Nicola mcclean discovers why the Island of the Gods is always a top choice for family holidays.
29 reasons to take your kids to Bali!
Bali Safari & Marine Park
Home to over 1,000 animals, including rare and endangered species, such as the Komodo dragon and orangutan, the park is the frontline of conservation in Indonesia. Hop in a 4x4 Jeep or get up close with animals. Enjoy fine dining with lions or splash around at the Water Park in the Fun Zone. With a range of experiences on offer, there’s something for everyone. balisafarimarinepark.com
Waterbom Bali Kuta
Rated the best water park in Asia by Tripadvisor, the fun-filled park is designed to complement the natural Balinese environment. The 3.8-hectare park is home to one of Asia’s steepest slides, perfect for thrill seekers, while little ones can splash around in the kids’ area. The rides cater for all ages, ranging from mellow to extreme, along with attractions including Wave Rider and out of the water fun on the Euro Bungy. waterbom-bali.com
Karma Beach Club Ungasan
The ultra-cool Karma Beach Club is a must-visit for families. Beyond its white sand and turquoise waters, there are plenty of activities for all ages. There’s a great restaurant with kid-friendly staples and a beach bar serving cocktails for mum and dad. Relax with a massage or stand-up paddle yoga, while the kids enjoy pool time or Monday Movie Nights on the beach. karmagroup.com
Bali Zoo Gianyar
For animal-loving kids, this intimate zoo is paradise, as they can meet their favourite animals. From eating breakfast with orangutans in their playground to getting up close with the elephants, the zoo offers a range of experiences for all ages. For an unforgettable experience, dine with elephants and watch the giant beauties bathe and feed, before indulging in a buffet dinner and enjoying cultural dance performances. bali-zoo.com
Sundays Beach Club Uluwatu
You have everything at your feet here at one of Bali’s most spectacular beachfront locations. Within the beach club you can explore the clear lagoon and rock pools, or enjoy any of the complimentary water sports. Consider this the perfect spot to sip a cocktail, sink into your bean bag and watch the little ones splash in the ocean or try stand-up paddleboarding. sundaysbeachclub.com
Mason Adventure Tours
Celebrating 30 years as Bali’s best adventure company, Mason Adventures has plenty of experiences for the whole family. You can embark on a journey along Bali’s only ATV track on the Jungle Buggies (kids 12 and over can be passengers), or take a scenic trek through hidden trails to see some of the country’s best-kept temples and natural treasures. masonadventures.com
Bali Treetop Adventure Park
Kids four and up will love swinging from tree to tree like a monkey in this lush outdoor playground. Families can navigate their way through one of 95 challenges going over suspended bridges, getting around the spider nets, or zooming down the zipline. The park is set within Bedugul Botanic Gardens, which makes for the perfect post-adventure stop to unwind and learn about nature. balitreetop.com
Silver Surf Bali Pura Luhur Canggu
The family will have a swell time catching waves with a personalised 2.5-hour learn-to-surf class. Classes take place at a location best suited to your ability, ensuring you learn in the best environment. Private lessons are advised, however, group lessons are available so you and the kids can catch waves together. The surfboard, drinking water and hotel pick-up and drop-off are taken care of, so you can relax and focus on catching waves. silversurfbali.com
Perched 70 metres above the Indian Ocean, this impressive Hindu temple is one of Bali’s nine directional temples. The steep headlands on either side have caves at their base, making for a great family adventure, as you can walk through the caves and access some prime surfing spots. Although small, the temple is famed for its location, and is also known as a home of cheeky monkeys, which the kids will love. Consider a sunset snap on this cliff-top gem a must.
Shop in Seminyak
Bursting with fashion boutiques and lifestyle brand outlets, Seminyak is the place to go for shopaholics and foodies alike. A walk down Jalan Raya Seminyak – the main shopping street – has rows of designer, homeware, handicraft and contemporary art stores, all between Bali’s top restaurants and cafes. Be sure to stop at Indigo Kids on your stroll to pick up some stylish resort attire for your little travellers. indigowithlove.com
Sunset at Jimbaran Bay Seafood
Take a seat on the sand and enjoy a seafood meal with sunset views at Jimbaran Beach. Jimbaran Bay Seafood is the only restaurant on the sand with its own private beach, making it a safe and intimate option for family dining. Live quartet singers, Balinese traditional dance and hotel pick-up and drop-off are all included in the evening. This is a sight that is uniquely Balinese so consider this the ultimate taste of Balinese culture. jimbaranbayseafoods.com
Traditional Art Market
Unleash your inner haggler strolling through the market stalls, as featured in the 2010 film Eat Pray Love. Stacked with locally made handicrafts, the colourful markets make for great gift shopping while giving you a taste of Balinese culture as you bargain for your goods. They’re located opposite the Ubud Royal Palace and typically open daily between 6am and 6pm.
Banana boat rides Tanjung Benoa
Go bananas exploring the warm, calm waters of Tanjung Benoa on this fun-filled water ride. Thrill-seeking families will have a blast on the inflated rubber banana boat as its whizzes through the water behind a speed boat. If you aren’t after the same adrenaline rush as the kids, lying on the white sand beach and soaking in the Balinese sunshine is hard to beat, with the added treat of watching the kids’ faces light up as they zip around on the banana boat. baligreentour.com
Temple of Enthusiasm Canggu
Yes, Deus Ex Machina makes motorbikes and surfboards, but it’s everything in between that makes this location a must-visit. Known as the Temple of Enthusiasm, the headquarters has something for everyone serving up coffee, music, tacos, tattoos and fusion cuisine. With paint spilled on the floors and art on the walls, this quirky location is a sure-fire hit with teens. deuscustoms.com
Pirates Bay Nusa Dua
Get lost in the fantasy land of this open-air dining venue, housing a pirate ship and an abundance of treehouses for the kids to play in and explore. You have the option to dine in the treehouses, on a beachfront table on the sand, or request a seat inside the beautiful pirate ship. The menu hosts a range of local and Western foods, so even the fussiest eaters are satisfied, while bonfires and live music enrich the ambience making it a special evening for you and the kids. thepiratesbaybali.com
Bathe in holy water at Tirta Empul
People from all over Bali have been coming to Tirta Empul for over 1,000 years to bathe in or collect the sacred water, which is later used in local ceremonies. The temple is divided into three courtyards and visitors are invited to partake in the bathing experience in the first courtyard’s public pool. This natural heritage site is an unmissable cultural experience and an absolute visual treat.
Bali Swing Ubud
Let your little birds fly in the treetops at Bali Swing. There are 21 sky-high activities in this fabulous playground: 12 single swings (ranging from 10 to 78 metres above the ground, including one that swings out over the cliff), a tandem swing and six super-cute ‘nests’ with views over the canyon and waterfall. baliswing.com
Ubud Royal Palace
Located on the main road, Jalan Raya Ubud, the beautifully preserved Royal Palace is the home of the local royal family. Built during the lordship of the late Ida Tjokorda Putu Kandel, his heirs have kept the compound in exceptional condition for families to explore and admire. In the evening, the palace’s stage becomes a prime spot to view one of the dramatic evening dance performances.
Tegallalang Rice Terraces
This patchwork of rice paddies, less than half an hour’s drive from Ubud, is one of Bali’s best-known sights. The terraces spill across the hillside, and you can either admire the view from the top (where a cluster of cafes has cropped up) or venture down into the valley. The best time to visit – particularly for a gorgeous family snap – is early morning or late afternoon.
Explore Bali’s longest river, Ayung River, on an exhilarating whitewater rafting tour. Children aged over five are invited to take on the 12-kilometre cruise down the river past rice paddies, waterfalls and lush rainforest. You’ll tackle class two and three rapids, before a buffet lunch finale. masonadventures.com
Gili Islands and Nusa Lembongan
Coral reefs and sandy beaches fringed with palm trees characterise the three tiny islands that make up the Gili Islands, just a boat ride from Bali. Kids will love watching sea turtles swim at Turtle Point and seeing the sunken ship at Wreck Point. Northwest of the Gili Islands is Nusa Lembongan, a serene location that’s perfect for putting your feet up, surfing, diving and snorkelling.
Known as a perfect getaway destination, this surfers’ paradise is full of blissful beaches and lush rainforests. Just east of Bali, the island has plenty of amazing snorkelling hotspots and waterfalls that kids will love. Be sure to visit Senggigi and Kuta Beach for lots of family-friendly restaurants, activities, accommodation options and an unmissable sunset over the beach as children build sandcastles and you sip on a cocktail at a beach bar.
If your little ones love all things creepy, then this themed dining venue is the place for them. Every night, the laboratory hosts live cabaret shows where monsters, mummies and zombies take the stage and boogy to live music. No need to worry about scaring the children; there is a family-friendly session between 4.10pm and 8.15pm every day, with a show specifically for kids. After the show they will love taking on the role of the undead with zombie face-painting by the in-house make-up artists. frankensteins-laboratory.com
Finns Beach Club Kuta
With a prime beachfront location facing Berawa surf break just 10 minutes from Seminyak, this bamboo beach club offers 180-degree sunset views over the ocean complemented by live DJ tunes. Parents will love unwinding on the daybeds while the kids splash about in the pool or ocean. Finns can even arrange a shuttle for little guests to enjoy Cubby House Kids’ Club, five minutes from the beach club, while you have enjoy cocktails by the pool. finnsbeachclub.com
Bali Baik Bike Tour
Explore the tranquil villages and scenic rice paddies on this family-friendly mountain bike tour. Get a glimpse of true Balinese culture by riding through the countryside to witness the everyday lives of craftsmen and farmers. Meals, historical and scenic tours and hotel pick-up and drop-off are all included. Children over seven can ride alone, while baby seats are available for the little ones. Tandem bikes are also optional. Tours are tailored to the needs of the group, catering to families of all ages and abilities. balibike.com
The Sea Temple of Tanah Lot
Bali’s most scenic (and most photographed) sea temple is famous for its stunning sunsets. Clinging to a rock islet above the crashing waves, the ancient shrine is a fitting place to honour the Balinese sea gods. Visitors can walk from the mainland to the base of the temple’s island at low tide. There are also plenty of restaurants, cafes and souvenir shops to keep the family entertained.
Jiwa Spa at Conrad Bali
Bali is known as a top resort location, so why not take your little one on a spa date with you? Conrad Bali’s Jiwa Spa is all about providing the most relaxing experience and offers pampering packages geared towards kids and teens, as well as a mum-and-me package that provides a perfect excuse to get a little bit of ‘me time’ together. conradbali.com
Watch the Kecak Fire Dance at Uluwatu Temple Uluwatu
Bali’s iconic sunset dance show, the Kecak Fire Dance at cliff-top Uluwatu Temple, is a culturally enriching experience. The mesmerising chants reverberate in the amphitheatre south of the temple, and watching at sunset means you will be in for the ultimate sensory treat. The Fire Dance show is often included in tours to the temple, and is a memorable way to close the day.
Mepantigan Balinese Mud Games
Let the kids get dirty in the name of culture at Mepantigan Balinese Mud Games. This unique and muddy Balinese experience includes Mud Horse Riding, Mud Tug of War, Kecak Body Painting, Mud Gamelan and dancing. Mums can even enjoy a relaxing mud massage, a spa experience that’s out of the ordinary. mepantiganbali.com
02 01 Bali’s iconic temple gates Image © Nappy Nomad 02 Karma Beach Bali © Didi Lotze, Bremen
03 Whitewater rafting © Mason Adventures 04 Bali Zoo Miniapolis Jungle Waterplay 05 Tanah Lot Temple © ©Naughtynut/shutterstock.com 06 The Boomeramg at Waterbom Bali04