyy. Words cannot express the excitement I felt for my son and I’m sure other parents can relate.

Check back soon for more on the rest of our day in Johor Bahru, Malaysia!!!


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29 Comments

  1. July 11, 2017 / 8:17 pm

    Singapore looks so different to when I visited in 2004. I love the fact that the city is so walkable. I would have loved to visit those Avatar-looking trees (those were not there in 2004). Thomas Town also looks like a great place for kids and fans of the show.

  2. July 12, 2017 / 6:20 am

    Oh wow what an adventure! You (and especially Aiden) are so fortunate to have found a way to get there! My heart would have been breaking in that first cab, isn’t it amazing there are people out there to help you find your way – AND make it back for your flight! What an ordeal. And a tough lesson! Pleased you go there in the end.

    • July 16, 2017 / 2:40 pm

      My heart was breaking but I times everything so well 🙂

  3. July 12, 2017 / 11:32 am

    wow what a great experience. your dedication to finding trains and Thomas the train for you son is wonderful! Singapore looked like a great experience!

  4. July 12, 2017 / 1:45 pm

    This was a very helpful read for me. I am going to Singapore early next year with my family. So reading about some tips and attractions to see with kids will help a lot! PS the food in the photo looks awesome 🙂 haha

  5. Indrani
    July 12, 2017 / 4:34 pm

    Thomas Town excites me too! 🙂 Aiden is cute, great to see him enjoy Singapore.
    I have not seen this Thomas Town attraction there and I wish to get back there again just for that.

  6. Lisa
    July 12, 2017 / 5:29 pm

    Aw, glad you and Aidan made it to Thomas Town! He looks so happy there, very sweet. Singapore is one of those destinations that are great for families. Never heard of nitrogen ice cream before, I need to look this up!

  7. July 12, 2017 / 5:37 pm

    This looks like such a fun trip. Singapore is so interesting destination. Good thing that you manage to have a great time and good weather. 🙂

  8. July 12, 2017 / 6:52 pm

    This post makes me so jealous and wanting to travel badly. And your little boy is so adorably cute.
    #BLMGIRL

  9. July 12, 2017 / 7:59 pm

    Atlast you made it to Thomas town after so much struggle. Singapore is really very neat and clean. Hilton Singapore really looks a luxurious stay. Liquid nitrogen ice-cream also looks yum.

  10. July 13, 2017 / 1:41 am

    Hahaha, that’s so awesome that you found that Thomas town! And you are so lucky that he loves to sleep on the plane! My eldest sleeps great, but my youngest is always up for flights

  11. July 13, 2017 / 6:57 am

    Haha, going to Maleisya is a little far for the poor driver 😉 Looks like you have an amazing time with your family!

    • July 15, 2017 / 4:56 pm

      If you read the posts it states we took a cab to Malaysia from an area where the drivers have permits to cross the border. So that’s what they do, they drive people back and forth from Malaysia to Singapore. So no it wasn’t far for the driver. He was happy to do it as that’s how he makes money.

  12. July 13, 2017 / 3:07 pm

    Wow, you are such a good Mum. I cannot believe how dedicated you are, my mum is pretty fantastic but I can’t see her doing this haha. Aidan is adorable, I hope he had a great time. Never let him forget how awesome you are to him.

    • July 15, 2017 / 4:54 pm

      Sweet words. Thanks so much

    • July 16, 2017 / 2:39 pm

      Are you sure she won’t, or hasn’t before lol. Ask her, I’m sure she’ll have a story to tell. 🙂

  13. July 14, 2017 / 2:53 pm

    I am amazed by your quick plan and how you went extra miles to make your son’s wish come true. Loved the journey completely. Aiden is truly adorable and his excitement for Thomas town.

  14. July 14, 2017 / 2:54 pm

    I am amazed by your quick plan and how you went extra miles to make your son’s wish come true. Loved the journey completely. Aiden is truly adorable and his excitement for Thomas town shows on his face.

  15. July 14, 2017 / 5:12 pm

    Glad that eventually, you had a good experience. Personally, I can’t yet imagine travelling with small kids but appreciate those who can do it. Singapore is surely one of the more family friendly places that you can visit and the kid surely seem to have enjoyed it.

  16. Kevan
    July 14, 2017 / 9:54 pm

    What a great reason to make a side trip to another country. But what a horrible feeling it must have been when you first learned of not being able to get to Malasyia. I admire your dedication to making sure your son made it to Thomas Town.

    • July 16, 2017 / 2:39 pm

      Thank you. As a Mom, you go d yourself doing all sorts of things to make your kids happy!

  17. July 15, 2017 / 6:39 pm

    WOW! You really are very smart and such a doting mom. Your son is really lucky to have a mom like you. Glad everything worked in your favour and you could fulfill your son’s wish.

  18. July 15, 2017 / 9:18 pm

    HEY Karen, I was surprised too when you said you were going to Malaysia but boarded a plane to Singapore…lol..i was thinking “hope she knows its a different country” Glad you guys were able to make it there 🙂

    • July 16, 2017 / 2:38 pm

      Haha. Seriously I don’t know how I missed it. Lesson learned though.

  19. July 16, 2017 / 5:53 am

    The pictures tell me that Aiden definitely loves to face the camera. Singapore is impressive, very neat and clean for sure. I loved it too. The second part of the blog was very gripping because I was curious to know whether you could make to Thomas Town or not. A lot of people often go to this part of the Malaysian border so its doable.Glad your son had a great time..

  20. July 17, 2017 / 1:23 pm

    I love that you travel with your kid. I wish more people did. I am glad to hear everything worked out in the end and you managed to fulfil your sons wish.

  21. Linda Szymoniak
    August 1, 2017 / 7:47 am

    The only time I’ve left the US was to visit Canada (and have been there only three times). I’d love to do some world travel. I wish I could have taken my girls when they were young, but at least my middle daughter has been to Japan twice and her boyfriend has close family in Hong Kong, so I’m sure she’ll be going there before long. Lucky girl!

  22. Alicia Boisvert
    August 15, 2017 / 9:46 am

    I love that your travelling with the kids and just enjoying everywhere a lot of people don’t when kids are younger and they should. I travelled across canada by Greyhound with my 3.5 year old and 10 month old we spent months seeing lakes. Food, shopping. Friends and just enjoying ourselves it was a great experience. The best education is travelling with your children for sure.

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