Bali… Honeymooners’ paradise, backpackers’ cloud nine, spring-breakers ruin. When families consider taking a leap and visiting Bali they are not sure what to expect for their children outside the confinements of their gorgeous resorts. I felt the same way the first time I visited Bali. Granted, I was pregnant and had been in Indonesia for less than three weeks and I thought I would never find anything to do with Evan other than spending all day at the kiddy pool.
To my delight (and my husband’s wallet’s dismay) I was able to find a few places that made our Bali-escapade a memorable family vacation. Don’t worry half of these won’t even touch your wallet; just beware that the monkeys at the Monkey Forest just might.
Fun Activities for Kids in Bali (Evan and Joshua Approved)
When in Indonesia, do as the Indonesians and fly a kite! I have noticed Indonesians both young and old love to fly kites. I’ve seen them fly kites at the parks in Jakarta, in the mountains in Puncak and lately at the beach in Bali! In Bali, kites are quite easy to buy at any oleh-oleh (souvenir) shop and sometimes even from vendors at the beach. We loved flying a kite and even though it was a bit challenging for a two-year old to do it himself, Evan had a blast chasing daddy while he flew the kite. If you are like me, you will take this opportunity use your children as an excuse and play like a little kid again!
Agro-Tourism in Ubud
This is an amazing experience for kids and adults, alike. As you enter the Balinese jungle you can only amaze at all of God’s creation. The plants, animals, bugs (eek), and the harmony they all exist in. Children enjoy feeding the animals and amazing at the tall trees while adults (like me) are mesmerized by the quantity of spices, enchanted by the views and delighted at the coffee and tea drinks they offer visitors. Evan loved feeding the civet cats that “produce” the Kopi Luwak and we all enjoyed observing traditional coffee-making processes. For a more in-depth look at our visit check out this post.
Monkeys here, monkeys there, monkeys everywhere! I must confess I was hesitant to visit this place. I wasn’t sure if the monkeys would attack the boys and I didn’t want my camera to get stolen! Once we got there I was glad to find a very well-organized and lush green place. The ticket costs 20,000 rupiahs and you are able to buy bananas to feed the monkeys just outside the sanctuary. As you walk thru the forest monkeys approach you and quietly observe if you have anything that they might fancy. Evan tried to touch a baby monkey and mama monkey got very upset and screamed at Evan. You can guess Evan was not happy and jumped into my arms. Once he calmed down we continued trekking thru the cobblestoned lanes and paid 10,000 rupiahs to get “saronged” and enter one of the temples. Monkeys roamed around freely and the toddler did too. I would definitely say this place is worth visiting, just beware of your wallets and any shiny objects! Monkey Forest Website.
One Temple, Two Temples, Three Temples
It doesn’t really matter which temple you decide to visit. They are all very similar and give you a clear glimpse of Hindu sanctuaries. You will usually have to pay a menial fee to get a sarong wrapped around your waist and you are able to buy flowers and other offerings right at the temple. Evan loves to run around the temples and look at the gargoyles. Josh loves the attention he gets from all the local ladies who work there and doesn’t mind getting his picture taken by the locals. The one temple that is definitely unique is the Uluwatu temple that lies by a cliff and is home to hundreds of monkeys. I wrote more about our visit to Uluwatu here.
Beach Walk Shopping Center in Kuta
As you arrive to Kuta beach and approach the Beach Walk, you feel like you are in South Beach, Miami. This shopping center is not only very upscale and trendy, it’s gorgeous and has astounding architectural details everywhere you look. Although some of it is still under construction most of the stores and restaurants that are already there are working and thriving. From high-end dinning to a very authentic and varied food-court you will find just what you need and kids will absolutely love the floor that’s devoted to them. With fun playgrounds like Miniapolis and great childcare service provided by Cheeky Monkeys, Beach Walk will cater to everyone’s tastes. Even though there is some criticism about BeachWalk gentrifying the previously bargain-based Kuta beach, I really think this is a great addition and incentive to many tourists to pay a visit to Kuta. For more information and a directory of stores check out the BeachWalk website.
Pirates Bay in Nusa Dua
Ahoy mateys! Do you want to have dinner on a tree house or a pirate ship or spend a day pretending to be a pirate? Yes, please! I cannot take credit for discovering this place; it was my husband on one of his beach walks thru Nusa Dua that stumbled upon this fun fun place. Although we only visited it for dinner we had a blast eating on a tree house and being catered by “pirates”. Live music, good food, an excited toddler, what else could we ask for? The food is very reasonably priced and Evan had a blast! They also have different Pirate Camp packages where they can engage in different activities such as a treasure hunt, kite building, and zip lining. This place is perfect for families who want to have fun together or for kids who want to feel independent and be pirates for a day while the parent’s relax and take a break. Pirates Bay website.
Dinner at Jimberan
If you ask your driver for a place to go out to dinner, they will immediately take you to Jimberan. This place is a very popular tourist venue where the food isn’t the only attraction. You will be delighted by the view and the atmosphere as you sit on the beach and enjoy looking at the sunset while sipping Mai Tais and eating amazing grilled fish. Evan and Josh loved playing in the sand while we sat down, relaxed and wrote a mental note promising to come back again. Evan loved looking at the fish on the tanks and was delighted to be able to pick the fish we were about to eat. We had a red snapper and shrimp that were grilled to perfection and enjoyed it with Indonesian chili sauces and vegetables. When Josh started to get a bit cranky the lovely waitresses held and played with him so we could finish our meal. We left too early for it but there is a great fire show every evening. I still day-dream about that ikan bakar (grilled fish) and I can’t wait to go back and try something else!
Balinese Dance Show
You are in Bali. You are at least entitled to one Balinese Dance show despite your husband’s reluctance and kids’ restlessness. They usually don’t take longer than an hour and they provide such an authentic scenario of Balinese culture. There are many different places to see them so just ask the concierge at your hotel for the one closest to you. Gamelan music and colorful costumes can keep the kids entertained for a while. The show at Uluwatu temple takes place at sunset and is performed around a fire.
Bali Safari Marine Park
With a Safari, Aquarium, Dolphin Show and a Cultural Show the Bali Safari Marine Park has everything you could possibly want to see within the same place. The price is quite hefty $69 USD per adult and $49 USD per child, but it is worth the splurge if you have never visited a Safari before. We were not able to visit this place on this occasion but we have heard it is lots of fun and worth visiting. Since we had been to the similar Taman Safari in Puncak before we left it on our to-do-later list. For more information check out their website.