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3 1/2 weeks in Bali with our 1-yr-old: suggestions?

3 1/2 weeks in Bali with our 1-yr-old: suggestions?

Mar 3rd, 2012, 05:04 AM
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3 1/2 weeks in Bali with our 1-yr-old: suggestions?

We'll be flying to Bali from New York at the start of August with our (then) 13-mo old son. We land August 6th and depart August 29th and I'm at that beginning phase where the planning feels a bit overwhelming--mostly because I'm trying to imagine how much/how little we should expect to see/do with the baby and how much moving around will be comfortable. We're used to being very active travelers (in the sense of seeing/doing a lot), but have been learning to take it a bit slower since bringing the baby on trips.

What are the best home bases for us? We'll obviously want to spend time in Ubud. (Is it very important to be in Central Ubud or is a village to the south or north going to be equally desirable? We would prefer to stay in a villa with separated rooms and a kitchen.) And it seems like most books point to either Seminyak or Sanur for a nice beach destination--thoughts?

With so much time, it would be really nice to add a third or fourth base, right? Where do you suggest? The Amed coast? North by Pemuteran? Of course I'd love to go over to one of the Gili Islands (Gili T or a different one?) Is that our best option for snorkeling from shore (unfortunately I'm not sure how much boat diving/snorkeling we'll be doing on this trip).

Any suggestions you have would be much appreciated! I'm trying to put together an itinerary am a bit lost as to where to start and how much time to allot at each place. Also, for daytrips, what is the driving like? Will we want to hire transport or is hiring your own car acceptable, and what are the driving times/distances like? Any drivers/villas recommended?

Finally, the Galungan festival begins just before we leave. Is there a place (convenient to the airport for our departure) that would be best to end the trip and appreciate the start of the 10-day festival?

A lot of questions...
Thank you so much!!
www.hitherandthither.net (Our travelogue site--you can see from our trip to India over 10 days, for example, that we're usually aggressive travelers, so those who have traveled with one-year-olds... tips?)
alovesa is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2012, 06:18 PM
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My son was 3 the first time I took him to Bali and 25 years later it's still his favorite place on the planet! Bali is a fairly easy location for families with small children. Children, even babies, are always welcome and well cared for.

Your son will most likely be vertically mobile by the time of your trip, so you have to be aware that most Bali sights and sites are not child-proofed. You have to be especially vigilant around pools -- swimming and garden varieties, cliffs, ravines and all electrical outlets. Childcare is reliable and inexpensive, but many of the caregivers can't swim so you have to be alert at the beach or pool. Obviously you have to protect your baby and yourselves from the tropical sun.

Cars WITH drivers are the best way to go in Bali. Driving yourself is not recommended as the rules of the road are loosely interpreted. Bring your own car seat.

You might consider retaining a baby sitter for the duration of your time in Bali. She would travel with you around Bali. There are several agencies that provide this service. My dealings with Bali Krisna have been good, though I've not used them for babysitting. http://www.balikrisnaservice.com/

In three weeks you could conceivably stay in three locations, but I'd be in favor of concentrating on two: one Southern beach location plus Ubud. Ahtough East and North Bali have some attractions, I prefer the comfort of a home-base + day trips. Lombok would be a good add on, though the right-off-the-beach snorkling is just so-so.

There are many fine villas all over Bali. Services, for example cooks and drivers, vary so you have to investigate carefully what is on offer. Most come with staff that will shop, cook and clean up for you.

In the South, Seminyak has the most choices in villas. Many of the full service resorts also have villa complexes which gives you the best of both worlds.

I like the area outside of Ubud better than the town itself. Other parts of Bali can be accessed from the Ubud area in 2-3 hour trips.

Any of the southern beaches are close enough to the airport to be convenient on your last nights. My idea would be first Lombok, get the travel overwith and recuperate on the beach. Then Ubud for nature and culture. Then Seminyak or Sanur for beach resort life, restaurants, shops and easy departure.

Galugnan is celebrated all over Bali, so any temple (they are everywhere!) will be having an event. For example, in Seminyak, Petitenget temple is one of the most active.

Lastly, August is high, high season in Bali, so expect inflated rates and high occupancy. Reserve as soon as you can.
marmot is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2012, 08:04 PM
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PS, Nice blog and adorable baby. He will be a big hit in Indonesia. You definitely want Seminyak.
marmot is offline  
Mar 19th, 2012, 10:36 AM
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Thank you SO much for all of the help! It is true that some of the villas look pretty scary for a newly mobile baby (railess stairs... eek!)

It turned out that an acquaintance offered us a lovely villa just outside of Ubud in Lodtunduh for a nice rate, so we're going to head there first and base ourselves there for a good chunk of time.

We land on the 6th of August and will stay there the 6th through the 16th.

So if we go with Seminyak over Sanur (is that the right decision?), we should end our trip there (fly out August 30th). And then I was thinking we could probably fit two more base stops.

We'd like to go to the Gilis and then I was thinking either Permuteran in the North or Amed. Permuteran gives us more of a chance to see more of the island, so I'm leaning that way.

Itinerary thought:

6-16 Ubud (Lodtunduh)
16-20 Permuteran
20-26 Gili T
26-30 Seminyak

What do folks think? Good distribution for us and our babe?
Too long/too short anywhere? The Ubud portion is the only set portion.

alovesa is offline  
Mar 20th, 2012, 03:46 PM
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Your friend's villa in Lodtunduh sounds like a good base. I'd consider extending your time there (or maybe returning after a few days in another area)and just making day trips to other areas. There's a lot to explore in north Bali, east and west, but in culture and topography it's just not that different from the Ubud area. The beaches and accomodation are nice, but not exceptional.

I don't know your budget, but considering that rates in northwest and northeast Bali are fairly reasonable maybe you could double up if you get somewhere and want to spend the night. Your driver will find a place to stay and won't mind.

I had a nice stay at the lovely but pricy Ganesha Villas in Pemuteran (talk about unsafe stairs!),and I enjoyed a snorkling trip to Menjangnan Island, but I don't know that I'd go back again. 4 days would be, for me, way too long.

I haven't been to Trawagnan or any of the Gilis for some time. I hear the development there has been positive, but I'm still skeptical. I'd also take a look at Qunci and the Lombok Lodge on Lombok itself.

Both Seminyak and Sanur have their appeal. I like Seminyak because of the big waves, long walking beach, sunsets and food. I think the quality of your stay will depend a lot on your resort choice, moreso than the beach itself. Whichever area you choose, plan on staying put as traveling around South Bali has become a traffic headache. Hopefully some new roads will remedy that, but I'm not sure when.

Ordinarily I would recommend a hop over to Central Java to see Borobudur and Yogyakarta, but August is Ramadhan so it's not the best time. August 17-20 is a big holiday in Indonesia -- a combination of Independence Day and the Islamic celebrations -- and the whole country will be on the move. Try to be stationary during those dates. Parts of Lombok, including the Gilis, will be affected so it's better to stay in Bali, especially on August 19-20.

So my suggestion would be to start in Lombok/Gilis for about 4-5 days. Take the ferry to Bali and spend about two weeks in Lodtunduh. Then finish up at the beach.
marmot is offline  
Mar 20th, 2012, 07:20 PM
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Just a note: There is good and easy snorkeling off the beach at Pemuteran. The eco-reef project where they have put electric coils to speed up reef growth seems very successful. I usually do both a boat trip to Menjangan AND snorkeling off beach and both are satisfying. But I agree with Marmot that 4 days in Pemuteran might be too laid back...not that much to do or see except for the ocean, or get a massage or two, or quick visit to turtle hatchery next door. (not many temples) You can also do forest treks into the Bali Barat National Park but with a toddler perhaps not.

The other thing is I notice you don't have any mountain areas in your plan. If you are casting about for another option that could be interesting for you, but again, most of what there is to do would be enjoying cool weather and scenery. I like the Sanda area but of course there are so many other places like Kintamani and Munduk.
kuluk is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2012, 06:15 AM
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Thank you for all of these fantastic details and suggestions. Now I'm a bit concerned about our dates, but I'm afraid the friends' villa was only available for those dates I mentioned.
So the first 10 days are set: August 6-16 in Lodtunduh (Ubud). It would have been preferable to put it in the middle and start and end with beach, it sounds like, but those dates weren't available.

So maybe up to Pemuteran on the 16th for 3 days, but then if we head to Lombok/the Gilis right after we're at the 19th or 20th of August. It looks like Ramadhan ends on the 18th this year and Independence day is on the 17th. Will the 19th/20th still be an issue for getting over there/traveling?

I'll take a look at the spots you suggested, but maybe something like this?

6-16 Ubud (can't change)
16-19 Pemuteran
19-25 Gilis or Lombok
25-30 Sanur or Seminyak

Is there another base we're overlooking?

Thanks again!
alovesa is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2012, 06:20 AM
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Let me add one supplemental question. I'm so glad to hear that Pemuteran might have some off-shore snorkeling as I'm afraid we may not be doing much boat snorkeling or scuba diving with the baby along. C'est la vie. But are there other beaches with great shore snorkeling that we should try to visit? What are the best beaches for this on Bali? Thanks again!
alovesa is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2012, 05:32 PM
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The terminology is confusing: Ramadhan is the fasting month, not the holiday. The religious holidays following Ramadhan, which are called Idul Fitri or Lebaran in Indonesia, will probably be observed on August 19 & 20, although the dates are not fixed until the last minute.

In Islamic Indonesia, Lebaran is a mass migration event like Lunar New Year in China. everyone goes back to their village starting either just before or just after the holiday for a period of about two weeks. Because of the four day weekend, the exodus will start around August 15.

The Hindu population of Bali will not partake [they'll have their celebration the next week at Galungan] but there will be an increase of visitors from Java and Balinese Muslims will go back to their hometowns on Java or Lombok. In Lombok the resorts will continue to operate, but with reduced staff. All transportation facilitie will be strained. I don't think you'll have a problem once you're on Lombok/Gilis but getting there could be challenging.

My experience with off-shore snorkling in Pemuteran wasn't so good, but maybe I was too influenced by the condition of the beach to be impressed by what was under the surface. Just about anywhere in Bali or Lombok I'd suggest that you leave the baby with a babysitter on shore and go out in a boat.

As Kuluk suggested, why don't you plan to stop for a few days enroute to or from Pemuteran in around Munduk or Kintamani? I haven't been there for a while and can't recommend, but it seems there's been a lot of positive development in adventure, eco, spa and wellness resorts in the area.

I'm sure you want to take advantage of the different aspects and environments of Bali/Lombok/Indonesia, but to me the best experiences in Bali happen when you stay in one place and let them come to you. In other words go deeper instead of wider.
marmot is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2012, 06:20 PM
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For example, Munduk Moding Plantation looks appealing.
marmot is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2012, 07:01 PM
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Traveling with a one-year-old is great. Aside from landings, our little guy was great! His first international trip was to Thailand at 3-months. Great blog! Now at 9-years old, he's been to 32 countries with an amazing life-list for birds and mammals from some incredibly remote places. Get 'em started young and then you'll have a life-long traveler on your hands. Check out our "trip reports" on the below website to see what sorts of trips could be done with a young one in tow...


Coke Smith

cokesmith is offline  
Jun 9th, 2013, 02:11 PM
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Wanted to follow-up: we had SUCH an amazing trip. I've been posting a travelogue on my blog. Here's the first in the series (http://www.hitherandthither.net/2013...e-to-ubud.html), or a link to all of the posts, only backwards (http://www.hitherandthither.net/tag/bali-travelogue). We ended up spending a great deal of time in Ubud, then moving on to Permuteran, Gili T (via Amed), and Seminyak.

Thanks again!
alovesa is offline  
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