It looks like you have found yourself here because you have or are thinking about booking a holiday to Bali with a baby or toddler. We have put together a list of our tips for thriving in Bali with your little ones.
One of our favourite things about Bali is how safe it is, you don’t need to stay in the resort to feel safe and you really feel welcomed by the locals. Balinese people love children, and they are treated as amazing gifts of the earth. Your child will be constantly adorned with waves and smiles.
Bali is famous for amazing tropical weather which is pretty consistent and clear most of the year. Watch out for their wet seasons from late November – Early Feb. However, even during the wet season you often get clear parts of the day.
If you are worried about not being able to access any facilities please don’t be. Bali has loads of international medical clinics and well-stocked grocery stores stocking both international and local products. There are laundry places at every corner and they are super cheap. You pretty much have every service right at your fingertips. There is even a super handy delivery service for any food item you desire, which we use more than we’d like to admit!
We are super excited to share these tips for not just surviving but thriving whilst you travel Bali with a toddler.
Table of Contents
We would definitely stress the importance of having accommodation with air conditioning. Especially in the first two weeks of travelling as it can take babies and toddlers 10 days to adjust to the heat. On our one month Bali trip we had places with and without pools, we definitely preferred having a pool, as did Ollie. It made life easier when we felt he had gotten a little hot to be able to jump in the pool and cool him off, also who doesn’t want a pool on a hot Bali day!
Most places don’t have pool fences available, however, there are a few companies who rent Australian standard temporary pool fencing. As always be alert and safe around the pool.
Every day we are in Bali we are more and more amazed by the locals! They are truly beautiful people who adore babies, toddlers and probably kids of all ages!
Any place we go, someone is making friends with Ollie, playing a game with him, holding him or trying to help out while he has a meltdown. We couldn’t be more thankful for all of Ollie’s new friends. We aren’t joking when we say often at dinner time we don’t even see him as he is having so much fun playing with the staff who beg to play with him!
Everyone always freaks out when you talk about eating overseas with a baby or toddler. We have found Bali pretty amazing for the quality and range. They have anything you feel like, whenever you feel. They also don’t mind you asking for things to be overcooked for your little one, most of the time they do that without asking. Ollie can be a picky eater and some of his favourite meals have been at local Warungs (that’s a local restaurant in Indonesian). His favourite local dishes have been ayam (chicken) satay, cap cay (yummy veggie broth) and nasi goreng (fried rice).
Packaged baby food can be pretty expensive, we are talking $4.50-$7 for a small jar or sachet of food and the range is dismal. For breakfast when we don’t have a buffet as an option, we usually make him banana porridge and he loves it! A bit of hot water, some banana, oats, milk and yoghurt. Fruit is another crowd-pleaser that’s plentiful and super cheap. Ollie loves the bananas, mangos and strawberries! When ordering smoothies or fresh fruit juice, make sure to ask for no sugar as it is added as a default. Also, only have ice if you know for sure it was bought in and not made with tap water. Our main pointer is to make sure the place your eating at makes use of a fridge or freezer. Some places just have their meat sitting out and that’s a no-no for obvious reasons.
Water and Milk
The main thing to remember is to never drink the tap water in Bali. Even remember to brush your teeth with bottled water.
Water is super important in Bali and being hydrated is a huge part of our travel tips. Make sure you are hydrated and your baby or toddler is hydrated! Definitely bring a good sippy cup everywhere. Ollie drinks loads of water as we offer him his sippy cup 24/7, it’s pretty much always in one of our hands. We found that if Ollie is over the water, he will drink more when we add coconut water to some of his water. (Only once a day to minimise sugar intake, 100ml coconut/150ml water.
Coconut water is actually a perfect beverage for restoring hydration and replenishing electrolytes, it’s also loaded with several important nutrients, including minerals that most people don’t get enough of. We give a huge thumbs up to coconut water. Just watch out and read the back because some have loads of added sugar. Sometimes buying fresh coconuts from the street stalls are your best option.
Ollie drinks three bottles per day. We have seen formula for sale here however, it’s quite expensive. We brought our own formula from home. Ollie can actually have cows milk now, so 2 of his bottles each day are cows milk and the 1 before bed is formula. We always add 50ml extra of water to every bottle to make sure his drinking as much water as possible.
Sleeping and Day Naps
Not everyone would agree with our schedule or lack of, we like to keep everything relaxed around day naps. We were super worried about how we would manage to move around from place to place and do day trips whilst fitting in his daytime naps. Ollie would only sleep in a cot in a dark room with his comfort teddy (monkey). However, two days into our Bali adventure and he was sleeping everywhere from taxis, at cafes and by the pool. He seems to decide when and where he wants to sleep and it works. Of course, if we can see he needs a rest day we chill at home and give him long naps in his travel cot. Otherwise, we try to be home for at least two hours in the day just after lunch when he is usually most sleepy.
Stroller or Carrier
We have gone back and forth on the carrier/pusher debate and to be honest it depends on what kind of travel you are doing. If you are moving around loads and doing lots of day trips to waterfalls and temples we would suggest a lightweight breathable carrier. However, if you are spending most of your time travelling between your hotel, restaurants and a few short activities we would suggest a stroller. It would be best to take a lightweight stroller with a shade sail that you wouldn’t mind carrying at some points. The roads and paths are not ideal and in peak times we can guarantee that at points you won’t fit on the road, let alone with a pram.
We have also done loads of spontaneous trips and spent loads of our time just carrying Oliver around and it hasn’t been that bad. Who needs a gym when you have a baby! Although we didn’t bring a stroller with us, we probably would next time we visit Bali with a toddler as it would make a lot of situations much easier.
Transport in Bali is definitely a personal choice, most locals travel by scooters even with tiny newborn babies and that’s what works for them. We have also seen loads of western people travelling with babies and toddlers in carriers or pouches via scooters. We haven’t yet rented a scooter and tried this out. This isn’t to say we wouldn’t give it a go, just we have been able to walk everywhere or have rented a car and driver for our day trips or to travel long distances. We used loads of taxi’s, Blue Bird Group is the way to go and they’re everywhere. Don’t fall for fake blue bird taxis that come in all variations to try to convince you they are a Blue Bird Group taxi.
Of course unless you bring your own car seat, you will likely be forced to hold onto your baby when driving. For this reason we recommend hiring a driver that you know has an Australian standard child restraint car seat.
One handy transport method is to download the local uber equivalent apps, Grab & Gojek. You will need to either activate this when you are at home by receiving an SMS or by getting a local SIM card and activating here. They are often dramatically cheaper than the taxi drivers on the street and much more convenient. Just be aware in some areas the locals are set on stopping these apps and have been known to get quite angry if they catch users.
Travelling to Bali with a toddler we were most concerned about baby supplies. However, baby supplies like nappies and wipes have been surprisingly easy to source and cheap! They do have brands like Huggies for around $25-30 for a pack of 30, however, we have never liked them. We have tried a few nappy brands that were super cheap however they lacked in quality and ended up having a few wet beds and leaks. Our favourite nappies seem to be any that say Japanese quality, they cost around $4-$7 per pack of 30. FYI they mostly have pull-ups here and we actually like them more! Ollie loves pulling up his big boy undies haha.
Swimming nappies can be hard to come by in Bali, invest in a good reusable swimming nappie or pack your preferred brand and take them with you. We found that we could reuse the swimming nappies that weren’t soiled by hanging them out to dry after each use. Wipes are also cheap and easy to find, you just have to watch out that they don’t have anything weird in them like tea tree oil and other funny additives. Just look for plain non-scented wipes, they are around $1-$2 per pack.
Sunscreen is super important, always apply over and over. Especially because the little ones seem to quickly sweat off the sunscreen. SPF50+ is the best choice for not just babies but also yourself! Be sun smart guys!
A wide brim hat with a tie-up part under the neck is the best hat to use to ensure that your child can’t pull it off. Ollie hates wearing hats and the tie part is an absolute necessity.
Keep the in the shade as much as possible, babies skin is not used to sun exposure to like our’s and burns exponentially quicker. If hanging out at the beach you NEED an umbrella, shade sail or to hang under some trees.
This is probably one of the most vital things you need to be paying attention to when travelling Bali with a toddler.
Definitely bring baby safe mosquito repellent, we use a RiD Kids+ roll-on and OFF! family care spray, however, there are many options. We also put the repellant patches near his bed and we wear the wrist band repellants as we are always near him. To be honest, the mosquitoes are only bad late afternoon/night, or in areas with still water. Every night before bed we spray the room with fly spray and close up everything, leaving the room for 30 minutes to kill any bugs or mosquitoes that could be present.
Baths VS Showers
We always shower with Ollie to make sure he doesn’t try and drink the water, as he usually tries to drink it if we bath him.
Most of the time we are having cold showers and he doesn’t seem to mind I think he’s actually starting to like the cold showers and they help lower his body temperature on those hot Bali days.
Not going to lie, it does get hot! Avoid being in the heat and maximum UV between 12-3pm, we would suggest staying in shady cool places. If you think your little one is too hot just pour water over their head or wipe them down with a cool and wet cloth. Try and find a shady cool spot to relax or anywhere with aircon. Shops, coffee places, anywhere! Bali can be super hot for a toddler and their little bodies, so keep them happy and cool as often as possible!
We didn’t bring loads of toys for Ollie. At home we have lots of toys most of the time he didn’t use them, usually he would end up playing with a tv remote, a wooden spoon or a chair. Instead we brought some softcover books, some non-toxic crayons and a pretend baby remote. We have also found while being here you can rent loads of toys and playpens from stores and on the Facebook market place. Some things range in price however they are relatively cheap!
We hope these tips are helpful and have made you feel like it is less of a challenge to visit Bali with your toddler or baby!
Please feel free to ask us any questions. We would love to help in any way.