Thursday, November 27, 2014

Drums Lessons at Thunder Rock School

As previously posted, the little boy is currently learning piano from Forte Musicademy.  He had also been asking about drums lesson and finally after procrastinating for almost half a year, I finally took him to Thunder Rock School at East Coast for a trial lesson and the boy just loved it!  He had such a great time and we signed up for lessons immediately.

The school is located at 43 East Coast Road and is on the second floor.  It is run by a group of extremely talented young musicians, in fact, a number of the teachers in the school are part of the local band DEON.  They are passionate about music and the school "is a place where fun is injected into music lessons, learning and creation. By placing a strong emphasis on music creativity and infusing that with the latest and proper music techniques, students are guided and provided with the skill that will enable them to forge out a hobby beyond the confines of the bedroom or a possible musical career.".

This is a small set up but they have lessons for piano, keyboard, guitar, song writing, vocals and even dj'ing on top of drums!  Here's a link on all the different classes offered in the school.

The boy's drum teacher is a great guy who loves kids too.  What seals it for us is that he is also passionate about God.  So, the boy is going to learn to groove to contemporary praise and worship music! What an awesome combination!

The boy had his first lesson yesterday after attending the trial session last week and he basically ran into the classroom and got himself ready.  He had been waiting impatiently for the whole week to go for his drums class.

Here's the boy and the teacher grooving to some praise and worship music.

The school works with the students' choice of music to help encourage and cultivate the continuous interest.  In the case of our family, as we do not listen to much secular music, it is wonderful that we have been blessed with a musician/teacher who is also into Christian pop.

So, if you are keen on drums or piano, keyboard, song writing etc for your kids, do check out Thunder Rock School.  They have two branches, one in East Coast and another in Thomson.

The girl also tried out the non classical piano class yesterday.  I will post more about it after she has her first lesson.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Family Holiday to Krabi, Thailand Part 2

We recently went to Krabi, Thailand and I wrote about the first half of our holiday here.  I had broken up our holiday into two parts with stays in two different hotels.

After 5 days in our first hotel, we moved on to Holiday Inn Resort Krabi which was along Ao Nang Beach.

We had a wonderful time in the first five days and on hindsight, I have to admit that moving from an awesome five star hotel to a good four star hotel is not sometime I would do in future.  Maybe a move from four to five would be a better way to manage the holiday.  The hotel itself is not bad, in fact, I have to compliment the staff who were amazing!  The kids club was a real treat!  It was definitely more engaging and exciting for the kids.  The swimming pools were great as well with four different slides.  On top of that, kids eat and stay for free!  That meant that when we ate at the main restaurant for dinner, which we did on the first night, it was free for the kids.  So I would say that Holiday Inn Resort Krabi is a terrific value for money option.  It is a great four star hotel.  The downside is that being a family oriented hotel, it can be a bit noisy and crowded.

Here we are, enjoying the pool and the boy is having his mango smoothie while the girl pretends to make a face!

The beautiful grounds featuring the swimming pool.  This is taken from the hotel's restaurant where we had our breakfast. 

Kids having a fabulous time with the staff of the kids club for Halloween.

Getting ready to explore a little of Ao Nang on a tuk tuk.  The kids loved going on the tuk tuk.

Along the road, we noticed that one could even rent a tuk tuk and drive around by ourselves.

On of the favourite part of the trip for the girl was getting her hair braids done.  It took an awfully long time though.  All in all, about 90 mins for 30-40 braids.  And during this 90 mins, the girl was chatting non-stop!  

And that takes us to the end of our trip.  We took the budget airline, Tigerair,  back to Singapore as they had a flight that leaves Krabi in the afternoon.  It works out perfectly as we could check out at 12pm and arrange for a taxi to pick us up from the hotel and send us to the airport at around 1pm.

Would I recommend going to Krabi?  Definitely!  Depending on what your preference is, I would say that both hotels are wonderful in their own ways.  If you like nature and more peaceful, chill and relax type of a holiday, I would recommend Centara Grand Resort and Villas Krabi.  It is a little pricey but worth the money.  If you like to be in the bustle of activities, visit the town itself and walk around exploring the area, then Holiday Inn Resort Krabi would be a great option.  It is easier on the pocket, in a great location and easily accessible.   

Monday, November 10, 2014

Family Holiday to Krabi, Thailand Part 1

The kids had their mid term school holidays during the last two weeks of October and we decided to take them to Krabi.  They had a very good time the previous year when we went off to Phuket to escape the haze in Singapore and so we thought another beach holiday would be nice.

We decided on Krabi since it is not too far away and we could easily get cheap budget flights there.  We took AirAsia there as the timing was good, we departed on a Saturday at 3pm and arrived there at 3:30pm due to the time difference of an hour.

The flight was uneventful and quick, just 90 mins to get to our destination.  It was bearable and within expectations of a budget airline.  I would compare it pretty much to taking a standard public transport ride.

Just before landing!

I had booked a taxi service on Krabitaxi before leaving Singapore and there was a lady holding a sign with my name as we exited the arrival hall.  As we were four, I had booked a "private luxury sedan" which was a simple car that would take the four of us comfortably.  Nothing fancy but sufficient.  We waited about 10 mins after being received before the driver arrived.  The lady had some problems calling the driver but once he was there, everything went smoothly.  He sent us to the pier where we had to get a speed boat to our hotel, Centara Grand Beach Resort and Villas Krabi.  I had researched on the hotels in Krabi and decided on Centrara Grand because it was private, the only way in was through the speed boat or walking about 20mins on a Monkey Trail (which was said to be a little daunting for little ones or when it rains/storms).  I kindly of like the idea that we are isolated, but I also booked another hotel for the second part of the holiday where they seemed more kids focused and along the main Ao Nang stretch for the children.

Here, we are, approaching the hotel in the speed boat!  It looked like a nice little paradise!

We checked in very quickly and were shown to our room.  It was better than I expected.  Very tastefully done.

For the first evening, we rested and then went to check out the restaurant for dinner.  The hotel had four restaurants and we tried three of them and they were quite good.  We skipped the Japanese since in Singapore, we have much better options for Japanese food with the prices that they were charging.  For Krabi's standard, the prices at the resort are quite steep, but it is in accordance with what one would pay at a normal five star hotel.  On average, we would spend around S$70-$90 per meal for the four of us.  Thankfully breakfast was included in our stay! :)

On the second day, we decided to spend most of the time by the pool.  It was just SO RELAXING!

And we ate by the pool as well! 

The children had a fun time playing.

The kids club was also a blessing. Almost all the time that we brought the little ones, they were the only children.  So they had the attention of the carers and was able to participate in the craft activities with undivided attention from the staff.  During our five days, they managed to make a piggy bank and a photo frame as well as learn how to speak Thai!

One of the mornings, hubby took the girl and the boy on an excursion trip to visit the Four Islands for snorkeling as I needed some quiet time to complete an assignment I had due.  They came back with amazing photos!  The water was so clear!  They totally enjoyed themselves and said that this is definitely a highlight of the trip for them.

This is just beautiful!  Crystal clear water.

And hubby and I enjoyed some romantic moments when the children were in the kids' club.  We were able to have drinks by the beach, had some couple time and relaxed.

All in all, We all had a great time at Centara Grand and there was enough activities or space to do things as a family, as a couple and even individually as well (Both hubby and I went for our 90mins massages separately too).  Centara hotel group has a cash bonanza promotion where if you deposit a minimum of 10,000 baht, they would give an additional 30% (or more) bahts in the account.  Which meant that you would enjoy some discount off the food and spa bill at the end of the stay making it a bit more affordable to spend within the hotel.

After four nights in Centara Grand Beach Resort and Villas Krabi, we moved to on to our next hotel.  The post will continue in Part 2.