How to spend 3 weeks in Bali with kids
When we think of Bali we imagine white beaches, temples, and rice terraces. But Bali is much more than that. We were there for 6 weeks and even that didn’t seem enough.
We have prepared a round trip to Bali for you for 3 weeks. We start in Canggu (1 hour from the airport) and go east via Ubud to end on Nusa Penida (an island off the coast of Bali).
We did everything ourselves by taxi and many of the trips with a rented scooter. Some parts are quite busy, such as the area around Kuta, which we try to avoid. There are also minibusses that you can share with other tourists.
Our children (Yuna and Hanne) were 10 and 9, so this itinerary in Bali is perfectly doable with children. And remember, Bali is part of Indonesia! Many people sometimes forget that.
What is the best time to visit Bali?
The best time is July, August, and September. From May to October, there is little rain in Bali, ideal for going out during the big summer holidays. If you want to avoid the big hordes of tourists, it is better to go in the rainy season (from December to March). The prices are therefore slightly lower.
As soon as you get off the plane you immediately notice the dozens or say thousands of scooters driving around in Bali. That, in combination with pushy taxi drivers, sometimes creates a chaotic situation on the road. But as soon as you leave the main axes you come to small country roads and you get to see the real Bali.
We usually took a taxi between the cities, which is not too expensive (especially if you are 4 of us). You can usually arrange this through your hotel. To do activities we usually rented a scooter, except on Nusa Penida. The roads there are in such bad shape that it didn’t seem safe to us with the children. There we had a private driver who took us around. Count on about $50 a day for a car with a driver. Here you can look for a driver in Bali.
If you still prefer to have your own car, have a look at this website to rent a car in Bali.
Bali travel tips
- Have transportation ready when you arrive at Denpasar airport. After such a long flight you don’t want the hassle of booking a taxi. You can book your taxi in advance at Denpasar airport.
- Make no mistake, Bali is bigger than you think and the travel distances can be quite disappointing. Have a look at Waze or Google Maps before negotiating with your driver.
- During your stay in Bali you can easily rent a scooter, make sure you always have a helmet on and watch your belongings while driving. Never let your handbag hang from your shoulder.
- Book your excursions through reliable websites such as GetYourGuide. Based on the other reviews you are sure that you will not just be dropped somewhere and you can always cancel (up to 24 hours in advance this is free).
- Despite the fact that Indonesia is an Islamic country, you will find a large Hindu majority in Bali. So you can eat pork there. Try for instance the babi guling!
- Always carry an extra scarf/ sarong to cover your shoulders or legs when visiting the temples.
Itinerary Bali 3 weeks + extension
Day 1: Ngurah Rai International Airport – Canggu
Total distance: From the airport to Canggu it is 20km (12,5miles) or 45min
Canggu is only 1 hour from the airport and is ideal to start your tour in Bali. It is also the new hotspot where you can eat trendy and healthy. Very different from Kuta and Seminyak which is too busy. Book a taxi from the airport to your hotel.
What to do in Canggu Bali:
First, it’s time to catch your breath after that long tiring flight. After a well-deserved splash in the pool, you can already go to the beach (“Pantai”). You will find numerous bars (“Warungs”) with famous umbrellas. The most famous beach is undoubted “Echo Beach”. Here you will also find some well-known beach clubs.
Where to stay in Canggu – Bali.
- Canggu Wooden Green Paradise: our favorite in Canggu. Located on a small side road and with a view of the surrounding rice fields. We were welcomed with delicious coconut. Breakfast and food are possible, but it is best to place your order in advance. You can enjoy a wonderful sunset from the pool.
- Canggu Dream Studios & Villas: The studios are 1.4km (1 mile) from Batu Bolong Beach. The children can visit the kids club or the playground / swimming pool.
- Umah CinCin: Do you want to enjoy your holiday completely privately? Have a look at this beautiful villa. With a beautiful pool and only a 1min walk from the beach. The view of the rice fields is also beautiful.
On this page, you will find more accommodation options in Canggu during your tour in Bali.
Day 2: Canggu
What to do in Canggu:
Today we go to perhaps the most famous temple in Bali, Pura Tanah Lot. If you translate the name, you immediately know what you will see. Tanah Lot is “land in the sea” and Pura is “temple”. You can only reach the temple on foot and at low tide. We rented a scooter to visit Pura Tanah Lot in Bali.
You do have to pay an entrance fee, counting €4 ($4) for adults and €2 ($2) for children. You cannot enter the temple itself, that is only for the believers. Go a little further past the temple and you will find a lot of nice terraces with a view of the temple. This is undoubtedly one of the highlights of your tour through Bali. Visit this site for more information about the Tanah Lot.
In the evening it is a lot busier around the temple (sunset). The temple is open every day of the week from 7 am to 7 pm.
Day 3-6: Canggu – Bukit Peninsula
Total distance: From Canggu, it is a 35 km (22miles) or 1-hour drive to Balangan Beach
At the very south of Bali, you will find the peninsula Bukit Peninsula. Here you will find some beautiful beaches and also the famous Uluwatu temple. We plan three days to explore everything in peace.
What to do in Bukit Peninsula:
- The Uluwatu Temple: is located in the southwestern part of the peninsula. This temple is located on top of a cliff with a breathtaking view of the coast. Almost every evening you can attend a performance with the famous Kecak dance (the Fire Dance).
If the performance is not yet sold out, you can still buy tickets on-site, but we recommend that you order your tickets in advance. You can order your tickets for the Kecak dance via this link.
The entrance fee for the Uluwatu temple is €2 ($2).
- Dream Land Beach: voted one of the most beautiful beaches by Lonely Planet. But beware, to access the beach you have to go through the Klapa Beach club. Here you have to buy a ticket (currently free), so you also have access to their pool and facilities. So you can combine a visit to the beach with a dip in the pool.
When we were there, someone almost drowned in the meters-high waves. Be careful when walking on the beach.
- Jimbaran Beach: would you like to swim? Then go to this beautiful sandy beach, the waves are a lot calmer and the beach is quite wide. There are also bars and restaurants on the beach. Be sure to try some roasted corn on the cob.
Where to stay in Bukit Peninsula.
- Villa Allamanda by Kubu GWK: You will find this nice villa an 18-minute walk from the beach. There is a hot tub and a swimming pool. The air-conditioned villas also have a cozy sitting area and private bathroom. You can even have your groceries delivered!
- Hill Dance Bali American hotel has very good reviews! The cozy rooms, the large terrace, and restaurant are only a 4-minute drive from the white sandy beach of Balangan.
- The Point Beach- Front Balangan is located on the beach and has rustic rooms. A continental breakfast is provided each morning.
Day 6 – 11: Ubud
Total distance: From Balangan Beach, you can count on 50 km (31miles) or 1 hour to drive to Ubud. Keep in mind that this is a very busy road and traffic jams occur regularly.
What to do in Ubud:
From Ubud, you can visit a lot with, for example, the scooter. We list the best activities in Ubud for you. You can choose between temples, waterfalls and some beautiful rice fields. The center of Ubud is quite busy but as soon as you leave the main road it becomes a lot quieter.
In Ubud, you will also find trendy eateries that focus on healthy food. Yoga is also central here. Ubud is therefore ideal to recharge your batteries and also suitable for a longer stay. Although we do recommend that you look for an overnight stay outside the busy center.
- Pura Tirta Empul
This is probably the most famous temple in Ubud. They also call this the water temple with holy water, if you want you can go into the water yourself to purify yourself. When we were there there was a big ceremony going on, which is beautiful to see.
Admission to Pura Tirta Empul will cost you €3 ($3) for adults and €2 ($2) for children.
- Pura Taman Saraswati
This temple is located in Ubud itself. It is a beautiful complex surrounded by thousands of water lilies. You can’t enter as a tourist unless you want to pray.
- Tegenungan waterfall
You can visit this waterfall through the Dtukad River club. From the club, you can enjoy this fantastic waterfall with a snack and drink. Dtukad River Club is a hip club with nice swimming pools and of course a DJ.
This beautiful waterfall is hidden in the jungle, but you can reach it quite easily via a hiking trail. You can swim there but the current is quite strong and the water is not that warm. But it is certainly a pleasant refreshment.
- Campuhan Ridge Walk in Ubud
Depart early in the morning or at sunset to avoid the heat. This walk starts at the corner of the Monkey Forest and Jl. Raya Ubud. There you will see a sign for Warwick Ibah Hotel, go up there until you see a sign “Going to the hill” From there you leave for a trip of 3 km over the Campuhan ridge in Ubud.
There is no loop, so you will have to return by the same route. In the Karsa Kafe, you can relax and enjoy delicious juice. You don’t need to pay any entrance fee in Campuhan Ridge walk in Ubud.
- Ubud Tegalalang ricefields
Despite the fact that they have become so touristy, these rice fields remain beautiful. Let yourself get lost in the rice fields but beware, when we were there it was 35gr (95℉) and way too hot. Take plenty of water
The entrance fee is $1 You also have to pay for the parking, which is €0.5 or $0.5
On the road to Tegalalang ricefields, you can taste some Kopi Luwak! Kopi Luwak is the world-famous coffee made thanks to the feces of the civet cats. A bit expensive but very tasteful! Be sure to try the vanilla coffee. We went to Bali Pulina, with a view of the jungle!
- Market Ubud
In the center of Ubud, you will also find a “traditional” market where you can buy souvenirs. We were not really convinced of the stuff and found it much more fun to explore the shops around Ubud by scooter. Every town in the vicinity of Ubud has its own specialty.
Where to stay in Ubud.
- Abangan Bungalow: this is one of the better budget options. Located in the center and they have nice family rooms. Do not expect too much luxury but a traditional Balinese hotel room. There is also a small swimming pool.
- Alaya Resort Ubud: are you looking for something a little more luxurious? Then this is undoubtedly one of the best places to stay in Ubud, located between the rice fields with a beautiful swimming pool. The family room consists of two rooms that are connected to each other.
- Hotel Dinara Ubud: this boutique hotel has 30 rooms and 2 private villas. You can take cooking lessons, language lessons, and other rituals. They also have a fantastic restaurant. The location is also quite central, 1.5 km from the palace.
You will of course find many more hotels in Ubud, take a look at what is still possible.
Day 11-14: Ubud -Amed
Total distance: from Ubud to Amed (east of Bali) you can count on 75km (46miles) or 2h30min
During our trip to Bali, we wanted to spend a few days in the less touristy east of the island. Here lies the mighty Mount Agung, an active volcano that plays a central role in the region. The last eruption of Mount Agung in Bali was in 2019. Officially you are not allowed to climb the volcano, but it is done anyway (with a guide though).
In Amed itself, we find black lava beaches where you can snorkel and visit some beautiful temples.
What to do in Amed Bali:
- Mount Agung:
This for the Balinese sacred volcano is everywhere, be sure to check the latest reports about the condition of the volcano before you want to visit it up close. Here you will find the latest news about the condition of Mount Agung. Don’t let these messages deter you from visiting this region, but a man informed is worth two. For example, in 2019 the airspace was closed for a while and no more flights could take place in and out of Bali.
With this guide, you can do trekking on the Mount Agung volcano and enjoy the sunrise.
- Lempuyang tempel Bali
This is undoubtedly one of the Instagram hotspots of Bali. If you are lucky it will not be cloudy and you can see Mount Agung in the background. Leave early to avoid long queues, yep it has indeed become so touristy. But it does make for a beautiful photo! The entrance fee is €5 or 5$ for the Lempuyang temple.
- Taman Ujung
This beautiful water palace is located about 5km from Amlapura. In this former palace, you will find three large ponds with the main building in the middle. Be sure to go to the top from where you have a beautiful view of the palace. The entrance fee is €5 or $5.
- Tirta Gangga Bali
This is one of the best things to visit in Bali. This former palace was transformed into a beautiful water garden and is located about 30min from Amed. You can also buy fish food there. Tirta Gangga means water of the Ganges (river in India). You pay a €2 or 2$ entrance fee.
Where to stay in Amed Bali:
- Sama Sama Amed: close to Jemeluk Beach, you will discover this nice budget hotel. You will find large family rooms in the typical Balinese style. The Lempuyang tempel is only a 5min drive. They also provide free snorkeling equipment.
- Amed Beach resort: this resort is only a 5-minute walk from the beach and also has a swimming pool. All rooms have air conditioning and a mosquito net.
- Villa Agung Amed: this private villa is located on the beach There are three bedrooms and an infinity pool that overlooks the sea and the Mount Agung volcano. Ideal for a large family or group of friends.
In Amed you have a wide choice between hotels, take a look at the best places to stay in Amed Baliduring your itinerary in Bali.
Day 14-15: Amed – Sanur
Total distance: we follow the coast for 85km (53miles) to the south, from Sanur we take the ferry to Nusa Penida.
What to do in Sanu:
Sanur is one of the best places in Bali because of its beaches and is a wonderful place for families. There is a long sandy beach and calm sea water, especially because the surf is 200m off the coast A boulevard runs along the beach that takes you past all eateries and hotels.
On the beach, in Sanur, you can rent sunbeds or inflatable mattresses, ideal for a day at the beach with the kids. In the center of Sanur, you will find nice shops and also a delicious Mexican restaurant.
Where to stay in Sanur:
We stayed in the Touring Sanur hotel, a few hundred meters from the beach. We had a nice family room, small but not expensive. Every morning breakfast was brought to our room. Perfect with kids. You can also rent scooters there.
In this article with the best resorts for families in Sanur, you will find some other great options.
Day 15 – 21: Sanur – Nusa Penida (ferry)
Total Distance: To reach Nusa Penida you need to take the ferry from Sanur. Keep in mind that you have to go through the water to get on the ferry and so it is best to leave barefoot – slippers. The crossing takes about 1 hour. We had quite high waves during our crossing despite the calm weather.
You can take the ferry to the port of Sanur.
What to do in Nusa Penida Bali:
Nusa Penida is known for its beautiful cliffs, vistas, and beaches. The most famous place is undoubtedly T-rex viewpoint or Kelingking beach. We had a private driver on the island who took us everywhere. You can also rent a scooter or bicycle, but we do not recommend that with children because of the road conditions. The roads are still in very bad condition.
- Kelingking beach – T-rex viewpoint
The most famous viewpoint of Nusa Penida. If you have enough time left, you can also descend the stairs to the beach.
- Broken Beach – Angel Billabong
At low time you can swim in Angel Billabong but with children, you really pay more attention. There are safer places to swim. If you follow the path even further, you will come to Broken Beach in Nusa Penida. These cliffs were formed by erosion. You can walk all the way around and enjoy the spectacle. Thanks to our drone we have some fantastic images.
- Manta Point Nusa Penida
Do you like snorkeling? Then definitely take a trip to Manta Point, where you can see the giant manta rays. Unfortunately, they are not always there and we were unlucky. On the way to Manta Point we already experienced the high waves. Be sure to ask the guide about the sea conditions in advance to avoid disappointment.
- Crystal Bay Beach Bali
On the way back from Manta Point in Nusa Penida there is usually still snorkeling at Crystal Bay Beach. Beautiful tropical fish but also quite a lot of current, so keep your children close!
- Diamond Beach Nusa Penida
This is probably one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, but it is not easy to get there. A white sandy beach with turquoise water, palm trees,… simply fantastic.
There is a lookout point 5 minutes walk from the parking. You can go down via stairs.
Where to stay in Nusa Penida:
- Bintang Bungalow: these bungalows are 800m from Crystal Bay and a 12min walk from the beach. All rooms have a private bathroom and shower. There is a nice swimming pool and restaurant where you can eat well. Perfect for families.
- Penida Bambu Green: your own villa with a view of the tropical garden, a swimming pool, and a restaurant… doesn’t sound bad at all, does it? The only drawback is that it is a little further from the famous beaches, but that is why the location is so unique.
- Suite Ocean Blue: this 5* hotel has everything you could wish for, even a private beach. Some rooms also have a small kitchenette.
Extension itinerary Bali
Want to go a little more off the beaten track? Then definitely check out Lovina Beach. Many dolphin excursions are organized here. This is in the very north of Bali. This region is a lot less touristy and you get to see the real Bali.
Don’t feel like visiting more temples and prefer to hang out on the beach? Then take the ferry to the Gili Islands. Paradise beaches, cocktails, etc… you can choose from three islands. Depending on whether you feel like partying, or quietly reading a book somewhere on a paradise beach. Look at this article about the Gili Islands for more info.