Here is something different from what we’ve blogged about before. Follow our journey with a first-time mother who is on an adventure with her 21 month old baby to a non-typical baby-friendly destination. Track your way with our co-founder, Tia, on her epic journey to Jogjakarta, alone with a baby and a bag of stories.
A Travel Blog by Tia
Ever since I had my first child, travelling took a back seat. Planning a holiday with a baby took into too many considerations I’ve never had to do. I’d have to think about whether the place is suitable for the baby; would it be convenient; is it stroller friendly; are there cafes where I could just get easy food for the baby; should I look for family orientated hotels; and lastly, my budget. Suddenly, I had all these extra factors to reflect on.
I have traveled with my baby, despite the long list of to-dos. I’ve traveled to the beach and a nearby city earlier on this year, but I had also traveled with either his father or my entire family. It’s a lot easier when I have my entire support system with me. You can take turns carrying baby things – the many many things – stroller, baby bag (that contains baby food, diapers bottles, extra clothing and napkins), a baby carrier, and not to forget shopping bags. Having the extra hands also gives me the comfort knowing there are others around should anything go wrong.
But for this trip I decided to travel alone with my sister, whom by the way does not have kids. To me, it is still like travelling alone with a baby, but with a really good trusted friend.
We didn’t choose Jogjakarta, but Jogjakarta chose us! The main reason for this trip was to attend a dear friend’s wedding. Knowing me and how I’ve missed travelling so much, I knew I had to make the most out of this trip with trying to squeeze in as much site seeing as possible.
In this travel blog, I will share with you guys my experiences and tips of how I planned my trip and tailored it to be as baby friendly as possible. It was a battle between finding the right balance of prioritizing the baby’s comfort while not compromising on the adventure. From the types of places I visited and what items I used to help me along the way.
- Planning your Itinerary (4 day vacation)
SPACE OUT YOUR TIMING
Always keep Day 1- the day of arrival free and easy whether it’s a morning flight or afternoon flight. Stick around your hotel area (or even just chill at the hotel) and find a really cute café. After a long morning of travelling, your baby is readjusting to a new body clock from waking up really early and skipping his regular naps. Don’t over tire yourself or the baby. Slow down and chill.
La Casa Villa– Chic on a budget! This beautiful hidden gem smack in the middle of town was only RM50 a night. Rooms were clean, safe, amazing helpful friendly staffs, spacious and nicely done up. Perfect and just enough for the baby and I. We barely spent our times in the room so I didn’t see a point in spending on accommodation. No complaints!
Kalluna Café. Beautiful interior and AMAZING coffee. A little bit too crowded for baby but the food & ambience made up for it. Highly recommended and very instaworthy 😉
PLAN ONLY 2 SITE VISITS A DAY
I found this to be just nice and not too tiring. We would start in the morning as early as 9am and it was enough time to cover 2 locations including a nice lunch break without feeling rushed. Mind you, we had a wedding to catch at night so don’t overdo it!
CHOOSE LOCATIONS THAT WILL BE FUN FOR YOU AND YOUR BABY.
This is very important because as much as you want to see amazing places, if you’re child won’t be able to enjoy it, naturally you won’t be able to enjoy it either. Also incorporate a lot of nature if you can. Most of our time was travelling on the road. Kids get restless and they just want to have open free spaces to play. Here are the places we visited:
Imogiri Pine Forest – Beautiful, cooling and relaxing with breath taking views. This was my favorite spot! Because it was on a hill the weather was perfect! Cooling with slight wind. The forest was dry and flat leaving it safe for babies / kids to run around. There were no harmful rocks or slippery slopes to worry about. The dried fallen leaves from the pine tree gives a nice texture and cushion as well! I could lay down and watch the tree dance all day long.
Taman Sari (The Water Castle) – This enchanting royal compound contains historical tales including a richness in the appreciation of art. It involved a lot of walking with many small narrow alleys. If you’re kid likes to walk then he would enjoy this little town. There are a lot of steps so I would not recommend bringing a stroller. I would also recommend visiting on a weekday and either really early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid both crowd and heat.
Borobudur Temple – Claimed to be one of the oldest Buddhist Temple in the world, but the origins still remains a mystery. One of the most peaceful spaces I have ever been to. I wouldn’t exactly say that this is baby friendly but it is definitely a place worth going to. Strap them to your carrier because there are a lot of steep steps. I was lucky to have enjoyed my time as my baby fell asleep during the time we were there. Truly just basking and absorbing all the culture and beauty.
Parangtritis Beach– Who doesn’t like the beach?! An open space beach with a huge open sand-dune on the side. We went during sunset and it was just absolutely amazing. Not a lot of crowd, vast spaces and soft clean sand. There were moments where I thought I was in a desert in stead of beach. Definitely baby friendly!
PLAN ACCORDING TO DISTANCE.
Because most of our time was spent on the road, we made sure to keep the furthest locations saved for the last day when we had a full day’s to site see before heading back to Kuala Lumpur.
2. Pack light and with all the right items
Apart from the obvious clothing, diapers & wipes, try to pack as light as possible. Forget the toys, books, ipad and all the unnecessary extras! We’re here to explore so think like an explorer!
Bring the right items that would serve and function you as many ways as possible.
A REAL.M TRAVEL BLANKET!
Gone are the days where I used have an item for a single purpose. Multipurpose is the way to go! An all-time favorite, savior and true travel companion which has served me in so many ways!
To name a few:
A Breastfeeding Cover
A shield from the sun in the car and on stroller
A towel for both wet and dry times
An ironing cloth!
A COLLAPSIBLE BOTTLE
My son is old enough to drink from a normal bottle with assistance. Whether milk or water he’d drink it in this. I didn’t see a reason to bring his baby bottle around.
Whether rain or sun, you’ll never know when you’re going to need it. If your kid is anything like mine, you can forget about those cute hats.
A BABY CARRIER
I highly suggest baby wearing. Jogjakarta and the locations we visited weren’t really stroller friendly and even if it were, I found my son wanting to run around instead. There were so many times we had to climb steps or go underground. It was just easier to strap him to my back and enjoy the walk with me. Baby wearing allows you to connect with your baby while still being connected to your surroundings together. You truly share that adventurous moment together.
The only time I needed a stroller was when we visited Borobudur because the walking distance from the entrance to the temple was about 2km walk. They actually provide stroller rentals which I ended up going for in the end because once you reach the temple you can’t bring your stroller up and would need to leave it at the bottom. I didn’t feel comfortable leaving my stroller behind so renting it was!
– travel sized everything from wipes to snacks & of course 1 change of clothes.
That’s was literally all that I brought around with me in my bag. This truly helped me enjoy my trip that much more.
3. Invest in a private tour/driver
This was one of the best decisions I made. You don’t have to worry about figuring out transportation from point A to B, where to eat, which on the list to do first, and how many hours to spend in each location or worry about space. We managed to find a really great tour service where they help you plan your trip for you according to what you want to see. The rest is covered. The car provided was a comfortable 4-seater SUV, with full working AC (A MUST in my books) and I loved the idea that I could leave my bags, stroller or other belongings in the car if I wanted to. So even if you don’t pack light, you can just leave it all in the car.
Yup, there you have it. Only 3 simple tips to ensure a smooth fun baby friendly trip. It’s all about readjusting and stepping out of your comfort zone – just a little bit. It’s always unpredictable travelling with a little baby but doesn’t mean it can’t be fun or that you won’t be able to explore amazing places!
I hope this travel series has helped or encourage those who plan to travel to a non-conventional baby-friendly place with their babies and it’s totally fine to go alone! To be fair, I had my sister with me for an extra hand and to be able snapshot all these amazing moments but other than that, looking back, it was totally doable!
If you wish to use the same tour guide on your visit to Jogjakarta details are below: