Life of 6

Bali with kids, triplets plus one

Hello, as promised I would share all the places we visited, including those that we spontaneously discovered or had planned to see but couldn’t fit in.  My approach to Bali was to explore it by area: Uluwatu-Jimbaran, Nusa Dua, Sanur, Canggu, Candidasa, Ubud and areas beyond central Bali.  I am not going to discuss the Kuta-Legian-Seminyak-Kerobokan area because that’s the main tourist spot and its been covered to death by other bloggers.  We mostly stayed outside of this area and I felt it was more pleasant because we dealt with less traffic jams, less crowds and it was just nicer to explore different parts of Bali outside of the more known areas. We stayed for two weeks so we could really take it slow and visited lots of places.  We mostly concentrated on hitting as many  beaches as possible so I feel if you don’t really like beaches, then you might not really like my blog post on Bali.  Bali is humongous and we actually barely scratched the surface.  If you are there for a shorter duration, then you might want to focus on just 2-3 areas to explore and sight-see.

First things first, where we stayed?

Due to our family size, we went with Airbnb and picked a villa in the Uluwatu-Jimbaran area because I wanted to be close to the southern Bukit beaches known for their azure stretches of water. However, if you decide to stay here, know that you are going to spend quite bit of time in traffic if you try to travel outside of the area.  We paid about $100 a night for a 3-room villa with a nice-sized pool and it came with daily breakfast and daily housekeeping.  The housekeeper arrives everyday at 8am to make breakfast and leaves by 10am when she has done her chores so we had plenty of privacy.  We had lunch and dinner outside everyday because its Bali, there’s an endless array of good food. She also arranged our laundry (laundry and ironing costs $5-8 for a week of clothing for a family of six). The villa provided an option of hiring their driver+ 8-seater car which I hired for the entire trip and it came up to about $30 a day.  I don’t really want to recommend our specific villa to you because I feel its not suited for families with small kids. We did have a lovely time, and our housekeeper and driver were wonderful, helpful and friendly, but the villa itself has many features that I found unsafe for small children.  However, if you still want to go ahead, you can look for Sebelas Villa in Airbnb.  If you wish to stay in a villa in Bali and want a quieter area but still accessible to food and amenities, I recommend areas in Uluwatu-Jimbaran, Sanur or Ubud.  We also recommend our driver Mr Made who can be reached at +6285934775790 via Whatsapp.  If he has not engaged by someone staying at the villa, he can be engaged on a freelance basis.  His English isn’t the best so its easier to communicate in Malay.

 

Uluwatu-Jimbaran

This area is known for their insanely beautiful blue beaches and rock cliffs, known collectively as Bukit Beaches.  I shall divide these Bukit Beaches into inaccessible and accessible.  By inaccessible I mean you need to be really fit to be able to hike up and down uneven terrain like rocks and slippery steps.  The waves tend to be really strong in the morning and will start calming down around 3pm.  They are also great beaches to view sunsets.  Understand that there are vendors at most of Bali’s beaches so you can easily just rent a sun-bed with an umbrella for shade and have vendors bring you food and drinks.  The going-rate for renting sun-beds at any beach in Bali is $5 for 3 hours.

Accessible beaches: 

  1. Pandawa beach: There’s a swing right on the beach to take nice photos
  2. Balangan beach
  3. Dreamland beach

Inaccessible beaches:

  1. Padang-padang: One of the easier inaccessible beaches, requiring only about 100 or so steps to climb up and down.  Gets quite crowded because it was made famous by the movie Eat, Pray, Love.
  2. Bingin beach: Also requiring about 150-200 steps to climb
  3. Tegal Wangi beach:  This beach has natural jacuzzis you could sit in (though don’t go in if the waves are strong)
  4. Blue point or Suluban beach
  5. Nyang-nyang beach
  6. Uluwatu beach

Beach clubs:

  1. Karma beach club: Check in advance before making a reservation.  Their cable-car to get to the beach is often under-going maintenance.
  2. Sundays beach club

Sight-seeing or shopping:

  1. Visit Uluwatu temple and watch a Kecak performance in the evening

Where to eat:

  1. Balique
  2. Stop! Makan! Yuk! warung
  3. Nyoman cafe
  4. Choose any of the seafood restaurants lining Jimbaran beach
  5. JFC (Jaya Fried Chicken)

 

Nusa Dua

Nusa Dua is shaped like a peninsula so the beaches here are calm.  Waters are perfect for children to play in.  However the tides here go out really fast like around 1-3pm, which isn’t really a problem technically because you can walk onto the beach and explore marine life when the tide washes out.  The area is lined with luxury resorts so the food and shopping here is all a little different to the rest of the island.

Accessible Beaches:

  1. Nusa Dua beach
  2. Tanjong Benoa beach
  3. Geger beach
  4. Gunung payung beach

Beach clubs:

  1. Agendaz Nusa Dua

Sight-seeing or shopping:

  1. Bali Collection:  Everything here is REALLY expensive.  Of special interest is a boutique selling really beautiful clothes using hand-made Balinese fabrics called Alun-Alun Indonesia just next to Starbucks.
  2. Get some hair-pampering for yourself and your kid at the Shampoo Lounge inside the Bali Collection.
  3. Just outside the Nusa Dua beach area, there are rows of street vendors selling souvenirs and clothes.

Where to eat:

  1. For those interested to try Babi Guling, there is a famous warung in the area called Warung Sari Dewi.  It is typically crowded so avoid lunch-time crowds.  It closes at 5pm and during Balinese religious holidays.

 

Sanur

Sanur is a sea-side town.  I wouldn’t say the beaches are great for swimming or sunbathing because the sand isn’t fine and the shoreline is a tad dirty and less pristine.  But its nice for a walk, to eat on the beachfront or to take a perahu boat-ride.

Accessible Beaches

  1. Pantai Indah beach
  2. Bias Tugel beach
  3. Sanur beach

Sight-seeing or shopping:

  1. Ask a boatman to take you on a glass-bottomed boat tour to explore coral reefs and marine life in the area.
  2. The entire town of Sanur is lined with endless spas so you can take your pick.  We chose The Nest, Beachside Spa because it was right on the beachfront and they had kiddie manicures.  Reservations must be made in advance!
  3. Hardy’s (also available in other locations around Bali): Skip the haggling and buy all your souvenirs and clothes here.  Its like an outlet store for all the things sold by street vendors except prices are already at their lowest so there is no need to deal with bargaining.
  4. Jalan Danau Tamblingan is where most of the action is at in terms of shopping, cafes, bars and restaurant.

Where to eat:

  1. Warung Lilla
  2. Warung Little Bird

 

Canggu

Canggu is going through immense hipsterization, if there’s such a term for it.  Though the correct term would be gentrification.  Hipsters are invading this area like nobody’s business.  The beaches here are meh because the sands are dark, volcanic sand but sunsets are lovely in the evening.  But its a great place to do cafe-hopping.

Accessible Beaches

  1. Berawa beach
  2. Batu Bolong beach
  3. Echo beach
  4. Pantai Kayu putih

Beach clubs:

  1. Finns beach club

Sight-seeing or shopping:

  1. Visit Tanah Lot temple

Where to eat:

  1. La Laguna: We loved this bohemian-inspired restuarant SO MUCH.  Even if you don’t eat here, go for the atmosphere.  I highly recommend going during sunset.  The view is breath-taking.
  2. Monsieur Spoon
  3. Milk and Madu
  4. The Lawn
  5. Crate

 

Candidasa

Candidasa is a little out along Eastern Bali so expect longer travel-time to get there.  There’s plenty of sight-seeing to do here if you enjoy looking at temple complexes and discovering local culture.

Accessible Beaches

  1. Amed beach
  2. Pasir Putih beach

Sight-seeing or shopping:

  1. Visit Goa Lawah temple
  2. Visit Lempuyang temple
  3. Visit Candidasa Lotus Lagoon
  4. Visit Taman Ujung water palace
  5. Visit Tirta Gangga water gardens

Where to eat:

  1. Warung Padang Kecag

 

Ubud

Most tourists who do not stay in Kuta, would typically stay in Ubud.  Hotels, villas and restaurants here have breath-taking views of rice-terraces, mountainous back-drops and just endless greenery.  This isn’t a place to find beaches but there is still lots to explore.

Sight-seeing or shopping:

  1. Visit Bali Bird Park:  You should try to find discounted tickets online, its quite expensive but worth a visit.
  2. Visit Sukuwati Art Market
  3. Do a bali swing
  4. Visit Tegalalang rice terrace
  5. Visit Jatiluwih rice terrace
  6. Visit the Monkey Forest
  7. Visit the Goa Gajah caves
  8. Do the Campuhan Ridge walk
  9. Cycle through the rice paddies
  10. Visit Tirta Empul water temple
  11. Visit Tegenungan waterfall — only recommended for those with good fitness levels
  12. Shopping can be done along Jalan Hanoman, Jalan Monkey Forest or Jalan Goutama

Where to eat:

  1. Bebek di tepi sawah:  We loveeeeed this restaurant
  2. Bebek Bengil
  3. Warung Ibu Oka for babi guling
  4. Petani restaurant
  5. Maha restaurant:  They have free-roaming bunnies
  6. Sari Organik

 

Areas beyond central Bali

I wanted to go to Nusa Lembongan island and Nusa Penida island by cruise-boat but scrapped the idea.  Nice to go as a couple but not recommended if you have little ones in tow.

Lots of people also take fast-boats to the Gili islands.  I really don’t recommend this at all.  Its better to fly into Lombok and get to Gili by ferry from Lombok.  There have been many fast-boats accidents from Bali because the boats travel through extremely choppy waters.  I read one account where a boat literally crashed into a pile of tall rocks and everyone survived but companies who operated these fast-boats refused to take responsibility for the accident and tourists on the boat found their luggages rummaged through with money and personal items missing.  Sounds like a nightmare.

If you can wake up at 3am and take a 3 hour car-ride to Lovina, you can take a boat-ride out to Lovina beach and watch dolphins.

 

Recommended places to visit that I did not mention above

Krishna outlet store in Tuban:  This was where I bought all the girls dresses for $2-3.  It is just like Hardy’s but a lot cheaper and has in fact, caused many Hardy’s outlets to close down.

Bale Udang Mang Engking:  Lovely place to eat lunch or dinner.

Jalan Sulawesi for really cheap Balinese fabric shopping

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