'I've been to Bali 7 times. Here are my top kid-friendly (and budget-friendly) recommendations.'

Bali is the most incredible place to holiday with kids.

The locals are pure joy, it's affordable and it's only a short flight from Australia so you can (mostly) avoid jetlag with little ones.

But with so many options for families, it's easy to fall victim to the overpriced tourist traps.

As a former trip planner and a travel lover, I've been lucky enough to visit Bali seven times now — five of those times with my son, who's now 12 — so I've narrowed down the best, kid-friendly things you can see and do to experience the authentic Balinese culture on a budget, but that are still interesting for the entire extended family if you plan to holiday as a group. 

Watch: Horoscopes at the airport. Post continues below. 

Video via Mamamia. 

So here are my top recommendations: 

Uluwatu Temple & Kecak Dance Show. 

Perched on the cliff's edge, overlooking the ocean, the Kecak Dance Show at sunset is an unmissable cultural event featuring music, dancing and a romantic love story. 

Kirstin with her family at Uluwatu Temple. Image: supplied. 


Worried the kids will be bored sitting through a performance? Don’t be: there’s a playful giant monkey that works the crowd and the fire show will keep them on the edge of their seat. 

Pro Tip: Arrive early to see real monkeys up close and take a handheld fan.

Head to Jimbaran Beach after the show for barbecue corn or a seafood feast. We like Made Bagus Café!

Batik Painting.  

If your kids love tie-dyeing but you hate the mess (and avoid crafts at home), go Batik painting. Wax and fabric dye - what more would kids want?


And don't worry if you're no Picasso! The Balinese are incredibly hands-on (and patient) with kids. And if creations don’t go as planned, you can always purchase a souvenir sarong from one of the local artists on the way out.

GWK Cultural & Sculpture Park.

Experience the awe of seeing Bali's most iconic landmark, the Garuda Wisnu Kencana statue, up close, at GWK Cultural & Sculpture Park. Towering at 120 metres and visible from most of the island, it is spectacular to see up close, and kids always enjoy playing hide and seek in the acres of lush green grounds. 

Shaded picnic spots amongst the sculptures also provide a peaceful respite from the tropical sun.

Jewellery Making (for adults and kids aged 10+). 

Level up your friendship bracelet game and dive into the world of traditional Balinese jewellery making while doing your bit to support the island's rural community. 

In these silver-making classes, not only will you get to play with a fire torch, but you'll also leave accessorised to the max.

Classes at Ganeca Silver start at $45.

Pool and Beach Time. 

Amidst the hustle and bustle of Bali, sometimes the simplest pleasures are the best. Don’t feel pressured to book resorts with extravagant kids' clubs and activities, in my experience, kids are just as content with a pool or beach day. 

For us, pool time holds a special place in our hearts - it's where our son learned to swim, and spending every day in the water built his confidence in ways we never would have imagined.


Pro Tip: Pack dive sticks and goggles, these can be hard to find in Bali.

Massages & Hair Braiding. 

Balinese massages can be found for as little as $8 per hour (plus tip), offering an affordable treat for the whole family. From exfoliating scrubs to rejuvenating massages and flower petal baths - the menus are extensive and aim to connect the mind, body, and soul. Pure zen!

Pro tip: Book hair braiding for the first day of your holiday to avoid knots from swimming, and schedule massages for the last day to promote sleep on the flight home. 

Market Visits & Cooking Classes.

Fussy eater? Encourage kids to explore more exotic flavours with a market visit and cooking class. Most Balinese cooking schools also provide a recipe book to take home so your culinary adventures can continue long after your trip ends! 

There are so many great cooking class options. Image: supplied. 


Canang Sari Making. 

Help kids discover the art of gratitude with a Canang Sari session. Live life as a local and learn how to create your own offerings, picking colourful flowers and incense to place inside their woven baskets. The kids will also love donning the costumes and selecting food to appease the ‘evil spirits’.

Surf Lessons. 

People flock from all over the world to surf in Bali, so why not give it a go too? There are some excellent surf schools on the island, including Rip Curl and Santai. 

It’s a great way to have some fun, get some exercise and go home with a new skill. 

Rice Field Walks.

When you think of Bali, rice fields immediately come to mind, right? As well as being immediately calming, exploring these areas by foot or bicycle can also be a lovely way to learn about agriculture and traditional Balinese life. 

P.S. If you're lucky enough, you might even find yourself invited into a local's house, just like my mother-in-law was on our most recent trip.

Pro Tip: For a quieter and less commercialised experience, opt for a tour in Sidemen over Ubud. Here, you'll witness locals ploughing paddocks with cows and boiling water over open fires inside their mud huts - a true immersion in authentic Bali.


Organise Family Photos. 

Bali is a great place to get some professional family photos taken. It’s such a special way to capture memories of your visit, and everyone always tends to be happier and more relaxed on holiday so the photos always turn out better than when trying to at home. 

Prices start at $130 including edited photos.

Kirstin with her family. Source:supplied. 


Use ‘My Big Adventure’ Bali Travel Diary & Activity Books. 

I created My Big Adventure books to not only keep children entertained but also educate them about the rich local culture and language through fun facts, activities, and interactive video content. 

They're teacher-approved and perfect for the plane, or dinners out (when you don’t want them on screens!) Junior and senior editions are available to suit kids of different ages. 

Waterbom Park.

Waterbom is the quintessential Bali classic that promises fun for visitors of all ages - if you are going to do one touristy/splurge activity, make it this!

With 26 slides and multiple lagoon areas, there’s truly something for everybody here. Plus, with plans underway to expand the kids' area further, it’s about to become even more epic. 

Pro Tip: Break the ticket cost down by the time you will spend there. $7 per hour is a small price to pay for endless laughs and memories. 

Spend Three To Four Days in East Bali. 

If you're seeking respite from the bustling development of South Bali, I highly recommend visiting Candidasa and Sidemen on Bali's East Coast. Both destinations offer a glimpse into Bali's past and authentic village charm.

With local fishermen casting their rods right off the gorgeous white sand beaches and water lilies galore, Candidasa unveils a more tranquil scene (it’s also not unusual to see chickens and monkeys strolling along the side of the road - which toddlers love).


Meanwhile, in Sidemen, you'll be surrounded by lush tropical jungle, rice fields, rivers, and waterfalls, and you'll be lulled to sleep by the sound of frogs and crickets!

For parents who like to play it safe, rest assured that while you’ll feel like you’re in a different universe in both areas, a major hospital is only 50 minutes away if needed.

Pro Tip: You can enjoy many of the activities mentioned earlier, such as a cooking, batik painting, jewellery making, and rice field walks in Sidemen, and there are many waterfalls in close proximity if your kids are into climbing. 

For some extra adventure, embark on a half-day trip to Tirta Gangga and Ujung Water Palace.  

Kids will enjoy feeding the giant Koi fish and playing ‘the floor is lava’ on the giant stepping stones, and afterwards, you can all enjoy a late lunch at Bali Asli, where stunning panoramic views of the volcano - Mount Agung accompany an authentic Indonesian spread. 

Kirstin is the travel expert behind My Big Adventure, a series of fun and interactive travel diaries that teach kids about their holiday destination. All the guides are teacher-approved and packed with entertaining activities & interactive video content to keep kids busy and informed. You can check them out here. 

Feature image: Supplied.