4 Must-Have Balinese Adventures for the Whole Family
From rice terraces, to cheeky monkeys, to sandy shores, Bali has adventures in store for any type of family vacation you can dream up. Here, four experiences that should top your list. By JACQUELINE DE SEGONZAC ARCE.
Published on Sep 12, 2016
For close encounters with 60 different species of wildlife, plan a trip to the Bali Safari & Marine Park (entry US$55 for adults). The park has tons to tire out your little explorers: animals, more animals, elephant rides, cultural dances and even a water park. The Tsavo Lion restaurant lets you dine in the middle of a lions' den, with towering windows looking out at the giant cats lounging in their enclosure. When they flash their bright feline eyes in your direction, you may end up wondering which of you is sitting down to lunch.
Elephant rides at Bali Safari and Marine Park. Courtesy of Bali Safari & Marine Park.
Bali Barat National Park (day-pass Rp40,000 per person), a scenic four-hour drive from Denpasar, has all the ingredients for a family-adventure success. Kayak, hike, snorkel, dive and explore to your heart's content in this wilderness set in the northwest of the island. Stay at The Menjangan (doubles from Rp2,209,090), located inside the 190-square-kilometer park, with rooms nestled in the forest or perched on the beachside, so you can squeeze every possible second into enjoying the haven of flora, fauna and underwater wonders.
There are plenty of lounge-worthy strips of coast in Bali, each with its own vibe. Head to Seminyak for a lively beach-town feel, surfing and the most beautiful sunset you've ever laid eyes on, best enjoyed in 360-degree splendor from the rooftop at the Double-Six Hotel (cocktails and tapas for two Rp1,080,000), with a delicious sundowner in hand. If you're looking for a quieter beach, check out Sanur with its lovely long boardwalk along the sand, perfect for bike rides and evening strolls. Shorefront Maya Sanur (doubles from Rp6,260,294) is a stunner with three elegant swimming pools to choose from, including a 158-meter lagoon pool for your Marco Polo-playing pleasure.
One of three pools at Maya Sanur. Courtesy of Maya Sanur.
4. SCENERY AND SIMIANS
Bribe your kids into waiting while you shop the many narrow streets of boutiques in Bali's cultural heart of Ubud with the promise of a trip to see the simians at Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary (admission Rp40,000 per adult, Rp30,000 per child). But beware, the hundreds of long-tailed macaques can be mischievous and aren't above snatching the snacks out of your hands (they are particular fond of, you guessed it, bananas). Spend the night at the Padma Ubud (Family Premiere rooms from US$569), set on 11 hectares of lolling rice paddies overlooking a bamboo forest and a misty river valley, to soak in the serenity.