Families are enchanted by Bali
A favourite family holiday destination
So often had we heard families tell of their love for Bali, that a desire had been aroused to find out for ourselves the secret of this island's magnetism.
Bali casts a spell on all those who visit making it almost impossible not to return again and again to unlock her mysteries and uncover her secrets. The naturalness of her beauty, with its terraced rice fields as far as the eye can see, the blue waters of the pristine beaches, the undulating terrain and a people that will touch your heart, all combine to create a potent potion that will arouse an everlasting love of this isle of paradise.
Bali, known as the Island of the Gods, is a treasure trove of arts, crafts and culture, a shopper's paradise with exquisite handicrafts and priceless antiques. It is an island of exotic cuisine, boldly reflecting a unique blend of East and West. The vast spectrum of what Bali has to offer caters for those wanting anything from a spiritual experience to complete relaxation and rejuvenation or a fun-filled family experience. This is a destination that holds the magic of being whatever you want it to be.
The location we chose to let Bali weave its magic for us was the Hotel Padma in Legian and the spell was cast as soon as we passed through the majestic entrance into a tropical oasis of tranquility, transporting us from the hustle and bustle into a nirvana. The striking entrance lobby, the 6.5 hectares of tropical landscaping, the breathtaking pool leading directly onto the beach, and the absolutely stunning rooms with stone and marble bathrooms - the Hotel Padma has all the ingredients of a first class resort and provides all the comforts a discerning traveller expects.
The Hotel Padma blends traditional Balinese culture with western comforts, with a host of Bali traditions on show for families to enjoy. The food is first class as well, with the Poolside Pizzeria very popular with the younger set!
This magic spreads its wings into the Hotel Padma's Mandara Spa, which offers a total sensory experience in three luxurious open-air spa villas. The range of spa treatments is amazing with the whole experience very peaceful and harmonious. Indulge in a massage blending five different massage styles, relax in an open-air bath tub filled with fresh flowers and aromatic oils, enjoy an exotic body scrub or a facial. A visit to the Mandara Spa is the utmost in personal indulgence and a must for mums on holiday.
The Hotel Padma's Garden Club provides a welcome retreat at the end of each day with free cocktails and canapes served between 5.30pm and 7.30pm. Ask about membership to this club while making your booking, as it has many benefits that you can enjoy including a private swimming pool, internet access, snacks, newspapers, private check-in and a daily fruit basket.
One of the most magical days we spent in Bali was a day out on a Bali Hai Cruise to Lembongan Island - a very relaxing break. The Reef Cruise sails out to a purpose-built reef pontoon where you can go scuba diving, snorkelling, parasailing, enjoy banana boat rides, go on a semi submarine, or take on the 35 metre waterslide that ends with a one metre drop into the ocean. Or cruise to the Beach Club, where you can laze on the golden sands, swim and generally relax or throw yourself into some of the many fun activities. The tropical BBQ lunch was excellent and by the end of the cruise we really felt we had had a holiday in one day.
The whole family will enjoy a day out at Waterbom Park & Spa with more than a kilometre of world-class water slides. For the adventurous, head for Smashdown, where speeds of up to 70kms an hour can be reached.
Action lovers will also enjoy Boogie Ride, Marconi Tube and the Race Track. For those less adventurous there is the calm of Lazy River and for little ones, Kiddy Park complete with slides and twister rides. The Euro-bungy is a hot favourite with kids and they can refuel at the food court, with great taste sensations for everyone. Waterbom Park's Mandara Spa is where Mum can head off while Dad supervises the kids. It's a special treat with the Balinese massage not to be missed.
A must do for the family, providing all members are familiar with pedal power, is the Sobek Cycling Tour on the Batur Trail. This will give you a true insight into the Balinese culture and children will learn more during this two hour 'hands-on experience' than in a classroom. The journey begins with morning tea overlooking one of Bali's most spectacular sights, the active volcano Mount Batur. The downhill ride winds through picturesque villages with local farmers at work in their fields, visits to local temples, fruit plantations and traditional houses.
Sobek also caters for the more adventurous kids and parents with an opportunity to experience white water rafting at its best. The Ayung River, Bali's most scenic, winds through an eerie valley of breathtaking tropical rainforest. After negotiating the 25 rapids and surviving the antics of the tour guides, a sumptuous Indonesian feast is provided while you enjoy the pure tranquility of these unique surroundings.
For shopping bargains head for the Kuta Art Market. For arts and crafts it is worth visiting the villages. Ubud is also a mecca for shoppers.
Bali holds the key to many secrets and mysteries but this is all we are going to share. Now it is your turn to visit and discover some for your self and write in to tell us of what you have found. Cathy Wagstaff
On location: the tales of two families
Parents: Alistair and Robyne Carwadine - IT Manager from Turramurra, NSW.
Children: Jacob 9, Samuel 6, Rachel 4, Josiah 3, and Rebekah 1
This was the Carwardines' third trip to Bali as a family and definitely won't be their last! With five children, Alistair says, Bali is the most affordable destination for them. Here they can eat out every night in an exotic restaurant for less than a meal at McDonald's. The plus for them is that the children are exposed to a different culture. Their first two visits were to the Patra Jasa Resort in Tuban. They rate Patra Jasa as a fantastic family resort due to its location, abundant activities for kids, the excellent kids club and pools.
This trip, they chose to stay at the Radisson Bali Suites in the more tranquil Sanur as the Patra Jasa was undergoing renovations. For the kids, the attraction here was the loft room with a spiral staircase and the fantastic waterslide at the pool. For Robyne the highlight this trip was the visit to the Bird Park and of course the shopping - half of the Christmas presents are taken care of! The Cawardines rate Bali, as a family destination, 10 out of 10 and are looking forward to their next trip!
Parents: Tim and Sue Antonie - Merchant Banker Hampton, Victoria
Children: Michael 9, Thomas 7 and William 2
The Antonies are serial visitors to Bali with this being their 12th trip! Lucky them! This trip they plan to take advantage of the time Tim has between jobs, and stay for 6 weeks.
The reason they choose Bali is that it is reasonably inexpensive and is only a 5 hour flight, which is not too long for the children. Plus Bali always seems to come with a guarantee of great weather and great surf. This was the second time they had stayed at the Hotel Padma where they find the staff to be really wonderful with nothing too much trouble.
Sue organised to have a nanny this trip. For only $20 per day and an extra $10 should you wish them to stay overnight, this is an affordable luxury that presents the opportunity to get out together as a couple.
(We have had several requests form site visitors for further information on this nanny service. To find out more please click here)
The Antonies also rate Bali, as a family destination, 10 out of 10.
Garuda Indonesia flies to Bali: 4 x per week from Sydney (Mon, Fri, Sat & Sun); Melbourne 4 x per week (Mon, Tue, Fri & Sun); Brisbane 3 x (Mon, Wed & Sat); Adelaide 3 x (Tue, Fri, & Sun); 2 x Darwin (Fri & Sun); daily from Perth; Auckland 2 x (Wed & Sat).
Kids' meals can be requested when booking or 48 hours before your flight. Contact Garuda Indonesia for more information and request a free copy of their invaluable publication "Bali on ANY budget".
Click here for more information, or call 1300 365 331.
Click here for more information on where to stay in Bali.