This guest post is from Kris Gadsby at Gadsventure. She is part of an Australian family that is traveling the world for a couple years – something close to my heart. This guide to Bali with a family might have you ready to do the same – or at least ready to take an adventurous, yet relaxing, vacation.
Where to Stay in Bali with a Family
Bali is such a great place to take your family on holiday. Mild weather, friendly people, and fantastic food combined with so many fun things to do makes Bali our top spot for a trip with kids.
But when you are considering where to stay in Bali with a family you may be overwhelmed with so many different options. What are all these different districts? Here is the low down on each of the popular parts on the main island of Bali and why you would want to stay at each with your family.
While you are there, check out these five adventures for families in Bali.
A trip to Kuta during the day is a wonderfully bustling place, full of atmosphere and excitement. It offers fantastic markets, (make sure you bargain hard), awesome places to eat, and the somber Bali bomb memorial. There is even a McDonald’s or two for the difficult-to-feed kids.
The beach is busy and families love to visit Kuta to experience the thrill of learning to surf with waves suitable for beginners. Kuta is also home to Asia’s number-one waterpark – Waterbom which is definitely worth coming for!
The area around Kuta Beach comes alive at night with a party atmosphere and plenty of nightclubs, which makes it a haven for the Bali backpacker scene. With my young brood, I prefer to stay elsewhere but I love to visit Kuta during the day.
Seminyak and Legian
The next suburbs just around the bay to the northwest of Kuta are the wonderful Seminyak and Legian. This place is a step up from Kuta in terms of accommodation cost and classiness, but its awesome boutique shops, fabulous restaurants, and exciting beach bars make it a firm favorite among all types of holidaymakers.
With everything just a short stroll away from your beachfront hotel or stylish villa, staying in Seminyak or Legian makes sense for those who want a nice fun break without having to travel too far. Walk out your door and there are taxis waiting to take you wherever you go, (use Bluebird taxi or Grab) but be warned that thanks to the increasing numbers of tourists, there are many more cars in Seminyak than the narrow streets can really handle.
If you want to leave the area for a look around the countryside, make sure you time it right, or else traveling only a short distance can get very frustrating indeed. Early morning up until around 2 p.m. seems to be the best time for traffic. Anything between 4 pm and 9 pm is pretty much mayhem!
Fun things to do in Seminyak and Legian include shopping, eating, getting a massage, yoga, and visiting some kitschy tourist spots such as Upside Down World.
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This is our family’s favorite place to stay in Bali. We love the range of huge villas in a semi-rural area, interspersed by scenic rice paddies. You can avoid the hustle of Seminyak if you wish, and instead spend your days chilling poolside in your luxury, fully-staffed house which is cheaper here than in other parts of Bali.
There are a lot of expats living in Canggu so with that comes an incredible array of restaurants and cafes. The beach bar of La Laguna is definitely worth checking out for its festival atmosphere at sunset. (Make sure you book a table here). La Laguna is one of my favorite places to watch the sunset in Bali!
Also in Canggu, there are great kid-friendly attractions such as the Canggu Club, which includes a sprawling waterpark and a massive trampoline center. I really love being close to Echo Beach and Tanah Lot for stunning vistas and peaceful day trips.
My husband loves the surf here. It’s pretty good from January to June for intermediate surfers. From Canggu, everything is nice and close. It is a fantastic, centrally located, quiet, cheap, and fun area to stay. Winning!
Ubud is supremely wonderful. It is elevated in the jungle meaning it enjoys fewer mosquitoes and lower heat and humidity than the rest of the places on the coast.
Thanks to the movie, Eat, Pray, Love starring Julia Roberts being set here though, accommodation prices have skyrocketed! (If you are one of the few people who haven’t read the book by Elizabeth Gilbert, get it here.)
It is the place for yoga retreats, vegan cafés, and alternative schools. There is a monkey forest, the Bali Zoo close by, stunning jungle temples, and enough waterfalls to keep you occupied for days. Just get to the waterfalls early, before the crowds of tourists arrive for their Instagram-worthy shot.
We find staying slightly outside of Ubud gives you the best of both worlds with the great temperature, and access to Ubud’s special culture, while still being nice and cheap.
You can always get a taxi, a car and driver, or a motorbike. Gojek offers motorbike taxis as well as food delivery, and Grab is like Asia’s answer to Uber. Download the apps before you go. Be assured though, getting around is easy.
Staying in Sanur gives you a beautiful flat beach populated by fishing boats with a fun esplanade lined with shops and restaurants. There are some beautiful and dated big resorts, and quaint villas to be found here and it is known as the original tourist mecca of old Bali.
From Sanur you can catch a boat over to the other islands such as the Gilli group, Nusa Penida, and Nusa Lembongan. Sanur would be a great place to stay if you wanted to do lots of day trips out to sea for island hopping, diving, and snorkeling.
The east coast beach is super flat and safe for the kids to swim and play and the fresh seafood will keep the parents happy too!
Further south, the Bukit Peninsula is the funny little knob that hangs off the bottom of Bali. Here you can expect to find the big resorts of Nusa Dua, the clifftop village, and the pounding surf of Uluwatu, glorious white sand beaches including Bingin and Balangan, as well as enough decent waves to keep the surfer in your life very happy indeed.
The cliff-top entrances and narrow paths down to the rocky cove at Uluwatu could make some parents nervous, and so could the large surf at times. Other beaches have such intriguing rock formations that make them interesting and exciting for the kids to explore. The beach at Jimbaran is another great place to while away an evening eating the freshest seafood with your toes in the sand while the kids run amok close by.
Accommodation here can range from cliff-top luxurious villas and resorts to precarious wooden surf shacks. The cheaper villas will have amazing views of the sea but will be a fair hike from anything else. These sorts of places will usually come with a full complement of staff though, so you can always get what you need delivered.
It is recommended to get a motorbike if you stay down in this area. The roads are here a lot quieter than in the more populated parts of Kuta and Seminyak and a motorbike makes you able to be independent. We once waited over an hour for a taxi to come and pick us up from the Rock Bar, but getting down there in the first place was no problem at all. The Bukit Peninsula offers great scenery and impressive views, and the Uluwatu Temple is not to be missed. If you don’t stay down this way, definitely do a day trip for sure.
One option that we have done in the past with our family of six is to spend our time evenly between a couple of spots. So, six nights in Canggu with the next six nights in Uluwatu for example. This way you sort of get the best of both worlds and don’t have to travel far for day trips.
Our next trip to Bali is a month long so our accommodation will range from a homestay on the Bukit Peninsula near Jimbaran, to private pool villas in Canggu and Sanur respectively, as well as a homestay close to Ubud.
This post tells you all about finding a villa in Bali.
Kris Gadsby writes at Gadsventure: We are an Australian family of six from North Queensland who decided to sell all of our belongings, throw caution to the wind and take our family travelling worldwide for the next couple of years. You can follow us at Gadsventure.com, Instagram, and Facebook.