Bali is one of the top holiday destinations for Australians and definitely for those of us with families. Just the thought of it conjures up images of sun, sand, relaxing and swimming. It’s a tropical paradise that is affordable and so close!
Just like Alison, who wrote our Fiji with Kids post, Bali is my second home. We have family there and I’ve been going since I was about two. However, as I experienced a few years ago, Bali with kids is a whole different experience.
There are always a million questions about traveling to Bali with kids in the online mothers’ groups I’m in so here is a post to answer some of them!
Where should I stay?
What I love about Bali is the opportunity to stay in villas instead of resorts. I don’t like being trapped in a resort and of course, you pay a premium price for everything in a resort because there is no option. Staying in a resort will see you paying almost Australian prices for everything.
Bali has a million villa options available, you can find websites dedicated to them, as well as Air BnB. There are huge ones with loads of bedrooms and smaller ones. Almost all have their own pool and support staff that clean and maintain the property. Research the area you want to stay in and then look for a good villa. Some of the larger hotels also have villas on site, which gives you the convenience of a hotel stay, with room service etc, but the space of a house. I’m a big fan of having my own kitchen with kids so I can prepare food if they are fussy.
I stay in Seminyak as it’s my favourite. It’s the trendier part of Bali with the nice shops and restaurants. Nusa Dua is where you’ll find all the amazing resorts (a bit like the Gold Coast) and Kuta is where the nightclubs are (and I wouldn’t recommend staying there unless you are an 18-year-old on a bender weekend)
I stay at Villa Kayu Aya in case you are interested.
One thing is that there are no swimming pool fences in Bali. Anywhere. So if you are staying at a villa and you have a child you think is likely to go in the pool unsupervised you can hire temporary pool fences from Bali Baby Hire. They will check out the villa before you arrive, measure it and install the fences before you arrive. We did this when Tully was 15 months because the pools are often right off the lounge area and I didn’t want to live in fear that she would fall in the whole time. It cost us about $200 for the 10 days we were there and it was worth every cent.
Do I need to bring my carseat/ pram/ high chair/ cot/ sterilizer etc?
Take a pram for the airport but be aware that you won’t use it much in Bali (unless you are maybe staying at a hotel or for visiting places like the Safari Park). Day to day Bali’s infrastructure doesn’t support prams. The footpaths if there are any) are often in a state of disrepair and are uneven and narrow at best. It’s also really busy with people and traffic- it’s not orderly like here at home. Just an FYI- zebra crossings are just a road decoration to cull unknowing tourists. They will not stop at them!
Take your port-a-cot for peace of mind. Some hotels may provide them but they won’t meet Australian safety standards. Everything else you need you can hire from Bali Baby Hire (this isn’t sponsored by them I swear! I have just used them and found them to be great. They are run by Australia’s so they are across safety standards and what Australian mums expect.)
Car seats- they are not required in Bali but I certainly wanted one. Some hotels have them but you can also hire them and they will be delivered to your villa or hotel and installed in the car before they pick you up from the airport. If you are using taxis though you’ll have to go car seat free.
What food/ nappies/ medicine do I need to bring?
These days Bali with kids isn’t much different to Australia with kids in regards to what is available. They now have massive supermarkets with loads of Australian food available. You can also get nappies, wipes and everything else you need for a baby. Bintang Supermarket in Seminyak is one of the most popular with Australians. Just be aware that Australian food = Australian prices. I took some pasta, Vegemite, tuna and some snacks when we went, just in case. Also be aware that Bali bread all contains egg to help make it fluffy so if you/your kids can’t eat egg stay away from the bread.
You probably know that you can’t drink the water in Bali. Everywhere you stay has bottled water and most food is washed with bottled water in popular restaurants. I’ve never had any problem from the salads etc. I’ve only had Bali Belly once when I was 12, and I’ve been more times than I can count.
If you need to sterilise take along some Milton tablets or hire a steriliser. When you bath the kids just make sure it’s a quick bath and they aren’t floating around swallowing the water.
Medications wise it’s always good to back some Hydralite because little ones can dehydrate quickly in the heat. We put some in Tully’s bottle throughout the day just to make sure, as she overheats easily. Also take some anti-nausea medication, lots of insect repellent and sun cream. There is no malaria in Bali but there is Denghi Fever so you need repellent on from the afternoon.
Where are some fun places to take the kids?
Bali Safari Park– This is the ultimate- you go on a bus to see all the safari animals up close, including lions, hippos, rhinos, elephants, tigers, and lots more. Then you exit into the park where you can see elephants having their bath, feed them, pat them (and even ride them although after doing it once I wouldn’t do it again I felt bad and my elephant was very angry with the whole situation). You can meet, and get a photo with, a baby lion and orangutan, see lots of other animals and they have a water park- so take your swimmers!
Waterbom– This is a ‘Wet n Wild’ style water park has something for everyone, from little pools and slides to the big thrill rides. You can be here all day and set up camp on the sun beds or even in a hut for a bit more $$. My favourite thing to do is just float the lazy river in an inner tube!
Bali Hai Lembongan beach club/Pontoon– This is a day trip to Nusa Lembongan, a small island off Bali. Bali Hai is a boat company that owns a beach club on Lembongan, as well as a pontoon just off the shore. You can choose which one you want to go to. The pontoon has a big water slide and you can go snorkeling and banana boating. The boat docks at the pontoon and they serve you lunch on it.
If you choose the beach club (our choice and definitely the best one) you go to this amazing resort on the beach. You can swim and relax, go snorkeling (this is absolute beginner snorkelling and each session only goes for 30 min so don’t get too excited), banana boating, a tour of the island and loads more. You are also served a BBQ lunch. It was so lovely and definitely worth doing. Just be aware that if you get sea sick ask for tablets from the staff straight up. I learned the hard way!
Hopefully, this helps you plan your trip to Bali. It’s just the most beautiful place and I hope you love it!