Author: Bree James

PLANNING THE PERFECT BALINESE HOLIDAY|||

PLANNING THE PERFECT BALINESE HOLIDAY

They call it the Island Of The Gods, and for good reason. There is no other place quite like it. There is a special vibe, an authentic essence that touches and inspires visitors from all over the world.

If you love shopping for clothes, jewellery, unique wooden and artistic items, listening to live music, or indulging in yummy food and drinks, massages, pedicures and manicures, all at amazing prices, then Bali is definitely a place you should visit.

Plan your trip:

Bali is generally a fantastic place to visit year round, so the best time to visit Bali really comes down to your own personal preference. July and August are usually the busiest times of the peak season, with many families holidaying during school holidays, and the same can be said for the Christmas and New Year period. Off-peak season is usually cheaper and some of the best deals can be found between March and October.

As a tropical destination, Bali’s weather is generally considered to be fairly mild and pleasant year round, however the major seasonal difference falls between the wet and dry seasons. The wet season falls from November to April and is a little hotter and definitely more humid, with brief but heavy torrential rainfall during the day. The dry season falls from May to October and is certainly thought of as one of the best times to visit Bali.

Choose your location:

There are literally THOUSANDS of options on where to stay in Bali. It is said that the best locations for families to stay, or visit are:

Seminyak Is the trendy part of Bali with more upmarket bars, designer clothing, great restaurants and beach front dining.

Sanur – Has safer and cleaner beaches. The water is protected by a reef and there is a nice string of restaurants and shops that sit along the beach.

Ubud – Is country side and the arts and cultural hub of the island. It’s also cooler than the coast and provides a good base for exploring the central and northern parts of Bali.

Jimbaran Is very close to the airport (you can sit on the beach and watch the plans land in the distance). It’s great if you’d like to spend your first day or two relaxing by the pool. The beach is also quite clean, and a safer option with small waves for the kids to play in.

Nusa Dua Is where you’ll find the big resorts and a lovely stretch of beaches with water sports and lots more to do. The disadvantage is that you’re far from the main attractions of Bali. But if you’re only looking for a beach vacation, beautiful resorts, and kids’ clubs, then Nusa Dua is perfect.

Kuta Most people end up in Kuta at some point,even if only for a day trip. Kuta is a place to have fun, eat good food, shop at one of the many malls or the black markets, and enjoy some of the nearby tourist attractions or tours. This is where you will find some of your cheapest shopping if you know how to barter well.

Book your accommodation:

Hotels & Resorts

These range from two to five stars and can be traditional Balinese themed, or standard décor that feels more like home. Some have kids clubs, restaurants, water parks and lots more to cater to your every need. You could easily stay at the resort and not leave until it’s time to head home.

BnB & Homestay

If you want to have insight into family life in Bali, try staying with a Balinese family who have opened their traditional family compound to guests from other countries. They provide breakfast, lunch and dinner – Balinese or Western style.

Villa

This would be the most popular option for families. Villas range in sizes and usually sleep up to six people. They are fully equipped with bathrooms in each bedroom and usually have their own pool and kitchenette. The villas often have their own butler who will clean the villa daily and you can pay them to cook meals, book your tours and loads more.

Prepare for Customs

Be prepared to pay US $35 per person (inc children) for when you arrive at the customs office. You only need to fill in one customs entry form per family.

You will then go through customs, before you can collect your bags and then they will all be scanned. You will then see heaps of drivers with names ready to collect you if you have booked, or you can negotiate with a driver on arrival.

To exit the country the departure tax has been abolished. Have your passport ready at all times, you must show passport prior to going to check-in counter, you then have your second security checkpoint where you can have no more liquids. You and your carry on are then scanned, you get your customs departure stamp. You then wait at departure gate – don’t buy any liquids or consume immediately as you have one more security screening to get into another departure area.

They will then go through your carry on, line you up in male and female lines and everyone gets a body pat down before you get into your final departure area before you board the plane.

You have people wanting to carry your bags, offer you transport and book you on tours.

Pick your transportation:

Walking: The fastest way to get anywhere close-by is by walking. The roads are very slow and when travelling by car, you usually won’t go any faster than 40 kilometres an hour as the traffic gets very congested. It isn’t very pram friendly, so bring a sling or carrier for little ones or a fold down umbrella stroller.

Renting a Moped: Mopeds are the most popular mode of transport, but is not recommended unless you like to live on the dangerous side of life. Hire is about $5 per day and fuel is about 80 cents per litre. You can also hop on the back of a moped with a Balinese stranger for about $3 for a trip.

Renting a Car: Renting a vehicle in Bali is easy. Driving in Bali is not. Driving in Bali is crazy.

Hiring a Taxi: Taxi and hired driver and car are the easiest, safest and most recommended way for tourists to get around Bali. They will not have car seats so if you need one you’ll need to bring your own or hold your child in your arms.

When taking a taxi, always ask them to put on the taxi metre or negotiate a price before you hop in.  When hiring a driver and car, a full day will cost about $50 and they will drive you wherever you want to go, and wait for you to shop etc. They will also do small trips (30-60 minute one way trip) for about $7.

For hired car and driver or a taxi, ask at your hotel or walk out on the street and you’ll be asked by someone within a few moments. This is the same at the airport.

Taking a Bemo Basically a Bemo is a pickup people mover with seats in the back. Rides can be long, slow, and hot. At the same time they can be a lot of fun and offer a taste of a local custom.

Using a Kura-Kura Bus This is the new option in Bali. This is also a slower option, but much more affordable (from $2 per trip). There are three types of tickets – the Kura-Kura coin for single trips; the Value Card with pre-loaded credit; and the Day Pass for unlimited travel for one, three, five or seven days. The buses run from Legian, Jimbaran, South Nusa Dua, Nusa Dua, Sanur, Seminyak and Ubud.

See www.kura2bus.com for ticket prices and locations.

Stay tuned for our next Bree’s Family Passport where Bree shares the top things for families to see, do and try while in Bali.

10 THINGS ALL AUSTRALIANS NEED TO TRY IN BALI||||||||

10 FOODS ALL AUSTRALIANS NEED TO TRY IN BALI

There is so much more to Bali than just sipping cocktails on the beach and shopping up a storm at the markets. Balinese cuisine is unique and delicious and something you need to try, even if it’s just once.

So give the Western nuggets and chips a break and enjoy some of these traditional Balinese dishes and drinks.

Iga Babi Panggang

Baby Back Pork Ribs – Yummy!

Nasi Campur

This is a sample plate of Balinese food and the perfect introduction for those wanting to try a variety of foods at once. It has a lot of bite to it which is perfect for those who love spicy foods.

Nasi Goreng

This traditional rice dish with vegetables is a much-loved option for my family. You can add seafood or chicken if you wish.

Fresh Juice Smoothies

Many restaurants in Bali do not really have bottled juices. Instead they make them fresh with organic fruits and ice (Just ask if the ice is safe, which 99% of restaurants it will be).

Baby Guling

That’s a whole cooked baby piglet, folks. You can have a portion of tasty pork and crackling as a meal, usually served with soup or rice.

Satays

Satays are amazing in Bali! They have fish, chicken, pork and beef. The satay sauce is very, very tasty! Some meats are minced and put on Bamboo skewers, others are whole meats put on skewers. Either way – they are a big win!

Mie Goreng 

Mie Goreng is similar to Nasi Goreng, but noodle based and equally as tasty.

Bintang Beer 

Cheap, safe to drink and you can find it (almost) anywhere.

New Radler Bintang Beer

This is a fresh twist on Bintang. It’s lemon flavoured and very easy to drink. Basically, it tastes like lemon squash but with alcohol.

A fresh, young coconut

Best served on the beach with a bikini on.

Make sure you check out Bree’s Family Passport’s Ten Things to do in Bali for some more family friendly activities.  

15 BEST BALI BEACH BUYS

15 BEST BALI BEACH BUYS

Why walk the streets shopping when you can sit on a lounge chair in your bikini, drink a coconut, and have the shopping come to you?

1. Sarongs

A variety of colours and quality, some have sequins and others are even silk.

2. Bracelets and necklaces

A variety of styles, colours, shapes and sizes made from pearls, to leather and beads.

3. Rings and silver

There are only a few hawkers that sell these items as they are usually brought down from Ubud but they are real silver and are gorgeous.

4. Food

Often with the seats you hire they will bring menus down for you, you can also buy peanuts, beers, fairy floss, ice-creams, and lots more.

5. Bow and arrow

Ok, you probably won’t get this back in the country, but hey, it’s still cool to look at.

6. Beauty products

This was one I hadn’t seen before, but you can buy MAC Makeup, and other beauty products.

7. Get a pedicure, manicure or massage

On the beach, of course.

8. Buy a pirate kite

These are really intricate and beautiful. Even if you never fly them, they look great!

9. Silver and wooden statues, elephants, Buddhas

And much more.

10. Get a temporary tattoo

There are hundreds of designs to choose from.

11. Gorgeous paintings

On canvas that you can roll up and take home and then have framed.

12. Watches

Surprisingly they are pretty good, they have kinetic types that run on movement and work for a year if you keep them dry.

13. Sunglasses

They may not be good for your eyes, but you can buy them cheap and they may be better than not wearing any at all.

14. Hats

Just in case you forgot yours or need a new one of course!

15. Fireworks and lanterns

Yep, be on the beach at night and you can pay to have them set off some fireworks for you, or you can buy a lantern to light up, make a wish and set off into the night sky.

Make sure you check out our top things to see, do and foods to try in Bali, our guide to planning the perfect family trip and our top tips for safe Bali travel in our Bree’s Family Passport section.

TOP TIPS FOR FAMILIES TRAVELLING TO BALI||||

TOP TIPS FOR FAMILIES TRAVELLING TO BALI

There is more to Bali than you see at surface level. Bali is also known for its forested volcanic mountains, iconic rice paddys, beaches and coral reefs. It is also famous for their unique culinary cuisine, it’s warm and welcoming people and its beautiful culture.

These are just a few things that attract many travellers, and lots of families from all around the world, in particular, Australians.

tips bali 1

While Bali can be a controversial place for many, and you are either open to travelling there, or you are not, I have been there four times, and personally, love it! I feel safe there, and even though I disagree with some of the things that go on in Bali, I would not let that stop me from travelling there again.

To get the most out of your trip, keep these top tips in mind:

Do not use the tap water to clean your teeth or to drink – only shower in it. Ensure you keep your mouth closed and supervise your kid’s at bath time to make sure they don’t drink the water.

Eat cooked foods as much as possible. They have mostly organic produce that is tastes amazing.

tips bali 3

Be very careful with alcohol. Take a litre of duty-free alcohol with you from Australia and only drink bottled beers and drinks. Do not drink anything with Arak as an ingredient.

Exchange cash money as you need it as you get a better rate in Bali. There are reputable “authorised’ exchange counters everywhere, but avoid any that don’t have glass doors as an entry point.  Only use your credit card at safe shops. Always count money in your hands in front of the teller before you leave the counter.

tips bali 5

Use your hotel room safe to store your other cash, cards and passports.

Bintang Shop is a great place to buy household items cheap. There are also COCO Marts, Mini Marts, and Circle K shops to buy general items. Some are open 24 hours per day and some allow you to exchange money, but I would not use the ATM to withdraw cash at the mini mart.

Hire a Nanny. We used Bali Nannies Bali. Debbie is the owner and she has a fantastic team. The kids loved doing the crafts with our nanny and they were well looked after. It is a minimum five hours, and the price is approximately $5 per hour. Email infobalinanny@gmail.com.

When getting into and out of the country, you can expect three check points. Have your passport ready at all times. You and your carry on are then scanned, you get your customs departure stamp. You then wait at departure gate – don’t buy any liquids or consume immediately as you have one more security screening to get into another departure area. They will then go through your carry on, line you up in male and female lines and everyone gets a body pat down before you get into your final departure area before you board the plane.

Be prepared to pay US $35 per person (inc children) for when you arrive at the customs office. You only need to fill in one customs entry form per family.

Take your washing to one of the many laundries to get washed, pressed and folded for you for about $2 per kilo of washing. It is cheaper in some locations and much cheaper than at the hotel.

Book your tours as you go. This saves you money if you are not up for it on the day.

tips bali 2

Shop smart. Shopping options include The Krisna shops (four locations – Kuta, Tuban and two in Denpasar) which is THE place to buy traditional Balinese items and souvenirs cheaper than anywhere else. The Matahari is great for the Myer experience of Bali. There are also many designer shops with great quality clothes. These higher quality shops do not allow bartering, so save your bartering skills for the markets where you should be able to get the locals down to one third of their original price.

Be sure to check out Bree’s Family Passport for things to see, do and eat in Bali, how to plan the perfect family trip and much more!

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BREE’S BUSINESS BUZZ – FEBRUARY 2016

BreesBusBuzz

Hello and welcome to my first Business Buzz for 2016!

I do hope that your 2016 is off to a wonderful start. It is going to be a great year for us all!

It is the time of year when many are planning goals for the year ahead and beyond, so I have been doing a lot of research on the topic of goal planning. I met Matthew Michalewicz at a conference last year – he is simply amazing. I read his book over the Christmas break, “Life in half a second” and I recommend it if you have time, otherwise here are my main takeaways and a few ideas of my own for goal planning.

1. Don’t delay – be the 1%
Goal setting is quick, costs only your time and is proven to get you what you want. Statistics show that out of 100 people, 80 of them won’t have any goals, 16 have goals but don’t write them down, 3 have goals but don’t review them and only 1 out of 100 will write down their goals and review them regularly. Be the 1% .

2. You need to be really clear about your goal
Loose goals don’t work.

Loose goal: I want to be healthier in 2016.
Clear goal: I want to loose five kilos; bring my cholesterol down to Less than 200 mg/dL; I want to be able to run one kilometre non stop; and learn Yoga.

Loose goal: I want my business to be more profitable.
Clear goal: I want my business to increase it’s profit margin by 20%.

Be specific, be precise.

3. Visualise and revisit your goals daily
Everything is created twice, first in the mind, then in reality. Visualise yourself achieving your goals before bed each night.

Other things you can try… carry your goals with you; put your goals on your mirror; have them beside your bed; or do a vision board. Whatever you decide, just ensure your goals are on your agenda for as little as a minute once per day.

4. Share your goals with your friends, family and team
Tall poppy syndrome is a real shame in Australia. But don’t let it stop you from sharing your goals. It may be awkward at first, but research shows that it strengthens your commitment, making you more likely to achieve the goal. It is also a great idea to surround yourself with people who have similar goals. Last year our whole team took part in goal planning and it was great to see what everyone’s goals were for their job and outside of work. Here is the template we used – you are welcome to use it with your team. We did this exercise again this week – it’s a great thing to do with your team.

Goals - Worksheet - this yearGoals - Worksheet - next 3 years

Printable Version – Click Here                                                                                 Printable Version – Click Here

So it is with nervousness I share with you a couple of my goals! I would LOVE for you to share your top three with me too.
1. Launch MOB Magazine, my new national business magazine, and gain 10,000 national subscribers.
2. Learn the basics of Yoga and do it three times per week.
3. Stop watching TV and read a book per week instead.
So what are your top three goals? Please feel free to share yours with me.

A couple of opportunities:

MOBMagazine Logo_Yellow_NoTagline
MOB Magazine
I am pretty excited! My national business magazine MOB launches this month. I am really happy with the content – it is going to be a wonderful resource for small business owners. If you would like to subscribe, I would love your support. I am looking forward to achieving my goal of 10,000 national subscribers and would of course appreciate your support in helping me get there!  Click here to subscribe.

MOB Cover-edition 1 FEB-MARCH

Small Biz Big Future Event – book now before sold out!
Small Biz Big Future, is the brainchild of Australia’s number one business author, Andrew Griffiths. This one day event is designed to help small business owners get focused, energised and prepared for the opportunities as we hurtle towards 2020.

Andrew has pulled together a special group of 13 leading Cairns-based business owners, authors and small business experts to share their stories, ideas and advice in 15 minute, power packed presentations. I am one of the presenters and think it is a really wonderful event for North Queensland and definitely worth the trip if you don’t live in Cairns.

If you would like to attend, use code FOS2016 to save $50. All speakers from the event are donating their time. Profits raised on the day will be going to a nominated charity chosen at the event. The event will book out early, so don’t delay- put it in your calendar and get your ticket.

Click here for more information.

SMALL BIZ BIG FUTURE FEB 26 2016

Until next time, have a fabulous month.

Bree

WHARF ONE CAFE: FOR ADULT AND KID FUN

WHARF ONE CAFE: FOR ADULT AND KID FUN

Located at the Figtree Playground, directly opposite the Casino on the waterfront and just up from the Cruise Ship terminal is one of Cairns’ newest cafés.

Run by Caroline and Will who are both parents, this café has been well thought out and is a mecca for families!

As it is located on Trinity Inlet- the views are spectacular and my boys absolutely loved watching the boats going past. The kids menu for breakfast was sensational and from $3 it is so affordable – when you get the bill you will think they have missed an item.

For kids

The children’s menu includes boiled egg and soldiers, toast with spreads, organic baked beans jaffle, ham and cheese toasties or a fruit platter with organic yoghurt. They also have babycino’s for just 50 cents and milkshakes and banana smoothies which can be made lactose free. Once the kids decided what they wanted to eat, which was the ham and cheese toastie and baked beans toastie and a chocolate milkshake – they were off to play!

The café is waterfront with clear unobstructed views so parents with toddlers will still need to be mindful, as in most places. It’s a fantastic spot to bring scooters, however the kids will gravitate to the Figtree playground – an amazingly designed playground that seems to strike a chord with kids of all ages (and adults too!). This gorgeous playground provides a natural setting which partners perfectly with the café.

For adults

For adults the breakfast menu is sensational. With items from $4-$14 you will find some great options like Wood Fired toast with spreads, Eggs Benedict with Ham, Tropical Fruit Plate with honey crusted nuts, lime and yoghurt and lots more. I had the Smashed Avocado with Misty Mountain Quark and lime on ciabatta bread, plus an added an egg and Plantin Rosti. Trent had Poached eggs with local cane cured salmon. We were very happy with our choices. We are a family that normally doesn’t dine out much due to being very fussy on the quality of food we eat and our youngest son Sean being lactose intolerant. But now that there is an affordable place with quality food using local produce, and the fact that I can take Sean for a milkshake – that is going to change!

Wharf One also has a great lunch menu and caters for functions on or off premises. They are hoping to get a liquor license soon and will start doing dinners. Their Madella Coffee from Mourilyan is amazing. Trent consumed three of them and even got another for the road!

All in all, I can highly recommend Wharf One for breakfast, lunch or a morning or afternoon catch up with friends. We really enjoyed the food and location and can’t wait to go back.