Why you MUST travel with your family to Bali...
The first thing that you should know, is that Bali is the perfect holiday destination for families, with endless things to see and do. The Balinese love children and most of the accommodation and restaurants are family friendly.
In the past few years there has been a huge increase in the number of Australian families visiting Bali and there are now loads of services offered for touring families such as baby equipment hire, Nanny agencies, home-made children’s food, Kids Clubs, children’s boutiques and convenience stores…not to mention the endless options for a fun day out with the kids.
Which is the most family friendly airline to fly with?
My best experience has been with Garuda Indonesia. If you are travelling with an infant, they will give you priority for a spare seat….they hand out free children’s toys and activities. The Flight Attendants are always lovely, the plane seats are spacious and best of all they allow the use of inflatable plane cushions such as our Kooshy Kids Kooshion! Garuda Indonesia really are the epitome of family friendly travel.
Other airlines offering direct flights from selected Australian cities to Denpasar, Bali include; Malindo Air, Air Asia, Jetstar and Virgin. (Virgin & Air Asia have also approved the use of the Kooshy Kids Kooshion).
Flying Garuda Indonesia
Where to stay?
The options for family friendly accommodation in Bali are endless.
Here are some of the hotels that I recommend from my Bali experiences.
Hard Rock Hotel – like the Hard Rock Hotels around the world, this hotel has no shortage of atmosphere or rock décor. It has one of the best hotel pool in Bali and its Kids Club and activities for kids on offer are wonderful.
Rooms range from $150-$400 per night and they have the option of a Family Suite which has bunk beds in the second bedroom.
Padma Resort – this recently refurbished hotel is as much HUGE as it is AWESOME. Waterslides, Kids Club and located on Legian Beach, this resort offers family rooms which have a second bedroom with bunk beds (see below image).
I have stayed here on numerous occasions and have never been disappointed. It’s a little out of the main action of Seminyak, but still close enough to the beach and all of the facilities and services that I’ve ever needed (including laundry, massage, shops, restaurants etc).
The Kids Club is smaller than in other hotels ,however big enough for the size of this hotel and provides great Nannies and kids activities. The equipment is regularly updated and includes Playstations, a ball pit, and a sleeping room for infants.
The hotel also has a table tennis table, fairy floss machine, popcorn machine, a yummy Taco Truck parked out the front and offers nightly entertainment in the bar.
You can get a room for as low as $120 per night, or a two bedroom suite (with two bathrooms) from $300 per night.
Whilst its location is on the busy Sunset road, this hotel is quite stunning. The pool has a waterslide, an array of pool toys, a beach with white sand (imported from the Whitsundays). The Kids Club has its own Baskin & Robins ice cream parlour and is bright, clean and very entertaining.
The hotel regularly offer a special on Luxury Escapes…so if you see one of these and are contemplating a Bali trip, then grab it! Their inclusions are such great value for money.
We stayed in a Celebrity Suite and whilst expensive at $450-600 per night, it is spacious enough for a family of 4 and has direct pool access. (with a pool gate and lockable door). Standard rooms start from $200 per night.
Combining modern comfort with a family friendly vibe, the Bali Westin Hotel is a tropical masterpiece. The Westin has everything you’d want: relaxation and fun. A seriously impressive Kids Club, an amazing pool and a superior selection of restaurants, this hotel is one of a kind.
On Sundays, one of their on-site restaurants (Prego) offers a Sunday Family Bruch like no other! Kids activities, food that is out of this world and service with a smile….even if you don’t stay at the Westin, visiting for the Sunday Family Brunch is a MUST!
Villas in Bali
If you are a family of 4 or more, staying in a hotel can not only be expensive, but also squashy and restrictive. Staying in a Villa in Bali is a great way to spread out and relax.
Most Bali villas have their own pool with a fence (or you can hire one from Bali Baby), butlers, chefs, drivers…. all available and often included in the rate for Villas. I frequently stay at Sinta Villa in Seminyak. Australian owned, it has 3 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, a full kitchen, lounge and dining room, pool, bali hut, security and is tucked away in a brilliant location.
There are also endless villa options for all budgets through Cantik Villas (an Australian owned Villa agency).
Family friendly villas in good locations range from $100 per night up to $3000 per night....depending on how fancy you want to travel.
Sinta Villa Pool and Lounge Room
What is there to do for Kids in Bali?
SOOOOO MUCH! There are so many Kids Clubs, entertainment complexes and tourist attractions that this blog post could be a novel! A few of my personal favourites include:
- Finns Recreation Club in Canggu (includes Splash Waterpark, Strike Bowling, Bounce Bali, Body Temple Day Spa, Cubby House Kids Club)…you can spend days here!
- Monkey Forest – located in Ubud…get up close and personal with the monkeys…hold on to your hat and your valuables...these monkeys are cheeky!
- Bali Zoo – interact with the Orangutans...you can even have a cuddle with one.
- Bali Sea Turtle Society – watch the turtle eggs hatch and help to release them into the ocean.
- Bali Wake Park – a man-made wake boarding park…seriously cool!
Splash Waterpark @Finns Recreation Club
Best Family Friendly Restaurants in Bali
Once again, this list could be a novel, so I will stick to giving you my personal faves...
Ultimo – Italian in Seminyak that is so cheap and so yummy. It’s always busy, so book in advance or arrive early. This is always on my itinerary and is my No.1 choice for family restaurants in Bali.
Taco Casa – Mexican food in Seminyak that is super cheap and mouth-watering. A family of four can get away with dinner and drinks for around $20. It’s open early, so it is a great spot to take the kids to eat early before the feral-ness and Bali traffic kicks in.
Hog Wild (formerly Naughty Nuris) – one word ‘RIBS’!!! The best ribs in Bali, a great atmosphere with singing waiters (order a Margarita and you will experience it and other amazingly delicious dishes in a very family friendly and reasonably priced venue.
The Lawn - located directly on the beach at Canggu, you have the option to eat on the beach or indoors. It is a great option for families because the kids can run around on the sand and aren't confined to sitting quietly on a table.
The Pirates Bay - located in Nusa Dua, this pirate themed open-aired restaurant features a pirate playground and tree houses. Fun and different, this dining option is very popular for touring families.
What to look out for in Bali?
Indonesia is an endemic region of Dengue Fever. This disease has a higher incidence during rainy season, which is generally October to April.
To avoid being bitten:
- Wear good quality mosquito repellent.
- Use mosquito nets on cots and fly screens and only sleep in screened or enclosed areas.
- Wear mosquito bands or use citronella patches.
- Air-conditioning may reduce mosquito infiltration. Where air-conditioning is not available, fans may be helpful. Mosquitoes appear to be reluctant to fly in windy air.
- Don’t wear perfumes.
- Wear light coloured clothing.
- Minimise skin exposure after dusk.
- Wash hair at least twice a week.
- Burn citronella candles.
Time Share Scams
You may be approached on the street offering you “free” activities or payment for your time. You might even be given a scratchie where you “WIN” and need to follow them to claim your prize.
Although you may receive what you offered, you will be made to sit through a time-share presentation and sales pitch that will take up a full day….and the kids will hate you for it! If you're approached on the street, simply say “no thank you” and continue walking.
Dodgy Taxi Drivers
There are a few things you need to look out for when travelling in Taxis in Bali:
- Always make sure the meter is on, or when you arrive the driver can name his price.
- Ask the driver to take you the quickest way and if you know the way, make sure you tell him the way you want to go.
- Make sure you have small notes, as the driver will always claim to not have any change.
- If you asked how many times you have been Bali, never tell him it is your first time!
- Check your seat and the floor for your belongings before you get out the Taxi.
- Try to only use Blue Bird Taxis which are the most reliable and trustworthy company in Bali.
Dodgy Money Changers
“Authorized Money Changers”…do not fall for it!
Only use the money changers that have a proper shopfront…they almost look like a bank and will usually have security out the front. Money changers located in lane ways are not legitimate.
Always count the money back to check whilst in the shop before leaving to ensure that you have received the correct amount. See the below for a rough guide to currency conversion.
Indonesian Money Guide (source: Kids in Bali)
Kooshy Kids love these Bali services for families...
Mini Muncher – this was my life saver when my kids started solids until they turned 3. They offer pureed baby food as well as more substantial meals like spaghetti bolognaise.
The owner is Australian and uses only fresh and organic ingredients. All of her meals are made with LOVE and can be delivered to your accommodation. If you are staying in a hotel and don’t have any room in the fridge, you can ask the hotel to store them for you and then request that they heat them and bring them to you when you want them – yes…all of the hotels I've listed will do this for you…amazing right?
Bali Baby – you can hire all of your baby needs whilst you are in Bali. They will have them ready in your accommodation when you arrive. I have hired prams, cots with mosquito nets, toys, books, tables, chairs, pool fences, baths, bottle warmers and more from this company.
They are the Bali stockist for the Kooshy Kids Kooshion.
Bali’s Best Babysitting – An Australian owned and managed Babysitting Agency that has the very best Nannies in Bali for the most reasonable price.
You can book online, request the nanny that you prefer and pay in advance. All of their Nanny’s have security checks, are first aid trained, speak a reasonable amount of English and can swim.
Nannies are the reason I put “relaxing” and “holiday with kids” together…they really can make a difference to your holiday. Even if you just bring a Nanny along when you go out for dinner, lay by the pool or just have an extra pair of hands for bath and bed time….they are truly THE BEST!
Expect to pay between $6-$10 per hour.
Little Miss Bali has a great App for anyone traveling to Bali. It has all of the best places to see and things to do.
Other useful Bali websites and blogs include: Bali Kids Guide, Kids in Bali, Rolling Along with Kids, the Gu Guide, The Seminyak Snob and the Bali Bible. If you follow all of these you can’t go wrong!
I can pretty much guarantee that after you take your family to Bali for the first time, you WILL BE BACK! The weather, the people, the beaches, the restaurants and the attractions are just too good to refuse.
Happy and safe travels!