Written by Pia Vuolteenaho
Co-written by Dawn Pillay, Riyan Septa, Val Caulin, Jiayi Ng, Kristyna Schonova, Jia En Toh, Oceana Setaysha and Fiona Davies
From treetop adventures to chocolate factories, Bali has so much to offer for families travelling with kids.
When it comes to choosing a home base for you and the kiddos, there’s no other location more suitable than Sanur.
Sanur offers a taste of peaceful village life that lets you feel safe while exploring the area with the little ones, yet still fun enough to keeping the little munchkins entertained. Sanur’s white sandy beaches have calm, shallow waters that allow the kids to splash around with ease.
And don’t worry, this is not just fun and games for the kids, either. These picks are so much fun that even the adults will feel like a kid again!
1. Swing out to sea: Dream Island Bali
Many have heard of the iconic ocean swings on Gili islands, but did you know that Sanur also has its very own scenic swing?
Photo By Mahendrrap
Tucked away in Mertasari Beach, which is favoured by locals, Dream Island lets you release your inner child and swing to your heart’s content while the salty ocean kisses your toes.
Photo By Axmm23
Needless to say, it’ll be a day to remember for the little ones as well!
Photo By Putushania,Sandhy_zane
Besides the epic swing, Dream Island offers relaxed seaside dining and unmissable photo-ops in front of their beachside shacks.
Photo By Sagitarius08_,Bennyherlangga
If you’re looking for a spot to snap some holiday photos of the whole family, I think we can declare the search officially over!
2. Discover a spooky side of Bali: Taman Festival
If you’re kids can’t get enough of ghost stories or if you yourself are a big fan of all things creepy, don’t miss out on one of the spookiest spots in Bali!
Taman Festival is a large amusement park in Sanur that was never completed.
Photo By Leanne_olliffe,Infodenpasar
Since the park – and its crocodile pit – was abandoned 14 years ago, it has literally crumbled, a sad reminder of an abandoned potential that was never realised.
Photo By Indrayudha46
Now, with shaky buildings threatening to fall at any moment, missing roofs and treacherous steps, locals refer to the old park as a “ghost town”.
But it’s not just about the possible wandering spirits that will leave your hair standing in fear.
Photo By Doyouspeakbelgianese,Oliverobyn,Ardiyaoe,Pipperroniii
Rumour has it that the crocodiles left in the park eventually resorted to cannibalism, so if you ever visit, do take special care to avoid the old crocodile pit and pools filled with polluted, black water.
Photo By Sandhy_Zane
The reptiles might have been removed many years ago, but it’s better safe than sorry, isn’t it?
Full image credit Anthony Yates https://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonyyates
3. Take your family on a culinary adventure at Sanur’s best restaurants
With new restaurants emerging practically every day, dining out with kids in Bali is a breeze.
Sanur offers great dining options, ranging from fine dining to laid-back burger shacks on the beach. What’s even better is that most restaurants can be reached by a leisurely stroll or a relaxing bike ride!
3-a. Explore a magical oasis of colour: Big Garden Corner
Big Garden Corner offers a treat for your eyes as well as your tastebuds. Next to the delicious, mainly Western style food, the massive park will be your kids new favourite playground thanks to whimsical tree houses and colourful umbrellas hanging from the trees!
At one of the Denpasar’s busiest traffic junction lies the corner of peaceful paradise.
At the Big Garden Corner restaurant, you can have a meal under hundreds of happy colorful umbrellas!
With all these beautiful colours, you don’t even need to use a filter on your Instagram pictures – how photogenic!
As for food, the prices are very reasonable. Snacks and drinks offered for breakfast costs only Rp 10,000 (USD $1) onwards, so it’s very wallet-friendly.
On hot days, you may want to cool yourself with a glass of fresh juice or some delicious homemade gelato.
On the menu, it’s mainly Western food such as spaghetti carbonara, chicken cordon bleu, pork ribs, steak and fish. You will be able to find there the typical Indonesian dishes such as Mee Goreng, Nasi Goreng, etc.
If you’re looking for something you’ve never tasted before, we recommend you to order The Black Burger. And end your meal with one of their delicious banana dessert.
You’ll leave with a smile and a satisfied tummy.
3-b. Escape into veggie heaven: Zula Vegetarian Paradise
Vacation food doesn’t have to be unhealthy! Whether you’re a family of vegans or simply want to introduce a little more green into your kids’ diet, there’s no better place to get your daily veggie fix than the delicious Zula Vegetarian Paradise.
This is a cozy restaurant and organic grocery shop with a huge menu to choose your favorite healthy bites.
Photo via vegantruth
They have everything: Boiled organic greens, quinoa and buckwheat pancake, nori maki – with brown rice – 4 different salad combinations and you can create your own as well.
Photo via kaleeburns
There’s also organic miso soup, lentil soup and other soups; raw veggie burgers and the option of whole grain nasi goreng in case you’re looking for some tasty local food!
This is a perfect vegan option if you’re around Seminyak or at the beach in Sanur. You can count on Zula. Before you even get hungry, you’ll always know you can just stop by and order.
Photo via kusumastari
Another thing to note, they also have great desserts!
Enjoy your healthy meals in a nice, calm and cool environment, where you can also shop organic products available.
Photo via Marsheilla
3-c. Go gluten-free and fabulous: Dusk Blue
If you’re travelling with anyone dealing with dietary restrictions, the relaxedly chic Dusk Blue might just become your new favourite restaurant. Regardless of your diet, you’ll feel anything but deprived here.
Photo By Aliashkaa
Just as the name suggests, Dusk Blue is a dreamy restaurant which specializes in healthy eats and caters to numerous special diets. Whether you’re going gluten-free or simply want to sample some seriously delicious organic fare, their Mediterranean-inspired menu will get you covered.
Photo By Chenliie
When parents want to eat healthy but the kids are craving pancakes, Dusk Blue is the way to go – their mouthwatering breakfast menu is so delicious that the kiddos won’t even notice they’re eating healthy!
Even if they are too young to drink coffee, Dusk Blue’s artful lattes will put a smile on their faces!
3-d) Save some room for oh-so-pretty dessert: Beecup
When it’s time for dessert (that is, if you still have some room left!), you just can’t go wrong with Beecup.
This sweet-as-can-be bakery offers some of the prettiest cupcakes in Bali, with flavours ranging from peanut butter to green tea and beyond!
The kids will have a blast picking out their favourite treats from the bakery’s colourful display.
If you’re marking a special occasion while in Bali, Beecup also specializes in some seriously imaginative custom-made cakes.
We’ll bet that the kiddos will go nuts for their artful confections – I mean, who wouldn’t love a personalised birthday cake complete with a dinosaur?
4. Bounce on the trampoline and ride the merry-go-round: Peek A Boo Kid’s Play Cafe
If frolicking on the beach and exploring Bali’s temples haven’t worn the little ones out by now, let them blow off excess steam at Peek A Boo Kid’s Play Cafe.
Peek A Boo offers a whole world of fun for kids aged between 0 to 9 (kids over 9 years old are welcome too, as long as they pay the regular entrance fee).
The indoor play area has a merry-go-round, cars, play kitchens, a ball pool and more! Outside, you’ll find a jungle gym, trampoline and many other things to keep the little ones thoroughly entertained.
Peek A Boo also throws birthday bashes, so if a little one is marking a birthday during your stay in Bali, this might just be the perfect venue for hosting the festivities!
After wearing themselves out in the playground, kids (and parents!) can enjoy a refreshing snack at their cozy cafe too.
5. Enjoy an unforgettable underwater walk: Bali Seawalker
Treat your kids to the Finding Nemo experience of a lifetime! The waters surrounding Bali are teeming with stunning marine life and thanks to Bali Seawalker, even those little travellers who are too young to swim or snorkel can enjoy Bali’s abundant underwater wonders.
Scared your oxygen tank will give out on you if you go diving?
With the Seawalker helmet, you can now walk on the seabed and observe ocean life like an underwater resident without having to carry all those heavy equipment.
It’s so easy that even non-swimmers can do it.
And even better yet, the helmet ensures that no water will touch your hair, so let those worries about helmet-head and flattened hair fly out the window and enjoy your little walk in the sea!
Photo By Dekharry
6. Escape to a peaceful hideaway: Serangan Island
Often referred to as Turtle Island, the tranquil Serangan Island is located just off the coast of Bali, and today, it’s connected to mainland Bali by a bridge.
The drive over from Sanur takes only 20 minutes, so you can make an easy day trip to enjoy the unique perks of this under-the-radar destination overlooked by most visitors!
6-a. Swim with sharks!: Bali Sharks
Give your kids the thrill of a lifetime while also giving them a valuable lesson in conserving the environment.
Sadly, unregulated shark fishing is still a fact of life in Bali, and it’s now very rare to see the once common reef sharks that prowled across Bali’s coral-fringed coasts.
Photo By Sailorandmermaid
Bali Sharks is the island’s first shark conservation program, offering an alternative fate for young sharks being killed and sold as food in local markets or shipped overseas for their fins.
The founders of Bali Sharks have created an artificial ‘shark island’ in Serangan.
The mostly black and white tip reef sharks are kept in large sea pens in the open ocean. Sharks arrive at the sanctuary after they have been purchased from fishermen, or rescued from being tangled in nets. Eventually, the healthy sharks are released back into the wild.
Guests embark on a 3-hour eco tour, which includes jumping in for a quick snorkel with the sharks. If you’ve never swum with sharks, we highly encourage you give it a try!
Photo By Coco_Shanelle_X
Most people find that their fear simply disappears when they’re able to see just how beautiful and graceful these animals are up close.
6-b. Get a colourful glimpse of the real Bali: Pura Sakenan
No visit to Bali is complete without getting an unforgettable glimpse at the island’s unique culture and there is no better place to do this than Sakenan Temple during the Kuningan festival.
Photo By Aguspertama19
Located on the small Serangan Island, Sakenan Temple is popular with locals, but rarely visited by outsiders despite its stunning surroundings.
Photo By Ineezcp,Indrikadek
Nestled on the coastline, with the serene ocean at its back, the temple is also an epitome of gorgeous traditional architecture.
The best time to visit Sakenan Temple?
Photo By Putu_hesty,Esyratnasari
During the Balinese festival of Kuningan, which actually coincides with the anniversary of the temple!
7. Bring a piece of Bali back home with you: Kevala Ceramics
What better way to bring a piece of Bali home with you than by stocking up on beautiful homeware crafted by local artisans? Picking up dishes in Bali means your family will be reminded of your epic stay on the Island of the Gods every time you gather around the dinner table back home.
Kevala which means “perfect, whole, complete” is the perfect place to get designer-worthy crockery.
Photo By Garyhor
With retail spaces all over Bali (Ubud, Seminyak, Sanur, Nusa Dua, Karangasem, Uluwatu, and Batu Bulan), you know they’re much loved and worth a visit.
Lovingly designed and handmade by local artisans, Kevala’s hand-crafted ceramics with their refined prints and unique textures will make great conversation starters at your next dinner party.
Photo By Cissylia
While some people don’t place much focus on their crockery, did you know it’s one of the subtlest ways to introduce textures and patterns into your home?
Kevala is one of the few places we’ve managed to find such upscale quality and designs – so make sure to pay Kevala a visit when you come over! You won’t regret picking up a piece or two.
Photo By Sarahdanita
8. Send your vacation into epic new heights: Bali Kite Festival
Looking up into the blue skies of Bali, it’s rare to not spot at least one kite, and once a year, the skies are simply teeming with these colourful marvels.
The Bali Kite Festival brings together kite flying teams from across the island to the Padang Galak Beach in Sanur. Don’t worry about finding it – during the festival, it’s impossible to miss the kites!
Photo By Uchup88
Kites are an integral part of Balinese culture and the festival is accompanied by traditional gamelan music.
The kites are sure to impress parents as well as the kids as they come in bright colours, imaginative designs and truly massive sizes. A Balinese kite can easily measure up to a whopping ten metres!
Bali Kite Festival usually takes place between July and August – it all depends on when the winds are most favourable!
To check the dates for the next festival, check for updates on the local government’s website or keep your eyes peeled for the next dates on Bali Kite Festival’s Instagram account.
9. Raid the local bazaars and learn to cook, Balinese style: Bamboo Shoots Bali
Families who eat together, stay together – and what better time to truly connect with one another than while on holiday?
Bamboo Shoots Bali is a cooking school that gives guests an immersive introduction to the Balinese kitchen.
Early in the morning, guests are whisked away to a local market, where you can shop for fresh, local ingredients while also getting a genuine feel of the local way of life.
Back at the cooking school, you’ll be guided through multiple dishes and are encouraged to sneak a taste every now and then – perfect for those little cooks who are too impatient to wait till the end!
The class includes breakfast and lunch, and remember – you eat what you cook, so do plan on arriving with an empty stomach!
10. Leave your worries behind at a luxurious beach resort
Check your shoes at the door and discover beachside bliss at one of Sanur’s fabulous beach resorts.
A stay in Sanur brings you to the heart of the action but still offers plenty of opportunities to simply kick back and relax. These resorts strike the perfect balance between comfort and entertainment, guaranteed to satisfy kids and parents alike.
10-a. Luxury for all ages: Segara Village Hotel
Whether you’re six or sixty years old, Segara Village Hotel will delight you to no end. Just take a look at all the amazing things they have to offer!
Ever heard of a Jacuzzi Bar? Holy crap, by the time we got to the end of this list of amazing Sanur stays – an invigorating soak in this awesome Jacuzzi, coupled with a delicious cocktail in hand sounded absolutely p.e.r.f.e.c.t.
Segara Village Hotel definitely knows a little something about luxury with its amazing approach to hospitality, and here’s why:
Chic, well furnished rooms for maximum comfort
Facilities that cater for all your needs from exclusive romantic dinners for two, ladies’ program to keep her happy, surfing on ‘legendary surf breaks’ for him, playground and babysitting services for the kids, and more.
Spa at Segara for daily pampering
The Byrdhouse Beach Club that lets you “lounge, swim, dine and play” in a relatively more private stretch of beach
Photo via: rusdisanad
THE Jacuzzi Bar
Photo via: rusdisanad
Inspired by traditional Balinese villages, Segara Village offers villas located in the middle of tropical gardens with three outdoor pools and free Wi-Fi in public areas.
Sunrise views can be enjoyed along with your buffet breakfast at Beach Restaurant, and this beachfront restaurant also serves Asian and international dishes.
For other interesting activities at Segara Village, consider participating in the local market tour and cooking classes – as well as the weekly cultural evening featuring Balinese dance and music!
10-b. Enjoy easy breezy beach life: Mercure Resort Sanur
Life’s a beach at the laid-back-luxe Mercure Resort Sanur where you can enjoy direct beach access while also being within a leisurely walking distance from Sanur’s best restaurants and shops.
Located on the beach, Mercure Resort Sanur offers great Balinese-style accommodation – 41 traditional cottages with thatched roofs, private terraces and free Wi-Fi!
Photo via: paradisenastya
For those with kids, Mercure Resort Sanur has 8 Family Suites with bunker beds for the kids and 47 connecting rooms where parents can have their own private space!
Surrounded by lush tropical landscape, Mercure also features 2 pools, and a spa. (What can we say – while the kiddos get to have fun at the beach and in the pools, the adults get to schedule some much needed downtime at the spa, right?)
Photo via: shelevoy
There are even tennis, volleyball and badminton courts at Resort Mercure Sanur for some fun family playoffs.
After having so much fun, your bellies will need food, and where best than the beachside Pandawa Restaurant where sea views accompany international dishes and live entertainment. (24-hour room service is also available!)
If the family is keen to venture out, there’s a free shuttle bus available to the local shopping area, bikes are available for rent, and the friendly staff can provide tour and vehicle rental services for your convenience.
There’s also a kids club if parents are looking for activities to keep your kids occupied with (and a place where they will be cared for), while you get away for little bit of romance!
Check out Mercure’s beach bar or the poolside bar if you’re looking to have a romantic toast to this perfect family vacation. Enjoy!
11. Ride the waves with ease: Stand Up Paddle
Surfing is on many a Bali bucket list. With stand up paddling, absolute beginners and even kids can ride the waves with ease. The calm waters surrounding Sanur are perfect for trying out this sport!
Have you been witnessing the rise of a new outdoor activity – Stand Up Paddle or SUP?
Photo By Jodi-S
With a longer and wider surfboard, you can paddle in the water just like how Hawaiians do it – stand up paddling while riding their canoes.
SUP may look easy, but it actually demands core strength and balance, so it’s a good workout.
Now combine this with a more familiar watersport – surfing.
Photo By Martin P,OrganicMum
If you do paddle surfing, you’ll be able to chase bigger waves at a faster speed. You don’t need to go to Hawaii anymore – popular surfing spots in Bali like Sanur offer paddle surfing. And surfing schools there offer courses as well as rentals.