It’s been a few of days since we returned from our mesmerizing vacation, so today I’ll be sharing How To Have An Amazing Family-Friendly Bali Vacation while the memories are still vibrant. Bali has been on my bucket list for quite some time, and we finally booked our flights this summer.
Our family consists of four with two children at the age of seven and six. We have traveled quite a lot due to the military and to visit family in Europe and the States. It’s challenging to travel with little ones, that’s the main reason we’ve avoided family vacations. Read more about us here.
Ever since we moved to the small island of “Okinawa” which is a part of Japan, we decided to visit as many countries as possible since everything is closer and more affordable. The kids are older and don’t mind the sleep interruptions, plus they can occupy each other with crafts during the flights or layovers.
Indonesia, Bali has been our very first family vacation, I’ll be sharing everything about our trip today. So, if you have crazy children (like me), want to see all the Instagram worthy spots, or like to find out how I survived this trip keep on reading.
BOOKING THE FLIGHTS & HOTEL/VILLA
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❑ Book your flight and hotel at least 2-3 months ahead.
❑ Buy Travel insurance (we used USAA Travel Insurance)
❑ Make sure your passports are at least 6 months valid
❑ Try avoiding flights through China, the layover is over 10h plus we have NOT had good experience traveling through that country.
❑ TIP: Look for hotels/villas with WiFi, Breakfast, and Laundry Service
ARRIVAL, TRANSPORT, AND HOUSING
Booking Airbnb’s for this trip was essential because I wanted to experience the full Bali factor. Traditional Balinese houses are built almost entirely of organic materials. They use natural materials such as thatch roofing, bamboo poles, woven bamboo, coconut wood, teak wood, brick, and stone.
The first villa was a modern Balinese open house, and by open I mean open! The living room had a roof and some walls but could not be closed off. See for yourself …could you vacation in this villa?
For the arrival, we requested the Villa host to send his driver to the airport. I was certainly overwhelmed when we got out and saw 100’s of people standing outside holding name tags. But we scanned each of them for my name and found him quickly.
It was past 8 pm, we were hungry and tired, and because we had to skip dinner due to Jetstar’s meal screw-up (that I paid for to be Vegan and GF), we drove straight to the Villa in Kuta and went to bed. I had no wifi to look up Vegan-friendly places to eat at and the exhaustion was winning us over.
❑ Request a driver or shuttle pickup from the airport
❑ Exchange money at the Airport (it is a common courtesy to pay/tip the driver in cash)
❑ Pin restaurants, cafes and places you want to visit in Google Maps under a designated tab
❑ TIP: Always have extra snacks in case you end up like us with missing airplane meals.
After the Waterpark we went to eat at Ayu Bali Resto for lunch, I’ll share more about the cafes and restaurants in my next post The Most Popular Vegan And GF Restaurants In Bali.
And after lunch, we went to the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park aka. GWK for some sightseeing.
DAY 2 CHECKLIST
❑ Buy a SIM’s card and download What’s App so you can communicate with your driver and look up places as you go.
❑ Fill a hydro flask with cold water at the hotel or villa before heading out.
❑ Apply sunscreen every morning, and take some sunscreen with you for reapplication.
❑ TIP: Always have an emergency pack with you containing; tissues, sanitizer, bandaids and some essential oils for an upset stomach.
Fhird day, we had planned a tour through Airbnb to Tanah Lot & Kecak Fire Dance in Uluwatu.
Above all, it was an amazing tour, perfect for someone who is looking for a hassle-free tour that is filled with historic background information and an inclusive pick-up and drop-off from the villa. Read my review for the tour here.
DAY 3 CHECKLIST
❑ Take beach attire with you if you plan on staying at the Padang-Padang Beach.
❑ TIP: Leave glasses, food, and toys in the car so the monkeys won’t rob you at the Uluwatu Temple.
Fourth day, we moved to Ubud where our second stay was located. I had picked two different locations so we could experience more of the island, rather then having to drive several hours every day to see things. Ubud is a great choice if you are looking for a family-friendly, clean area with lots of things to do.
The villa we stayed in was amazing, and the host is such an inspiring and friendly person. I highly recommend his airbnb, first of all his breakfasts are delicious, and he welcomed us with so much kindness.
DAY 4 CHECKLIST
❑ When exchanging money, choose a bigger store like a mini-mart. Small exchanges are known to be naughty and might swindle you on your money.
❑ TIP: If you haven’t gotten a SIM’s card yet, now is the time.
Fifth day, we went on another tour that I had booked through Airbnb Private-Bali Gates Of Heaven & Ubud Tour, this was one of my favorite tours because we got to do and see so many different things.
- The gates of heaven Bali
- Tirta Ganga water temple
- Tukad Cepung waterfall
- Tasting the best Luwak coffee
- Rice terraces and Swing
DAY 5 CHECKLIST
❑ Take a beachbag with towels, bathing suits, water shoes, a waterproof backpack, and phone case.
❑ Add tissues, snacks, and water to your backpack.
❑ TIP: Be prepared to wait up to 2 hours at the gates of heaven to take pictures.
After all the tours we needed a day of shopping, therefore we went to the Ubud Market to clear our heads and use our legs. We got there in the morning and walked over 10,900 steps throughout the day.
For those of you that want to see the monkey forest, it is in walking distance and you can start with that instead of shopping. My kids did not want to be near any more monkeys after the Uluwatu Temple, those monkeys were mean and aggressive.
DAY 6 CHECKLIST
❑ Put on comfy walking shoes, pack water and a hat.
❑ TIP: Get an exchange calc. app and negotiate the sales price when you shop at the Market, if they won’t come down in price walk away.
Day seven was unplanned but I had heard about turtle conservation on the island. The Villa host had connections to one and took us to experience it. This was by far my kids’ favorite thing EVER. First, we learned about the seven different turtles in the world, and what harms them.
Finally, we got to hold them and also released two of them at the nearby beach.
On our way back we decided to stop at the Tegenungan Waterfall since it was on the way. And that was all we did for that day, the remaining time we spend in the Freshwater Spring Pool teaching the kids how to swim.
DAY 7 CHECKLIST
❑ TIP: Put on sandals that are ok to get wet.
On the eight-day we had a birthday boy, and I left it up to my husband to decide what we would do on his birthday. He chose a wood-carving class, which I booked the night before through Airbnb.
The class was great, but it was too advanced for our kids age. Because of that reason I would not recommend this class for kids younger than 8 years of age.
The carving class took three hours, which was over at 1 pm. We received a wood carving certificate and also got to take home our carvings. Finally, we went to go eat lunch and took a taxi back to the villa.
DAY 8 CHECKLIST
❑ Take as many classes as possible during your Bali vacation, we wanted to take organic cooking, batik, and Skincare class but didn’t have enough time to do so.
❑ TIP: Most classes allow kids to participate with their parents.
We decided to head to the airport after the Lapangan Puputan Renon Monument, stop at one restaurant on the way for early dinner and call it a day.
Everything worked out great for us, we got there 3 hours early (the recommended time by the airline) checked in within 5 minutes of waiting in a quiet area for our flight.
DAY 9 CHECKLIST
❑ TIP: Be at the airport 3 hours before your flight.
Finally, I wanted to share that although I had heard about bad experiences with Airbnb’s. We had a mesmorizing vacation due to Mr. Wayan, the villa owner who made our stay very comfortable.
Should I go back on my girls trip, I’ll be booking his villa again that’s for sure.
I hope this extended post will help you plan your Family vacation to Bali and save you some trouble. My next post will be about all the Vegan or Vegetarian places we ate at. Stay tuned for that post coming next week.