What you can learn from Bali-loving families
Bali is the perfect “arrive and instantly relax” holiday destination, especially for the family with eager little faces to please. We asked Bali-been parents how other families can reap the benefits of direct flights and instant beach.
1. FIVE OF THE BEST FAMILY ACTIVITIES
Kids have a ball at Waterbom – the water park was voted Asia’s best at the 2017 World Travel Awards. With direct access off South Kuta road, it’s incredibly easy to get to. Granted, its urban location might give an unkempt impression, but the opposite couldn’t be truer. It’s immaculate. Set in beautiful gardens, the area is lovely and you can easily spend the entire day there. As for dining, the park’s food courts needn’t conjure images of deep-fried chips and hot dogs; the food options are fantastic, from Asian fusion to wood fired pizzas. No one will be disappointed.
HOT tip: One-day access to the entire park and all slides for two adults and two children (family pass) currently costs NZ$175.
2. Cooking class
You can find these all over Bali's top holiday spots, but we always receive rave reviews for the two-hour class at The Breezes Bali Resort & Spa. Students, of all ages, sit before a large dining table laden with local Balinese produce. Your chefs will then run you through each ingredient, conveniently listed in a recipe book which you’re able to take home. This is a hands-on experience, so everyone’s encouraged to partake with different aspects. You might be peeling runner beans or grinding spices, but either way, you'll also be tasting the results as you go. That’s all before you sit down and devour everything for lunch.
HOT tip: You’ll learn at least five signature dishes, including local white fish wrapped in banana leaves and grilled on a traditional charcoal barbecue.
3. Spa days
Bali is famed for its world-class spas, found in most resorts. Even the $15 massages from small shops bordering the streets are a treat. Look around for kids’ menus which include everything from mum and daughter manicures to hair braiding and even kids’ massages.
4. Finns Recreation Club
Families often struggle to pick destinations that offer activities to keep everybody happy, but in Bali there really is something for everyone. More so if you add a beach club into your holiday plans. Finns Recreation Club is a boredom-busting wonderland of pools, a water park, tennis courts (and lessons), football pitch and bowling alley, as well as a huge indoor trampoline area. There’s a kid’s club for supervised child minding (perhaps when mum and dad escape to the on-site spa) and low-key dining venues for hungry mouths.
HOT tip: As part of your pass, you can also jump in the shuttle and pop down to Finn’s Beach Club. Get in the pool, or stretch out on a cabana, order a drink and soak up the sunshine.
Roughly one hour’s drive inland from Seminyak, lies Ubud. The super lush part of Bali where you’ll see rice paddies and swimming pools enveloped by jungle and plenty of green. You feel very much in the Indonesian valleys and can simply break away from the busy. Adventurous souls will find their happy place here too, with a wealth of high exertion activities such as jungle buggies and gigantic jungle swings, ziplining, white-water rafting and a firm family favourite – jungle mountain biking.
HOT tip: You can see Ubud in a day, but most families end up taking a couple of day trips to see it in full. To make the most of it, you’re better off adding three-four nights in Ubud to your holiday.
2. EATING OUT
The kid-friendly dining options are plentiful, and families can eat well but cheaply too. In particular, Seminyak is a foodie's paradise with multiple options for family dining. Our favourites include:
Ginger Moon - New Zealand-born Dean Keddell will blow your mind with his fusion of Asian and international flavours. The menu is packed with a huge variety of fresh, delicious options so you’ll rarely find an unsatisfied diner. Booking essential.
Peppermint Café - Pleasantly laid-back with an indoor-outdoor space, complete with back garden and high walls, perfect for kids to run around. The menu mixes local and Western food with a Balinese twist.
Jackson Lily’s - The latest Dean Keddell addition to Bali’s dining scene -and where the most delicious Laksa can be found. Jackson Lily's is a casual and family-friendly eatery, with a striking interior, modern aesthetics and a medley of Indo-Asian menu items.
Mamasan - Upmarket and family-friendly, Mamasan has a stellar reputation for great food, service and ambience, and for the non-meat eaters, there’s a full vegetarian menu too. It’s pricier than average, but perfect for a special family occasion. Definitely book ahead.
The Wacko Burger Café - When in doubt, go Wackos. Boasting a menu with all the flavours that put a smile on their dial - buttered corn on the cob, fries, wedges and of course, big fat gourmet burgers, you can’t go wrong. And with a bright blue unicorn milkshake in the pipeline, even the fussiest of fuss-pots will be under the Wacko spell.
Instant inspiration! Click Here for more food and drink options across Bali.
3. WHERE TO STAY
In Bali you and your family can live like royalty, in five-star villas or super slick resorts, at really affordable prices.
Resorts are super popular with both parents and sprogs - your kids are not going to want to come home! This is because most resorts offer large pool areas, many with slides and kids' clubs offering all sorts of daily activities. The Balinese love children and the staff will soon become best friends with your little ones. Many resorts also feature adjoining guestrooms so families can spread out. Then there are the on-site restaurants, swimming pools, spas, and if you pick the right area, direct access to the beach. Perfect!
Private villas with a personal chef might sound fancy but you needn’t be an A-list celebrity family to experience such a treat. Villas are luxurious but economical, with the freedom to cook for yourself (or request the aforementioned personal chef). Equipped with a private pool, own kitchen, private bedrooms and plenty of space, families can spend time together, without falling over one another. We've also seen a huge surge in mult-generational families loving the villa lifestyle - it's easy to take grandma and gramps when villas are so spacious and good value.
Instant inspiration! Click Here to find out why we love both villas and resorts - before picking the right option for you.
4. GETTING AROUND
When it’s time to move on, or if you’d like to go exploring on a few day trips, book a private car and driver. You get to explore at your own pace and it’s only about $80 NZD per day. For quick trips, Bluebird taxis are reliable too. Most are metered, but there’s a company called ‘Grab’ which is the equivalent of Uber in Indonesia.
We have all the holiday deals and all the airfares to make you Bali family holiday the best it can be. Click Here to start planning.