My husband and I loved travelling worldwide when we were first married. We visited far flung destinations that were exciting and a little exotic – Sri Lanka, Colombia, Morocco, Panama, Croatia, Laos.
Being from Australia, we firmly believed that once you were out in the world, that you had to travel for a long period of time to make it worthwhile. After all, Australia seemed so isolated from the rest of the world in her little southern corner. Compared to the accessibility and cheap flights that you got when you lived in London, Australia was like living in outer space!
It wasn’t until we had a travel intermission and decided to start a family that we began to look more closely at our own shores and explore the area around Australia. We discovered some absolute gems. Our neighbours are so close, cheap and fun places to visit! Who knew!
Bali With Kids
Bali is a place that is a bit of a rite of passage for Aussies. It is known as a party place for young Australian backpackers, or bohemian surfers, or yoga wannabes. Because we spent all our time and money in mostly northern hemisphere destinations, we had never even considered going there before.
One day, with our travel tribe of 4 children, we stumbled across some super cheap flights to Bali that made us go on and give it a try. All of a sudden, Bali with kids became a real-life possibility!!
After that first trip, we finally realized what all the fuss was about. We discovered that Bali is not just for 20 somethings, but is an incredibly diverse place catering to families with kids of all ages too. Luckily for us, Bali is only a short 6 hour flight from Brisbane. We are closer than we thought to a world of vibrant culture, beautiful scenery, friendly people, awesome surf, monkey temples and more.
Here are our: Top 7 reasons why Bali with kids is our favourite family friendly travel destination.
(And don’t miss our “Top 11 Things To Do With Kids In Bali” at the end!)
Bali is cheap for families
It’s not only the flights to Bali that are cheap. (For us Aussies, but we’ve seen some great sales come up for our North American friends too!) Once we actually get to Bali we have hundreds of choices for accommodations! The value we get for our money is incomparable. There is a surplus of kid-friendly resorts in areas like Nusa Dua and Sanur, with many providers offering package discounts for family stays. Food costs are ridiculously low as well, letting us feed our family for as little as $5 per meal. Many hotels and villas have breakfast included in their rates as well, stretching our savings even further. We usually pay between $50 and $100 per night for a family villa that included everything, and around $30 a day for food as a family of 6.
We recently made an article on how to budget for long term family travel here
Villas in Bali cater to large families
Since we are a family of 6, we prefer to book a villa for our Bali vacations. Better yet, if we can find some friends to come along with us, booking a large villa and splitting the cost makes it even easier on the budget, and more fun! Sharing might even mean we can rent an even more luxurious villa, since the cost is spilt up amongst more people. It’s also nice to have a private area that kids can play in without constantly worrying about them leaving our sight.
Villas are so family friendly, easy and often come fully staffed with a housekeeper, chef, chauffeur and gardener making your lifestyle in Bali feel like one of the rich and famous. When we have our own house with a beautiful tropical garden and private paradise-like pool in the middle, it makes our stay very special indeed. We don't even need to leave the villa if we don’t want to, since masseuses, beauty therapists, food delivery and yoga instructors will all come to us!
The price for a villa can vary from as little as $30 per night up to $30,000 per night. There are so many different villa options depending on your level of luxury required and location. Our next trip to Bali sees us staying at a few different villas all around the $50 per night mark. Some are homestays, a couple are close to the beach and two of them have a private pool. We like to mix it up to have different experiences each time we visit Bali.
Bali with kids is EASY
From the moment you arrive into Denpasar Airport with excited kids and are greeted by your smiling private driver who guides you through the throng of porters and taxis, you appreciate how easy everything is here. They carry your bags (or your children), take you straight to your villa and make sure everything is to your liking. For outings, drivers are never far away and will arrive at a moment’s notice to whisk you away to your day’s activities.
These guys, the taxi drivers (Bluebird taxis are your best bet, make sure they flick the meter on!) or Grab drivers (like Asian Uber), your house staff, are all there to help you. The high level of English spoken makes it incredibly easy to find whatever you want or need.
Bali locals are so friendly
Balinese smile all the time and they are the happiest people! They are so sweet and friendly and eager to assist in making your stay a pleasure. They absolutely adore children so it is easy to find a babysitter that will look after your children as well as you would.
Aside from the gracious hospitality of the locals, Bali is also a very safe environment to bring your family into. We always feel at ease and secure when we visit this paradise island.
The food in Bali is kid-approved
Some of the best food in the world can be found in Bali. For fussy eaters, you can always get plain steamed rice and veggies. Our kids love spring rolls and Nasi Goreng and can eat this every day during our stay! The family can visit a fine dining restaurant such as Mozaic or CasCades and have relaxed eats at a beachside ‘warung’ while the kids play in the sand. You can also feast in-villa with your own personal chef and an individualized menu, or get food delivered with GrabFood or GoJek (download the apps before you go).
And for the super picky kids in your life, you’ll even find western fast food options such as McDonalds, Pizza Hut and KFC.
Here some delicious (kid approved!) morsels that you have to try in Bali:
- Nasi Goreng or Mi Goreng – Fried rice or fried noodles is a staple in Bali. Often served for breakfast, but can be eaten any time of day.
- Betetu is an iconic Balinese favourite with meat, vegetables and rice wrapped in a banana leaf and cooked four hours in hot coals. The succulent meat and fragrant flavours in this will blow your mind!
- Satay – Classic meat on a stick with different dipping sauces (like peanut!) will always be a crowd pleaser!
- Babi Gulung is a spit roast slow cooked pig
- Seafood at Jimbaran. Just south of the airport on the Bukit Peninsula, Jimbaran is a haven for the freshest seafood restaurants lining the beach. This foodie destination is a must do if you love seafood and a fantastic place to watch the sunset while munching on delicious fresh caught seafood with your toes in the sand. Definitely family friendly!
Many of Bali's beach clubs are kid friendly
Okay, so maybe the beach bars belong to the 20 somethings later on in the evening, but for a sunset drink and a laid back family-friendly vibe during the day, we love hitting the famous beach bars of Bali.
KuDeTa – On certain Sunday mornings this upscale beach bar transforms into a great family friendly brunch spot. There is a bouncy castle, arts and craft tents, and of course access to the beach and pool! A special kids brunch menu is also in effect.
Finns – Finn’s can get a little crazy at night, but during the day it has great music and a fun atmosphere. The owners of Finn’s also have lots of kid friendly establishments near their beach club. Their exclusive kids club, Cubby House is located just a few minutes from the beach. They also have Bounce Trampoline, Strike Bowling, and Splash Waterpark.
Mrs. Sippy – Another beach club that is best to visit during the day with families, but has great kid friendly menu items! To ensure it's mornings are more tame, there is a new rule in effect that it's adults only after 2pm
Bali is close
This tip will only pertain to fellow Aussies, so this is our time to brag a little bit! Bali is an easy flight, only 6 hours from Brisbane (or 2.5 hours if you happen to live in Perth!) which makes it a very accessible place to visit. Jetstar (Australia’s favourite budget airline) regularly has amazing sales which has seen us visit Bali for as little as $150 return per person.
Flying with kids is a challenge at times, especially little ones who refuse to sit still and watch a movie, so I've come to appreciate Bali as a short and easy flight. Thanks to the low cost, our family of 6 can easily jump on a plane and be there with not too much trouble.
Top 11 Things to Do in Bali With Kids
We realize how spoilt we are for choices when it comes to our family holidays in Bali!
When we get to planning our days, we quickly realize we don't have enough days to squeeze everything in! I recommend staying in a part of Bali that will cater to your every whim so that you don’t have to travel far to visit the places you want to see. That being said, nowhere is further than a 40 minute drive away so the whole island is accessible by private car, motorbike or taxi. Depending on the age of your family, you may just prefer to chill out poolside!
Here is a short list of our favourite things to do in Bali:
1. Visit A Waterpark
From the famous Waterbom to the lesser known Canggu Club and a few others in between, the waterparks in Bali are awesome! Our older boys aged 7 and 9 adore the crazy slides at Waterbom but Canggu Club has less crowds and has more for our littler girls.
2. Bounce Now
This is part of Canggu Club and is a great place to spend a few hours. The expansive trampoline club even has a bowling alley and bar upstairs! This is one of our favourite places to visit when in Bali. The ticket entry is part of the waterslide park entry fee, which makes it a super cheap and fun way to wear out the kids!
3. Visit a Temple
Monkey temples at Ubud, Uluwatu’s clifftop temple, Tanah Lot with its stunning photo opportunity at high tide, and more. The temples here are very interesting and beautiful monuments to visit. (Watch out for monkeys though, they can get a little excited and may bite or steal your camera at the very least)
4. Upside-down World and 3D World
Okay, it may be a little kitschy, but kids love these fun attractions. Admission prices start at around 50,000 IDR ($5) for kids, which is a great price for a few hours of entertainment.
5. Yoga Retreats
Thanks to Eat, Pray, Love starring Julia Roberts, there is now a great selection of yoga classes and even yoga teacher training courses in Bali. This is my favourite way to escape the hustle and have a bit of ‘Mum time’. If you have older kids, they might be interested in coming along!
For the Dads, there are some epic world renowned golf courses that deserve attention. The tee-off fee includes your own personal buggy and an accompanying caddie that will tactfully advise and select your club for you. Older kids will love swinging a club around.
7. Surf Lessons
The Rip Curl surf school in Kuta is fantastic for those who want to give surfing a go. For the more experienced, there are epic waves to be found at Echo Beach, and Uluwatu.
8. Visit Islands
There are many idyllic islands near Bali to visit on a day trip. You can take a boat to Nusa Lembongan in just 30 minutes! There are lots of opportunities for snorkelling, diving and other water based sports.
9. Bali Zoo
The Bali Zoo has exotic animals like elephants, tigers and orangutang and is always a highlight for kids. Admission tickets start around $355,000 IDR ($25 USD)
Seminyak is great for boutique stores and markets, while Kuta has the best markets and large shopping malls. Haggle hard when market shopping!
11. Spa Time
Get a massage or facial. Pamper yourself! It’s so much cheaper than home! If you want to bring the family, many spas offer a special kids menu of services that they will find fun.
Taking the kids to Bali is such a fantastic option for a family holiday. It ticks all the boxes for us, with activities to please every member of our tribe. It is cheap to fly to, cheap to stay and the value for money you get amongst the friendliest people on earth is unbeatable! Have you been?
About The Author
Kris Gadsby: Kris and Brian, together with their 4 children aged between 1 and 9, have sold everything and are heading around the world in 2019 for a big family gap year. They aim to show all families that long term travel with kids is possible and hope to inspire you to do the same!
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