Last October my family had the pleasure of travelling from Vancouver, Canada to the gorgeous Island of Bali, Indonesia for our very good friends’ wedding. They tied the knot at the most incredible Villa in the town of Cemagi, where spent a glorious three days at the luxurious Taman Ahimsa Villa.
To give you an accurate review of the trip and destination I’ll start from the beginning…
Our flight took us from Vancouver to Taipei then on to Bali for a total fly time of just over 18 hours and 24 hours of travel time. This was by far our longest flight and furthest destination yet, but because of our pervious travel to Europe I was pretty relaxed. I think this helped in knowing what to expect, but I think I may have been a little unprepared. China Airlines was surprisingly very accommodating for families travelling with babies/small children. They automatically gave us bulkhead seating and because it was a night flight they set up the bassinet for us. Naomi was a little big for it, but she did sleep in it for a couple hours (however her legs were too long so it wasn’t conducive for long sleep time). Flying overnight was great, since she did sleep most of the way to Taipei (13 hours). We weren’t so lucky on the second leg, where we had regular economy seats. Luckily it was only a 5 hour flight. The food was pretty decent for airline food, however, in hindsight, I wish I would have packed more snacks and entertainment.
Prior to our trip I had booked transportation and a car seat rental from Bali Baby Hire. Like most people/services in Bali, they were so nice to deal with. The whole experience was good, however due to communication error (mostly on my part) we did end up waiting at the airport for about an hour. To avoid any delays I highly recommend confirming flight details before hand as well as having a way to communicate upon arrival. After a 24 hour trip and 2+ hours going through customs, waiting an extra hour was not so much fun.
Our first Villa was in Canggu. We found Pangdan Tree Villas through Airbnb and it was the most incredible place to kick off our trip. We had our own private area including a private pool. It was absolute paradise. I highly recommend them for families or anyone seeking a quiet retreat as they are quite a ways from the city. The host Dpana was incredible, and even took us sightseeing one of the days were there. Of course the highlight of the trip was spending 3 incredible days with our friends at the Taman Ahimsa Villa. During our stay we were tended to by the sweetest staff and visited some incredible places. Among these were Tanah Lot, The Bali Zoo, The Monkey Forest in Ubud (whatever you do, do not provoke the monkeys, they can be dangerous!), and China Beach. After our stay we headed into the incredibly busy city of Seminyak. While we had some pretty cool experiences there, such as visiting Potato Head Beach Club, it was definitely not as “baby friendly” as the other places we had visited. The sidewalks were pretty non-existent and the traffic was just crazy. If we ever do stay there again, I would look for a beach resort, otherwise stay in Ubud or Kuta.
Overall our trip was fairly short for the distance, but of course the memories will last a lifetime. I would love to visit this part of the world again, however I would wait until our kids are a little older (at least 5 and 7).
Destination Review (Out of 5 stars)
Safety: 4 stars. Overall, pretty safe. Beware of insane traffic, tourist traps, and do not venture into unknown areas alone – certain parts of the island can be dangerous, so always hire a driver, especially if travelling with kids). Please note, tap water is not drinkable. There is such thing as “Bali Belly”, as many people in our group came down with some sort of a tummy bug.
Accommodation: 5 stars. There is no shortage of amazing hotels, villas, hostels. There is truly something for every budget. If travelling with smaller kids, highly recommend, quieter places or close to the beach so you don’t had to drive around so much.
Food: 5 stars. The food is fresh, and again there is something for every budget. From high end restaurants to vendors on the street, it is really a foodie’s paradise.
For smaller children, I would advise bringing a reclinable umbrella stroller (even though its not stroller friendly everywhere, it did come in handy). A good carrier is also a must as I mentioned not everywhere is stroller friendly. For the bigger items such as a crib, most hotels/villas can provide one for a nominal fee. Any other items can be rented through a reputable source such as Bali Baby Hire. For airports transfers, check with your hotel as some provide this service for free. A good backpack that doubles up as a day pack is highly recommended as is a good hat and/or other sun protection.
Have anything to add from your own experience? Would love to hear from you.