They call it the Island Of The Gods, and for good reason. There is no other place quite like it. There is a special vibe, an authentic essence that touches and inspires visitors from all over the world.
If you love shopping for clothes, jewellery, unique wooden and artistic items, listening to live music, or indulging in yummy food and drinks, massages, pedicures and manicures, all at amazing prices, then Bali is definitely a place you should visit.
Plan your trip:
Bali is generally a fantastic place to visit year round, so the best time to visit Bali really comes down to your own personal preference. July and August are usually the busiest times of the peak season, with many families holidaying during school holidays, and the same can be said for the Christmas and New Year period. Off-peak season is usually cheaper and some of the best deals can be found between March and October.
As a tropical destination, Bali’s weather is generally considered to be fairly mild and pleasant year round, however the major seasonal difference falls between the wet and dry seasons. The wet season falls from November to April and is a little hotter and definitely more humid, with brief but heavy torrential rainfall during the day. The dry season falls from May to October and is certainly thought of as one of the best times to visit Bali.
Choose your location:
There are literally THOUSANDS of options on where to stay in Bali. It is said that the best locations for families to stay, or visit are:
Seminyak – Is the trendy part of Bali with more upmarket bars, designer clothing, great restaurants and beach front dining.
Sanur – Has safer and cleaner beaches. The water is protected by a reef and there is a nice string of restaurants and shops that sit along the beach.
Ubud – Is country side and the arts and cultural hub of the island. It’s also cooler than the coast and provides a good base for exploring the central and northern parts of Bali.
Jimbaran – Is very close to the airport (you can sit on the beach and watch the plans land in the distance). It’s great if you’d like to spend your first day or two relaxing by the pool. The beach is also quite clean, and a safer option with small waves for the kids to play in.
Nusa Dua – Is where you’ll find the big resorts and a lovely stretch of beaches with water sports and lots more to do. The disadvantage is that you’re far from the main attractions of Bali. But if you’re only looking for a beach vacation, beautiful resorts, and kids’ clubs, then Nusa Dua is perfect.
Kuta – Most people end up in Kuta at some point,even if only for a day trip. Kuta is a place to have fun, eat good food, shop at one of the many malls or the black markets, and enjoy some of the nearby tourist attractions or tours. This is where you will find some of your cheapest shopping if you know how to barter well.
Book your accommodation:
Hotels & Resorts
These range from two to five stars and can be traditional Balinese themed, or standard décor that feels more like home. Some have kids clubs, restaurants, water parks and lots more to cater to your every need. You could easily stay at the resort and not leave until it’s time to head home.
BnB & Homestay
If you want to have insight into family life in Bali, try staying with a Balinese family who have opened their traditional family compound to guests from other countries. They provide breakfast, lunch and dinner – Balinese or Western style.
This would be the most popular option for families. Villas range in sizes and usually sleep up to six people. They are fully equipped with bathrooms in each bedroom and usually have their own pool and kitchenette. The villas often have their own butler who will clean the villa daily and you can pay them to cook meals, book your tours and loads more.
Prepare for Customs
Be prepared to pay US $35 per person (inc children) for when you arrive at the customs office. You only need to fill in one customs entry form per family.
You will then go through customs, before you can collect your bags and then they will all be scanned. You will then see heaps of drivers with names ready to collect you if you have booked, or you can negotiate with a driver on arrival.
To exit the country the departure tax has been abolished. Have your passport ready at all times, you must show passport prior to going to check-in counter, you then have your second security checkpoint where you can have no more liquids. You and your carry on are then scanned, you get your customs departure stamp. You then wait at departure gate – don’t buy any liquids or consume immediately as you have one more security screening to get into another departure area.
They will then go through your carry on, line you up in male and female lines and everyone gets a body pat down before you get into your final departure area before you board the plane.
You have people wanting to carry your bags, offer you transport and book you on tours.
Pick your transportation:
Walking: The fastest way to get anywhere close-by is by walking. The roads are very slow and when travelling by car, you usually won’t go any faster than 40 kilometres an hour as the traffic gets very congested. It isn’t very pram friendly, so bring a sling or carrier for little ones or a fold down umbrella stroller.
Renting a Moped: Mopeds are the most popular mode of transport, but is not recommended unless you like to live on the dangerous side of life. Hire is about $5 per day and fuel is about 80 cents per litre. You can also hop on the back of a moped with a Balinese stranger for about $3 for a trip.
Renting a Car: Renting a vehicle in Bali is easy. Driving in Bali is not. Driving in Bali is crazy.
Hiring a Taxi: Taxi and hired driver and car are the easiest, safest and most recommended way for tourists to get around Bali. They will not have car seats so if you need one you’ll need to bring your own or hold your child in your arms.
When taking a taxi, always ask them to put on the taxi metre or negotiate a price before you hop in. When hiring a driver and car, a full day will cost about $50 and they will drive you wherever you want to go, and wait for you to shop etc. They will also do small trips (30-60 minute one way trip) for about $7.
For hired car and driver or a taxi, ask at your hotel or walk out on the street and you’ll be asked by someone within a few moments. This is the same at the airport.
Taking a Bemo – Basically a Bemo is a pickup people mover with seats in the back. Rides can be long, slow, and hot. At the same time they can be a lot of fun and offer a taste of a local custom.
Using a Kura-Kura Bus – This is the new option in Bali. This is also a slower option, but much more affordable (from $2 per trip). There are three types of tickets – the Kura-Kura coin for single trips; the Value Card with pre-loaded credit; and the Day Pass for unlimited travel for one, three, five or seven days. The buses run from Legian, Jimbaran, South Nusa Dua, Nusa Dua, Sanur, Seminyak and Ubud.
See www.kura2bus.com for ticket prices and locations.
Stay tuned for our next Bree’s Family Passport where Bree shares the top things for families to see, do and try while in Bali.