Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Long stay with kids

We came to the island for 3 months and we stayed here for 15 months, full school year of our daughter. Here is the basic info for expats or digital nomads with kids

I do like

You can walk and ride a bike  in the city (this is advantage over the South East Asia). If you need a dentist, hair dresser, groceries, coffee, bar, clothes, beach it is max 10 minutes walk or 5 min ride with a bike. You do not need a car. The city beach is one of the best city beaches. It is cheap. The central market: great fresh fish and vegetables (Especially Canarian Avocados, Mangas (not mango) and Cherry Tomatoes)

I don’t like

There is very little greenery in the island and in the Las Palmas. Very little trees and close to none of grass. Finding apartment in Santa Catalina, Alcaravaneras or Guanarteme for rent is challenging. (the laws do not help either: the airbnb apartments technically can be rented for up to 3 months by the law, and idealista.com listed ones from 12 months, so there is a gap of finding apartment for 3-12 months period). The quality of restaurants is poor.

Restaurants

  • Cafe Regina serves good food and is very popular among digital nomads.
  • Croissanteria hermanos Rogelio. My favorite breakfast place for sandwitches and  coffee. Try the two kinds of “Especial”
  • Eggs for breakfast. This is challenge :)) Forget about Benedicts 😉
  • Tapas night. Every Thursday night at Vegueta.

Tapas Night in Vegeuta.My favorite  breakfast place

Transport

City is quite small and dense. The public bus GuaGuas system is well developed. Any trip cost 1.4€ if paid in the bus, or 0.85€ if paid using yellow card. If you switch buses during one hour, you are charged once with yellow card. The best routes can be found on google maps, though the arrival times of buses are incorrect. Even the dashboards in bus stations show wrong arrival times.

Traffic issues. I had two traffic issues during 2017 January. The first one is when i came back from Fuerteventura in January 5th – it was a 3 kings day. It took 3 hours to go 3.5km. The second was January 16th, when we was a running event in the city – even though not all the streets were closed, i could get a taxi to the airport. Apparently there was no taxi in radius of 3km and there were less of them – I was lucky, that a lady with X6 took my mother in law to the airport 🙂

Citybikes

Non residents CAN USE city bikes for free. The process is you have to register, than you have to come to one of 4 GuaGuas stations, present Your id, with which you registered your card (1.5euro) which is also can be used for bus, is approved for bikes.

Kindergartens

I have visited 3 Kindergartens which seemed the best for me and my 3 year old daughter: Anita Conrad, Hispano Ingles and BRAINS school.

Hispano Ingles has the best real estate. The building looks really nice and would be perfect, though customer support is terrible and there is a feeling that i have to beg for my children to get enrolled. Price for the school is 600-700/month

Anita Conrad – trilingual school. The advantages of this school that it is run by owner Anita Conrad and you can feel like at home at this pleasant german woman, what is i want my child to feel in kindergarten. Another great thing about this school that they have nice, green garden. (both Hispano Ingles and Brains do not have). The reason we didn’t choose this school was that our child spoke none of the 3 languages that are taught in this school and we thought this will be too stressful for her.

Brains school. We have chosen this school and that is said about this. Price for the school is around 600€ a month.

For the second child we have chose Anita Conrad and now from retrospective i rate this school better, though the Brains school parents were great and social. The drop-off and pickup of children in Brains is amazing and i have never seen such social thing in any other school.

Real Estate

To sum up Las Palmas is 2x cheaper than Barcelona. It is even cheaper than UBUD. At the time of writing 2 bedroom nightly rate at airbnb was 75€. We have rented 3 properties for medium term.

  • 3 bedroom. Good interior. Condo with a pool in Calle Daoiz @2100€ for 5 month rental.

  • 2 bedroom. Dark apartment, with 2 internal patios in calle Portugal @1400€ / month

  • 2 bedroom. Good interior. Penthouse with a terraza 3 months @1500€

  • 3 bedroom. Decent Interior. In front of main shopping mall El Corte Ingles @1300€/month for 3 month rental.

 

Going out

Spanish people are very open for new relationships. It is the opposite from norwegians (where i have lived for more than a year)

Hospitals / Pharmacies

It happened that my 1.5 year old son had a severe fewer. We had to go to the hospital Perpetuo Socorro. I highly recommend this hospital. And it is unbelievably cheap: 4 hour stay in bed, with all the machines connected, medicine, juice cost only 50€.

List of Pharmacies that work on Sundays or 24 hours

Babysitters

Best place to find a babysitter is TopNanny.es. They usually want 7-10€/hour. It is quite easy to find as the supply/quality is quite good. And if you can accept only spanish speaking babysitter – the supply is enormous.

Buying things online. 

It is Spain in the ass to buy something online in Canaries. First of all many companies do not ship because of the tax regulation. (Canaries is not treated same as European Union). Only items that are cheaper than 22€ are not subject to import taxes. The Amazon.es works perfect and with Prime (19€/year) you get all shipping free and tax deducted. If you buy more expensive stuff, like Kindle Oasis or Neato Botvac 75, the duties and customs (aduana) services sums up to lower price that is advertised on amazon.es.

Weather. Until 2016 December 15th the weather was perfect and we used to go to beach daily. Then it got colder, but the January February was rather ok. If it was 21 degrees and now wind – the weather was perfect. The worst weather was in first 3 weeks of March – windy and degrees 19 at day and 14 at night.

 

Livigno. Hotel Spol.

It was my third time in Livigno. Honeymoon with wife and no kids. Livigno is a valley with two mountains: Carousello on the left bank of the river and Motolino on the right side. The pedestrian zone with all the apres-ski bars are on the the left side and mainly near ski lift Tagliede.

People usually ski until 11am inthe courosello part and later take a ski bus to motolino, the reason for that is the sun appears around 11am in motolino.

If you are a good skier i would recommend living in the motolino side as the mountains and lifts are better there, but you may feel lazy to take taxi/bus to go out. (To walk it is quite a long walk)

Hotel Spol

  • Good location.
  • Good spa with decent size pool and turkish and finish saunas, where quality tea is served for free.
  • 3 minute walk to chair lift/ticket office/ ski school / ski bus
  • 2 minute walk to pedestrian zone.
  • Breakfast: any types of eggs served and great cappuccino.

There are two types of rooms. The night rate with breakfast starts at 200€

The better room:

The room for less 195€:

Karokoi Istanbul

This was my second visit to Istanbul after 10 years. First time we came to Istanbul for a weekend, visited museums and mosques and stayed in old town. The goal of this visit was friends wedding, which was at Cubuklu 29. My turkish friends recommended to stay in Taksim or Karokoy. Karokoy is in the crossroad between old town and Asia. What i liked the best about Karokoy that it feels like western Europe: nice people, good cafes and restaurants. After doing some research where to stay we have chosen Georges Galata hotel. Although we didnt stay in Georges Galata, due to changed travel plans and made last minute booking to 10 Karokoy. This 5* hotel we booked only for 64 euros excluding the breakfast, which we were later very happy about, because 3 minute walk was the best turkish breakfast experience and somewhere for the half of hotel price (20euros for two). (pictures bellow)

 

Continue reading Karokoi Istanbul

Hiring a babysitter in south east asia

Even though the countries in comparison to western European countries are poor, it is really difficult finding a good nanny/babysitter.

The best way so far to find one was going to massage salons and asking if anybody wants extra job or their friends do. If it doesn’t work out, the trick is to ask for 4 hours per day – I usually started from 8AM till 12PM.

The Rates i have paid:

Chiang Mai 4 hours – 500 THB. (13 euros) (English speaking with University degree.

Live in Babysitter from Chiang Mai – 6 days a week, 10 hours a day with a lunch break when children sleep – 20.000 THB (513 Euros)

Hua Hin – 300 THB for 4 hours (No english at all. Good at cleaning)

Penang (Batu Feringhi)  babysitter from Filipines –  4 hours – 40 MYR (9 Euros)

Bali there are few local babysitter conpanies, run by australian people, and they are good if you come for week or two and you need incall for few hours a day, but if you want to hire for a month or live in the cost goes to 800-1200 usd. 

We have personally used kiidu service, and paid 100 for service and 400 usd for nanny

Indonesian (bali) people compared to malaysian and thai are eager to work and harworking. Even though i had babysitter hired, i have been offered 3 times in period of a week for babysitter services, so i could say that finding babysitter in Bali is really easy

Penang

There not many blogs about longstay travel in Penang. I have heard lots of people that they like Penang, but there are not many people staying and writing about long stay in Penang and here. First inpresion on Penang is where China and India meet.

Accomodation

We have stayed in Maritimes suites in Jelugor 2-5km South of George Town and in Batu Feringhi By the Sea Condominium

My priorities for choosing place for longstay is quality condominium with a pool.

Penang Cafes

Food in George Town

Food #2 by CNN with a map

My Personal best dish: Tiger Char Koay Teow @ Kafe Ping Hooi (Youtube)

Penang Street Art Map

Penang or Chiang Mai for digital nomad? (my winner: Chiang Mai)

Accomodation:

By the Sea Condominium Batu Feringhi

Batu Ferringgi

I have done a lot of reaearch and this is one of the best condominiums in Penang for holiday rental.

The best thing about this condominium is its microclimate. As it has a mountain which gives a shadow, as well one of the buildings gives shadow to the pool for all day and it feels like 28 celcius. In addition very often it has breeze from the see and it usually rains at nigh so you find grass and pavements wet in the morning.

The pool is great and i have enjoyed the gym quite often.

The the main disadvantages are: there is no shopping for groceries, but we solved it with tesco free home delivery. And for vegetables and meet we went once a week with a bus to Gurney drive shopping mall: cold storage.

Building 98, 100, 102 if you take east side keep in mind that there is mosque just in front of your windows and 6AM they start praying  and putting that on the speakers.

Rented over AirBnb for 1300 euros / month

    
  

 

  View from gym

  

  

Maritime Suites Condo Penang

 

Two towers in south side of George Town, just across river to Jelutong.

One tower is a hotel and another tower is residential combined with offices.

There are many ads in Airbnb for short term rentals in this condominium. Typical apartment is 2 bedroom and 2 bathroom with Extremely small kitchen. All units are 2 floor: first floor is a bedroom and living room with double high ceiling and a bathroom. Second floor has quite big bedroom with en-suite bathroom.

The main advantage of this condominium is pool and location, even though it is quite complicated to go on foot to old town and it took us 30 minutes to reach the Jetti, which only first 10 minutes was a nice pedestrian area, and then we had to pass the communal (free) housing area. The area by the way is worth seeing as architectural piece of art, and better value how good we live.

The condo has 2 big eating (hawker) centers. One going south by the water and another going west.

We booked a last minute booking 8 nights at 55euros a night with all the fees included.

Chiang Mai

The first impression about Chiang Mai was negative. Traffic, pollution, no parks in walking distance, non pedestrian zones, especially bad pavements for baby strollers.

And after one week, my opinion has changed drastically. It has all the cities amenities as well you feel as in village, where you know your neighbours and meet same people in town . Recommended videos for Chiang Mai:

 

Recommended things to do:

Chiang Mai Zoo. Tip: do NOT go to seaquarium it is waste of time and money;

Video blog from Chiang Mai zoo from my neighbour

Test different cafe every morning

3D art museum

Nothing special:

Saturday walking street. Sunday walking street.

Nong Buak Hard Public Park. Tiny park in the left bottom corner of old town. Nothing special, unless you see this:

What we have left for another visit: Chiang Mai Canyon

 

Coworking places:

there are few of them, but one that is not advertised a lot and i liked it is at Maya shopping centre 4th floor.

Do NOT go to Chiang Mai on March 10th – April 10th approximately, as the burning of fields begin, and smog covers the city.

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Twin Peaks Condo we lived in Chiang Mai

The best centrally located condo in Chiang Mai (2015)

Recommendation: do not rent 2d floor, as some of the apartments have limited view windows. The Swimming pool and the gym is on the third floor.

Owner wanted to rent for 3-6 months at 37k THB, and 6-12 months for 35k THB, we convinced us to rent this for 1 month at 40k THB + electricity and water.

Rented from Chiang Mai Properties

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Met:

Travelling with a child

Owner of Despreneur

Australian family with same age kids

Alhambra del Mar Marbella review

Main places to find a rental is Fotocasa.es, but particular apartment was found in finn.no.

I could recommend Norwegian realtor and another real Estate agency in Puerto Banus

We have spent 7 winter months in Marbella. Renting a 140 square meter, 2 bedroom, 2.5 bath apartment for 1750 euro at Alhambra del Mar condominium.

The best thing about this condominium is – location. It is in the middle of the old town and Puerto Banus. Both walking distance. Many cafes and restaurants are close and my favorite Cuppuccino cafe just 50 meters from my apartment. Only 10% of apartments have people living during winter months.

Negative things about this condominium: no heated pool. (november is already cold to swim)

No decent tennis court nearby. (Grand Melia hotel which is 5 minutes walk has both tennis and padel courts, but tennis courts are very poor)
IMG_2200view from balcony
IMG_2176view from living room
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old bathroom
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Car parking with tasty oranges

IMG_4432road to Puerto Banus. Bicycles allowed
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My dream car in Puerto BanusIMG_4714

plenty of police. Feels safe in here
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Friends visiting on Christmas


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Puerto Deportivo child playground. 15 minutes walkIMG_3459Old town. 20 minute walk
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Malaga old town. 50 minutes driveIMG_3810

Fuengirola zoo. Small, but a must to visit place. 30 minutes driveIMG_3811

Before coming to Marbella on October 1st, 2014, i was searching out what the weather in Marbella will be like in winter. Haven’t found a good source, therefor i will post here real temperatures from this winter.

October was really hot. October 28th i swam in the sea, as the water was 21 celsius. In October there were few days when it rained all day, but in general October was perfect. November first week it got really cold with temperatures at day dropping to 19 but around. Also if you live on Paseo Maritimo it feels cold (out of humidity) in the morning and evenings, but if you move to second line from the sea, you don’t feel humidity at all. November 7th it bounced back to 23. I decided to gather all the results at the end of November

November 26

15.00 – 24 celsius
19.30 – 18 celsius
November 27
9.00 – 17 celsius
14.00 – 15 celsius (raining all day)

November 28
8.30 – 15 celsius (raining all night) dark outside

2015 The beginning of January the weather was perfect. Days at around 18 and sunny. The End of Jan on beginning for FEB was worse, still at 16, with few days of rain.

Shorts and a hoodie is perfect outfit.

March on average has 7 rainy days, and 2015 the beggining of march had only 1 rainy day, but the end was total crap.

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and of course there was one day with snow, even though the temperature was 14 degrees celcius 🙂

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Bangkok

Bangkok
Recommended length of stay: 1 day.
Things to do:
River/canal boat tour. There are 2 to 4 hour options, but 2 hours is more than enough, if you are not willing to visit every temple and feed the fish for half an hour.
Khaosan Road (backpackers street) good thai food, cheap massage, lots of people. Cheap hotels around 30usd.
Hotels
Lebua hotel – is famous for its restaurants. (be careful many of them do not allow with children until 14years old) Dinner cost ±100 usd per person. If you are on a budget – i recommend you visiting a sky-bar and have a drink (15usd) then go eat somewhere else. Great breakfast. (there are only 2 places that i remember about breakfast: Lebua and Rye Juan Carlos in Barcelona)
Baiyoke hotel – do not recommend. Tallest building in Thailand, but the hotel is less than average 3*
Aetas Lumpini – 5 star hotel for a 3 star hotel price. Stayed few times there.
Conrad Hotel – one of very few hotels in central Bangkok with a tennis court. Has good restaurants and breakfast.
Taxi
do not ride TukTuk, unless for an attraction, because they are rather expensive at the end..
taxi is cheap in Bangkok and you should always pay what is written on the meter. Never negotiate with taxi driver (only tourists negotiate) just sit in and drive, at the end you pay what the meter says.