8th May, 2018
Bali is our happy place.
We fell hard on our first visit a few years ago, and after a few busy weeks in India, we felt a trip to the Island of the Gods was exactly what we all needed.
We were very much looking forward to jumping off the ‘Fast Travel Train’ and enjoying some chill time with the kids. Catching up on school work, laundry and the rest.
We’ve stayed in a few different areas in Bali in the past, but Legian is our favourite. Super family friendly, chilled out and usually a little less chaotic than Seminyak.
We spent the first leg at The Swiss-Belinn and it was lovely. We had two connecting rooms, which is always great for families. The kids had their own space and so did we, AND…2 bathrooms (can I get a hell yeah?!!). The rooms were a great size, modern and beautifully fitted out.
India was brilliant, but exhausting. We all needed some decent shut-eye, and thankfully, we had some mighty fine block out blinds at the Swiss.
One morning I let the other three sleep through whilst I had breakfast on my lonesome, then jumped back into bed and we didn’t wake until 4pm!
The restaurant at the Swiss was incredible, and the food coming out of that kitchen was some of the best we had all trip. We really enjoyed our stay here, but felt that it wasn’t quite the right fit for families. Although the rooms were spot on, the facilities were a little lacking. The pool was small, with only a handful of sun lounges (which were usually all taken), and nowhere for the kids to run around. It’s the perfect hotel for a few days or for couples or singles who aren’t too fussed with flashy pools and space to roam free.
For the second half of our trip – we headed over to our beloved Jayakarta, which is situated RIGHT across from Legian beach, and only a hop, skip and a jump from Swiss.
The Jayakarta is the perfect location and the resort has something for everyone. Offering varied accommodation types from self-contained to cottages to deluxe suites. We have stayed here a couple of times now and just love it! Three huge pools for the kids to choose from, hot tub, poolside cabanas, restaurant and swim up bar – we are always so happy when we stay here.
The kids had a few tasks to submit for their schooling before the end of Term 1 and the Easter break, so we spent a few days focussing on that, and once they were all up to date, we hit the pool, then the beach…and then the pool again.
We made some new friends too, The Ganly’s from Townsville – Savanah, Matt, Willow and Rafferty, who are currently enjoying Bali indefinitely…(you can read all about their gap year adventures, and check out Sav’s beautiful photography here).
Isn’t it brilliant when you make new friends as adults, and your kids click straight away as well? This was the case with the Ganly gang, it was just so lovely to hang with some like-minded Aussies.
Easter long weekend came and went, and so did the Easter Bunny. The kids had picked out some coconut bowls which they were using for the Easter baskets and left them out in the hopes of a visit from Mr E.B. Luckily he found us and we had two very happy kids Easter Sunday morning.
One of our favourite things to do in Bali is enjoy sunset on the beach. Kids running around happily, adults sitting on bean bags, sipping on a chilled beverage or two, whilst watching the sun go down.
Yet again – Bali delivered. Some of the very BEST sunsets on earth I tell you!
Our great mates from Texas, Boots Abroad, (who we actually met when travelling in Cambodia in December), were also heading to Bali and meeting up with us at the same time, so it was brilliant to show them around and watch them fall in love with our happy place.
Andrew headed down to Legian Beach late one afternoon and got the drone up for a few happy snaps. I just love the cute little umbrella’s dotted along the beach front.
The boys had been growing their hair since we left Australia, 6 months ago. Andrew has thick, curly hair and Spence has fine hair, but lots of it…(he got it from his Mama)
Months of swimming in chlorine and salt water – it was time for some TLC.
There was a funky hair salon across the road from the Jayakarta – Coffee Cutters. A coffee and Barber shop in one – genius! $12 later – check out this spunk!
Bali has so many great places to eat, we are always spoilt for choice!
Tommy’s Cafe was our breakfast spot when staying at the Jayakarta (thanks to Instagram friend Jackie for the tip off!). Tommy’s was always fresh and delicious. They served the best $2 Iced Milo in town and also had Vegemite on hand for us Aussies who needed a hit!!
Mad Pops Bali is a funky little place for non-dairy ice-cream made from fresh fruit and coconut. Gorgeous fit out, and very on trend with their pink interior and neon sign.
Poco Loco was fabulous Mexican food. No matter where we go, the kids always seem to sniff out the closest Mexican restaurant. We ate here a couple of times. Super tasty, great atmosphere, live music and icy margarita!
Chapter 2 served up the best Chicken Parmigiana we have had in 6 months! I didn’t even know I was missing the famous “Parmi” so much until it landed on the table in front of me! A huge menu selection, AFL and NRL playing on the TV and packed full of Aussies.
Warungs: We also enjoyed dinner at quite a few different warung’s around the Legian area. A warung is small family owned cafe or restaurants serving traditional Indonesian cuisine for a great price, feeding the family for under $25!
They’re usually not much to look at with simple plastic chairs and tables, but the food is some of the best you will eat in Bali. A few of our favourite dishes are: Mie Goreng, Nasi Goring and Beef Rendang.
Shelter Bali was also VERY cool! Like a giant tree house decked out with bamboo rafters and plants everrrrrywhere. We enjoyed a delicious brunch here. The place was packed and definitely a hit with the tourists. Great coffee too!
Shopping is always good in Bali. There are the boutique stores closer to Seminyak – homewares and clothing. You name it – they’ve got it.
Then, as usual, the market style stalls set up by the locals. Often selling replica bags and t-shirts, caps and other bits and pieces. Some places will have fixed prices, but if you’re shopping at the street stalls, enjoy some fun haggling with the owner. General rule of thumb is that you’ll usually settle on about a third to half of the initial asking price.
If they say 200,000 Rupiah ($20AUD) for a T-shirt, you should end up purchasing it for about 100,000 – 70,000 ($10-$8AUD), depending on how skilled you are with your bargaining. Remember that it’s a bit of fun, but you also don’t want to offend the stall owner – so haggle, yes. But be fair.
Getting around Bali is pretty easy. Mostly we walk, but we did have to catch taxis a few times. Try to use the Bluebird taxis as they’re metred. We were also very pleased to see that Grab was in Bali. Grab is similar to Uber (but better in my opinion)…you download the app to your phone, input your destination and how many people, and it will designate a driver to you. You will be notified of the price before the driver arrives and then pay cash once you reach your destination. Super easy and cheaper than taxis too!
Bali Belly has never affected us thankfully. We are very careful with the NO drinking tap water rule. We brush our teeth with bottled water, and remind the kids to be super careful in the shower.
We don’t eat street food apart from the odd grilled corn here and there.
Use your common sense. Check TripAdvisor for restaurant and cafe reviews before dining.
Ask for no ice in your drinks if you prefer. We don’t worry about this and it hasn’t been an issue for us.
Pack some Gastrostop and charcoal tablets just to be safe, as well as some electrolytes.
Laundry services are a dime a dozen in Bali. You only need to walk down the street a few minutes and you’ll spot a few to choose from. We had our washing done a few times during our trip. For about $2AUD a kilogram, you’ll get your laundry washed, dried, folded and neatly packaged ready for collection usually in 24 hours.
Circle K’s and Mini Marts are everywhere also. Always a good option to stock up on bottled water and drinks to keep in the fridge back at the hotel. As well as snacks for the always hungry growing children.
Sim card V’s Wifi. This time, we opted to use the wifi as it is very good in Bali. All hotels and Villas will have it, as well as most restaurants and cafes.
Sim cards can be bought at 7-Eleven for a few dollars.
We always love our time in Bali, no matter the time of year, no matter where we stay – we just adore it. The food, the beaches, the weather – all of it.
Ahhhh Bali, you’re so good!!
Selamat tinggal and see you again soon.
Next stop – Japan!!!
Family snap (along with the other two of the Ganly-Barnes crew above), thanks to Savanah – photographer extraordinaire!