Freelance writer, blogger, social media manager. Mum-of-two.
Published September 25th 2016
Travel memories to last a lifetime
Bali is on the visit list for families from all over the world, and for good reasons. From beaches to temples, volcanoes to wildlife encounters, there's so much to do, you'll need weeks to do it all.
The following is not so much the ultimate list of family-friendly things to do in Bali, more-so a 'tried and tested' guide of activities that are sure to inspire your gang before you visit the famous island province of Indonesia. 1. Baby sea turtle release with the Bali Sea Turtle Society
The Bali Sea Turtle Society is a non-profit society for the protection of sea turtles. Headquarters are based on the foreshore of Kuta Beach, due to the number of female turtles who have chosen to use this stretch to lay their eggs.
Kuta, as you may already know, is a tourist hot-spot, which isn't really ideal for baby turtles to venture out into the big wide world when they hatch. Wildlife and humanity may collide on Kuta, but rather than stop nature's life-cycle of the endangered sea turtle, the Bali Sea Turtle Society have a system in place to protect the eggs laid by mamma turtles. Their hatchling program, run by local community members and volunteers, monitors mother turtles who come in to lay their eggs. Once mamma turtle heads back into the water, members of the Bali Sea Turtle Society carefully collect the eggs and place them in a new protected nesting site.
Once the the eggs hatch and baby sea turtles are ready to venture out into the sea, the Bali Sea Turtle Society post a call out on their Facebook page, seeking volunteers (children and adults) to come along and help release a baby turtle just before sunset.
Turn up at 4pm on the day of the release from the Kuta Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Centre and collect a token for a baby turtle. The release happens in unison at 4:45pm, once instructions are given. You must not handle the baby turtles, instead you are given a plastic container to carry the hatchling down to the beach.
It is an incredibly humbling experience, seeing the tiniest of turtles starting the greatest journey of their little lives. Only 1 in 1,000 turtles will make it back to this beach to lay again.
Please note that this activity only takes place between April and October. It is free of charge, but donations are greatly appreciated.
2. Visit an infinity pool in the Ubud district
Ubud is a drive of around 1.5hr from the coast. The best way to reach the region is to book a private car and driver. Ubud is filled with temples, art, handicrafts, restaurants and cafes, rice paddies and rainforests.
You may be familiar with infinity pools, which are positioned in such a way that the pool merges into the surrounding landscape. There are plenty of infinity pools in the Ubud district; ones with a backdrop of the region's stunning rainforests.
Imagine your family enjoying such views, with a dip in some of the most picturesque swimming pools in the world.
The Hanging Gardens of Bali is one such place, otherwise there's the Alila Ubud Hotel, Murni's Villa, Jungle Fish, Viceroy Bali and probably many more. Be aware, these pools are not generally available to swim in, unless you book in a lunch.
3. Drink the finest hot chocolate from a cocoa plantation
Bali is known for its coffee plantations and kopi luwak; the world's 'best' coffee. Kopi luwak is a coffee that includes part-digested coffee cherries eaten and defecated by the Asian palm civet.
Taste the 'poo coffee' for yourselves at one of the many Balinese plantations scattered around the countryside; as you do so, your children can taste some of the finest cocoa produced in the region, coupled with a variety of teas.
Plantation centres themselves are interesting places to visit, seeing some of the region's produce growing in abundance.
Introduce your children to the journey of fresh food, right from the start. From avocado to cinnamon trees, mangosteen to cocoa pods, this might be the first time you (and most certainly your children) have ever seen such produce growing fresh rather than in jars or in the fruit and veg aisle of your supermarket.
Tea tastings are varied and interesting, for both kids and grown-ups alike, plus you'll enjoy the serenity.
4. Enjoy a cuddle from an elephant
There are a number of places you can encounter an elephant in Bali, and one such spot is the Elephant Safari Park Lodge in Taro, Ubud; a 3.5 hectare park that 27 elephants call home.
The park consists of luxury accommodation, but also offers visitors the change to meet these majestic creatures in person. Unforgettable experiences offer you the opportunity to feed the elephants, or enjoy a very special early morning bathe with the herd.
If early morning starts don't appeal, visiting the park to see the elephants is well worth it. Pay a small fee to buy a basket of fruit and veg, and see the delight of your children's faces as the elephants use their trunks to take food from their tiny hands. Pose for a photograph with the elephants cuddling you.
Should you wish to ride the elephants around the park, there are opportunities for you to do so, but it is advisable to book in early.
Enjoy lunch overlooking the lake where the elephants wash, and enjoy the peaceful surrounds in which these beautiful and well-cared for animals live.
5. Meet a cheeky monkey at the Sacred Monkey Forest
Although not for everyone, tourists flock to the Sacred Monkey Forest. Monkeys are wild and free here, and relish visits from kids and grown-ups, particularly when you have fruit to offer (available to buy from the stall at the entrance).
There are plenty of warning signs telling you the monkeys are wild and must not be frightened. Some folk tell of an aggressive nature, and thus avoid going. Just be careful not to startle the monkeys, and you should be OK.
The area itself is a beautiful spot, with statues, a small river and temple offering plenty of photo opportunities and entertaining experiences with the monkeys.
6. Go for a walk in the rice paddies
Rice paddies are everywhere in Bali because rice is a staple part of the Balinese diet. You don't need to travel far to see rice fields, even if you are staying in the populated coastal regions of Bali, although the most scenic are the Tegalalang Rice Terraces in Ubud. It is here you'll get the picture postcard layered rice field views. Take a walk down the narrow pathways that wind down into the rice paddies.
Alternatively, if you don't want to travel too far from the coastal regions of Bali (between Canguu and Kuta) take a taxi out to the Nook restaurant and cafe in Badung, just a short drive away.
The Nook is one of those places that is hard to describe; a low key restaurant serving modern food, with a focus on healthy-eating. Think smoothie bowls, salads and fresh juices. That said, there is enough on the menu for kids to enjoy and dishes for meat-lovers, too.
What makes the Nook stand out from the rest is its positioning in a spot surrounded by rice fields. After you've dined, or while you are waiting for your food to arrive, there is an opportunity to wander out into the rice fields for happy snaps. Bear in mind, that rice fields can be wet and muddy, so you won't be able to get too far out.
7. Splash around and zoom the slides in a water park
Why has a water park made the list of amazing family-friendly things to do in Bali? Because there are world-class water parks with the most exciting water slides to enjoy, and all kids love water play, right?
The most famous of all, is Waterbom Bali, voted the second best water park in the world, and number one in Asia.
Although the entry fees are a little higher than most, Waterbom is a myriad of slides and activities that cater for all ages. Unless you arrive early, you can expect to queue for most rides, but if you do arrive at a reasonably early hour, you'll avoid the lines.
Other water parks include Splash Waterpark Bali at the Canggu Club Bali; great for younger kids, or the Circus Water Park in Kuta.
8. Let your imaginations run wild taking in the views of a volcano
Name a child who doesn't love a volcano. With thoughts of dinosaurs and prehistoric times, volcanoes spark the imaginations of the young and young-at-heart.
Bali has two active volcanoes, Mount Agung and Mount Batur. Take a tour (private driver or organised tour), to visit one of the two volcanoes, and be in awe of Mother Nature's work.
You can do more adventurous activities such as mountain biking tours and hiking, but if you want a more relaxed experience, particularly with young kids, you can go to one of the many look out points and enjoy lunch with a view. Once again, choose to book a private tour with a driver or an organised tour.
Driver recommendation in Bali
Planning a visit to Bali? Get out and explore all that you can with your children; there are adventures waiting to be had. On a side note, if you require a driver, contact Nik, he is reliable, friendly and speaks English really well. He has a Facebook page where you can message him HERE.