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.

Bali Summer Holiday Camps

Bali Summer Holiday Camps

It’s almost the end of the school year again in Bali and local and international school students will be off for the long holiday. Bali Summer Holiday Camps are great for those living in Bali or even visiting for a few weeks. Here’s are rundown of the best camps to keep your kiddos busy…and save your sanity.

ThumbsUp Holiday Camp

ThumbsUp Camps are designed to be physically challenging, mentally stimulating, and educational. Campers will experience unique activities and make new friends, creating memories that will last a lifetime. Campers will experience the best activites that Bali has to offer in a motivating, safe, and educational framework. Kids from 5-15 years old will get to try their hand at surfing, fishing, paintballing, and wrestling. Daily, weekly and monthly rates are available.

Click here for more info: ThumbsUp Camp

Wood School Holiday Camp

July 2-6 and July 9-13 2018

Wood School is located a few minutes outside of Ubud and offers an opportunity for kids aged 6-10 to head into nature and explore. Mornings start with yoga, meditation, song, and crafts. There will also be trips to Bali Bird Park, Bedugul Botanical Gardens, Historic Japanese Caves, and the Turtle Conservation Center, where the children are able to release baby Sea Turtles back into their natural habitats.

More information can be found here: Wood School Holiday Camp

Umalas Kids Club Camp

July 2-27 2018

This is a fun camp for the little ones (ages 1-5) with activities including craft making, games, science, water play, sensory play, music and movements. Choose from half and full day options from 9am-12pm or 9am-3pm (Rp250,000 & Rp350,000 respectively). Fees include a healthy morning snack, afternoon snack and all learning materials. Lunch can be added for an additional fee. Babysitting is also available from 3pm to 5pm at IDR 50,000 per hour.

Click for more info: Umalas Kids Club Holiday Camp

Bali Gymnastics Holiday Camp

June 18-August 3, 2018

Bali Gymnastics is run by a qualified gymnastics teacher who is very popular with the kids. For gymnasts aged 6+, this summer camp offers an opportunity to develop flips, stretches, and beam routines over the summer. Lessons combine artistic gymnastics drills and skills with yoga influences. Camps run from 10am-3:30pm 5 days a week and cost Rp450,000 per day or Rp1,800,000 per week. Snacks and drinks are provided and a performance will be held at the end of the camp.

Find more information here: Bali Gymnastics

The Garden Early Learning Centre Holiday Programs

June 18- July 27, 2018

Kids from ages 2-8 are welcomed to enjoy the beautiful environment and fun learning at The Garden Early Learning Centre. Join for the morning session from 9am-12pm or include Lunch club from 12-1pm. Each week has a different theme. This year learning will be based around favorite children’s books like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Gruffalo and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.

The price is Rp220,000 (includes snack) per session and an additional Rp30,000 for lunch club.

For more details click here: The Garden Holiday Program

The Anak Atelier Holiday Program

June 18-July 20, 2018

The Anak Atelier Summer Camp in Bali is back! There will be from June 18 – July 20, 2018! Carnival and Circus Magic is the theme this summer so there will be plenty of running, skipping, twirling and dancing.

Morning sessions run from 9am -12pm (Rp180,000rp) or the full day from 9am-5pm (Rp320,000 with lunch and snack). Discounts are available for weekly, 3 weeks and 5 weeks package bookings.

Find more information here: Anak Atelier Holiday Camp

Novotel Lombok Holiday Camp

This camp isn’t in Bali but we thought it would be a good addition to the list. The Summer Holiday Camp will run Monday – Friday with a half day on Saturdays on the grounds of the Novotel Lombok. Children will be fully supervised by qualified teachers from Rinjani Indah School. Fun learning activities, games, water play, sports, arts and crafts and plenty more are in store for your kids at this camp.

Find out more in our blog post: Try Something New at the Kids Summer Holiday Camp at Novotel Lombok

Bali Summer Holiday Camps For All!

We’ll be adding Bali Summer Holiday Camps as information is sent to us. If you’ve heard of others or are involved in a camp yourself please send details to partners@balikidsguide.com so we can add it to our list.

Now Open to the Public! Play@Sheraton Kuta

Now Open to the Public! Play@Sheraton Kuta

Play@Sheraton Kuta: For Kids & Parents

Play@Sheraton Kuta, Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort’s kids club is now open to public. Created especially for kids to enjoy their time in Bali while you run errands or enjoying a guilt-free break! Find Play@Sheraton on the 2nd floor of Beachwalk Mall, perfect for some kid free shopping time!

Play@Sheraton’s concept is based on a simple goal, EDUTAINMENT, combining educational entertainment for the kids to explore their creativity. Kids from 3-5 and 6-12 are intellectually stimulated through engaging and fun daily games and activities, exploring Bali’s culture, community and people.

3- 5 years olds can enjoy the Kids Zone, which will introduce your little ones to technology, while exploring the world of their favourite characters.

6- 12 years olds engage with the I’m an Explorer program for curious young minds. This program offers children the opportunity to play and learn with a variety of activities. Arts and crafts, and learning about cultural experiences with the use of technology are big hits.

For some fun splashing around Play@Sheraton also features an outdoor playground and kid’s pool to keep kids active. It’s also great to get them playing outside. A healthy kid’s menu keeps their energy levels up and keeps both kids and parents happy. 

Admission to Play@Sheraton Kuta is just Rp70,000 nett per hour, per child for entry from 8.00am – 9.00pm daily.

We recommend booking in advance by visiting www.sheratonbalikuta.com/play-at-sheraton or just approach the friendly staff at the kids club. 

The Anak Atelier: Introducing Toddler Classes!

The Anak Atelier: Introducing Toddler Classes!

Great news! The Anak Atelier Preschool & Kindergarten is launching a FULL DAY Toddler Programme from 31st July 2017 and is offering a huge 30% discount from the first term’s tuition fee for all enrollments of this Full Day Programme.

The Toddler Programme is for children aged 18 months to 3 years and runs 5 days a week. Parents can opt for half days (8.30am until 11.30am) or full days (8.30am until 2.30pm).

This high quality Anak Atelier Toddler Programme is focused on sensory experiences, development of fine and gross motor skills and socialization. Set in a stunning airy whitewashed joglo building with plenty of lush green outdoor space, a safe and stimulating environment has been created for the children to explore and learn.

Activity nooks provide opportunities for imaginary play, yoga, investigation, cozy reading, sensory play, water play, climbing in the tree house, exploring sounds in the sound garden, outdoor painting and even gardening.

There are limited spaces and high demand so interested families are advised to register as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Email info@theanakatelier.com for more information or to register.

Christmas Bali Holiday Camps to Keep Your Kids Busy

Christmas Bali Holiday Camps to Keep Your Kids Busy

Whether you live in Bali or are on holiday, these Bali Holiday Camps are fabulous options to keep your kiddos busy and happy during the school holidays. Whether your kids are super-active, creative or just want to learn some new skills, there is something for everyone.

SuperHuman Holiday Camp @ Super Hero Fitness

December 16, 2016 – January 8, 2017 

Dive into a 3 week world of ninja warrior skills, urban acrobatics, stealth, parkour and freerunning, escape and chase, all safely indoors here in Bali. Learn the secrets of how to jump large gaps, run up walls, dance around bars and rails, do flips, speed past, over and through obstacles, dive roll and so much more! Develop super reflexes and unlock your hidden human powers and keep them.

The cost is 300k per day (11am-3pm) including pizza lunch.

For more info see the blog post: SuperHuman Fitness Holiday Camp 

leap-of-triumph

Bali Circus Holiday Camp

Bali Circus Camps are specially designed  for children between 4 and 17 years old who would like to experience circus skills, acrobatics, aerial arts, dance, as well as arts & crafts. During the school holidays they will have a week full of activities from 10am to 3pm Monday to Friday. The children will also practice for a show that will be performed at the end of the week for the delight of friends and family. This year there will be 4 sessions:

19th – 23rd December 2016
27th – 30th December 2016 (4 days only)
2nd – 6th January 2017
9th – 13th January 2017

Bali Circus

Find out more about Bali Circus in our directory: Bali Circus 

Green Camps

Green Camp at Green School Bali will be running 4 camps over the school holidays. There will be 2 family camps, which are a fantastic way to learn and bond as a family with outdoor activities and sessions on eco-living. These Bali holiday camps are 3 days and run from Dec. 9th – 11th and Dec. 27th – 29th.

Green Camp Bali Holiday Camps Bali Kids Guide

In between the family camps there will be a 5 Day overnight camp (12th-16th Dec) and also a 5 day, daytime camp (19th – 23rd Dec). Kids from 7 (8 for overnight) to 12 will spend 5 amazing days learning about the world around them in the fantastic Green Camp setting.

For more info see our events page: Events

Bali Gymnastics

Session 1: 19th – 23rd December, 2016 & 2nd – 6th January, 2017 

Well it’s that time of year again and we’re very excited to announce that Bali Gymnastics is holding another fab gym camp over the school holidays. Kids from age 5 are welcomed to have fun, get active and learn many disciplines of gymnastics, including tumbling, balance beam, acro-balance and vaulting, as well as meditation and visualisation. The camp runs from 10am until 3pm, which will definitely keep the kiddos happy and busy!!

Gymnastics What's on This Weekend in Bali - April 16 & 17 Bali Kids Guide

Book at least 1 week before the camp and get a 10% Early Bird discount. You can also qualify for a 10% discount if you travel for an hour or more to get to camp (e.g Sanur, Nusa Dua, Ubud, Uluwatu) or are an overseas guest. Regular price is Rp450,000 per day or Rp1.6 million per week, including snacks and lunch.

For more info and booking details see our events listing: Bali Gymnastics Camp

Anak Atelier

26th December, 2016 – 6th January, 2017

Back again due to popular demand, The Anak Atelier’s famous Holiday Programme is on again!

Ten days of festive Fun will fill the little ones with Christmas Cheer and free up mums and dads to continue the seasonal festivities (or go surfing!). This year’s Christmas Holiday Programme is jam packed with all sorts of Christmassy activities. The lucky kiddies will enjoy making beautifully decorated thank you cards for Santa, as well as sparkly and colourful decorations for home. Christmas songs will be a plenty as well as festive cooking, storytelling, dancing and so much more!

The Anak Atelier Playground

Parents can opt for half-day mornings – 9am until 12pm, half-day afternoons – 2pm until 5pm or full days – 9am until 5pm. Places are open for children aged 18 months to 10 years old.

The daily drop in rate is Rp140,000 for half days and Rp200,000 for full days or you can choose to pre-book 9 sessions and get one session FREE.

Limited spaces are available so book now to avoid disappointment – Email info@theanakatelier.com for more information or to book your slot!

Umalas Kids Club

January 2 – 13, 2017

Umalas Kids Club will be closed for Christmas but will be back in the New Year with a great Bali holiday camp for 1- 5 year olds. Activities range from arts/crafts, science, cooking, water play and exciting games.

During the 2 weeks the center will open from 8.15am to 4pm with half and full day programmes:

•             Half day 9am-12pm: Rp150,000

•             Full day 9am-3pm: Rp250,000

10% discount applies for the whole two week pass

umalas-kids-club-2

Morning and afternoon snack and materials are included in the price but lunch will be an additional Rp35,000 per day and babysitting between 3 and 4pm is Rp50,000.

As space is very limited, advanced reservation is necessary. To book please email info@umalaskidsclub.com or see our event listing for further details: Umalas Kids Club Holiday Camp

Alam Kidz Holiday Program

December 26 – January 26, 2017 (excluding Saturday & Sunday), 9am-12pm

Alam Kidz has designed a holiday program for boys and girls from 2.5 – 9 yo to express their creativity, learn new skills and have tons of fun. They’ll be learning Balinese dance, making arts and crafts, practicing yoga and even cooking traditional Balinese snacks.

alam-kidz

Pay Rp1,200,000 for 10 sessions or pay a daily drop-in price of Rp140,000 per child.

For more details on daily schedules see this camp in our events calendar: Alam Kidz Holiday Program

Don’t Miss Out on All The Fun at These Bali Holiday Camps!

Book one (or more) of these Bali Holiday Camps early to ensure your spot and get great deals!

Trip to Bali with Twins & a Toddler Too Much? Not for This Family!

Trip to Bali with Twins & a Toddler Too Much? Not for This Family!

My family took our first trip to Bali when I was 13 years old. My husband and I got married in Bali in 2011, with 100 of our closest family and friends joining us for a week of celebrations. When our first son, Mason, was born in 2014, we didn’t think twice about booking our holiday and went to Bali twice that year. Trip to Bali Giuliett Moran Bali Kids Guide But in March 2016, we ventured to Bali for the first time as a family of 5. Mason was not quite 2 and Brodie and Tyler were 5 months old. I know a lot of people thought that we were crazy, but I preferred to think of us as adventurous! The challenges of travelling with such a young family definitely comes with some nerves and uncertainty. This made me realise that for people who aren’t as familiar with Bali, the thought of taking young children could be daunting. As a Psychologist and a Mum, I am here to tell you, that I strongly believe that the benefits definitely outweigh the challenges, for EVERYONE! Here’s my take on why…

A Well Deserved Break – For Everyone

We all know that parenting is tough, not just for me staying at home with the boys, but also for my husband. He walks in the door from work and starts helping with the dinner, bath, play, bottle, bed routine. The boys can also get stuck in a mundane routine, especially during the colder months. Taking a trip to Bali allows us to remove ourselves from the day-to-day chores – no work, washing dishes, washing and drying clothes, cleaning, etc. We can spend quality time as a family, relaxing in the sun, enjoying warm weather, great company and endless entertainment. I know a lot of people find the idea of a nanny or babysitter a little scary and despite my love of Bali, it did make me a little nervous at first. I have always found the Balinese people to be the most beautiful souls; caring, genuine, honest and attentive, yet I was hesitant at first to leave a ‘stranger’ with my boys. I quickly overcame these feelings and this was how: Nanny Trip to Bali Giuliett Moran Bali Kids GuideDuring our trip in 2014, with only Mason, we stayed in a Villa and got to know the lady who cooked our breakfast and cleaned the villa. She was so wonderful with Mason and would always play with him while we were having breakfast. After the first couple of days, we asked her if she would be willing to stay a couple of hours extra (she finished at 2pm) to look after Mason for us and she was very excited by this opportunity. The first day, she looked after him for a couple of hours while we were in the villa. It gave us an opportunity to relax by the pool, yet still be close by. Watching her sing songs to him in the shade and keep him happily entertained before putting him to sleep gave me a lot of comfort and we would then be at ease, heading out for a lunch or a date-night, knowing that he was in good hands. I now do this every time. We talk to the staff (at a villa or a resort) and find someone that we are comfortable with. We then ask them to do some babysitting, initially with us there too and then, when we feel confident and the boys seem at ease with them, we venture out. In our most recent trip with all 3 boys, we would get a nanny (or sometimes 2 – at $4 – $5 per hour, why not?) to stay with us for a couple of hours during the day. This gave us help to feed and change nappies and meant that we could jump in the pool with Mason or take Brodie or Tyler for a swim, without leaving someone alone! We also found that due to the time difference (we’re from Melbourne), the twins were going to sleep for the night at 5pm and sleeping through to 5am. We would get the babysitter to arrive at 5:30 on most nights, so that they were sound asleep and we would go out with Mason for an early dinner. We would usually have an early night, in preparation for our 5:30am wake-up call (from the twins). After giving them a bottle, we would take the boys for a walk on the beach – twins in the baby carriers, and a play in the sand, before heading back to breakfast at 7am.

Exposing Children to a Different Way of Life

Yes, Bali is a 3rd world country. There is a lot of poverty, broken roads and foot paths and adults and young children asking for money along the streets. Obviously our boys are too young to grasp these concepts, but interestingly, as Mason walked down the street holding my hand, he waved and said “Hi” to the young children who ran over to sell us some bracelets they had made. It mNew friends Trip to Bali Giuliett Moran Bali Kids Guideade me realise how innocent and non judgemental children are. I want my boys to know that everyone lives differently, that they should be grateful for what they have but also learn from the Balinese way of life because they are some of the happiest people despite having so little. As the boys get older, I would like to introduce a ‘cultural experience’ to every trip to Bali. Whether this is taking educational toys to the local orphanage or going to the local supermarket to do a big grocery shop for a family of someone that we befriend. Talking to the locals, from staff at the villa/resort, taxi drivers, market stall owners, etc, you hear lots of really interesting stories if you take the time to chat.

Endless Options at Affordable Prices

As a family of 5, we are on a reduced income because we agreed early on, that I would stay at home with the boys. Having said that, we also both agree that it is important for us to prioritise a family holiday, it gives us something to look forward to, the opportunity to take a break and to spend quality time together, making memories that will last a lifetime! One of the things we love most about holidaying in Bali, is that there is so much variety and endless options. We love that the restaurants and cafes are of a Melbourne standard, with a casual dinner option where 2 adults could eat (and drink) for $20 in a nice cafe style restaurant to a beautiful dinner of the highest standard – the equivalent of a high-end Melbourne restaurant, that might cost us $70 for food and drinks. Then there’s the endless accommodation options, day spas ($8 – $20 for a 60 minute massage, depending on the quality of the place), supermarkets and convenience stores where you can get all the snacks, fruit, drinks, toiletries and anything that you may need!

Reconnecting with Your Partner on a Trip to Bali

There is no doubt that the arrival of children (especially when 2 & 3 arrived for us at once) has changed our relationship. Marty and I have less time together and even though we have the most supportive extended family, who are always willing to babysit so that we can fit-in a date-night, there is nothing quite like a holiday to reconnect. We always try to have at least 1-2 date nights during a trip to Bali. Even if this means a late dinner once all the boys are in bed, followed by a massage, there is something about being away from our day-to-day routines and in a relaxed environment that is so much more special. All of these reasons, are why, for our little family, Bali is a home away from home. It is somewhere where we can instantly relax and unwind, reconnect with each other, learn from the locals and remind ourselves of how grateful we are for the life and opportunities that we have.

Giuliett is a mum to 3 little boys and has been travelling to Bali for years. She has recently started a fantastic blog about her life as a Mum and a Psychologist – morepleasemum.com