Bali for Kids
You'll read under Where to Stay about the different areas to consider when choosing a place to base yourselves on Bali, so I'll talk more broadly here.
- We learned that raising a family is very much the center of most adult Balinese peoples' lives, and so it seemed quite natural that our kids were around. Wherever we bumped into local folks, we would soon be explaining our kids' ages and learning something about our interlocutor's family.
- Most restaurants had something that even picky eaters would tolerate. Many places near hotels had a mix of Western food, such as sandwcihes or steak, as well as local foods of the seafood persuasion. When all else failed EVERYWHERE had nasi goreng, basically fried rice. In many of the smaller places it would be very hard to be certain that a dish did not include some shellfish, or peanut oil, or egg, so if you or your kids have allergies you may need to stick to the more expensive places where dishes can more easily be tailored to your needs.
- Nobody, even local people, drinks tap water, so bottled water is available cheaply even at the smallest roadside stand. You'll need to help the kids brush their teeth using bottled water to be safe. We drank several brands and no one had any problems with their tummies because of it.
- Our kids are out of diapers, so we don't care about yours. No, wait, that wasn't nice. Pampers Dry and Huggies are both available, not only in the big stores like Macro and Hero but also at convenience stores like Circle K or K Market. That said, if you use paper diapers (or your kids do), you can still bring your own with you.
- Good news for baby food as well: Many different brands, including Iron fortified Similac, are available. The price for a big can is usually US$9-10. It is available at the Macro superstore or at Hero Department store. Gerber baby food is the same price as at home, though the selection is more limited. No organic baby food to be found.
- Milk in restaurants was always made from powder. This can taste funny to some kids. Most of the milk for sale in shops was UHT milk, which may be unfamiliar to some of us. This is milk processed at some high temperature and then sealed in the carton such that until you open the carton the milk does not need to be refrigerated. We did not see for sale anywhere any non-cow milk (Soya, goat, etc.), or the variety common in many places (no fat, 2%, full cream, etc.).
- Bring along hand wipes and that sanitizing goopy hand cream. Many places outside of the hotels had limited facilities to wash up, and many foods are eaten with your hands, either on purpose or just ‘cause it happened. You and your kids should not eat fruit that you do not peel and should weigh carefully eating salads when you are unsure of how well the lettuce was washed. We pretty much followed these rules and nobody got sick.
- Most places we saw had sit down toilets, but outside of the towns you might only find squatters (we say more about toilets elsewhere). Lots of places had no toilet paper available, so bring some or a packet of tissues. Almost nowhere had a way to dry your hands, so bring along a face towel for the kids.
Special thanks to Paola, Mark and Lucas (pictured right) for their update on Bali.
We always use Lonely Planet guide books. They are written by folks who have actually spent more than a week in the places they write about, and include a healthy dose of history, culture and background notes along with hotel, touring and restaurant recommendations.
The book on Bali (Lombok is a neighbor island) is no exception. It has extensive information on Balinese culture that we enjoyed reading before we arrived, and then enjoyed even more on the plane home as we read about places and things we saw.
The Bali guidebook includes a much broader range of recommendations than most other books, quite useful when you need to save a few dollars on dinner, or want a more out-of-the-way place for a few nights.