Ubud-Sidemen-Amed-Candidasa-Sanur… Bali

So our two babies are 3 years and 18 months now. This year’s winter escape to Bali will be a piece of cake compared to their age a year ago, we thought. Except the kids were the easy part. Facing active volcanoes, learning about tsunami evacuation routes, and experiencing earthquakes & aftershocks turned out to be the gnarly part.

If you’re reading this (especially with young kids) and weighing up the ultimate question; ‘to go or not to go?’ there were two fantastic news sources that helped us decide. In fact we are still a bit addicted to despite being home in Melbourne. 1) The official earthquake tracker app BMKG and 2) Jackie Pomeroy’s Mount Agung Daily Report Facebook group. Both made us feel informed, connected and a whole less fearful about what, when you start to understand them, are natural events and part and parcel of Indonesian life. So, we went.

My 3rd time here and here’s what I’ve reaffirmed; Yoga Barn is not for me. Although it is a useful shortcut, and an amusing space to watch your own toddlers destroy all the hippy ‘meditative’ peace with their own loud ‘ecstatic dancing

Nyuh Kuning village has the holy grail of traveling with toddlers in Asia; pavements. Well, flat tracks by the side of a quiet tree-lined road that you can push a pram along or let them walk/hoon along. The two parallel streets of Jl. Nyuh Bulan and Jl. Nyuh Gading are a great Sunday afternoon walk.

The path around Monkey Forest is still a gauntlet of hell. The toddlers were braver than I was.

Where we stayed… (And ate plenty of times too)
Gana Ubud Hotel and Restaurant

Started as a strategic one night stop-off at a local mountain village when we took a shine to a particularly well-priced yet fancy villa. Turned into a really great decision for a stop off when our 19 month old vomited on me as she sat on my lap in a taxi traversing the windy roads. Ironically, for somewhere only 16km from the exclusion zone for the simmering Mount Agung, we had a beautifully peaceful night (apart from our own loud human volcanoes.)

Where we stayed…
Villa Shantiasa

I was worried we wouldn’t be able to enjoy Amed without a moped, as it’s a series of beach villages along the coast. Or without dive gear, as it’s famed for it’s wreck diving. Except kids are pretty ace by happily filling 3 days with nothing but a pool, a garden overlooking a rice field (are you even IN Bali without this!) and a beach 50 metres from your bedroom. Oh and the BEST ever meal in all of my six visits to Bali; Galanga restauant.  It’s worth the hype. I was also loving life during the 10 whole minutes i spent snorkeling at Bunutan. Kids are also pretty ace at making you appreciate every moment of solitary freedom too, even if you have to go underwater to get it.

Where we stayed…
Villa Mangga Beach

Will forever be the place we were pretty much scared sh*tless when two 6.4 and 6.9 quakes hit neighboring Lombok. Amed, Candidasa and Sanur are all low-lying coastal land, so tsunama prone. We always packed a nightly ‘grab bag’ in case we had to evacuate outside in an emergency with torches, passports etc. It turns out when an earthquake hits the only thing you actually do is run towards your sleeping babies and dive on top of them as you feel the walls and windows rattle around you. And for us, the official classification was moderate to strong. I cannot imagine how it feels in the epicenter of an earthquake. The kids were blissfully ignorant and slept through a whole night of aftershocks.

Where we stayed…
Bali Palms

Where we ate…
Warung Bintang
Candi Bakery

Familiar, easy, and the perfect end to our trip by meeting up with family friends. We kept it simple and spent two days visiting our favorite eateries and haggle spots from last year. We can almost understand why you might return to the same spot year on year. Only joking. We loved our 2 weeks, 6 stop adventure. As did our little gypsy nomad toddlers.

Where we stayed…
Rumah By the Sea

Where we ate…
Warung Odah Oning

Sanur, Bali, Indonesia

Sanur is famed for it’s 4km beachfront. It’s pleasant, child friendly, has nice eateries. It’s slightly too generic to be a favorite (we’re island people at heart!) Highlights include the night market, trying Kopi Lewak (cat poo coffee) posing at the picturesque Big Garden Corner, and our beautiful hideaway at the Villa Sayang Tamen.

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

I’ve never seen so many sunrises as I have in this country.  I used to stay up partying in Kuta until 5am, now I wake at the time because my jetlagged babies are raring to go at dawn. It’s fair to say traveling with our 2.5yr and 7 month girls has been a beautiful yet exhausting week so far.

7 years ago fell in love with Ubud after a daytrip here. I’ve always hankered to come back to do a silversmith workshop, check out vegan cafes, browse for Balinese cushions, be almost be convinced I don’t hate yoga….

Obviously this is all still on the wish list as my babies allowed me to do non of this.

Instead we experienced travel from a toddlers agenda; lots of time in the pool and eating our own weight in tropical fruit. They have life sussed. Every other picture in my camera roll is us posing with coconut juice or smoothies. We also discovered the joy of acai bowls, which we ate Udud style in a plush cushioned swing.

My top tips for Ubud with kids under two…..

1) Avoid the famous monkey forest, and 1/2 km radius of monkey forest Rd. Wild monkey vs wild toddler….i’m not sure who my money would be on.

2) Scooter traffic and South East Asian pavements (or lack of.) Negotiating the manic roads with my two little ones scared the s#!t out of me. The only time we actually got to use our double pram was for our 5am walks to the local fruit market when the streets were less crowded. During the daytime our baby hiking carriers were a travel essential. It felt much safer and more nimble negotiating the narrow streets. Plus they slept happily cocooned on us as we browsed the busy flee markets and snuck in cheeky Bintangs.

3) Discover all of the tiny ramshackle warongs and the more quiet places to grab an evening meal where kids will be welcomed with open arms. Literally, a team of nice Indonesian women were happy to grab our baby from my lap and entertain her in a rice field whilst I ate. You know what they say; It takes a village.


4) I’m going to pretend I loved adopting a “if you can’t beat them join” attitude of being woken by babies louder than roosters for a three hour walk before breakfast. We experiencing the beauty of silent rice fields at sunrise, the traditionalists of the fruit market, and saw Ubud from a rarer perceptive….Who am I kidding, I value sleep! Although one of the nicest benefits of such an early start was being in bed by 7pm which i secretly loved. What a difference 7 years makes :)

Where we ate….



Where we stayed….



Pic of the Week; Kuta Revisited

The Bali Memorial now at the foot of SkyGarden Kuta, Dedicated on 12th Oct 8 years ago.

The Bali Memorial, at the foot of the still vibrant  Sky Garden Kuta, Dedicated on 12th Oct 8 years ago.
“Travel teaches toleration.” – Benjamin Disraeli





An.an.tas.in : The Anantasin is the name of a shipwreck just of the coast of the Sensi Parasise, Mae Haad Bay, Koh Tao, Thailand. It’s one of my many favorite places.

Lit.tle: Just because it’s cute.

Blasts From The Past…

April 2020

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