Ubud blog 2018: The 1st stop on our family full time travel adventure
Ubud blog: We have arrived in Ubud, Bali! The first stop on our family round the world trip (although at the rate the kids get ready we might never get further than the end of Ubud Main Street) and life is pretty sweet.
We kicked off the trip with a delicious meal at Jamie’s Diner at Gatwick airport. We were invited to eat there by Gatwick and it surpassed our expectations- I usually find airport food fairly dire and I’m used to spending flights feeling sluggish and undernourished. Jamie’s was great, they had lovely fresh salads and it was fairly easy to get a decent vegan meal, despite most of the menu being meat based.
We then had a thirteen hour overnight flight from London Gatwick to Singapore with Norwegian air, followed by a ten hour layover in Singapore’s Changi airport. Changi is an absolute dream, inarguably the best airport in the world. It’s a day out or two in itself so thankfully we had plenty to do during the layover. Although it was technically nighttime, the time difference meant that our girls were up and awake and ready to PLAY, and so play we did. A giant curly-wurly slide, a cactus garden and some cheeky fries passed the time nicely.
We had a slight hiccup when JetStar refused to allow us to check in to our connecting flight as we didn’t have onward tickets from Bali (not nearly as bad as our journey from Thailand to Sri Lanka, which nearly killed us). Almost twenty-four hours without sleep does not put one in the mood to deal with this kind of shenanigans, but we had a quick online conference with Skyscanner and booked the required tickets. Hey, at least we have somewhere to look forward to after Bali (check out what we got up to in Thailand here)!
Arriving at Bali’s Denpasar airport we played the fun game of where’s-our-pre-booked-taxi, followed by a quick game of who-will-rip-us-off-the-least. Unfortunately six tired, sweaty souls compromising 50% kids does not incentivise taxi drivers to lower their prices, so we forfeited the game and crammed ourselves into a car for a hectic ride to Ubud.
Ubud blog 2018: First impressions
Bali is amazing. The drive to our hotel was long, hectic and an assault on the senses, but it was pretty awesome. Balinese architecture is beautiful, the national dress is gorgeous and the traffic is, erm, noteworthy. Families of five zipped past our cab balanced on mopeds, the toddlers standing on the footrest, clinging onto the handlebars. Meanwhile we, as pampered white pansies, were thankfully too tired to fret about the lack of car seats, or the fact that mum and I were crammed into the back with all three kids. You know the phrase- when in Rome, health and safety can do one. (We did put their seatbelts on, we’re not total Neanderthals).
Our hotel in Ubud is decent, we think we got a pretty good deal. The rooms are aesthetically basic but we have air con, hot water and a fridge which is super luxury by south-east Asian standards. The grounds are gorgeous- courtyards filled with fragrant flowers and incense, surrounding a great pool that the kids love. Within 24 hours of arriving, Eira had learned to swim (!) and both Esmae and Eira were confidently using snorkels. Looking at the price of London swimming lessons we’ve probably saved money by booking round the world flights and a hotel in Ubud, Bali instead. Win.
There are some fantastic cheap restaurants nearby, with plentiful tasty vegan food so I’m happy (check out our best restaurants in Ubud blog). Our days really revolve around mealtimes, about which no one’s complaining. We are having slow, chilled days, the kids in the pool and playing in the hotel room, me working. We visited Ubud market the other morning, bleh. Too contrived, too consumerist, of course it’s something they need for the economy but it’s not somewhere we’ll be going back.
Patrick and I had a wonderful morning date yesterday, taking a walk up to the ridge that overlooks Ubud’s paddy fields. There’s something about the rice terraces that makes me super relaxed, I just love all the vibrant green and clean air and being outside under the sun. We also found a swing with a superb view!
We have a few day trips planned which we are SUPER excited about. You may remember me describing our ridiculously tight and unrealistic budget for our trip- after food and accommodation it certainly doesn’t leave anything for day trips, and I thought we would just have to write them off.
We have now been lucky enough to partner with Get Your Guide, a global tour-booking platform, who have offered to show us the best of Bali. In a couple of days we’ll hire a driver and zip about the island to see some of the cool stuff we have been hearing about- waterfalls and rice paddies are high up on my list; snorkelling is on Patrick’s and Mum fancies an e-Bike tour of bamboo forests.
I’m also planning a surprise trip for Esmae as a mummy-daughter date; a charity has invited us to visit them and I think she’ll love it. (To see what the surprise was, click here!).
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