Travels // Bali, Indonesia
I turned 40 in June and when I started thinking about how I wanted to celebrate there was really only one answer in the end. After a tough couple of years I needed a proper break. So for my 40th birthday hubby and I spent a week in Bali. A whole week just the two of us, without our children.
This was our fourth time in Bali and our first with just the two of us. We were able to have quite a different holiday without our kids (thanks to our parents!). It sounds obvious I know but holidaying as a family for us means doing activities that keep (mostly) everyone happy, but mainly the kids, because, as we all know, happy kids = happy parents. It was really easy to slip into life BC = before children. You know, getting up when you want, doing what you want, when you want. I really missed that freedom and spontaneity which you somewhat (mostly) lose when you're responsible for keeping two humans alive! So this time around we were able to be completely selfish and really able to enjoy all that Bali has to offer.
For those travelling to Bali with kids I have included information for you too. We adore Bali and the Balinese people so we see it as a regular destination for our family. When Lola is out of that "gotta watch her like a hawk" toddler stage, we will be back. I would love to know if this helps you with your own Bali trip or has got you thinking about making it your next holiday destination - with or without kids!! Enjoy the read.
Besides the obvious attraction of consistent warm weather, amazing food and cheap Bintangs Bali is such an easy holiday destination, only 5 hours away flying direct from Adelaide with Jetstar. Virgin used to fly Adelaide to Bali direct but they stopped flying this route which is such a shame because you really are limited to Jetstar's flights (unless you want to stop over in Melbourne or Sydney). We left on a Friday night at 7:30pm, arriving into Denpasar approximately 11pm local time. Our return flight was the midnight flight which I would strongly advise against if you are travelling with small children!
Our return flight was 11:50pm (got delayed to 1:05am), arriving in Adelaide at 6:30am. I have done this flight twice with Max at 6 months and 9 months of age but I wouldn't do this flight with Lola (Max is now 6 and would be OK). I got ZERO sleep on our way back this time and my head didn't hit the pillow until 8:30pm the following day. If you're flying solo or as a couple or with older children it's fine if you can sleep when you arrive home. That said, plenty of families do this trip with small kids so don't let me put you off. It always comes down to the individual child (and the parents!!). I have heard that Jetstar are introducing (or have already introduced) midday return flights from Denpasar to Adelaide. Hope this is true?!
We spent our first four nights at the Seminyak Beach Resort and Spa. The Seminyak is a beachfront resort in the heart of Seminyak. You can expect all that a 5 star resort has to offer - spa, bar, restaurant, room service, fantastic buffet breakfast and beautiful tropical grounds. We especially loved the infinity pool (which looks out onto Seminyak beach), the buffet breakfast and the location, Ku De Ta is next door and Sea Circus and Motel Mexicola are both a short walk away. The spa is absolutely amazing and worth the money (much better than the $10 joint across the road trust me!!). If you visit Seminyak try and have a massage here, it was one of the best spa experiences we've ever had. Whilst the resort seemed to be frequented mainly by couples, there were a few families with small children as well.
The following three nights we spent in Canggu at Theanna Eco Villa and Spa. Theanna was a very different experience to Seminyak. Where Seminyak Beach Resort and Spa is a big and busy resort, Theanna offers private villa accommodation with the services and facilities of a larger resort such as infinity pool, spa, bar, restaurant, room service etc. It's much quieter (only people aged 16 and over are allowed), probably because all the villas have their own pool, but we liked that after a busy few days in Seminyak. Canggu is about 15/20 minutes from Seminyak by car, depending on the traffic which can be pretty bad for a small island! Canggu has a slower pace than Seminyak which is why we chose to stay here again. It's close to bars and restaurants, and a 10-15 minute walk to Old Man's at Batu Bolong Beach. This is a pretty busy surf beach, and Old Man's is perfectly laid back with good vibes and good food. We were in Canggu about 5 years ago and we were shocked at the amount of development since then. It was once a quiet (but very cool) part of Bali mostly where ex-pats live but it's now turning into the new and edgy Seminyak.
If you've never been to Bali you might be surprised that the food is top notch (side note: fourth time in Bali and never been sick, not even a sore tummy). We ate some seriously good food!
One thing Bali does well (amongst other things) are beachfront bars and restaurants. Seriously good. I often wonder why we can't do the same thing in Adelaide. For drinks you can't go past Ku De Ta and Potato Head with the latter being my favourite. Both are family friendly which is what I love about Bali, kids are always welcome wherever you go. Potato Head calls itself the 'home of tropical modernism'. It's worth going just for the architecture alone.
In Seminyak my favourite dinner was Merah Putih (thanks to my best friends recommendation). If you eat anywhere in Seminyak make it this place (if you hire a babysitter save it for this place!). You'll pay western prices but it's worth every cent. The food is simply amazing, can't rave about this place enough. And they make the best margaritas! My fave place for lunch is Sea Circus. I love this place! The food is mostly Mexican but they have lots of other options and every time I've been the food has been of a really high standard. They do the best smoothies, kombucha and the healthiest salad bowls (if you need a break from the hot chips). Motel Mexicola is pretty crazy! It does great Mexican with a great vibe and the craziest, most colourful interior I've ever laid eyes on. It's worth going just to see inside! Feel a touch of pride as it was designed by local Adelaide boys, Studio Gram. Adelaide represent!
In Canggu Old Man's at Batu Bolong Beach is the perfect laid back spot for great pub style food and wasting away an afternoon (or whole day!). Footwear is optional...slap a nappy on your wee ones and let them run wild and free. Deus Temple is a fave of ours (hubby is a big fan of motorbikes so we always visit when in Bali), we had drinks here on our walk back to Theanna. it serves up food and drinks while a DJ plays some cool beats (can I still say beats at 40?!). Deus have got the mix of retail space with food and drinks and music just right. Those guys know their brand well. We ate at a few different little cafes in Canggu but the one worth mentioning is Dandelion, located roughly opposite Theanna. We ate here twice and got talking to one of the owners and we were so chuffed to hear the place is run by Balinese! (A lot of the top notch eateries in Bali are run by Aussies). It's simple and good quality Balinese and Indonesian food and the service is friendly and attentive. It's busy every night, you can eat under the stars on the rooftop or let the kids run around on the ground level on a warm, balmy night. Get the kids to look out for the resident bunny rabbit! On our way back from Batu Bolong Beach we noticed so many new places but we just didn't have time to fit them all into our 3 days here. The Slow offers new architecturally designed luxury accommodation in Canggu and looks like a very hip place to eat and stay. Not sure how kid friendly it is, might be a good one for Mum and Dad while the babysitter does their thing.
We didn't do a whole lot of shopping because #cocktails. Priorities, people! Haha. I like to go for a wander on my own (hubby seriously cramps my style..."do you really need that?" or "come back and get it later" NO...this never happens!! So dear husband, go to the bar, and leave me to shop :-) but that said, I didn't do too much shopping. While the weather wasn't too humid it's not ideal shopping in the heat of the day.
Kim Soo in Seminyak is worth visiting, just to visit the store itself. Grab yourself (or hubby) a coffee and while you're wandering around the concept store, head to the back and you'll find a pool and lounge chairs. It looks like a movie set! In reality, it was probably a villa before it became a retail space. I visited Bali Boat Shed for the first time, opposite Motel Mexicola, just a short walk from Sea Circus. You'll find mens and womens clothing, swimwear and accessories such as Fallen Broken Street hats. I bought a cute little dress here, lots of colour and patterns to rock in a warm climate.
In Canggu, Bungalow Living Bali is a favourite, and not just because it's owned by my friend, Giovanna. It's won local awards, offering a great range of locally made homewares, accessories, furniture and the popular cafe does great coffee, smoothies, and superb vegetarian food. It's worth a visit. Say hi to Giovanna for me!
We discovered Isha Naturals on one of our walks around Canggu (not an easy feat due to the lack of footpaths). A beautiful monochrome and minimalistic space, quite unusual amongst all the colour and vibrancy of Bali. You'll find all natural, vegan skincare, soaps, room sprays, essential oils and eco friendly household products. They don't deliver outside of Indonesia which is such a shame as their products are divine.
So that wraps up our week in Bali. We can't wait to go back! June was the perfect time to visit as the weather wasn't too hot or humid. It averaged about 28c every day and was mostly sunny and warm without the oppressive humidity Bali is known for.
I would love to know if you found this useful. This isn't a sponsored post, I just love to share our travels and adventures with you. I hope it helps you plan your next Bali getaway!