If you are looking for a holiday destination with something for everyone—including toddlers, tweens, and teens—Bali has you covered. With stunning beaches, rich culture, and a huge range of activities, the Indonesian island is a true paradise for families. Being a small island of around four million, Bali is very easy to get around. It is also very popular with families, so child-friendly accommodation and restaurant options are very easy to find in the island’s tourist enclaves. Sounds good? Keep reading to find out why you should put Bali on your family’s vacation bucket list.
1. Balinese People
“The Balinese are devout Hindus who make daily offerings to their gods in the form of canang sari, or weaved baskets filled with flowers, incense, and small portions of food. The offerings are a reflection of their gratitude and wish for peace on earth,” says Brett Holmes from TheGoodEstate.com. As such, it is not surprising that the Balinese are not just friendly and welcoming to international visitors, but they adore children. This is to such an extent that it is not unusual to see restaurant and store staff showering the children of their guests with attention.
2. Family-Friendly Activities
Bali has a huge range of child-friendly activities, from sandy beaches to animal parks. Many Bali beaches frequented by tourists have beach chairs and umbrellas, so the adults can relax with a good book while the little ones frolic in the sand. Some of the other activities on the island include water parks such as Waterbom Bali in Kuta and the Splash Waterpark at the Canggu Club, as well as the Dream Museum Zone, where kids can use their imagination to use over 120 life-sized murals to create whacky 3D photos.
3. Kid-Friendly Eating Options
Bali’s restaurants are many and varied, ranging from local warung (traditional retail kiosks) to five-star dining. Plus, many restaurants feature kid’s menus. The island abounds in restaurants that serve fare from across the globe, with Japanese, Italian, and Chinese outlets particularly popular among tourists. Small local restaurants serve delicious Indonesian and Balinese cuisine at a fraction of the price of their larger counterparts. Look out for nasi goreng (fried rice), mee Goreng (fried noodles), and satay Ayam (chicken satay skewers)—all bound to be a hit with the little ones. Some of the island’s restaurants at five-star hotels offer kids clubs to keep the little steps busy while you enjoy your meal.
4. Animal Adventures
Animal parks are getting a bad rap these days and for good reason. Many don’t provide their residents with the type of surroundings they deserve. Luckily, Bali has a number of options that allow animal lovers to get up close and personal with the island’s wildlife without having to feel bad about it. Ubud’s Monkey Forest is home to more than 300 grey-haired macaques. Kids are bound to have a field day exploring the area’s temples, moss-covered statues, and verdant jungle—all under the watchful eye of the park’s resident monkeys. Alternatively, Bali Bird Park sits on two hectares of tropical gardens, which are a sanctuary to its 250 species of birds, including cendrawasih, better known as birds of paradise, from West Papua.
5. Water Sports
Rain or shine, there is never a bad time to enjoy Bali’s water sports. In fact, the island is an ideal spot for the more adventurous family members to try their hand at snorkeling, deep water diving, or white water rafting. For fascinating marine life and stunning underwater locations, take your family to Tulamben on the eastern coast of Bali. The area is famous for its wreck of a US Army transport ship, which can be explored by both divers and snorkelers. Bali is also a paradise for surfers, with most surf camps offering lessons to absolute beginners. The Canggu area and the Bukit Peninsula are both favorites among surfers. To see how the pros do it, head to the Komune Resort on Keramas Beach, which has nightly surfing shows.
6. Museums and Art Galleries
For a cultural experience, take your kids to one of Bali’s galleries or museums. The creative hub of the island, Ubud, is home to a plethora of intriguing art centers that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Head to the Blanco Renaissance Museum, former home of the Spanish painter, Don Antonio Blanco, also referred to as the Salvador Dali of Bali. Alternatively, the Setia Darma House of Masks and Puppets has a collection of more than 1,200 masks and over 4,700 puppets from across Indonesia and the world. For a special treat, check the schedule of the museum’s puppet shows.
7. Cooking Classes
Balinese and Indonesian cuisines are as rich in flavor as they are distinct. Why not give your kids a behind-the-scenes experience of how their meals are prepared by signing the family up for a cooking workshop. Most classes start with a morning visit to the market where participants learn about local fruit and vegetables, as well as herbs and spices. The workshops are then taken to the kitchen where you learn how to prepare some of the country’s most popular dishes, from Gado Gado (vegetable salad with peanut sauce) to sate Lilit (Balinese minced meat sate). Best of all, many cooking classes are held in traditional Balinese family kitchens.
8. Great Value
We all know that family vacations can get expensive. Luckily, Bali is a very affordable destination. While restaurants and hotels aimed at tourists are generally more expensive than most local options, they are still great value. Hiring a nanny to look after your kids or trying the services of a massage therapist, for example, will set you back a fraction of the price you would be paying back home. Bali is also a great spot to shop up a storm. Aside from souvenirs for your loved ones, the island is famous for its arts and crafts, including jewelry, textiles, and handicrafts. Be ready to haggle, as many store owners initially inflate their prices.