Wednesday, November 13, 2013

10 Things to do in Bali with kids; Off the beaten path.

Here are 10 things you can do in Bali with the kids.


1. Taman Nusa, Gianyar
The centre is not just about Bali. It's a cultural centre about Indonesia. It's a great place to do a crash course on Indonesian culture and architecture. There are also dances and performances. The entrance fees include a guided tour. Please allocate at least half a day to tour this place. When we went, some museums are not ready yet. Nevertheless, it took us almost 3 hours to tour the whole place.

2. Stay in Bambu Indah

Bambu Indah is in Desa Sayan, which is about 15 minutes drive to Ubud. They provide free shuttle to Ubud in the morning and evening. There are many activities you can do here. We took the tour and visited the bamboo factory, Green School and Green Village. It's really inspiring to learn about John Hardy's work in Green School and learn about bamboo architecture and great designs in Green Village. We also visited John Hardy's jewellery factory and learn how they made jewellery from recycled silver. Kids were briefed on the process from the design to the finished item. It's really interesting to see how detail each piece of jewellery is and how much work was put on each piece. The tour is free. But you need to pay for the transportation to the factory.

If you don't feel like doing any tour, you can just chill and enjoy the surroundings. There's plenty of things to do in Bambu Indah to occupy kids and adult. Kids' favourite was climbing the coconut tree and swinging into the pool. I highly recommend the nature walk. The trail was quite easy. Bambu Indah is a perfect place to reconnect with nature. To get a peek of a day in Bambu Indah, watch the video here

3. Architecture course, PT Bambu.
It's a 2 hours course. Even if you are not staying in Bambu Indah, you can still sign up for this course. My kids love it. Moko, the instructor was really patient and good with the kids. In fact, my eldest who was very reluctant in the beginning, told me he wanted to learn more about architecture after the course. So that was good news to me :-) Get more information here.

This is one of our favorite hang out places. It is in front of a football field, along Monkey Forest Road. Apart from great books, there are many courses offered here. The cost is much cheaper than in other place. 

5. Learn Surfing
Legian beach is a great place to learn surfing. The beach is clean and not so crowded. I asked for a few quotations before we went to Bali but I was a bit hesitant to sign up and pay upfront as I wasn't sure whether the kids would like surfing. And I wasn't sure about the logistics too. Thankfully we found UP2U surfing school which is within walking distance from our hotel. The great thing about UP2U is the surfing classes are held on Legian beach itself. That saves the trouble of commuting from one place to another. Their rate is very reasonable. In fact, it was the cheapest in comparison to all the prices I have been quoted earlier. 
And they are very good with kids. That's a huge bonus. My kids were standing on the board within the 1st hour. Kids were really thrilled. Once they are standing, they will be asking for more. Paul, the owner of UP2U did warn us and apologized in the beginning for creating a monster out of the kids. A surfing monster. So be prepared :-)

6. Cultural immersion. Get to know the locals. 
Ibu Lemong teaching the girls how to make Sampiang Kemang. I think this is harder than origami. She patiently taught the girls the different type of patterns. There's so much work put into preparing the daily offerings. You will see them everywhere. I asked her, where exactly should you put these offerings. She told me, anywhere. Because God is everywhere :-)

7. Volunteer
I am a strong believer of giving back to the society. We try to volunteer every time we travel. The experience and the knowledge gained from volunteering is more than what we gave. 

Kids doing composting as part of their volunteering in Friends of National Park, Nusa Penida.

8.Reconnect with nature
Nothing beats the adrenalin rush of reconnecting with nature. The untouched beauty of Tembeling Forest, Nusa Penida.

9. Visit an agriculture park.
We went to Manik Abian but I think there are many more agriculture parks you can go. Kids learn about different plants and how they make coffee. We also learned that unlike other parts of Indonesia where the animal is abused for the production of luwak coffee, the civet cat is a protected animal in Bali. I love the free samples of coffee and tea :-)

10. Visit the temples.
There are so many temples in Bali. I am not a fan of temples but I do feel it's a nice thing to visit a few and understand the integral role of temples in the daily life of Balinese people. While we were there, they were celebrating Galungan. It's a huge celebration. 
A temple in a cave in Nusa Penida. 

To enjoy travelling with kids, you have to refrain from trying to do too much. I have never liked organized tour as it lacks flexibility. Customizing your tour allows you to go with the flow. There's no point continuing for the whole day if kids are cranky and tired.

Traffic in Bali can be horrible. Spending time on the road is not fun. Long road trips are not fun. Kids will start getting restless. I try my best to do activities which are around the place we were staying. Things that doesn't require too much travelling.

Variety of activities is great for the kids. For example, there's only so much of temples a kid can take. Try to do different things. Sometimes, it can be a simple thing like getting to know the locals and immersing in their culture.

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