My Tot-Friendly Travel – Bali, Indonesia 

I confess… I’m a Bali addict.  I make the pilgrimage once yearly, and heck, we even got married in Bali.

Bali Bubu 2014

This would be the first time however, that we are visiting as a family of four, and it would be a whole different experience!

One of the most important things when choosing a villa (or hotel) in Bali is the location, depending on whether you plan to spend all your time chilling in the villa or wish to do some town-hopping. 

With all the added logistics (and paranphanelia when traveling with a 3 month old baby), we decided to opt for a Bali villa over a hotel.

I can’t recommend this enough for groups or families traveling together. Many villas come with their own dedicated butlers, chefs and service staff (especially the bigger ones like 4-5 bedrooms), and Villa Simona Oasis where we stayed, also had its own mini-van (7 seater) and driver as well as an in-house masseuse.  

Exploring Villa Simona
   
Bubu loves the sunlit, spacious living areas.
 

Villa garden and pool
  
Daddy and Jakey
The thing to avoid in Bali…those nasty traffic jams (Boo)! Even short distances can take 45 minutes to cover because of road conditions, and with small children, long commutes in Bali traffic just aren’t ideal.  For this reason, I prefer to stay near or around the buzzy Seminyak area. We’ve stayed further afield before like Ubud, Nusa Dua, Tanah Lot and Uluwatu, but each time when making multiple trips back to Seminyak – whether to lunch at Sardine or catch the sunset at Potato Head – we’ve always said, “Next time we will stay closer to Seminyak”.   

Sunset at Potatohead

Our original choice was Villa Lulito, which is a beautiful four bedroom villa in the heart of Seminyak.
Villa Lulito, Seminyak

With its white-washed wood floors and Hamptons-style decor, Lulito looks like something out of Ralph Lauren Home. This little gem is tucked away just 5 minutes from the bustle of Seminyak Beach (and one of the four rooms is a huge family room with 2 double decker bunk beds – sleeps four), but alas, it was fully booked for our dates of travel!)  
Villa Lulito
Moving on, we knew we still wanted to be near Seminyak, but also wanted something less commercial, and perhaps to explore new places – something a little less crowded and touristy.  

I really wanted to share some recommendations for family travel, and some tips for taking the road less travelled in Canggu over crowded Seminyak.  Canggu is a 15-20 minute drive from Seminyak (in Bali terms, that’s like right next door) which makes it a perfect base. I decided to plan my itinerary around Canggu and to explore the area. 

It’s a lot of information, so I’ve split this post into two, this one is more about accommodation and the villa where we stayed, and the next will be an exploration of Canggu, and a suggested 3-4 day itinerary. 

We stayed in five-bedroom Villa Simona Oasis.  I’m not a travel agent, so I’m not “selling” the villa. I really just wanted to share our gorgeous photos from our experience there. 

First – this sprawling 47,000 sqft five bedroom villa has ROCKIN’ pool toys! There’s the Flamingo, the giant Swan, the Donut and even a little slide that we put over the pool to create our own water slide. Once Bubu got over his excitement of petting the pink “Mingo”, we explored the rest of the sprawling villa estate.

Here we are in the largest of the five bedroom villas on the property, it has its own living area, jacuzzi garden and like all the other rooms, outdoor bath areas , which Bubu adored (but if you’re super-terrified of frogs, lizards and other garden life forms, you may not be as enthused).

  
  
All the rooms (which are more like free-standing mini villas) have outdoor baths and gardens, this one below was another of my favorite layouts.

The dining area seats ten and they also have a high chair (plus points).

  I really loved the natural sunlight on this daybed in the living area, and took all Jake’s OOTD shots here!  Now the pool…  The villa has a spanking new pool deck with loads of beautiful striped cushions and a pair of swings that made the kids happy. 

    

Playmates in the pool
  The pool itself is very baby and toddler-friendly with shallow areas that are ankle-deep, knee-deep and waist-deep with a deeper end (which is where you should put the pool slide if your kids are bigger than toddlers). 

Note: As with any place with a pool, keep an eye on the toddlers! We didn’t find it dangerous as we could lock the villa doors to keep him inside when we were there, the villa had staff who also helped keep a lookout for the kids, but of course, be sensible-Always keep an eye on the little ones around the pool.   

 Okay, so it wasn’t just the kids who enjoyed the pool. 

The villa staff were also excellent, on hand to prepare fresh meals when we chose to stay in, helped to make all our restaurant bookings and transport arrangements, and we had fresh mango juice on-demand every day, Bubu thought he was in Paradise!
 Wrapping up now (and starting work on the next post which is about what we did and where we went in Canggu and Seminyak), here are the links for Villa Lulito (the Hampton’s style 4 bedroom villa in Seminyak) and Villa Simona Oasis where we stayed.

http://www.simona-oasis.com http://www.villalulito.com

BTW, villas are great value for families, Villa Simona was about US$950++ per night for all five rooms, which works out to less than US$250 per room, so it would have cost us more to book 2 adjoining rooms or a family suite in a luxury hotel.

And I shall leave you with Bubu’s reaction on our last day at the villa, when we were checking out.  

 If only we could all act like two year olds – I wouldn’t want to leave either !

Making A Mini Me 

      I’ve always been curious about 3D digital printing, and when the opportunity came to make a Uu 3D miniature figurine of Bubu and myself, I jumped at the experience!     

       What is significantly different about the technology offered this time round vs a year ago when Uu figurines were first available, is that the creators have come up with the camera technology to capture fast-moving children (and pets)!     

      What to wear? They suggested that we come “as we are”, in clothes that we are comfortable in, or that represent us. I dressed Bubu in his favorite Whistle & Flute T and distressed denim shorts. I would have put his beloved gold winged shoes on him, but we were advised that the technology doesn’t capture metallic colors so well. 

       
      In the past, with less sophisticated technology, you would have to stand still for at least 2 minutes each time while they captured multiple images of you from around 6 different angles (about half an hour of standing and posing in all). This was to give them a 360 degree capture of their subject so they could channel it into the 3D printing.   

       I’m so stoked that Bubu was the first little one captured by this new technology by Uu, where it was difficult or impossible before to shoot babies and restless toddlers, the new setup which features 80 cameras in a 360 degree surround setup (The Rig) they needed only one second to capture my intrepid son!   

      The whole process was pretty painless. Took only minutes for each of us.  You go 15 minutes before your scheduled timing to check your hair and attire, step into the rig (a circle of cameras), they take 3 shots – and you’re done! 
       
      The images captured are then sent to Japan for printing and editing, where they choose the best of the three, and the figurines will be printed in high composite powder. Hence the figurines will have a clay-like texture and feel.  They even scale it to your proportionate heights, to capture the relative sizes between you and the little one.

       It takes 3 months to create the figurines out of Japan, and we wait excitedly!  

      Finally, they arrive in Singapore for the pop-up shop at Scotts Square!  

      Check out the Uu shop, you’ll see a row of local celebrities… And in the front window, there we are… Bubu and I! 

       
         

       

      This is the first time Bubu sees his mini figurine, and he is super excited when he sees it! He starts giggling and tapping on the glass. We can’t wait to be able to take home our mini figurines at the end of the exhibition! 

       

      The figurines can seem pricey, ranging from $900 to $2800 depending on sizes of the figurines, from 15cm to 35cm, but if you put it into perspective, it’s what one might (arguably) pay for a handbag! 

      These figurines do immortalize your little one (I actually wish I had been able to do this a year ago when he was at his roundest and chubbiest), and that’s truly priceless.  

      Uu is now at Scotts Square #03-14/15 from today till Nov 8 2015. 

      For more information, check out this super cute Uu video (Big U meet Small u) which also features Bubu in action: