Harry Potter Fans Listen Up – Hogwartz The Pub Bali is Family Fun!

Harry Potter Fans Listen Up – Hogwartz The Pub Bali is Family Fun!

Have you heard of Hogwartz The Pub Bali? We certainly hadn’t until we were scanning Instagram one day and came across their page. To be honest we’re not really Potterheads, but we’re always up for some family-friendly entertainment.

Hogwartz is located in Kuta, just behind Matahari Kuta Square. Our first challenge in getting there was parking. We found it easy to park in Discovery Mall and walk, but there are tons of Bluebird taxis around there too.

Inside Hogwartz The Pub

The décor is very dark and there is lots of Harry Potter imagery. It’s definitely Harry Potter-esque but could have done with a little bit of pulling together. The bathrooms are cool and we liked the wooden benches and tables like in Hogwarts School.

The Harry Potter Cabaret show starts at 6.30 and 7.30 every night. There are also magic shows in between and afterwards. We went on a Friday evening and arrived to a mostly empty restaurant. It filled up with a couple of big groups with plenty of kids of all ages.

The Show

I really had no idea what to expect from the show. When it started it was surprisingly a little bit scary for the kids, but they soon were fine with it. As for the show, I’m not sure how much it actually reflects Harry Potter. The dancers are good and it was definitely fun to watch, but really they are just dancing in Harry Potter costumes to modern songs.

What was nice was the kids were asked to get up and dance at the end of the show. Some of them really got into it and the dancers were all really friendly. Same for the magician. He was great with the kids and they enjoyed it even if the magic was pretty basic.

 

The Food

We were all pretty hungry when we got to Hogwartz The Pub. I assumed it would be a menu of standard pub fare and I was pretty much right. They do have some good satay and even some magical items on the menu.

We ordered the Chicken Popcorn and the Goblin Pizza, which is delivered on a magical platter, off the kids menu. It was a fun gimmick but the pizza was teeny and made from supermarket pizza crust for Rp55k.

It would have been nice to see more continuity with the Harry Potter theme on the menu. You have Goblin Pizza and Spaghetti Abracadabra and then Fish Fingers & French Fries. Why not Harry Potter theme everything? I was driving but if I hadn’t been there were some fun looking Harry Potter cocktails being set alight and downed.

Roundup of Hogwartz The Pub

All in all we had fun at Hogwartz. It’s great to do something completely different and the kids really enjoyed watching a live show. There are definitely a few things that could be improved but if you go in knowing it’s just for fun it’s good. Try to see the dancing and magic through a kid’s eyes and you’ll enjoy it as well.

Take a look at the Hogwartz show schedule and make a booking on their Website

Need a Night Off From Parenting? Hotel Tugu Bali Has Romance Galore!

Need a Night Off From Parenting? Hotel Tugu Bali Has Romance Galore!

You all know how it is…constantly moving, working, gathering clothes off the floor, making snacks 25 times a day. When do you find time to chill, sleep and enjoy being a couple with your partner? It’s been a long time (like at least 2 years) since my husband and I spent the night away from the kids. It was about time to detach ourselves for 24 hours. The beautiful Hotel Tugu Bali offered us the perfect opportunity to spend the night and attempt some romance. I say attempt because my husband isn’t exactly known for his romantic gestures and to be fair neither am I. 

Turns out it’s pretty hard to not feel romantic when you arrive at Tugu. The setting is perfect, atmospheric and very authentic with all the beautiful antiques, wooden furniture and lush gardens. It also helped that we were handed a nice glass of wine upon arrival. Our room was an incredible wooden bungalow with stunning views out to the surf, a massive sunken bathtub, and a four poster bed that could have fit the whole family including our many pets. Luckily, it was just the two of us.

Hotel Tugu Bali Nights

Canggu gets pretty wild on a Saturday night and, being old farts, we were ready to leave the youngins to their partying. After dinner with friends we had a wander around the gardens and headed back to our room. We could hear the music from the bars from our bed, which we sort of expected knowing Canggu. The only problem was we didn’t know it would go on until 4am. However, there are earplugs next to the bed and I’ve since talked to the staff at Tugu. They assured me it’s only on the weekends. They are also working on soundproofing some rooms closest to the bars.

Hotel Tugu Bali Mornings

In the morning I had a long soak in the enormous bath and we headed down for breakfast. You can actually have your breakfast served in your room or anywhere else around the hotel, which is a very cool touch. And if you want to stay in bed, you can have breakfast whenever you choose to get up. We chose the roof terrace where there was a nice breeze and we could watch the surfers. By the time we’d had our nice long breakfast (I savored every spoonful of my incredible smoothie bowl!), it was almost time to leave. It’s funny how you can’t wait to get away from the kids sometimes and then miss them terribly when you’re away. I definitely didn’t want to leave our beautiful room and the lovely feeling that Tugu exudes. But heading back to my kiddos was nice too. I think I can speak for my husband when I say we both felt refreshed after our stay. And we’d finally got to spend some real quality time together.

You Ready to Get Romantic at Hotel Tugu Bali?

If you’d like more info about Tugu and their romance packages click here: Hotel Tugu Bali If you can’t get a whole night away you might want to make a dinner reservation at Ji Bale Sutra or Ji Terrace by the Sea. Soaking up the unique decor and feasting on delicious Japanese and Asian cuisine is a certain path to romance.

A Day of Luxury Awaits at Club Med Bali

A Day of Luxury Awaits at Club Med Bali

Here at Bali Kids Guide we’re always willing to seek out information to make our blogs better. So when Club Med Bali invited us to come experience a day at their resort we said “absolutely”, and got our swimmers ready! 

Club Med is an international chain of all-inclusive resorts, with an amazing reputation for their guest activities and fantastic facilities. Knowing this, it was no surprise to find that their Nusa Dua is absolutely gorgeous and filled happy holiday makers. Read on to find out all the cool things we did with our Day Pass at Club Med Bali. 

We’re also going to give you the run down of the choices of passes you can get to make the most of your time and inclusions while you’re at the resort. 

We arrived in Nusa Dua in time for lunch (although the day pass actually starts from 10am) and delved into the massive lunch buffet. There was everything from salads, pizza, pasta, Indonesian, Japanese…I could keep listing forever. The kids loved the coloured trays and of course the ice cream selection for (lunch) dessert. 

After lunch we headed to the main pool, where we found a lovely cabana to hang out in and let our food settle. The pool is huge and not so deep, so we swam and relaxed under the shade of the over-pool canopies. 

We also wandered down to the beach where the sand is powdery soft and spotlessly clean. Non-motorized watersports like kayaking and paddle boards are included in the price of the day pass and there is a resort watersports station where you can get info and all the gear. 

Other sports like tennis, golf and squash are also included in the pass. My Sunday was being reserved for laziness, so I decided against all of this…

For the kids there is a great kids club that caters to ages 4 months to 17 years. It’s split into 4 different groups to ensure everyone gets the attention and care they need. Kids club is included in day passes, but there is an extra charge for under 4’s. 

My kids wanted to play in the pool and on the beach but did join in with the family carnival-style games in the afternoon. It was really fun, well organized, and they even won little prizes. 

The games were right next to the trapeze school, which was great to watch. Maybe next time we’ll actually join in! 

There are 4 options for passes to spend time at ClubMed, each one with slightly different inclusions. So have a look below and see which might be best for you and your family. We had a great time not having to worry about a minimum spend, how much drinks or food were, or if the kids were going to get bored. The staff are amazing, the location picture perfect, and we were able to truly unwind for the day. If you live in Bali or are visiting and want a great luxury experience, Club Med Bali is now well and truly Bali Kids Guide approved!

Day Pass

(10 am – 6 pm)

Adults/Kids Rp920,000/550,000

– International Buffet Lunch

– Free Flow Drinks (Alcohol & Non Alcohol)

– 3 Swimming Pools

– Water Sports (Snorkeling, Wind Surfing, Paddle Board, Kayak, )

– Land Sports (Golf, Tennis, Squash, Beach Volley)

– Circus Flying Trapeze & Archery

– Kids Club

– Changing / Shower Room

– Wifi

Afternoon Pass

(2 pm – 6 pm)

Adults/Kids Rp450,000/220,000

– Free Flow Drinks (Alcohol & Non Alcohol)

– 2 Swimming Pools

– Water Sports (Snorkeling, Wind Surfing, Paddle Board, Kayak, )

– Land Sports (Golf, Tennis, Squash, Beach Volley)

– Circus Flying Trapeze & Archery

– Kids Club

– Changing / Shower Room

– Wifi

Evening Pass

(6pm – 12am)

Adults/Kids Rp1,100,000/660,000

– International Buffet Dinner

– Pre Dinner Cocktails with canapes

– Free Flow Drinks (Alcohol & Non Alcohol)

– Evening Shows
(Circus show, Cabaret, Comedy, Mini Club, Avatar)

– Club Med Party
(White Sensation, Glow Party, etc)

– Night Club

– Wifi

Full Day & Night Pass

(10 am – 12 am)

Adults/Kids Rp1,700,000/1,020,000

– International Buffet Lunch & Dinner

– Free Flow Drinks (Alcohol & Non Alcohol)

– 3 Swimming Pools

– Water and Land Sports Activities

– Circus Flying Trapeze & Archery

– Evening Shows

– Club Med Party

– Night Club

– Wifi

Family Meals Made Easy by The Pie Lady

Family Meals Made Easy by The Pie Lady

The Pie Lady pies have been a favorite in my house for ages, so we were very excited to hear she now sells family-sized meals! Nasi goreng (fried rice) has always been our go-to for non-cooking nights but now we also have the choice of a home cooked lasagne, pasta bake, pie, mac & cheese, or quiche. All of the Pie Lady’s delicious dishes are made from fresh, natural ingredients with no fillers or preservatives. The menu also checks all the boxes when it comes to feeding vegetarians, vegans, gluten free diets and also just picky little ones.

 

All pies and meals must be ordered 2 days in advance as all the delicious dishes are cooked to order to ensure they are fresh.

The pies are delivered by Go-Jek, which is a great app if you don’t already have it. Imagine a whole meal just turning up at your door without you having to lift a finger! Heaven sent!!

Don’t forget you can also order all the Pie Lady pies you love for those quick easy meals. Hungry kids love a pie when they get home from school or need some energy for after school sports. For a sweet treat the fruity crumbles and chocolate tarts are an absolute dream.

Booking a Bali Villa Made Simple with Villa Finder

Booking a Bali Villa Made Simple with Villa Finder

Looking online it can be incredibly overwhelming to see the amount of villas available to rent in Bali. And when you’re a parent it’s even more daunting booking a Bali Villa for your perfect family holiday. Thankfully you can make the whole process much easier by enlisting the help of Villa Finder!

Started in 2012, Villa Finder currently has over 1,000 villas in Bali, Phuket, Samui, Sri Lanka and Mauritius. Each villa is meticulously inspected before being listed online and is also frequently re-inspected. This ensures the villas are well maintained and the level of service is consistently excellent.

Booking a Bali Villa: How To

When you look at villas on Villa Finder you will be able to search by number of bedrooms, area and also the kind of activities or atmosphere you’re looking for. When you find something you like you can place a request on the villa. This is where the professional travel consultants come in and make sure the property is suitable for your family.

Someone from the team will call you to talk more about your family, finding out how many kids you are traveling with and how old they are. They will ask if you need a pool fence, car seat, and other equipment. At this point they will probably also offer you a list of other villas that would suit your family.

This personalized service doesn’t end when you’ve booked your villa. The concierge team at Villa Finder will contact you after you have booked to arrange everything you need for your stay. Whether you need an airport pick up, day tours, in-villa massage, special dinner, or nanny service, they will get you just what you need. This saves you time researching all these services and costs nothing extra.

How About Some Bali Villa Examples?

Villas like rustic 3-bedroom Villa Madura give you your own home base in the heart of Seminyak. Or if you’re coming with a big group you might want to have a look at sprawling 5-bedroom Villa Alea just a short drive from Seminyak and Canggu. These villas have character, comfort and are ideal for families wanting to spend quality time together.

Heading to Ubud, East or North Bali? There are plenty of options all over Bali…not just in the most touristy areas. You could even book a whole estate like Pandawa Cliff Estate for a family gathering, birthday celebration or wedding. If you’re thinking of booking a villa in Bali Villa Finder will save you time, money and even your sanity!

You can also feel good about booking with Villa Finder because they are planting a tree in Sumatra, Indonesia for every booking made. Make your life easier and help the environment at the same time!

 

Start your villa search with Villa Finder now!

Take a Family Break at Holiday Inn Bali Benoa

Take a Family Break at Holiday Inn Bali Benoa

Holiday Inn Resort Bali Benoa is one of the highest rated resorts for families in Tanjung Benoa and even on Bali in general. We’ve stayed once before a couple of years ago and my kids Lola (10) and Marlow (5) absolutely loved it. I was interested to see if it would still be a favorite now they are a little older and have been to a lot of other resorts. Read on to find out all about our stay…

Getting to the Resort

& Checking In

Tanjung Benoa is the small peninsula that sticks up from Nusa Dua into Benoa Bay. It’s very easy to get to from the airport to Tanjung Benoa (in around 15 minutes) thanks to the overwater toll road that connects them. We drove from Ubud which wasn’t quite so easy thanks to a huge amount of traffic in July, so after 2 hours we were crazily happy to get to the hotel.

When we arrived I immediately noted it was much busier than it had been the first time we stayed (in February I think). There were lots of kids and groups and it was a real mix of Australians, Europeans and Asians. We were given welcome drinks, cold towels, and the kids even got a great little activity pack. I didn’t mind at all that our room wasn’t quite ready yet because the staff were all really lovely and we could see they were all at working full speed.

The Area 

Tanjung Benoa isn’t everyone’s favorite area. Some say it’s boring or there isn’t enough shopping/eating/excitement going on. For me, I think it’s pretty ideal if you have kids and want to hang in the resort, play in the pool, and do day trips out to other places.

There is a shuttle to Bali Collection shopping centre in Nusa Dua, and a driver to Kuta/Legian/Seminyak will only cost $20-ish.

It’s quiet at night and the sunrises are beautiful. There are also all kinds of fun watersports if you want a bit of a thrill. There will always be haters, but I’m a fan of Tanjung Benoa with the kiddos.

Our Room

 

There are 171 rooms and 19 suites to choose from at Holiday Inn Resort Bali Benoa with 2 room types specifically tailored to traveling families. This time we stayed in a Tanjung Family Adventure Suite on the 4th floor.

This room has 2 bedrooms, a nice big ensuite with a king bed and private balcony for the parents, and a spacious 2 single bed room for the kids. The kids room is complete with ocean-themed walls and sheets, a PS4 and an ensuite bathroom designed just for the kiddos.

Both rooms open onto the living room with a table and sofa, tv and dvd player, coffee and tea making facilities and a large balcony. The sunrise from the balcony was really lovely. We also watched fireworks from here at night.

The suite had the feel of a cozy apartment with wooden floors, loads of wardrobe space and a comfy sofa. The space between bedrooms makes it feel like home and not having to share a bathroom is fantastic!

The only sounds we heard from the room were the tweeting birds in the courtyard atrium and the ocean breeze when the balcony doors were open.

 

The Layout of the Resort

 

The Holiday Inn Benoa is really nice and compact. A huge lobby leads to the courtyard pool that the pool access rooms connect to. The pool is shady and has little islands in it and Duke’s Pool Bar and Lounge is here as well. Pasar Market Cafe where breakfast is served and the Kids Club is at the end of this and then the 2 tiered beachfront pool with the gym on one side and Nudi bar and restaurant on the other.

The beachfront pool and on the beach is where we spent most of our time and it seems most other families do as well. The little kids area is shallow and has a dumping bucket and small slide. The other parts of the pool are all 1.2 metres deep, so kids need to be supervised carefully. Marlow is swimming but isn’t confident if he can’t touch the bottom at all so we had to be in the pool with him all the time. There aren’t a ton of loungers around the pool so make sure if you want to spend the day there, you get to the pool nice and early.

The beach at Tanjung Benoa isn’t usually my favorite but I have to say the sand and water were very clean this time. I suppose it just depends on the time of year, tides, weather conditions etc. We did splash around in the water and play on the beach a bit but didn’t really swim.

 

 

Kids Facilities

The kids club at the Holiday Inn Resort might be quite small but it packs a punch. The staff are absolutely fantastic and keep the kids having fun with activities all day long. It’s also open 9am – 9pm, which is much longer than a lot of kids clubs and allows parents to enjoy dinner and drinks together. 

There do crafts, indoor and outdoor games, movies and lots of other engaging activities. This is one kids club my kids have really wanted to spend time in…although Lola at 10 is now not so interested as she was a couple of years ago.

The kids pool is also small but perfect for being able to watch littler ones splash around. The slide is small and the tipping bucket is pretty gentle unlike some others so young kids love it. There are also daily activities on the beach like football, volleyball and kite flying that kids and parents can join in.

Because Lola is a little older, we played a couple of games of pool and table football in the games area just off the lobby. Marlow was happy to play on the Wii that they have there while I spent some time with Lola.

Eating

 

I didn’t feel like we ate the whole weekend but we were all definitely full all the time. Kids eat free at the Holiday Inn, which is a deal maker for me. Eating in resorts can be a huge expense so this takes the weight off a little. It’s also great to see healthy things on a kids menu. This is something Holiday Inn is really serious about.

Let’s start with Breakfast. The food is fresh, set up is easy to navigate and the kids were happy with all the goodies. There is a little kids area but my kids know fresh pancakes, waffles and adult sized donuts are where it’s at so they didn’t really take anything except chocolate milk. I always judge my breakfast on the fresh fruit, yogurt and seeds and nuts being the boring mum that I am and I was very happy with the selection.

On the first day we ate what we made at our cooking class so were stuffed to the gills. I did have a cocktail at happy hour which was very tasty and 2 for 1s can’t be beat. The second day we had a lovely lunch set up in the upstairs area at Nudi. It has beautiful views to the beach and the food was really tasty. The kids had burgers and pasta and I had a delicious salad with roasted veggies.

We didn’t have anything over the weekend that we didn’t like and the kids menu is definitely a major plus at this resort!

 

Fun Extras

 

When we go to a resort we love to put ourselves in the shoes of families that have never been to Bali before. We want to experience the introductions to Balinese culture and traditions like they would.

At Holiday Inn Resort Benoa we got the chance to do just that with a cooking class and a spa treatment in their beautiful Tea Tree Spa.

We’ve done cooking classes before but this blew our expectations out of the water. The chef was fun and great with the kids and let them do just about everything. Over about an hour and a half we made fish ball soup, chicken satay, veggies, and even dessert.

We ate by the pool at a table they had set up for us. There was so much food and it was all delicious! We would definitely recommend doing this class!

Tea Tree Spa was also a fantastic experience. Lola and I had the mom and daughter package, which consisted of an hour massage and 30 minute facial for me and a 30 min massage, 30 min facial and 30 min pedicure for her. The spa therapists were fantastic with Lola and Marlow who wanted to come along and then decided to go to the kids club about 15 minutes in.

We felt totally spoiled and beautifully sparkly after our treatments.

 

Rounding up our Holiday Inn Resort Benoa Review

 

I won’t keep you in suspense…Holiday Inn Resort Bali Benoa is one of our very favorite resorts in Bali. The staff go above and beyond, the rooms are fantastic, the food is great, and the prices are excellent. I honestly can’t think of anything that I don’t like about this resort and if I did I would be seriously nitpicking.

The beach may not be Nusa Dua fabulous but the pools are excellent and even when they were at full occupancy it didn’t seem crowded or too noisy.

Basically, go stay at this resort! You won’t be disappointed.

If you’d like to read about our last stay at the Holiday Inn Resort Bali Benoa click this link: Bali Kids Guide Holiday Inn Benoa Review

If you’d just like to know more about the resort, visit their website: Holiday Inn Resort Bali Benoa

 

Explore Bali by Quad with Aussie Bali Adventures

Explore Bali by Quad with Aussie Bali Adventures

Searching for something really special to do while you and your family are in Bali? You can’t go wrong with an Aussie Bali Adventures Family Quad Biking Bali Tour! Tailor made for families this tour takes you through jungle tracks, across vibrant green rice paddies and over miles of shimmering black sand beach. You’ll also get the chance to see temples, villages and locals farming and fishing as they have done for generations. Local kids smile and wave, and if you’re lucky you might even see a ceremony in the villages as you ride through.
“The tour itself was really fun, even our 8 year old had a go at driving the bike when we were on the beach and he loved it. Afterwards we were taken to a restaurant for some food and drinks & a bit of a relax. Overall, the day was outstanding and good value. The kids (8 & 12) really enjoyed it. The staff were amazing, very knowledgeable & friendly.We would definitely recommend this trip.” 

One of the best tours we have done! We decided to go with this company after reading many reviews. we were not disappointed. One of the best tours we have done and we have been to bali over 10 times. great staff. Bikes well maintained and beautiful scenery. Will do again for sure. thanks guys!”  – Trip Advisor Review

All bikes are fully automatic and easy for beginners to get the hang of with just a short training before the tour. The quads range from small for kids to larger ones for riding tandem and safety equipment is all provided. Kids from 2-10 years old ride with a parent and from 10-12 years they can ride on their own, depending on their experience and confidence level. Even if they don’t ride the whole tour alone, most kids can still have a go at driving on the beach!

You don’t even have to worry about getting to the Aussie Bali Adventures start point as an air-conditioned, wi-fi fitted van will pick you up and drive you in comfort to their beach front location in Tabanan Regency, just 15 minutes west of the famous tourist destination, Tanah Lot Temple. Expect the drive to take around 55 minutes from Kuta, Legian and Seminyak area’s, but once you arrive you’ll be amazed at the scenery and beauty of the area.

If you’d like to read a Bali Kids Guide review of Aussie Bali Adventures Family Quad Bike Tour click HERE

“Quad biking on the beach = Best day ever!!! I signed my family up for this before we arrived in Bali and they weren’t overly excited. Fast forward to the day and you’ve never seen such big smiles on their faces. We all say it’s the best part of our Bali holiday!”

Pricing and Tour options: ATV – STANDARD TOUR: 2 Hour Tour / Ride Time Single = $85 USD Tandem = $130 USD Group/family discounts available for groups or families of 6+ pax. Cash onsite only in Rupiah, AUD or USD.   ATV – VIP RESORT FINISH TOUR: 2 Hour Tour / Ride Time Single = $95 USD Tandem = $150 USD Maximum 8 pax per time slot, per day. Cash onsite only in Rupiah, AUD or USD. 
  Price includes: Return air-conditioned transport, onsite insurance, all safety equipment & training, photographer options, light refreshments & restaurant meal and drink, and infinity pool use for the vip tour. Pick up times:  Pick up areas are Nusa Dua – Sanur – Kuta – Legian – Seminyak – Ubud – Canggu – Jimbaran Bay Morning: 7.30am   –   Middle: 10.30am   –   Afternoon/Sunset: 2.00pm
Aussie Bali Adventures do not advertise or sell tours via tour desks, agents or hotel, all bookings must be made direct with them via the website. Book by filling in a booking form on the website and paying cash on the day of the tour. Here is the direct link to the website and family tour: http://www.aussiebaliadventures.com/family-quad-biking/  

Is this Paradise? It is for Families at Grand Mirage Family Paradise!

Is this Paradise? It is for Families at Grand Mirage Family Paradise!

Reviewing a hotel a couple of times may seem unnecessary, but I’m learning that it often gives us a different perspective on the hotel and the area. We first reviewed the Grand Mirage Family Paradise in 2017, not long after it had opened. It was a quiet time and the hotel wasn’t very full. We stayed in a Family bunk room last time with no inclusions, and a 2 Bedroom Suite with all inclusive benefits this time. The experience we had this time was quite different and I’ll explain why. You can also read our first review here: Is Grand Mirage Family Paradise the Most Family Friendly Resort in Bali?
Getting to the Resort & Checking In

 

The Grand Mirage is located in Tanjung Benoa, the peninsula that sticks out north of Nusa Dua. This area is only a 15-20 minute drive from the airport and is known as the watersports hub of the island.

The resort consists of 2 wings, the older Grand Mirage wing and the Family Paradise which opened in 2017. They are both beachfront and the walk between them is just 2 minutes.

We were checked in quickly (with a little stop in the VIP lounge) and got to settling in to our suite. 

Our Room

 

There are a number of different room choices at the Grand Mirage Family Paradise. This time we were in a 2 bedroom suite, which had a king bed in the master bedroom and a queen and a twin in the second bedroom. Both were en-suite and the master had a bath. The living room had a big fold out couch, arm chair, dining table and sliding doors to a balcony.

We were in the very closest room to the pool, which didn’t have direct access from the balcony, but the other rooms of this kind do. The room could easily sleep 5 and I was told the same room type but garden facing sleep 6.

My first impression of the room was that it didn’t look as big in real life as it does in the pictures, but I think it was more about the shape because we were in the end room. The bedrooms and living room are a great size and the bathrooms have tons of space. I especially liked that the wardrobe and shelves in the master bedroom were in the bathroom. I like being able to tuck my mess away so I don’t have to look at it.

We all found the room extremely comfortable and being so close to the pool was awesome. One thing I would have changed would be the fridge and unit with tea/coffee etc. in it looked like it had just been plonked in the room with no thought for what it looked like.

The Resort & Area

 

The layout of the Family Paradise is really exceptional. It’s small enough that you’re never far from the pool/restaurant/kids club. There are 2 restaurants on the 2nd floor, one by the pool, and the kids club and games area on the ground floor with the water park area just in front. A few steps from the pool and you’re on the beach.

Outside the resort the main road through Tanjung Benoa is lined with spas, restaurants and small shops. There isn’t anything really interesting along here, but you can easily get the shuttle to Nusa Dua and Bali Collection Shopping Centre in 10 minutes. Pirates Bay, Surf & Turf (small water park/beach club), restaurants along the beach and the Devdan Show are all just down the road as well.

Speaking of Devdan Show…go and see it! It’s managed by the same company that owns the Grand Mirage so guests get discounts and a free shuttle. I didn’t expect to enjoy it so much, but my whole family LOVED it and the kids still talk about it. You can read more about it here: Devdan Show: Learn About the Treasures of Indonesia

 

Kids Facilities

The Grand Mirage Family Paradise has everything covered when it comes to kids activities. There is a kids club with soft play area, ball pit, toys and space for crafting. This is open to kids from 4 years from 9am-5pm. Children under 4 can use the play areas with a parent or nanny. You can also use the facilities from 5pm-9pm but there are no staff during these hours.

Older kids will love the games room, which has xbox and playstations. There is also a big screen for movie time and interactive games. A pool table, ping-pong table, giant chess board, and mini boxing ring keep everyone busy. There are also daily activities like cooking classes, face painting, beach walks and crafts.

The mini waterpark is another big plus for the Grand Mirage. Kids under 15 can play there and there is a lifeguard watching from 10am-5pm, but we would recommend going along to keep an eye on them as well. Lola at 10 years old seems about the top end of kids that are interested in the waterpark. The bigger kids definitely love the slide in the main pool best.

I also noticed older kids activities like mini golf and movie nights on the beach. There are lots of posters around telling you what’s going on and the kids club staff are great for knowing what’s happening.

Eating

 

Just 2 days to eat our way through the 3 restaurants on the Family Paradise side as well as 5 more on the other, we had a big challenge. We started with Mahi-Mahi Poolside Resto where a really good Mediterranean-style lunch was had by all. Thumbs up for the falafel, wraps and hummus. They also make a mean Bloody Mary at the bar.

Our dinner wasn’t quite so inspiring unfortunately. We chose the Chinese restaurant Chopsticks and found it to be a bit of a let down. The food was ok, pretty standard Chinese takeaway fare, but it was the atmosphere that really fell short. The music was loud and totally random (think panpipes followed by Lady Gaga), the air conditioning was arctic, and it generally seemed like a Chinese tour bus stop rather than a resort restaurant.

Thankfully the resort was redeemed food-wise by an outstanding breakfast. Lunch was by the pool again and then we wanted to have dinner at La Cascata but it was full. The kids were hungry so we had pizza, spaghetti and BLTs in the room. The pizza was great but spag bol with no red sauce and cucumbers and fried egg in the BLT? Questionable.

To Do All Inclusive or Not?

 

The question I get most about the Grand Mirage is to do all inclusive or not. We’ve done it both ways now and, as terrible as I am at maths, I did some calculations while we were there. Bear in mind that when my husband is around we spend more and this time we were with my mum who eats like a bird.

So….breakfast is great and you can definitely fill up but the kids were always starving by lunchtime. Food is always a little on the expensive side at hotels so you can expect to spend around Rp400-500 thousand (approx. $40-50) on lunch without drinks or sweets. We found dinner to be about the same with added beers, so say around Rp500-600 thousand. Throw in a few drinks round the pool and you have a day of around Rp1 million plus a bit depending on how much you drink.

Gold all inclusive is $75 a day (half price for kids under 12 and free under 5). If you’re planning to do a lot of drinking and your family likes to eat all inclusive is great for you. We loved not having to think about how much each drink was or if the kids could have dessert or not.

You can add all inclusive days to your stay, so maybe if one day you want to go all out you can pay for that day. You can also go for the blue all-inclusive, which has a few more restrictions than the gold which is $65 a day.

A Little Round Up of the Grand Mirage Family Paradise

 

I think I know this resort pretty well now after 3 stays so here are my thoughts in Pros and Cons bullet point form. There are way more pros than cons to this resort for sure. We’d happily stay here on a holiday and definitely recommend it.

Pros:

– Excellent facilities

– Small and easy to navigate

– Clean rooms with really family-friendly layouts

– Well-trained staff (except for a few that couldn’t speak very much English and consistently got orders wrong)

– Lots if kids activities

– Wide choice of restaurants

– Choices of all-inclusive or not

Cons: 

– Really loud (bad) music by the pool

– Food (some great, some not great at all)

– Drain smell in the bathrooms (this is pretty normal in Tanjung Benoa)

– Internet was horribly slow (this mostly bothered me bacause I wanted to watch the England World Cup match and had to have my husband whatsapp me updates instead)

 

10 Bali Adventure Tours You Should Book Now!

10 Bali Adventure Tours You Should Book Now!

There are so many Bali adventure tours to be had on a family holiday that it can be impossible to choose! We’ve had the opportunity to experience tons of fun activities on the island, so read on to find out about our favorite things to do in Bali with or without kids. We’ve also put handy links to book each activity, so look no further for your Bali Adventures!!

#1 Cultural Tour in a VW Safari

Exploring Bali is more fun in a soft top Volkswagon Safari. There are tons of different tours you can do, but this one around East Bali is one of my favorites. You’ll take in tons of natural beauty and stop at some of the island’s most interesting historical and cultural sites.

 

With an English-speaking guide you will learn about Bali’s mother temple Besakih, visit one of the oldest villages and see the biggest banyan tree on the whole island. Lunch and drinking water is included, but you’ll definitely need a hat and sunscreen to keep from getting burnt.

#2 Bali Island ATV

If your looking for the most fun on 4 wheels in Bali you have to book a Bali Island ATV tour. Ride through rice paddies, villages and have a burn down a quiet beach.

Tours are either 1 or 2 hours and English-speaking guides will tell you about the area and culture as you ride. Kids can ride on with a parent, or those over 12 can ride alone depending on their ability.

Some tours include food and drinks and pick up/return transfers. Have a look at the options to pick the right one for your family. Mention that you follow Bali Kids Guide and you’ll get 20% off the published price!

#3 Half-Day Wakebaording

Have you ever wanted to try wakeboarding? If you haven’t, this is your chance! Bali has a world-class wakeboarding park perfect for any level of wakeboarder. Professional instructors are on hand to help with technique and safety whether it’s your first lesson or 100th.

 

Kids from 7 years old can wakeboard or kneeboard to get used to the feeling. For those not wakeboarding there is a pool and restaurant where you can relax and watch the action.

#4 Morning Food Tour & Cooking Class

Foodies get ready for a Balinese feast! Experience Kuta traditional market to buy fresh produce and then head back to the kitchen for breakfast of Balinese treats. You’ll then learn to make 9 Balinese dishes and 1 dessert and have an amazing lunch of all the delicious things you’ve cooked.

This activity is 100% kid friendly and is an amazing family experience.

#5 Mount Batur Dirtbike Adventure

Not kid-friendly, but if you love adventure and want to get out for an adults only day, this is the tour for you.

You’ll head into the mountains of Bali and meet your guides who will get you ready to ride a 250cc Kawasaki KLX. The professional guides will lead you up amazing dirt bike trails on the slopes of Mount Batur for an adrenaline rush.

The tour also includes coffee at a plantation and return transfers.

#6 Stand Up Paddle Lesson

Stand up paddle boarding is a great way for all ages to get out on the water. During this lesson you’ll learn about the equipment, basic paddling skills and get out on the water to practice on flat water. By the end of the session you’ll be able to balance an paddle as well as make turns on the board.

 

This is really a fun family activity that will bring you together, laughing at each other falling off and cheering as you all head off into the waves.

#7 Kids Perfume Workshop

Rainy days in Bali do happen, so why not book this kids perfume workshop for a great inside activity. Of course it doesn’t have to be rainy to learn something new!

This 1-hour workshop introduces kids to various smells and encourages them to mix and create their own unique fragrance. They’ll even be able to take home their own bottle of perfume and a diploma from the class.

There are also adult classes available, or you can even book one together.

#8 Bali Treetop Adventure

Bali Treetop Adventure is one of Bali’s best family experiences. Located in the Botanical Gardens in Bedugul, 7 adventure circuits raging between 2-20 metres up in the trees are available for all ages. Challenge each other to the 72 suspended bridges, spider nets, tarzan jumps, flying foxes and more.

This package includes 2.5 hours full access to all the circuits after 10.30am for 2 adults + 2 children, all your safety equipment, and insurance. Please note the minimum age for children is 4 years and they must be at least 110cm with raised arms.

#9 Downhill Cycling Tour

Downhill cycling is a great way to see a bit of Bali. It’s 100% family friendly and kids from 7 can ride on their own bikes. Younger ones go in a seat with a parent.

On this tour you’ll take in coffee and cocoa plantations, villages, and Bali’s natural beauty with jungle, rice field and river valleys. Your guides will lead the way as you slowly ride down from Kintamani volcano to Bambang just north of Ubud.

This 2.5-3 hour tour ends with a tasty lunch and includes return transfers.

#10 VW Cocktail Bus

Cruise south Bali in a modified VW Combi complete with a fully stocked mini bar and wi-fi!! This 9-hour tour takes in temples, cliff-top views and beautiful scenic sites off the beaten track.

You’ll stop for lunch most importantly sunset cocktails at a Jimbaran beach club. Once the sun has set the bus sets off again for Seminyak, where a nightcap at the famous KuDeTa awaits.

 

 

What’s it Like to Live in Bali with Kids??

What’s it Like to Live in Bali with Kids??

I often get asked what it’s like to live in Bali and the answer always depends on the day. There is good and bad in every place you could live and everyone’s experience is different. But more and more families are moving to Bali with their kids, so it’s a topic I thought I should delve into more deeply. Here are my thoughts, pros/cons, and general ramblings on what it’s like to live in Bali with kids.

Day-to-Day Life

 

My day-to-day life differs a little from families who have moved here as a whole unit. I’m married to a Balinese man and live in the family compound so my life is somewhat more “local style” than others. I’m very lucky to be part of a tight community and have in-built babysitting and playmates for my kids. However, it can feel like I’m constantly being watched and everyone knows everyone’s business in a village. The kids even get tired of being asked the same questions over and over.

Generally though, life isn’t so different than it would be elsewhere. There are the usual routines of school runs, work, cooking, bedtimes etc. My real bonus is that I have a helper that comes to clean 6 days a week. This makes me a nicer person and keeps me from crying about dirty dishes and things like that.

We go to temple for Hindu holidays and help with ceremonies in the community. I don’t do half as much as the amazing local ladies, but try to help out when I can.

Pros:

– Balinese communities are incredible if you make yourself part of it. They will keep you and your house safe and your kids will have friends to play with all the time.

– Being able to hire help with cleaning and/or kids

– The weather is pretty much always good enough to go out and play

Cons:

– Everyone knows or wants to know your business

– Being treated like a tourist every day can be really draining

School Options

 

If we were in the UK the kids would have the choice of 2 schools. Here a lot of ex-pat families choose the area they live in according to the school their kids will attend.

Up in Ubud we don’t have a whole lot of choice, but from around Sanur and south there are a lot more options. Options don’t come cheap though. Schools in Bali range from $5,000 – $20,000 a year (US$). This may come as a shock, but international school educations are costly wherever you are in the world.

I personally have chosen to put my kids in a very local school called a National Plus school, but when they get to junior high they’ll be moving to an international school.

You can find more information in our blog: 11 International Schools in Bali

We also have a great blog about alternative schooling in Bali, which you can find here: The Definitive List of Alternative Schools in Bali

Pros:

– A large choice of schools (in the southern part of Bali)

– Kids socialize with others from all over the world

– They will most likely learn Bahasa Indonesia and maybe other languages

Cons:

– School fees are very expensive

– Holidays can differ from those back home making it difficult to have time with family/friends

– Curriculums can vary and may not match well if you move back home

Healthcare

 

Healthcare is one of my biggest worries about living in Bali. In the UK we would have the NHS, and no matter how slow etc. it would be there in an emergency. In Bali we have insurance but this can be expensive and difficult to get if you are an ex-pat family or have pre-existing conditions. Many families by pass this by using a yearly travel insurance plan while they live in Bali.

The other worry is the standard of healthcare. Even ‘international standard’ hospitals can be pretty rough and the doctors say some pretty insane things. I still don’t have any solid plan of what I’d do if one of us got really ill. My top choices would be BIMC or Sanglah International Wing, but I don’t think I’d be very happy about going to hospital at all in Bali.

In serious situations it’s possible to fly to Singapore, Bangkok or Australia for treatment. I won’t do a pros and cons here because I don’t really feel like there are any pros of living in Bali when it comes to healthcare. This may be a different story if you are coming from somewhere like America.

 

Costs

Rent

I’ve mentioned the cost of schools, but what about the cost of living? Rental houses are getting more and more expensive and most landlords expect at least 1 year’s rent in advance. You’re looking at Rp80million – Rp160million ($8000 – $16000) per year for a 2-bedroom house.

Depending on how many air conditioners you use and if you have a pool, electricity can be anywhere from Rp500,000 – Rp3million per month.

Visas

The other main expense you’ll need to consider is visas. It is possible to get a one-year stay permit (KITAS) for students from most international schools. Parents will need either a Social Budaya visa for a 6-month stay, or a Business Visa, which allows you to run a business in Indonesia.

If you decide to homeschool, you will all need either tourist visas that can be extended up to 60 days, or a Social Budaya visa for 6 months. Both options can get costly with having to do visas runs with a whole family.

Food

 

It is possible to eat extremely cheaply in Bali. Feeding a family of 4 on $5 a day is not uncommon in Balinese compounds. Morning markets are great places to shop for fruit and veg and the night markets hold delicious street food treats. However, if you want to eat healthy it can be way more expensive.

Over the past few years the cafe and restaurant industry has boomed in Bali. When I arrived you couldn’t buy fresh milk in the supermarket! You can now find just about any type of food you can imagine, world-class coffee shops and smoothie bowls galore. I love all this food, but it’s definitely taken a toll on my budget. $6 for a smoothie bowl, $7 for smashed avocado on toast and $10 for a pizza is the norm these days. We can easily spend $50 on dinner for the 4 of us.

Pros:

– You can find gorgeous villas with pools that you probably wouldn’t be able to live in elsewhere

– No paying for heating

– Amazing local food and so many great café & restaurant choices

Cons:

– Paying at least a year’s rent in advance

– Running air conditioners is costly

– Finding and keeping up the right visa and visa runs

– Food is pretty expensive

Activites for Kids in Bali

Bali is extremely kid-friendly and there are way more things going on than there were a few years ago. From art classes, yoga and sports, to holiday camps, there is always something happening. You do have to keep a really good eye out for events though. Things are rarely published until the very last minute and there isn’t yet a great online calendar for events. (we tried but it’s really hard!)

We have also found that classes tend to come and go very quickly because the numbers are never consistent. This is the transient nature of Bali and I’m not sure it will ever change. We end up doing a lot of one-off events rather than a term’s worth of classes or after school activities.

I have to say I’m quite jealous when I see my friends’ kids in Australia, the UK or America all booked up with consistent activities.

Thinking of Making the Move to Live in Bali?

Are you considering moving to Bali? What are some of the concerns/questions/reservations you have about the move? I’d love to know and to be able to help you with some insider advice. Follow our Facebook Page for great community advice and tips for holidays or living in Bali. You can also see what fun we have on a daily basis on our Instagram feed.