There are some places you fall in love with and return to again and again, each time learning something new and understanding it more. Each summer my family returns to Bali and each time we have a slightly different experience while still doing our favorites. One of my children and my favorite activities is our annual pilgrimage to Bali Treetops. My children have done zip-lining courses all over the world at this point but this one remains a firm favorite. For me it is about more than the course, which to be honest I am a bit fearful of. Scared not because it is unsafe; I am just never sure I will be able to keep up with my adrenaline junkie sons. I look forward to the hour and a half drive up into the mountains looking out at the expansive rice paddies and the beauty of central Bali. For my husband, who is scared of heights, this trip is all about Strawberry Hill. Despite different reasons for enjoying the day, we all look forward to it each year.
We have driven to treetops from both the Seminyak and Ubud and the drive is always stunning. Less touristy than other parts of Bali, this area is filled with small towns, rice paddies and, of course, shrines and temples. Ask your driver to take you through Jatiluwih; you will be rewarded with rice terraces and banana plantations. This area was named as a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2008 for it’s traditional farming techniques. The beauty will amaze you.
Bali Treetop Adventure Park is located in beautiful Bali Botanical Garden. With seven adventure circuits and plenty of staff to keep you safe, it is high-flying adventure fun. Starting at aged four, height 95 centimeters, children can do the first course and as children grow taller they can do more and more depending on fear and strength level. My oldest and I still have not made it through the hardest course but that is not about not meeting requirements but about how challenging it is. I was rescued off the Black course this year. Visiting year after year and watching my children accomplish more of the course has been kind of thrilling.
The courses consist of zip lines, Tarzan jumps, log crawls and suspended bridge walks all done at dizzying heights. Upon arrival each person is put through a 5-minute training course with an instructor to learn the nuts and bolts of the course. There is also staff under each of the courses to instruct and give advice. Additionally, there is a photographer snapping photos, which you can purchase at the end if you choose. We have usually taken pictures of one another and asked our driver to take some as well. The maximum amount of time allowed at the course is two and a half hours but we find we are all exhausted after two hours.
There always seems to be a Balinese school visiting the Botanical Garden and hearing them singing while watching your children fly through the air is magical. We have watched their exercises many times, marvelling at the rhythm and synchronicity displayed. The park is famous for their orchids and roses and would be a great place to bring a picnic.
We are always desperate to get to our next stop, which is Strawberry Hill or specifically Strawberry Spot at Strawberry Hill. Here there are strawberries in all their glory. They are grown in the back of the restaurant and used in almost every menu item. The strawberry juice is the best I have ever had and when paired with Strawberry pancakes, even better. There are also rabbits and an almost antique looking playground. It is the perfect place to quench thirst and hunger after all that flying, not to mention picking up strawberries and jam to bring home.
Close by is one of the most important temples in Bali, Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, a truly special Lake Temple. This seventeenth century Hindu/Buddhist Temple is always packed with people and there is a small fee to go in to the park. Despite the hordes of people, the temple is an extremely peaceful and spiritual spot with beautiful gardens. The gardens never seem to attract the crowds and they can be a fun place for the kids to run around before the long ride home.
This day is what Bali is all about, enjoying the landscape, experiencing the thrills, dining on local produce and a spiritual landmark to complete the experience. Bali offers something for all of the senses and everyone will end this day tired and a little bit enlightened. The drive back experiencing all of the beautiful vistas again will be the perfect end to this fantastic family day.
Details: Bali Treetops, Bali Botanical Garden, Open Daily 8:30am – 6pm, Fee: Adults, $24 US, Children $16 US; Strawberry Stop, Jl Raya, Candi Kuning-Bedugul, Open Daily 8am – 7pm; Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, Jl. Raya Candi Kuning,, Desa Candikuning, Open Daily 8:30am – 6:30pm, Admission Fee 30k Rupiah.