If you haven’t visited Bali at least once in your lifetime, you need to add it to your bucket list—stat. Sure, there are Bintang singlets a-plenty, but beyond that, the rich culture, world-class accommodation options, fresh and healthy food, magic weather, and friendly locals make it a must-see. Plus, it’s only a relatively short flight away and it’s surprisingly affordable, making it a perfect family-friendly destination.
After our grand plans of honeymooning throughout the U.S. became a little too complex with a toddler in tow (my daughter, Sunny), we decided to join our friends and their daughter for a week of downtime on this beautiful Indonesian island.
Of course, Bali comes with certain risks when traveling with children—water, sanitary conditions, and food hygiene—but all it takes is a little awareness and extra caution for a safe and seamless trip. We drank bottled water only, steered clear of ice, and tried to ensure our daughter didn’t drink the pool water, but sometimes it was unavoidable. As it turns out, the only person who ended up with a sore tummy was me—go figure. Read on to join me on a family-friendly tour of Bali.
Peloton is a full vegan café that was so good we went back four times in one week. My picks? The coconut pancakes for breakfast and Ms Jackson Tacos for lunch. Plus, they have 100% organic fruit icy poles for the kids which Sunny couldn’t get enough of.
Milk and Madu
Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Milk and Madu is all about good times and good food. The food is super fresh and made with seasonal produce, plus they serve real coffee (which is sometimes hard to come by in Bali) and there’s an excellent play area for the kids.
Watercress is the perfect option for an early dinner with kids and the staff really made our experience a memorable one. The restaurant was still fairly quiet when we arrived (it was 5:00 p.m.), so the wait staff played and entertained the two girls while the four of us adults relished in our dinner. The food was to-die-for and the cocktails sealed the deal.
Let’s just say this was our go-to breakfast. Nalu Bowls are unrivaled in the Bali heat. Think of your favorite açai bowl and add diverse fruits and fresh toppings—they’re quick, simple, and completely refreshing.
This quaint little warung right next to our villa, Dandelion, was super tasty. Some nights it was easier to stay in with our toddler, so we simply walked next door and ordered our dinner to take away—convenience, plus!
There are ample choices when it comes to accommodation, it just depends what your requirements are. We chose to stay in Canggu as it’s a little quieter than the popular tourist spot of Seminyak, plus, the boys wanted to be close to good surf, and with Echo Beach just down the road along with an array of fresh food choices, it was a win-win.
We booked with Villa Camilla, a three bedroom villa complete with an expansive, open-air living and dining area, three air conditioned bedrooms all with their own private ensuites, and outdoor bathtubs, a pool, and an impressive outdoor space—it was ideal for the six of us. The staff were incredibly hands-on and helpful, though not disruptive, and we spent our week scootering to cafes, restaurants, and beaches nearby or just lounging by the pool—the dream.
While Bali is renowned for its sunsets, some of the more popular beaches are still pretty underwhelming—Karma Kandara on the Bukit Peninsula is not one of them. This private beach has the clearest water I have ever seen, white sand, and absolutely no pollution. Plus, the fresh seafood at the beach club is worth coming for alone.
The last time my husband and I visited Bali we split our time between a few places, but with two toddlers under two, it was easier to be based in one spot this time. While the trip from Canguu took us more than an hour in the traffic, it was well worth the trek. One day, the mums left the girls with their dads and spent an hour of actual heaven in the Karma Kandara Spa. We had bespoke massages designed to get the knots out of our backs, necks, and shoulders—which as mothers who are constantly bending over, picking up and putting down and hunching to feed, is absolute bliss. The view looks out over the resort's private beach and with a gentle sea breeze coming in the open windows, it’s impossible not to feel completely and utterly relaxed.
It’s hot all year round in Bali (even in the rainy season), so it’s all about light, loose layers for both mother and child.
For mom: I basically rotated a handful of pieces that were perfect for the warm climate. Zulu & Zephyr or P.E Nation swim worn back with One Teaspoon denim shorts, St Agni Sandals, and a Lack of Color hat. Nice Martin linen jumpsuits and Zulu & Zephyr shirts also saw me through the week.
For baby: The dream result is to run around nude all day, but when you’re out and about and in need of a little modesty, it’s all about lightweight layers. Millk Co makes lightweight pieces designed and handmade with comfort, style, and practicality in mind. For organic cotton pieces, Nature Baby is the best. Sunny lived in this romper and this suit during our time away. Plus, a good hat (our fave is Acorn Kids), a lightweight sleeping bag, this romper from Seed and summer sandals were all essentials.
Bali, we will be back.
For more Bali travel recommendations, shop the Lonely Planet Pocket Travel Guide to Bali ($12).