Friday, September 27, 2013

Bali with Kids

I never really thought that Bali was a family friendly place to visit... More than 10 years back, I went there sans kids and all I remembered was a lovely dinner by the beach and my first full body massage.

We wanted to go on a holiday with the kids, and Bali is about as far as our Krisflyer miles can take our entire family. So I went about my reasearch and was pleasantly surprised to discover several gems. We stayed in Bali for 6 days and had just enough to fill our itinerary.

If you are planning on visiting Bali with kids, read on.

We stayed at a different hotel every night as we were planning on travelling all the way up north. My itinerary is detailed below, together with the hotels we spent the night at. I'd have opted to stay at Mara River Safari Lodge for two nights and spent the second day doing the Odyssey Submarine if not for a hotel voucher that we wanted to utilise at Intercontinental Hotel. We had to spend two weekend nights at Intercon and hence, had to do a bit more driving to Odyssey on the second last day. So if you are planning to go on the Odyssey Submarine, consider staying somewhere nearer Gianyar.

The best way to get around Bali is to hire a driver. He doubles up as your tour guide and can give you insights into Balinese life. We hired Merti from Drivers with Distinction to bring us around. His rates are reasonable and our kids enjoyed his company. Drop him an email if you are planning to go to Bali. If he is busy on the days that you'd be in Bali, he'd be able to recommend someone else from his team of 8 drivers. I was so glad that his car is equipped with seat belts for every passenger. I brought along my boys' booster seats so they can be safely belted up while we travelled.

Other than the main city area, the roads leading up north are narrow windy roads. If you are relying on google maps to provide you with distance / time estimates, do multiply the estimated journey time by at least 1.5. It took longer than I had anticipated to reach our destination because of the road conditions. Thankfully, my boys were such angels on the long drives and hardly fussed. It helped that there were interesting things to see along the way. The blue highlighted path in the map below marks out the path we took in Bali.

View Bali in a larger map

Weather was generally dry in September. It gets cooler as we drove up north, and that was lovely! Avoid rainy months as there won't be much to see or do indoors.

Other than the more established hotels and restaurants, most other attractions and eateries only took cash. Have sufficient Indonesian Rupiah for the trip. You'd need to pay airport tax of IDR150,000 per person when you fly out from Bali. Only cash is accepted. Thankfully, our hotel left a note to tell us about it. If not, I might have tried to use up all my Indonesian currency. 

As both my boys are already toddlers, we didn't have to worry about bringing / cooking baby food. They pretty much ate whatever we ate, though we made it a point to stay clear of street side food. There are many home style restaurants that serve simple home cooked fare. My favourite was at Strawberry Stop, located just opposite the Ulun Danu temple. There is a strawberry farm in the same compound and they serve the nicest strawberry juice. Main courses are about USD5.

I will be writing about some of our favourite attractions over the next few weeks. Stay tuned!
Bali Safari & Marine Park
Bali Treetop Adventure Park
Strawberry Farm at Bedugul
Dolphin Watching at Lovina
Jatiluwih Rice Terraces
Odyssey Submarine


  1. Looks like u did a lot in Bali.. We just came back fm 4D3N Bali too.. Went to Safari..basically tats all we did... Cho Bo :)

  2. I srsly didn't think that Bali could be so amazing...I should consider going there somedayđŸ˜‰