Affordable Fun for the Family in Bali

in Trip Locations

A downturn in tourism numbers makes Bali an affordable destination for a family vacation. With bargains at every turn and a host of family-friendly attractions, there’s never been a better time to visit.

Where to Stay

Family-friendly accommodation is easy to find across Bali. The country’s resorts welcome children with extras like complimentary kids’ clubs, tiny bathrobes, and milk and cookies in the evening. The whole family will also enjoy the swimming pools, organized activities, and free breakfasts. These luxurious pads cost much less than they do in the Western world too; you’ll easily find suites for less than $80 a night.

To really immerse yourself in the local culture, get off the beaten path and stay at Bali Eco Village or Bali Eco Stay. These remote mountain accommodations offer plenty of space for kids to explore. Traditional craft classes and other onsite activities will also keep your young ones entertained.

What to See

The whole family will love watching the comical antics of the long-tailed macaques at the Sacred Forest Sanctuary. The Waterbom water park is another fabulous family-friendly attraction. The trap door slide is not for the faint-hearted, but if you’re not feeling brave you can float about on a giant inner tube. Parents can also ride with their children in many cases, which is great news for families with very young kids.

Bali also hosts many festivals that can entertain your brood for free. Every July some of the world’s most incredible kites fly from Sanur Beach for the three-day Bali Kite Festival. For ten days in early to mid-July streets across Bali come alive to celebrate Galungan. This festival celebrates virtue’s triumph over evil. You’ll see dancing dragons, decorated doorways, and on the tenth day, a feast of local delicacies. The residents of Nusa Dua celebrate their local culture in October at the city’s festival. Your kids will marvel at the residents dressed in traditional costumes and the native music.

Bali’s many beaches also offer free fun for your kids. Splurge on a banana boat ride, try one of Bali’s famous extreme sports, or just have fun building sandcastles or swimming in the surf. Sanur Beach is regarded as Bali’s most kid-friendly. It’s protected by a reef, so the waves are gentle most of the time.

Where to Eat

Bali’s exotic looking food may make some Western kids nervous, but it’s not too hard to find dishes to suit their tastes. Simple rice and noodle dishes are available almost everywhere, and they’re generally light on the chilli. Many hotels offer buffets which allow kids to try a little of everything. The opor ayam, a chicken simmered in coconut milk, and the nasi goreng, an Indonesian fried rice, are usually winners with little ones. Warungs, which are Balinese food stalls, also serve affordable and authentic Balinese street food.

If your children flatly refuse to try something new, restaurants in tourist areas serve Western fare.

How to Stay Safe

Few things can ruin a Bali getaway more quickly than a case of the infamous Bali belly. Make sure you only drink bottled water, and remind your children to never drink from the faucet or shower.

Bali typically enjoys temperatures between 85 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit all year round. This can take its toll if you’re used to a cooler climate, especially if you’re spending all day outdoors. Make sure you always carry plenty of bottled water to ensure your whole family stays hydrated. Arriving at attractions early can also help you beat the heat, and avoid the crowds. Applying a sunscreen with an SPF factor of at least 40 will also minimize any damage from the sun’s rays.

Balinese roads can also be a bit chaotic as there are traffic suggestions rather than rules. Make sure you look both ways when crossing the street, and make your way across to the other side as quickly as you can. Driving in these conditions can also be harrowing, so tourists are advised to hire a driver. It’s only a little more expensive than renting a hire car, and you know you’ll all arrive in one piece.

A Balinese Macaque monkey

A Balinese Macaque monkey

A day on a Bali beach can be relaxing, but it’s important to keep your wits about you. Don’t swim on any beaches marked by red flags, as these have dangerous rip tides and undertows.

So don’t let Bali’s tourist downturn scare you off. This affordable Asian gem is welcoming families from around the world.

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