7 of the best things to do with kids in Bali, Indonesia

Famous for its beaches, volcanoes and dazzlingly lush paddy fields, the island of Bali is Indonesia’s most popular destination, and with good reason.

It’s also incredibly friendly, and a growing number of travelers are booking family holidays there. Here’s everything you need to know about exploring Bali with kids, whether you’re traveling with a toddler in tow or visiting with a gaggle of tweens.

Is Bali good for kids?

Bali ranks as one of Asia’s most child-friendly destinations. It’s safe and cheap, and Balinese people, who are famously friendly, absolutely love children. Almost all large hotels will have childcare facilities and offer babysitting services, and there are plenty of Airbnbs (and other rental properties) for families who want to go the self-catering route. Additionally, parents with newborns will be relieved to know that most restaurants, beach clubs and supermarkets have been designed to accommodate strollers.

The diversity of Bali’s landscapes also means there’s no shortage of destinations for every type of family, whether it’s couples with newborns or parents holidaying with hard-to-please tweens and teens.

A father and son look at crafts in a market
Bali’s friendly markets offer crafts, souvenirs and great kids’ toys © galitskaya / Getty Images

Where is the best place in Bali for kids?

This is a tricky one, simply because Bali as a whole is a great choice for anyone planning a family-friendly vacation. Sanur is just one of the best destinations for children, on account of the lack of crowds and the large number of clean, palm-fringed beaches. It also has some great hotels, many of which offer a wide range of water sports.

Other fantastic destinations for children include Ubud, which has a growing number of family-friendly resorts, and Uluwatu, a crowd-free region in Southern Bali, which is filled with paddy fields and volcanoes – perfect for kids who want to connect with nature.

Best things to do in Bali with babies and toddlers

Hang out in Sanur

Sanur’s laid-back vibe is perfect for parents traveling with toddlers and babies. It’s easily accessible – just a 20-minute taxi ride from the international airport – and known for its crowd-free golden beaches. It’s less crowded than hot spots such as Kuta and Seminyak, which means it’s a great spot for families, and many of the restaurants and hotels here are independently owned, so they’re significantly cheaper. A paved walkway connects the area’s most popular beaches – perfect if you’re pushing a stroller – and there are a wide range of water sports.

Make use of Bali’s kids clubs

A growing number of Bali hotels – and we’re not just talking about five-star resorts – have kids clubs, and some of these will offer day passes to visitors staying elsewhere. The best kids clubs include the one at Renaissance Bali Uluwatu Resort & Spa, where your little tourists can hang out in a treehouse-themed hideaway and sign up for dozens of events, including face-painting, kids’ yoga and swimming competitions, and the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay, which has the Umah Rare Kids’ Club. There’s a big focus on sustainability here, and the club has been furnished with items that are locally sourced and plastic-free.

Coasters, waterslides and water rides in a water park
Waterbom is the ultimate family day out in Bali © Evgeny Drablenkov / Shutterstock

Best things to do in Bali with school-age kids

Make a splash at Waterbom Bali

This huge water park in the heart of Kuta is one of the largest in Asia, and it’s a great place for families – especially during the warmer months (although families wondering about the best time to visit should know that rainy season shouldn’t be ruled out – showers are short and sweet and the weather remains warm).

There are rides at Waterbom for visitors of all ages, and the gazebos, some of which come with concierge service, make great bases for families spending the entire day at the park (check out the premium Pool Edge or Pool View gazebos – you’ll get power outlets and free food and drink delivery, and you’ll be next to one of the park’s many pools). Attractions at the water park include the 250m-long (820ft) Constrictor tube slide, Pipeline, which is a transparent, high-speed water slide, the park’s Lazy River and the Flow Rider standing wave – perfect for those keen to hang 10 while minimizing the risk of a wipeout.

Shop until you (or your kids) drop at Bali’s markets

Shopping in Bali is a seriously fun activity for visitors of all ages, especially if you head to one of the island’s colorful markets. Kids will love checking out the handmade toys and rainbow-hued pottery at the Tegallalang Handicraft Centre near Ubud. Sukawati Art Market, which is close to both Kuta and Denpasar, is a great place to pick up some local art, and Kuta Market is where you’ll find those all-important “I love Bali” bags alongside handmade jewelry, children’s toys and sarongs. Its proximity to Kuta Beach (and its various beachfront food stalls) means there are plenty of options for when energy levels flag.

Check out Frankenstein’s Laboratory

This sounds like an odd suggestion, but bear with us. Described as Bali’s only monster-themed restaurant and cabaret (in reality, it was always unlikely there would be more than one), Frankenstein’s Laboratory, which you’ll find in Kuta, is a great spot for tourists of all ages. The restaurant’s menu serves up everything from classic burgers, pizzas and salads to Indonesian specialties, there’s a dedicated kids’ menu, and the venue’s cocktails – both alcoholic and non-alcoholic –  are served in test tubes. The daily cabaret performances in the morning and afternoon feature characters from Beetlejuice and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and there’s a Disney Villains show specifically for younger guests.

Two boys sit on the wall outside a temple looking at two monkeys
Remind children to respect local wildlife © Smith Photographers / Getty Images

Best things to do in Bali with tweens and teenagers

Hang out at a Bali beach club

While not all Bali beach clubs allow children, a growing number do. Kuta’s enormous Atlas Beach Club, which you’ll find on Berawa Beach to the west of Denpasar, strikes that unusual balance of being a fantastic option for groups of friends, but brilliantly kid-friendly, too – kids with a height of under 120cm (47 inches) enter for free. A vast range of cuisines, from pizza and pasta to Indonesian delicacies such as cassava fritters, ensures fussy eaters won’t go hungry, and there’s a dedicated kids’ pool with slides. Non-stop entertainment, including stilt walkers and magicians, will help keep boredom at bay.

Other great options include Uluwatu’s Sunday Beach Club, which has water sports, live music and bonfires on the beach, and Kuta’s Azul Bali Beach Club – a treehouse-like venue close to the beach with a packed calendar of kid-friendly events, including pizza-making masterclasses.

See beneath the waves with a snorkel or diving experience

Bali is one of the world’s best places to scuba dive – and we’re not just talking about adults. Children aged 10 or over can become certified PADI divers, but don’t panic if your kids are younger. They can sign up for PADI Bubblemaker courses – short sessions designed to familiarize children aged 8 and over with scuba diving equipment. Parents with youngsters who want to venture underwater but aren’t quite ready for a PADI experience should check out Bali Seawalker (you’ll find it next to the Grand Mirage Resort in Sanur), where you – and your kids – can explore beneath the waves after donning an airtight, transparent helmet which provides oxygen via an air hose. It’s available for anyone aged between 7 and 70.

Alternatively, start with a snorkeling session. Some of the best spots for snorkeling in Bali include Nusa Dua, where the Nusa Dua reef prevents rough currents, and Jemeluk Bay in East Bali. Here, the waters are teeming with marine life – including Napoleon wrasse and rainbow-hued tropical fish – and there’s no shortage of local fishers offering snorkeling tours in their traditional jukung outriggers.

Planning tips

Always ask what family-friendly amenities are offered by your hotel, whether it’s a five-star resort or a smaller property. Bali hotels are generally incredibly family-friendly, and not all services and perks are advertised.

If you’re traveling during rainy season, pack wet weather gear for day trips, and if you’re planning an outdoor activity such as a hike, make sure you have an indoor alternative – such as a visit to a beach club or an indoor market – as a back-up.

Bali is one of the best places to see wildlife, but it’s important to encourage children to respect wild animals, no matter how curious they get. This is especially relevant when it comes to monkeys – in Bali, primates are often fed by irresponsible tourists, and some have become aggressive as a result. Keep food and drink out of sight of monkeys, and encourage children to do the same.

Don’t be afraid to go on a hike; just do your research beforehand. Many of Bali’s most spectacular walking routes are paved, and there are plenty of short, easy routes for hikers-in-training.

Opting for budget accommodation? For a one-off treat, consider buying a day pass to a swanky five-star resort. Some of Bali’s most family-friendly resorts – including ones such as the Four Seasons Bali at Jimbaran Bay – will offer these, providing access to the beach, pools and other amenities.

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