Sunday, May 31, 2015

Bali for first timers.

Bali is the perfect holiday for families from Australia. It's cheap, close to home and your children can experience a completely different culture.

A question that kept coming up to me while we were away was "Is Bali a good place to take children?" and "Would I take the twins next time?". In short, yes and yes. The flight from Melbourne to Denpasar was only six hours, which is very doable with little ones, if you have a flight late at night the hope is that they will sleep most of the way but with some snacks, a few activities, a movie on the iPad and a walk or two around the plane the trip isn't too bad. 
When getting to Denpasar airport everything is pretty straight forward, you will need to pay an entry visa of US$35 per person, we paid with US dollars as we had heard it's the fastest way to get through, you can also pay with AU or Rupiah. It's best to have your hotel pick you up, most hotels will do this free of charge or for a set price paid at the end of your stay. There will be lots of "trolley boys" trying to take your bags for you, they are doing this for a price, it's best to carry your own bags, just say "no thank you" (you may need say this lots.)

When choosing accommodation we chose somewhere in central Kuta with lots of day trips planned but also walking distance to lots of the activities we wanted to do. Kuta is a very high tourist area, but this didn't worry us at all, as it meant everything was easy and accessible and everyone spoke English. We stayed at The Bali Garden Beach Resort which was right across the road from Waterbom, also across the road from about eight ATM's, the hotel has nine restaurants, five bars, a fully equipped spa, is right on Kuta beach, is walking distance from some great markets and right next door to the huge Discovery Mall.
 As Kuta is a high tourist area, when leaving the hotel and walking the streets you will get hassled, every taxi that drives past with 'beep beep beep' at you to see if you want a ride, shop owners will try with everything they have to entice you to buy from them and tourist and tour stand workers will try and get you to purchase your activities through them. The Balinese people are all extremely happy, friendly people  and a simple "good morning, not now thank you" and keep walking should be enough.

Bartering was a lot of fun, the shop owners will say anything to make you happy and want to buy from them, when trying on clothes they will use their best Aussie accent and say things like "bloody sexy mate", or as we had Poppy and every shop was plastered with "Frozen" merchandise they would say "Oh Frozen, she love Frozen your little girl."
I suggest trying bartering, but if it isn't your thing, then there is also lots of fixed priced shops around which are also cheap, but if you get good at bartering, you can probably get your items for half the price, and it really is true that the more items you buy off one store owner the better your price will be, one surf brand t-shirt might be $10 but you could probably throw in two pairs of sunnies for the total price of $15.
When organising an activity or day trip, I suggest going to your hotels tour desk and doing it when you get there, it is tempting to book and pay for tours before you leave Australia, but you will get better prices and find the best places to go when actually in Bali.
You have to have impeccable hygiene while in Bali, especially with children, Poppy, Tom and I were taking Yakult for the two weeks leading up to our holiday and as soon as we got there we went to a 24 hour convenience store and stocked up on more Yakult, bottled water, and other snack foods to stock up our hotel room. We all carried hand sanitizes and even after washing our hands would sanitize. It all paid off, as none of us got the dreaded "Bali Belly".

For the last two nights of our holiday we moved hotels and stayed at the amazing Intercontinental Bali Resort in one of their club suites. The Intercontinental is in Jimbaran bay and as we planned on staying at the resort and relaxing for the last few days, we made sure we had done all our shopping and sight seeing before leaving Kuta. I will write another post about the Intercontinental soon, as it was too amazing not too.
We took three suit cases with us, two full of our holiday clothes and one packed to the brim with items to leave in Bali, lots for the Orphanage we visited and lots to leave with the ladies on the beach, clothes for their children, nail polish I don't use so they can do tourists nails, beads for their braiding, soaps, shampoo, brushes, clips, and second hand bras (which are a "luxury" item, and very much appreciated), anything you take to give will be greatly appreciated and don't feel in anyway your items will offend because they won't. I asked friends for a few of these second hand items before we left and ended up with so many things as my friends asked their friends and family too.

When in Bali you should experience as much as possible, get a 30 minute massage on the beach (For $5!!), get your nails done, have a fish spa, get your hair braided, eat the amazing seafood, buy pineapples from the ladies on the beach, watch Balinese dancing,  talk to the locals, cuddle their adorable babies, swim in the warm sea, visit temples, barter, and explore! 

It really is a beautiful Island.


I love that you have stopped by, and love reading your thoughts and opions, thanks for sharing. xx