Bali, Indonesia :
Bali, Indonesia – The Ultimate Guide with Kids
Bali is one of my favorite kid-friendly places in the world. Check out this video from our last trip:
Bali Holidays - Getting There:
Pulling up to Bali’s Denpasar Airport (IATA: DPS) you would not know that it is the access point that it is. Many major international carriers fly to Denpasar such as KLM, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, and of course Singapore Airlines (Singapore is just 2 hours away and a very common transit point to Bali). With most countries offered visas on arrival for USD 25.00 Bali holidays are an easy trip just from the start.
Momaboard tip: Denpasar airport is struggling to keep up with the increased travelers to Bali and therefore, depending on what time you land, the lines at immigration and customs can be incredibly long. Ask your hotel to arrange an expedited service wherein for an additional fee per person (USD 25.00) you can skip the lines and be headed to luxury much faster!
Getting Around Bali:
With a family, taxis are the best way to get around the island. They are cheap and easily available although if possible fix the price before hand (check with your concierge on what it should be). Haggling for a dollar or two is probably not worth your time on your Bali holidays, but have a general idea of how much your trip should cost. I would not recommend driving in Bali unless you are very comfortable with small, windy roads and lawless drivers. For fun, renting a scooter is great! No surprise, Bali doesn’t use car seats.
Where to Stay with Kids in Bali:
Most of the tourist activity and large hotel chains are concentrated in South Bali, between the beaches of Kuta (surfer’s paradise, the most populated part of Bali), Nusa Dua (beautiful resorts and soft, sandy beaches), and Seminyak (heavily European-influenced and Bali’s current “it” destination). You are spoiled for choice in Bali, but here are some of the hotels we recommend:
- The Legian, Seminyak: The Legian personifies Balinese culture with all the trappings of a modern luxury hotel. Their suites if you can afford them are deliciously spacious, ensuring that the whole family can spread out and enjoy. The Kids' Club at at the Legian is also a stand-out, offering a variety of activities throughout the day. The Legian is one of Momaboard's Top Five Luxury Resorts for Families in Asia.
- The Grand Hyatt, Nusa Dua: Built on five meandering lagoons, just walking around the Grand Hyatt feels like an adventure in itself. A beautiful, serene, adventure wherein you can truly take in the essence of Bali. The hotel has multiple pools, a kids' club, and the beach at Nusa Dua is very suitable for families.
- The St. Regis, Nusa Dua: Also one of Momaboard's Top Five Luxury Resorts for Families in Asia, the St. Regis is for the uber-luxe kids, with their child-sized robes and slippers and one-bedroom suites with kitchenettes. If you can afford it, you won't regret staying here.
Another great option for Bali holidays is to rent a villa. As discussed elsewhere on Momaboard, villas are often a better option for low cost holidays.
On our recent trip to Bali we stayed at the W Retreat and Spa, which had just opened 6 months ago. The hotel had a spanking new vibe and all the cool trappings such as a remote control skylight and Bose docks in every room, but it is really more suited to couples or singles. The rooms are a great size and every restaurant has a kids’ menu (though it’s not very imaginative and I was disappointed not to find a single local dish on it), so you can get by but the aforementioned hotels are probably a better bet. The worst thing about the W is that it’s a nightmare to get to the pool and beach if you have a stroller. And it doesn't have a kids' club!
Things to do with Kids in Bali:
Sacred Monkey Forest, Ubud: Bali holidays are not just about lounging by the pool. Ubud is known as the "cultural center" of Bali, filled with rice paddies, lush trails and artisan workshops. The Sacred Monkey Forest is a great way to experience the natural wonder and cultural heritage of Bali. Monkeys, in Hindu mythology (the Balinese are primarily Hindu) represent both negative and positive forces and play a significant role in Balinese life. Uluwatu Temple: Although Uluwatu is the not the largest of Balinese temples, its cliffside location is certainly impressive. If you haven't had enough of monkeys above, this is also a great place to encounter them although tourists are warned to keep loose items carefully as the monkeys enjoy pinching them. Stick around at sunset for a Kecak dance performance and just to enjoy the view. For the rest of the time in Bali, enjoy the sun, surf and service!
Where to Eat with Kids in Bali:
Sarong: For upscale Southeast Asian fare, Sarong is your place. The food is fantastic, the decor is elegant and the service, outstanding.
Made’s Warung: An Indonesian institution, Made's Warung serves all manor of local cuisine from satays and mee goreng to beef rendang. They also serve pastas and other western dishes for those less adventurous or homesick. Prices are delightfully lower than other options in Seminyak.
La Lucciola: Despite being featured in the New York Times, La Lucciola still maintains its relaxed atmosphere and chilled out vibe. The cuisine is decidedly upscale and Italian and it overlooks a beautiful stretch of beach in Seminyak.
Metis (without kids): From the foie gras to grand marnier souffle, Metis attempts to hold its own with gourmet restaurants around the world, and it does, in quality, variety and in price. But the restaurant is beautiful and the wonderful wares at the boutiques on the property are the icing on this delectable cake. Leave the kids at home for this one.
Ku Dé Ta: The Seminyak location is the original of this now world-renowned beach club chain. Serious style and relaxation merge as you look over at the Indian Ocean, listening to the DJ spinning the latest in lounge beats and the kids enjoy nuggets and spaghetti off the kids' menu. You can spend the day there, and many do!
Mozaic Beach Club: Spend the day here by the pool and with beach access for a change of scene. Make sure to call ahead to reserve a cabana.
Where to Shop with Kids in Bali:
You can walk down Jalan Laksmana in Bali and find resort wear (and prices) paralleling St. Tropez in France. There are also tons of homeware stores and galleries showcasing world-famous Indonesian art and handiwork. Some of the stores we recommend are:
Pygmy: Trendy kids and mum wear in bright colors dotting the high streets of Seminyak.
Milk & Roses: Organic, sustainable kidswear in soft, neutral tones created by a french designer for Bali.
Dandelion: Local chain delivering everything from kids fashion to shoes to swimwear. Carga: A hot new store in Petitenget, Carga is the shopping stop for people with taste. You won't find bargains here but everything in the store is exquisitely made. For the kids we loved the Batik silk rompers and the local art.
Vinoti:Vinotti in Seminyak Square is a great place for reasonable and well-made Balinese homewares such as Buddhas and tablewares. Although Seminyak Square does have public parking, I would still recommend taking a cab! No point spending Bali holidays stressed out!
Tips for Travel to Bali with Kids:
- The local currency is called rupiah but US dollars are well accepted everywhere.
- Food is reasonable but alcohol is expensive.
- Car seats are non-existent but you can bring your own for the taxi drives around the island
- The Balinese know how to do tourists, so if there is anything you need, ask. Chances are they have heard it before and can help you find it.
- Get a Balinese massage. They are the best in the world. And cheap!
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