I'm not sure why, but we put off a family holiday to Bali for a long time. I think it just seemed to go in the "too hard basket". Turns out, it was the best family holiday we have ever been on. By writing this blog, I hope, you can get the most out of it and create your next adventure with your family.
where we stayed
Finding accomodation can be overwhelming. Resort? Villa? Seminyak? Kuta? Urgh! It hurts my brain just thinking about it.
Thankfully, I stumbled across Bali Villa Escapes. There's a wide variety of villas that cover all budgets, bedroom numbers and locations.
To be honest, I didn't know where exactly I wanted to stay in Bali. The villa I picked so happened to be in Seminyak and I'm so glad it was. Although our villa was at the end of a long lane way, once we got to the end it was a short stroll to eateries, massage salons and grocery stores. There's definitely no shortage of restaurants if you're hungry and in almost every style of cuisine you can think of. All within walking distance.
Villa Gading (Villa Bugis) was the villa we picked.
3 bedroom/3 bathroom
Swimming pool (temporary fencing available for hire booked in advance)
Daily breakfast included
24 hour security
Daily housekeeping and garden maintenance (also helped with making bookings and food orders)
Portable cot was available for toddler (booked in advance)
what we did
Stunningly beautiful grounds to wonder through with monkeys freely roaming around.
Generally pram friendly (but we did not take it with us here). Toilets onsite.
The monkeys are sketchy AF. They do have the ability to get up to mischief so make sure you are vigilant and put everything in your bag! Don't leave sunnies on your head, visable jewellery or anything dangling on bags. They WILL steal them.
Entry fees apply. Approx $8.07AUD per adult and $6.05AUD per child over 3yo.
The Bali Safari Park is the most stunning animal park I have ever stepped foot in. Even if there were no animals, it would still be a wonderful place for a stroll.
To get the most of the park, I suggest making a full day of it. We only got half a day in because Kaylee still sleeps in the middle of the day.
We purchased the Jungle Hopper package which includes a tour guided drive on the Safari Journey and entry to the onsite waterpark (bring your togs (and towels otherwise they charge towel hire)).
Plenty of extras to do like feeding the elephants but expect to pay (cash) for these.
Hire a driver for transport (full or half day available).
Sample free serves of tea and coffee
We tried Lawuk Coffee (apparently the most expensive coffee in the world). This one isn't free. You have pay a small amount to try this one.
You can purchase any of the samples and bring them back to Australia as they are pre-packed.
I'm sure there's prettier waterfalls to see in Bali but this one happened to be enroute.
STAIRS! STAIRS! STAIRS! If you have low fitness levels, I would not suggest to view these waterfalls. The stairs are steep and there's a lot of them. Not ideal having a toddler with you as someone had to carry her.
There is an entry fee of 15.000RP (approx $1.50AU per person)
There are plenty of stalls/shops once you start your path to the waterfalls. They offer toilets for a fee but (forgive me if I'm wrong) as you hit the bottom of the stairs there are toilet facilities fee free. I didn't use them so I can't confirm. There's what they call a "change room" down by the the falls but I am skeptical of the privacy levels of it.
Don't visit after heavy rain. I wouldn't suggest "swimming" in the water either way but it's heavily polluted and the water is brown.
There's a small spring water pool for swimming in at the bottom on your way to the falls. Much nicer for swimming but take caution... it is extremely slippery.
As you make your way to the bottom of the falls, please take care crossing the suspiciously built bridges and crossing the unstable rocks.
Don't forget your camera! Plenty of photo opportunities (if you can avoid other tourists in the background).
Ideal to visit early morning to avoid mass tourists and the heat of the day.
Sarongs provided for a small "donation". These MUST be worn to enter the temple.
There's not much to say about the one of many temples in Bali. It's simply stunning and photogenic but there's not actually anything "to do".
Potentially pram friendly but we did not take it in with us.
Plan to stay for a whole day. We used the morning before we flew out to visit but this place is definitely a full day trip.
Towel hire is available but probably easier to take your own.
You are allocated a locker for your belongings as you are given wristbands that are preloaded with "cash" to use within the water park (for food, etc). The best idea so you don't have to drag bags around or leave them somewhere especially when you are using the waterslides.
All rides are free within the park but I think you can pay extra to access another area with more slides.
There is a minimum height restriction for most slides. Jackson just made it.
It is advised to pre-book your tickets online before you arrive.
Entry fee 250.000RP (approx. $24AUD for all of us).
Watch a theatrical, traditional Balinese dance.
Undercover for guests but it's an open theater (so no air -con or fans).
You're given a run down in English on a printout as the show is in Indonesian.
You will be bombarded with souvenir sellers on exit of the show so unless your interested you will have to ignore them.
There's two sets of toilets (for women). One is more pleasant than the other. Avoid using the one attached to the building.
The easiest way to get to and from your accommodation and airport is to make sure it is included upon booking your accommodation. You will have a driver waiting for you at the airport so look for your name and off you go! Don't expect to get anywhere fast. Over estimate any travel time if you are on time constraints. Car seats are usually available if you ask ahead. For any tourist destinations you want to see, your villa manager can organise a car and driver for you. Our driver recommended places to see so we just went with it. Drivers are available for half and full days. I think we paid $60AUD for a full day hire. Other than day tours we walked everywhere. Our villa was situated walking distance to restaurants. Taxis are available to hail on the street. They toot endlessly to tourists for your service if you are wondering the street but you learn to get used to it. If you need a taxi, make sure they are the genuine Blue Bird Taxi Service and insist they use the meter.