WILD ADVENTURE MUM

Think you can’t enjoy epic adventures in Bali because you’ve got small kids? Think again. We’ve been exploring, hiking, climbing and adventuring all over this stunning island for 2 years with 2 kids under 4. So here’s some of our favourite awesome bucket list adventures for you and your family for your next trip to Bali.

Camp above the clouds

One of my Balinese surfer friends introduced us to this campsite. Check them out on Instagram here – camping Alengkong. The views over the volcanos and valleys are EPIC! The showers are baltic though. Chin up, charge that mountain. Its totally worth it, trust me. The road in is adventurous in places, shall we say. Again, totally worth it. Tip – you’ll wanna reverse up the hill to get out of the “car park”. Trust me.

Ride a natural waterslide

Little people can slide down the mini waterfall between Kroya and Kembar waterfalls in Buleleng. I did it with Arlo (3) and Eia (2) and they were literally vibrating with excitement. Marley (dog) also went down – don’t ask 🙂

Me and Arlo…and Marley 🙂

And big people can test their metal sliding down 10m high Kroya waterfall. Spoiler alert – its AWESOME! My biggest challenge was trying to explain to the 3 year old why he couldn’t do it.

Go 4×4 off roading on a lava field

Probably one of the coolest things I’ve done with Arlo on the island. This got me serious rock star mum points. We went with a group of friends while glamping in Kintamani with just our older kids.

At one point my friend in one of the other jeeps wanted to swap with us cause it was super bumpy in their jeep and her kid wasn’t very happy in the back. Wasn’t sure how ours would be any better but hey ho, we swapped with them anyway cause I’m nice that way 😀 anyway, 8 seconds after we started driving the reason for the extreme bumpiness became clear. Our chair wasn’t bolted to the effing floor of the jeep! Hahahaha! Don’t worry, they fixed it there and then. You’ll be grand!

Trying to keep the camera steady was second in difficulty only in trying to keep my ruined pelvic floor from causing my bladder to spring a leak from the bumps 🙂

PS: tip for mamas – don’t forget to go to the bathroom first ;-P your pelvic floor will thank you.

Watch the sunrise over FOUR volcanos

The top of Mount Batur is probably the best known spot on the island for watching the sunrise but if you’re not a hiker, we found you a spot where not only can you see the sunrise behind Rinjani (on neighbouring Lombok), Abang, Agung AND Batur, but you don’t have to wake up in the middle of the night to hike to it!

Sun rising behind Mt Rinjani on neighbouring island Lombok

We found this spot by accident while staying in a cabin at the recently opened Lingga Bali. We DID have to wake up well before the arse crack of dawn and hike up the hill to see the sunrise since we were staying down in the valley but you can park on Jl Kayupadi and walk 5 minutes down the trail to the viewpoint marked on the map to watch the sunrise. It starts to get light half an hour before sunrise so make sure you take that into account if you wanna be there to see the sky turn from night to day.

Snorkelling in Lembongan

There are sooooooo many sweet snorkelling spots on the island, its hard to choose just one. But I love Lembongan because (a) you get to experience another island only a 30 minute crossing from Bali and (b) not only is the snorkelling STUNNING, it was easy with little people. We took a boat out from Mangrove Point and even though the current was strong (keep a tight hold of little people), the skipper found us a nice mellow spot to hang off the back of the boat with the kids in the water while holding on to what I can only describe as a square of joined together grey toilet pipes! But hey, it worked and the experience was magical.

This grainy screenshot from a video doesn’t do it justice but technology isn’t my friend and I can’t figure out how to upload the whole long video so here we are!

Trek to Bali’s tallest waterfall, Sekumpul

Being in the presence of this giant will blow. your. mind. I think my exact words were “holy fcking shirt balls!” Its like Jurassic World. You don’t have to hike down to the base of the falls if you don’t fancy the steep trail and steps because theres a view point about 20 minutes from the village. BUT if you do hike down into the valley you’ll get to see them up close and take in 2 other stunning waterfalls, so theres that 🙂

Sip coconuts on a secret beach

Ok call a spade a spade, theres not many truly secret beaches left in Bali but there are lesser known beaches that sort of qualify and you should 100% check out. The Virgin Beaches in Karangasem are absolutely stunning but my favourite is Bias Tugel, just around the corner from Padang Bai in its own hidden little cove. Little warungs line the beach under coconut palm trees, the sand is fine and super white and the water is turquoise.

Can’t get better than that eh 🙂

The kids can scream and wave desperately at the ferry boats as they go into the nearby port while you sip on a bintang and there are also little rock pools to explore on either side of the beach. Be sure to wear mosquito repellent for the short hike down through the forest though cause if you’re kids are anything like mine you’ll get eaten alive while they piss fart around on the trail looking for walking sticks!

Hike a volcano

Batur is the obvious choice for volcano summiting but if you want more adventure, hike Abang, opposite it. Full disclaimer – we attempted it with the kids (age 3 and 2) but the trail is too sketchy. I include it here though because if you’re kids are too small you can hike to the first view point instead and still enjoy an amazing view and the beginnings of the cloud forest! Older, more experienced hiker kids could manage the summit trail – I did it with my friend and her badass 11 year old. But heads up – don’t try it in the rainy season. The trail is dodgy AF when its wet!

Take a jacket for the summit – its cold once your sweat dries 😛

But for those of you who do make the summit in the dry season, the views are insane. Agung, Bali’s biggest volcano, sits to the south and Batur is to the north. Plus on a clear day you can see as far as Amed on the east coast and down to Candidasa in the south. Definitely one of my favourite Bali hikes, even though I had to bench the sprogs!

Explore the UNESCO Jatiluwih Rice Terraces

Tegalalang is home to some of Bali’s most famous rice terrace landscapes and while they are an ABSOLUTELY stunning must see, make sure you don’t miss Jatiluwih. It’s a UNESCO world heritage site. Nuff said. We’ve visited several times throughout the year but hands down the best time to visit is February – April when the rice is growing and the landscape becomes this insane sea of bright green. If you go too early in the year, the rice has just been planted so you can see a lot of dirt and too late in the season, its being harvested and everything is brown. March is the sweet spot 🙂

Jatiluwih is HUGE, it spans over 53,000 hectares! DO NOT MISS IT!

There are several different trekking routes around the terraces depending on how energetic you’re feeling. Oh and go early! Theres almost no shade and if the sun is out – its hotter than a glassblowers arse!

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“If you want to have a driver, full staff, nanny, big house….you can, if you’ve got the wallet for it. But you can also have a pretty sweet standard of living as a “not rich” normal person…

I get this question alot and the truth is it can cost as much or as little as you like. If you want to have a driver, full staff, nanny, big house, big pool, beach front or epic views – you can, if you’ve got the wallet for it. But you can also have a pretty sweet standard of living as a not rich, normal person with a few special comforts that are waaaaay more affordable here than in the west. I’m gonna break it down for you…

Housing

We call them villas here dahling 🙂 Firstly if you’re thinking of moving to Bali long term, you should know – foreigners can’t technically “own” property in Indonesia. Not freehold anyway. You can rent short term (usually done yearly) or you can leasehold a property for 30-50 years which is how many Bali expat locals “buy” property in the long term. For the purposes of this post, I’m just gonna focus on short term rentals since that’s what I get most questions about. Its not an easy answer cause like anywhere its gonna depend on location, size, age of the property blah blah blah but if you work on about 12-15 million IDR per month (150-180 million IDR/year) for a 3 bed villa with a pool and go from there (up or down depending on the factors I already mentioned) that should give you a realistic place to start.

Staff

This can be a luxury or a norm. Its very normal to have staff at home here but how much help you have depends on how much help you want. If you have a pool, a pool guy is a must! Our guy comes 3 times a week (for a half hour) and charges us 600k IDR per month and our pool is always crystal clear! We have a lovely couple that work in our home – cleaning, cooking, laundry, gardening – 6 days a week, 8.30-12.30pm but most people I know who have staff have them in for a full day. Ibu and Pak Ketut (aforementioned lovely couple) work for us but they are more than just staff to us, they are our Bali family. Their youngest son is friends with Arlo, we went to their daughters wedding, attended the blessing of their first grandchild and they’ve taken care of us when we got so sick with food poisoning we couldn’t take care of ourselves, never mind the kids. We don’t have a nanny but Ibu watches the kids when we need a babysitter at night or even during the day when I need it and Hardin’s working away. I’d be lost without them – the kids adore them and they adore the kids.

Bills

Wifi, electric and a cash handshake with the bin men are about our total house bills each month. We don’t have a tv package so our wifi is internet only for 500k per month. And electric mostly depends on how much you run the pool pump, enjoy air conditioning and leave lights on but we have a four bedroom house with no walls, so AC is in the bedrooms only at night and the pool pump is on a timer so our electric is usually around 1.5million IDR/month.

Cars

Having a driver is normal for some people and we did when we first arrived but I found it expensive and I don’t like the feeling of not fully having my independence so I drive myself now. Renting a car each month is about 3-3.6 million rupiah but motorbikes are cheaper at about 500k per month. We have the car for most stuff that involves the kids and keep the bike for trips around town or for us without the kids.

With Ibu and Pak Ketut at their daughters wedding almost 2 years ago – god, Eia was so bald!!! Hehehe!
Fuel

Cheap as chips. I can fill my soccer mum car for a little over £10 and the motorbike is peanuts!

Groceries & Eating Out

If you shop in the really western super markets, expect western prices. Same goes for restaurants. But THE best thing about Indonesia when it comes to food is the local markets for fresh produce and the small warungs for tasty, cheap Indonesian food! If you shop at the market, you have to barter well! Ibu goes to the market for us and gets fruit, veg, meat, eggs etc when we need it but more recently we’ve been getting deliveries straight from the market and farmers, ordering from Bali No Plastic. Its cheap, easy and the fruit and veg is sooooooo good!

Schooling

Our kids aren’t school age and they don’t go to preschool but if you’re an expat in Indonesia this is gonna be one of your biggest expenses! If you’re kids aren’t Indonesian, they can’t attend public state schools which means you’re gonna be paying for private schools or international schools. Like I said, we’re not there yet so I don’t know first hand the costs and it will depend on which school you choose but preschool and kindergarten seems to start from a few thousand dollars per year/per child right up to tens of thousands of dollars per year/per child for high school. Yikes!

Healthcare

This also depends on many factors but we’re all healthy, no pre existings and our quotes for full cover with med evac ranged from £5000 per year for the whole family to £20,000 per year! FML! If you don’t have insurance, you better have savings cause when you go to hospital the first thing they’re gonna ask for is your credit card details. I grew up in Scotland with the NHS – people don’t always have great things to say about it but for me, it was a gift from god. Paying up front for health care has been one of my hardest adjustments here! So if anyone back in the UK is reading this and works for the NHS or knows someone that does – thank you from the bottom of my heart for your service. I miss you!!!!!!

I think that’s pretty much everything! I’ve probably missed some stuff but this is the main points me thinks! Bottom line – Bali isn’t as cheap as it once was or people think it still is but our standard of living is definitely higher here in many ways cause its still cheaper than the west. We have a pool here – couldn’t afford that in Scotland! Though I think its called ice there 😛 jokes! But, seriously…