Indonesia – The Barefoot Nomad Travel. Tech. Family. Fun. Fri, 15 Jun 2018 22:40:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Bali with Kids: 10 Tips For A Fun Bali Family Holiday Tue, 17 Apr 2018 17:00:00 +0000 This guest post is by Kate from Rolling Along with Kids. Kate and her family have spent a large amount of time in Bali and is an expert on things to do with kids in Bali.

An island full of culture and plenty of activities to do with the kids, Bali is the ultimate family destination. There are so many options when it comes to traveling to Bali with kids like where to stay, what to do and where to eat. It becomes a touch overwhelming but these 10 tips on how to have a fun family holiday to Bali will help you plan a great trip.

Bali with Kids: 10 Tips For A Fun Bali Family Holiday

Choose wisely where you stay

Making the right decision on which area to stay in Bali can mean the difference between you loving Bali or finding it just okay. Seminyak has amazing food and shopping, Sanur is more laid back with a great beach path, Kuta is busy with lots of shops and Ubud is the cultural heart of Bali but with terrible footpaths to walk along with kids. Take your time to research the different areas to make the best choice.

Villa or hotels

There is a wide range of accommodation in Bali with villas and hotels the 2 main options. Villas are fantastic when the kids are younger and you need space for them to have their day sleeps or wake up early in the morning. Pool fences are easy to find in Bali and provide that extra level of protection when traveling with young kids. They also provide great value for money when traveling with other families. Many Bali resorts come with amazing kids facilities including kids clubs, water slides and dedicated kids pools. As the kids become older, resorts can be the best choice and the kids will not want to leave.

Sea Shanty Villa

Hire a nanny

Ok if I’m honest, this is one of the main reasons we keep traveling all the way across Australia from Melbourne to Bali for our family holidays. Our gorgeous Bali nannies have become our dear family friends and are amazing with all our kids especially our son that has autism. Our nannies have been trained in first aid, CPR and can swim. There are a couple of different ways to hire a nanny, through a babysitting agency or through friend’s recommendations of a private nanny that you hire yourself.

Bali Nanny

Visit a waterpark

It gets hot in Bali so it will be hard to get the kids out of the pool. One way to entice them out is a day out to one of the many waterparks in Bali. Our kids insist each time we travel to Bali that we must go to Waterbom Park in Kuta. We have been 5 times now and each time the family loves it. Finns Recreation Club in Canggu also has a great waterpark called Splash that is more compact and easier to keep an eye on the kids. The bonus with this club is the additional activities like a trampoline centre, ten-pin bowling and kids club that means the kids will never get bored especially on a rainy day.

Waterbom water park

Go on a bike ride

I had been reluctant for a few years about going on a bike ride with the kids when they were younger. If I had only known how fun and suited to all ages the bike rides were, I would have gone on our first Bali family trip in 2012. We had such a fun day with UbudCycling.Bike and in typical Balinese style, they were so patient. We had kids ranging in age from 18 months to 8 years and visited a local school, a coffee plantation, Mt Batur, a family compound, a bike ride through the Balinese countryside and finally finished off at a gorgeous Ubud restaurant.

bike riding in Bali

A day out at a beach club

If a day at the beach sounds like fun then you remember you have kids, beach clubs are the way to go in Bali. They have facilities like pools, lounge chairs, delicious food and best of all, cocktails. Sundays Beach Club is one of our all-time favourites as is the famous Ku De Ta in Seminyak. If you are staying in Ubud there is no need to miss the beach club experience. Jungle Fish is a pool, restaurant and bar that welcomes kids and is set amongst the gorgeous trees and rivers of central Bali.

Sundays Beach Club bali

Watch a sunrise and sunset

Something that is free and any family can enjoy is the Bali sunrises and sunsets. Watching a beautiful sunrise over the water is possible from areas like Sanur, Benoa and Nusa Dua. The extra bonus with these areas is the easy to walk along beach paths that means that if the younger kids wake up early, as they do for us, the kids can come along for a walk in the stroller.

Sanur Sunrise Bali

Bali sunsets are amazing anywhere around the island. But along the beach of Kuta, Legian, Seminyak and Canggu they really do leave you mesmerised with such beauty.

Seminyak Sunset

Enjoy a Sunday brunch

There are so many options in Bali to enjoy a decadent Sunday Brunch. I must say the thought of kids and fine china does send chills up my spine! I was so pleased when we visited Prego Restaurant at the Westin Resort Nusa Dua and the sunday brunch was all about the kids! Such yummy food and kids activities including cupcake making, a magician, outside games and finally, a swim in the Westin pool. It was so family friendly that any time something made a noise as it dropped, the staff would clap!

Prego Sunday Brunch

Test out your adventure side

For school aged kids there are plenty of options in Bali to be adventurous. Bali Treetop Adventure Park has a high ropes course in a national park and the 2 main rivers in Bali are perfect for White Water Rafting. Bali Wake Park has a fun inflatable obstacle course, as well as wake boarding, and ATV rides through the countryside are also a great way to see Bali. The companies that run these activities all have a great safety record and the younger kids can get involved too.

Bali Wake Park

Make friends with the locals

Our best experiences in Bali have always come from the simple things. Chatting to the locals, the kids playing on the beach together and making lifelong friends with our drivers. The Balinese always have a big smile and calm attitude to life. They will adore your kids and it will be hard to sit down at a restaurant without the staff playing along with the kids while you eat.

Meeting the locals in Bali


Kate lives in Victoria, Australia with her husband and 2 kids. Her family travels regularly to Bali and she loves to share all her tips on travel to Bali with kids. You will often find her daydreaming about her next trip. You can follow them on their blog at Rolling Along with Kids, on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

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5 Things We Love About Sumatra Fri, 22 Apr 2016 21:00:00 +0000 Most travelers are familiar with the rice terraces, sprawling beaches and gentle vibe of Bali, however before we had our kids, we went a little more off the beaten track and spent almost a month on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

After spending time there, it’s hard to believe that Indonesia is the fourth most populated country in the world. I suppose that with over 14,000 islands it’s still easy to find a quiet place to yourself.

Sumatra, the largest of Indonesia’s islands, is home to critically endangered animals like the orangutan, the Sumatran tiger, and the Sumatran rhinoceros. It’s also home to delicious Sumatran coffee.

During that month, we developed a keen appreciation for Bintang Beer and fried eggs. Fried eggs were served on top of almost every dish we ordered. While the crazy traffic in Medan definitely wasn’t one of our favorites, we spent most of our time in quieter areas of Sumatra and that’s where we found so many of the things we love about Sumatra.

Jungle trekking through Bukittinggi

Bukittinggi Indonesia

Bukittinggi Indonesia

Despite being a city with over 110,000 people, we found Bukittinggi felt like a much quieter place. That is, except for mosques blasting the call to prayer through loudspeakers at 5:00 am.

Surrounded by mountains and valleys, the city has a relaxed vibe and some gorgeous views.

We met up with a local guide on his day off in the rice fields, and spent the afternoon on an impromptu jungle trek. He showed us where cinnamon and coffee grew wild in the jungle, watched flying foxes along the riverbanks, and even led us to a remote village with a local silversmith where we bought a silver band that became my engagement ring.

Swimming in Lake Toba

Lake Toba is the result of a massive supervolcanic explosion around 70,000 years ago. Today, the waters are still warmed by underground volcanic activity, keeping the 500 meter (approx. 1,600 foot) deep lake at a comfortable swimming temperature.

Samosir is an island in the middle of Lake Toba, making it an island within the island of Sumatra. We spent a week and a half here, enjoying dips in the clear water, and cruising around the little island by motorbike.

Samosir Island on Lake Toba in Sumatra

Samosir Island on Lake Toba in Sumatra

Getting up close with wildlife

Despite the urban chaos of Jakarta, most of Indonesia is wild and home to a diversity of flora and fauna. This cuddly little guy is a Rhinoceros beetle.

In our time in Sumatra, we saw countless frogs, beetles, stick insects and even an Atlas Moth (which can be up to 12 inches wide) which came to visit us one evening. It doesn’t surprise me one whit that scientists continually seem to discover new species in the Indonesia jungle, like this long nosed frog and hog nosed rat.

Rhinoceros beetle in Bukittinggi Indonesia

This photo was taken in the rafters of our little hut. We had several Thomas leaping monkeys visit us every sunset. At about 3 am, our neighbor’s screams alerted us to the fact that there was a forest rat climbing through their rafters for a visit as well.

Bukit Lawang Indonesia

Thomas leaping monkey in Bukit Lawang Indonesia

Here’s something you probably didn’t know about us: we were once chased through a jungle in Indonesia by a water buffalo.

A water buffalo is big enough to be pretty intimidating, so when the local guide we were following started to run in a quiet panic, we didn’t ask questions. We just ran as fast as we could, and luckily the irritated water buffalo didn’t follow us very far.

Scary Water Buffalo in Indonesia

I swear they looked a lot bigger when they were chasing us. Also, I’m not entirely sure if the dog at the front of the photo is attending to nature’s call or running away as fast as it can.

Watching orangutans in Bukit Lawang

Orangutans are currently endangered, and only found wild in the rain forests of Borneo and Sumatra. They’re critically endangered in Sumatra, where there are only about 7,300 remaining.

We were fortunate enough to see orangutans in Bukit Lawang at the Bohorok Orangutan Centre, one of the only places in the world where you can see orangutans in the wild. The Orangutan sanctuary is located inside Gunung Leuser National Park across the river from Bukit Lawang.

Indonesia Mom and Baby orangutan in Sumatra

We spent an hour or two sitting in the jungle, as orangutans swung around us in the trees while the rangers fed some of the rehabilitated orangutans on a feeding platform a few feet away. The intelligence in these animal’s eyes is almost palpable and watching them descend the 100 foot long vines to get to the jungle floor was a treat I’ll remember always.


Our first glimpse of Sumatra was the small port city of Dumai. It was chaotic, crowded and home to the craziest bunch of tourist louts we’ve ever encountered anywhere. After the coldest ferry ride ever coming in from Malaca, Malaysia, we high tailed it out of the city and had the most insane rally road driving experience one could ever experience in a crowded minivan.

As such, we found life in nature near mountainous Bukittinggi and the jungles around Bukit Lawang to be a lot more relaxing.

With tons to see and do Sumatra was also very cheap to travel in and the population were also some of the friendliest, most relaxed people we’ve ever met.

Bukit Lawang Indonesia

Relaxing in Bukit Lawang with our own private waterfall

What’s on our bucket list?

There’s a lot more to see in Indonesia.

So far we’ve only visited Sumatra, but there’s world class SCUBA diving in Raja Ampat or the Togian islands. We’re also itching to see Komodo dragons, but we may wait until the kids are a little less snack-size to take that trip.

Note: If you’re serious about seeing the Komodos, check out Adventurous Kate, who wrote about safety after her experience in a shipwreck when visiting.

We’re also keen to finally visit Bali. We have numerous friends that all rave about the island (and a few that live there) so it’s only a matter of time before we visit it as well.

Situ Gunung Sukabumi West Java Indonesia Photo by CIFOR

Situ Gunung Sukabumi West Java Indonesia Photo by CIFOR

I’ve also been checking out some less well known destinations like Bandung on Jakarta. It’s a busy city full of shopping and culture, while nearby areas of Cibodas and Situ Gunung, Sukabumi are some of the greenest in Indonesia. It doesn’t hurt that there are some beautiful places to stay like Villa Istana Bunga.

Where would you like to visit in Indonesia?

Five things we love about Sumatra, from seeing endangered orangutans in the wild to jungle treks and swimming in Lake Toba


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Travel Photo: Orangutan at Bukit Lawang Indonesia Fri, 30 Mar 2012 18:20:57 +0000 The Bohorok Orangutan Centre at Bukit Lawang in Indonesia is one of the only places in the world where you can see orangutans in the wild.

Half a dozen orangutans were swinging in the trees around us when we snapped this photo. The rangers were feeding some of the orangutans on a feeding platorm a few feet away.

Bukit Lawang is a small village deep in Sumatra's forest, packed with backpacker hostels and cafes. To get there, we took a ferry from Penang, Malaysia to Medan, Indonesia, and jumped on board a mini-bus to Bukittinggi. From Bukittinggi, we took a local bus on roads with potholes deep enough to lose a car.

Orangutan in Bukit Lawang Indonesia

Orangutan in Bukit Lawang Indonesia

The Bohorok Orangutan Centre at Bukit Lawang in Indonesia is one of the only places in the world where you can see orangutans in the wild. The Orangutan sanctuary is located inside Gunung Leuser National Park.

Half a dozen orangutans were swinging in the trees around us when we snapped this photo. The rangers were feeding some of the orangutans on a feeding platform a few feet away.

Bukit Lawang is a small village deep in Sumatra’s forest, packed with backpacker hostels and cafes.  To get there, we took a ferry from Penang, Malaysia to Medan, Indonesia, and jumped on board a mini-bus to Bukittinggi. From Bukittinggi, we took a local bus on roads with potholes deep enough to lose a car.

Here’s a travel tip:  Open air buses are usually a better bet than air conditioned in Indonesia. We paid an extra dollar for the air conditioned bus, but the air conditioning was broken, the windows were sealed shut, and we were locked into a ten hour bus ride with about 50 clove cigarette smoking passengers. There was a man in the back of the bus whose sole job was to hand out barf bags to the passengers.

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