This is the second time we’ve been to Bali. The first was nearly 8 years ago now, and we obviously did that without kids. Safe to say we’ve had two very different experiences!
We had been debating if we’d go back for a while now. We didn’t exactly love it the first time, but we also knew very little about Bali and stayed right in Kuta (big mistake).
Bali has also changed A LOT in the last half-decade, and all the misconceptions we’ve had didn’t seem to be such an issue this time around.
I also did my research this time and was kindly given a number of lists from friends and regular Bali holiday go’ers (all with kids) so I thought I’d pop them all in a list for you, some we visited and some we didn’t (I’ve clarified in the list which we did and liked).
I’ve also answered all your Bali. questions and concerns and our experience in a Villa this time around.
Bali is pretty affordable for an overseas destination if you ask me. It costs me more to fly the girls and myself to Perth or Brisbane than Bali!
Jetstar is the cheapest usually, with sale flights for around $300 return per person. I got out flights for $1400 return for four but then I paid for the Max Fare which gave us baggage, food and Qantas points. It made it around $2000 for all four return. But easily could have skipped that and just paid for carry on as we didn’t go that long.
Qantas was about $2500, but the flight times didn’t suit us. They fly late, where Jetstar have two options both morning and afternoon. You can also fly direct with Virgin, Malindo & Garuda from Melbourne.
I will note we flew right before school holidays and just outside their peak season. Between May and September might cost a little more and of course in school holidays will be a premium time.
Once you are there, however, there is no visa or additional cost to enter the country, and accommodation and general costs are low – so well worth it.
Last time we stayed in a resort. It was lovely but of course, it was busy, crowded in the pools and in the wrong area. I do think big resorts are nice to have other kids around to play with, but this trip we wanted to spend some quality family time and have our own space.
We opted for a private villa as villas in Bali are very affordable and you can have something quite luxurious at a steal. There are tones on Airbnb but we went on recommendation from a friend.
The benefits of the villa came even before arriving, as our villa manager arranged a VIP service at the airport that allowed us to be expressed through customs and out to our car. Highly recommend this if you have young kids or large groups.
If you are booking a villa, make sure you check with the manager if they can arrange this for you (it does cost a fee obviously).
We stayed at Villa Mawar, located around 15 minutes north of Canggu. It was in a small village, right on a river with a gorgeous infinity pool overlooking.
The villa was perfect for large families, or even multiple families, as it had 6 private and separate villas (you book the whole property when you book, it’s not shared).
Included in our stay was also a driver for up to 8 hours per day (extra after that) as well as a staffed kitchen, with breakfast included and access to a chef for dinners (additional cost, but very affordable).
The staff were so lovely and nothing was too much. They let the girls feed the fishes every day and even ran out to get Children’s Panadol when Teddy got her bite!
Overall, we felt the villa options with all the inclusions worked out very affordable and made for a much better holiday as a family. We spent most of our time at the villa relaxing by the pool which was exactly what we wanted to do.
Water In Bali
I’m sure most people are aware it’s not advised to drink the water in Bali unless bottled. This means you can run into trouble around pools and tap water.
I will admit that we all used the tap water when brushing our teeth (whoops) but we didn’t get sick. I think it’s one of those things, if it happens, it’s gonna happen!
Otherwise, we drank bottled water which is offered in abundance by the villa.
Mosquito, Insects & Animals
As you guys know, Ted goes bananas for a bite. And typically she did get bitten while away, but this was the last day and happened outside of the villa.
I was surprised there weren’t many mosquitos around the villa as it’s next to a river but they mentioned they had sprayed the property. This is something you could request if staying in a private villa also.
There were however a lot of lizards around dusk, big and small. On the first night we had a huge one on the table next to our food, he was harmless and ran away.
Also, no monkeys other than at the monkey forest in Ubud. They’re shifty little MOFO’s and jump on you trying to get into your bag, watch the little fellas! One came up to Annabelle and started tugging her dress as it was shiny. Another jumped on me and tried to get into my camera bag, while I was holding Teddy (only a tad traumatised haha).
Lots of stray dogs around as well. I’d avoid as you don’t want to get rabies, it’s a thing in Bali.
One thing that’s a given, is that it takes ages to get anywhere. You will likely never clock over 40km per hour when driving around and there are no straight roads anywhere.
Their roads are also busy and often fit not even one car, let alone two ways. It’s easy to get stuck behind slow cars and often there’s a lot of confusion as to who has right of way (they just make it up).
I wouldn’t suggest hiring a scooter as a family. Here in Aus you need a motorcycle license to ride one, and cannot take children, so why do it in Bali?
As I mentioned, the villa came with a driver, and this was great to get around for us – air-conditioned and with a person who knows the roads.
You can also get taxis but I do know they can be dodgy sometimes, so for us knowing we had our driver whenever we needed and no worry about the cost was amazing.
I’ll also mention that prams are a big fat no – they hardly have roads let alone sidewalks so don’t bring the pram!!!
Okay so this is a pretty comprehensive list, and I also haven’t been to all of them but I did get three long lists from those who have been to or even lived in the area!
I have popped the most popular answers by region below and noted in bold which we went to and LOVED. All that we got to eat at were very kid friendly.
A big thank you to Bek from Saltys Swimwear for her amazing list and recommendations! All 10/10 for those we visited!
- Sea Circus
- Cafe Organic
- Sisterfields – Amazing food, good for kids
- Coffee Cartel
- Kynd Community
- Corner House
- Strawberry Fields
- Motel Mexicola – Very kid friendly, good day and night
- Mozeralla Resturant
- Ling Lings
- Boss Man
- Da Maria
- La Baracca
- Mrs Sippy
- Potato Head
- Ku De Ta
- The Loft
- Finns Recreation Club – Great for families, has pools and waterpark
- Vida Cafe
- Nude (GF)
- Crate (GF)
- Milk and Madu – Has a play area with staff doing activities for kids
- Nalu Bowls
- Give Cafe
- Shady Shack
- Fish Bone
- Motion Cafe
- Folk Garden & Bar
- Milk & Madu – Not as much for kids as the Canggu one but still good
- Wanna Jungle Resort & Bar
Currency & Costs
Working out the conversion of Aussie dollars to Rupiah was pretty easy this time around as the dollar was sitting at almost exactly $1 to 100,000 Rupiah.
For the five days we were there we had used around $300 AUD in cash and most of it we used at the markets in Ubud and tipping out staff and driver. The rest we were able to use our card and most cafes, restaurants and the such have card facilities.
When we went 8 years ago we changed money at a little stall and got fleeced when I handed over a $100 note and got two less than he originally showed me as they do that dodgy card trick thing and pocket it when they hand it back after showing you.
I noticed within a few steps out the door and went back in guns blazing and he gave me back my $100 note within seconds. Safe to say I’d never change money in Bali again, I just used the ATM and it cost around $5 in fee’s – that’s all. Much less hassle!!
When it came to the costs of things, I found food was a bit cheaper than back home, but drinks were not that much cheaper. Unless you drink Bintang beers of course, which cost about $2 lol.
Wine is fucking awful in Bali and if you want to buy a wine from somewhere else it will cost effing fortune. Hope you like beer!
We did some shopping at the markets most for handbags and macrame baskets for my plants which were pretty cheap I thought. 5 bags and 4 baskets for around $100AUD
See & Do With Kids
Obviously, we only had a few days in Bali and spent a lot of that time at the villa, but what we did get out to do, we enjoyed and highly recommend for kids.
Finns Recreation Club was a favourite for us. This was great if you wanted the fun of a waterpark for the kids but also just wanted to chill and have a few
There are 5-6 slides and a few pools but all surrounded by the day beds and easy to keep an eye on the kids and no slides are too extreme so great for little kids too.
I’ve been to Waterbom in Kuta before, which is amazing but a lot bigger, and you’d need to be with the kids the whole time as there are some big slides and not appropriate for little kids.
It cost about $90AUD for a day pass for all the family (I lied and said Teddy was 2 while Annabelle yelled, “NO SHE’S THREE” FML) and it was $20 per towel for hire but you got most of that back when you returned it.
Sacred Monkey Forrest in Ubud was also a super cute and controlled way to see the monkeys, super cute for about the first ten minutes that is, then you kind of get over it but still great for the kids. Although, ended up carrying the girls most the time which was kind of annoying.
Cost around $25 for the whole family, and there was a lot of other things to do in Ubud so no wasted trip by any means.
Pretty much all the beach clubs like Potato Head, Finns, The Lawn, Mrs Sippy etc are all kid-friendly, this is from friends who have been both with and without kids.
It really just depends on the kind of holiday you want, but there is always something to do with kids in Bali!