For families looking for a chilled family escape, Bali is one of our most favourite holiday’s. This is quite surprising as we had very low expectations of Indonesia.
For Aussies, places such as Bali, Fiji and Phuket are synonymous with backpackers and cheap holiday package deals. I would liken it to Brits vacationing in Mallorca, or Americans going to Cancun; where a traveller can comfortably feel like they have never left the country.
This could be a good or bad thing depending on your travel style. Bali offers it all from creature comforts of a resort holiday to getting off the beaten track and away from it all. There are good reasons why people flock to Bali – it’s the best!
Bali with kids is the bestHere are the reasons why:
- 1 Cheap & direct flights
- 2 Value for money
- 3 Relaxed beach escape
- 4 Great food & choices
- 5 Family friendly
- 6 Extra little luxuries
It can cost almost as much to fly to destinations in Australia (Perth or Northern Territory) as it does to fly overseas to Bali. Keep an eye out on discounted flights, they can go as low as $300 return from Australian capital cities off-peak. Accommodation, room service, dining out and getting around in taxis is a much more affordable exercise with kids in tow.
When travelling with kids, any direct flights you can get a hold of is worth it’s weight in gold. There’s no need to worry about stop-overs or transits. Virgin, Jetstar, Garuda and Indonesia Air Asia fly directly to Bali (Denpensar) from Australian cities.
Your dollar goes further in Indonesia. Although Indonesians have long cottoned onto the tourist currency and mark everything up. It’s a very affordable country and you get to live like a king.
For Aussies check out Groupon, Living Social and Scoopon for packages. Even without packages, Bali still offers value for money; with many hotels, private bali villas and resorts to choose from varying from basic and comfortable to absolute luxury.
As an example, we visited Bali in September the cost of a 5 bedroom villa for the week equates to $300 AUD a night for 8 adults and 4 kids, inclusive of transfers and breakfast for the entire group.
This is an ideal destination for a chilled family holiday with a touch of exotic culture thrown into the mix. Our days were mainly spent swimming in the resorts pools or chilling by the beach.
Bali offers plenty of dining options from very affordable Warungs which are small local eateries serving Indonesian cuisine to gourmet fusion restaurants.
Dining out in high-end restaurants is affordable compared to back home and the standards are quite impressive, though considered expensive compared to local warungs and eateries. As en example, we hosted a pre-wedding family lunch for 20 people at Metis and two course meals with a-la-carte alcoholic drinks equated to aproximately $500 AUD
I have found Indonesians to be peaceful and kind people. To them, children are part of their day to day lives, therefore when dining at restaurants or visiting local attractions, kids are welcomed and accommodated for. Even at the prestigious venues of Bali such as Ku De Ta. Kids were happily jumping in the pool or lounging on beach chairs.
Holidaying in Indonesia means that you can afford to splurge out on a nanny, private drivers and a villa complete with butler.
- Complete guide to Bali with kids
- Visas for Bali with kids
- Notify your bank to avoid card suspension
- Passport validity for Bali with kids
- Travel Vaccinations for Bali with kids.
- Travel Insurance for visiting Bali with kids
- Safety and Travel Advisory
- Know that Bali is not without it's issues
- Best time to goto Bali with kids
- Language in Bali
- Religion in Bali
- Time in Bali
- Money in Bali
- Electricity & power supply in Bali
- Drinking water in Bali with kids
- We prefer to stay in Seminyak with kids
- Best places to stay in Seminyak
- Bali Resort or Villa?
- Popular places to stay in Bali with kids
- Bali's Legian with kids
- Best places to stay in Legian with kids
- Bali's Kuta with kids
- Best places to stay in Kuta with kids
- Bali's Nusa Dua with kids
- Tanjung Benoa near Nusa Dua
- Best places to stay in Nusa Dua with kids
- Tanjun Benoa near Nusa Dua with kids
- Best places to stay in Tanjung Benoa
- Bali's Ubud with kids
- Best places to stay in Ubud with kids
- Bali's Uluwatu with kids
- Best places to stay in Uluwatu with kids
- Bali's Jimbaran Bay with kids
- Best places to stay in Jimbaran Bay with kids
- Getting to and from the Airport
- Getting around in Bali with kids
- Bali's Supermarkets
- Supermakets in Seminyak
- Supermarkets in Kuta
- Supermarkets in Ubud
- Bali International Medical Centre (BIMC)
- Where to find a nanny in Bali?
- What questions to ask a Bali nanny?
- How much does a nanny in Bali cost?
- What to expect from a nanny in Bali?
- Bali Beaches
Bali activities for kidsBest things to do with kids in Bali
- Bali Safari and Marine Park with kids
- Bali Zoo with kids
- Ubud Rice Terraces in Bali with kids
- Elephant Safari Park in Bali with kids
- Bali Waterbom Park
- Sacred Monkey Forest in Bali with kids
- Tanah Lot Bali with kids
- Places to eat & drink in Bali with kids
Complete guide to Bali with kids
If the above has convinced you of getting to Bali pronto, here’s our complete guide to Bali with kids
Before you go
Visas for Bali with kids
Bali has scrapped the US$35 Visa on Arrival (VOA) for Australians! Valid as of March 2016, you can enter Indonesia (Bali) un a visa-free facility.
It is now absolutely free to stay for up to 30 days as a citizen of Australia.
The catch – you cannot extend your stay over 30 days on a free entry visa. If staying over 30 days then the old method of applying for a Visa on Arrival for $35US is required. Or directly for your embassy or Consulate of Indonesia.
Notify your bank to avoid card suspension
Notify your bank that you are travelling to Bali so that they know your debit and credit cards will be used in Indonesia. Otherwise they may suspend your account and you will need to call to reconfirm your details overseas.
Passport validity for Bali with kids
Ensure all passports have at least 6 months validity before expiration.
Those with less than 6 months validity may not be allowed to enter the country or airlines may refuse to board you. For more information check the Australian Passports office here.
Travel Vaccinations for Bali with kids.
Here are the vaccinations required for travel to Bali with kids and for families.
Apart from Hep B which is part of the immunisation register, travel vaccinations are not supplemented by Medicare and costs extra.
If you have private health insurance, depending on your level of cover you can get small amount back. With my health cover, flu shots were not covered.
Vaccines should be given at least 6 weeks prior to departure.
It is recommended Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccinations for children travelling to Bali.
Ensuring your child’s immunisation schedule is up to date should cover Hepatitis B.
Hepatitis A is a separate vaccine for children, in Australia the common vaccine is called Havrix and is recommended for children aged 2 and over. A booster shot is recommended to provide protection for up to ten years. This is to be followed up 6 months after the initial injection.
Children aged under 2 are not able to have the Hep A vaccine.
My daughter was just over a year old when we first visited Bali and was not able to have the Hep A vaccination prior to travel to Bali. Therefore, we needed to exercise food and water precautions including avoiding uncooked foods such as unpeeled fruit, drinking bottled water and sanitising hands.
We stayed close to central tourist hubs and avoided remote areas just as an added safety measure. I found the MD Travel Health for the Travel Doctor site had comprehensive advice on vaccines, outbreaks and precautions.
This information was provided to me by my local GP. It’s best to consult your doctor for recommended travel vaccines for Bali which varies from country to country.
In the USA it seems 2 x Hep A shots given 6 months apart is allowed for children aged between 12-24 months. Which is not the case in Australia unless you are of Aboriginal and Torres Island who are eligible for free Hep A shots for children between the ages of 12 month to 5 years.
Other optional vaccines include Influenza vaccine which is highly recommended, whilst travelling on planes and being in public places. However it is not for the faint hearted, for a child the initial flu vaccine requires 2 shots spaced 4 weeks apart for it to be fully effective. That’s 2 needles for bubs. The good news is subsequent annual flu shots only require the one needle.
Another optional vaccination to consider is the Rabies vaccine. Though the likelihood of being bitten or licked by a rabid animal is very small, you can die from rabies. The risk is high and worth considering if you think you are going to be near animals in Bali. We didn’t get this and were fine. I would consider the vaccine for next time. From what I can gather it is 3 courses (injections) over a month.
It’s recommended that adults are vaccinated against Hepatitis A and B for travel to Bali. Hepatitis B consists a series of doses starting 6 months prior to travel for optimal protection.
Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended at least 4-6 weeks prior to travel. It is advised that adults check their childhood vaccines are up to date including; Measles, Mumps and Rebella and Tetanus, Pertussis & Diphtheria or Polio. Consult a travel doctor or your local GP for travel vaccine and booster recommendations 4-6 weeks prior to travel.
For those going off the beaten track such as to rural areas or away from resort towns, the Typhoid vaccine is also recommended at least a week prior to travel.
Other optional vaccines include Influenza vaccine which is highly recommended, whilst travelling on planes and being in public places.
Cholera, Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Rabies vaccine should be considered if travelling long term and to remote areas.
Travel Insurance for visiting Bali with kids
Travel insurance is essential for travelling to Bali especially with kids.
Make sure the travel insurance specifically covers Indonesia and carefully read the Product Disclosure Document (PDS) for what it does and doesn’t cover.
Check your children have been added to your policy to ensure coverage and ask what happens in the event of i.e. luggage delay for you and for your kids.
Some policies are tricky, whereby they pay per adult, so the benefit paid for each adult has to cover all your kids as well. Read carefully.
There are policies that just cover medical or there are ones that cover everything from medical, personal effects, delays and lost luggage.
I recommend one that covers everything with either a small or $0 excess. It’s a precaution just in case you are sick or hospitalised or even if an expensive camera was broken or stolen.
Check out my horror flight, stranded in Dubai and my review to come of the Bali Medical Center (BMIC) for reasons why you need travel insurance.
Safety and Travel Advisory
Check your countries travel advisory for travel to Indonesia. For Australians consult the Smart Traveller site. It’s been on Yellow “Exercise a high degree of caution” for quite sometime. I doubt the warning will go green since the 2002 Bali Bombings in Kuta.
The threat of terrorist attack is a real one. As recently as March 2012, Indonesian police shot dead 5 suspected terrorists overnight, whom were planning to bomb a well known bar in Seminyak. These are things you need to consider when travelling to Indonesia. Do you live in fear and paranoia? Or do you keep on travelling with caution?
Google, research and read the Smart Traveller site to come to your own conclusion.
As far as security, our resort and many popular bars and restaurants have mandatory security inspection of the taxi or car you are arriving in. As well as requesting ID if required. The nannies we hired, were routinely questioned and bags searched before entering the premises. Whether this is being alert or to give tourists peace of mind is again up to your judgement.
If you intend on travelling, exercise caution by avoiding large crowded tourist hot spots, sticking close to the resorts, avoid peak times at restaurants and being aware of public spaces, it’s all you can do.
Know that Bali is not without it’s issues
Indonesia is a 3rd world country where the Gross National Income (GNI) is $3,580 USD compared to Australia’s GNI of $65,520 and you can see there is a large difference source World Bank.
Where I boast of luxuries such as nannies and drivers, Indonesia is not without it’s issues.
On the surface of it, Bali has all the modern amenities and services that of a 1st world country. There are however impoverished people and issues of petty crime, poorer standards of hygiene, safety concerns and considerations of emergency and medical treatment for kids in the event they require medical assistance or hospitalisation.
This shouldn’t be a deterrent to going, travelling to Indonesia or any 3rd world country requires some consideration, careful planning and exercising caution and common sense as to where to go with kids.
Best time to goto Bali with kids
Weather-wise the best time to go is April through September. Try and visit just before or after a school holiday so crowds are lower and rates aren’t too high.
We have been to Bali in late April to Early May and September and each time was glorious. Blue skies, slight humidity and sunshine all day long.
In September there were a few overcast days which locals said was unusual.
Language in Bali
If you stick to the resort and tourist areas English is common and most Indonesians are able to speak and understand the English language. You will have no problem getting by using English with shop owners, taxi drivers, vendors at tourist sites, restaurant and hotel staff.
The primary language of Indonesians is Bahasa though others also speak a regional language such as Javanese. It’s always good to speak a few phrases of the destination language and to teach your children new dialects.
Religion in Bali
Although Indonesia is predominately Muslim, the majority of Balinese people practice a branch of Hindu knowns as Balinese Hinduism or Hindu Dharma unique to the island, mixing other elements including Buddhism and animism.
The Balinese are deeply religious and practice many rituals and festivals. Throughout Bali you will find small and large temples a place of worship to their Gods.
Common sights include the daily offerings, wherebeautifully decorated parcels made up of various colourful flowers, leaves and food are offered at shop entrances, along the streets, at busy intersections, at the foot of statues and temples anywhere requiring extra protection from bad spirits and even on the beach.
Time in Bali
Money in Bali
Indonesians operate on the Rupiah (Rp) currency.
Familiarise yourself with the notes and coins here. Don’t make the same mistake I did, acting like a complete tourist, arguing over 8,000 Rupiah thought to be $8.00 rather than 80 cents.
Bank Notes are; 100, 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000. They have coins as well: 25, 50, 100, 500, 1000.
Click for Currency converter to check out the IDR against your dollar.
Exchange $35 USD for each family member entering the country for your Visa On Arrival. It’s best to go with USD, however, they do accept AUD and it’s around $37 AUD but this can change (have more just in case), change is given in Rupiah (IDR).
It’s also handy to exchange a small amount of Rupiah prior to departure for taxi’s or a bottle of water at the airport.
Generally; if you divide by 10,000 you can get a rough idea of the conversion. e.g. 10,000 = $1, $50,000 = $5 and $500,000 = $50 bare in mind it’s not exactly parity, currently a little less. For those numerically challenged like I am, it’s a quick calculation.
Departure Tax or Airport Tax in Rupiah
When leaving Indonesia a departure tax or they call airpor tax of 200,000 rupiah per person around $20 AUD payable in local currency only (as of September 2014). Make sure you keep exact change aside for this. This fee is for all members of your family regardless of age, this includes kids.
Ways to exchange money
We have used a few methods to exchange money, here are some methods:
We exchanged our money in Australia, prior to leaving at the local Australia Post.
Exchanging Rupia at Australia Post involves ordering over the counter and paying by by card, cash or credit. No fees are charged and the exchange rate is very reasonable. For us it took 2 business days to order the money and an ID and receipt is required to collect. There is an option of nominating someone else to pick up the cash if needed. Allow at least a week to order the money in to avoid last minute rush.
Request small denominations of 1000’s and 5000’s to have on hand as taxi’s and convenience stores do not take large notes.
The benefits of exchanging prior to your tip is convenience. There’s no need to exchange at a foreign place in Bali during your holiday, you will be cashed up and ready to go. Be sure to familiarise yourself with the currency as cash is king and is used between the airport and resort.
The exchange rate over in Bali is generally a little better locally.
You can also exchange currency at the airport after customs. Apparently, they are trustworthy. However on arrival and not familiar with the denominations it’s easy to mistake a 100,000 for a 1000 or get confused over the currency.
If you are not taking a taxi or need to spend in IDR before checking into your hotel (e.g. you organised transport) are also local currency changers on the main streets of Kuta, Legian and Seminyak which are clearly sign-posted. Most changers do not charge a fee for service. But ask prior to changing.
The benefit of this is that you do not run the risk and stress of losing the money when travelling over to Bali, you get a slightly better exchange rate locally and also you can exchange small amounts as and when you need it.
You do run the risk of dodgy changers short changing you or charging unnecessary fees. However, some forums I have read swear by changing AUD or USD at the airport or local street money changers. Familiarise yourself with the notes. It’s easy to get 10,000 and 100,000 confused. Count your money right in front of the money changer to avoid an error.
Request some small notes i.e. 1000, 5000, 10000 Rupiah notes are great for taxis, supermarkets and convenience stores.
If you have a debit card that allows overseas withdrawals, generally all cards with Cirrus, Visa or Mastercard logo allows for this. But best check with your bank prior to departure.
You can withdraw local currency at an ATM. For Aussies, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ and Westpac ATM’s are located in the main hubs of Seminyak, Legian and Kuta.
Depending on the bank and the ATMS, maximum withdrawal us 1,250,000 Rupiah per transaction if the ATM is dispensing 5,000 Rupiah notes.
Some stand alone ATMS have a small withdrawal limit of 500,000. To confused the matter, some ATMS with a sign dispensing 100,000 RP notes has a maximum withdrawal limit of 2,500,000 IDR.
Try and go ones with the high limit if intending to withdraw large sums as most ATMS charge a transaction fee of between $2-5 AUD per transaction, this is on top of the unfavourable conversion rate nominated by the bank.
You can keep putting your card in until you reach your banks maximum withdrawal limit.
If you bank with a particular bank that has ATMs in Bali, try and locate that ATM e.g ANZ to reduce the ATM transaction fee.
The benefit of this method is convenience and avoiding dodgy currency changers. However fee’s are high as not only the transaction fee charged by the Bali ATM, there is a fee charged by your local bank and the exchange rate is not fabulous. Check with your bank about all the fees they charge then add the fee charged in Bali to see if it is worthwhile.
Most hotels, resort, retail outlets and restaurants all take credit cards with Visa and Mastercard being the most widely used.
Amex was welcomed in most places but was retailer specific. Rather than changing a large sum of money consider using a credit card or load up a debit credit card prior to going.
The exchange rates are reasonable though most cards charge a percentage transaction fee, Amex is 3% each time you use the card. Check with your bank before going.
Credit card reduces the risk of loss or theft to carrying around large sums of cash (millions of Rupiah). However, cash will be needed in smaller boutique shops e.g. the boutique clothing retailers in Seminyak, prefer cash, also the beach side stores and vendors, local restaurants and buying from street markets.
Electricity & power supply in Bali
Indonesia operates on 220volts / 50Hz power supply; same as Australia and many European countries.
Different to North America whom work on 110-120v volt / 60Hz power supply. For Americans or those on 110-120 V / 60 Hz please use a step down converter or your electronics will fry. Check the watts on your electronic item and buy an appropriate converter.
I’ve used the Simran 1875 watt step down converter in Australia, and it works. Purchase them before going to Bali as step down converters are hard to find.
Plugs & adaptors
Bali uses a standard two round pin wall socket. Adaptors are readily available and can be purchased cheaply aproximately 20,000 IDR ($2 AUD or purchase a universal travel adapter before you go.
Travel hack use a power board
For Australians, take one adapter for a power board and plug all your devices into your power board, saving you on carrying and purchasing multiple adapters.
For those countries that operate on a separate volt, this travel hack is still possible, with the right converter, do not overload your power board with too many gadgets as the converter has a volt limit. If you want to plug in all your gadgets at once, calculate how much total power you need and purchase a converter that can handle the total power supply.
Tipping in Bali with kids>
Though tipping is not mandatory, it is appreciated given the low minimum wages.
Most hotel and resorts automatically provide a 21% surcharge on your bill for example, room service, dining pool-side or at a restaurant. No further tipping is required.
For some restaurants, a 10% government tax is applied to bills. No further tipping is required. For those that don’t charge a surcharge you can tip 10% of the bill. For taxis, tipping is not necessary. However, rather than getting coins and very small notes. You can round the total up.
Drinking water in Bali with kids
Tap water is not safe to drink. Don’t risk it especially with the kids.
Drink only bottled water, brush your teeth with bottled water and don’t accidentally drink the shower water or have the kids swallow the bath water.
Bottled water from the supermarket and convenience stores are inexpensive.
When cooking, you can boil water to cook with. However, the safest way to go is boil bottled water. This is what the housekeeping staff were doing at our villa when cooking breakfast.
TIP – bring bottles for water refills for the kids. Refill them at water stations at the hotel or buy a gallon to refill in your villa or room.
What to pack for Bali with kids
Check out the Ultimate guide to packing for kids which outlines what to pack, tips and tricks for packing for travel with kids.
Here are specific tips for packing for Bali with kids
if you prefer your brand nappies, pack enough to last your trip and some ‘just in case’.
If you don’t mind another brand. Bintang supermarket in Seminyak stocked a Mama Poko brand and Pampers. The pampers were not exactly the same type of Pampers as the USA (a little thinner). They were still really good. I’m a fan of Pampers.
If there are specific snacks and a brand of baby food that you prefer back home i.e. the organic squeezable puree’s, you may find it hard to find it in Bali. Bring enough for your trip.
Although there are supermarket and convenience stores available that stock some well known western brands.
I packed just enough snacks for the trip on the plane and picked up some new things to try out.
The large shopping center, supermarkets, boutique shops and side market stalls do sell swimming gear, I found some great Speedo kids goggles in the Kuta Mall, though the range is limited.
I recommend bringing your own kids floaties and swimming gear as they maybe safer and Bali may not havethe brand you prefer.
There are sunscreen and insect spray to purchase, the range is limited and it’s obvious Indonesians don’t use this as the prices are quite high.
I would recommend you bring the brand and type you prefer.
Shoes and kids clothes are available and affordable.
There are some very cute kid brands that are specific to Bali and Indonesia along Seminyak. In Kuta the top floor of Discovery Shopping Mall have some US retailers like Baby GAP and Pumpkin Patch. At the very top floor there a few children’s shops that sell shoes and clothing. The prices are affordable and you can get brands such as speedo swimmers and Stride Rite shoes.
For beach gear, there are many options, including lots of beach wear retailers. Though the quality is suspect. I purchased a “Quicksilver” rash guard from what seems like a legitimate store front. It fell apart as soon as we got back.
If you forget a piece of clothing. You can easily pick it up in Bali. Either in the mall, at the supermarkets or on the side stalls. If you prefer specific brands then styles and sizes maybe a little limited then back home.
Kids Health and Safety
If you are considering a private pool villa and heading to Bali with kids, you will find that most do not have pool fences.
However, there are companies that hire out pool fences for your villa pool. I found three that offer this service:
Particularly good for young children that aren’t strong swimmers and also for your peace of mind.
Consult your villa, hotel or resort if they can provide a pool fence, they maybe able to arrange one if required.
On our recent trip the best thing we did was hire a pool fence for our unfenced private pool villa. Ours was hired from Baby Service Bali.
The pool fence cost $15 (daily rates reduce depending on duration) and a $50 installation, setup and delivery fee. For 6 days the total cost was $140.
With young kids aged 2, 4, 5 and 7 that think they can swim, it was a wise investment and a small price to pay for peace of mind. The pool fence fully fitted the perimeter of the pool without damaging the property.
There was a secure lockable childproof gate with a removable key.
I received a $50 discount on the pool fence hire in exchange for reviewing Baby Service Bali, all opinions are my very own.
Please note, we also contacted Bali Pool Fence Hire and they offered the same rates for hiring the pool fence and offered similar services. Read a full Review on Bali Pool Fence Hire here.
My son aged 3 at the time, spent all day in the pool during our stay gaining new found confidence. He also woke up extremely early.
On one occasion I heard a door to the living room open which has direct access to the villa pool. I woke to find my son outside walking towards the villa pool with a flower in his hand, preparing to throw it into the water.
I would’ve hate to think what may have happened. All it takes is a trip or maybe an added sense of confidence for him to go under.
Luckily nothing happened and we changed the sleeping arrangements for the remainder of our stay.
I knew on my next trip I would hire a pool fence and thought to provide some options.
You can also hire safety gates for doors and stairs, car seats as well as other toddler equipment such as high chairs, cribs and cots if the hotel does not supply them. Bali Baby Service offers this as well as pool fence hire.
Regarding car seats in bali. They are rarely used. Though the traffic can be quite crazy. Taxis and private cars do not offer them. So if you want that extra bit of safety bring yours along or hire one.
Bali is hot and humid and perfect for mossies.
Make sure the hotel supplies mosquito nets for all beds. They come in handy at night.
Easier said than done, but try to avoid the dreaded Bali Belly.
It’s awful and unfortunately way too common. Primarily caused by food contamination.
There’s no sure fire way to prevent it. But to reduce the risk make sure the kids hands and yours are clean by washing them before meals and after the toilet.
Have the antibacterial hand gel close by and santise your kids and your own hands regularly. Avoid peeled fruits and raw vegetables and only eat foods that have been well cooked.
Drink only bottled water and juices and don’t drink any iced drinks. Bareful of buffets. Sometimes foods are kept at incorrect temperatures and there are lots of hotel guests and staff handling the shared utensils.
Eat at clean restaurants with high turn over. It is very important for the little ones with less immunity and particularly toddlers whom cannot get their Hep A vaccines. However, all it takes is one glass to be a little wet or one staff member that was in a hurry and slip on the hygiene and you have it.
There are also some unproven ways to prevent the Bali Belly. Taking a course of probiotics just before travelling to Bali may help. There are kids probiotics available in a choc ball variety as well as Yakult and Yoghurt products. I also sanitised their water bottles with Milton Tablets every day. With any of these things, it’s often a bit of pot-luck too.
Where to stay in Bali with kids
We prefer to stay in Seminyak with kids
When travelling to Bali with kids, we prefer to stay in Seminyak. Located on the west coast of Bali, offers a large stretch of Beach connecting Legian and Kuta.
It’s attraction are the resorts and hotels close to the beach with a vibrant Eat Street (Jalan Laksmana) nearby, offering a variety of dining options. Seminyak is also known for it’s more upmarket boutique retailers and shops (Jalan Oberoi). The best time to hit the beach is sunset, as the sun sets directly on the beach.
Whilst it may target holidaying couples. There are plenty of families here as well. I would still consider it touristy, just less of a hustle and bustle of Kuta.
Below are some hotel resort options in Seminyak that are nice. I have hand-picked kids friendly ones located on Seminyak beach. Though there are lots more:
Book a hotel
Best places to stay in Seminyak
Royal Beach Resort Seminyak
We stayed for 10 days at the Royal Beach Seminyak and loved it. It’s beautiful, whilst not as trendy as some, the location and the size made up for it.
There are only a few resorts situated on the beach, with several pools and within close proximity to Seminyak.
The Royal Beach Seminyak is also one of a few resorts that offer both standard hotel rooms and private pool villas in the same complex. We were in a pool villa which was great. Combining villa style living with hotel resort facilities. Check out the resort layout here The
Royal Beach Seminyak Bali resort map.
W Retreat & Spa Bali
The prices are quite high though. For a ten day stay we would rather downgrade a little and afford some other luxuries. Like a nanny so you can enjoy a cocktail at the W.
The Legian Bali – A GHM Hotel
The Legian Bali – A GHM Hotel quite similar to the resort we stayed in with regards to size and location. They also offer private villas and during the summer have organised kids activities. When we looked, it was quite a bit more expensive than the Royal Beach Semiyak.
Bali Resort or Villa?
We debated whether to rent a villa or stay in a resort. In the end we felt a resort has allot more to offer for children.
Kids get to enjoy the resort facilities which can include several pool options, large walking spaces, beach restaurants and some even have kids clubs as well as designated kids playgrounds and pools. Plus, we wanted to be on the beach, my daughter enoyed a very early morning stroll on the beach each day (as she woke up at 5am). Whereas, many of the private villas are inland closer to Eat Street.
Ideally you can get the best of both worlds by having the privacy and space of a private villa within a resort. Through no endorsement of this blog (it didn’t exist yet) we were incredibly lucky to be upgraded to a villa during our stay.
Having stayed also in a private villa, albeit a budget one, there were benefits to having your own place in Bali. Including private pool, a personal cook that included buying groceries, meal preparation, table setting and clean up after meals. There’s also the benefits of extra space and privacy in your own villa.
However, if I had to choose between a resort or villa, I would still recommend a resort or a resort villa where you can use the resort facilities. Preferably on the beach front to take full advantage of the beach sunsets.
Popular places to stay in Bali with kids
Bali’s Legian with kids
It’s difficult to figure out exactly where Seminyak ends and Legian starts, the above image helps to get your bearings, though it’s not a complete and extensive list of all the hotels in the area.
Both Legian and Seminyak have similar laid back vibes and it’s easy to get to and from these main sections by taxi or a short walk. There are some nice places to stay around here and you may find villas offering more value for money around Legian. There are also a number of beachside resorts and a nice alternative to Seminyak.
We stayed in Legian in a private villa, just off Jalan Raya Seminyak which is a busy road connecting Kuta to the South and Seminyak in the North. The intersection of Jalan Melasti (which leads to Legian Beach) and Jalan Raya Seminyak is essentially the hub of Legian, along these streets and those nearby are various restaurants and shops to browse.
Best places to stay in Legian with kids
Some family friendly beach front resort options include:
Padma Resort Legian
Located right on Legian Beach this is a highly rated family friendly resort. There are several impressive pools to spend your day by including a designated kids pool. The extensive resort offers tennis courts, gardens, onsite spa and the cherry on top is the kids club which is recently renovated.
There are also several accommodation options including a choice of hotel rooms, a Family Room which splits the main bedroom with a kids room incorporating bunk beds and there are also 1 and 2 bedroom suites
Legian Beach Hotel
Located right on Legian Beach this resort offers bungalows with private pool within the resort as well as family friendly room configurations including a split level loft size room perfect for families with older kids.
Bali’s Kuta with kids
Kuta has more budget options also lots of families and backpackers base themselves here. With affordable hotel and kid friendly resorts, Kuta is a good choice. Kuta has a bad wrap for itself, as the main area for nightclubs and cheap drinking spots are also in Kuta.
Bar hopping aside, there are plenty of amenities to keep families occupied including the large Discovery Mall Shopping Center nearby with major retailers such as Zara and GAP as well as a top level just for kids featuring an indoor water park. Kuta is also where the large chain food stores are located such as McDonalds and KFC. Quite the kids paradise.
Best places to stay in Kuta with kids
Some family friendly places to stay include;
Hard Rock Hotel
Situated in the heart of Kuta with the beach across the road everything you need in Kuta is at your fingertips. The Hard Rock Hotel carries the same rock n roll theme across its resort complex. With plenty to offer the kids including a kids water playground, grand pools complete with water slides, organised kids activities and a kids club.
Bali Dynasty Resort
A highly recommended kid friendly resort for budget conscious families. Bali Dynasty is far enough to give you a slight reprieve from the Kuta crowds but also within walking distance to the major facilities of Kuta including Discovery Mall Shopping Center, Bali Waterbom Park, restaurants and market stalls.
Bali dynasty offers standard rooms as well as several tiers of family rooms or suites where the master bed is partitioned off from the kids bunk beds. There is also a great kids water playground, kid friendly pools and a highly rated kids club.
Bali’s Nusa Dua with kids
Nusa Dua is 40 kilometers south of Denpasar and around 20-30 minutes from the international airport. Located on the South East coast of Bali, this gated community is an area reserved for five star resorts known as the BTDC (Bali Tourism Development Corporation.
Nusa Dua is a good base for a relaxed beach holiday with easy day trips to Jimbaran Bay and Uluwatu. For golf lovers, Nusa Dua is the closest area to Bali National Golf Course.
The beaches are much prettier than the grittier dark sand of Seminyak and Kuta, the beaches at Nusa Dua is white, the water is a light blue and because the beach is sheltered by a reef 500 meters from shore, the breaks are further out leaving calm swimmable water perfect for families. The beaches are also much less crowded, noticeably vacant are the he throngs of beach vendors as most resort beaches are privately owned. It’s a perfect choice if you want to have a relaxed beach holiday away from the hustle and bustle.
The difference between Nusa Dua and Seminyak
Five star all inclusive resorts have all the amenities on-site where you can be quite happily stay within the confines of the resort for the duration of your stay. The main disadvantage of Nusa Dua is that the sun does not set on the beach. Altough you can still enjoy a sundowner just without the the sun going down on the waters horizon. Quite spectacular for Aussies on the East Coast but may not be a deal breaker for the lucky Western Australian’s.
The other major difference between Nusa Dua and resorts along Seminyak, Kuta or Legian in the North West coast is that Nusa Dua is a gated community, the flux of market stalls, local food vendors and retailers are not present. This can make it an ideal beach escape to really get away from it all, where days roll into each other on groomed beaches, manicured lawns and luxurious pools (sound’s pretty good really). Tucked away in a little enclave of Bali it’s quite a distance to get to Bali’s hotspots including the quality restaurants, bars and shopping hubs. With Kuta being a 45 minute drive away.
Tanjung Benoa near Nusa Dua
Whilst some say Nusa Dua’s gated resort community is sterile and boring there are resorts located outside of the gated community in an area called Tanjung Benoa on the Nusa Dua Peninsula. Still south of the airport away from the swanky shops and restaurants near Seminyak, it offers a great option for families on a budget, with many resorts being all inclusive.
Resorts within Tanjung Benoa has it’s own shopping and eating district. It’s quieter, the beaches are less pristine than that of the gated area but still nicer than Seminyak and Kuta. Tanjun Benoa is and still located on the South East side of Bali where there are no beach sunsets.
Best places to stay in Nusa Dua with kids
St Regis Bali
On Conde Nast Gold List in 2014 this resort is luxuriously fitted out with a most inviting lagoon pool. The decadent suites and villa options within the resort make it a perfect option for families. The one-bedroom spacious Strand Villa comes complete with ocean views and a split level tropical garden with private pool. When you tire of that kids can swim in the designated kids pool or try out the jacuzzis or huge main pool aside from the sprawling lagoon.
There’s also an incredible kids club for kids aged 4 – 12 with a difference, they call it a Learning Center where kids engage in educational activities such as; sustainable cooking, balinese music, dance classes and computer education to name a few.
The Westin Resort Nusa Dua>
The Westin brand is a favourite with us and the Bali offering can hold its own agains the luxury 5 star resorts around Nusa Dua. Features chic, clean and modern decor with all the modern amenities such as iPod docks, on demand video games and DVD player. The two-bedroom family suites are extremely spacious with a large dining area and creature comforts such as kiddy tables and beanbags. There’s also a healthy choice kids menu specifically made for kids in mind.
Outside of the suites there are plenty of kid activities to keep them entertained including bike hire, tennis courts, table tennis, badminton and water slides. For teenagers there are teen zones specifically for kids of this age to enjoy with playstations, WIFI, computers and a video library.
The kids clubs caters for all ages, with infants to toddlers (age 3) in a separate area with age appropriate activities. Kids aged 4-12 can join in on kids club activities including movie nights, cooking lessons, fishing and kite making to name a few.
Club Med Bali
Set up for kids with a gamut of children’s activities such as a Flying Trapeze Academy, mini golf, organised beach events and water sports and bowling. The resort offers manicured gardens and well groomed beaches. There are several pools to choose from, for the adults there is a Quiet Pool and the kids have their own designated kids pools. The cherry on top is that it is an all inclusive resort with nothing to pay for any recreational activities, food, drink and alcohol.
Tanjun Benoa near Nusa Dua with kids
Best places to stay in Tanjung Benoa
An excellent choice for the family on a budget. Conrad Bali is beautiful resort with influences on Balinese style decor. Rooms are modern and well appointed and extremely spacious. The 2 bedroom Family Suites offer interconnecting rooms and allows for an extra bed for the nanny.
The seven hectare property fronts a well manicured stretch of white sandy beach. With a sprawling lagoon, a main pool and a pool just for the suites. The resort offers pristine gardens, tennis courts, resort spa and fitness club.
The Kura Kura Kids club welcomes kids aged 3 to 12 years of age. Younger kids can access the kids club with an accompanied adult (nanny). The best part of this resort is that all kids ages 12 and under can eat free from the kidsmenu accompanied by an adult.
Novotel Bali Benoa
Another beautiful resort that won’t break the bank is the Novotel Bali Benoa. Another Balinese themed resort the complex offers 2 bedroom Family Suites that have bunk bed options and in-room Playstation consoles.
With a choice of three pools and restaurants, a gym, three restaurants and a beautiful stretch of beach. This is everything a family needs for a relaxing beachside holiday.
The Kids Club is available with surpevised kids activivities for childrend aged 6 – 12 years. Younger kids have baby sitting available for an extra fee.
Grand Mirage Resort Bali
The Grand Mirage Resort in Bali is a top pick for all-inclusive deals where all your drinks, meals and alcohol as well as unlimited use of non-motorised water sports all included in your package price. Even more value is that kids aged 5 and under are free of charge. They are not counted as an extra to be in the room.
Located on a prime stretch of white sandy beach with azure waters, when the kids tire of the Indian Ocean have a swim in the huge lagoon, main pool, spa or gym. There’s also tennis courts and a variety of water sports to particpate in.
For the kids, there is a playground and kids only pool as well as a lounge area complete with snooker a gym, tennis courts and kids game center.
The Grand Mirage offers spacious rooms with Balinese influenced furnishings and all your modern conveniences such as flat screen TV, DVD player and complimentary TV. You have everything you need for a comfortable family holiday.
Bamboo Kid’s Fun Club welcomes kids ages 3 to 12 years. Organised activities lead by coordinators include drawing, painting, dancing, crafts and sports activities. There is also a kids club area with computer games, play station, DVD libray and lego.
Bali’s Ubud with kids
Ubud has a laid back green and lush feel and a whole different vibe compared to the beachside resort. It’s hilly, lush, green and rich with green jungle vegetation.
Most accommodation options are serene, hidden away smaller resorts and villas. Some with amazing pools overlooking rice terraces. Check out the famous Hanging Garden’s plunge pools.
It’s a perfect setting for yoga style retreats or a real escape from it all in the middle of Bali’s art scene. Although Ubud is still touristy with a bustling main area of street vendors, restaurants and souvenir shops. However you can secret away in your resort and truly getaway from it all.
Best places to stay in Ubud with kids
Bali’s Uluwatu with kids
Situated on the southern tip of Kuta in Bali; Uluwatu is a scenic spot made famous for it’s dramatic sunset over a sheer cliff face.
It’s an ideal getaway for honeymooners and wedding parties. There are gorgeous cliff fronting villas with plunge pools and the surf beach is beautiful. Check out the Bvlgari Hotel here. Incidentally these are one of the luxury hotels I’ve seen that do permit kids in their villas.
Best places to stay in Uluwatu with kids
There are kid friendly and affordable options such as Ulwatu Surf Villas (watch the cliff edge though). However if you base yourself here, there aren’t many kid friendly things to do. It’s more a honeymoon or romantic getaway destination.
Bali’s Jimbaran Bay with kids
There’s not allot to do in Uluwatu, a nice base if you want to avoid the crowds of Seminyak, Legian and Kuta is Jimbaran Bay. It’s also a nice trip out if you want to indulge in seafood at sunset.
Jimbaran Bay area is a good option if you need to be close to Uluwatu for an event or wedding.
Best places to stay in Jimbaran Bay with kids
Getting Around Bali with kids
Getting to and from the Airport
Use the Airport VIP Service
Only in Bali are you able to pay for a VIP service through international customs. We took a shot at it using Bali VIP Service.
It’s great for families, but now unsure of legitimacy. Here’s how it works:
- Book the service with the VIP or Fast Track service provider
- On arrival, a representative meets you at the arrivals gate just before the Visa On Arrival counter.
- A representative then takes your passports and your VOA fee and heads to the front of the line to have it processed (serious trust exercise here).
- The representative then escorts you through immigration via a special immigration counter, jumping the queue where everyone else is lining up.
- All passports are stamped, still without passport, you’re escorted through customs, where apparently they can negotiate extra alcohol to bring in (the limit is 1 litre per person), handy for people bringing in wine or spirits for a wedding as it’s more expensive on the island.
- The VIP representative also helps you with all your bags and escorts you to your taxi or waiting car.
The whole process is extremely easy, though at times the procedure is shut down (as of March 2016 the service is under review, it may not be legal). It’s best to contact the VIP service directly to see if it still active.
To prevent kids from melting down in long immigration lines is worth it’s weight in gold however do some research to see if it’s available and worth the risk.
We paid US $20 per person (fee applies to kids also) but the fee may have gone up to $25 per person.
Hire a porter when in Bali with kids
You can always use an extra set of hands going through the airport with kids. There are official porters eagerly awaiting your service as you step out of your taxi or car service at Denpasar International Airport.
Porters conveniently wheel your luggage past security all the way to airport check-in. This includes unloading the car or taxi, loading and unloading your bags through security’s x-ray machine as they have authority to pass through the security gates with a trolley, waiting with you at check-in and unloading your bags onto the check-in conveyor belt.
Getting around in Bali with kids
Traffic in Bali
There’s allot of traffic on the roads. Bikes and cars driving all over the place, so allow some time to get from the airport to your accommodation. What looks like a 30 minute drive on google maps would probably take double the time in heavy traffic.
Car seats in Bali are optional
You will probably find that walking, taxi’s and hiring a driver will be your primary form of transportation getting around Bali. However, car seats are optional. You can bring your car seat and attach it in the car or van you hire. Or hire a car seat during your stay.
Taking taxi’s in Bali with kids
Taxis are readily available and cheap to use. Take a Bluebird “taksi” and make sure you request the meter, unless you are good at negotiating. They generally accept cash in Rupiah only and are the honest ones.
There are other taxi’s disguised as Bluebird taxis we have hopped in them. Some meter’s compared to a Bluebird ran faster. We are talking a few dollars difference. If you know the fare, you can hop in any taxi and negotiate a fare. Walk out if they refuse this amount. As you exit the airport there is a Bali Taxi Counter with the official taxi rate to destinations. This is a pre-paid counter and legitimate.
The latest official rate for a fare from Bali Airport to Seminyak is somewhere between 60,000 – 75,000 IDR. However use this as a guide only. There has been some fuel surcharges and tax increases.
In the evenings if you want to go short distances and a blue bird taxi is nowhere in sight, you may have to negotiate a slightly higher fare. See the Bali Airport site has a guide to official taxi prices in IDR for popular destinations around Bali.
Drivers in Bali with kids
Another little luxury available on a Bali family vacation is hiring a driver for the day or the week. We paid 625,000 IDR (approximately $60 AUD including tip) for a mini van which seated two families in air conditioned comfort.
Expect to pay anywhere between $40-$80AUD a day. The beauty of a driver is that they can take you anywhere you want to go, see our trip to Bali zoo, going at your own pace and making any stops you want along the way. This works out more economical than jumping in taxi’s for bigger trips.
I would recommend contacting your hotel for a recommended driver. Note that, there are no children’s car seats. It’s a free for all. The traffic is crazy, so bring your car seat if you don’t want to chance it.
Use of Strollers and Prams in Bali with kids
If you want to use the pram around the resort and between the airports or strictly inside a hotel or mall. Feel free to bring it. If you have a wedding or taking a long day trip it may come in hand it. However, prams are not really made for getting around Bali.
The footpaths are uneven, narrow and lined with motorbikes. The streets are full of potholes and if you intend to take it shopping, the stroller or pram may not fit in the boutique shops. A baby carrier maybe a better option.
Be careful of motorbikes in Bali with kids
Motorbikes and scooters are the main forms of transportation in Bali and there are lots of them. There appears to be an organised chaos to the road traffic.
Mopeds are zipping in-between cars, truck and vans. Motorbikes are coming on and off footpaths, taking up multiple lanes on streets. Be careful especially when crossing the road, there a few pedestrian crossings or traffic light intersections. It’s a free for all where crossing the road requires a bit of confidence and good judgement.
Generally speaking, the motorbikes slow down and some stop for you. However, on most occasions you need to exercise caution and cross when there is a break in the road. Hold your kids hands firmly, don’t run as they might not stop at all. Calmly and confidently cross the road. Safety in numbers and do as the locals do.
At some places such as resorts, car parks, shops and some restaurants there are traffic wardens whom directs traffic via a whistle and may assist you in crossing the road. There will be more times however however where you need to cross cautiously. With practice you will get the hang of it.
Where to pick up kids supplies in Bali
Supermarkets are cheap and readily available stocked with all the essentials you will need on your holiday including; fresh milk and produce, snacks, nappies, baby toiletries such as toothpaste, shampoo and soap.
All very affordable. If there is a particular brand you are looking for, then bring it over for instance they didn’t carry Huggies nappies but did carry Pampers (which I love).
Most supermarkets stock a range of things you may need such as brushes, bibs, cups, cutlery and clothing. I recommend packing light and picking up your consumables at a supermarket.
All supermarkets are fully stocked and have shopping carts and provide plastic bags. The only little difference is that you have to check your bags in at the front with security, you are given a tag to collect your bags after your shop. So make sure you remember to collect it afterwards.
Supermakets in Seminyak
Located in the Seminyak and within easy reach from Legian area as well, is the easiest to get to if staying in the area. It stocks a good range of products mainly asian and well known european brands and has all that you need for a stay in Seminyak.
They also stock emergency items such as thongs, towels, pool floats, swimwear and household items.
Apparently, it’s a little pricey as it’s a expat and tourist supermarket. I found the prices very reasonable.
Open hours: 7:30am – 11:00pm Address: Jl. Raya Seminyak No. 17, Banjar Badung, Bali 80361 Taxi’s should be able to get you here just by saying “Bintang Supermarket”.
Note: There’s also a smaller Carrefour Supermarket on Jl Iman Bonjo which is harder to get to if staying in Seminyak but prices are lower.
Bali Deli is a “gourmet supermarket” offering selection of pastries, imported meat, cheeses and wines as well as a cafe on site.
A bit more expensive shopping here and may not carry all your kids essential items.[/item]
There is a Circle K Convenience Store open 24 hours on the main street for late night snacks, drinks or emergency items.
Prices are a little higher than the supermarket on par with 7/eleven stores.
Address: Jalan. Abimanyu No. 9A, Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia 80361 (across the road from Favehotel)
Make sure you know how much your items are and count your change. Ask for a receipt. There has been a known scam of short changing or adding an extra item to the final bill by employees.
It’s not much $1-3AUD but are taking you for a ride nevertheless
Supermarkets in Kuta
Kuta offers more of a range with a huge supermarket and the popular Discover Shopping Center located in this area. It’s a short 15-20 minute taxi ride from Seminyak.
Located in Kuta Square in a popular area for shopping is the Matahari Department store. Expands four levels the department store stocks everything from bedding, clothing, cosmetics and household supplies.
There is a smaller supermarket inside as well as a food court. Address: Jalan Bakung Sari, Kuta, Bali, Indonesia
Open Hours: 9:00am – 10:00pm
The largest one is located on Sunset road with a huge range of products with a range of “western” brands as well as fast food options like curries and sushi.
It’s located inside a shopping complex. There are taxi’s readily available and inexpensive.
This is not to be mistaken for the smaller more “local” Carreforre on Jl Iman Bonjo.
Address: Sunset Road, Kuta Open hours: 10:00am to 10:00pm
This is the largest shopping mall in the area and located across from the beach. It contains some well known brands and a recently built section. It’s stores include; Zara, TopShop, Billabong and GAP.
You will find your American fast food chains here such as KFC, Starbucks and McDonalds.
On the top floor there is a paid water splash area as well as indoor play center. The top floor also houses kids clothing shoes and where I found swimming gear such as goggles and floaties.
Prices are very reasonable compared to back home. There is no supermarket but plenty of restaurants and food outlets.
Supermarkets in Ubud
Bintang Supermarket, Ubud
Address: Jl. Raya Sanggingan No.45, Ubud Open hours: 8:00am – 10:00pm
There are also plenty of restaurants and a couple of convenience stores located on the main street.
Bali International Medical Centre (BIMC)
The hotel, resort or villa owner will be able to provide a local GP for medical assistance.
For anything that is more serious or requiring some expert help go straight to BIMC, rather than wait for the hotel GP to direct you there.
Unfortunately we had to take a trip to the BIMC and the standard of the Emergency area is the same as western hospitals. Depending on the amount of people there, the queue is prioritized and you are seen quite quickly. There is also a pharmacy on-site to fill any prescriptions given. Open 24 hours and easily reached. It’s the best option for visitors requiring medical treatment.
Treatment and care is similar to that back home and payment can be made in cash or card. They are extremely experienced in providing documentation for insurance purposes.
Bali International Medical Centre – BIMC Kuta
Address: Bali’s Ngurah Rai bypass road 100 X, with Kuta 80361 zip code.
Phone: (+62 361) 761 263
BIMC offers a 24 hour Medical center with a pharmacy attached. For the more serious incidents, there is also a 24 Accident and Emergency department.
There is one located in Kuta a 15 minute taxi ride from Seminyak. There’s also a BIMC in Nusa Dua
Part of why this was the best holiday ever was that we hired nannies. For the first time since the kids were born, my husband and I were able to enjoy a hot meal together with friends.
We were able to take a swim together and pop down the street for some exploration whilst the kids napped. It was an extra set of hands that we weren’t use to and a bit of freedom at night, whilst they were asleep. Nannies may not be your moral cup of tea, we weren’t very uncomfortable as a “westerner” exploiting the poorer nation. However, If I said everybody does it? Would that be OK? If I said that nannies are part of the tourism industry and if paid well are earning a decent wage for both themselves and their families, would that make you more comfortable?
Fears and anxiety about hiring nannies in Bali
I trawled through forums on whether to hire or not hire a nanny. There are some shocking stories from the eyes of the hirer where nannies stole valuables, quit without notice, neglected or hit a child. I am sure there are equally unwritten stories from the nannies point of view of poor treatment. By the way, the shocking stories are mainly from expats paying their nannies $50 AUD a month. We were quite nervous and anxious about the whole nanny approach.
Questions rattled through my mind like; What if they kidnapped them and sell them? What if your kids ran away? How can you trust them in a foreign country? What if they drowned? These are actually perfectly reasonable concerns.
Hiring nannies in Bali is the best thing ever
Fortunately for us, my friend whom we were travelling with have hired the same nanny before, and I trusted her advice “trust me, it’s awesome”. That’s all the reassurance I needed.
Where to find a nanny in Bali?
Find a nanny through word of mouth. The good ones do not need advertisement. Our nanny was from a friend whom had hired her before. She was not a professional nanny but worked in a market stall and nannying on the side.
Then consult with the hotel or resort you are staying with. Or hire a nanny via a reputable agency the following are well known;
What questions to ask a Bali nanny?
Make sure you are comfortable and ask as many questions to ensure you and the nanny have the right fit.
This maybe through a phone call, via the agency or text and emails before you decide to hire your nanny.
Often through initial contact you can determine:
Some questions to ask a Bali nanny:
- whether they have had any first aid or CPR training?
- whether they are trained or have been exposed to “western” hygiene? e.g. practice washing kids hands before and after meals
- what they feel is the most important thing about looking after kids? e.g. safety, happiness etc.
- how many years experience do they have?
- could they provide references?
- can they can swim? Ours nanny did not and we didn’t mind as we didn’t want the kids to go in the water with them.
- can they provide ID and contact details?
- have they had experience with food allergies and how they would react?
- If there any other major concerns you should ask them here, such as social anxiety, fear of the dark, whether they understand and how would they tackle these concerns.
Note – with nanny agencies, these questions maybe vetted for you. Hiring your own nanny may mean you have to have these questions answered yourself.
How much does a nanny in Bali cost?
The reason why so many people take up a nanny or babysitter is that it is much cheaper than back home where it can be out of reach.
You hear about nannies working for $50 AUD a month, but I would recommend not to extort your nanny. Pay them what you think they are worth and what you can afford.
Remember that it is an added luxury and an expense. It does add up, but the benefit is simply – awesome. Costs of nannies varies on experience and whether they are from an agency or not.
Usually, nannies from agencies, from the hotel or highly sort after nannies are paid a premium, as a rough guide; Bali’s best babysitting website offer nannies for 12 hours at $66 AUD per day.
We paid a 4 million IDR (just under $400 AUD) for a live-in nanny for the two kids for 10 days in Bali or roughly 400,000 IDR a day.
You will need to pay for her lodging (she can stay in a bed in the same room as the kids). As well as her food and beverages. This is a fair price (as of April 2012) though not the cheapest. It’s also not the most expensive, where you can take advantage of the low cost of living without exploiting local workers.
Fair babysitting prices range from 40,000 – 70,000 IDR per hour ($4-7 AUD an hour). Some nannies can cost more depending on experience and where they were sourced from. Those offer by hotels can sometimes charge up to 100,000 IDR an hour ($10 AUD / hour).
What to expect from a nanny in Bali?
If you have an experienced nanny and like me, you are the one not experienced with having any help with the kids.
You will find the nanny will lead the charge with the kids. A good nanny will basically take your kids off your hands as soon as they see the kids. However, if there are things you specifically need or want done then make sure you say this upfront when you first meet her (I say her as it usually is a female).
Show them where the baby essentials are e.g. nappies, clothes and food. Explain to them whether you need them to wear specific things like a hat or sunscreen before going out.
Show them around the hotel or villa. Tell them where they can go or where they can’t go i.e. don’t go in the water with them. Tell them what your kids like to eat, play with or things they like to do. Show them any toys or books you may have packed. Tell them about medications or important things regarding their health such as asthma puffers or allergens. If you want them to prepare meals show them what needs to be done.
Your nanny is a human being as well. Treat them as you would a family or friend and they will do the same with your children. You don’t have to be super chummy with them. But they are there to look after your children and not your servant. That said, I had milton tablets for the kids water bottles that I used each morning to sanitise them each day. My nanny “Mahday” watched me do this once and every morning I would wake to fresh sanitised bottles. Bless.
What nannies in Bali do
Your nanny will be by your children’s side when you need them to be. They will keep them safe. They will be there for the every day things such as changing clothes, changing nappies, putting them down for sleep, feeding and playing with them. Sound good right?
You can be as hands on or as hands off as you wish with the kids. I don’t think we changed one nappy during our stay in Bali. Your nanny is not there to run errands, do your laundry, clean or cook for you.
They can prepare kids meals. Should you need additional things done. Ask them whether they would want to and pay them accordingly. They might be able to help; even if it’s not their primary responsibility.
A live-in nanny would stay with your kids and bunk down with them or in their own room. Our nanny Mahday, would sleep at night when the kids slept. She would even co-sleep with my 3 year old to get an extra hour or so out of her. Indonesians are big fans of co-sleeping so if you have concerns please let them know. For me, it’s A-OK.
What to provide a nanny in Bali
For a live-in nanny, a room or a bed in the kids room. Provide towels and bed lines for your nanny. No sleeping arrangements required for nannies not staying with you. Provide all meals and beverages for your nanny. They might feel we are putting them out with the food. Make them feel welcomed and that they can eat with you or eat the food provided.
Common courtesies for your nanny in Bali
Indonesians are kind hearted and genuine people. Our nanny became a friend. Often, she felt she was intruding on our personal space. Treat them fairly and make them feel at home.
The little things help them feel more at ease, for instance they can take a seat, freely eat the food we offered, help themselves to the fridge and relax when they aren’t needed. Our friends would insist on giving their nanny a newspaper ordering her a drink and to go relax on a lounge for a period of time.
An average day in Bali with a nanny:
Here’s our average day in Bali with Mahday to provide you an insight of how a nanny can work with you in Bali, this is just a rough guide. You may have a different style of travel, this is an example of how it worked for us:
- 5am 20 month daughter would be awake. Mahday, our nanny would already be up and changed (not sure how she did this). She would then take my daughter for a walk on the beach. Our 3 year old would jump into our bed and sleep a little more.
- 6:30-7:00am Everyone’s awake. Our toddler is back from her morning stroll. Mahday has already changed her. Mahday would go and freshen up. We dress our son.
- 8:00am We take the kids and Mahday to breakfast. We meet our friends and their nanny (whom are friends). I would get the kids breakfast from the buffet and the kids would eat. Mahday will get her own breakfast. We feed our two year old, often unsuccessfully. Our 3 year old eats his breakfast. Once Mahday is finished eating. She then takes the kids for a walk. Shane and I eat a hot breakfast together with a cuppa. I then fill up water bottles and collect some food from the buffet (pastries and fruit) for morning tea for the kids and Mahday.
- 9:30am we all walk back to the villas
- 10:00am we get changed into our swimming gear. Our friends arrive with their nanny and child. Mahday helps with the kids gear and sunscreen. We either swim in the villa pool together or in the resort pool. Mahday would sit and watch with her friend. Shane and I take turns swimming with the kids.
- 11:30am Mahday takes 20 month old back to the villa, or if in the villa she gets her changed and some morning tea.
- 12:30 Mahday puts toddler down for a nap. Mahday has a shower and a break whilst our 20 moth girl sleeps.
- 1:30pm We return with our son from the pool to get changed and shower. We order something from room service for the kids and Mahday to eat. We either take our 3 year old son out with us for lunch or he stays with Mahday. This is usually the time Mahday and I are having a chat. What an amazing and interesting life she has lead. Mahday eats lunch. 20 month girl wakes during this time. Mahday changes her and feeds her lunch. Play time with Mahday and our friends before heading out for lunch.
- 3:00pm We come back from lunch or finish lunch and have rest time in the villa
- 3:30pm get changed into swimming gear, Mahday helps with the kids swimming gear and sunscreen and we go to the resort pool or beach for a swim. Mahday has a rest on a lounge somewhere, back at the villa or by the pool.
- 4:30pm When our girl is sick of the pool (never our boy) Mahday takes her for a play or a walk. Sometimes Mahday sits by the pool keeping an eye on the 3 year old whom is just splashing in the shallow end with our toddler whilst Shane and I take a dip together.
- 5:00pm Out of the pool back to the villa. Mahday baths our toddler whilst we shower with our son and get them all changed into PJs. We order room service for 6pm for Mahday and the kids. The kids either stay in the villa, or we all go for a walk on the beach before dinner.
- 6-6:30pm Mahday and our friends child with their Nanny Agung all have dinner in our villa with the kids. The nannies eat dinner.
- 7pm -7:30pm We brush the kids teeth and quickly get ready for dinner out. All the kids are piled into bed and we turn on a DVD to watch. Mahday and Agung finish dinner and sits with the kids. We make a quick escape.
- 8-8:30pm lights out and asleep for the little ones. We would find our 3 year old boy asleep in our bed.
- 10pm Return to the villa. We would find Mahday asleep with our daughter when we returned. We would then move our son back to his bed.
We went for a day trip to Bali Zoo and gave the nannies a paid day off. They returned to their families a little drive away in Sanur and they were really grateful for this.
They returned by dinnertime that night. If you intend on taking day trips, perhaps you can give your nanny a day off.
Our nannies didn’t go into the water with the kiddies as we had a chance to play with them during the day. However, I saw many other nannies at the resort in the water with little ones.
Just make sure you ask if they know how to swim.
Our resort was quite big with enough to explore. As rule, the nannies didn’t exit the resort with the kids, the same would be for your private villa. The furthest they went was up and down the long stretch of beach. This reduced the risk of getting lost or running away.
I am confident Mahday and Agung would have been very capable of handling the kids in town, we just didn’t want to add this to the mix.
Nannies aren’t familiar with western discipline or perhaps not wanting to discipline the kids. If anything they spoil the kids rotten.
In our case the kids lead the nannies to where they wanted to go. They would be redirected or just picked up and carried to somewhere else if they were heading for trouble e.g. a fountain.
I was actually trying to sleep train our daughter (unsuccessfully) on holidays by telling Mahday to let our daughter cry a little bit in her cot. But she preferred not to. So, our girl ended up being held and cuddled to sleep. Perfectly fine on holidays and an example of how lovely they are.
I learnt that Mahday came from nothing. She lost her cousin in a motorbike accident. She is raising her nephew. So, anything you give her helps.
All the toiletries and hotel freebies such as shampoo, soap, shoe horns etc. I gathered in a laundry bag and gave to her. If doing this for your nanny, remember to write a note and your contact details so in the event hotel staff or security check (and they do) they aren’t caught stealing.
Also, just like house keeping or any other service. Tip them generously if you feel they met or exceeded your expectations.
Depending on your nannies preference they may not be accustomed to western food. Perhaps pick up some local food that they are more familiar with. We went to a local warung and ordered some local dishes for our nannies, which they much preferred. Other nannies may welcome the change in food.
Our nannies had local mobile phones which we were able to contact them via a quick text or a call if needed. You can get prepaid SIM card or have your mobile set to global roaming. Alternatively you can check in through the hotel room or villa’s local phone.
Things to doBeaches and fun kids activities
Bali beaches aren’t the prettiest in the world; especially for Aussies spoilt with great beaches. They however will do the job and quite picturesque, with long sandy stretches of beach, warm clear water and perfect at sunset.
The Royal Beach Seminyak is one of a few resorts that is located on Seminyak Beach. It’s a wide stretch of beach popular for locals and tourists alike. Bring some Rupiahs as there are bars and restaurants dotted along the beach. It’s most popular at in the morning and later afternoon.
The sand is blistering hot at midday. Though you can take surfing lessons or go for a paddle on the shore.
It’s a nice stretch of beach, what appeals is that you do feel like you are away in an exotic destination. There’s a constant hum of action with fisherman casting nets, well fed stray dogs taking a walk, small offerings laid out on the sand and local kids flying kites.
Most people aren’t swimming in the ocean but back in the resort pools, there are large waves at times and we’re told strong currents. Most people are taking strolls along the beach. You can hire beach chairs on the beach if the resort doesn’t provide them. Otherwise there is limited shade for the kids and sun is quite hot.
Legian beach is just as nice as Seminyak with the same relaxed vibe. You will also find a selection of restaurants and bar fronting the beach. Pull up a beanbag and watch the sunset with a tasty libation in hand.
Very much like Seminyak Beach in looks, there are also restaurants and bars fronting the beach. Kuta is heavily populated and there’s more hustle and bustle.
Kids can get their hair braided. Beach hawkers are selling anything from hand made kites, massages, pedicures, trinkets, sarongs, toys and beers. You will be hard pressed to not get approached. There are hawkers everywhere along the beaches in Bali. However the more persistent ones are on Kuta beach.
Stay for the experience, test out your bartering skills and enjoy a beach sunset. Once you’ve helped some ladies out you can kindly turn down anymore offers and they will get the drift.
A quiet seaside popular families due to the calmness of the water. A coral reef shelters the beach from large surf breaks.
Sanur is a sleeply little place with not allot going on and more popular with locals.
It’s OK and great if you want to mix it up a little or wanting a small rest stop when travelling back from day tripping Ubud. Unfortunately, Sanur does not offer a beach sunset, these can be found along the west coast such as Kuta, Seminyak and Legian.
For a list of beaches check out the CNN Travel list of the top 5 beaches.
Bali activities for kidsBest things to do with kids in Bali
Bali activities for kidsBest things to do with kids in Bali
Relax and take it easy or visit the many attractions set up for kids:
Bali Safari and Marine Park with kids
It’s a bit of a distance to get to Bali Safari & Marine Park, located at Jalan Professor Doktor Ida Bagus Mantra about 44 minutes from Seminyak and requires a full day trip.
As with the Bali Zoo, hire a driver for the day. You can pet tigers, go on a safari to see African animals, feed zebras and watch “educational shows” with animals.
There is also a water park and a “fun zone” complete with roller coaster. I think with this Zoo attraction, you either do Bali Zoo or Bali Safari and Marine Park. Read about my review of Bali Safari Marine Park with Kids here.
Prices start from $49 and adult and $39 for each child ages 3-12. Kids are 3 are free for the standard “Jungle Hopper” package.
The packages go up from there with different inclusions such as photo opportunities, VIP seating at shows and different safari journeys.
My detailed review of Bali Safari and Marine Park with kids here.
Bali Zoo with kids
Bali zoo is a unique experience and allot of fun for the kids. Where else can you feed all sorts of animals such as crocodiles, elephants and tigers for a fiver!
It’s worth a visit Check out my full of Bali Zoo here.
Ubud Rice Terraces in Bali with kids
Though not specifically a kid activity, Ubud is a beautiful place to go exploring with your kids in tow. Just don’t do as I do and lose it with your son at on of the most serene places in Bali.
Hire a driver and swing by nearby Ubud for lunch and explore. There is a small fee of 5,000 Rp per person and kids were free payable to the roadside toll officer, whom will chase you down.
There are also people collecting small fees inside the rice terraces, whilst it’s optional bring a little extra and give freely. A little goes a long way for these folk.
The rice terraces are narrow, steep and is a little tricky with very young kids (3 and under) which requires kids in arms or if you have a harness this could come in handy.
After your explore the valley of the rice terraces, you make your way back up towards the exit amongst the shops, restaurants and cafes which overlook the rice terraces. Here’s where you can capture a nice family photo or sit down and cool off with a beverage and soak in the serenity.
Elephant Safari Park in Bali with kids
Located in Taro, Ubud the Elephant Safari Park has a hotel onsite where the elephants pick guests up right at their villa door and you escorted on elephant to dinner.
Day trippers can ride elephants through the jungle and water, there’s an elephant show and opportunities to feed and meet baby elephants. You can also ride elephants at Bali Zoo and Bali Safari and Marine Park.
Ethical treatment of elephants
Readers have informed me that elephant riding is not ethical. If you love these magnificent beasts and wish them to be treated humanely, then choose not to ride. Or at least google “Elephant Crushing” a training technique which force elephants into a submissive state by caging them, beating them and depriving them of food and water to eventually get them ready for humans to ride them. It’s a contentious topic, tourist operators need to make money to live, elephants have no jungle left to go and the tourism industry is the one viable trade for both man an elephant, but perhaps there is a more humane way where we are happy to see them from afar.
Bali Waterbom Park
Located in Kuta, Bali Waterbom Park boasts to be Asia’s biggest water park. It offers slides of all different variety’s, a lazy river, pools and kids under 2 are free. They have a paid towel service as well as lockers and gazebo’s for hire.
The prices seem steep for Bali standards but very good compared to “Wet n Wild” back home. Looks as though it’s tailored for the older kids. With two little ones, they are just as happy in a pool, anywhere.
Sacred Monkey Forest in Bali with kids
Located near Ubud is the Sacred Monkey Forest, you can go explore the dense jungle, visit temples and feed the resident monkeys some bananas. This attraction can easily be done when visiting Ubud and The Bali rice terraces of Tegalagang.
There is a cost of 20,000 Rp per adult and 10,000 per child (a little under $2/$1 AUD).
Watch your items and keep them hidden, unless you want them to be swiped. I’m not a big fan of monkey’s all over you and I think my kiddies might get a bit scared. However, the jungle and temple looks awesome and lucky the monkeys are damn cute!
TIP – for a quick snap of a monkey
Have your driver park in the car park by the entrance to the Sacred Monkey Forest and there will be lots of monkey’s lurking. Be quick as you will be told that the car park is only for fee paying guests and they will hazing monkeys via sling shot, to shoo them away from your camera and back into the official part of the paid monkey forest.
Tanah Lot Bali with kids
Purah Tanah Lot Bali is a 40 minute drive from Seminyak and an easy place to stop with kids for a quick visit. It’s super touristy with tacky souvenirs and beach vendors selling everything from kites to instant digital prints.
Whilst the crowds dilute the temple experience a little. It’s worth a quick trip to introduce the kids to a little Balinese culture without getting complete vacant stares. There is plenty to keep kids engaged and entertained from holy sea snakes in a cave, rock pools to discover and neat little trinkets to barter for.
Then there is the beauty. There’s a reason why Tanah Lot Bali is such a visited hotspot. The temple sit a atop it’s own rocky islet like a floating Bonsai Garden, only accessible in the low tide. The sunsets are amazing, capturing the silhouette of the temple island with the sun setting out at sea. See a complete review of Tanah Lot with kids here.
Places to eat & drink in Bali with kids
Where to eat with kids in Seminyak
Jalan Petitenget 51 B, Kerobokan, Bali
Eclectically decorated with a relaxed vibe. Potato Head is a great place for a bite and a drink.
The food is like the atmosphere a refined casualness to it. It’s a popular tourist hang out. Take note that prices are similar to a upmarket cafe back home, so a tad pricey in terms of eating out in Bali. However the service is great and the view is delicious.
Bring your bathers for a dip in the pool and enjoy the great vibes. Kids were welcomed and running around or swimming in the pool. Potato Head is a short cab ride from Seminyak. Visit Potato Head website for more details.
Ku De Ta
Jalan Kayu Aya Number 9, Bali, Seminyak
My favourite place and a short taxi ride from Seminyak. It’s perched high on a hill on the beach offering a great spot to drink cocktails and enjoy the sunset.
It gets very busy near sunset, so get their well before to claim a good spot. The menu is relaxed offering finger food such as pizza’s and oysters. The prices are high for Indonesia but not breaking the bank compared to back home. There’s an eclectic mix of locals, people with more money then sense (spotted gold lamaze swimsuit and very high heels) as well as families and fellow Aussie travellers.
Kids are welcomed and were seen lounging around and playing with toys that the occasional hawker would sell. Incidentally they don’t bother you as security keeps them at bay. Though if you want to buy something, they can be waved over from the beach. Check out Ku De Ta website for more details.
Jalan Laksmana, Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia
Located on Seminyaks ‘Eat Street’ (Jalan Laksmana) is a casual eatery open 24 hours. A great casual diner with fast orders, good service, affordable prices, clean and tasty food. Worth a stop in with the kids.
Try their tasty burgers and fries. There are also fresh juices, ice-teas and milkshakes that can be ordered in a take-away cup to prevent spillage. There are also burger sliders for the little ones.
Jalan Laksmana Oberoi No 100x, Seminyak, Indonesia
Also located on Seminyak’s ‘Eat Street’ a couple of doors from Ultimo (bit more posh) is a very family friendly Italian restaurant with reasonable prices.
The pastas and pizzas are delivous. Go for dinner not lunch. Lunch service is a bit average. It gets pretty busy that they have an overflow across the street. Check out Trattoria website here.
Metis is a french fusion restaurant with a very elegant outdoor courtyard and garden setting. The sheltered dining patio overlooks a large lotus ponds and rice fields. A paved path lead guests to a gazebo and also a great little place for kids to explore whilst waiting for their meals.
Children are most welcomed and are offered a sophisticated kids menu with some favourites like pizza, spaghetti or fish and chips with a refined twist.
Prices are on par with the upper scale restaurants back home which means it’s quite expensive for Bail. Servings are very generous, exceptionally plated and very tasty.
Jalan Laksmana, Seminyak square, Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia
The Junction is located at at the bottom of Eat Street at the intersection before Seminyak Square. It offers great food in a casual setting.
Very family friendly and lots of choices for breakfast, brunch and lunch.
Jalan Laksmana, Bali, Indonesia
Inexpensive and clean local Indonesian food right in the middle of “Eat Street” in Seminyak a couple of shops down from Trattoria. It’s not very fancy with no air conditioning, but the locals eat here, it’s very cheap and family friendly.
You will find the taxi drivers are having a drink and a meal here. Pick up some local food for nannies here.
Jalan Petitenget No 21, Kerobokan, Kerobokan, Bali
Sardine’s restaurant overlooks it’s own rice paddy. Dine on the catch of the day and watch the kiddies run around the green rice fields. A whole grilled fish meal would set you back 145,000 Rp (aprox $14.50AUD). Affordable fare in a beautiful green setting. Opened for lunch and stays open for dinner late daily.
Check out Sardine Restaurant website here.
This place is great, it’s like walking into kitchy Miami Beach in the heart of Bali. With party vibes during the evening. Take the kids for a mexican style lunch in the sprawling grounds of Motel Mexicola.
Kids can have a play, visit the chapel and be entertained by the weird and wonderful decor.
Where to eat with kids in Jimbaran Bay
Sandara, Four Seasons Resort
Four Seasons Resort at Jimbaran Bay, Jimbaran, Kuta Selatan
Almost all the seafood in Bali is supplied from Jimbaran Bay. For seafood lovers head to Sundara at the Four Seasons resort in Jimbaran Bay and feast on seafood served straight out of the sea to your plate.
The best part is that you can dine right on the beach at sunset, watch the kid build sandcastles as you enjoy good food whilst the sun goes down.
Where to eat in Ubud with kids
Jalan Raya Sanggingan, Ubud, Bali
BBQ is the speciality at Naughty Nuris, there is also branch in Seminyak however Ubud is the original and the best. Feast on char grilled BBQ dishes such as baby back ribs, grilled chicken, satay skewers and pork chops.
If BBQ isn’t your thing, it also offers proper Indonesian fare all in a relaxed, kid friendly setting and easy on the budget.
Warung Babi Guling Ibu Oka 3, Suckling Pig
Jalan Tegal Sari No2, Ubud
Ubud is famous for it’s suckling pig dish and it’s a tourist restaurant for sure. Our experience of Warung Babi Guling was pretty good, though it’s an acquired taste.
I prefer my crackling more crunchier (western). Still, the pig was moist and delicious and it was cheap without any Bali Belly consequences.
Worth a try if in the area. A meal cost 60,000 IDR. It’s a little hard to get to, down a long lane-way, keep following the signs. If in doubt ask for directions. There’s usually people, mostly tourists coming or going from there.
There’s also a Ibu Oka 1 and Ibu Oka 3. Ibu Oka 1 is right on the main street, packed to the rafters. If you can get a seat, the pig looks good there.Have I left anything out? We are heading back to Bali in September and I’ll update this guide with more photos and attractions. If you have any suggestions please comment below.