We’ve been researching getting from Ko Phangan to Malaysia for a few days now. That’s when we’re not sitting in the shade looking at the turquoise waters of Haad Salad beach, eating fantastic Thai food, occasionally swimming, snorkelling or kayaking and gazing at sunsets. Tough to take, but we need to get to Malaysia from Thailand before our Thai visas expire. The only thing bugging me right now is the kids tablets, I so wish we’d never bought them. I’ve never seen the kids as grumpy and fed up as since the tablets entered their lives. Our Kindle only rule while travelling went out of the window once the tablets arrived and my happy readers have turned into bored stimulation junkies. The tablets get a big thumbs down from this travelling family.
Beach life sounds good doesn’t it? But the kids are bored. It’s all just the same, every day, this isn’t travelling and it’s not their thing. We lived on a beach back in Port Douglas, they’re over it. Slow travel is not exciting and I 100% agree with them on that. Slow travel sucks.
” There’s nothing to do Mum!”
What they really mean is, they want the tablets. The tablets are far more fun that taking their 50th kayak ride or swimming in the sea as they do every day.
The kids take a lot of entertaining, it’s probably the hardest part about being here “relaxing” while Chef recovers from surgery and, of course, I’m having to be both parents at once. Chef can’t do any of the physical stuff with them. I’m doing quite well, I’ve paddled miles and had a lot of fun but it’s pretty full on.
As well as water activities we have Uno, bats and balls, footballs, a frisbees, books, occasional school work, I’m reading The Hobbit to them, and still they’re fed up. All they want are the tablets and I say no. They’re here to experience Thailand not gawp at screens, they could do that anywhere.
The old line ” I’m not the entertainment committee.” just doesn’t cut it. When they’re bored they fight and that drives me nuts. They enjoy fighting, it’s a boy thing, but mum can’t stand it. I refuse to let them fiddle about with their tablets all day, that’s not why we’re here. Boredom isn’t attractive and nobody wants to hear about it.
I’ve had enough!
Skip to the bottom to read what I really think about tablets!
Getting to Malaysia from Ko Phangan
When we’re actually travelling we’re all fine, so I’m really looking forward to getting back to Malaysia.
We’ve looked at every possible combination of ferry, bus and train for getting from Ko Phangan to Malaysia. As extreme budget travellers we’re looking for the cheapest route, but after Chef’s medical emergency, we need to get to Malaysia without too much walking or hefting packs. It was looking like we’d have to stay overnight somewhere en route and pay for a hotel which would up our expenses. The trains to Malaysia from this part of Thailand leave at 1am, it’s all a bit complex.
Yesterday we found ourselves a bargain. We checked the Air Asia website and for just $22 AU, each, we bought tickets from Surat Thani to Kuala Lumpur. That’s the sort of thing that lifts everyone’s spirits. Checked baggage is $18 for 20Kg. No catches, no other hidden extras. We’re pretty happy!
This takes us back to how we originally started this adventure. Rather than flying from Cairns, or Brisbane , we flew from the Gold Coast to Malaysia because of another amazing deal with Air Asia. We were better off getting a train or flight to the Gold Coast and making our way from there, rather than booking a trip from our local airport.
What We’ll Be Doing in Malaysia This Time
We only have two weeks in Malaysia and a lot to do.
Chef has never seen Kuala Lumpur, so we’ll have a few days of catching up on sights with him there.
Our must dos for him in Kuala Lumpur will include the Petronas towers and the fabulous Indian food on offer. He wants to check out our favourite hostel in KL, too. The kids say it’s the best place we’ve stayed in the last 4 months.
Our last visit to Malaysia didn’t go according to plan, freak environmental conditions drove us out. We had a great time in Kuala Lumpur and then ended up on Penang, in Batu Ferringhi, which we weren’t so keen on. We flew straight from there to Bangkok, skipping most of what we’d planned to do in Malaysia
This time we’re going south to Malacca and Johor Baru. We have tickets for Legoland Malaysia and the new Legoland Water Park down there. I have two very excited kids and they won’t have time to be bored.
But What to Do About the Boredom?
He looks pretty happy to me! These kids don’t know when they’ve got it good, they want more.
I’ve tried giving them more responsibility, sending them on errands, upping the school work, even letting them play with fire and knives and still they’re fed up. I really believe that if they didn’t have electronic gizmos and weren’t used to that level of stimulation they’d be much happier digging holes and chasing bugs. I was bored a lot as a kid too, I’d resort to making things or sitting in the garden with my rabbit thinking about stuff. I didn’t have a tablet to wish I had so I probably didn’t complain as much.
I really regret buying the tablets. They cut them off from the real world and thy’re oblivious to what’s going on in Thailand as they sit indoors beeping in the gloom.
Even when there are other kids here to play with, they often prefer the tablets. It’s not their fault, the tablets are just more fun that halfheartedly playing tag with kids they don’t particularly like. I’m going to be controversial here.
I would recommend NOT buying your kids any of these gizmos before you travel. They may make your life easier occasionally, but I don’t think they do the kids any favours at all.
The young guys ( kids themselves really, from Burma), who work here play football and volleyball with my boys sometimes and I love them for it, but that only takes up an hour or so each day. I play ball too, I’ve never kicked or headed a ball before in my life, I’m getting quite good. But still they want the tablets.
On trains they want the tablets, on buses they want the tablets. I’m pretty good at saying no, but once you waver, even once, they know there is a chink in your armour they can exploit. They were never, ever, allowed tablets in the car back home so they associated journeys with reading, singing, talking and listening to audio books, not beeping and swiping at screens. But now they’ve tasted how much fun they are they’re getting more insistent. One tablet is broken now and we won’t be replacing it. Game over.
The act of travelling, moving through a new landscape, is as much a part of this trip as any. They need to experience it fully.
Haad Salad is purely for tourists, there is no village or community, so there are no local kids for them to play with as they did in Laos. I wish there were, maybe they could show my bored kids what life is like without technology and how kids entertain themselves in this part of the world. That in itself would be something to learn.
We can’t wait to be back on the road again, this slow travel sucks and Malaysia will be a great change after Thailand. I think we all need a bit more stimulation. It’s good to keep alternating beach, culture, city and countryside.
I’m wondering if we’re all stimulation addicts, Chef and I through travel, the kids now through tablets. Is that why we travel, we have low boredom thresholds? What do you think? But my mind is firmly made up, buying kids phones or tablets is a very bad idea and the sooner these break the better. Update: They broke fast, a matter of months, we never replaced them. My kids never owned tablets again. It’s important to us that they have their own laptops and we provided them as soon as they were old enough to use them in an intelligent way. But tablets to shut them up and keep them busy….no thanks.