Category Archives: Bali

What an adventure (SE Asia)

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1 idea, 1 baby, 1 husband and wife, 2 backpacks, 2 daypacks, 1 buggy, 6 months, 25 weeks, 176 days, 175 nights, 6 countries, 55 destinations, 70 temporary homes, 67 guest houses, 2 friends houses, 1 tree house, 525 meals, 12 planes, 66 taxis, 11 cars, 22 buses, 17 coaches, 14 ferries, 7 MRT journeys, 6 4x4s, 23 local minibuses, 6 speedboats, 8 tourist buses, 2 rib boats, 3 x cycle rickshaws, 1 tourist boat, 4 trains, 1 horse and cart, 3 motor rickshaws, 14 sky trains, 5 underground trains, 1 canoe, 1 small wooden boat, 1 jeep, 2 tug boats, 6 long-tail boats, 38 tuk tuks, 10 saangthaew , 1 elephant, first 2 baby steps, 9 new teeth, 2 baby haircuts, 19 new words, 1 happy toddler, 1 new job, 1 new life…

…a backpack, a buggy, a baby 

1 BIG adventure.

backpacking with a baby SE Asia

Heathrow Airport aged 11 months, day 4 of our trip in Tioman, a toddling chap on China beach and 18 months old at the end of our journey.

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Eat, poo, sleep (Ubud, Bali, Indonesia)

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Moving inland from the coastal town of Sanur to Ubud we experience a different side of Bali life. In the last few years Ubud has become ever more popular following the book and subsequent film release Eat, Pray, Love. The film, based a true story, follows the life of a recently single 30 something chick who travels to Italy, India and Bali to ‘find herself’ and to follow the teachings of Ketut, Ubud’s medicine man.

The residents of Ubud are certainly cashing in on its new-found fame and in addition to ‘Eat Pray Love’ memorabilia found in the tourist shops offer numerous tours to visit Ketut the medicine man (who now charges $25 per visit – the average weekly Balinese wage), and locations where the filming took place.

backpacking with a baby in SE Asia - Ubud

the green paddy fields at the back of our bungalow

Having read the book and watched the film (which was a disappointment) the similarities are follows:

  • Beautiful lush rice paddy fields surrounding Ubud – superb walks.
  • Very warm happy people
  • Laid back hippy vibe with chilled out coffee shops and bars

What they omitted from the film:

  • That you can’t walk more than 20 feet without being hassled for a taxi – ‘taxi yes, maybe tomorrow, yes, yes?’
  • The pavements are amongst the worst that we’ve experienced so far in Asia (this is something you wouldn’t notice if you’re not trying to push a buggy up, over, around, down them).
  • The hundreds of identical tourist shops selling useless clatch*

* Jez’ word for collectable junk

backpacking with a baby in SE Asia - Ubud

'The boy' practices some walking fully clothed!

Although our homestay was fairly central it was tucked away up a little path away from the hustle and bustle of the busy streets. Our little bungalow backed directly onto the paddy fields with really pretty views.  It was a great find and the family that ran it were real characters.

It was here in our homestay that ‘the boy’ developed his newly found walking skills. To begin with he would only walk naked. We decided he would need to progress from this stage to be able to have a chance of integrating into society, so day by day another item of clothing was added to his body.  Unlike the UK where he would have practised his wobbly walk on carpet, softening the fall, he had to learn the hard way on either concrete slabs or a tiled floor. Needless to say he has a few wounds to show for it.

And now the fun begins. Unlike the film where Julia Roberts spends days relaxing in the paddy fields writing or reading a good book, I’m running around the paddy fields chasing after a baby who’s getting too fast too quickly. Now I’m finally beginning to understand the true meaning of ‘running around after the kids’

I wonder if Ketut could give me some worldly advice on how to slow him down?

backpacking with a baby in SE Asia - Ubud

Lotus flower

Top tip of the day:
Now’s the time to add Savlon or a similar brand of antiseptic cream to your day-pack emergency kit as bumps and grazes are inevitable. Hygiene levels aren’t always high when traveling so the quicker you can pop some antiseptic on the better.

My first blog entry – ‘the boy’ (Sanur, Bali, Indonesia)

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For a lot of weeks I’ve seen mummy and daddy all the time, much more than I used to when I was smaller. I wake up and there they are, always still and quiet until I shout across at them or climb up next to their bed.  I like waking up early but I don’t think mummy and daddy do.

Backpacking with a baby around SE Asia - nursery school Bali

Too many toys to choose from

Everyday we eat, play, walk and sleep together, until today.

Today is my first day at nursery and I am happy. I don’t have to see mummy and daddy’s faces for 5 big hours. I have a nice smiley lady called Trisna who looks after me and gives me my food and milk.

We listen to a man play the guitar and we clap our hands, but the best thing is I have lots of new friends to play with and so many toys. I think I used to have more toys, but now I have a few things to play with. Mummy carries my things in her big bag. I have some stacking blocks, a wooden car (my birthday present), a ball, a shaker that makes a good noise, a soft monkey, a soft owl and a bouncy ball that daddy bought from a market in Borneo. Today I can see so many big toys I don’t know what to play with first.

Mummy smiled and waved when she dropped me off with Trisna but I didn’t wave back because I think the toy car is more interesting. Mummy is happy because she is going to read her book on the beach and then get her feet rubbed by a nice lady.  I am happy because I have a big garden to run and crawl around in and no mummy or daddy to chase after me.

Backpacking with a baby around SE Asia - nursery in Bali

Our first time apart in 7 weeks - a welcome one

I like my new home here because nursery is fun.

Top tip of the day:
If you’re staying somewhere for a number of days and haven’t got a personal recommendation for a day nursery, have a look at the travel forums on Trip Advisor.  You can find advice on childcare all over the world. It’s also worth noting that in areas with a high number of expats there are registered baby sitters available that can be booked by the hour.