Kiwis in Bare Feet

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Nusa Penida-Day Trip

Nusa Penida rates as one of the best day trips we have taken. This was largely due to the tour company we used who made everything so easy for us. We were in awe of the natural beauty on the island!

Fast Five Favourites:

  • Angel's Billabong-natural infinity pool with crystal clear water.
  • Manta Bay-huge manta rays swimming below.
  • Kelingking T-rex-Insta famous costal cliff that truely does resemble a t-rex!
  • Broken Beach-another mother nature spectacle. An incredible little cover archway that has been formed over many years.
  • Crystal Bay-a lovely beach to relax or snorkel at the end of the day. 

Tips:

  • While visiting Nusa Penida we saw some of the most risky photos we have ever seen people trying to get. Please be careful! Literal edge of the cliff stuff. 
  • Make sure you keep updated on the weather condition and ocean swells. At times during our stay the speed boats were not running. It seems to be much safer now than in the past. 
  • There were a few spots where the locals were collecting a small entrance fee.
  • We saw so many injured people from driving mopeds! If you are not confident driving a moped, some areas the terrain may just be too rough for you. And it looks like a long way on a scooter.
  • We loved our day trip but if we had more time we would definitely stay a few nights. There is so much to see and do. This tree house Air Bnb looks epic! It's right next to Nusa Lembongan and many people do combine the two. 
  • We met a few people who were going to swim with the giant manta rays the next morning. How amazing would that be?!
  • Be prepared to swim in Angels Billabong. It is an incredible site, but when we were there the sea was a bit rough for swimming. 
  • There's enough time to hike down to Kelingking beach if you fancy the adventure. It does look beautiful down there but it looked a little challenging with Lilah (maybe it would have been okay if we had taken our backpack). 
  • There's a less crowded beach a short walk over from Crystal Bay. We didn't make it there though and were happy relaxing not far from our car at the end of the day. 
  • Nusa Penida Explorer (www.nusapenidaexplorer.com) were fantastic right from organising the trip to the service on the day. We did not have to think about a thing from the moment we left our villa. Well worth the 2 million IDR. They were easy to deal with using WhatsApp. 
  • Once on Nusa Penida we met our guide and were off straight away in our private 4WD that was very spacious and comfortable. The road is mostly okay with the roughest part heading to Angels Billabong. It took about 1 1/2 hours to get to Angels Billabong from the harbour and Broken Beach is a short walk from there. It was then about 45 minutes to Kelingking Beach (we stopped for lunch on the way - which was pretty good). We then made our way to Crystal Bay which was about 40 minutes, before our trip back to the harbour at the end of the day (about 25 minutes). Overall it was a scenic drive and we felt well balanced with the amount of time we had at each place. 

Baby on Board:

  • We weren't sure whether  to take on such a big day trip with Lilah and went back and forth with our decision making. We're so glad we did as it's stunning there. Being with a very good private tour company also meant that it was safe and we were able to be flexible. Lilah was amazing all day and had a good sleep in the car. It helped that we were in Canggu for the week and had quite a relaxing time there. This was the one day trip we took. 
  • It's quite a long trip at around 12 hours door to door. Breaking the trip up with the drive to Sanur harbour from Canggu (45 minutes) then the speed boat to Nusa Penida (30 minutes) was quite good with Lilah as she was able to have a play outside. 
  • You really need to trust your driver when in Nusa Penida. We have seen broken roads before but this really was something else! We had lots of snacks with us which we were grateful for as we were in the car for a large part of the day. Many roads are single lane so knowing the roads is important. 
  • We didn't have Lilah's carry pack and it was fine to carry her. Most places you could drive pretty close to. 
  • The safety at Kelingking is reliant on a bamboo railing. We were very careful carrying Lilah.

Five things the photos do not show:

  • Lilah vomited in the taxi on the way to get the ferry to Nusa Penida. She rarely gets car sick but she did this day. We even contemplated going home but thankfully she was fine. We felt terrible and gave the driver a big tip for all the vomit in his car!
  • Boats to Nusa Penida had been cancelled for a few days prior to our trip because of the weather. A foreign lady tried to tell us that if went to Nusa Penida we would be stuck there and unable to return to Canggu. We later realized that she was desperate to get back to her home on the island and wanted our seats as all of the tickets were sold out.
  • We saw a girl fly off her scooter and it was really scary! Thankfully she stood straight up and looked more embarrassed than anything. We were happy a car didn't come speeding around the corner at the same time.
  • Lilah was having the time of her life in the sand. It got stuck everywhere so we paid $2 to give her a shower with a bucket and freezing cold water. She did not enjoy that at all!
  • Our driver and tour guide were so cute with Lilah. She fell in love with the toy monkey sticking to the window of the 4WD so they let her have it.
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Thursday, August 30, 2018

Canggu, Bali

Canggu has burst in popularity over the past few years and is now quite a popular place to visit. It's not as built up as other areas yet and still has a relaxing holiday vibe.

Fast Five Favourites:

  • Cafes- A major attraction staying in the area. Crate is probably the most popular and was our favorite. We also enjoyed Cafe Organic, Avocado Factory, and the Vietnamese food from Banh Mi & Beans was delicious. Coffee Cartel, Sea Circus and Kynd Community were a few places nearby in Seminyak that we enjoyed.
  • Sunsets- Bali generally is popular for it’s sunsets. Most nights we enjoyed beautiful sunsets on the beach in Canggu, which was a short walk from our villa. 
  • Villa- There’s so many nice options for Villas and the price was very reasonable. We enjoyed our stay at Hidden River Cottage (on Airbnb). It was clean, spacious and had everything we needed - including a small plunge pool to cool off in. The service and staff are excellent and we were able to hire a scooter directly from the villa. 
  • Beach restaurants/bars- La Laguna has a beautiful outdoor area on the beach with a fairytale setting. It was great to relax on bean bags with Lilah and watch the sunset. The well known beach club, Finns, was a nice way to spend the day. It’s $50 per person for a sun chair which you can then use as a tab. It was a nice place to relax with Lilah. She enjoyed a pineapple juice at the pool bar, the beach, sleeping on the sun loungers, and good music. 
  • Kids cafes- La Casita was our favorite as it was close by and the playground was perfect for Lilah. It’s also located in a nice setting next to rice fields. The Jogolo was another one we visited. The menu was good but the playground was more suited to kids a little older. 

Tips:

  • Many of the cafes listed above are as popular in real life as they are on Instagram. We found it to be a little less busy if we went for an early lunch or dinner.
  • The party vibe was turning up in the afternoon as we were leaving Finns. It felt like good timing with Lilah.
  • Book ahead at La Laguna, there were many tables reserved.
  • The popular villas on Airbnb sell out quick. We would recommend booking early, especially during the dry season. In saying that, there are many options!
  • We spent 8 nights in Canggu. We didn't do much in terms of sightseeing, it was more a place to chill and relax for us at the end of our summer vacation.
  • We are glad we found a place with the pool as we didn't find the beach to be very swim friendly, especially with Lilah.
  • If you didn't already know, it is a great place for a surfing holiday. We saw many people learning to surf. With reasonably priced accommodation, extended stays were popular.

Baby on Board:

  • If Lilah was to choose her favorite spot in Canggu it would be La Casita! She asked to go back multiple times and never wanted to leave. The waitresses are super sweet and love to play with the children when it is not busy. We met up with another family here and it was the perfect spot to chat and enjoy food while the kids played.
  • There were not many footpaths which was a surprise for us. This made using the stroller a struggle. After one attempt we decided to get a scooter. To be honest we felt safer driving with her on the scooter than walking with her on the side of the road. We were able to buy a small helmet for Lilah at a local shop. We chose not to drive with her at night when it is busier and a little crazier. There’s a random little road through rice paddies (although it is the main road!) that connects Canggu and Seminyak. It can get completely jammed at night and with one narrow lane.
  • We found the supermarket to be relatively expensive. Thankfully, it was cheap to eat out. We do like to have snacks for Lilah at home though, we wish we had a bit more of them with us as we spent a small fortune on goldfish crackers.

Five things the photos do not show:

  • We met up with @thejetsettingfamily and @wanderintwo while staying in Canggu. It really is something else meeting with people you are following and are inspired by on Instagram. We are excited to meet more families in the future! 
  • Sonita had her flip flops taken within five minutes of leaving them on the sand at the beach. We have become so relaxed after living in Korea where we have left our phones on the bus and they are returned to us.
  • Lilah loves when we get a foot massage! She will chat away to us and play with the many extra therapists waiting for customers. At one particular spa near our home the workers really opened up to us about how tough it is for them. We always try to leave tips and love to see the smiles spread across their faces. Many of them were away from their own young children and were teary eyed watching Lilah giggle and play.
  • The waiters were very sweet and understanding at La Laguna. Lilah was playing for hours, getting sand all through their beautiful picnic blanket. We really should have left while the going was good as she became overtired and threw a massive tantrum just after the sunset. We left in a hurry and had to return as we left Peppa Pig behind :)
  • Our villa was near the water and set amongst a lot of greenery which was beautiful. We did see a few too many creepy crawlies, big spiders, a scorpion in the bathroom, and a biawak (a huge lizard related to the Komodo dragon) relaxing by the pool. This wasn't much though in comparison to our stay in Manuel Antonio where we counted seven snakes during our stay in the jungle.
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Friday, August 24, 2018

Ubud, Bali

Ubud is known as Bali's spiritual capital and it is easy to see why. When initially planning our trip, a few people warned us that Ubud was just too touristy. While it can certainly feel this way in the centre, there are many quieter and serene places to enjoy. We loved exploring Ubud and all it had to offer!

Fast Five Favourites:

  • Rice Terraces- We found a beautiful and quiet walking trail just off the main street in Ubud. Just follow a little walkway next to the Big museum. There were not many people around apart from the locals tending to their crops. Of course, Tegalalang is still totally worth a visit! 
  • Bali Swing-Originally we were thinking that this place would be our biggest tourist trap we had ever set foot in. We went at 8am and were the first ones to arrive. Mama could swing as many times as she wanted for much longer than if you visit later in the day (an hour plus wait for a quick photo). There are also lots of quiet places to hang out and relax while enjoying a beautiful view.
  • Campuhan Ridge Walk- this scenic walk through the mountain valley is stunning. It rained a little on our trail and it added to the beauty. There are a few cafes towards the end that are nice to relax in.
  • Monkey Forest-It was so fun to see Lilah carefully observing the monkeys. She has seen many monkeys now but they never get old and she always starts singing Five Little Monkeys. We were surprised how beautiful and green it was here, plus there's many temples to see. 
  • Waterfalls- Our favorite was Kanto Lampo. We arrived early in the morning and there were only a few others. The water was wonderful for swimming. You can give a donation to one of the guys who will take your camera into the water for some amazing captures. We also enjoyed visiting Tegenungan waterfall but found it to be very touristy. It wasn't as good to swim here with Lilah. 

Tips:

  • Of course there are many temples to visit in and around Ubud. Saraswati is a gem right in the city. Tirta Empul was another temple that we visited and the holy water ceremony held here is very interesting to see. There are so many more, you could spend days just temple hopping. A couple was enough for us. 
  • Ubud is quite busy with tourists, certainly when we were there in June as it is the dry season. The advantages are the amount of cafes and markets/shops that have popped up. We found an Airbnb just out of the main centre amongst rice paddies which was very quiet and peaceful. Exploring popular places early (usually before 10am) or just finding things to do off the beaten track meant that we were able to get away from the crowds. 
  • We were in Ubud for 8 nights and it enabled us to have a nice mix of relaxing by the pool and getting out and about. There's so much to do in the area we could have easily spent another week. We decided not to venture out on some of the longer day trips with 2 hours plus each way, as we prefer shorter days out and about with Lilah in the heat. 
  • Airbnb has some amazing private villas with a private pool for only 65 USD per night. We have not seen this value in many other places. 
  • Eating! So many delicious places to eat. We could easily be vegan in Ubud! Everything is delicious, with so many raw treats. Our favorites were: La Pacha Mama, Alchemy, and the bagel shop on the main street was good for a quick dinner (Lilah loved the banana bread from here). Ibu Oka is a famous place to try the traditional Babi Guling. 
  • Do not get a taxi from the main Coco supermarket. They charge double the price as the drivers on the street. One taxi we took told us that there are 'local' drivers and have monopoly over certain locations and charge higher prices than the driver from out of town. 50000 Rupiah is generally the rate for trips around Ubud and there are drivers everywhere. A full day private driver ranged from 400000 to 600000 Rupiah. We would usually negotiate for a half day or 4-6 hour trip which was between 300000-450000 Rupiah. 
  • We were headed to the Gili Islands from Ubud and we did not want to carry all of our gear. We decided to have a driver take it to our next accommodation in Canggu for us. It was the best decision because there is no motorised transport on the Gilis. It was so much more relaxing not having to carry all of our luggage as their were a few transitions and a small local boat that we used once. 
  • Massage- we had one of the best massages we have ever had here in Ubud. It was at the private spa that was attached to The Sungu Resort. We also had the worst foot massage we have ever had at a random place on the main street of Ubud. We do not remember the name of the place or if it even had a name. We cut it short by 30 minutes because it was just strange! We did however enjoy a different foot massage for about 7USD, it can be a little hit and miss. 
  • Other areas that we wanted to visit but were a bit long of a drive to get to were Pura Lempuyang, Pura Ulun Danu, Handara Gate, Tukad Cepung waterfall, Wanagiri Hill and Jatiluwih Rice Terraces. So much to do in the area! Maybe next time we will stay up in the north for a few days to see some of these places. 
  • As there was so much to see in the area using an offline GPS map was great. It helped us by pinning restaurants that we found on Trip Advisor (we were careful about where we ate with the 'bali belly' in mind), and we also pinned places we wanted to visit. Doing this made it simple to plan a day out by visiting 2 or 3 places in the same area. 
  • Vive Salon and Spa had a beautiful facial that Sonita really enjoyed. She also had a hair cut by Rikke, she was great and we would totally recommend! 
  • Coco supermarket had everything we needed. 
  • We really enjoyed the shopping and smaller boutique shops.

Baby on Board:

  • It was quite tricky to navigate the streets with a stroller in Ubud. We found it much easier to carry Lilah in her carrier. Note: take an extra shirt for Daddy and his sweaty back after having Lilah on him for a few hours in the rice terraces!
  • There is an indoor playground on top of the Bintang supermarket. Lilah really enjoyed this and it was nice to take her here in the afternoon heat.
  • We were very careful with eating after hearing about the notorious 'bali belly.' We washed our hands often, sanitised and were selective where we ate. Thankfully we were fine. 

Five things the photos do not show:

  • Lilah was scared being so close to the waterfall. The water was actually perfect to swim in with her but the loud sound was just too foreign to her. She was happier to observe and enjoy from further away!
  • Lilah was most disappointed that only Mama got to go on the swing. She kept asking when we were going to find Lilah's swing.
  • Our driver drove straight into a parked motorcycle when he was dropping us off one day. We felt terrible for him and he was borrowing his brother's SUV.
  • We lost wifi for a night and half a day in our accommodation. You really do feel lost without it these days, especially because we couldn't message our driver and we wanted to get picked up early in the morning.
  • Every morning we would wake up to the 'bird man' as Lilah called him. There was a local farmer working near our Air Bnb who would shake a wire fence and make funny noises to scare away the birds. 
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Sunday, August 19, 2018

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

We were on our way to Bali and thought that KL might be a fun place to check out. Lilah loved it and we were pleasantly surprised by this city!

Fast Five Favourites:

  • Batu Caves- This Hindu temple is in an incredible natural setting. It's popular for good reason! Make sure to visit early before the crowds. Generally before 10am seemed to be okay. 
  • KLCC Park- The amazing Petronas Towers can be seen from many angles all over the city. The park below is a nice place for a stroll or to catch some shade. 
  • Thean Hou Temple- This Chinese style temple is a beautiful design and you can also enjoy views back to KL. 
  • Street Markets- Jalan Alor street food markets were where we ate most nights. The food is fresh and delicious with many options. There's many other markets to check out in KL. 
  • Strolling through the city- Our favorite area to explore was around Jalan Melaka station. There a beautiful walk along the river, with a beautiful unique mosque and the historic area nearby. 

Tips:

  • From Jalan Melaka station you can continue to walk towards Central Market (there are some nice boutique style shops), Sri Maha Hindu temple, and China Town (it wasn't so impressive in the day time and was quite dirty. Maybe night time is better?).
  • It's easiest to take a taxi out to Thean Hou temple and have it wait for you there. It's quite a distance from the nearest station uphill to the temple and the roads are not ideal for walking. We couldn't get a return taxi to the city so had to walk down the hill to flag one down. 
  • 4 nights was a good amount of time to see some of the main areas and sights. The weather in June was nice, and being a tropical destination it was the dry season. The forecast however did show rain most of the time but it did only rain one evening. 
  • We stayed at an Air B'nB that was located in The Face Suites. We loved it as it was private but we were able to use all of the facilities of the hotel, including the rooftop pool with amazing views of the city and Petronas towers. This was a nice area to stay, walking distance from KLCC and close to 2 different tram lines. 
  • TG's was a reasonable priced and good place to eat for Indian food. There's a number of good eating places in KLCC and lots of shopping too!
  • There's an express train that you can catch to the city. We usually opt for convenience with Lilah so caught a taxi which was reasonable priced. You may need to factor in peak travel time depending on when you are transferring. It was about an hour trip but 1 hour 40 in the after work traffic. 
  • The taxi drivers seemed to have a set rate for trips within the city centre. This was at least 3 or 4 times the meter rate which was frustrating, particularly one day when we were caught in the rain with Lilah. Thankfully the tram system was never too far away and easy to use. 

Baby on Board:

  • If we lived in KL, we don't think Lilah would ever leave KLCC. It had the most playgrounds in such close proximity that we had ever seen. There is also a swimming pool with a gorgeous view of the towers.
  • We were able to comfortably use Lilah's stroller in the city, and it was relatively easy to take it on the trams. 

Five things the photos do not show:

  • We forgot to take Lilah's swimwear to KLCC park and she really wanted to get wet and play with her new friends. We ended up walking home with a half naked baby as we had no spare clothes either. At least it was warm :)
  • On our way to KL we had an interesting experience on the plane. Those with children know how anxious you can feel traveling with a babe. Lilah is very used to flying so luckily for the most part she enjoys it. We had a couple in front of us on the flight (wife was pregnant) who would look back at us with horrible stares every time Lilah made a single sound, even laughter! We hope they will realize when they have their own babe that they were being idiots. We have found most people to be extremely supported. But there is always the exception.
  • We saw a baby monkey about to eat a cigarette that someone had dropped on the ground at Batu Caves. Thankfully the Mama monkey stopped it. There was quite a lot of trash around.
  • We are not very adventurous when it comes to trying food! We had a few recommendations from taxi drivers to try and then we would get there and not be game enough to give it a go. It may help to have an idea of where you want to eat on a GPS map such as Maps.Me (which you can use offline). We wished we had done this a couple of times. 
  • The concierge at the Face Suites was not happy that we used the trolley to move our suitcases as were not hotel guests. On our final day he rung the Air B'n'B owner to yell at him in front of us and that was a bit awkward!
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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Gili Islands

There is something magical about the Gili Islands. Every now and then we have places that we instantly feel a connection to. Gili Meno was like that for us. We even started looking at land for sale! One can dream right 😊We have decided to add a new feature to our posts-Five things the photos do not show...We like to share our favorite photos and stories, but we have come to learn that often some of our challenges or unexpected happenings can be just as helpful for others. 

Fast Five Favourites:

  • Snorkelling with turtles, we hired a private boat with a glass bottom and went out early in the morning. Riki had seen turtles before in the red sea but it was the girl's first time. We were very excited. There were so many! Lilah loved to look through the glass bottom at all of the colorful fish. 
  • Eating dinner at Mahamaya and watching the sunset. You need to book if you want to reserve a spot on the beach. 
  • Swimming at the beach on Gili Meno. The water was warm and it was perfect for Lilah to wade in and play.
  • Finding a bean bag or sun chair and relaxing around the islands. There are many places where you can go and be the only ones around or with very few people.
  • Exploring Gili Air made for a fun day. There were also many more swings on Gili Air which Lilah loved!

Tips:

  • We stayed at Tropical Hideaways Resort and liked the location near the nicest beach. It had a pool and was a cute boutique place. There are many accomodation options on the islands. 
  • Make sure to just bike around and get a bit lost. At times there's no one around and then you come across a local village area where it's easy to forget that there's actually resorts on the island. 
  • We were staying in Ubud before going to the Gilis and had booked our accomodation for Canggu after the Gilis. We are still learning to pack light so we asked our hosts if we could pay to have some of our luggage picked up and waiting for us in Canggu. We are so happy we did because it would have been a bit annoying lugging her carseat and extras on and off the boats. We also would not want to put it all on the horses! (There are no motorized vehicles on the islands).
  • We decided to book our fast boat with Patagonia Express as it is the biggest boat and also new. We were pleased with the professionalism and safety. We decided to travel to and from the nearest port (Padang Bai) to reduce the time on the boat. The ride can be rough at times crossing the straight. Thankfully our journey was fine, apart from feeling a little sea sick at the end of our inbound trip. Patagonia Express did not go to Gili Meno so we had to catch a separate boat, which leave on the hour. It was very easy to deal with the company and book using WhatsApp. 
  • The snorkelling is good around Gili Meno. The private boat tour meant we were easily able to get to the area where the turtles are and around to the west side of the island where the best coral is. 
  • We ate at Mahamaya every night! We have never done this before. The setting on the beach with a sunset view and amazing food is hard to beat. The white chocolate Creme Brulee was Riki's favorite dessert ever! The lava cake at Mallias was also delicious. We often ate here as it was near the top beach there. Sasak cafe was a nice area to relax at in the evening. The band they had one night was amazing. 
  • We took a day trip to Gili Air which is an easy 10 minute boat ride. It's beautiful to bike around there. It's much more built up than Meno and there's a lot more people. That meant more dust which wasn't so good for Lilah. We enjoyed the south part of the Island the most. There is a nice wide beach which is good for swimming, many restaurants on the beach, and swings and hammocks on the water. Pacha Mama was a tasty cute little vegan restaurant where we ate for lunch. 

Baby on Board:

  • Lilah is just over two years old. This is why we chose to stay on Gili Meno and we are so happy that we did. It had a very relaxed vibe and we loved biking around the island with her. You can walk around the entire island in one hour so we were never far from home. There were also bikes with a baby seat which we were so happy about.
  • There were many beach front options to eat at with Lilah. We don't often eat out at night but she could play in the sand and we could go and look for fish in the water.
  • The glass bottom boat was perfect for our private snorkelling tour. Lilah could watch the fish swimming beneath the boat and we could take turns going out with a guide. 
  • We visited in at the beginning of July and it was quite dusty, especially on Gili Air. The locals said they often get sick this time of the year because it is hot in the day and cooler in the evening. We were fine with the temperature but Lilah got a small cough from the dust. There are small masks you can purchase on the island.
  • There are small supermarkets on the island but we made sure we had enough diapers/wipes and some snacks with us before we went.

Five things the photos do not show:

  • Sonita always reacts to the jelly fish eggs when swimming in the ocean. Some people call it 'sea lice rash.' She got it bad on her back and legs. Thankfully, Lilah doesn't react the same way.
  • We need to invest in an underwater camera so we can capture awesome moments like swimming with the turtles!
  • We had an argument about dessert one day and then realized we had just spent too much time together 😂
  • Lilah vomited on the way to the Gilis. The water was not very rough but her little tummy must have felt it. It was a good lesson to always be prepared with some sea bands or similar.
  • It was hard to see some of the horses carrying very heavy loads and at times they did not look happy at all!
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