How to start a day in Bali? Whether staying at Desa Seni or not; a yoga class there is highly recommended. There are classes for kids on weekends, adults every day, hire a sitter or take turns with your spouse and start the day with a bit of zen. Grab a ribbon or two on the way in, they are said to give good luck. I always give them to my kids upon return as an incentive to let me get out of the door to get to yoga.
Relaxed now? Grab a smoothie with the kids by the pool at Desa Seni, let them have a swim, the whole retreat is an oasis of peace. It seems to infuse the kids with calmness and there are lots of cool things to explore.
Next, head on over to Legian beach for some surfing or boogy boarding.My method is to go to the lifeguard stand next to Ku De Ta the day before I want to surf and ask if any of them are available to teach us. They usually tell me the best timing wave wise for our level (beginners), and they then have the boards and right amount of people for us when we get there. Warning when I say ready, I mean Bali time ready which is about fifteen minutes after you arrive, which gives you time to explore the beach. All in with boards, wet suits and an instructor each it costs about $20 US per person and the guys have always been great with the kids and keep us all together. This way we can cheer one another on as we fall… flat off the board. After that we are pretty sandy and hungry but luckily we are right next door to Ku De Ta which has hand showers as you enter from the beach, we always rinse off a bit there.
KU DE TA is a beach club and restaurant with a relaxed atmosphere and super accommodating staff, just the type of place you want to lounge after surfing in the morning. The food is good and varied between casual and fancy. The sashimi platter is my favorite on the island, but my children swear by the kid’s menu steak. . For seating there are banquettes, traditional table and chairs, and loungers to choose from; most seating has a view of the beach. The kids can run down to the beach and boogy board or play on the grass, dancing to the DJ who usually starts by 2pm.
You could hang out here until sunset and give the kids pizza for dinner and call it a day. There are certainly plenty who do just that; moving from a table to a lounger and back again. We tend to like a siesta on our holidays so we usually go to the villa/hotel for a bit, but if we were time limited I would keep going to the next activity.
Balinese massage is an experience onto itself and I have to say my kids love it as much as I do. Desa Seni does a great one for both adults and children but for a less expensive one try Bodyworks, which is an easy walk from Ku De Ta. Book a day in advance though as they are incredibly popular. There are massage places all over Bali though so take your pick of whatever is closest or just say yes to someone on the beach who offers as many people troll their looking for customers. This is also a good time to check out the stores, which surround bodyworks in every direction. I have too many favorites to list but feel free to ask below if there is anything in particular you are looking for.
Sunset time varies greatly but leave for the next activity at least an hour if not an hour and a half before sunset. Then it is time for the drive to Tanah Lot, one of the most important and beautiful temples in Bali. The drive itself is amazing, shifting from the hip and bustling to rice paddy views as you get closer to the temple. If you have time make a pit stop at Monsieur Spoon, for coffee and pastries, the owner came from the Ritz in Paris and the croissants are outstanding.
Tanah Lot is breathtaking; it is the most photographed sight in Bali and for good reason. It is a bit of a tourist trap but it holds onto its’ religious significance. Tourists are not allowed inside the temple itself but it is the view you are there for. The temple sits off a cliff in the water and is only reachable at certain times of day. It has an unobstructed view of the sunset over the Indian Ocean, and watching the sunset while hearing the Hindu chanting is a spiritual experience alone. There are also different dances and shows each night that continue after the sunset. My kids love the Balinese blessing at the entrance to the temple they first ask you to drink some holy water and then place rice on your forehead for prosperity.
Kids love to run around and play on the rocks here just make sure you are watching for waves. One year my oldest fell and was suddenly neck deep in water, not great when you are headed out for dinner. However there are tons of stores on the walk to the exit and funny enough they are some of the cheapest stores on the island, so buy your sarongs here if you are looking for quantity not quality.
At this point everyone must be hungry! Although it may not be the quickest option Naughty Nuri’s is definitely one of the most kid friendly and delicious BBQ joints on the island. Order the lychee martini if you want the waiters to start dancing for your table or just order their delicious chicken and ribs and a Bintang. It can be a long wait for a table and they don’t take reservations, but the food is affordable and delicious and kids love it as much as adults. Nuri and her husband founded the restaurant in Ubud about 20 years ago and it has been popular with locals and expats ever since. They opened in Batu Belig a little over two years ago and I was incredibly relieved, my husband would invent reason for us to drive the hour and a half to Ubud just so he could go to Nuri’s. It’s worth the wait for the table.
Wow, that is a big day! If possible do it all but do it in two days as part of Bali’s charm and essence is found when things are taken at a more leisurely pace.
Desa Seni: Jalan Subak Sari No.13, Canggu, Bali, 62 361 844 6392
www.desaseni.com. Contact for Accomodations and/or Yoga schedule.
Surfing: Go to Beach entrance at Ku De Ta and walk left on the beach there is a lifeguard stand less than three minutes walk and the guys there are great for lessons or contact Rip Curl School of Surf, www.ripcurlschoolofsurf.com although I have never used them.
KU DE TA: Jalan Kayu Aya No. 9, Seminyak, Bali, 62 361 736 969, 8am – midnight, every day, special events do operating hours however.
BodyWorks Spa: Jalan Kayu Jati No 2, Petitenget, Bali,
62 361 733 317, Open Daily 9am-10pm, but reserve in advance. www.bodyworksbali.com.
Monsieur Spoon Canggu: Jln Pantai Batu Bolong, Canggu, Bali, Open Daily 6am-9pm.
Tanah Lot: Tabanan, Bali, get there a bit in advance of sunset to walk through market and pay temple fee, about $3.00 US per adult and $1.50 per child .
Nauhty Nuris: Jalun Batubelig, 41, Kerobokan, Bali, 62 361 847 6722, Open daily 11am – 103:30pm. Call to see how long wait is, it can be very long.
Please contact with any questions or additional ideas below, I would love to hear about your experiences in Bali!