24 March 2012, by Tan Yi Lin

Bali Trip: A Review

Hello everyone!

We’re back from our trip to Bali aka The One With Coco’s Inaugural Flight.

I know, the topmost question on everyone’s mind is, “So how was it?”

The verdict is: WE SURVIVED! (well, obviously)

As for the truth: … we’ll get to that later at the end of this entry.

But first, here’s a detailed rundown of the trip:

1. The Flight

We chose to fly on Garuda because we wanted the convenience of traveling on a full-service airline. Also because we didn’t feel like paying premium prices to fly on Singapore Airlines.

We picked a morning flight that was scheduled to depart Singapore at 9am and arrive in Bali at 11.30am. This proved to be a good move because it tied in well with Coco’s morning routine and also because she is in the best of moods early in the morning.

Similarly for our return flight, we chose a 6.30pm departure from Bali, which would have us arrive in Singapore at 9pm. This would give us enough time to enjoy our last day in Bali, pack our luggage and get to the airport without having to rush.

Enjoying an empty T3 at 7.30am on a weekday

Checking in for our flight.At this point, Little Miss Diva heaved a huge dramatic sigh when the counter staff took a while to locate her flight booking. Tsk.

The service on Garuda was pretty good. We had requested for a bassinet for Coco so we were allocated seats right at the front of the Economy Class. The seats were comfy enough (as comfortable as it can get up in the air in ‘cattle class’) and we had a decent amount of legroom.

Our only gripe was the slight inconsistency in the baby’s provisions: on the flight up, Coco was given a diaper pack (comprising diaper in a resealable plastic bag, waterproof sheet, wet wipes, powder and a rubber ducky) but no meals. We didn’t mind the lack of food because she usually eats biscuits for breakfast (which we had) and doesn’t like the ready-to-eat purees in the jars anyway. On the flight home, Garuda remembered the food but not the diaper pack and blanket for the bassinet.

I nursed Coco during take-off to prevent pressure from building up in her ears and causing her any pain throughout the flight. It worked like a charm and she was a happy baby for the entire two and a half hours onboard. She explored the plane (her favourite being the shiny clasps on her bassinet that said ‘Open To Release’, ate her biscuits (or rather, bludgeoned her poor bunny with a stone-hard teething rusk) and slept.

I get the baby; he gets the bunny

Bassinet Baby

2. The Villa

We had a booked a three-bedroom private pool villa to accommodate three couples and two babies.

One point to note about private villas: these, while spacious, are often situated in remote locations away from the main shopping and F&B strip. So getting around may be a challenge. We shared the cost of renting a seven-seater MPV and were fortunate that our friends were willing to drive the group around throughout our five days in Bali. Do note also that all rental cars in Bali are manual.

Enjoying the spacious grounds and private pool in our villa

The generous living area proved to be ideal for babies – and frazzled parents – in that nobody suffered cabin fever throughout our stay. We had plenty of space to set up a dedicated play area for Coco and Cristan, away from ‘dangers’ such as the kitchen and swimming pool areas. The villa came with a high chair and the local agent handling the villa booking also arranged for two cots to be provided (at an extra cost).

Playing quietly by themselves (for all of five minutes)

Sharing a Romeo & Juliet moment

There was also a huge daybed for Coco to lounge around on….

… even if she had to share it with Daddy….

… and Mummy and Uncle J….

… and Cristan too, if he hadn’t decided to make an obstacle course out of it and get stuck midway.

3. Meals

While Coco usually has cereal and porridge at home, we decided to take the cue from Mandy and embark on baby-led weaning during the trip. Coco showed a keen interest in new foods and had a good mix of pasta, bread, potato, fruit, biscuits and milk throughout the trip. In fact, she liked ‘adult’ food so much that she rejected her baby cereal and screamed for our bread! As for us, we enjoyed some really good food at some nice restaurants such as Ultimo and Metis. Plus, I was pleasantly surprised that all the restaurants that we went to provided high chairs upon request.

4. Coco

The part I loved most about the trip was introducing Coco to new experiences. It was so much fun to watch her enjoy herself in Bali.

Checking out her new sunnies

Chilling on the deck chair

Swimming in our villa pool

This isn’t new: refusing to let go of her frog float

Discovering the pleasures of having chilled watermelon dripping down your elbows while dangling your feet in the pool

She was also more sociable as compared to two months ago in Bintan and often reached out to touch and play with Cristan and our friends.

5. Me

I was a bunch of frazzled nerves for most part of the trip because there always seemed to be so many things to do i.e. feed baby, clean poop, pack diaper bag, bathe baby, put baby to bed, go out, eat, etc. I must admit that I wasn’t very good company because of this, especially when dining out because almost all restaurants in Bali are non-airconditioned and I was forever feeling hot and sweaty while carrying Coco around.

I also made the mistake of bringing my office laptop to Bali in hope of getting some work done but I was simply either too tied up with the baby or tired out by her to do any. Plus, I wanted to spend any free time that I had socialising with friends.

6. What Went Well

We’re pretty happy that we accomplished certain little things on this trip and are feeling good about it:

– We didn’t forget to bring ANYTHING! πŸ™‚

– For the first time ever, I showered the baby alone, without the use of a bathtub nor the husband’s assistance.

– We both managed to visit the spa (albeit on different days) for a Balinese massage, traditional lulur scrub and a relaxing flower bath. It would have been much nicer if we could have enjoyed a couple session, but hey, I’m happy enough with how things went.

7. What could be done better

– More clothes for Coco. I had *just* enough sets of clothes – and this is after I washed some outfits during the trip. I simply didn’t expect her to go through so many outfits in a day.

She’s not posing sweetly: she’s trying to pull her hat off

– We should have been better prepared for traffic jams because being stuck in traffic meant that the babies had to nap in the car. So clothes had to be sleep-friendly and Coco unfortunately, had to put up with the metal clasps and press studs of her overalls poking into her.

– It’s also a good idea to check the local calendar for cultural festivals, such as Nyepi – the Hindu New Year – where everything is closed. We barely missed the onset of Nyepi in Bali and had to suffer major road congestion due to processions leading up to the festival.

Zipping off to the airport and back home just before Nyepi

– We learnt that while not scheduling any activities in advance meant that we were free and easy to go with the flow, it also meant that we often ended up not doing anything at all because we were always waiting for one baby to get changed, or to wake up, or to feed, etc. It would have been better if we had a rough programme for each day so that everybody could make the effort to get ready to depart the villa on time.

We didn’t make it to the beach due to a cyclone hitting Bali (really!) so this is the only proof that we have of us being at the uber-chic Potatohead beach club in Seminyak

8. Poop Happens

And it WILL happen just as you are leaving for airport; when you are All packed; and it WILL leak all over your baby’s last flight-friendly outfit.

Poop WILL also happen while you are enjoying a nice breakfast or dinner at nice spiffy restaurants, which do not provide a parents’ room for diaper changes.

9. Recovery

Traveling with a baby is incredibly tiring. Always schedule down time during the trip to rest and recover. I was also glad that I was on leave from work for one more day after we returned to Singapore as I really needed the extra rest before I returned to the office.

Tired babies

10. Always Wash The Casserole Dish

I’ll leave Mandy to tell you all about this one.

All in all… it really was a good trip. The truth is, I would be lying if I said that I enjoyed myself at all times during the trip. There were instances where I wished that I was in the comfort of home and my parents and helper to take Coco off my hands. But I’m glad that everything went smoothly, and that Coco was generally well-behaved, and that we shared many a good laugh and fun times with our friends.

While sharing a private pool villa with our friends was really nice, if we ever travel alone as a family, I would opt for a hotel room in a large resort – simply because it’s more conveniently located, has more staff to tend to your needs 24/7, has dining options within the resort and might probably be better maintained and safer due to the presence of security personnel.

To end off, here are some of my favourite photos from Bali:

Happy water babies!

How cute is this?!

The only age where you look cute dribbling

That’s my girl πŸ™‚

One for the family album: WE DID IT!



September 30th, 2014 at 6:51 pm    

Appreciation to my father who shared with me on the topic
of this web site, this blog is really remarkable.

Tan Yi Lin

Yi Lin

April 9th, 2012 at 9:40 am    

Hi jy, have fun shopping around for a villa to stay in. Feel free to drop me a note if you need any information. What we noticed about traveling with Coco at 4 months and then to Bali at 7 months was how her cries have changed with her demands. She no longer had those loud screaming fits that she threw in Bintan when she was younger. In Bali, when she did cry, it was a lower-pitched, lower volume sort of “complaining” cry for attention, mostly. So I think you won’t have to worry about your baby’s cries being a real disturbance to your friends, but rather how it’s so hard to relax around them without getting interrupted by the baby’s demands!

Re Club Med: we only just found out AFTER we had booked flights to the Maldives that certain Club Med resorts don’t accept children under two years of age. So we’ll all have to wait a little longer for that dream Club Med holiday.

Hey rach, haha, good luck trying to con your kid. She’s fortunate to have experienced Disneyland at such a young age already! I remember being easily satisfied with just the beach and the resort swimming pool on family vacations. I guess the trick is not letting them discover the potential “addictions” such as theme parks too early on!


April 2nd, 2012 at 5:51 am    

precisely. my frens (hb & wife) went for 2 hols without the kiddo. really envy them for being able to do so.
i knw i cant. i knw there’s no way i can travel (for hols) without her. so we are resigned to taking her everywhere we may go.
even though there may be a compromise to where we can go… these days we are trying to CONvince her to go places without disneyland/themepark. otherwise we will be back in HK this yr (AGAIN).


April 2nd, 2012 at 12:46 am    

yup yup, looking at a standalone villa… kind of hoping the kid’s cry wont disturb others… will really love to go club med one day with the little one…

Tan Yi Lin

Yi Lin

March 30th, 2012 at 8:14 am    

Hi jy, thanks! We stayed at Alma Villas. Are you looking to stay at a standalone villa too or at a resort?

rach: I think you are extremely brave to even go to HK – I’m terrified of crowds and being there with a kid would have increased by stress levels by 200%. My colleagues keep asking me why we’re still bringing Coco along for our next holiday to the Maldives given how tiring and troublesome it is to travel with her. But it’s a no-win: we can’t fully enjoy ourselves with her and neither will we have a “better” holiday without her because I’d be wishing that she was with us. So you’re right – we’ll just adjust our expectations of a “holiday” to mean a break from work only and a mix of fun and stress with the little one. As for the rest and relax bit – I’ll just do that by taking leave from work to stay at home while someone helps to look after Coco.

Jolene: Thanks babe! I’m glad not to be travelling for awhile. I just came back from Australia actually, for work. Missed her lots. More on that in another entry!


March 29th, 2012 at 12:01 am    

Eeeeeeppp!! Shes so cute!!!! She looks like your hubby alot ehhe! And look at you, you hot mama! Looks like she’s had a ball! Glad it was a fantastic trip Y! πŸ™‚


March 26th, 2012 at 5:03 am    

your review reminds me of our 1st trip with the little one
when she’s 2.5yos. we went HK for 3 days. when we came back, everyone was asking “how was it”. my reply “i am extremely glad that 3 of us went & 3 of us returned, ie we didn’t kill her cos she’s so troublesome to bring along, neither did we kill ourselves so it’s so tiring to her her along.” but having said that, will we go anywhere without her? truth is no. we are suckers for hassle like that.
but the 2nd, 3rd, 4th…. trips will be better. expectations of a “holiday” are lower so u will get to enjoy better.


March 26th, 2012 at 1:56 am    

which villa did u stay if i may ask? πŸ™‚

coco looks so adorable!!

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