Bali. The island of thousands Hindu offerings.
That’s what my son said every time he stood in front of our fridge, looking at Bali’s magnet we bought from our trip there back in June. He’d been to Bali twice before this trip, but they were when he was 9-month-old and 3-years-old. Now that he’s 10, he remembers it clearly, the small square offering found practically in front of every businesses, offices, houses, and hotels. Pretty much at every corner wherever we went. It’s not only one, sometimes it’s even 3 pieces in one place.
A few months before we visited Bali, we did some google search for ideas of places to visit. Our pictures from previous visits – before and after him – were also part of the searching. Immediately he chose the outdoor ones: beaches, animals, forests, rice field, and didn’t show any interest at all to temples, traditional dances, arts, or things like that.
On the other hand, I still wanted to visit one or two temples and saw the Kecak and Fire Dance again. I thought he would like those. But my husband and I agreed that our trip to Bali was for him. We’ve been to here and there, did this and that. Let him choose where he wanted to go and what he wanted to do.
So here they are.
What a 10-year-old boy visited and did in Bali
1. Bali Bird Park
It was still raining by the time we got there and all the umbrellas were out. So, we headed to see the movie about bird migration at the 4D Theater. That was after I negotiated the ticket price to the park for the three of us: my American husband, my half-American half-Indonesian son, and me. Everywhere in Bali (I think it’s all over Indonesia now), the ticket price at every tourists’ attraction are different for foreigners and locals. I mean, way… different. I still paid more than $40.00 for the three of us though.
Fortunately, the rain has stopped after the movie. My son headed straight to the area where visitors can take pictures with the parrots, which was across the theater. He was excited to have birds on both his hands, then his head. Just like he saw our pictures from 16 years ago.
Bali Bird Park is divided into 7 regions that recreates the natural habitats of the birds. From Bali, Java, Borneo, Sumatra, and Papua in Indonesia to South America and South Africa. There’s an Owl House, too with its great collection of these nocturnal birds.
We lost our son in Borneo region. He took a different path and I ended up meeting him at the Papua region where my husband went missing. Apparently, he went to see the pelicans and my husband glued at the bird feeding time.
Before we left, we saw the bird show at Bali Starling Restaurant. My son volunteered himself during one of the presentation. It became his favorite thing when we visited Bali Bird Park.
Bali Bird Park is located in Batubulan, on the road to Ubud. It is 20 minutes away from Sanur or 40 minutes away from Kuta. If you go during high season, expect delay. Our family spent about 4 hours here.
2. Ubud Monkey Forest
One of the most popular attraction in Ubud, this sanctuary is a home to more than 600 grey-haired long-tailed Balinese macaques. They are everywhere since the moment you enter the forest. But don’t let their innocent-looking eyes fool you. They like to snatch pretty much everything from you when they see an opportunity.
We saw people fed them bananas to get a cool picture or video while the monkey eating it on their head or shoulder. It’s not advisable to do it because they are wild animals. In fact, you are advised not to make eye contact with the monkeys and to avoid wearing any loose jewelry or apparel while in the forest.
Fortunately, our son understood and didn’t try to touch them or looked them in the eyes.
Before we got in, the driver reminded us not to put our hand in the pocket because the monkey would think you have something in it and they would try to get it from your pocket. So, my husband put his hand in one pocket, wanted to see if it’s true or not. Yep! It didn’t take long to prove it.
There was one hilarious moment while we were there. There were 3 holy temples in the forest. While we were at one temple, a monkey snatched a tourist’s handbag. Inside, he found cigarettes and took one of it. He found it unappetizing and threw it away. Two little monkeys saw it on the floor. One of them grabbed it and before long the two had fun playing with the cigarette. And here is what happened next that made all the people there laughing.
Another cool thing about Ubud Monkey Forest is the banyan tree roots hanging over shadowy dragon staircases that connects to the temples area. It’s also a good example of rainforest with its dense foliage and little sunlight penetrated to the ground. A forest that our son wanted to see since he was 5-years-old.
Ubud Monkey Forest located at Monkey Forest Rd., open from 8.30am to 6.00pm. Surprisingly, the ticket to get in is the same for foreigners and locals; IDR 40.000 for adult and IDR 30.000 for children. Expect long delay to Ubud during high season. We spent about an hour at this place.
Bonus: We saw ngaben at the small cemetery inside the forest complex. Ngaben is a cremation ceremony amongst Balinese. It is sacred and important because by doing ngaben the family of the deceased could free his/her soul from worldly ties. By doing this ceremony the family hopes that their relative will go to heaven and could reincarnate as a better person or even moksha (united with God). But this one was from ordinary people, not from the royal family. So, there’s no special celebration with all the offerings, statues, etc.
3. Tegalalang Rice Terrace
Originally, we planned to visit Jatiluwih for rice terraces, but the timing wasn’t work well for us. So, we ended up visiting Tegalalang since we were already in Ubud area. Tegalalang rice terraces still looked beautiful with its designed using the Balinese traditional cooperative irrigation system called Subak.
Apparently, the farmers now opened their rice field for tourists to explore, all the way to the top. We were like “let’s do it!” But what we didn’t know, once we crossed the bridge, there’s a donation station. It’s a donation, but we must pay. If we didn’t pay, we couldn’t continue to the next level. They said they needed the money for maintaining the path. My husband didn’t like this kind of thing. It’s the principle. If you want people to pay, then just put your price. Don’t put donation, but people must pay. I was crossed, too. Fortunately, I had three IDR2,000 bills that I dropped to their bucket. I didn’t care if they gave me the look.
Then we saw a farmer holding a pole with a bucket on each end, filled with rice. I thought he’s on the way home and I asked to borrow it for my son as a photo opt. He gave it to me and I thanked him before we continued. Later I found out that he was part of the whole thing and I supposed to pay him. Well, he didn’t say anything. How am I supposed to know?
When we got to the higher level, we saw another donation station. A man was holding a bucket with donation sign big enough to see from where we stood. My husband had enough and turned around. “This is not right, but if you and Joey want to go, you go. I’m going back to the car,” he said. I didn’t want to continue but my son wanted to go all the way to the top. He then went by himself and just walked pass the guy without paying anything. Haha…
I think the place is too commercial now. We spent only about 30 minutes here. It is on the north side of Ubud and crowded. I don’t like the way they developed the area. Maybe if you venture further into the village, you will find the terraces that as beautiful as this one.
4. Bali TreeTop Adventure Park
An epic day for our son to be able to zip-line and did rope courses at Bali TreeTop. It was the first time for him and he enjoyed it very much. There are 7 adventure circuits from one tree to another with height range between 6.5 to 65.5 ft. (2-20 meters). The Suspended Bridges, Spider Nets, Tarzan Jumps, Flying-foxes, and Flying Swings are some of the fun challenges that children and adult must tackle. There are total of 72 challenges in the park, and 12 of them are Flying-foxes.
He started with Yellow Circuit, the beginner one, where his cousins were half-way through. Crawling inside the Fox’s Hole, walking on Elephant Steps, and did the Mini Flying-fox were some of the challenges here. Then they continued to Green Circuit, where they did Flying Swings and Monkey Track to name a view. After this one, he continued by himself because others were tired, hungry, and some of them weren’t tall enough to do the rests.
He then did the Blue Circuit and the Orange Circuit where the first thrills began: Higher Flying Swings, Spider Net, and higher and longer Flying-foxes around higher trees. He really enjoyed climbing, swinging, and zip-lining in theses circuits. Wish I didn’t have a migraine so I could join him. Maybe next time we go there, when he gets taller to do the Red Circuit and Adrenalin Black Circuit.
Bali TreeTop Adventure Park located in Bedugul, inside The Bali Botanical Garden. The price is different between locals and foreigners and slightly cheaper if you arrive before 10.30am. When we went there, my son paid around $5 while foreigners paid $25. My son got to pay local price because I bought it for him (no, it’s because he has dual citizenships). There weren’t too many people at the time, so the children didn’t have to wait long for doing the courses. We spent about an hour and a half there. Again, the traffic was bad closer to Bedugul area.
Bonus: We got to visit Ulun Danu Temple that is on the shore of Lake Beratan near Bedugul. It is one of the famous temples in Bali so expect to see lots of tourists in the temple area. The fee is IDR50,000 per person (around $4,00). My husband and I were disappointed with people pedaling their pedalboat around the temple non-stop. It’s not only making it hard to take pictures without them in the frame, but it ruined the mystic feeling of the temple.
5. Parasailing at Sanur Beach
After seeing his cousin’s picture doing parasailing on her honeymoon, our son decided he wanted to do it, too. We did it at Sanur Beach, where we stayed at a calm and cozy villa called Villa Kampung Kecil.
We arrived one morning and walked along the beach walk until I stopped at one place that I thought would give me the best offer. After looking at my family (hmm… foreigner husband) and negotiating the price (Indonesian wife, huh!), I joined my son to do parasailing. I don’t remember the exact price, but it’s less than $15 per person.
Because our son is still too small to do it by himself, he got to do it tandem with one of their people. He had a 5 minutes thrill that morning, flying higher and higher above the sea. To make it easier, now you didn’t have to run anymore because they had long rope. When the boat got to one point, you started moving and lifting to the sky.
It took us less than 10 minutes by Uber to the beach from where we stayed. We laughed because it had cost us IDR20,000 one way, which was not even $2,00. Where can we go with a price like that in the U.S.?
6. Suluban Beach
To begin with, we had no idea what beach to visit. I just told my cousin that I wanted to go somewhere around Uluwatu so I could sneak in watching Kecak and Fire Dance at Uluwatu Temple by the end of the day. She suggested Suluban Beach in Jimbaran. She took her daughters there a couple of weeks before and they seemed to enjoy it.
So, there we were, taking a long flight of stairs from the top to the entrance of the beach, led by my cousin’s daughter who is 2 years younger than our son. A precocious 8-year-old little girl with a sharp memory. We passed lots of surf shops, souvenir stores, and bars all the way down. You can easily tell it’s a surfer place.
We’ve been informed the low tide would start at 4 so we could walk through the cave to reach the beach area behind the cliff. When we got there, it was still high and the wave (at least in my opinion) was still strong. The ice cream guy told me that if the children were brave and could move faster, it’s safe to walk through the cave when the wave ebbs away. I said I would have to check it out first. We waited and he showed me the way. It was tricky but I was in awe when I got to the other side of cliff. I guess because I didn’t have any picture in my mind of the beach at all. A beach sandwiched between two giant cliffs.
We finally made it there when the wave ebbed away. Too bad my camera wasn’t water resistant so I couldn’t take pictures when we walked pass the cave. Then after we played in the water, I totally forgot to take the picture of the cave. Agh…
Even after low tide, the waves were still strong when it crashed to the beach. That’s what make this beach is fun for playing in the water. On the other side, it is rocky and full of corals at the bottom, even on the sand. The children tried to move the corals from the sand. Every time the wave ebbed away, it left more corals and rocks on the beach. They finally gave up.
At the end, I had to say goodbye to Kecak and Fire Dance at Uluwatu Temple. The children didn’t want to leave. But, sunset was amazing from this beach. And from afar we could see tiny specks of surfers coming back to the beach one by one. What an interesting view!
Suluban Beach is also known as Blue Point Beach, located in Pecatu Village, close to Uluwatu Temple. It’s one of surfers’ paradise in Bali. There’s no fee to get in there. We spent about 2 hours and 30 minutes just playing in the water.
Bonus: the best paletas ever from Paletas Wey. They even have choices for vegan, but my favorite one was chocolate avocado. Located right across Blue Point Bay Villas and Spa.
Bali Attractions Rank by a 10-Year-Old Boy
All in all, our son had ton of fun and experiences during our 5 days holiday in Bali. Here is his rank of the places we visited from the most favorite one to the least favorite one:
1. Bali TreeTop Adventure Park
3. Bali Bird Park
4. Rice Field
5. Ubud Monkey Forest
6. Suluban Beach (it would be different if mommy didn’t forget to put water shoes in the suitcase.)
Until next time Bali!
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