I'm a travelling mother of one, from the UK but now living in Indonesia. Looking forward to sharing day out ideas with you.
Published July 4th 2019
Role playing taken to a whole new level
Kota Mini is an attraction within the garden lake complex that is the Floating Market. If you need more information on the Floating Market please take a look here [LINK=https://www.weekendnotes.com/the-floating-market-lembang-bandung/]
Kota Mini is designed for children. It's a small single street with little light coloured 'Dutch' inspired houses on either side. From the map, it looked like there was another path around the complex but in fact, this is only for the mini train ride to use. As Kota Mini is a feature within the Floating Garden you have to pay twice. Once to enter the gardens and then again to enter Kota Mini. As I hadn't expected to pay twice I wasn't very impressed. And then when we wandered down the little street I realised how short it was. At the end of the street, you'll find a carnival area and playground. When you get to the ticket office you need to pay for each person and for the houses you would like to enter (although there's a second ticket booth inside in case you wish to add more money.) You also need to pay 5000 IDR for the card, pictured above, which you keep for future visits. I did think it was a deposit and return system but I was wrong.
Even with my scepticism, once I was inside I was very surprised by how much effort had been put into the 'town'. Yes, it was short but there was so much detail and so much to do if you paid. Take a look at the picture with the prices and you'll see there are salons, hospitals, a fire station, police station and bakery plus much more. What then impressed me, even more, was that it wasn't just getting dressed up as a firefighter, nurse or cook etc. There was a whole organised role-playing activity planned out. The information displayed on each door explained the minimum age, number of children in order to run the activity and its duration and cost, so it's really clear. The staff then take the card you will have been given at the ticket booth and swipe it. I have to say my toddler and I watched one role play and it was fantastic. The three children got dressed up as firefighters and then rode a small remote-controlled fire engine down the road and back again.
Upon their return the old looking house next door to the fire station started to alarm and red material is seen at the windows, which looked like fire. So the children all jumped out and used the fixed fire hoses to spray the house with water for about 2 minutes. My little person didn't like the fact there was an actor in the window of the house shouting for help – it did look good but a little too realistic. The part of the roleplay I saw I for the police was when a traditionally dressed burglar in black and white ran out of the police station and the children, who were all dressed as officers, gave chase. There was also a science lab, cookery lesson and much more. I think if we had done this first we would have gotten a lot more involved.
Where's the catch? Sadly as good as I thought the little village was and as great as the role play activities were, you did have to pay to enter every house. There was a multi-house ticket for 5 houses, but still, you pay to enter the gardens, then to enter Kota Mini and then again to do anything within it. I'm not really even sure what you pay for when you enter Kota Mini; it's very small. At least when you pay for the Floating Garden there's a lot of garden, lake and park area to walk around and enjoy.
I left this part of our day a little too late into our morning and my toddler was very tired so we didn't do any of the houses. The whole street is only about 150 metres long and there's nothing to really do unless you play for an experience. Even the playground at the end of the street was an extra fee.
Would I go again? Yes absolutely, but I now know the budget a little better. And I would make sure we did this as either the only event of the day or at least the first thing. Also, I might consider doing this again when she's a little older. I think that would help her understand the games a little more and that the man 'inside the burning building' wasn't really in trouble.
Last side note – the internet signal was terrible when we were there, which left me in a spot of trouble arranging our pick up home. I would say either arrange a collection time or from the top entrance, exit it and turn left and head up the hill to the shop Burma as they had wi-fi.
If you get to Kota Mini let me know what your children and you felt about it – did they enjoy the roleplays?