A Family Holiday to Bali – Not Going to Plan 2

During the September/October school holidays of 2015 we (my partner Steve, our 7-year-old son Lewis and I) take a family holiday to Bali.

But all did not go as planned!

I have to say it has been a bit of difficult year in the lead up to the Bali holiday.  With a combination of personal issues coupled with endless flues and colds we are in dire need of a family holiday.

But the flu gods have other ideas.

family holiday to Bali

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Our Family Holiday to Bali

Where it all starts to fall apart.

About 2 weeks prior to departure Steve is struck down with a severe ear infections.  He doses up with antibiotics.  Yet on the day of departure, he is still not better.  Lewis and I will board the flight for our family holiday to Bali without him.  All 3 of us firmly believing Steve will only be another couple of days.

As soon as we get to Perth airport to check into our Virgin Airways flight we hit more problems with luggage allowance.  Something I have never had a problem with being an ex-airline staff member – I always take care to weigh bags before I leave home.  However, Virgin Airways do not allow us to combine our luggage allowance weight into one bag, even though we are under the Occupational Health and Safety limit of 32kg.

So there I am on the floor of the airport, reshuffling clothes and toiletries into my hand luggage bag.  Let’s just say NOT HAPPY JAN!

We finally bid farewell to Steve, who says I will see you in a couple of days.  Tears are trickling down Lewis’s face as we wait at Customs.  I cheer him up a little with the thought that we will scope out the hotel and local area so we that we can show Daddy around in a few days.  He likes the idea that he will be able to take charge and show Daddy about.


The rest of our flight goes well.  Arriving into Bali Lewis is even comfortable with going up to the Balinese Customs officer on his own (the Balinese Customs procedure is to go the desk as an individual not a family).

Walking out into the warmth of Bali we are greeted by our driver who takes us to our resort the Sanur Paradise Plaza Suites.

During the drive out to Sanur, our driver explains a little about the Hindu mythology (how warriors fought the dragons) that are the stories behind Hindu sculptures that adorn the main intersections.

Resort life

I am a little worried as we turn off the busy highway into the Sanur Paradise Plaza Suites resort – it does not look like much.  However once inside the open aired lobby, we are welcomed with warm smiles, a drink and cool towel.

Then shown to our room.  It is huge and immaculately clean.  Whatever will Lewis and I do with all this space?

Click on the gallery to view images in a larger format.

Don’t worry we manage to utilise all of it.  But the first place to visit is the pool.

Before jumping into the water we call Steve using Viber on the hotels free WiFi.  This turns out to be an absolute godsend as Lewis calls Steve quite frequently over the coming days and I know that it hasn’t cost me a cent.

We then order off the poolside menu – very reasonably priced.  Then it’s into the tepid water.

Main pool at prime Plaza Suites

Main pool


After lunch we explore further and find the water slide, discover happy hour drinks at 4pm, and locate the resort mini mart (which was handy to just get us started with a few items).

Waterslide at prime Plaza Suites



That night Lewis is too nervous to go out for dinner and begs for room service.  To my pleasant surprise the room service menu is also reasonably priced (from the same extensive menu as poolside but with a $2AUD surcharge for the whole meal).  Overall this is financially quite a good option as we purchase drinks from the mimini-mart

The next morning Lewis and I set our routine.  Buffet breakfast with a little homework.

breakfast buffet

Buffet breakfast


Down to the games room for some air hockey, foosball and giant chess.

games tables in the Camp Splash

Camp Splash


At 10am the kids club activities start.

Kids doig an activity around the table at Camp Splash

Kids club activities


Then I prise Lewis away from the resort.  We discover the hotel shuttle that takes us to the Hardy’s department/supermarket where we stock our fully equipped kitchen (not that I did any cooking), or continue on to the resorts beach, stroll along the boardwalk, find a place for a massage, and discover some great local places to eat dinner along the main street of Sanur.  Oh, we didn’t do this all in one day – we break it up.  Because, as it turns out, Steve’s ear infection is not clearing up.

But as a result, I am getting my travel mojo back from my bygone backpacking days.  I didn’t realise how much I had come to rely on Steve taking charge once we are away on our family travels.  However this time it is up to me and my senses are heightened as I am the one who has to take charge.  I am fully aware of the exchange rate, ensuring we are not ripped off or meandering into unsafe areas.

The busy main street of sanur

Main street Sanur

In the afternoons Lewis and I hit the pool, water slides and he joins in all the activities Camp Splash has to offer.  Lewis and I make some friends around the pool who give us some great tips on some things to do and see in Bali.

So by the time Steve arrives a week later to join us for the Bali family holiday we know where everything is.  Yep a week later 🙁

Finally getting out and about in Bali

With Steve finally with us Lewis is eager to be tour guide.  He shows Steve:

  • the way down the back lane to Hardy’s Store and main drag.
  • which is the best place to get money changed, and where we nearly get ripped off.
  • the colourful eateries, shops and pretty beach along the boardwalk
  • the fun of catching the beat up Bima’s as opposed to a taxi back to the resort in the evenings.

Then we finally get to go on some of the family activities and day trips I had planned for our family holiday to Bali.

At the bali safari park

Bali Safari


bike tour in Bali at the terraced rice fields

Bali bike tour


  • Hire a driver for $11AUD to take us to Kuta for some shopping where we finish off the evening at one of the trendy Kuta restaurants – Bamboo.
Lot of people at tables in the Bamboo Restaurant

Bamboo Restaurant

I am so pleased with how our family holiday to Bali has panned out.

Whilst yes it didn’t start out the best; but I did rediscover my old travel mojo, Lewis and I had fun exploring Sanur together, I relaxed with a couple of massages and as a family we all enjoyed a few day trips.

But literally it was the Sanur Pardise Plaza Suites that ultimately saved the holiday.  Without Lewis being happily occupied with a fun pool, great activities and loads of kids our Bali family holiday could have turned out disastrous.

Have you ever had a holiday not go to plan?

Please tell me about it in the comments.

Bali family holiday

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If you would like to read more travel stories from our family holiday to Bali click HERE.

About Sally-Ann Brown

I am Sally-Ann the author of Toddlers on Tour. I am a wife and mother who has always had a passion for travel. I love sharing my experiences and lessons learned to help you have a better family holiday or day trip. Read "All About Me" under the "Home" tab to discover my story and what lead me to here.

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