/bɪ ə gʊd gɜ:l/ n. moniker of she who blogs here [also known as, bie]; adj. personal awesome advice to all female kiddos

meet the fam #thechennies

meet the fam #thechennies

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Ooh, Ubud

With so much happening at home, it seems like our Bali trip was much longer than a couple of weeks ago. It was a rather short trip - only 3 days and 3 nights - because it was the only time that ZX could squeeze out for us. Our vacay was also quite slack and we (obviously) mostly did kiddy stuff, but it was a good break and escape from stuff here. I'll be doing a quick post by the regions we visited, i.e. Ubud (the cultural centre of Bali) and Seminyak (the hip area).

It was our first time to Bali so we were rather clueless as to what to do, where to go or stay and even food to eat. If like us, you need some help planning family-friendly activities, check out Little Bali Love, possibly the most awesome resource to the island of gods for vacationing families. Actually, you're probably much better off visiting that site because we really didn't do much this holiday (stick around if you wanna see some nice photos though!)

Night 1
ZX had gone over to Bali earlier so he could do his mountain biking tour. He managed to get a good deal with Bali Rides as they provided lodging and meals at the guide's house too. Now, if only I can convince ZX to do a guest post...

Heck, let's just steal one of his pics first!

So anyways, it was just me and the girls on the flight. It was a mere three hours but it was Bieny's first time flying and I was a little scared of how the plane ride would turn out.

We left on a 4.30pm KLM flight, and both girls had their naps before we reached the airport. Great. Then on the plane, I realised we didn't get the bassinet seats AND our Nexus crashed on us. Double great. But despite the lousy start, the girls were fairly entertained with my stash of snacks, an activity book I bought at the airport and just poking the screen of the inflight entertainment (the earphones kept falling out). I even brought both girls to the loo and they dozed off just before the flight landed. Phew. Seriously blessed with the goodest girls :))

Bielet is doing one of her do-anything-but-smile poses.

After landing at 7.30pm, we took an hour to clear customs. Maybe cuz it was a sunday but none of the immigration people wanted to let me cut queue despite being alone with two tired-looking kids, bah. (ZX had sussed the queue out the night before, and told me this guy with 5 kids was let through via a fast forward queue. Oh, he also noticed a diaper changing room to the left of the immigration counters. Good hubby award.) Then, another half hour to get milk for Bieny and a toilet stop for Bielet. I had planned our accomm for our first two nights at Ubud, so after a scary one hour drive through unlit and narrow roads, we reached our hotel at 10pm. And KO.

Nice, cosy room!

Day 1
I woke up quite early and walked around our accomm, Munari Resort & Spa, Ubud. It's not big: just two double-storied buildings with guestrooms on each floor, another building housing the spa and sauna, and the restaurant in a separate building by the road. This three-starred villa-styled resort, with breakfast, cost us about S$75 per night - which we felt was pretty reasonable.

Breakfast in Bali (or at least, in our accomm) isn't the lavish buffets that travellers are used to, only a choice of main and drink. ZX got his continental brekkie while I opted for banana pancakes. It tasted alright. The noodles I got on the second day was much tastier!

The TV channels were mostly local, but we didn't fly all the way to watch TV anyway. (Btw, we didn't get a private pool villa because we didn't want the girls falling into the water while we napped and neither did we want a double-storied accomm which the girls could tumble down.) As with everywhere else in Bali, the staff were really friendly. Other pluses: there are loads of art galleries dotting the stretch of road around this lodging, and it is also a short 10 min walk away from Mozaic, supposedly the best restaurant in Bali.

Initially, we had three activities planned that day, but only managed our first one: Elephant Safari Park. Told you it was a slack trip! We booked our tickets online for the morning tour and transport was provided. (Although we realised that almost every attraction provides transport, or at least allows you to add it on for a nominal fee; so if you prefer not to be tied down by one driver, you still don't have to worry about getting to and fro.) The tour was for four hours, which is more than enough time for

the museum at the entrance,

Even Dumbo is here!

feeding and petting the elephants,

an elephant ride around the park and forest (and even their watering hole in the park, where some visitors got wet) - Bieny and I rode on Patty, a 23yo female elephant, who is mummy to the oldest baby elephant in the park; for Asian elephants, those with tusks are males,

(Ps. Bieny is really asleep in my arms, but Bielet decided to fake it too...)

watch the elephant show - this chap got painted on by the elephant (it cost US$45 for the plain tee 'canvas'),

browse around the store, which has every imaginable elephant memorabilia, and eat your fill at their rather good buffet lunch offerings :))

If you are an environmentalist (or a supporter of animals in their natural environment) and think that this all sounds like a farce - read: ZX - consider this: the Asian elephant species is fast deteriorating because of habitat loss so their chances of survival outside limited protected areas are low. Conservationists usually speak out and fight for the African elephants, which typically fall prey to poachers; but the Asian elephants have suffered dramatic reductions in numbers, especially in Kalimantan and Sumatra, hence this park is dedicated to these elephants. Interesting nugget of info I learnt there.

Oh, how I love this snap! Bielet is posing with one of the Elephant Parade statues, kindly donated to the park. Yupp, these are the same decorated elephant statues that go on exhibition around town (almost?) annually. See more here.

 As for this, you can see how deep her dimple is. Sooooo adorable, yes? She wanted to take a selfie but try as she might, this other elephant parade statue wasn't in her shot (short arms *cough*)

Night 2
After we were driven back to our hotel, we decided to just have a nice, leisurely swim and nap before heading out nearby for dinner (although our resort pool was really deep, probably 1.5m at the shallowest end, so we were confined to the step at the edge of the pool). That meant canning our plans for Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary (where I'm told the monkeys are really fierce and will attack anyone, especially kids, who have food) and Cafe Lotus (where we could have had a nice sit-down dinner of Indonesian fare while enjoying a folklore performance).

So dinner was at the most child-friendly looking eatery we stumbled upon, Mamaya Bali. It had free wifi and also drawing materials for Bielet to will the time away before food was served. The flies were really annoying, but that's alfresco dining for you.

My nasi padang was really good and the rest of our dishes weren't bad either. Actually, I loved all the food that we ate during the trip (contrary to our friend's warning that there was nothing good to eat in Bali), which was a really good thing because my appetite had been really poor leading up to our vacay.

Bielet discovered her love for keropok during this vacay

Because we had dinner so early, we ended up having supper at the resort's restaurant. Hee. Just a simple fruit platter so the girls could munch too :))

Day 2
Woah, this was a day of eating! I started with a breakfast of mie goreng at the hotel, then we checked-out as we were headed to Seminyak for our last night (figured it was closer to the airport and the girls would be less grouchy even if we were stuck in traffic).

One of the touristy things to do in Ubud is to check out the city centre, where the art market, palace and the best babi guling (rolling pig - yes, the Balinese are mostly Hindus hence the proliferation of pork dishes) is located.

The market had the usual souvenirs that we weren't interested in (we did get Bielet and Bieny a pair of hairclips but after the first use, one of the flowers dropped off #fail) and the palace area open to visitors was really small (done in five minutes!).

But yes, it was all worth it for the babi guling! We only took one serving to try and ZX wasn't impressed with the dryness of the meat, but I thought the accompanying condiments more than made up for it. And man, the crispy deep-fried innards and skin was da bomb. ZX doesn't like eating internal organs so I gobbled it all down. Yummeh~

After that, we got our driver to bring us to the Dirty Duck Diner (famous for its crispy duck so ZX wanted to just takeaway although he was already full - we had brekkie at 10, babi guling at 11 and couldn't take the duck at 12nn) but something got lost in translation and we ended up at Bebek Tepi Sawah Restaurant instead. The breathtaking view of the rice paddies made the hubby instaneously hungry so we got a table and had our second lunch. AND IT WAS SO GOOD!

They gave us keropok (Bielet's fave) and we got gado gado (one of ZX's fave), soto ayam (one of my fave) and also a fried duck (which looks here to becoming one of Bieny's fave). So, yes, we were all pretty happy!

That, and ZX brought Bielet outside to check out the field, and she was enamoured with the resident scarecrow. Lol.

And that marks the end of Ubud for us. Not very cultural. Except for our tummies.


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