If I told you that traveling overseas with two under two was easy, I would be lying. Taking two babies to do the grocery shopping has its challenges so of course packing them up, bundling them in a plane and heading to another country isn’t going to be all smooth sailing. But, although traveling to Bali with a baby was certainly tough at times, it was also a lot of fun!
You see, what happens when you take little people out of their comfort zones and into another environment, is something truly magical. You can literally see their minds opening up and taking everything in. They explore, they interact, they learn and they love. As parents watching this happen, you too find yourself reverting back to a childlike state, taking it all in and enjoying the experience in a whole new way.
So, with this in mind, we decided to take our two under two on a trip to Bali!
We departed Australia in the afternoon and arrived around 8 p.m. Bali time. The trip was pretty uneventful which was a lovely surprise, and the kids (who were 5 months and 22 months old at the time) were relatively calm and collected. My nearly 2-year-old daughter is a little bit of a seasoned traveler, with 15 flights under her belt already. My son was on his third trip already so I suppose the plane ride didn’t faze us too much either, and I think that made a huge difference. If you are relaxed and prepared with toys, iPad, food, bottles and coloring books, things tend to run just fine.
Upon our arrival at the airport we were greeted by our very lovely driver, Wayan, from Sahana Villa where we would spend the next seven nights.
Located in the heart of Seminyak, Sahana Villa (read reviews on TripAdvisor) was a sight for sore eyes! Even in the dark of night it was beautiful. Open and airy, luxurious but relaxed and perfect for our young family. Sahana Villa has three identical villas all with air-conditioned master bedrooms, stunning large semi-outdoor bathrooms and rain showers backing on to garden walls, well-appointed furnishings and everything you need for the stay. The kitchen is fully equipped, open and airy, and the indoor-outdoor lounge and dining area is perfect for lounging around after long days spent exploring (i.e. running after kids). Everything is designed to be kid-friendly too, with one level and a grassy yard right in the heart of the villa. And the best part was the pool! Located next to a gazebo, sun beds and lush gardens, it begged to be swum in. The property really is luxury meets kid-friendly.
When we arrived, we were welcomed by the staff with open arms and a delicious beverage, and couldn’t believe we were just 100 meters from the hustle and bustle of Seminyak. It was so quiet! Needless to say it didn’t take long for everyone to settle in for the night.
On our first morning in Seminyak the kids were up early (of course) so we set out for a walk to get our bearings, and coffee. The coffee scene is booming in Seminyak these days. Revolver Espresso quickly took rank as our favorite spot and we made the journey up the main street every morning for our pre-breakfast caffeine hit.
It’s not just the coffee that surprised us about Seminyak. It really is a place like no other where Balinese culture meets western opulence. There are boutique, designer shops perched on uneven pathways covered in colorful offerings and incense; bustling streets filled with mopeds and a melting pot of people from all over the world and of all ages.
We had a blast cruising the streets, one kid in the carrier and the other in our hired pram thanks to Bali Baby Hire. And although the pathways were very narrow in places, we managed to navigate okay and I was so happy we had hired a lightweight stroller instead of bringing our own double pram from home! It wouldn’t have coped nearly as well or at all.
We spent a lot of time wandering, shopping and taking it all in. We also ate most meals so we could all taste testing the delicious local cuisine and some incredible restaurants too. Bub was in rice heaven! And there was no need to worry about taking the kids into even the fanciest of places because the Balinese love children. The younger, the better so we were treated like royalty everywhere we went.
All in all, Seminyak was busy, but it was full of color, noise and craziness and the kids were in awe every time we left the villa which was the complete opposite—tranquil and relaxing.
Heading out on day trips was fun too. Especially for my daughter who got to experience driving without a car seat! She thought it was the best thing in the world.
Our first trip was out to Uluwatu and Sundays Beach Club. The drive was about an hour and a half on highways, through villages, along the beachfront—I swear we saw a snippet of every environment Bali had to offer, and once again, it kept the kids entertained. My daughter spotted “moo moos” out the window and dogs everywhere. She giggled at the families squished onto one moped driving past and pointed out everything she could see with a smile on her excited little face.
Our driver Putu (another amazing driver from Sahana Villa) took us to the Uluwatu Temple which is perched on the edge of a cliff with the aqua waves roaring below. It was amazing to wander the stone pathways but a little difficult with a baby and a toddler because they both needed to be carried a lot of way up and down steep stairways. Still, it was impressive.
After that it was off to Single Fin and Coco & Poke, a bar and café, both of which overlook the legendary Uluwatu surf breaks. This is where I tried my very first Nalu Bowl and well, I got hooked. From there we spent the afternoon lazing on the beach at Sundays. You wouldn’t think a beach club would be the way to go with little ones but they loved running in the sand and lazing on the sun-lounges with us eating and drinking. They especially loved splashing in the pool at the end. We all did because the view over the ocean and jungle was incredible.
During our stay at Sahana Villa we also took a trip to Ubud and once again the drive was interesting enough to keep the kids amused and the adults too. We went past rice fields and rivers, through bustling villages filled with kids playing in the streets and, once again, took it all in.
Our first stop in Ubud was at the Monkey Forest which is literally a forest and temple FULL of monkeys! You walk around and they are everywhere. Its definitely something to put on your Bali to-do list with kids—just be weary of the cheeky little “monkeys.”
Walking the streets of Ubud with kids is much like in Seminyak but you trade the high fashion for markets and trinkets, everything is a little slower-paced and you are surrounded by nature. We even took a little drive out to view the rice fields.
Traveling with young kids was a lot easier than I’d originally thought it would be. Yes, car seats are optional but the traffic, although hectic, seems to move slower. The roads are winding and often uneven but the drivers are highly skilled at navigating them. And with so much being so close to Seminyak, within two hours you can get to almost any attraction. I think we picked a great base for our stay.
It wasn’t all outings though, the Villa itself provided a perfect place to hang out, swim, play, and take some much needed down time. We had arranged for Bali Baby Hire to drop off some toys and mats for the kids too so they had a great time driving around in the toy cars and my youngest jumped in the activity center while the adults enjoyed a rest. The layout of the villa made it really easy to keep an eye on everyone too, even if we put them down to sleep. Sahana Villa provides a (gorgeous!) cot with mosquito net for the young ones too set up ready to go by your bedside on arrival.
Overall, we had an incredible time. We could take the kids everywhere with us, we were made to feel so welcome, especially by the Villa staff who would play with the little ones each morning when they came in to make breakfast, coffee (our second for the day from the Villa’s own organic coffee farm) and clean. We got to see a lot and do a lot and that’s not always possible when you travel with young ones, but in Bali, the friendly locals wouldn’t have it any other way!
Fast Facts: Traveling to Bali With a Baby