Bali was not in our list of destinations for a family vacation because in the first place, it sounded more like a place for honeymoon goers and romantic couples to enjoy spas and massages, or for the culturally rich to learn about arts, history and heritage. So as parents who are not really fond of visiting museums and temples, a preschooler who prefers living creatures to architecture, and a baby who doesn't really know anything except demand for milk and carry, well, Bali just didn't sound like the perfect choice for a family-friendly holiday.
It wasn't until the hubby came up one day and said "Hey, I've booked a villa for us in Bali for 5D4N!" since being in the SAF allowed him to enjoy discounted rates at selected hotels. It was from that moment that we started to get all excited and looked forward to the trip. Perfect choice or not, we were resolute to work things out and make it a happy holiday.
|Our Deluxe Pool Villa in Furama. We loved the private plunge pool and the personalised signboard at the door|
So we stayed in Furama Villas and Spas in Ubud, and boy oh boy, the moment we stepped in, we were in paradise. With a floor area of 265m², we had our private gazebo, patio, pool, deck chairs, outdoor shower area, huge bathroom and a dreamlike bedroom.
|A sweet gesture by the hotel staff upon knowing that the month marked our 5th wedding anniversary|
|Tranquil surroundings and homely interior. What's that I feel? Well, peace.|
|Yum yum, what's for brekkie today?|
Every morning, the hubby would order breakfast in and the four of us would enjoy our first meal of the day right on our patio, clad in our jammies and sometimes even before we brushed our teeth. Oops. If there is any word to describe this, it is s-h-i-o-k.
|Can you write "I ♥ U" for me?|
Balinese food typically has Indonesian, Chinese and Indian influences. Rice is a staple food, yay for us, and if often accompanied by vegetables, meat and seafood.
|Our first meal in Bali at Padi Restaurant located right inside Furama|
|Enjoying a grilled seafood dinner - Grilled prawns, fish, mussels, chicken which were surprisingly delicious|
|Dinner at Melasti Tanah Lot, a seafood restaurant on a cliff with an amazing view. We even saw fireworks!|
|One evening, we joined in the fun with fellow hotel guests and had a delicious seafood buffet dinner along with local delights, while enjoying traditional Balinese folk songs and dance performances|
|The Original Crispy Duck since 1990. Half a Duck steamed in Indonesian spices, deep fried for a crispy finish|
Seriously, this had to be the best duck I had ever tasted. And yes, good or bad, I have tasted quite a lot of ducks in my life. This duck was rich in flavour, had the best aroma and it was crispy inside out, even the bones. If you ever get a chance to come to Bali, you have to visit Bebek Bengil and try this.
Jalan Hanoman, Padang Tegal, Ubud
Telephone: +62 361 975489 / 977675
|Safari Journey - a signature activity that takes visitors through the habitats of Indonesia, India and Africa in an air-conditioned safari tram|
|We had lunch at the Uma restaurant and watched the Bali Agung show at the Bali theatre located in the park|
|The park has over 60 species of animals and visitors can go elephant riding or watch elephant shows too|
|The great part about the safari journey is that you can get really close and personal with the animals, even the tigers and lions!|
|Our guide said we were lucky to spot several tigers, some of which came really close to our tram|
|Roarrrr! Now this reminds of the time in Givskud Zoo, Denmark where we drove right into a lion's den|
|What's that I spy? A 2-month-old lion cub sleeping peacefully? *gasps* Angel was pretty brave to pat it|
|Family pic! I was asking the hubby why he suddenly felt so romantic and laid his warm palm on my thigh, before I realised that it was all along the orang utan|
|Our second camel ride, first was in Tunisia, Africa. This time round, Angel enjoyed it so much more and even refused to let me hold her, saying she could balance herself and hold on tight. Yeah, she's my big girl now|
As you can see, we had quite a fruitful day at the park and were thankful that we made it here despite the morning drizzle and the over one-hour journey just to get here from where we stayed.
Bali Marine and Safari Park
Jl. Bypass Prof. Dr. Ida Bagus Mantra, Km. 19,8
(Golden Line of Bali)
Tel. +62 361 751 300
Fax. +62 361 950 555
As usual, we had no itinerary for our trip and we only decided on places to visit on the spur of the moment. Since the Monkey Forest was near the Ubud Centre, we figured out it would be a pity to give it a miss.
|My favourite tip is "If a monkey jumps on you, drop all your food and walk away slowly". How comforting|
|Angel almost stepped onto the tail of a monkey and you bet he snarled at her, making me step up and put on my best growl too|
So the fact that bananas were sold at the entrances meant that visitors were allowed to feed these monkeys. We saw some brave tourists letting monkeys jump all over them and decided, after a moment of hesitation, to take a step forward and join in the 'fun' too.
|Yes, we did it! Monkeys on our arms, on our shoulders, on our backs, and on our heads|
|One of my favourite shots from the trip. The enblem of motherly love|
|A mummy monkey breastfeeding her little one in the shade of the leaves. Sweet, right?|
Don't these primates remind you of us humans in more ways than one, no matter how far we have evolved? We strive to live in harmony yet compete to survive. Some of us prefer to stay in safe zones while others take a leap of faith so as to enjoy the fruits of their labour. No matter how chaotic the world becomes, home is always our sanctuary and as parents, we will do anything, just anything in the world, in order to protect our offspring.
Mandala Wisata Wenara Wana
(Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary)
Jalan Monkey Forest, Padangtegal, Ubud
Bali, Indonesia 80571
Phone : +62 361 971304, 972774
Email : email@example.com
Website : www.monkeyforestubud.com
Yes, we were going to visit another place with animals! Told you my girl loves animals and we were quite willing to do it for her since we had nowhere else in mind to go. Since we were going to an island, that meant we had to take the boat and it was going to be Ariel's first boat ride!
|An awesome view at the beach pub where we had our lunch. Can you spot the flying ship?|
|The hubby ordered Singaporean chilli crab, which ended up wasn't that Singaporean after all. I was contented with my roasted chicken and huge coconut|
|Enjoying the sea breeze while jiejie and daddy went to hunt for crabs, starfish and seashells|
|Our boat was equipped with a glass bottom so that we could see the fishes and so called corals which looked more like seaweeds|
|Angel really enjoyed tossing bread crumbs into the ocean and watching the fish gobble them up|
|The little one enjoyed the feeling of wind gushing through her hair and couldn't stop giggling|
Soon, we reached the island, barefooted as we had to step into the shallow waters since the boat could not be parked too close to shore. We were not sure of what to expect on Turtle island except that we would see turtles and more turtles.
To our joy, we not only could feel, stroke, photograph and even carry the turtles, there were also plenty of other animals waiting for us.
|We first visited the one-year, two-year and three-year old turtles before we saw the oldest of them all - 70-year-old!|
|The hubby's newfound pet. It wasn't easy to capture this shot and find a turtle who was willing to do it. We were told he weighed at least 25kg!|
|Coming up real close with an eagle, python, iguana, tucans and even bats!|
Except for the bats, Angel and I were willing and bold enough to pat and touch every of the other animals. Yes, leave the bats to the hubby who was amazed when the staff asked "Do you want to hold him? Here, take him by the legs." Ah huh, there's a first for everything, I guess.
|More beach fun and sandcastle building before heading home|
|I can never resist taking a shot of the sea and the sky with my little one in the air|
What else did we do that day? Nothing. Just bonding, enjoying and loving by the sea.
Ubud Centre and Tanah Lot
Lastly, we also took time off to check out the Ubud Centre and Tanah Lot - a rock formation and home of a pilgrimage temple, the Pura Tanah Lot, which is a popular tourist and cultural icon.
|Visiting the Ubud Palace and shopping in the Ubud Centre. Do you see the phallic shape that I saw?|
|Angel picking out a souvenir as we admired the gorgeous paintings done by the locals|
|After another one-hour drive, we arrived at Tanah Lot on our last evening in Bali|
|Alas it was low tide and this place was so packed with tourists that we were a tad disappointed with the view|
|We were told that we could witness a breathtaking sunset here but well, this was the best we got|
|One last shot before we bade farewell to Bali|
|Image credit. Just so you know this beautiful side of Tanah Lot exists, just that we didn't have the luck to see it|
So that pretty much sums up our trip. If you are considering a vacation to Bali and worried that it would be boring for the kids, well, I guess you can now think twice. Our girls loved every bit of it, from the villa to the food and sightseeing places, and we are thinking we might come back again someday.
To see more of the world, visit my Travelogue page here.