In all the blogs I have ever read on Bali it paints a picture of a tranquil, spiritual and relaxing place to visit not only as a single person or as a couple, but with children too. With this in mind, I wanted to find out if this actually the real deal or just tourist hype? Having built an expectation in my head of a relaxing easy trip, could turn out different to my expectations?
When we booked our accommodation we decided to stay in two different places in Bali to essentially experience two different types of holidays on this island. This article covers Ubud, for Nusa Dua please read our article here.
The first area we chose to stay in was Ubud, Ubud is a place you could imagine living, it’s exactly like all the picture postcards you have ever seen. The other benefit of staying in Ubud is that you are very close to the attractions like Monkey Forest, Bird Park, Zoo, Rice Terraces, and Temples.
We chose Airbnb accommodation for this part of our trip which was advertised as a private villa with a swimming pool. The villa was exactly that, very private and away from the busy noisy roads but a nice pleasant enough walk into the town centre. Our Airbnb host (Made) was amazing and looked after us for our entire stay, we stayed for 5 nights and to be honest, we could have stayed there for longer.
Part way through our Ubud stay, we chose to hire a driver for a full day to drive us around the island. We decided on the itinery and he took us to four places we really wanted to visit.
Recommend places to take the kids:
Monkey Forest – There are two Monkey Forests in Ubud, one in the centre of Ubud called “Ubud Monkey Forest” or the one we recommend which is quieter and certainly more picturesque the “Sangeh Monkey Forest” which located about 25 min drive out of the centre of Ubud. As a family, we were really excited to go to the Monkey Forest but unfortunately in the “Ubud Monkey Forest” it’s definitely not a place to take a pram, there are so many stairs and so many people. We will post a video on our feed for you to take a look.
As we walked into the “Ubud Monkey Forest” there were a few people on there way out and we overheard them saying they had been bitten by the monkeys so we were very wary going in with two young a curious children. There are a few warning signs around the place telling you how to behave around the monkeys, so as long as you observe those rules you should be fine. It’s a very beautiful place to visit and walk around and if you want a few different scenic photos then this is the place to go if you can that ‘great’ shot away from the crowds.
The second Monkey Forest (Sangeh Monkey Forest) was great for taking a pram around, it is much smaller than “Ubud Monkey Forest” but feels more authentic. The Monkeys are much more friendlier and it’s not as busy. This would be our recommendation if travelling with young children.
This is a great park to take children of all ages. We had the two prams with us again and managed to walk around very easily.
The great thing is about this bird park is that the do birds that interact with you and they have many different sessions such as Lory & Pelican feeding. Our children really enjoyed coming to this park and at the end of the tour, there’s a cafe with a few toys to keep the kids entertained.
The one negative is the price, for us this was at the higher end of our budget and for a family of four it cost us $150 NZD.
The Cultural side of Bali:
Tirta Empul temple – This is a Hindu Balinese water temple located near the town of Tampaksiringonly, The temple compound consists of a petirtaan or bathing structure, famous for its holy spring water, where Balinese Hindus go to for ritual purification. If your feeling adventurous enough get into the very cold fresh water yourself.
Whilst it did seem very ritualistic and cleansing, it to us seemed like a cliche backpacker gimmick to be ‘cleansed’, and whilst not taking anything away from the Balinese culture, you can’t help but feel it has been turned into a tourist communal bath, but you make your own mind up.
Goa Gajah – Elephant Cave – To reach the entrance of the cave, you need to walk down a long flight of stairs. There is not an accessible entrance. The inside of the temple is small and usually has trails of white smoke from the incense burning. It feels like your on the set of an Indiana Jones movie.
Visitors wearing shorts will be issued a sarong to tie around the waist before entering the courtyard. There is a lovely bush/garden area to walk around and people selling food/drinks along the way. We spent a little over an hour here then on the walk back up needed to stop at one of the restaurants for a drink.
Tegallalang Rice Terraces – From a distance they are stunning, absolutely beautiful and somewhat relaxing to look at, but for board children there’s not a lot to do here, I would go before dusk and grab a seat at many of the amazing cafes that line the terrace, grab some dinner, give the kids an iPad, have a wine and relax. It’s a beautiful view to look at and much easier than dragging the children around.
Tegenungan Waterfall – Scenic waterfall in a lush jungle setting above a shallow bathing area, with cafes nearby. It’s another area that will require little ones to be in a carrier and there are several steps to get down to the waterfall. If you don’t have the right footwear don’t risk it.
If you liked this you might also be interested in Nusa Dua, Bali what to see & do with children.
Or where we stayed in Nusa Dua: Review of Sofitel Resort in Nusa Dua Bali.