Bali: Wonderful people, spectacular surf, Hindu culture and amazing food!
The perfect jump-start to South East Asia with kids
Bali was our third stop on our Family Gap Year adventure. We spent 31 days here (we overstayed our visa by one painfully expensive day). It was a great introduction to South East Asian and Hindu culture. With wonderful food, culture, intoxicating beauty and some of the most hospitable people on planet earth. Bal is is a great place to take kids. Just be prepared for some heat.
Our Bali itinerary is detailed below with links to more detailed posts: Jimbaran → Kuta → Sanur → Balian → Pemuteran → Ubud → Kuta.
Where we stayed: The Hotel Puri Bambu **** Spectacular budget friendly hotel accommodation in Jimbaran that will make it hard to leave your hotel.
WiFi – very good
Jimbaran is not a “must see” location by any means on a Bali itinerary. It is made very nice by the well priced and well located Hotel Puri Bambu which really sells it in my mind as an airport stopping point. The breakfast is one of the best we have had and they have a free shuttle into Kuta which I have yet to see anywhere else on our adventures.
The beach is decent, not AMAZING, and you can eat fish on the beach, but you can really do this anywhere.
2. Kuta Beach – 3 nights
Where we stayed: Satriya Cottages – Nice, well priced, central location – pull some cushions from the poolside lounge chairs at night and save money on the extra bed for your kids.
WiFi – Very Good
We will return to Kuta later, but prior to departing for Sanur, we spent a couple days here on Kuta beach learning to surf with the kids. We had a great time and ended up returning for more to finish up our 30-day tour. Consider the Rip Curl School of Surf or the school in front of the Hard Rock Cafe which the kids really enjoyed.
While you are there make sure you book an evening trip to see the KaKak dance in Uluwatu, you (and your kids) will be happy you did:
3. Sanur – 3 nights
Where we stayed: Prima Cottages – Great budget family friendly hotel in the heart of Sanur with lots of decent eats nearby
WiFi – spotty
Sanur is a neat beach town with a nice stone walking path lining the beach. We stayed a bit off the main drag which had both its good and bad points. The town moves at a pace slow enough to allow for fairly safe moped or bicycle rentals. Sanur has great food and decent shopping. It was very hot when we were here in Sanur so the kids were griping quite a bit when it came time to walk, which is too bad because Sanur has a lot of charm and makes for a great walking town.
4. Balian Beach – 7 nights
Where we stayed:Pondok Pitaya on Balian Beach. * One of the best places we have ever stayed!
WiFi – Spotty and not accessible from the houses at the far end.
Balian has a combination of surf and exotic accommodations that will blow your mind. We came to stay for a few days and spent a week. The surf can be hit and miss but if you want surf, yoga, sun, swimming and a mansion for a week for less than it costs to fill up your car back home, Balian is for you!
Where we stayed:Gayatri Bungalows – The Gayatri Bungalows are simple, clean and conveniently located hotel right in the center of Ubud. It’s a family run business with a traditional feel. If you can’t find an apartment to rent in Bali this is a great alternative and gets big points in my book for its prime Bali real estate and great pricing.
WiFi – Spotty, can be slow at times but is free and accessible.
Everybody loves Ubud, and there is a reason for this: Ubud has been able to become a top-notch tourist destination and still maintain its unique cultural and spiritual identity. Ubud is a truly magical place in all respects so take your time here. We came to Ubud during the amazing Ubud Writers and Readers Festival which I had the opportunity to attend. What an experience.
Ubud is great for kids! Whether you are dodging testy monkeys at the Ubud Monkey Forest, street shopping, eating amazing food, learning traditional Thai dancing, or simply taking in the sites and the sounds of this vibrant community, Ubud has something for everyone.
7. Kuta – 4 nights
Where we stayed: Satriya Cottages *** We returned to the Satriya Cottages one more time!
WiFi: Some of the best in Bali
If life is a circle then we proved this by returning to Kuta prior to leaving Bali to enjoy a bit more surf and relaxation near Kuta beach. Although everyone says Kuta is busy, smelly, dirty and overly crowded our family loved it. Kuta beach is one of my favorite places and we return to surf and go to the amazingly fun and kid friendly Waterbom Water Park .
Good Side Trips from Ubud or Kuta
Bedugul and the Treetop Adventure Park!
Once in Bedugal head to the Bali Tree Top Adventure Park (video), where the whole family can try their hands at a variety of adventure circuits with and all sorts of active play.
Bali Family Travel Resources:
The best websites for traveling in Bali
There aren’t a lot that we found super helpful, but these 3 we used almost daily.