Each time we have visited we have discovered all sorts of things to do in Bali with kids. We have:
- Watched the divine Devdan Show
- Had some family fun at Thalasso Bali Spa
- Spent a family day out at Bali Safari and Marine Park
- Found a way to discover the real Bali with a Green Bike Cycle Tour
- Enjoyed the thrills and spills at Waterbom Bali
So what were we to do in Bali during this years Bali family vacation?
This year we decide to hire a driver for the day and explore a bit more of the island. A driver can cost you somewhere between 500 000IDR – 800 000IDR. We pay 700 000IDR and choose a driver that we have gotten to know where we are staying at the Sanur Paradise Plaza Suites. Our driver happily takes us to the places we want to visit and does not push us into any unwanted shopping expeditions.
For our day trip to explore more things in Bali we pack in our day bags: water, snacks, sunscreen, hats and camera. Our driver collects us at 9am and we head off up into the mountains.
What We Found to Do in Bali
Our first stop is in Ubud which apart from being made famous by the book and movie Eat, Pray, Love is also home to many artists. You will find all sorts of wares to purchase from paintings, to intricate wood carvings, beautiful silver wares and shimmering blown glass.
We stop at Dewa Putu Toris a studio of artist painting. Upon entering we see a couple of artists in the process of creating their next masterpiece.
Once we start to wander further into the ornate building there are thousands of paintings to view (and purchase). Pretty sceneries of Bali, abstracts, nudes and traditional Balinese arts. There is so much choice. The sales rep followers us throughout the gallery never once pressuring us to buy – it feels more as if she is there just to ensure the paintings aren’t touched or take photos of the artwork, than to take make a sale.
Our next stop is a popular tourist attraction the Tegenungan Waterfall. There are also plenty more waterfalls around Bali to explore. It costs us a tiny 10 000IDR each to enter the grounds of the waterfall. The views looking across to the waterfall from the top of the small ravine are pretty but it is well worth walking down the steep steps to fully appreciate the 15m high waterfall from the ground.
If you want, pack your swimmers to take a dip in the pool of water at the bottom of the falls. Remember:
it’s OK to be sexy but no naked
The steps to the waterfall are a little precarious so be careful. Whilst we were there tradesmen were building new steps and walkways that will stretch a little further along the river.
Kemenuh Butterfly Park
A few minutes drive away from the waterfall is the Kemenuh Butterfly Park. Included in the 100 000IDR/adult and 50 000IDR entrance fee is a refreshingly cool cordial welcome drink.
Having previously visited the Penang Butterfly Farm we found this butterfly park a bit of a disappointment – it just doesn’t quite compare. Yet we still enjoy a short stroll through the netted lush tropical gardens with pretty colourful butterflies fluttering about.
The highlight of this butterfly park is the breeding (pupa/chrysalis) enclosure with hundreds of cocoons hanging along the trellis and the large mottled brown butterflies – which you even get to hold.
Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave)
“You’ll get a sarong at the entrance,” our driver calls to us as we exit the car at our next stop. This plays in my mind constantly as we walk past a myriad of stalls selling souvenirs and sarongs. Each owner chants the same message, “you need a sarong to enter the temple, buy my sarong”. But I hold fast to the driver’s words for the next 500m.
Finally, we reach the entrance to the Goa Gajah Temple also known as Elephant Cave that dates back to the 9th century. We pay the small entrance cost of 15000/adult 7500/child and over to the side are the free orange sarongs included with the ticket.
Our tickets are checked and we descend down the steps into the temple surrounded by the tropical forest.
We easily find the googly eyes and gaping wide mouth carved into the stone wall at the front of the cave. Inside the cave, it forks into two chambers. The one to the left has the elephant shrine to which Hindu people pray.
Back outside we pass the ornate bathing place that was excavated in the 1950’s, fish are now swimming in the pools.
There are several walking trails to explore the tropical gardens and find hidden temples where you can be blessed. Whilst there are a number of tourists wandering the temple grounds it still feels tranquil and calm as we meander through the colourful foliage.
Tirta Empul (Holy Spring Water Temple)
At the next temple Tirta Empul we are not hounded upon entering the temple grounds, easily making our way to the ticket counter to pay 15000/adult 7500/child, then a similar amount to borrow a sarong.
The Holy Springs bathing area is the first temple you come across. Many tourists join the locals in the ritual of walking under each fountain one by one, from left to right to be cleansed.
We admire the intricate stone carvings that adorn the grounds of Tirta Empul.
We follow the signs to the exit which guides us into a labyrinth of stalls selling yet more Balinese souvenirs and sarongs. The maze of stalls is endless. With each corner, we turn there is another alley of shops. We laugh and comment “it is like being in Ikea” you do not miss one product for sale.
Eventually, we escape making our way back to the car.
Desa Pekraman Tegallalang (Terraced Rice Fields)
After a winding drive, we arrive at the very crowded road overlooking the famous Desa Pekraman Tegallalang more commonly known as the Terraced Rice Fields. Not far from the main road is a small booth where we pay 10 000/adult (children are free).
It takes a little bit to find the right entrance point down into the rice terraces. There are many cafe’s along the ridge overlooking the terraces with their own entrance gates. After a couple of tries, we find the inconspicuous cement archway leading deep down to the river below.
We cross the rickety wooden bridge and then begin to make our way back up the other side of the valley. We pass a family coming back down who advise not to go that way as you have to pay more. So we try the other way, we come across a landowner who asks for more money to help pay for the upkeep of the paths. I don’t think that’s where the money goes as the steps, bridges, and handrails are all a bit treacherous, but I’m sure she needs the money to feed the family.
Looking around us we can see that it will be a good two hours of gingerly making our way up and down the rice terraces. After a day filled with stair climbing – first down to the bottom of the Teganungan Waterfall, descending into Goa Gajah, coupled with the lengthy walks around Dewa Putu Toris artist studio, the Kemenuh Butterfly Park and Tirta Empul we feel as though we have had a full day exploring Bali, we opt to give this walk a miss.
Gazing out across Desa Pekraman Tegallalang we reflect on all the wonderful things there are to see in Bali.
What You Need to Know
10 000IDR = $1.01AUD
10 000IDR = $0.74USD
You will need a sarong or long pants to enter the temples.
Take swimmers if you wish to swim at the waterfalls.
The temples and sites mentioned in this post are all near the town of Ubud
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