An exotic island paradise rich with culture, hospitality, adventure, and beautiful sights, Bali is a wonderful place for family travel. Whether you’re after sand, sea, or jungle, activities run the gamut for travelers of all ages. What’s more, when it comes to accommodations, there’s no shortage of spacious rooms, five-star service, and impressive views. Don’t let the distance be an issue — Bali is worth traveling for, and your memories will last a lifetime.
Here are 10 must-do activities for families planning a Bali getaway.
A world-renowed surfing venue since the 1970s, Bali is the place to learn how to surf. The Rip Curl School of Surf, which caters to kiddies, absolute beginners, and advanced riders, offers lessons in three locations on the island: Legian, Sanur, and Jimbaran. Reputable, safe, and professional, the school has taught kids as young as 4 and those as old as 78 (children under the age of 12 are required to take private lessons). The school also offers kitesurfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, and stand-up paddle (SUP) classes.
Located in Bali’s central highlands, Bedugul offers cooler weather and beautiful scenery. Spend a day exploring the area’s mountains, lakes, and waterfalls; the Pura Ulun Danu Bratan (water temple on the shores of Lake Bratan); and the Bedugul Botanical Gardens. Strawberry picking is popular in this area from July to September. Thrill-seekers should head to Bali Treetop Adventure Park for a ropes and adventure course, catering to all skill levels.
Spend a day with hosts Wayan and Puspa of Paon Bali Cooking Class to learn the art of Balinese cooking. Participants visit the market and learn to identify Balinese spices, fruits and vegetables, then make their way to the village rice fields to observe and interact with local farmers. Finally, everyone is welcomed into Wayan and Puspa’s home for a nine-course cooking and eating experience.
Named the best water park in all of Asia (and third best in the world) by TripAdvisor’s 2015 Traveler’s Choice Awards, Waterbom is clean, safe, and full of fun for the whole family. Young kids will enjoy the water cannons and body slides in the well-supervised Funtastic Kids area, while older kids might want to try their hand at some of the park’s more extreme slides, such as the Boomerang or Green Vipers. Arrive early in order to avoid long lines, and reserve a private gazebo for shade, privacy, and a nice place to relax and have a bite.
With more than 1,000 birds (250 species), Bali Bird Park is sure to delight all audiences. The park is home to birds from Asia, South America, Africa and Australia. Cassowaries, cranes, storks, and pelicans wander freely through the park, and you can get up close and personal with friendly wreathed hornbills and cockatoos.
Situated in the lush forest surrounding Ubud, the Green School is built almost entirely of bamboo, with open-walled classrooms, organic plantation fields, solar panels, a mud-wrestling pit, and much more. Described by the UN Secretary General in 2014 as “the most unique and impressive school” he has ever visited, the school itself is an amazing site. Its goals are equally impressive: It aims to prepare its students to be the green leaders of tomorrow via studies and creative arts teaching.
For a relaxed beach day in a stunning setting, head to Finn’s Beach Club, which is part of the Semara Resort near Uluwatu. Purchase a day pass for access to all non-motorized watersports (snorkeling, SUP, kayaking, and more), a restaurant voucher, and towels. The club is upscale, but also very kid-friendly. Entry is free for children under 12.
No visit to Bali would be complete without a stroll through Ubud’s Monkey Forest. Both a nature reserve and temple complex, the forest is home to more than 600 long-tailed macaques. While the playful monkeys steal the show, keep a close eye on your belongings — they like to snatch snacks!
If you are in town on a Sunday, head to KuDeTa Beach Club in Seminyak for a family-friendly brunch and plenty of activities for young kids, including arts and crafts, face painting, and bouncy castles. KuDeTa is one of the most well-established, famous beach clubs in Bali.
Bali has a great range of whitewater rafting. The Telaga Waja provides a thrilling ride, while the Ayung River is tame enough for the younger crowd. With 20-plus years of experience, Sobek Rafting is known for its safety and excellent instruction.
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Editor’s Note: Photos by Loren Braunohler unless otherwise noted.
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