Day 2 in Bali was all about a silly monkey, me.
First act, getting up earlier to get to the pool.
After 2 hours in the pool, breakfast and shower, we were ready to push ourselves to leave our comfy hotel and off to Kuta Square since Raissa wanted to buy the sand tools to build sandcastle before going to, as I told her, a very very beautiful beach today. We didn’t spend much time there, and once we found what we wanted, we left because we want to see some monkeys.
I told the kids that they’re gonna see monkeys up-close. At first, I wanted to take them to see monkey in Ubud with a personal hidden agenda early dinner at Dirty Ducks. That mission failed because the silly monkey who drove the car couldn’t read the map good enough yet, so when I saw roadsign directing to Sangeh I opted to take them there instead.
I was a bit worried to take them there because Sangeh monkeys are notorious for bad behaviors, snapping cameras or bags or jewelries or whatever the visitors hold. A monkey took my mom’s sandal when she visited it two years ago. I imagined Raissa and Fiamma would be petrified seeing shrieking monkeys swinging wildly between trees.
It turned out there was nothing to worry about and we had a good time there. The monkeys were rather docile and friendly. We fed them peanuts which they took gently from our hands. No monkey went crazy. Thank God. Btw, the whole time in Bali I noticed a lot of ads offering many activities with elephants, at different places too. From education show to riding, feeding, to bathing Dumbo relatives. There’s even a lodge that bears elephant on its name and guests will be escorted to their room on an elephant! We skipped a chance to interact with them this time because I don’t think it’s safe with Fiamma still not fully understands safety instruction.
Enough fun with the monkey, we all longed for another beach. After reading about Bingin Beach, I’m sold at the words secluded, hidden gem, and tranquil beach. From Sangeh, I drove directly to Pecatu, Uluwatu. The sweetest thing happened on our way to Bingin. Raissa and Fiamma sang me Happy Birthday cheerfully clapping their little hands. Yep, today, it’s actually my birthday! I wish Kris was with us in Bali.
Anyhooo, I got better in reading the map from my mobile phone but still had to make a few detours. Passing the Padang-Padang beach, there were many tourists wanting to see the sunset thus creating a bit of heavy traffic. I was tempted to just stop there too because the time was almost 5 p.m. and I really should have! But this silly monkey me, upon seeing too many people there, and then the parking-man said that Bingin beach is only 10 minutes away and I firmed my will to get to a tranquil beach.
We finally arrived at the parking area of Bingin beach slightly after 5 p.m. and I asked the locals for direction to the beach. The locals, while gave me direction, also asked me why I want to go to beach so late. They then asked if I’m going to stay overnight there. When I replied that we did not plan to stay the night there, they told me to seriously consider turning around because the path to the beach was too steeped. I was already disheartened upon hearing their advice, but Raissa had said repeatedly that she wanted to go to beach to build sandcastle. She was very consistent in asking when we’re gonna get to the beach and as a birthday gift for me, I just wanted to spend and end the day with my girls happy.
Not wanting to waste anymore time, we rushed down the path to the beach. I carried Fiamma in my loyal babyhwak carrier and held Raissa’s hand. We started to walk down the cobbled path and I thought the path was easy to walk on so I don’t care if it’s a long way down. We were happily walking for the next 10 minutes until the cobbled path ended and we encountered the steep steps to get down the cliff and on to the beach.
pic is taken from here
The steps started to daunt me. It was so steep, so high, and zigzag-ing and… the area was not well-lit. I told Raissa that we might have to turn around and she said ok. We could NOT see the beach, that’s how steep it was. Yet, we could see the ocean already which was enough to recharge Raissa’s energy and so we marched on. About 10 minutes later, we arrived at the beach. I ran out of breath, while Raissa quickly dumped all her new sand tools and started digging sand. Fiamma fortunately was a bit calm at Bingin beach, otherwise I could not imagine having to struggle keeping her off the water. I started feeding them dinner because it’s already over 6 p.m. and I’m haunted with hungry crying babies on our climb back up.
Bingin Beach is really a surfing paradise. Most of the tourists staying there are surfers. Feast for mama’s eyes :p The beach is actually quite pretty and I can imagine a romantic stay here because all of the accommodations actually sit on a cliff. The accommodations are all look rather modest but inviting. However, I would not recommend it for family with young children, definitely not for children under age 5. The path or rather the steps there were really steep so it’s dangerous for young children. We stayed there for only half-hour because it turned really dark on the beach and its surrounding.
Oh my, what a cardio exercise to climb up the cliff. I was out for breath after 5 minutes and took a break for a minute, and then… Raissa said that she needs to go to the loo. We headed to the nearest cafe to use their toilet, and I also ordered a large bottle of mineral water and coke. I did feel I need all the sugar boost to finish Bingin challenge. If you google to see how steep Bingin’s steps are, no picture can justify it because not only it’s steep but as I said earlier it went zig-zag, instead of a straight line. So it’s a steep and long path.
Raissa was a real trooper. She walked up on her own feet. She didn’t let me take a break because she was more scared of the dark than feeling tired We did not, of course, carry any flashlight. Note to everyone, flashlight is so important when you consider staying at Bingin beach. I’m not sure how long it took for us to came out from the stone-and-gravel steps but it felt like forever. I felt relieved already when we finally finished with the steps and reached the cobbled path again.
Once we were on the cobbled path, luck was with us. A tall, big, and well-built Balinese guy (he might be just a slight smaller than Ade Rai) carrying a flashlight happened to walk behind us. I told him to just walk past us because I was afraid that we would slow him down if we walked in front of him. He turned down my suggestion and continued to walk behind us and lit the path for us with his flashlight. Once we got to the area with some street lights, he asked if he can help me carrying Fiamma. At first I turned down his offer because that would make me feel bad, but he insisted that it’s ok, so I finally gave in. He took over Fiamma and when we chatted a bit more, he said he owns car rental business and that he lives in Seminyak as well. Perfect. I immediately asked him if I can follow him back to Seminyak, being a nice guy he of course said yes and even gave me his name card with his mobile number. He said if we get separated I can call him up for direction. Phheeww, bless you, bli Nyoman. I can finally let my inadeqaute map-reading skill a break.
The kids fell asleep on the way back to the hotel, and watching them sleeping in bed that night, I thank God for blessing me with an exciting day on my birthday with my most precious treasures. I love you to the moon and back girls and Happy Birthday to me *cheers*
Over with the boohoo after Kris confirmed that he couldn’t come along to Bali, and we, the girls, opt to enjoy our holiday to the max. And here’s the keepsakes from our Bali trail.
First, I re-affirm that it’s best to travel during the kids’ sleeping time. Very little hassle even for an adult travelling with two toddlers. Fiamma did roam around the Soetta airport mopping the floor with herself, but just before the plane took off, she fell asleep and didn’t wake up till Bali morning sun greeted her the next morning. While Raissa… just a perfect travel buddy. Her sanguine-self is just the best partner-in-crime for any adventure.
Our first stop is of course the touristiest spot: Kuta-Legian-Seminyak gang. This is the girls first trip to Bali so I think it’s best to start with the basics We stayed at Arana Suite. It’s a new small hotel with only 32 chic rooms decorated just the way I’d do my tropical home. Located in Seminyak but not the area where KuDeTa and all that expensive hangout places on Jl. Petitenget crowd together. It sits on Jl. Nakula (just off Sunset Road) and although it’s not within short walking distance to the beach but it’s still close to all the conveniences, such as Starbucks, McD and other small local eateries and stores. The hotel also provides drop-off service to Kuta beach and Double6 beach three times a day. For me, the serenity of the hotel’s immediate surrounding, being away from the loudness of partying drunks, is perfect for family travelling with little children.
The hotel has a nice swimming pool but unfortunately no kids pool. Nonetheless, the kids armed with floating armband and vest relished the pool every morning as soon as they left the bed, after breakfast, and tempted to plunge into it again before they hit the bed. Actually, I think they would be just as happy to stay by the pool at the hotel the whole time if I didn’t let them know that they are surrounded by white-sand beaches. But their momma has a big mouth and the words about nice beaches were out in noooo time.
First stop, the closest beach to our hotel: Kuta.
Kuta beach.. welll, just like what any google search result would tell you. White-sand beach, packed with people, too many vendors offering everything from drink to massage and hair-braiding service, but it’s all fun. I was happy to find Kuta beach much much cleaner and less packed from my last visit. The kids had a blast here. Too much fun that Fiamma had to change clothes 3 times because she always pushed her way back to the ocean and I simply couldn’t drag her off the water and sand quick enough!
We then had a quick lunch on Kuta main street while waiting for our rented car to be delivered. Yep, I rented a small KIA Picanto car almost the whole time we were there. At first, I thought I could just use taxi everywhere but travelling with two super-energized kids, it was much easier to have a car with us so I don’t need to carry them too long too often. I would recommend any family travelling with small children to just rent a car in Bali. It’s definitely much cheaper than going around by taxi. I rented mine for Rp. 150k/day (24hours, no driver).
As soon as I had a car, we went back to the hotel for a quick nap, and out again before sunset to drive around the city. The goal for the evening is to have dinner at Warung Eny in Seminyak. The warung is so small and really is a warung, that is difficult to find. It’s nothing fancy but the food is oh-sooooo-delish! We had corn-fritters (bakwan jagung), Balinese-spiced chicken (ayam betutu) and grilled snapper with garlic flavoring, and they were all divine. I bagged whatever we didn’t finish and ate them the next day, and all were still good. Truly fingers licking good meals.
We went back to the hotel after dinner and straight to bed with happy tummy. Day 1 ended a bit early as we wanted to take it easy and because I’ve planned for a more adventurous activities for Day 2.