Travel Guide: Bali, Indonesia
The Land of A Thousand Changes
BALI!! One of our favourite destinations to travel with the kids. The locals are warm and loving, the Bintang is always cold and there are endless nooks and crannies to explore if you're feeling up to it.
Bali has got to be top of our list for travelling with kids. There is nowhere they are not welcome, and nowhere there isn't an extra pair of helping hands ready to entertain or give Mum & Dad a few moments of time to themselves!
Forget what you think you know - The Bali Belly, The Water! Bali has undergone thousands of changes over the years and is now well up with the times of being in the 21st century. From the beautifully curated world class restaurants and hotels to the unsurpassed level of culinary dining there are places to suit every budget and certainly every single or family travellers needs.
WHERE TO STAY? SUCH CHOICE!
Forget the loud, wayward vibe of Seminyak and head straight to South Canggu or the Umalas. Unlike it's younger, fast passed touristy neighbour these areas are totally family and child friendly. The villas are larger, the restaurants all feature outdoor areas and there is little to no traffic. You'll find yourself in the hustle & bustle of Seminyak within minutes on a scooter; or if you're feeling game, head up to North Canggu (although fast becoming a lot like the hot headed older sister of Seminyak) to visit one of the wonderful restaurant pool bars or one of our favourite locations, Echo Beach.
Travelling with kids, we find it easiest to stay in a villa. There are just so many listed on AirBNB and online you'll never be worried about accomodation being short! Most come with a breakfast service for as little as $18 for 4 people. Just ask if you don't see this on offer, the wonderful house keepers are likely more than happy to provide this service. Usually setting me up for most of the day, the breakfasts here are amazing - The freshest fruit and juices, eggs, and of course.. pancakes for the kids. When booking a villa, be sure to enquire about their nanny services. When we travel, one of our nannies is usually not far away to help entertain the kids while Mum and Dad get some time to enjoy each others company and in our case, get a bit of work done.
SOME OF OUR FAVOURITES...
One of our favourites on our latest trip has been the ever popular and new destination, Mrs Sippy. Located in the heart of Seminyak this super cool pool bar and eatery will keep the kids busy all day. Book a day bed for the day in the shade or if you arrive early (by 11am) you'll find a good spot. Our kids spent most of the day here in waterwings or backpacks and even jumped off the dive board (as well as Dad doing bombs!) There is a fabulous kids playground and the food here is fab. Did I mention the cocktails?!
Nook Restaurant is located on a little short cut between Seminyak and usually where you'll find us in the Umalas. Open from breakfast to dinner and with the wonderful Nalu Bowls on site, this beautiful 'nook' overlooks rice fields and you'll feel miles away from the busy streets surrounding it. Local Indonesian food and healthy European diets on offer. I can't get enough of this institution.
La Brisa is another location at the top of our list. Located in Northern Canggu this epic salty sea dog style pool bar and eatery is another great spot to spend the day with kids. Right on the beautiful Echo Beach, there are numerous pools (shade or sun) face painters, great music and great food. This part of Canggu is fast becoming a little busy for my taste - what used to be rice paddies is quickly becoming overused by loud, fast, boozy tourists. Be careful on the streets here with kids, while Northern Canngu itself is not kids friendly, the inside of these pool bars are.
Beautiful Echo Beach is getting busier by the moment, but we love nothing more than sitting on the beach here, teaching the kids to surf and eating at the little shacks on the beach. Be here at sunset and you'll see the most beautiful colours.
Also up the Northern end of Canggu is The Lawn. Super hot in the afternoon sun beware! But great fun if you nab a shady spot with the infinity pool over the beach.
Wanting a night out in Seminyak? The ever popular instagrammed Motel Mexicola is good fun and family friendly if you get there early. Let them pick your dishes, and indulge in the margarita's while the kids are dancing on the stage.
Merah Putih is an institution featuring Indonesian fine dining at it's best. The incredible interior features water coloumns which feed the indoor plants when it rains - the wine list is to die for and the service is second to none.
Right across the road is another favourite - Metis. Beautiful French dining set in gorgeous gardens which light up at night. Sardine is also within this group, although we didn't go on our recent trip, the outlook is overlooking the rice fields and is a world away from the busy street outside.
Also up 'eat street' is our favourite cafe, Monsier Spoon! The newest addition to this wonderful french cafe (also found in Umalas and Canggu) have the most delicate pasteries and best coffee in town. You can't go past the macarons! Such a delight and a treat.
A great time to escape the chill of NZ, the high season in Bali hits in July, while the low season is lovely from April - June. Ramadan doesn't tend to make much of a difference on the island with the tourist spots so no need to worry about things not being open.
Want to get up into the lush, green setting of Ubud? I recommend heading up for 1-2 nights. Ubud can be a lot colder than Seminyak - you'll need your linen pants and a light sweater at night. Travelling with kids up here is fun, they will love the local Monkey Forest but be wary in Ubud town. It's ghastly muggy up here and the pavements (or lack of) could be very tricky with a pram! We love heading into the local craft market to pick up bits and pieces, biking around the quieter streets out of town and enjoying the peaceful river setting of some hotels or villas. You'll want to head up here from Seminyak in the morning to avoid traffic, which can turn a 2 hour journey into a 4 hour journey if you're unlucky!