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Grand Escapades’ Travel Guide To Bali

Rice Terraces near Sidemen

Bali – The Perfect Travel Destination With A Baby!

Itinerary And Time Of The Visit

We spent two weeks in Bali in the first half of April 2019. The first week, we rented a very comfortable villa in Seminyak, and discovered the more popular, more touristy south of Bali: Seminyak of course, Pura Tanah Lot & Ganggu, Pura Luhur Ulu Watu and the Breaks of Ulu Watu, but also Pura Tirta Empul & Pura Gunung Kawi north of Ubud (we skipped Ubud altogether).

Then we took a speedboat to Gili Air where we stayed 2 days, went to Amed 3 days to scuba dive on the USS Liberty Shipwreck and to discover Pura Penataran Agung Lempuyang & Taman Tirta Gangga, and last but not least spent 2 days in Sidemen in the middle of the Rice Terraces.

Why Travel To Bali?

There are many reasons why Bali should be on your list even though this is one of the most popular and touristy destinations in the world…

  • It is a beautiful island with so much to see and discover and so friendly people! You can easily spend 3 weeks there and not see it all!
  • Though touristy, you can still find places away from the masses (do not be mistaken, you will not be Off The Beaten Track!)
  • Our main motivation was to find a place easy to travel for our first long-hawl trip with a nine month old baby. And Bali turned out to be an amazing choice! People were so nice and helpful when they saw Jules, who actually turned into a local Rock Star, drawing an incredible attention everywhere we went. Bali is easy (you find everything you need for a baby – food, diapers, baby chairs in many restaurants, …), safe and pleasant to travel with a baby or a small child. That would be actually one of the best places to recommend to parents with young children.

Challenges In The Organization Of The Trip – What Would I Have Wished To Know?

Being one of the most popular touristic area in Asia, Bali is extremely easy to travel and there is a wealth of current, reliable information on organizing a trip there and on the things to do. It was definitely one of the easiest trips to organize so far! Nonetheless, these points were not clear to me beforehand:

  • No, it is not difficult to drive in Bali, I would even argue that it is probably one of the easiest places in Asia, maybe with Sri Lanka. But due to the heavy traffic, moving around is slow, very slow! We averaged approx. 28-30 km/h, and we had a car with driver.
  • Bali is immensely popular, especially the south of the island, and escaping the masses is a real challenge. If you wish to be in places with less tourists, avoid as much as you can the south of the island (of course, if you are there to party, then this might not be the most sensible advice…). For more popular places, go as early morning as you can to avoid busloads of tourists. And mass tourism is slowly but surely taking its toll. Many temples are no longer accessible for visitors for instance.
  • Last but not least, beware that though there are ATM almost everywhere, you can only withdraw a limited amount of money (mostly limited to 100 € per withdrawal). So if you have fix fees on each withdrawal, it might be an expensive option. Changing money is easy, but beware of offers with very high rates: most of them are scams, and yes, we had problems with one of them (they are very talented at getting money disappear when they hand over cash).

Highlights Of The Trip

  • The Rice Terraces of Sidemen – splurging at Sawah Indah Villa, walking through the Rice Terraces, being the only tourist at Sidemen’s Daily Market, …
  • Discovering numerous and so different temples throughout Bali – Be there very early if you want to avoid the masses!
  • Being the only tourists at Jimbaran Fish Market and spending several hours watching huge baskets of the catch of the day changing hand…
  • Watching world class surfers on the Breaks of Ulu Watu
  • Relaxing on some beautiful beaches all around the island and on Gili Air. Beware that the current might be too strong for young children at quite a few of them.
  • Scuba Diving on the USS Liberty Shipwreck, probably one of the most accessible shipwrecks in the world…

How To Go Off The Beaten Track?

Do not be mistaken, you will not be Off The Beaten Track in Bali… But it is easier than I thought to escape the crowds… With a baby and only two weeks at hand, we decided to stick to the more popular parts of the islands, but as soon as we left the south, we encountered far less visitors.

And we didn’t try the more remote, less traveled parts, like Nusa Penida (which would have been top of my list if we hadn’t had a baby) or the north and west of the island.

What Will I Especially Remember?

  • Friendly people, especially when they saw 9 month old Jules
  • A clean and very well-kept island, far from what I experienced elsewhere in Asia
  • A huge traffic jam – Bali’s road are simply overloaded
  • A relaxed feeling – Bali is a great place to chill out and is extremely easy and safe to travel

What Would We Do Differently?

  • Stay longer in Bali – Though it is not a big island, there is a lot to do and see and you can easily spend 3 weeks or more there.
  • Focus more on the less visited parts of the island, like Nusa Penida, the North and the West of the island.
  • Use a scooter as a mean of transport… But of course, that was not doable with our baby (or we didn’t dare thinking about it)!

Best Time To Visit Bali

April was a great time, as it is still low season and in the meantime the end of the rainy season, so the island is lush and green. But from what I understand, Bali can be visited at any time of the year…

Communication (Language Barrier?)

English is widely spoken in Bali, and communication extremely easy.

Getting Around In Bali

A scooter is the best way to move around Bali: there is a lot of traffic so you will be quicker. And people are friendly and extremely disciplined on the road, unlike most Asian countries, so it is really safe to drive.

If you prefer a car, it is extremely easy and cheap to find a car with driver – This can be organized at any place of the island on short notice. It is convenient and comfortable. But beware that due to the traffic jams, you will average 28-30 km/h…

Red Tape

It is extremely easy to travel to Bali, and you do not need any visa as a European Citizen if you stay less then 30 days. Immigration was quick and straightforward.

Conclusion About Bali…

I must admit that Bali was not top of my list only a few months back: too touristy, too much On The Beaten Track… I discovered a place ideal as young parents, and it was a great place to travel with a baby, both easy and relaxed and offering lots of things to do and see.

Bali can cater for all budgets and all expectations, and still offers some possibilities to escape the crowds… or to join the masses if you are in a party mood.

 

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