Our Airbnb experience

Our virgin Airbnb experience in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Some of the photos can be found in our photo albums Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4.

We are really late when it comes to booking an accommodation via Airbnb 🙂
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Our family of six is considered big. Unfortunately, that means most Hotel policy would require us to book two rooms or opt for a suite (ie spend more money). That leaves us with apartments, and recently Airbnb.

But we have also heard of horror stories about Airbnb (robbery, rape, stolen luggage, damage of furnishings etc). What about location?

For most families, safety is the Number 1 requirement, we shortlist reliable hosts, ideally a house or apartment in a safe neighbourhood.

Second criteria for us is location and convenience.
No point hunting for cheapest home only to walk 15 to 20 minutes to train or bus services daily, this would be tiring for families with young kids.

Ideally there are amenities like hot water, aircon or wifi. Carpark facility (security) will be a plus point if we choose Malaysia Airbnb options. We read all previous customers’ feedback, especially those with kids.

Fortunately, we met a superb host in Chiang Mai to seal our Airbnb experience. We rented the whole house from Mo, which comes with three bedrooms. Although house is already 80 years old (with some creaking corners), we love the whole rustic ambience.
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Kids obviously kept themselves busy playing hide and seek in the garden or feeding the guppies! We love the breakfast in the garden and I love the open air shower (can be chilly).
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Above all, our experience was really positive due to our kind host Mo (and her Mum). Their family really loves kids and we felt really comfortable staying over for four nights!

We will definitely invite our friends to consider Baan Sri Dha for their future Chiang Mai options.
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Friends and readers out there, if you have more recommendations and feedback for Airbnb selection, or even alternative accommodation options, do share with us.

We are excited about future options of loghouse, treehouse, farm house and other exotic options.
Our Airbnb experience

Airbnb website – https://www.airbnb.com

ps.. PR folks representing Apartments and Hotels out there, we are not abandoning you. Do give us a ring if you wish us to review your staycation or resort :p

Bintan Eco Village, learn about sustainable farming

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We visited Bintan Eco Village in Indonesia recently. Unlike normal holidays, Eco Village provides an edutainment experience for families.
Bintan Eco Village

Fun is only 1 hour of ferry ride away, it might even be faster than JB, no traffic jams 🙂

Ferry leaves from Tanah Merah Ferry terminal, and car park rate is only $20 max per day. Do prepare extra wear for kids as the 1 hour ferry ride can be cold.
Tanah Merah Ferry terminal parking

Enroute to Eco Village, we had a satisfying lunch at Ayam Presto. This is Indonesian style Fried chicken, and everything is deep fried till crispy, you can chew on the bones too. We dare you to try the power samba (chili).
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Appetisers and tidbits are available too, local favorite drink is Teh Botoh. This is actually Jasmine tea, but I told the kids it taste like Chrysanthemum with a tinge of herbal aftertaste.
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Their local night market is just opposite the eatery, anyone game for a Ferris spin?
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Most people come to Bintan Resorts to enjoy seaside and water activities, and massage too.

Our mission on this trip was to explore an Eco Village (one hour south of Ferry terminal at Senggiling area). Eco Village is a 350 hectares farm which helps to improve the community livelihood and environment through sustainable farming.

Sustainable farming techniques aim to minimise damage to the ecosystem and minimum wastage.
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This trip is not a normal holiday trip, as Eco Village aims to provide both education and adventure on its premises. Posters below indicate how coconuts and cloves are produced in Eco Village.

We saw cloves (丁香) and pineapple during our trip and learn about sustainable farming techniques too.
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Outdoor classroom for kids, our guide and teacher (Grace) showing the kids local produce. We identified how plants and seeds are used in our daily life.

We conveniently blush (pun intended) over Tongkat Ali’s herbal prowess :p
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We burnt a piece of Agarwood and the smell reminds us of incense (burning) and aromatherapy treatment.
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Bintan soil composite is largely made up of “bauxide” which is not suitable for clove farming. Farmers will add manure and compost to help create a suitable farming landscape.

We can use a simple kit to test the soil quality. If bulb lights up, it means soil nutrient (and compost) is good for plantation.
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Grafting combines two different species to help the growth of Clove tree. We understood Clove tree cannot grow on its own, thus it need to be grafted onto a “local” plant before it can grow. Amazing right !

I told the kids human skin can also be grafted too, example burns victim can use their buttock skin to replace burnt tissue somewhere else (Kids were sceptical!)
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To help retain the amount of water for grafted clove to grow, farmers will place a compound called Aquasorb near the roots.
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We got to taste local produce too.
But Clove Tea is too nourishing (bitter) for me, taste like a strong dose of Teh Halia.
Rose tea (Rosella) is more appealing for us (a bit like Ribena).
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This is our Eco village farmland.
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Kids wera actually eager to plant their “own” trees! I should engage them in Singapore tree planting events next time. I teased them to engrave their name and come back to claim the tree in 3 years :p
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A grown Clove tree and seed.
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Little scientists ran a series of tests to measure water quality (acidity or alkaline), visibility and oxygen level. This test allow us to know whether the water can sustain an ecosystem.
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Video (link) : The drizzle could not stop our Fun!

Kids had their first fishing experience, we caught some mini tilapias.
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We had our dinner at Plaza Lagoi before heading back to rest.
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Getting ready for room checkin, we will share more about Bintan Lagoon Resort in the next post.
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If you are looking for an unique type of holiday, more details about Bintan Eco Village can be found at this link http://bintan-resorts.com/visitors/educational/eco-village

Eco Village programme can be booked through BRC tours (http://www.brctours.com)/ brctours@bintan-resorts.com )
Programme cost : $28 without lunch / $33 with lunch at Asli & Yang (Ayam Presto)

Anyone game for a 2D1N camp?
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*updated 2017 Jan* Do pop by our review of Bintan Lagoon Resort too

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