Traveling to Bali is on many people’s bucket list. It is regarded as one of the most romantic places in the world. In fact, Dewey and I visited in 2004 for our honeymoon. We fell in love with Bali and the Balinese people and always dreamed of returning one day.
Fast forward ten years and a glass of wine or two and we decided to book a trip to Bali with Evan very last minute. Whenever we mentioned where we were going, the first question out of people’s mouths was “You are taking Evan? To Bali? Is Bali good for kids?”
While Bali isn’t one of the usual trips that people from North America make with their children, it is very popular for Australian families. The cultural and animal activities on the island are very kid friendly and could keep you busy for much longer than you will probably stay for your vacation.
So why don’t more people visit Bali with their kids?
Our total travel time from Calgary to Bali was just over 26 hours. We flew from Calgary to Vancover to Taipei to Denpassar. Over all, Evan dealt with the flights really well. Kids have the good fortune of being smaller so they can sleep in an airline seat much easier than their taller parents. International flights have great inflight entertainment options so Evan was kept entertained when he wasn’t sleeping. I packed lots of snacks since he slept through a few of the meals served on the plane or didn’t eat them because he didn’t like the food. Thankfully, most meals were served with bread and butter so he would eat at least that.
The (Perceived) Cost
Many people were surprised when I said that our trip will most likely cost about the same or slightly more than a trip to Mexico. Now, we do stay at nice resorts in Mexico so it is not equivalent to a last minute sell off of a 2 star resort but it can be reasonably affordable. As I mentioned, we booked very last minute (within 2 weeks of departure). Our flights were around $4100 for the three of us. Flights are the one portion of your trip that you have very little control over. Most flights are very similar in price and duration. Once you are in Bali, however, you can spend as little or as much as you want. One of our favorite hotels that we have stayed in was around $50 Canadian per night. You can spend less than that or decidedly more depending on how fancy you want to go and what amenities you require. Our “must haves” were a pool, beach access (if near the beach), air conditioning and free Wifi.
Food can also be a very minimal cost with a little bit of leg work. Most of our hotels included a free breakfast. I highly recommend this option as it usually gives you great options and you aren’t left looking for food first thing in the morning when you are hangry (angry because you are hungry). Even without free breakfast, you can easily feed your family of four for under $150 per day and have great food. In fact, one of our favorite meals rang in at just over $15 Canadian for the 3 of us including beer!
Bali is a foreign country half way around the world. Given that, there are inherent dangers. Before we left, we visited the travel health clinic and made sure our vaccinations for Hep A, Hep B, Typhoid and Tetanus were up to date. Honestly, though, we should have had most of those updated to go to Mexico. Bali is a very safe place. There can be petty theft in crowded areas (like most cities) and they do drive on the left so crossing the street can be dicey if you look the wrong way. Driving is a bit crazy as well but hiring a driver is very inexpensive and suggested.
Will the Kids Like It?
Evan has seen our trip to Bali as a huge adventure. As with any trip with children, we’ve had our ups and downs. If he is tired he gets sad and says he misses home. He has also gotten a bit tired of the food tasting different than he is used to. However, these moments are fleeting. Dewey and I have had to remember that we cannot push him to go, go, go like we usually do on a trip. Overall, though, he has loved it and we have loved seeing one of our favorite places in the world through his eyes.
He will never forget getting to see the macaques at the Monkey Forest in Ubud or riding an elephant at the Bali Safari and Marine Park. Though I still think his favorite part is getting to drink red Fanta.
So while Bali IS one of the most romantic places in the world to visit, it is also a great place to bring your kids.
Over the next few weeks, I will review the places we stayed and things we did. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section.