The best family activities to do in Bali

pura ulun danu bratan temple in bali

Zoe Macfarlane

Posted June 30, 2022

Looking to take the family away on an effortless overseas getaway filled with culture, nature and warm temperatures? The Indonesian province of Bali might just be the spot.

Bali is almost like Australia’s eighth state, thanks to its short flight time (under six hours from Melbourne), budget-friendly accommodation and activities, and appeal for the whole family. For such a tiny island, Bali is jam-packed with family activities that suit every interest and age range.


Attractions and activities to do on a family holiday in Bali

Beaches in Bali

While Kuta may be Bali’s most famous beach, for one of the most family friendly ones, head to Mengiat Beach, Nusa Dua. With calm waters and its proximity to a range of restaurants and attractions, Mengiat Beach offers an effortless day out for the whole clan. Alternatively, a day pass at the Karma Kandara Villa is also fun, with private beach access and a cool cable car ride to the shore.

If you’d like a serene bay and an opportunity for your kids to connect with Balinese children, head to Jimbaran Beach. Alongside its gorgeous wide yellow-sand beach with delicious seafood restaurants, Jimbaran is also west-facing, affording idyllic sunsets. As dusk falls, local village families head to the beach to play soccer, with curious visitors often invited to join. 

While Bali is Indonesia’s most well-known island, the surrounding ones are just as spectacular for a fun day trip or overnight stay. Offering different vibes from Bali, the neighbouring Gili Islands, off the coast of Lombok, are accessible to every kind of traveller. Made up of Gili Trawangan (the lively one), Gili Meno (the romantic one) and Gili Air (the relaxing one), match to your family’s vacation mode. All three give you access to stunning coral reefs, colourful marine life and diverse activities. 
A big drawcard to Bali is its incredible waves and warm temperatures, so sign the family up for surfing lessons. Kuta Beach is renowned for its beginner’s conditions, though Uluwata is luring more newbie surfers its way. If you want to go further afield, head to idyllic Nusa Lembongan off the southeast coast of Bali.

Nature in Bali

Bali's expansive beaches are not the only natural wonders to enjoy here. There are wildlife reserves, flora-filled forests, lush gardens, craggy mountains, and even a national park.

The Ubud Monkey Forest is a sacred space for the Balinese, along with the 600+ mischievous macaque monkeys that call it home. Plan an Indiana Jones-style exploration, wandering the rambling pathways under the unkempt forest canopy, spying lichen-coated statues and holy temples. 

Discover the region’s diverse avian species at the Bali Bird Park, a sanctuary close to Ubud. More than 1,000 birds call the park home, including 40 protected Indonesian species. A visit to the Bali Bird Park is educational and exciting as exotic birds swoop, sing, and soar overhead.

While you may not gain cool parent points for the early start, it’ll be soon forgotten when your kids are trekking up an active volcano as the sun rises. While Bali’s highest peak, Gunung Agung is a little too active to climb, Gunung (Mt) Batur, Bali’s second-highest mountain, is a worthy replacement, thanks to its expansive views and active-yet-safe status.


boy floating down a balinese river

Bali is full of family-friendly water adventures.

Adventure in Bali

If Bali’s beaches aren’t entertaining enough for your family, consider a day out at the eco-focused Waterbom Bali, one of region’s best waterparks. More than just lazy rivers and thrilling waterslides (including Asia’s steepest ride), this carbon-neutral park is set over 3.8 hectares, with 50% of the area lush and green.

For a talk-about-it-for-years adventure, take the family swimming with manta rays in Nusa Penida. Another early rise outing, a manta ray tour offers the opportunity to snorkel with, and learn about, these gentle metre-wide fish as they enjoy their morning feed. 

For an on-land adventure, head to the thrilling Bali Treetop Adventure Park, set in the verdant grounds of the Bali Botanical Garden. Zip through the natural canopy by flying fox, cross the shaky suspended bridges and tackle the seven adventure circuits as a family.

Food in Bali

While travelling is an education in itself, when you add in opportunities to learn while abroad, you don’t just expand your family’s knowledge, you expand their mindset.

It doesn’t take long to fall in love with Bali’s local dishes, so instead of reminiscing about that delicious nasi goreng or tempe curry you had on your hols, why not learn how to cook them in a Balinese cooking class? Along with ingredients used and recipe steps, local cooking schools also offer insights into Balinese culture. 

From the plate to the paddy field, book a rice farm tour for fascinating insights into one of the world’s most common staples. While many visitors take the time to find picturesque terraced rice fields to photograph, few make the effort to meet the farmers and learn about traditional rice planting methods. Book a day tour, or, for an all-encompassing stay, overnight with social enterprise Astungkara’s Way. 

Culture in Bali

Enrich your stay with a Balinese blessing ceremony. Melukat, a Hindu water purification ceremony, is all about letting go and it is a spiritual and cultural practice that is part of the Balinese way of life. Visit either Taman Beji Griya or Pura Tirta Empul as both places offer assistance in English to guide you through this healing ritual. 

For a livelier Balinese tradition, head to the cliff-top Uluwatu Temple to witness the Kecak Fire Dance. Regaling a traditional Hindu tale through dance, chanting, body percussion, and fire dances this is a mesmerising experience enhanced by the setting sun. 

Want your clan to meet a local Balinese family? Book a rural eco cycling tour. Alongside peddling past gorgeous rice paddies and tiny Balinese villages, you’ll also visit a Balinese home temple, and coffee plantation.


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