So, our history with Bali is an interesting one. Between us, we have visited Bali at least six times in the last 20 years (ah, it makes me feel so old).
Bali is wonderful…and it isn’t.
It’s so wonderful that everyone wants a piece of it. Culture, nightlife, beaches, snorkelling, surfing, volcanoes, nature, waterfalls, delicious food, healing centres, alternative lifestyles…Bali has something for everyone…so everyone came to Bali.
Our last visit to Bali was in 2019, just before covid locked the world down and we said we could tick Bali off and probably didn’t need to come back.
Well…shows what we know! Bali seems to have a strange pull on us. We were looking for a school we could drop into as worldschoolers to give us the opportunity to work, and The Wood School Bali ticked all the boxes.
So, we came back! Not just once dear readers, but twice. I’m currently sitting in Ubud writing during our second trip here.
After all this time in Ubud, we are learning how to avoid the crowds and what you actually need to do if you have a 1-week Ubud itinerary to see the best that Bali has to offer.
Sitting right in the centre of Bali, Ubud holds cultural and historical importance for the Balinese people. It is often considered the cultural heart of Bali and has done a fantastic job of preserving and showcasing traditional Balinese arts, dance, music, and crafts. This green centre is surrounded with lush rice paddies and is known for as a place for healing; you will find all your yoga sessions, chakra alignments and sound healing session in Ubud.
But, central Ubud is busy! Sometimes crazy busy but the good news is that it doesn’t take long to escape from it. So, whilst there are a few of the more popular ‘tourist spots’, I’m also sharing some of the more interesting things to do with kids in Ubud.
See Map here
Ubud Day Pools
Ubud is Bali’s center for healing and relaxation so let’s start the week of right with a pool day. Ubud pool days are pretty special and they do a fantastic job of entertaining the kids and the adults.
Some are free entry, just purchase food and drink and some have a cover charge.
- Our favourite is Kelapa Muda but some of the others you can try are;
- Folk Bar
- Titi Batu
- Good Day
- Take a look at our Instagram post for more ideas
Head out early and head to one of the MANY waterfalls that surround Ubud
Most will have a small entry fee or around 10-25,000IDR and maybe a parking fee but they all contribute to the community maintaining the areas.
Some of our favourites are;
Nice waterfall to have a good fresh water bath as well as an adventurous waterfall jumping. This is on the way to the rice field and the road to the waterfall is paved nicely. Entrance fee is IDR 15k There’s a couple of locals playing a nice bamboo instrument to welcome you and there is nice small bar down near the fall as well. You can do a few activities; taking the bamboo made raft and paddle towards the waterfall, jump from behind the waterfall in to the water (honestly, a bit of a treacherous climb, but we saw a few people do it) or jump from the small rock formation just next to the big scary jump.
Bali has lots of epic waterfalls. A word of warning, Bali is infamous for the epic waterfalls, but also the ‘Bali Belly’- if you need to know more, read about it here. As lovely as these waterfalls are, the water system can pick up lots of ‘things’ on the way. We always *try* and advise the kids to keep heads and mouths out of the water.
Cooking class with something more
Looking for something different? Try the SHAYA Jungle kitchen
This family-friendly adventure invites you to step into the heart of the Balinese jungle. Starting with foraging for edible treasures like flowers, leaves, and roots in the lush surroundings. I promise you this is fun! Then, roll up your sleeves and get hands-on as you transform these natural finds into delicious, healthy vegan dishes with the help of people who know what they are doing.
This isn’t just a cooking experience but an opportunity to connect with the nature around you, learn about Balinese herbal medicine and the cultural heritage of the region, adding an educational twist to your adventure.
So, this one is a bit different but its mud and which kid doesn’t like mud?
From the moment you arrive, introduced to the sacred traditions of Balinese culture. You will put on a traditional Tridatu Sarongs, as a sign of respect to the Goddess of the Rice, Ida Bhatari Shri.
With body painting and physical exercise, the kids will love the hands-on physical activities, let’s not even talk about the duck kissing!
But the real adventure begins in the mud-pit
After all the muddy fun, it’s a dip in the river, and a Pancoran shower experience with covered in banana leaves.
Everyone gets fed and some souvenirs to take home but, in a nutshell, Om Swastiastu’s “Mepantigan” program provides a pretty unique, unforgettable and educational adventure for kids, offering a chance to embrace Balinese culture, nature, and tons of playful activities in a safe and exciting environment.
Ceking rice terraces
- Entrance:10k IDR
Visiting the Tegallalang Rice Terraces (also known as the Ceking Rice Terraces) really lives up to all those Instagram shots of rice fields. The lushness is beautiful and offers an insight into one of the most important elements to Balinese life. You can weave your way through the narrow pathways between the terraces and stop for a coconut. These terraces, etched into the hillsides, present a mesmerizing pattern of lush green rice paddies. Beyond how impressive they are, these fields hold great significance for the Balinese, still practicing agricultural methods they have sued for centuries. As with many things in Bali, it can get crowded, so an early morning visit is ideal for a more serene experience.
Entrance: 80k IDR Adult/60k IDR kids
It is important to note that the Monkey Forest only accepts cash payments, so make sure to bring enough cash with you.
One of the more popular attractions in Ubud is the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, also known as the Monkey Forest. In all honesty, this is one we definitely avoid.
The forest is located in the heart of Ubud, and that means the infamous Bali traffic. It is also home to around 700 free roaming monkeys. The monkeys rule here, and they know it. There are a lot of rules around the dos and don’ts or behaviour around the monkeys but there is an element of unpredictability around them. The forest is a lovely walk, wear decent shoes. Try not to take anything in with you as the monkeys can and will help themselves to it.
Shopping at Ubud Art Market
The purpose-built market, opposite Ubud palace feels a little clinical inside. The hustle and bustle of the street stalls has tamed but for the convenience of the shopper, you can find all your shopping needs here.
There are some beautiful things from house items, jewellery, clothes and art but you probably won’t find anything particularly unique.
Movie Night at Folk
Head to Folk for Ubud’s first twilight cinema> movies are shown for free with popcorn and snacks available for purchase. Check out their schedules, some weeks are very kid friendly, some weeks are not very kid friendly. Movies start at 6.30 PM
Temple Visit to Goa Gajah
It costs 50,000IDR (around £3 or $3.50) for adults and 25,000IDR (around £1.50 or $1.75) for children. You can buy tickets at the ticket office near the temple entrance.
Goa Gajah temple opening hours: Daily 8am – 5pm
The Goa Gajah temple complex includes a small bathing temple with Hindu angel statues and various other temples, statues, shrines, as well as a forested area with a waterfall and a Buddhist temple. It’s not open to the general public.
The cave entrance is pretty cool but the whole trip shouldn’t take longer than 30 minutes.
Top tip- Get your FREE sarongs that are available to borrow at the temple entrance
Visit Ubud Palace
Puri Saren Agung or the Ubud Royal Palace belongs to the royal family of Ubud, and whilst you won’t be seeing Kings and Queens, it’s an easy place to visit to get an insight into the Balinese arts.
People are allowed to explore the front section of the palace.
Each evening there is a performance of a traditional Balinese dance. Filled with elaborate costumes and make up, traditional music and dance, these shows are very entertaining
100,000k per person
Young kids are free (depends how small they are! Our 7 year old was considered small enough!)
The Legong Dance, known as “Legong Kraton,” is a traditional performance, originating as royal entertainment. Young female dancers in elaborate costumes, performing intricate movements (watch the dancer’s eyes!) were mesmerising for our kids. Originally performed only within palace walls for the royal family, it can now be seen at public venues, like the Puri Saren Royal Palace in Ubud. There are lots of others but there is a performance every night at the palace.
The show starts at 7:30 but doors open at 6:30 and the best seats fill up quick. If you don’t arrive until the start time, you will be lucky to see anything. Our kids were entranced with this show which finished at 9pm, but the kid next to us…fell asleep!
Craft workshop at Pondok Pekak (SUNDAY workshops are cheaper)
Pondok Pekak is a fantastic find. Hidden behind the football pitch/car park, this small library offers a variety of classes. You can choose a private class or alternatively, each Sunday they hold a workshop which is half the usual price. Classes include; wood carving, traditional painting, gamelan, silver jewellery and offering making. We have done the silver and painting class and can recommend both.
Ubud is a fantastic place to visit with kids. This cultural heart has so much to offer but this week-long itinerary for travelling with kids will introduce you to some of the best activities in Ubud, Bali.
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