How Tjin Lee balances girl time and mum duty in Samui

Travelling with children is no easy feat – ask any parent! On a good day, you have happy, curious children who are quite happy to try everything you feed them, and who can be easily entertained with a toy and a big swimming pool. On a bad day… well, like we said, no easy feat. But Tjin Lee, entrepreneur and mother of two boys (Tyler is 5, Jake is 3), has a secret for managing young children while on holiday. During her recent stay in Villa Haineu in Samui, she and her friends actually got to enjoy a lot of girl time together even with their kids around, so we asked her how she does it.

How was it travelling in Samui with kids?

Booking a villa was definitely the best thing we could have done. The villa came with a manager, in-house chef and staff who helped with planning activities, dining, and other little things like helping us inflate all the pool toys we brought, and booking in-villa massages that we could enjoy in the comfort of our rooms.

Tjin Lee Villa Haineu Samui
The pool at Villa Haineu. Photo: Tjin Lee

What are extra things you pack when travelling with young children?

In this case, it was pool floats, beach toys and lots of spray-on sunblock! Activities to entertain the kids like sticker books, drawing pads and markers are really handy when it’s raining or it’s too hot outside.

Read also: Cara G Mcilroy’s top tips on travelling with kids in Samui

What do you do to keep the kids happy during long travels?

Apart from the activity materials I mentioned, we sometimes let them pick up a new toy at the departure lounge to keep them entertained throughout the flight and holiday too. But mostly for beach holidays, they’re happy just to swim and play on the beach!

Is there anything your kids love about travelling?

They actually love the flight itself! And honestly, just spending quality time with me. Kids love having their parents’ undivided attention, so put away that mobile phone when you’re on vacation!

Tjin Lee Villa Haineu Samui
Brothers Jake and Tyler. Photo: Tjin Lee

Did your kids get home sick?

No! Home is where the heart is – they love travelling as a family! I bring each of the boys on solo trips occasionally, to spend one-on-one bonding time and get to know my children individually, and not just as brothers. Sometimes they miss each other, like Jake would want to buy Tyler souvenirs.

How did they like the villas?

They loved it! They loved the beachfront access, the private swimming pool, taking bubble baths in the tub, and the spacious living room which is fabulous for the family to hang out.

Did you and your friends get to have some time where it was just you girls? How did you balance time for that and your kids?

After putting the kids to sleep, us mamas had some free time to enjoy conversation over a bottle of wine and mango sticky rice! The villa has a lot of space and is set up in such an ideal way where we can be near our kids (like at the beach or pool) and we’d still have our own adults-only space.

Tjin Lee Villa Haineu Samui
Tjin, her friends, and their children. Photo: Tjin Lee

Is there anything about travelling with kids that’s better than travelling in an all-adult group?

Of course! There’s no better “babysitter” for a five year old than another five year old! You enjoy quality time with your own kids, but your kids also have playmates to keep them entertained! Travelling with mums and kids is my new favourite kind of holiday, where we don’t have to wait for daddy’s busy schedules to clear up! I’ll be looking forward to doing more of these holidays in 2019.

What’s your favourite thing about Samui?

The beaches and the sunset! Also, chill vibes, massages and great dining options.

What family-friendly activities in Samui would you recommend to other mums?

We went zip-lining over Lamai Viewpoint, which was really fun! There was also a cable car that takes you to the hilltop where you get stunning views of the sea and treetops. I won’t recommend riding elephants, for ethical reasons. For older kids, you can also book Muay Thai lessons and they can send an instructor to your villa for a private group lesson. We also checked out the nearby Nikki Beach Resort Koh Samui on a Sunday – the adults enjoyed a champagne brunch while the kids had fun in the swimming pool!

Tjin Lee Villa Haineu Samui
Wise words. Photo: Tjin Lee

Up for a holiday? Check out Villa Haineu here.

Read also: Family-friendly villas in Koh Samui you need to know about

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Andrea Tim

Andrea is a serial kopi peng drinker (for fun, not for the caffeine; coffee doesn't wake her up) and believer in keyboard shortcuts. She sees The Dress as blue and black, and hears both Yanny and Laurel. Make of that what you will.

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