For the first part of our trip in Bali, we decided to stay in a village on the south coast of the island: Canggu. It is surrounded by terraced rice paddies and it is becoming more and more popular among surfers for beaches with great surfing breaks.
We have seen lots of foreigners in the past days, mainly surfers, riding scooters, motorbikes or walking with their surfboard down to the beach. Certainly a very different vibe for a family with 3 kids!
Probably it isn’t exactly the most family friendly area of Bali, but not because of the Balinese! They are perfect with the kids as usual. But there is a higher concentration of tourists here, mainly singles or couples. Sometimes I felt like my kids were completely invisible to them and trust me my kids are not that quiet!
We made the best of the place as usual. Since our past months have been very busy and a little unpredictable, we thought it was time to let our kids decide how they wanted to spend their days!
Here are a few ideas on what you can do in Canggu as a family!
1. Rent a Villa
Last year was our first time coming to Bali and we realized that renting a Villa is actually very affordable and extremely convenient when traveling with young kids. It gives you lots more freedom then a hotel and many of them come with a private pool or anyway a pool in the complex.
Cosimo and Emma enjoy the big waves at the beach, but on the other hand, Luca now totally hates them! So after hanging out at the beach for a while we run back to the villa and give him some pool fun time.
We picked the Vezpa Villa Canggu for our stay, a very nice 3 bedroom villa at about 500 mt from the beach. We didn’t have breakfast included but there was a very well stocked grocery store at only a 5 minute walk away (first time I see a store so with so much here in Bali!), so I was able to make us breakfast and dinner. After all we didn’t have any night life, since we were still trying to get over the jet leg!
This is Cosimo and Emma’s video (with Luca screaming in the background), showing more in detail the villa (sign up to our YouTube channel to see more videos!)
2. Learn how to surf or if you are an expert already, enjoy the waves!
In the mornings we would walk down to Berawa beach for some beach time but it wasn’t actually very kid friendly at that time of the day. That was the best moment to see lots of surfers riding some pretty amazing waves! In fact there is the famous Berawa surf break there. So the 4 of us would sit down on the steps with some of the locals and watch people of different ages, gender and nationality go in the water with their surf boards and have a great time.
In the afternoon there was a lot more beach available. But you could still see surfers heading out to the break. There were also some kids learning how to surf on the waves closer to shore. Cosimo debated for days if he actually wanted to take some lessons because he was in awe watching all the people riding the waves. He kept on postponing the decision though. Surfers can bring their own boards or there are plenty places where you can rent at great prices and in reasonable condition.
3. Try a different restaurant or cafe everyday
As you walk to the Beach you can find plenty of good places to eat: cafe, roadside warungs or restaurants with a variety of dishes both local as well as vegetarian, Italian, Japanese and more.
For just a couple of dollars you can buy delicious nasi goreng (rice with vegetables and chicken or fish) and masi goreng (noodles with vegetables and chicken or fish).
I’ll be honest, we are the kind of family that when we like something we stick to it. We were lucky enough to find right away a favorite lunch spot and we went to it every day. For just $8 we all had a full meal with drinks included!
These are our 3 favorites for lunch and breakfast:
Ruko Cafe– Jl. Pantai Berawa No.99, Tibubeneng, Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361
Puri Rama Homestay – Jl. Pantai Berawa No.c89, Tibubeneng, Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali
Finns Beach Club– Jl. Pantai Berawa, Tibubeneng, Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361
4. Jump in the waves
We spent all of our afternoons at Berawa beach, because we were taking our first days in Bali slow. So we didn’t venture out to explore more beaches. In the afternoon, the tide went out but there were plenty of waves anyway. So Cosimo and Emma would spend hours jumping in the them. At one point they had other kids join them for the fun. At night they were completely wiped out!
It was also extremely funny to see lots of Asian families run towards the waves all dressed up and then realize that they were not going to get out of there dry and start stripping down the kids, those kids really loved it!
5. Create a “live sand mermaid” or dig pools on the beach
For some reason Luca is now scared of the ocean, he will not go too close but prefers just playing in the sand. Every now and then Emma and Cosimo would take a break from their “wave jumping” and start digging big holes all over the place, so they could have a pool on the beach!
There are lots of dogs wandering around and I soon noticed that every time they digged out sand the dogs would all go there and pee on it, luckily at that point my kids had moved on to the next spot. But stay alert dogs will mark their territory!
Another great game was to cover each other up with sand, possibly giving yourself also a little mermaid tail!
6. Hang out at Finns Club
On our early morning walks to the beach, Finns Beach Club saved our life! In fact for a few hours in the morning there is no beach to stay on and the waves can be a little scary, luckily Finns Beach Club is right in front of the beach! It is a great place to spend a day or like in our case just a few hours.
This huge venue has lots of facilities including a lap pool, Splash water park (in a different location), ten-pin bowling, a trampoline center, tennis courts, a spa, a sports bar and multiple restaurants all in one place. You can either buy a day pass for the specific facilities you want to use or if you are staying for longer you can buy a club membership. Luckily still for the month of June you could simply buy something at the bar and enjoy the pool. Guess where we had our second breakfast every morning?!
7. Rent a scooter
This is a great way to get around, specially if you want to go to different beaches or restaurants. Scooters can be rented for as little as $4 per day. Some even come with surfboard racks. The roads and driving can be a bit crazy at times so you will need a helmet as well.
Here in Bali you cannot even imagine how many people they will fit on a scooter!
I was alone with 3 kids so I decided to avoid it, but I did see plenty of families with at least one child per scooter. If my husband was with us I was kind of tempted in renting a couple for us too.
8. Visit Tanah Lot temple Complex
You are in the mood from something different then the beach? If you want to visit a very unique temple, I would recommend Tanah Lot. It is just up the road from Canggu and is Bali’s most famous temple. It’s an ancient hindu sea temple that is perched on a rock just offshore. On the shore side are more shrines and temples, all beautiful.
The area between the car park (Rp 5,000 per vehicle) and the beach next to the temple is a maze of souvenir shops selling just about every Balinese trinket imaginable.
There are also plenty of little restaurants overlooking the temple. When we arrived the water was blocking the passage, but by the time lunch was over we enjoyed watching the tide set out. It is pretty impressive to see!
At low tide visitors can walk to the base of Tanah Lot. For a small donation you can be blessed and can then walk some 20 metres around the side on a path, that eventually leads up to the temple. You are standing on the base of Tanah Lot itself!
Legend of Tanah Lot
Dang Hyang Nirartha, a high priest from East Java, travelled to Bali in 1489 to spread Hinduism. Once he arrived to this place he created a site honouring the sea-god, Baruna. Here, he shared his teachings to Beraban villagers. Unfortunately the village chief didn’t approve of this and tried to send him away. The priest resisted, by shifting a large rock he meditated upon out to sea while transforming his sashes into sea snakes to guard at its base. The rock’s original name, Tengah Lod, means ‘in the sea’. At this point the chief had to recognize the priest’s powers vowed allegiance. Before setting off, Nirartha gifted him a holy kris dagger, which is now among the sanctified heirlooms of the Kediri royal palace. Pilgrims bring these relics each Kuningan day by foot on an 11km pilgrimage to the Luhur Pakendungan temple, the priest’s former meditational site.
Click here to see more of our posts from Bali!!!
Check out the lovely hotel we stayed at Vezpa Villa Canggu!!!