Trip To Bali With Young KidsGame On!
We’ve been to the beautiful island of Bali, Indonesia only once 6 years ago. Back then, we went there with only 2 babies (3 months & 2 yrs old). Now, we’re back here again with 4 kids aged 5 months to 7 years old. With only 2 adults (parents) it is definitely a challenge but we’re all game for it.
Flight with Garuda Airlines
We took Garuda Airlines from Singapore Changi Airport. This time round with the kids, we’re not going to take our chances with a b budget airline. We need a much more hassle-free straightforward solution as much as possible as handling the kids plus getting around is enough headache. I haven’t stepped into a Garuda flight for more than 20 years now so it feels like it my first time.
Garuda Airlines is great! The plane has a pretty good leg room. Most importantly, the cabin crew were fantastic. Having kids in-flight isn’t that easy for both the parents as well as other passengers. But the cabin crew were a really big help. From the time to board the plane to inside the plane, we’re given priority boarding and extra help for our luggages. I would say that Garuda Airlines is family-friendly. They have special meals for the kids and halal meal request for us. All I can say is that, on Garuda Airlines, we felt the indonesian hospitality.
Just Touched Down In Bali
Upon reaching Bali (Ngurah Rai International Airport Terminal), I called my old driver from 6 years ago, Agus. There’s many people in Bali named Agus. But this particular Agus is the same one use by my whole family and extended family whenever any of them visits Bali. So yeah, this Agus is our choice. Agus rate as per today is at Rp. 550,000 per day. Since we just arrived in Bali with the kids, I we didn’t want to go through the hassle of booking a taxi, going through a swarm of drivers at the arrivals exit touting everywhere. We just got Agus who waited for us at the exit, helped us with our luggages and brought us straight to his car. While walking to him, a few random drivers actually tried to approach us. But once Agus came over, they politely u-turned. The one good thing about Bali is that most Balinese are really nice and polite people. So don’t worry about getting too much aggression from any of the locals there. The best part is that they absolutely adore little children.
So for our first day there, we drove straight to the hotel to check-in first. Our hotel of choice this time round is Hilton Bali Resort, Nusa Dua. The usual area where tourists like to at are Seminyak, Kuta, Ubud, Nusa Dua & Jimbaran. These are the usual areas. As we’re with the kids, most of our considerations revolves around them. We wanted a place with nice kid-friendly facilities, by the beach and away from the city. With these considerations alone, we need to choose something in Nusa Dua area. Next would be the rooms. Cos we’ve got 4 small kids, it’s quite difficult to find the right rooms. During our search, many hotels would recommend some super huge expensive rooms for a family of 6 without taking much consideration for the children’s age. After looking around for a week. Only 2 hotels that we found so far that can accommodate to our big (small) family. The Grand Mirage and Hilton Bali Resort. We decided to go with Hilton Bali Resort for its pools and kids club.
Hilton Bali Resort was fantastic!
The hotel has a really nice architecture and design. It feels really good to be there. The resort feel really makes us feeling relaxed. Each and every staff, especially the guys who make up the room every day never once fail to greet us every single time we pass by them. As my hands are always full with the kids, someone always comes up to give us a helping hand. The check-in and check-out processes are seamless.
We got the Family Room King Bed. The king bed was more of a super king. It’s huge! Plus there’s a sofa bed which sleeps 2 adults. Its got the best view ever! (At least for me and the kids 🙂 We watched the sunrise on the horizon and see surfers in-waiting for the next wave every morning. The room was fully equipped. The channels available on TV are good for the whole family. There’s a shaver and shaving cream for men (which I always look forward to as many hotels don’t give this). All the soaps and shampoos are by Crabtree and Evelyn.
Breakfast spread is really really good. I would say, quality food. The staff there are superb. Their willingness to help and their smile really made our day. They are truly helpful and I appreciate it because travelling with kids isn’t easy but with help, it makes things much easier.The swimming pool is good. With a couple of slides from a really short baby slide to the really high slide for bigger kids. Pools with multiple depths from the baby pool of 0.5m to the 1.5m adult pool. There’s stuff like nets and hoops for anyone to play ball games in the pool. There’s even a man-made beach by the poolside although the real beach is only 5 metres away.
For the Jungle Kids Club, there’s an indoor playground and an outdoor adventure playground with a rock-climbing facility. The outdoor playground is much more suitable for slightly older kids. The kids club can also bring the kids out for camel feeding.
Overall, we love the Hilton Bali Resort.
Dinner At Bale Dang Mang Enkhing
After checking-in, we went out again for dinner. Agus was waiting for us the at the lobby to bring us to our next destination, dinner.
We had dinner at Bale Dang Man Engkhing. It’s a really nice place with pond in the middle. Very traditional looking with a great decor. A romantic place too for couples. The only problem was that, there’s quite bit of mosquitoes. Luckily the kids didn’t get bitten. Only the adults got bitten.
The menu at this place is generally quality traditional food. We got a platter for 2 for the adults and the kids got some fried rice and fried mushrooms. For the fact that they finished their food, means it tastes great! Our platter was really great too! If you’re into super spicy sambal and chilli, they have one of the best. We got a couple of drinks as well.
The damaged done from eating here was Rp. 500,115. For an up-market dining restaurant with tasty food, I would say it is reasonably priced.
After dinner, we dropped by Carrefour for a short while to get some toiletries and snacks before heading to the hotel. Carrefour would be a great place to get souvenirs as well as they are cheaper than the roadside shops and the variety is huge.
After Carrefour, we called it a day.
Day 2 is the highlight of our trip. Our driver helped us book tickets to the Bali Safari and Marine Park. The damaged done for this trip tickets, Rp.3,200,000. This is the discounted price. Without discount would be around Rp. 5,000,000. What’s included in with this price tag:
- Animal Shows
- Animal Feeding Sessions
- Safari Ride
- Marine Life Aquarium
- 3 Water-roller coaster rides
- Water playground
- Tea at Uma Restaurant (choice of Tea/Coffee/Iced Lemon Tea plus cakes, puffs and cut-fruits.)
Initially, I was afraid that it wouldn’t be value-for-money. But we left the park truly satisfied! It’s worth paying for.
Upon entering the park at the main entrance, we needed to take the Safari Bus to the parks’ entrance. From the entrance, the first exhibit was the leopard. It was absolutely stunning. I’m a big cat fan! The whole safari park was beautifully done up in Balinese style. Most importantly, the park is stroller-friendly in generally, only 1 short flight of steps isn’t. The rest of the park is fine.
We reached the Harimau Theatre, just in time for the Tiger show. The tiger show is fantastic, for us at least. Being able to see a real a few real-life huge tigers running around in front of our eyes was awesome! The show is built around a storyline which makes it really interesting.
After this great Harimau show, we headed to the Gajah Theatre for the elephant show. The Elephant show was really great! We loved it! Same thing, based on a really interesting storyline with human actors and all. It is really good. We truly enjoyed the show. The elephant show side is a little bit cooling. But the tiger show area was really really hot! After another great show, we went to check out the white tiger feeding session. The white tigers look so majestic. The best part so far was that all the animals looked really healthy. Their coats looks good and the seem to be well-fed.
After looking at these great animals, we went to the petting zoo so the kids can feed the goats, guinea pigs, rabbits, chickens, turtles, ducks, etc..
Now finally, we’re ready to do what we actually came here for, the Safari. The Safari bus is the best! It is nice and cooling, just what we needed, aircon. It’s got bench seats with clear glass windows. The safari is broken up into 3 major sections. Animals from Indonesia, India, and Africa. This safari doesn’t have and doesn’t boast anything about having a thousand species of animals or anything. They just have generally big animals or I would say animals that kids generally find amusing when they watch shows like ” The Lion King” and such. Safari is great. There’s like the lions crossing the road, zebras crossing the road, animals lazing around or eating or really moving about.
For the first time in my life, we were really really close to a lion just separated by a glass window. We loved it! The only thing about the Safari that I decided not to give a full 5-star rating is that the duration per animal stop was really too short. If only they could extend perhaps another good 30s or 1 min per stop, it’ll be perfect. Other than that, this place is worth it.
After the Safari, we had out Tea At Uma Restaurant within the park as the tea is a part of the package. It was not bad actually, we had ice-lemon tea and plates of cut fruits, cakes, and puffs. It’s really nice to site down a chill a little after being all sweaty before this.
After our little break, we continued to the Water Funzone for the kids. Do remember to bring your swimming costumes! Other than just the usual slides, they do have a small coaster ride for kids 130cm and above and a water-coaster ride for kids 100cm and above.
Once done, we walked back to the starting atrium and entered the “Marine Park”. I think it should be called a marine park just as yet. There seems to be some construction going on but for now, there’s only like some aquarium tanks with the highlight being the red-bellied piranha. From there, we took the bus again to the main entrance and we’re out. Before going in, I was a little worried if it’s going to be worth it as it costs much much more than our zoo back home. But we came out extremely satisfied, it’s worth it!
Lunch At Be Sanur
After the Bali Safari, we headed out for a late lunch since we just had tea at Uma Restaurant. For lunch, we went to a very nice simple place called Be Sanur.
At Be Sanur, total bill was only at Rp.105,000. Our cheapest meal in Bali. This shop doesn’t really have a menu cos it sells on a fixed meal. 1 set consist of a plate of rice, a plate of fried fish with the yummy-set sambal ever and a bowl of fish in fish soup which is super-duper yummy. We bought 2 sets and added 2 more rice plus some drink. It is the cheapest and most tasty meal. Be Sanur has a few outlets.
After lunch, we went to Kuta to check-out some of the surf shops then headed to to Macdonald’s to buy some food back to the hotel. The menu ate Macdonald’s Bali is pretty different and yummy. More spicy selection I would say.
After buying food, we called it a day and say our goodbye’s to Agus for bringing us around for 2 days. He’s been a great help.
Swim In Hotel & Blue Bird Taxi App
For day 3, we decided to relax and spend more time in the hotel to go for a swim and the beach. In the late afternoon, we discovered one must-have app. The Blue Bird Taxi app. It’s a lifesaver! Blue Bird is Indonesia’s biggest taxi operator and they have a pre-booking app just like Grab. The problem with Grab is that it’s not very welcomed in Bali to protect their domestic companies. So Grab isn’t allowed to enter many places, especially the tourist areas. But Blue Bird is king. They can go anywhere and they are all metered taxis. So I downloaded their app and booked our first ride out. It’s great and cheap. The only thing about these Blue Bird taxis is that their driver aren’t very friendly. They just do their job, drive.
We took a taxi ride to a place called The Bali Collection. It’s like an up-market little town on it’s own. There’s like a whole row of “expensive” looking shops and restaurants. We picked a random restaurant to eat-in. We bought Balinese dishes and the kids got western food. damaged done Rp.438,000. The food was ok. After eating, we told the restaurant that we’d like to take a walk on the street outside the Bali Collection area to see some souvenir shops. They gave us a free ride out, which was really helpful.
At the street side, the souvenirs are almost double the price of supermarkets and we didn’t have the energy to go on “haggling-mode”. So we bought a couple of dream-catchers for the kids then walk to the nearest Coco Supermarkets to buy souvenirs and other stuffs.
Once done, it’s the Blue Bird App again to book a taxi back to the hotel room.
On the last day, we spent the morning at the Kids Club. They had so much fun. After that, it’s Blue Bird Taxi Booking again to the airport. If we took an airport transfer from the hotel, i’s cost us Rp.300,000. If I took a driver from outside, it’ll be Rp.250,000. Blue Bird cost me Rp.125,000.
Spending In Bali, Cash Or Card
This is the first time I tried to utilise my Youtrip card and it was fantastic! Although cash is king, carrying a wad of cash in Bali isn’t very comfortable for me. I had cash at all time but I ended up using my Youtrip card.
Before leaving Singapore, I changed at Mustafa Centre. I got a rate of SGD$1 = Rp.10,025. When I changed cash in Bali, I got a rate of SGD$1 = Rp.10,150. When I used my Youtrip card, on average I got SGD$1 = Rp.10,338. Youtrip gave the best rate ever! Except for Carrefour. I think they had some fixed preferred foreign exchange rate on their machines so it was lower at SGD$1 = Rp.9,338. So yeah, Youtrip rocks! Even paid for the hotel using Youtrip to fully take advantage of the exchange rate!
So that’s the end of the trip. We had to transit in Jakarta. Do remember if with family for transit, make sure to have at least 2 hour buffer between the arrival or your flight to the departure of the next flight. Anything lesser, it’s not worth the risk as the chances of missing the next flight is too high.