Updated: Jul 30, 2019
Greetings friends! It's been a while now since I've last blogged. Well, my last domain www.nutzhen.com is now being illegally squatted by my previous webmaster, which explains my disappearance. Don't mind me, I'm not the most tech savvy when it comes to social media, but I'm gonna try my best to update this blog of ours as frequently as possible. Shannon and I figured that since a whole bunch of you guys have been curious and asking questions about us and Jeddy, we'd start a blog for all 3 of us, one stop solution aye?
This blog is dedicated to my best friend, lover and soulmate Shannon Low, and to our greatest gift, Jedaiah Leonhart.
So, how to survive a trip with a kiddo under 1 year old. Probably one of the greater worries/nightmares that most parents have. Truth be told, we were stuck in a conundrum on whether to bring him to Bali or not, but we finally decided that we'd bring him along because we couldn't bear to be apart from this hug-gable bear!
Some of you have been asking why Kuta? Well, surfing is a huge part of our itinerary, I've surfed a ton of places in Bali like Serangan, Canggu, Uluwatu. But I haven't been hitting the waves for a good year or so, so Kuta was probably the best place to warm up/start up with.
If you're looking to chill at villas or experience the country side, try staying in Seminyak or even Ubud. Or wherever rocks you boat. But this blog post will be about our experience in Kuta - Uluwatu.
Flying for the first time
Perhaps you could count us lucky, but the plane ride back and forth were easy peazy. Jeddy was asleep even before the plane took off and we even had to wake him up when we landed back in Singapore. One tip that Shannon advised me was to have a bottle of milk prepared, that way, he can suck on it before landing to help equalize his ears better. He was sucking on his pacifier the entire flight and only woke up once to have some milk. Seemed to work pretty well on Jed for his first flight.
When Shannon and I traveled to Bali in the past, we'd scoot everywhere in our rented bike. Well, almost. The furthest we went was a 3 hour bike journey to Ubud, then 3 hours back the next day. Since I have my own surfboard and always need a surf rack on the bike, we figured that it'll prolly be safer to stick to using GoJek, then have a local friend of mine keep & transport my surfboard for me if need be.
GoJek / GoCar is really inexpensive as compared to Singapore, if you don't mind the jam that is. A typical bike ride that takes 5 mins to reach would probably take you 20 minutes if it's during peak hours, maybe even more. This trip around, we were only staying in Kuta. Short trips within Kuta back and forth should cost you no more than $5.00 SGD. Longer trips beyond Kuta should costs no more than $10.00 SGD per trip.
If you're looking to travel somewhere far, then perhaps you consider getting a driver for 10 whole hours. They typically costs between $35.00 to $50.00 SGD depending on the comfort of the vehicle.
We booked a driver, who was also a friend of mine, on the second last day. He stuck with us for about 11 hours but I paid him a lil' extra because he usually keeps my board with him when I'm not around. Hey, no harm helping out the economy eh?
He's also a really good surf instructor and his son is surfing professionally, so if you're looking to hit the waves, hit me up.
Here's a video of Sinaga training Jed to walk before he surfs in future!
What to pack for your kiddo
Well for us, we stayed along Kuta beach for 3 nights then shifted to another villa in Kuta for another 3. 7 days 6 nights, not too long but not that short either.
Diapers: Jeddy typically uses 3 a day, so we packed a total of 30 for the 6 nights, which turned out to be more than enough.
Clothes: He had 2 sets of clothes per day, which was really an overkill. Honestly, it was so warm in May that he was mostly in his diapers/shorts even when we visited malls.
Food: Being Kiasu parents, we brought an entire tin of milk (900g) over, and he consumed slightly more than half of it. We also brought along some milk cereal for him, which Shannon pre-mixed for the trip. But always pack more than enough.
First Aid: Jeddy had a small cut on his finger at Jimbaran and we forgot to pack his antiseptic spray and plasters. Fortunately, mini-marts are aplenty! Do remember to pack some paracetamol for babies as well, as the weather could give you baby a fever. Another thing that we missed was a cooling pack, it could come in handy on those hot summer days.
Mosquito Repellent: If you haven't been to Bali before, there's only two words to describe it. Mosquito Galore. Please pack your repellents! We're using a Citronella roll-on repellent for Jeddy, it's much better for babies plus you won't harm the ozone.
Water: Only drink from bottled water. I personally have a weak stomach and can never take water directly from the tap unless I'm in Singapore. Shannon and I would usually bring out a flask of hot water boiled from bottled water, along with an additional bottle of water to prepare his milk/cereal.
If any of your amenities or food run out. Fret not, there are a ton of Supermarkets and mini marts around. Selection of baby cereals from reputable brands are not too shabby as well, plus they're really much cheaper. We actually stocked up a ton of baby food from various supermarkets and Jeddy seemed to like them all!
What to eat
But alas, milk and cereal is not all of what Jed eats, Jeddy still needs his solids. There are a ton of Chinese restaurants in Bali, but probably one of the best, and will always be our favorite, is Warung Laota Tuban The porridge and seafood here is amazing and Jeddy loves them to bits. They are open till late but might have a queue sometimes. Do take note that there are 3 Warung Laota in Bali, Tuban is the best and most popular one. Prices are freakishly cheap, cheaper than your tzi char in Singapore, so feast away!
If you hate queues or simply don't want to wait, you can always walk to Restaurant Soon Kee . They've got a pretty good selection for seafood as well, and you'll probably love the shelled fish dishes cause the spices pack a punch. PS: Please don't feed your kiddo with spiced food. They have some child friendly food as well.
Other than that, we brought Jeddy cafe hopping as well! Jed isn't too fussy when it comes to trying out new food. And almost all the cafes we visited were pretty child friendly as well. Albeit a little small at times, the service crews in Bali are always friendly and willing to help you get your child settled in. Benih Cafe and Crumb and Coaster were two of our favorite cafes in Kuta, but there are a bunch of cafes all around that you should definitely try out!
Jeddy curious about Bintang:
Strollers in Bali
Truth be told, Bali is not the most stroller friendly place. Unless you manage to get to those higher end malls, you're not going to have an easy time with the uneven and cramp streets of Kuta. Still, we decided to put Jed's stroller to the test and it worked out pretty alright! At the end of the day, you'll have to co-ordinate with your partner, one at the front and one at the back, who leads and when to lift. I'm serious.
If you're worried about damaging your $3000.00 stroller, you can always rent them in Bali, there are a ton of items that you can rent over the web. I heard the price goes at about $10 USD a day, and that there are a bunch of items that you can rent like child barriers, if you have a pool at your villa etc.
Also up for rent are nannies! A local friend of mine has a mom who's also a nanny. Online web usually charges about $6.50SGD to $12.00SGD per hour. She gave me a rate of only $5.00 an hour, but we didn't use her in the end because Jeddy didn't seem to like her. He's usually a bubbly boy, but I guess they just didn't have chemistry. And trust me, you'll prolly be too exhausted to go drinking or clubbing by evening, so having a nanny? Not necessary.
Balinese towards babies
When I first brought Jed to Bali, I didn't think too much on how the locals would treat him or us. But really, WOW, it was jaw dropping. Imagine having your kiddo's face touched by over 20 strangers a day. Waitresses and waiters coming to your table to ask if they can carry your baby. Sure we obliged sometimes, most of them were nice anyway, just some getting used to I guess. But if you're really uncomfortable with strangers touching your child, just tell them your baby's not feeling well and they'll back off. And always keep an eye on your child and never let them off your sight!
Tipping Want to feel good about yourself? Help out the economy? Or maybe just thank someone for their service? Tipping is not a must in Bali, or at least that is what I see. But I'd usually give a dollar or two (per pax) to the service crews who's been really nice. I'll always tip drivers and hotel staff as well. And a dollar CAN get you a beer. You just need to know where. Most Balinese would be really happy just to receive 10,000 rupiah, which is only like a dollar SGD. And although most places accept credit cards, there's still a handful of locals that only accept fiat currency. So always have some cash with you!
And some additional tips: Never change your money from the airport. Airport transfers usually cost around $15.00SGD. If you need a little cash, it's fine to change a little, like $50 bucks or so, the rate is usually 9500-9800 Rupiah per SGD. But if you're intending to change a larger sum of money, always change them outside because rates are so much better, usually at 10400 rupiah per SGD. Just remember to take note of the money changers. How to look out for cheats? 1) The higher the table, the greater chance of them cheating you. Always look out for low tables, because sleight of hand is much more difficult. 2) After 1 million rupiah has been counted and presented to you, take it and hold it in your hands. If they don't allow you to touch the money, they probably just did the sleight of hand and removed a couple of bank notes.
A relative of mine also experienced some sort of hypnosis during his trip to Bali. He was on the verge of handing over his money and valuables, but fortunately, he managed to snap out of it before handing it over. Personally, I've never experienced anything like this, I don't speak to anyone on the streets and I don't stop for any unnecessary conversations. I only trust my friends whom I've known for years. It's never difficult make friends in Bali, but just be wary of the people around you.
Also, never use your mobile/camera out along the streets or giving directions on pillion. Most of you might have read the not so recent news, and it did happen to us as well some years ago. Since then, we've learnt to navigate more inconspicuously. Always be wary of your surroundings and stay safe!
That's all for my first post. I'm gonna leave the itinerary to Shannon's post. A pity that I only managed to surf 2 days out of 7. But I'm looking forward to start Jed on the surfboard as soon as possible! Also, please do comment and let us know how we can better work on our blog posts or site! I'll be doing a blog post on our babymoon to Japan real soon as well.