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Monday, 11 January 2016

Staycation with Kids at The Canopi, Bintan Island

The attractive factor of The Canopi is definitely their crystal lagoon;
 an enchanting man-made beach with treated sea-water that is gorgeously turquoise clear.
Ever since I posted the first picture on my Instagram (aderearian), I received at least 4-5 texts on the same day asking where this place was. One even asked if this was Maldives!
Nobody guessed that we were only an hour ferry ride away from Singapore.
The Canopi offers a unique "Glamping" experience, which means "glamorous camping" or camping in luxury! We slept in huge spacious safari tents and at the same time, we get to enjoy the outdoor camping features. I described this as "camping cheating" , which is recommended for young kids though! You want the kids to experience a camping vacation but at same time you want to keep it safe, comfortable and enjoyable .
The poster bed and Victorian lamps bestowed the room a slight touch of luxury. The furnishing is interesting with wooden trunks as cabinets and attached with an open-concept rainforest bathroom. I can see their effort in bringing guests closer to nature as much as possible. The bed and pillows are really comfy and an extra day bed is provided in each room.
Rboy playing with his legos that we brought along .
This was actually a trip specially planned for Rboy and his friends for their yearly Xmas gifts exchange gathering. (We did not take BabyK with us but we'll make it up to him haha.) 
I was so looking forward to try most of the activities at their sports centre but were disappointed to be informed that most of the activities were fully booked or not available. All of their rides were under maintenance..zzz. What a great let-down! It was during the December holiday and probably since The Canopi is a newly opened resort, they are not really prepared for the sudden influx of visitors during the peak period. Only the AVT rides were suitable for the kids but the adults were not allowed to ride together with them. This was a new rule just made on the same day when we arrived.
The kids were jumping in joy once they saw the AVT and everyone cant wait to give it a try. However they were too young to handle the ride by themselves, so I was really upset that we were not allowed to ride on it together. Still, the kids were also happy enough to take turns on the AVT for that short 5 minutes "test drive" around the centre.
There is a distance from the sports centre and the reception area to our tent, so we made the right decision to rent an electric scooter on the second day to get around the resort. It was Rboy's first scooter ride experience and he LOVES the scooter so damn much that he didn't even mind riding under the sweltering heat.
So without the chance to book any activities on the first day, we decided to head straight to the beach! Very soon the kids got themselves very comfortable with the water and sand play.
The sand was not the white and powdery kind which I've expected, but no complains from the kids though. They were satisfied with whatever kind of play that were thrown to them.
The crystal lagoon was the main attraction of The Canopi and the kids love every single moment spent at the water. The heat from the sun was quite a killer but the kids were engrossed in their play so much to even bother about the sun.
We haven't got a chance to try this challenging floating platform because we thought it was too hot for the kids to go up on it. Another time then!
Our tents came with an outdoor Jacuzzi and it was also a hit among the kids! I was actually preparing a bubble bath for myself but the rising bubble foam captured the kids' attention and they began their own bubble fight with one another! Lots of play, screams and laughter makes a very memorable trip for the kids!
During one of the nights, we arranged for a BBQ dinner right under the beautiful night sky littered with stars. The ambience was perfect for a night of buddies-chilling session, and that was what the daddies did, right after they completed the task of serving the wives and kiddos with the bbq food.
Another highlights of this trip for Rboy was our fireflies mangrove tour. While strapping on our life jackets ,I had second thoughts on whether to let Rboy get on the dubious tattered-looking boat. I was afraid that the darkness would scare him and began to imagine the worse fear that may happen, eg. the boat capsized into the mangrove swamp infested with crocodiles!
It was a mixture of excitation and confusion for my 3 years old. He did not understand and did not know what to expect from the mangrove tour, but he was very impatient and can't wait to get on to the boat immediately.
In the end, I was glad I was steadfast in my decision. Rboy showed no signs of anxiety even when we entered the dark mangrove. He was only very curious and kept asking repeatedly where the boat was heading. Very soon then, he was mesmerised by the surprised fireflies that floated out from the bushes and trees along the swamp. I was really touched to see that smile of awe in his face when he tried to hold the glowing fireflies in his palm. Overall it was an unforgettable new experience for us.
 The only blurry photo I got from our mangrove tour
Some "not-so-goods" of The Canopi
- No telephones are provided in the room therefore each time we need to make any room service request or enquires, we've to walk all the way to the reception area to do so. All bookings of the land and water activities have to be made personally at the sport centre too, which is NOT walking distance from the tents if you've kids. We need to walk to the reception area first and wait (at least 10 minutes) for the buggy to arrive and bring us there. This is rather time consuming just to make a booking.  
- Anywhere outside the tent is non-air-conditioned, even the lobby or the café which is really hot and stuffy during the day. You probably have to wait patiently and bear the uncomfortable heat at the non-airconditioned/no-fan lobby if you arrived there earlier than your check-in timing.
- The carpet is really rough and prickly , but no bedroom slippers are provided.
- No hot water in our shower and our Jacuzzis.
- There's only one café inside the resort which is infested with flies that terrorised Rboy (My spoilt boy is not used to sharing his food with flies). Food is mediocre and price is almost the same as Singapore's restaurants. (Average $15 for a pasta). Breakfast is included in our stay but you definitely wont miss out anything even if you skipped it. We tried the breakfast on the first day and was determined to forgo it on the second day.
- The Canopi advertised strongly on their broad variety of land and water activities but most were unavailable when we reached there. (Most of the rides were under maintenance...during peak period???..wth..)
- Lots of mozzies at night (because it's so close to "nature") , so bring lots of repellent!
The Canopi resort is truly an innovative resort great for some adventure fun with kids, especially if you're looking for a short and affordable getaway near Singapore. Nevertheless, it still has so much room for improvements which I hope for them to polish up before I decide to make my way back again.

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