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Taking our teenagers to Bali...will this work?

Taking our teenagers to Bali...will this work?

Old Dec 11, 11, 11:55 pm
  #1  
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Taking our teenagers to Bali...will this work?

For the kids spring break from school next year (end of March, 2012) I gave my wife two options: San Diego and Bali. I figured she would shoot down Bali as being crazy but surprisingly she is intrigued. So now I'm on to phase 2, which is figuring out what we would do if we actually went and pricing out a trip.

I am interested in anyone who might have any experience with older kids going to Bali and what places/activities were of interest. I'm interested in specifically where you would stay (both area and type of accommodation) as well as activities to put high on the list. My initial thought is 3 days in Ubud, and 3 days in Seminyak. I was also thinking of renting a two bedroom villa as opposed to staying in a big hotel chain property but those are just initial thoughts.

Some background... Our kids are 15 and 14 and are old enough to not need/want "kid club" types of activities. I'm sure they would get a bit tired if all we did was cultural tours but they are OK with some cultural activities as long as its not in huge doses (part of the reason to go half way around the world would be to have them see something totally different).

Normal vacation activities for us include active things like hiking, biking, and especially nature/wildlife activities. Of course shopping, eating, and hanging by the pool are always high on our list as well. In short, our ideal vacation day is "touring" in the morning, and "hanging" in the afternoon. Too much of either one never seems to work.

Thanks in advance for any advice and I won't be offended if you say to save this trip for my wife and I and bring the kids to San Diego (I have had that thought).
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Old Dec 12, 11, 6:57 pm
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I think Bali is a great idea and especially for a family with teenagers--they are old enough to appreciate the cool cultural stuff and to participate actively in the outdoor stuff. And it has so much more interesting things to do than hang out at the pool. The only thing that worries me is the time factor, if you are coming from Chicago and dealing with that distance of travel with the required connections. If you can arrange a couple of extra days for the kids to be out of school and tack them on to this vacation period, it will give you a bit of breathing room.

The great thing about Bali is that it's got a bit of everything: culture, architecture, outdoor activities, some nature, beach (though note that Bali's beaches aren't the best on offer in SE Asia). Splitting time in two places is a good idea and Ubud should be one of those places. Ubud town itself is good for a bit of time--the kids will like the Monkey Forest. And be sure to go to at least one evening performance of a traditional Balinese dance. I'm partial to the male 'kecak' dance and chant myself... Ubud is also the staging area for white water rafting (nothing too dangerous, just fun), elephant rides, hikes, and is the handicraft center. For a second area, Seminyak is probably as good as anything.

For a family, definitely consider a villa rather than hotel rooms and particularly in Seminyak.

You probably want to engage a van for at least one day and have them take you around the eastern part of the island to Pura Besakih temple, to see the Agung volcano, Tenganan village, etc. It would be easy to spend a week in Bali and be doing something different every day, and still leave something for a future visit.

One thing: Nyepi (Bali's day of silence) is March 23, 2012. The airport will be closed on this day, and other aspects of life affected as well, including for tourists. So check your Spring Break calendar and if Nyepi falls during your vacation period in Bali, read up and be prepared to deal with it.
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Old Dec 12, 11, 8:21 pm
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http://www.banyantreebiketours.com/

Best experience I had in Bali. 10/10. They accommodate all age groups. I did the tour with my mother and we both loved it. Breakfast is included in the price. You finish up with a lunch at the owners house prepared by his wife. Again, included in the price. At the end of the tour we vowed that we would fly to Bali again one weekend just to do this tour again (We enjoy a 3.5hr flight time to Denpasar here in Perth).

Have a look at reviews on TripAdvisor - some great pictures too! The scenery is fantastic too.

Have a pleasant stay in Bali!
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Old Dec 13, 11, 7:58 pm
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Depending on the teenagers I'd more worry about whatever Aussie hellions their own age they meet than them being bored.
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Old Dec 13, 11, 10:55 pm
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+1 on the bike tours. My teenage daughter loved it. Also, horse back riding on beach is something worth doing for young people.
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Old Dec 14, 11, 10:25 pm
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Jiejie, you hit on what is now our chief concern... Time. As you mentioned I'm concerned a week is not enough time for the trip. We would leave on Saturday but not arrive at DSP until late Sunday night. Realistically, that makes Monday a half day and I'm wondering if it's worth the flying if we need to leave on saturday. Missing additional school might be a problem for the kids now that they are in high school but we need to think through it. If nothing else, I'm thinking maybe we just stay in Ubud the whole time.

Thanks for the tips on the bike tours, sounds like exactly our type of activity.

I'm still so undecided on this.
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Old Dec 15, 11, 2:06 am
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Originally Posted by mdc22474
Jiejie, you hit on what is now our chief concern... Time. As you mentioned I'm concerned a week is not enough time for the trip. We would leave on Saturday but not arrive at DSP until late Sunday night. Realistically, that makes Monday a half day and I'm wondering if it's worth the flying if we need to leave on saturday. Missing additional school might be a problem for the kids now that they are in high school but we need to think through it. If nothing else, I'm thinking maybe we just stay in Ubud the whole time.

Thanks for the tips on the bike tours, sounds like exactly our type of activity.

I'm still so undecided on this.
It would be best to have 7 full days in Bali, plus 3 days for addtional travel time. (1.5 each way which gives you some connection time). You do "lose" a day westbound transpac but pick it up on the eastbound. With two weekends + a full week of spring break (assumed), that's nine days. So perhaps just steal one from school on either or both ends of the vacation period, depending on whether they have exams or not. They should be able to keep up with/make up any non-exam routine work. One or two days taken out a 12-year span of education isn't going to be nearly as valuable to their perspective and education as the week in Indonesia.
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Old Dec 15, 11, 2:27 am
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I know this may sound stupid... but if you are renting a villa in Bali then make sure it is located on the beach!!

We were tempted by an offer from BumbuBali (one of the best known restaurants on the island) who also had their own villas. These were fine, but they were a good walk away from the beach (10-15 mins). Somehow that part of the holiday didn't really feel like being on holiday. It was hot, and on some days very humid as well... there was no fun having to walk to and from the beach and across the busy road.

We moved after a few days to a hotel beach-side and what a difference! Just being able to hear the ocean and feel sea breezes made it feel like being on holiday.
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Old Dec 21, 11, 5:07 pm
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Definitely do Bali. I've taken my kids. Last trip I did mountain biking, rafting, climbed Mt. Baktur, scuba dived, went to the dances, art galleries, etc. It's a great trip.
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Old Feb 1, 12, 9:30 pm
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OK. I'm determined we are going to do this trip before they get out of high school but I can't make it work this year (March 2012). So my choices are either a Christmas/New Years trip or try again next spring break (end of March). Is it so rainy (or so expensive) as to be not worth it over Christmas?
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Old Feb 1, 12, 10:13 pm
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Originally Posted by DownTheRappitHole
Depending on the teenagers I'd more worry about whatever Aussie hellions their own age they meet than them being bored.
^

Semanyak is a much better option that Kuta for this reason. Unless you want to end up sharing with Schapelle or Renae of course...

Seriously, splitting time between Ubud and Semanyak would be perfect, and I second the suggestion previously made to go white water rafting. I did that for the first time in Ubud, and was instantly hooked - and my idea of exertion is buying my own drinks from the bar instead of using waiter service.

To the OP, if you go at Christmas remember that it's Aussie school holidays so prices are up and you'd be wise to book accommodation very early to beat the rush.
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Old Feb 2, 12, 3:32 am
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Originally Posted by mdc22474
OK. I'm determined we are going to do this trip before they get out of high school but I can't make it work this year (March 2012). So my choices are either a Christmas/New Years trip or try again next spring break (end of March). Is it so rainy (or so expensive) as to be not worth it over Christmas?
Choose March. Seriously. Nyepi is earlier (March 12) so that won't be an issue for you. Christmas will be packed out and expensive, and transpac flights will be as costly as it gets.
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Old Feb 11, 12, 10:29 pm
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You and the kids will love Bali

I'm from Oz, Perth. Bali is our cheapest and closest international holiday destination. As family, we have visited Bali on some 30 occassions - I have 3 girls that were kids, then teenagers and now young adults. They have grown to love Bali - now they drag us along.
Once you get out of Kuta (shoulder to shoulder revellers), there is great accomodation and lovely local people. Prices for food and accomodation are very good. There are many things to do and see, that revolve around tourism - rafting, water amusement parks, wildlife parks, bike riding and most water sports you can think off.
I always say to my crew, don't do high risk activities here - the medical offerings are not as you would find at home (though now vastly improved). I think they have picked up the "she'll be right mate" attitude from the Australians. The Island is 90% Hindu and offers many tourist ceromonies based around their culture - dances, parades and even cremations.

It will be a great holiday for all.
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Old Feb 16, 12, 7:52 am
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I'll agree with uch of what has been written, and with in2it54. Adventure activities such as forest ziplines and bungee jumping are not supervised by any safety agency, and they may be unsafe, and the prescription for serious accidents or illness is "when in pain, take the plane".

I think you are planning a good mix of activities, and I also think you will be surprised how Balinese hospitality and acceptance of others will win the kids over in some cultural issues, such as if you stop for a procession or funeral and are invited to join in.

If they are at all "green" they will be impressed by, for example, how rice is grown - after the harvest, the duck herds are brought onto the paddies where they eat the remaining grain (incidentally fertilising for the next crop as they get fat for market).
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Old Feb 16, 12, 7:57 am
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Honestly, Bali is alot longer of a trip than San Diego. Ubud does not have alot for kids. They can ride an elephant or see the monkeys in Monkey forest, but it is mostly artwork and cultural things. There is no beach there so you may consider Kuta which the kids would enjoy there.
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