A warning about temporary tattoos for children in Bali ~

Selamat Pagi, everyone,  I do warn against this in my App however can this be a timely reminder. This is a poor little 6 year old’s scarring, 6 months after her Bali holiday. Please do not get a temporary “Henna Tattoo” or allow your children to get one when in Bali, as the chemicals used can cause permanent scaring and an adverse reaction and it is possibly a concoction of hair dye, bleach, boot polish and kerosene. Xxx

Scares

ATM users BEWARE !

An Awesome TUESDAY TIP ( from the team at PLAN A Bali – Events and Costumes) : We hear so many stories of people coming over to Bali for a holiday, using the ATMs to take cash out, and forgetting their card inside the machine, only to find… it missing by the time they remember it and come back. This is because most of the machines give out the money and receipt before the card, and often once you get your cash, you forget about the card as the cash was the reason you went to the ATM in the first place. It is such a hassle trying to cancel your card from overseas, apply for a new card, get money transferred into someone else’s account just to be able to enjoy your holiday. Well a way to minimise this is to look for the BCA ATM machines. We have found that these are one of the few machines that actually eject your card before the money comes out. So if you happen to have a big night, it’ll be a lot easier looking for “that blue ATM” rather than trying to remember a card in a sequence of transactions you are not familiar with.
 

Plan A

Schoolies in Bali

Schoolies in Bali ~

So some of your kids may be heading for Bali for schoolies celebrations. You may like to consider discussing some of these tips:

  • Get them Travel Insurance and make sure they know what they will be and wont be covered for.
  • Consider a responsible adult chaperone ( or 2)
  • Buy an unlocked Mobile and put a Bali sim in it and have all the codes ready to call home.
  • Have this number on their phone, Bali International Medical Centre 361 761 263 Kuta and an Ambulance is available also.
  • Australian Consulate in Bali Call (+62 361) 241 118. For assistance with Missing Persons, Medical Evacuation, Lost passports, Legal Assistance.
  • Make sure the young people are aware of drink spiking, alcohol poisoning, methanol poisoning, prescription drug and magic mushroom overdose risks.
  • Encourage the young people to nominate 1 member of their group to remain sober each night.
  • To stay in pairs and never leave anyone out on the town on their own.
  • Condoms are essential as STD’s including HIV and Hepatitis are rife in Bali.
  • Always wear a helmet if they are going on a motorbike or scooter.
  • Tattoo’s are forever( temporary tattoos can also scar)
  • Make sure they know that drug use, possession and dealing could lead to jail or Death Penalty. ( There are undercover police everywhere and fake drugs also being sold)
  • It would be great if they knew first aid.
  • An amorous pretty girl down the lane may relieve you of your watch, wallet, phone and camera, and may actually be a boy.
    Schoolies 2

and good luck xx

~ Water Babies ~

Beau Pool

If your kids are absolute little fish and will swim for hours in the pool, just be aware that the roughness on the bottom of the pool combined with hours of waterlogged skin can cause blistering and when this dries and splits can be a little sore and bleeds. Consider having antiseptic lotions handy for such a time and consider taking the kids to a non swimming adventure to allow wounds to dry and heel. Ear infections can occur quickly in Bali again to water remaining in the kids ears my friends hot tip is to put Aqua ear in each night to keep the ear canal dry and water free for as long as possible, If an ear infection presents , dont let it ruin your holiday, get to the Apotek( chemist) preferably one with a Doctor in it as they will prescribe and anesthetic / antibiotic ear drop immediately. Finally goggles are a must as the many of the pools are heavily clorinated and childrens eyes become red and sore very quickly so take a good pair from home. xxx

~ The Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud ~

So credit where credit is due this little guy is pretty cute, as long as he is only in 2D and on my computer screen. To say I am scared of monkeys would be a huge understatement, after several devastating traumatic events. Including being bitten ( hard, drawing blood and instilling the fear of rabies ) by an alleged pet at a dodgy villa we stayed at, having a 3 foot tall male monkey in Ulu’s try to steal my baby ( or perhaps it was the mango we were sharing still undetermined) and being deep in the Sacred Forest, 8 months pregnant and having my “friends” (yes you know who you are) and the banana seller lady (with the  big stick) think it funny to throw bunches of bananas at my feet and call all 605 monkeys in from the forest to feed off me ( or the bananas again undetermined).  I think I am quite within my rights to never want to look at a monkey again. However the novice Bali traveller may wish to visit the Sacred Monkey Forrest in Ubud. There are approximately 605 (according to the website)  long tailed macaques which live in the monkey forest being of 4 distinct troupes. Within Balinese Hinduism, monkeys represent positive and negative forces. The Balinese both loathe and revere monkeys for example the ones that that occupy sacred Balinese Hindu temple sites (like the Sacred Monkey Forest) tend to be revered and protected by the Balinese. One reason for this is that monkeys, in the form of a Barong, are believed to be capable of guarding temple sites against evil spirits. However, they are also of the belief that monkeys can be negative in nature which is reinforced when, for example, they raid rice fields or snatch items from their shops. There is a small fee to enter the forest and I recommend you do not have any items like sunglasses, water bottles, snacks or phones in your pockets or on you, as they will be taken by the monkeys. You have been warned !

Monkey Forest Road, Padangtegal Ubud.
photo Copyright © Kalle Kiander ( http://www.kiander.se )

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~ Tips for first timers to Bali ~

For many of you Bali is like your second home, as soon as you step off the plane and the heaviness of the humidity hits you, the Indo comes rolling off your tongue, your ridiculously relaxed look washes over your face. We tend to forget the first time we arrived and how we were totally overwhelmed by what we all now love. I have thought of a few tips to perhaps prepare you if its your first time:

Airport Porters –  I love these guys and I know everyone else will say steer clear, however they are just trying to make a living so for 10 000 Rupiah for each piece of luggage they will help you get from the conveyer belt to your transport, great if you are lugging around cots, surfboards, prams, kids, etc.

Jam Karet – Bali Rubber Time Things happen when they happen in Bali and you may just have to relax and wait, there is no point getting stressed as this won’t make things happen any faster. There is no point getting angry either, as generally Indonesians do not respond well to confrontation, so try to just go with the flow.Traffic can be slow and this can be due to a car doing a 50 point turn in the middle of the road, a ceremony or cremation procession which has closed off the streets or road works. So try not to leave things to the last minute when traveling around the island especially getting to the airport for flights or a ferry to another island.

Dodginess –  There are a few scams to watch out for: Politely remind the taxi driver to turn his meter on. Only use a Bank to change your money. Don’t enter any competitions and politely walk away and say no thank you if a guy jumps off a scooter offering you the chance to win a big prize (these are a time share sales pitch). At mini marts make sure you see the total cost of your purchases on the computer screen as a few staff have been adding their own tourist tax ontop of your total and hiding the computer screen and the customer is none the wiser.

Respect for the Culture –  Make sure you cover your shoulders and legs with a sarong with a sash around the waist when entering temples. Ladies cannot enter when menstruating. Unless it’s an organized tour or you have been invited, please do not walk into people’s home and temples and start taking photos. Although not a huge deal if accidently kicked or stepped on, the beautiful offerings on the ground are to ward off evil spirits and they contain burning incense, which can burn your skin between your toes.

Be aware of methanol poisoning – If you or a friend becomes extremely unwell after consuming any amount of alcohol particular if it affects your vision; go immediately to the hospital, as methanol poisoning can be lethal. Drugs are rife in Bali and on the surrounding islands, and drug use, possession and trafficking can lead to long jail sentences and even the death penalty. Be aware that many people trying to sell you the drugs are often undercover police trying to lure you in with fake drugs. Magic mushrooms are also readily available, so be cautious of the hallucinogenic effect altering your perception of reality, especially if you overheat or keep taking more when you think there is no effect!

Pick Pockets and Bag Snatchers – Be aware when out at night for thieves on scooters snatching bags from your hand or off your shoulder while you are walking. Perhaps hide your wallet or purse under clothing, also pickpockets, those very pretty girls (who are not actually girls ) and seem so friendly and hands on at the time, will relieve you of your wallet, watch, cash and phone in one sexy cuddle. Also street kids selling leather friendship bands will relieve you of your wallet whilst you are shaking their hand and enjoying their cheeky smiles. Always carry your valuables in your scooter seat and not over your shoulder as bag and camera snatches can occur.

Skimming devices are also very prevalent on ATM machines and in popular restaurants so perhaps take both cash and credit card and when paying by credit card keep your card in sight at all times. ATM machines in Bali tend to give you your cash first then slowly your card with many a traveller walking off leaving their cards behind in the machine.

Please only drink bottled and filtered water as the tap water is not treated and can cause illness. Always have travel insurance as health care is very expensive. If you become very unwell, consider calling the Doctor in straight away so you don’t waste your precious holiday in bed and on the toilet. Wash your hands well and often with soap, particularly after touching money.

Out for a bargain – When doing a bit of shopping on the beach or at the markets only ever enter into bartering or ask the price if you actually intend to purchase the item, as this can be seen as very rude. Petrol prices in Bali have risen significantly this past month so be prepared to pay a little more and keep in mind, people are just trying to make a living not necessarily trying to ‘rip you off’ .

Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times as Dengue fever is unfortunately rife in Bali. For short term use I would suggest repellent with a high amount of DEET, as well as long clothing and using mosquito nets and room sprays.

Tipping – I am a big fan of tipping, if you get quality service, whether that be a waiter, villa staff, nanny, driver etc please give generously as most employed Indonesians do not earn a large wage and can often be supporting their larger extended family.

Finally, please be very careful when swimming and try not to be intoxicated as there are strong currents in the ocean which have taken many lives, as well as tragic accidents occurring when people are diving into an unfamiliar pool.

Love LMB xxx

Photo Copyright © Kalle Kiander http://www.kiander.se

 

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Some tips to avoid contracting Dengue fever.

Dengue Fever is rife in Bali at the moment and I can not stress the importance of taking all precautions available to protect your children and yourself. Symptoms include severe headaches, aching joints, sore muscles, pain behind the eyes, nausea, vomiting and a rash within three to 14 days of being bitten. Dengue Fever is transmitted via mosquito bites so your first line of defence is your best form of protection so please consider:

  • Apply insect repellent to exposed skin. An effective repellent will contain 20% to 30% DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide).  Caution, DEET in high concentrations (>30%) may cause side effects, particularly with small children.
  • Avoid formulations containing more than 30% DEET. Use sprats in an open space to avoid breathing them in. Avoid applying repellent to the hands of toddlers, as they are likely to put their hands in their mouths.
  • Take your repellant out to restaurants and on tours or ask for some to use if it is an outdoor venue. Taxis and vehicles are also often full of mosquitos.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Spray permethrin or DEET repellents on clothing, as mosquitos may bite through thin clothing.
  • Use mosquito netting over the bed and your babies cot. For additional protection, treat the mosquito netting with the insecticide permethrin.
  • Spray permethrin or a similar insecticide in your bedroom before going to bed. Some people recommend taking Vitamin B and ultrasound devices however these are not proven effective in preventing mosquito bites. 
  • I would also be cautious of using mosquito coils in enclosed areas due to toxins and links to lung cancer.
  • For those after a natural repellant perhaps , try the natural citronella stickers available at the Guardian Pharmacies or supermarkets for around 20 000 rupiah and you can stick them on the kids t-shirts, and also try Utama Spice Bug Gone Spray available from Supermarkets, Apoteks or the several cafes on the island. Its important to keep in mind that thousands of travellers do not contract Dengue Fever whilst travelling in Bali each year x
 Mossie

Worried about booking a non existent Villa ?

204I have heard of people recently booking a villa and only to pay a deposit and the find out the Villa does not actually exist. To avoid this and help you identify the perfect villa for your family or holidays needs, book via these very reputable agencies. They have some magnificent Villas on their books and you will get the best rates and treatment if you mention Little Miss Bali with your inquiry.

http://www.ninabalivillas.com/

http://www.totalbali.com/

http://balisoulvillas.com/

A guide to choosing your holiday Villa

I totally get that when researching Villas for your next Bali trip, you can get overwhelmed in the maze of villas. With clever and sometimes just misleading blurbs and marketing spiels it can become outright painful yet should be really enjoyable. Keep calm and consider these tips when searching for the right villa:

Location – Consider closely if the location is right for you. There are many cheap villas in bad locations. They may say Seminyak however this is a big place.

How old is the Villa ? – Buildings do not last in Bali possibly due to the weather and poor construction. They age quickly and at times can be poorly maintained.

The size of the pool ? – The website may say pool, however it may actually be more like a bucket.

What is the size of the villa and garden? – Even some of the expensive villa’s are tiny and can make you feel very claustrophobic and closed in.

Alang Alang ( grass) roof thatching – in my experience can mean more mozzies and leaks in the rainy season. Just keen an eye on it you may require a mozzie net as well as a spray.

Pool and pond safety
– many villas have small ponds and pools. Unless your children can swim you may wish to avoid these or provide around the clock supervision. My friends toddler tragically drowned in Bali even when surrounded by friends and family ( Rest in Peace KF, may you forever be in our hearts and memory ) . You can hire pool fences and some villa’s will put them up on request.

Are transfers and breakfast included in the price quoted ? don’t assume these are included.

Is there Security 24 hours? Is there a safe in the Villa to store your valuables?

Is there an in house cook or menu for lunch and dinner? There are many delivery food options through Halo Magazine and other restaurants also).

Does the décor and style match your taste? ( personally I don’t like dark villa’s on an overcast day you can’t see a thing).

Is the pool in the sun ? As sometimes pools can be really cold if shaded all day.

You can try to negotiate the price down i.e. for repeat customers, last-minute bookings etc use absolute politeness.

Do your research– check as many websites  for reviews and comments, gather as many opinions as you can. Even though we all have varying opinions, common themes may present and actual facts about a villa, as opposed to what the Villa’s website my claim. Keep in mind also what is important to one person may be different to another such as the quality of breakfast, the view, privacy or plain and simple amenities. If you are not happy when you arrive at your villa, speak to the General Manger very politely and in a calm manner and discuss your concerns immediately. Indonesians do not deal well with confrontation  and you will reach a better outcome with respect and calmness.

Download the Little Miss Bali App for some of my favourite Bali Villas xxx.