A complete guide to Bali for a family holiday

Many years after your honeymoon, you can safely return to the island with your kids.

1. A beach designed for fun

This is where everyone goes, and despite being crowded, is a one-stop-shop for fun for kids of all ages. Learn to fly power-kites and get surfing lessons, and top off all that with world-class food. The water is superb for a swim, and the sand is beautiful for a long walk, despite the touristy beach-shopping along the way. There is no ‘real Bali’ about Kuta; this is pure, unadulterated fun and games. Nobody has ever complained of boredom on this beach. You cannot explore Bali in a single day. So it is best to book into one of the comfortable Bali hotels that suit your taste and plan your stay well in advance.

2. The gateway to the wonders of Bali

This is the anti-thesis of Kuta Beach, where you take the kids for a relaxed time, without missing out on the fun. When done lazing on the pristine sands, try the local restaurants: the sea food here is outstanding. When kids are done playing in the sand and digging for clams, take them to the colourful, early-morning fish market. This is good way to start your tour of Bali—this beach being the closest to the airport. The Jimbaran Bay Beach Resort is a great place to stay if you are out at Bali with your family and wish to give them a memorable vacation. It has some of the best facilities and it also offers airport pickup for its customers.

3. Capture the essence of Bali

This is the cultural heart of Bali, a welcome departure from the bustling beach resorts. Being inland it is also cooler, and entire days can be spent exploring the hinterland. Any resort you will stay at will typically put on a cultural show of Balinese songs, dance and theatre, with vivid costumes and flamboyant performances. The cafes are kid-friendly and the food superb. Visit the Elephant Safari Park an hour away from Ubud and give the kids a leisurely ride through the forest.

4. Enter the world’s largest natural paddle-pool

This has been voted the most kid-friendly beach in all of Bali. Its calm lagoon waters are ringed by a beautiful coral reef and the sand itself slopes off gently into the water, making this the world’s largest natural kiddie-pool. The restaurants and shops are conveniently situated a hundred yards off the water’s edge, for the adults to pass the time while keeping a watch on their kids. Visit the Bali Safari and Marine Park for safe viewing of tigers and Komodo Dragons in their natural habitat. Surf the Sanur hotels list and book your rooms in advance. The rooms maybe fully booked during vacations and planning in advance can help greatly.

5. Perfect launchpad for North Bali

Situated on the north coast, this beach gets less activity than the busy south. Like Sanur Beach, this comes with its own lagoon and makes for an excellent swimming spot for kids. The sand here, however, is a volcanic dark-black, but the snorkelling opportunities around the reef are excellent. North Bali is known for its natural beauty, so be sure to take day trips to the area’s finest spots. Dolphin-watching tours early in the morning are a hit with the kids.

6. Soak into Bali’s ancient Hindu culture

This is the quintessence of Balinese culture: a sacred forest with ancient Hindu temples and the unshakeable belief that animals and humans are meant to co-exist in harmony. These long-tailed macaques thrive in these trees and are often a delight for kids and humans alike to watch. Bananas are available at the entrance to feed these monkeys. Enter into a world of sacred practices and rituals, where the trees are revered as much as the animals that live in them.

7. An underwater experience for the tots

To introduce your kids to the wonders of the sea, head over to north-eastern Bali, a beginner’s paradise for snorkelling and scuba-diving. Several beaches in Amed and Lipah have coral heads conveniently located a feet off the sandy shore. Tulamben Beach, in particular, offers brilliant visibility, on account of it being a pebble beach. There is a boat-wreck just off the shore-line, where your 8+ year-old can get his first and probably most memorable scuba-dive. The best plan of action would be to book into one of the Amed hotels and check in at night. Once you wake up fresh after a long travel, you can move out and explore the true beauty of Amed.

8. Explore the insides of a volcano

This active yet benign volcano is just north of Ubud, with a gargantuan sunken crater 13km in diameter, the left-over relic of an ancient eruption. Part of this spectacular rim is a perfectly safe and driveable road to explore this massive geological wonder. The existing Mt. Batur still smokes away inside this gigantic caldera, with solidified streams of lava decorating its sides in stark, beautiful strips. Inside this crater is the sacred and shimmering Lake Batur.

9. Bali’s one-stop thrill destination

If you are in Bali for a short haul, you could probably spend every day here and never want to leave; at least your kids won’t. With over a hundred stomach-churning, adrenaline-spiking rides spread out over an oasis of four hectares of pristine rain-forest, the Waterbom Park is fun and games at its best. There are multiple dining outlets, and swim-up bars for delicious umbrella-cocktails, in case the adults complain that the kids are having all the fun. There is a vast variety in Kuta Hotels list. Book in advance after surfing through amenities of each and picking the one that suits your requirement most.

Insider Tips:

Jimbaran, Sanur and Lovina Beaches do not have too many shops and almost no equipment-hire shops. So carry your snorkelling gear and power-kites. The trade-off is peace and quiet. When in the Sacred Monkey Forest, beware of carrying too much food in, and keep your kids on a short leash; the monkeys can get aggressive.