Categories Recent Discoveries Travel Junkie Diary of Traveling with Family

A Diary in Bali with Kids

Friday, June 22, 2018
A Diary in Bali with KidsLike0


A Diary in Bali with kids by Kaya Scott from Sassy Mama Dubai

Bali has always been on my wander-list – the lush green landscapes and laid back surf vibes, cultural fixes and opportunities for adventures promised the perfect family holiday after a hectic school year. As the tourist saturated areas of Seminyak and Canguu just didn’t appeal, we set to work creating an itinerary that would capture the magic of backpacker exploring together with some five-star indulging, without being completely overambitious with 3 little ones in tow.


No visit to Bali would be complete without a stay in Ubud, considered to be the island’s ‘cultural heart’, surrounded by tropical forests and terraced rice fields, dotted with temples and shrines and the perfect place to soak up a lot of green (perfect for us desert dwellers looking for the antithesis to a sandy landscape!).  

We started with an Airbnb stay at a gorgeous but simple little wood cabin which gave us complete independence and the chance to really explore the area and all of its lovely little cafes, restaurants and nature walks. Located just on the edge of a rice field, we’d throw open the French doors in the morning and the children explore for butterflies and ‘snakes’ (there weren’t any, but they loved to pretend!). The opportunity for long walks with nothing but beautiful views, plenty of imagination and the occasional stop in a tiny little hut for drinks and fresh fruit while watching the rice being harvested was pure magic.   


After rice fields came the jungle with a stay at The Four Seasons, located on the outskirts of the tiny village of Sayan, around 10 minutes drive from the centre of Ubud and one of the most beautifully serene hotels in the area, surrounded by gardens and towering palm trees and with the Ayung River tumbling at its doorstep. The family-friendly factor here is brilliantly understated – there’s a kids club for free fun, discovery and entertainment for children aged between 4 and 12 years, set in its own Rice Barn Tree House with a little jungle wonderland garden where the little ones can have a go at all sorts of fun and cultural activities. 

An infinity pool over the rushing river below was perfect for a little chill out/splash about time (there isn’t a dedicated kids pool here and if you have very boisterous little ones then you might feel slightly self-conscious about them making heaps of noise) and there are loads of off-site excursions to try – including a guided rafting experience (an absolute must given that that the river is right there and you get dropped off literally at the rocks below the pool!). Our youngest (aged 4) was just too little to join (although the rafting is by no means ‘wild’) but we navigated the waters with our 5 and 7 year olds who absolute loved the scenic journey and spotting wildlife along the way. And if you’d like to indulge in everything from massage to spiritual practices and healing, The Sacred River Spa is just the place.

From Ubud we travelled (by Uber!) to Uluwatu on Bali’s South Western Bukit Peninsula – a surfers paradise with dramatic scenery, towering cliffs, incredible sunsets and views across the Indian Ocean. This area is literally breathtaking and perfect when combined with Ubud’s green landscape. The Anantara Ubud Bali Resort is a modern property with a stunning clifftop position and vast views of the ocean and the surf below – seriously magical for little boys for whom breakfast watching the surfers was just about the coolest thing ever! This hotel is all about the elements – from the sound of crashing waves to the sea breeze which whizzes through the open corridors, natural stone and local materials – it captures all that is enchanting and wild about Uluwatu. And while there’s no kids club there are opportunities aplenty for loads of outdoor fun and adventure – from complimentary activities including pottery on the lawn to sunset yoga for the whole family to absolutely stunning beaches for exploring. 

The Anantara has a lift to take you down the cliff to the beach below (which is only accessible at low tide) but a 20 minute walk down winding steps cut into the rocks, past surf huts clinging to the side was so much fun and got us down to a beautiful bit of coast complete with rock pools and shallow bays for splashing about. This part of the beach links with Padang Padang bay where there’s calmer water for swimming, boards to rent if you fancy a go at surfing or paddleboarding plus beach vendors who’ll sell you everything from sarongs to a cold beer. And no visit to Uluwatu would be complete without a sundowner at  Single Fin, a quintessential surfers hang out with views over the break, fab food and a huge wooden sun deck –  just get there early to grab a spot!

Our stay on mainland Bali complete, it was time for the real adventure to start with a trip to the Northern Gili Islands, three tiny isles fringed by white-sand beaches, dotted with coconut palms and surrounded by crystal clear turquoise waters teeming with fish. While they’re very much a popular tourist destination now (the islands are choc full of boutique style accommodation), it’s still possible to get that ‘time stood still’ feeling, largely because there are no cars allowed on any of the gilis and life is beautifully laid back and simple. We took a public ferry which involved a little haggling over price, a long wait with groups of backpackers, really good chicken satay at the harbor and a rather rough crossing (it isn’t always so choppy – we were unlucky) to Gili Trawangan (the busiest of the Gili islands) before catching a local boat to Gili Meno, the smallest of the three islands and the most un-developed. 

A horse and carriage navigated the island’s narrow sandy paths and delivered us to our Airbnb, a charming little house with its own coconut grove, a resident herd of cows who roamed freely among the trees and two goats, one of whom was so tame she would sit with us on the porch and play with the kids. Gili Meno is small enough to walk around in 2 hours – along beautiful beaches and winding paths. Local cafes served up grilled fish and freshly cut fruit throughout the day – and as dusk fell we made sure to be back ‘home’ as Gili Meno’s horses and carriages stop for the day so trying to navigate your way from one side of the island to the other, in the dark, can prove interesting (as we found out!). 

Completely heavenly for families, we walked, we snorkeled, we swam with turtles regularly (they appeared almost every time we went looking), dived down to see underwater statues, played on pristine white sand and took horseback rides around the island. This was the ultimate castaway escape without being too basic and isolated with children in tow. 

Our 2 weeks of adventuring in Bali, from lush jungles to terraced rice fields, wild surf beaches to paradise islands were simply perfect – and with so many other areas we’d love to explore (including the neighbouring island of Lombok and 13 almost undiscovered Southern Gili Islands), we’ll most definitely be back for more. 


Bali is located about 8 degrees south of the equator so you can expect a tropical, warm climate all year round. There are two main seasons – dry and rainy. May – August are generally considered the best time to travel because the weather is beautiful and sunny  – we did have the occasional day of rain but that was fine (actually we loved it – having come from the desert!).Bali’s central mountains (volcanoes) include several peaks over 3,000 meters in elevation where temperatures are considerably cooler and there’s much more rainfall than in the coastal areas.


The food in Bali is tasty and inexpensive – as long as you eat local rather than opting for International cuisine. There are artsy cafes where you’ll find really good coffee and lots of vegan options (there’s a big Australian influence here), gorgeous little ‘Warungs’ (guest houses) and pretty restaurants serving up everything from nasi goreng (Indonesian fried rice) to and sate lembat. Even the random little ‘shacks’ we stumbled across on our walks gave us a delicious meal. Bali’s restaurant scene is really good, with some of the most incredible food you’ll find anywhere in the world.


Surf, snorkel, swim, walk, explore, eat and repeat! 

Don’t stay in one place. Bali is such a varied island that the best way to really make the most of your holiday is to travel around a little – especially to the neighboring islands too. 

Be prepared to barter for any shopping you do at markets or from street vendors – they’re not aggressive and it is expected. 

There’s no need to panic about getting around -Uber is available and is a cheap and great way to get from A to B. 

Travel Junkie Diary

A bohemian traveler

One comment

  1. Baby Store UAE says:

    The activities mentioned here are so creative and interesting that adults would also find it luring to play with them. It will help in building a special bond between the parents and kids and thus ultimately leads to the better upbringing practices.

Leave a Reply

Follow @ traveljunkiediary
  • Someone told me that I’m still glowing from my recent @travelwithtjd arctic trip. 
It put a huge smile on my face... because It’s true... I still feel it, that happiness and high... but I was also told that I wear my heart on my sleeve so, my ‘glow’ is inevitable. 
We fall in love with the person we become when we travel to places that sets your soul on fire... And you would do anything to hold on to it. 
Heading back to Lebanon for my last dose of winter & snowboarding with family & friends before heading back to the salty waters and flip flops. 
Have a beautiful week everyone and thank you for following along 💫
  • I’m not sure why I love this first picture a lot. It’s one of those things you can’t explain. 
I’ve always looked at rear view mirrors as walking away from something (Not necessarily bad) towards something greater that might or might not work and it’s somewhat comforting. 
I’m someone who loves their own space and comfortable on my own, most of the time at least. 
I’ve had times where things didn’t always go my way instantly but I knew it eventually will fall into place, and, it always does. 
I might have fallen flat on my face sometimes, and have underestimated my own capabilities in some moments... but, I’m more confident of my choices than I was when I first started my journey and what made me even braver, was my willingness to live up to these moments because in the end, it was all worth it. 
#TravelwithTJD @travelwithtjd @hertz.uae
  • We all crave isolation from time to time to get disconnected from whatever it is that keeps us awake at night. 
To just go, and say nothing and think nothing. 
We hope in the end that whatever you love always loves you back. The sami believes that when you are in nature, you are never afraid of being alone. 
Returning from a ‘letting go’ place such as the wilderness in Finland affects me emotionally and sets me off balance a little, because my happiness was always about following my heart, and so, I try to find my way back from a place of reality that is even far better than my dreams. #TravelwithTJD @travelwithtjd
  • What an incredible emotional 10 days this has been! I’ve met the funniest, warmest and the most caring, thoughtful people on this @travelwithtjd and it’s so difficult say goodbye. We have created our own reality - pushed boundaries - fell in love with life - and set ourselves free from all judgments on ourselves. I’ll post more on stories and photos as soon as I land back home 💫
Thank you @hertz.uae for having such great service during our trip!
  • On this @travelwithtjd trip, I’m surrounded with people that makes me forget where my phone is, makes me laugh till my stomach hurts, help each other when you can’t feel your hands from the cold and makes my heart so full and filled with love, and we all know how much I love love ☺️. I’m back in Finland, creating our own realities with some of the most incredible people I have ever met. #travelwithtjd
  • From Tromso, to Dubai for a couple of days and now back to Finland for our next @travelwithtjd - I had few friends over at home yesterday for lunch @theitalianwayuae to say goodbye, leaving for almost 13 days but never thought leaving my little puppy was going to be this difficult!
  • On our last @travelwithtjd to Norway, we left @radissonblutromso to set sail in the Arctic in search of the Northern Lights and to experience sailing and sleeping out in the wilderness. 
4 nights and we were faced with an incredible storm, high winds, lots of rain and clouds but it didn’t stop some of us from dancing, fishing and sailing. That’s the real Arctic weather!
It was a mind blowing adventure and testing each one’s capabilities of being comfortable in uncomfortable situations. 
That’s what an adventure is really all about. Especially in the beautiful arctic. ❤️
  • I honestly didn’t know how to caption this story because there is a thousand words I want to say and a thousand reasons not to. 
This image speaks to me and I’ve imagined it and orchestrated in my head a thousand times and @dennisstever helped me capture it perfectly. 
It’s a liberating feeling to be able to stand at the edge with a cape with extreme wind and rain in your face and feel like a superhero. 
We are our own heroes. Not because we are about to change the world....But to change inside of us who struggle to make one small difference in their lives for themselves every day. 
I’m the type of girl who will have tears of joy or sadness running down my face and still insist that everything is fine. My glory isn’t just in the achievements, but in the sacrifices I have made to save myself. This is what this story image represents to me. 
#TravelwithTJD @travelwithtjd
My beautiful cape is from @costureroreal
  • We are spoon fed with quotes on social media on the fake realm of positivity and sometime too much of it. 
The truth is, why should we avoid difficult situations? Why should we not get heartbroken? 
To be surrounded by ONLY positive people and those who ONLY inspire you is unrealistic and a recipe for not growing or truly finding out who you are. 
Because you will come across people in your life that can suck out the energy out of you and you will only learn to block them and manage your reaction when you have had a share of experiences. 
It takes real courage to stop pretending you have it all together and accept the challenges and grow. 
If we can allow ourselves to face it; we will experience life to its fullest. 
Being human means facing suffering. There is no light without dark, no joy without sadness. 
If we don’t experience all feelings, we have no basis for comparison. So accept the good and the bad without any judgement, know it’s human to feel both. 
Take your time to feel everything, but once you are done, get up, grow, break your own boundaries and not what others expects of you, and motivate yourself by learning to face and appreciating the challenges that comes your way. Too much positivity could also be lethal and not real. It’s how you learn to deal with it. 
At least that’s what I have learned, and I have felt my personal growth during those years. ❤️
  • I’ll always search for those breathless moments where I will no longer be sure if I am dreaming or awake. 
We drove in total 8 hours that day from Tromso to Senja along the coastline. I kept asking @dennisstever to pull over every 2 minutes so I can shoot but luckily he didn’t, otherwise we would have never reached here at sunset. 
Scandinavia is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to and that’s why I keep coming back and leave with a full heart... until it’s time to come back again. 
Follow our @travelwithtjd Journey and be part of our polar journeys. ❤️
  • One of the most liberating feeling in the world is being able to come back here over and over again and feeling so comfortable and happy. I took this yesterday while flying over tromso and although it was just taken with a phone camera, I think it still looks magical. I woke up at 4am today, excited to start the day, getting ready for the team of @travelwithtjd to start arriving and we set sail tomorrow in the Arctic wilderness. #travelwithtjd
  • The heaviness of the moon this month... so I say this: It’s ok if you lose yourself, I’ll be right here to help you find your way back 💫