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Category Archives for "Bali"

Why Canggu should be top of your Bali bucket list

Why Canggu is the next Ubud

By Grace Koelma | Dare List Mama

First, it was Seminyak and Kuta, then Ubud, and now Canggu is set to be the next up-and-coming hotspot in Bali. Boasting two wide sandy beaches, a sweet surf break and some of the best modern, organic and vegan cuisine I've ever eaten, Canggu has it all! And best of all, it's still relatively undiscovered compared to the rest of Bali.

Canggu is unlike much of Bali's well-known destinations because it still has that lazy-small-town vibe, mixed with just enough action to keep you entertained. We visited Canggu for the weekend with our 2-year-old and met up with another couple in their late-twenties. In our experience, it's a great destination for solo-travelers, couples, groups, and families with kids - there truly is something for everyone in Canggu.

How to get around

Canggu is a maze of rustic little streets that lead to the two main beaches, Echo Beach and Batu Bolong Beach. A narrow river divides the region into two key food and entertainment areas, which means a long round trip out to the main road and back again. To reduce your journey, keep an eye out for the shortcuts through the rice fields or ask a local.

I wrote this post as a guest for iamdanelson.com. Read the rest of my Canggu wrap up here.

Grace Koelma

Grace is a writer, designer, digital nomad, mum (otherwise known as toddler chaser), slow traveller, wild things appreciator, culture immerser, coffee opportunist... She frequently uses big words (some of which are definitely made up), likes long walks and even longer books, and her focus on wellness in 2017 means she is learning to obey her FitBit. Except when she's glued to her computer!

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Ubud, Bali guide: everything you’ll need to plan your trip

By Grace Koelma | Dare List Mama

Ubud is a lush, exotic paradise, unlike any other place we've visited in Asia. It is a raw, vegan, clean eating and regular foodie's paradise, also known for its art galleries, yoga studios, picturesque tropical tree lined streets, and hundreds of the greenest rice fields you've ever seen.

If you're planning a trip to Ubud, then this is the guide for you.

It's the most detailed and extensive guide to Ubud you'll find. (We're not kidding... if you find a longer one, let us know!)

What you'll find in this guide

We're a classic example of the 'opposites attract' rule for couples. Grace is a travel research ninja and likes to travel with an emergency item and contingency plan for every possible situation. "But I haven't read the reviews on it yet!" is one of her oft-repeated phrases.

Eric is the most laid-back traveller on the planet, and likes to be more spontaneous. "Let's cross that bridge when we get to it" is one of his favourite expressions.

We also travel with a toddler, so keep an eye out for our bonus kid travel tips.

So this guide has the perfect balance of planning, spontaneity and toddler-induced chaos prevention.

We'll cover everything from places to eat (the family-friendly options and just plain awesome!), what to see and do (keeping a toddler entertained is no small task!), how to get around, the layout of the town and surrounds, how much things cost, what the culture is like and much more! Make sure you check out the interactive map below, too.

Watch our video wrap-up of Ubud

Visa entry requirements

As of March 2016, the original VOA (visa on arrival) for a 30-day visit is now free for these countries (including USA, UK and Australia).​ We stayed for 28 days, so the free visa was all we needed. You don't need to apply beforehand, it's all done at the airport when you arrive.

If you want to enter the country for up to 60 days, there is a paid 30-day VOA, which can be extended once, up to 30 days. If you'd like to stay longer, you must leave the country temporarily (ie. do a 'visa run') before you can return to rinse and repeat. You'll need to keep a sharp eye out at the airport on arrival, as most tourists come for 30 days or less, and the line for the 60 day VOA is hidden off to the side.

Getting to Ubud from the airport

Denpasar is the only international airport in Bali. Regardless of when you arrive (we flew in at 11.30pm), it's hot, loud and crowded. There are no trains in Bali and buses are infrequent and unreliable. Ubud is located up in the hills about 90 minutes north of the airport, so the easiest way there is by car.

Taxis from the airport to Ubud cost around 500,000 IDR ($37.50 USD, $50 AUD) and take anywhere from 1 hour 20 minutes to 2 hours (depending on traffic). If you can, time your flight to come in early morning or late at night to avoid sitting in gridlock traffic for hours! Also, arrange a driver beforehand and they can take you for as little as 350,000 IDR. Finding drivers before you arrive in the country is fairly easy, using something like the Ubud Community Facebook group

It's important to know that, at the moment, using the Uber and Grab Car services is illegal in Bali (I won't go into the reasons here.)

A note on taxis with children: In Indonesia, like much of south-east Asia, there are very few child restraints or carseats used. While travelling in cars, we found it safest to strap our 2-year-old son to us using the Baby Bjorn, then put the seatbelt on over it. 

Typical afternoon gridlock on Jalan Raya.

Transport in Ubud

Public transport is hard to find in Ubud (I saw a public bus rattle past once, but had no idea where the bus stops were or what the timetable was). Admittedly, public signage is not one of Bali's strong points.

The taxi industry in Bali is unregulated, so instead of looking for the usual cars with signs on top, you'll be looking for unmarked taxis (basically just cars). They're not hard to find! Taxis are fairly cheap and in abundance, particularly on Jl. Raya (the main street of Ubud). If you need a ride somewhere, just walk along Raya for 10 seconds and you'll be asked if you want a taxi by one of the hundreds of men standing on a corner, holding up a sign.

A normal fare is around 50K ($3.75 USD, $5 AUD) for a trip from Ubud centre back to where you're staying, or 100K if you want them to come to the shops, wait for you and take you back.

You can always negotiate (remembering that a difference of 5K is only 50c, so don't bother haggling too much with the small fares), but always agree on a fare amount before you hop in and they'll honour that.

To get a driver for a day to see the sites further out of Ubud costs around 500-600K for 8 hours. We hopped in a taxi one night with a driver who spoke excellent English, so we asked him to take us around the island two days later. 

The climate of Ubud and when to visit

Being tropical, Ubud is hot all year round, with a distinct wet season and dry season. Its proximity to the mountains means that rain can come swiftly: it can be a sunny, blue-skied day and change within a few minutes. The showers are intense, but don't last long.

The wet season runs from November - March, and the dry season from April - October. The months of July and August are the most popular times for tourists, but we visited in March and April, and really didn't mind the afternoon monsoon rain. It's cooling, and a relief from the humidity. It rained around 3pm every afternoon, so if you're going out during the wet season, always bring an umbrella and/or poncho with you. Always!

The centre of Ubud and surrounding villages

Ubud is located in a (mostly) flat valley, with the surrounding villages of Penestenan, Sayan, Gianyar and Bentuyung on the hills and ridges surrounding. If you plan on walking or cycling, keep these hills in mind, especially in the 98% humidity. Pack lightweight, breathable clothes - exercise gear is ideal. Materials that can dry quickly are great too. We found it difficult to dry our hand-washed items in the high humidity. There was just too much moisture in the air. 

If you stay somewhere in the centre of town, you'll be fine to walk to most restaurants and points of interest. If you're staying in one of the villages outside the centre of Ubud (like we did), you'll need to hire a car, bicycle or motorbike to get into town easily. Keep in mind there are a lot of one-way streets, and even though the Balinese turn a pretty blind eye when it comes to road rules, it can be pretty hairy travelling the wrong way down a one-lane road, even if three motorbikes ahead of you are doing it!

Taking taxis everyday gets expensive, and means you need a regular driver who can come to your accommodation to pick you up. Eventually, we just preferred to hire bikes and do things our own way.

Getting around Ubud with kids

Using the hiking backpack makes it easy to walk with a toddler, and a bonus workout session for Dad! 😉

A bit of research told us not to bother bringing a pram to Ubud, and the advice was spot on. The footpaths are uneven and there are deep drop-offs, drains and large gaping holes where the pavement has fallen in and hasn't been repaired. It can be a bit dangerous, so I'd advise you to carry young ones in a baby carrier, and keep your eyes on the pavement as you walk. 

We brought two carriers with us, a Karinjo hiking backpack by Kathmandu, and a Baby Bjorn baby carrier. 

Watch your step!

Stopping to put the chain on... again!

The street address system in Ubud is... non-existent. If you're staying in a large hotel or spa/resort, your driver won't have any trouble finding it, but if you're staying in an Airbnb villa out of town (like we did) prepare to be confused. If possible, ask your host for precise directions beforehand and screenshot them on your phone (so you can access even if you don't have wifi). There are no street numbers on the roads outside of town, no letterboxes or visible numbers on the road. We just had to use landmarks to explain the location to drivers. When our family came to visit, we filmed a 'how to find us' video to orient them beforehand. 

Health and staying safe

While education on clean water and hospitality standards have improved greatly in Bali, you can still be hit with the odd case of Bali Belly if you drink water or ice drinks provided at restaurants. We chose restaurants with great Tripadvisor reviews​, drank the water, and didn't have any issues.

To stay on the safe side, don't drink or brush your teeth with the tap water provided at your villa or in public places. Our villa came with a water filter system that we could refill, or you can buy filtered water at supermarkets. The Pondok Pekak Library also has a cheap water refill station.​

It's also a good idea to peel things like apples, pears and cucumber before you eat them.

Mosquitoes​

Staying in a tropical location near a river means you'll have to be prepared for mosquitoes. Cases of malaria and dengue fever are thankfully rare in Bali, but they do happen.

Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk. You can spray yourself with tropical strength mosquito repellant and burn the citronella mosquito coils, but we found the best option was to wear these awesome, hassle-free PARA'KITO mosquito repellant bands 24/7. We're big fans - they're great for kids because you don't have to spray them with the chemical-heavy insect repellent, comfortable to wear and simple to replace.

PARA'KITO mosquito repellent bands: read our full review here.

Sorry Mozzies... Leo is wearing his Para'kito mosquito repellent band.

Where to stay in Ubud

There is a plethora of accommodation in Ubud, especially in the last few years since Ubud exploded into the limelight as a must-visit travel destination, popular with digital nomads, yogis and alternative health therapists.

The huge demand for accommodation means that villas are continually being built to meet it. Sadly many are built over existing rice fields - environmental sustainability is a concept that still escapes most residents of Bali. There's no recycling scheme either. 

We loved our accommodation overlooking the rice fields.

Where you'll stay will depend on the kind of Ubudian experience you're after, and whether or not you have kids.

If you're after a luxury, short term stay, there are lots of beautiful hotels, resorts and spas in Ubud, recommended on booking sites. If you're after an authentic, rustic Balinese experience, or are looking for a more budget option for longer-term stay, there are homestays, often found on Airbnb, booking websites and via the Facebook groups Ubud Community and Ubud Housing and Rental. 

If you're wanting to stay for a few months, I'd recommend finding something on Airbnb for a week or two, and then using those Facebook groups to find something you can inspect while you're there.​ They're private groups you'll need to request to join first.

If you want to be close to the action and nightlife, don't mind crowds and street noise at night, stay somewhere near the grid of main streets, or any of the ones that connect them: Jl. Raya, Jl. Hanoman and Jl. Monkey Forest.​

Beware of staying to the south of Ubud, as the traffic along Jalan Hanoman (near the Yoga Barn) can get very gridlocked.

Walking along in our neighbourhood - away from the hustle and bustle.

If you have kids, I'd recommend finding accommodation in a homestay ​on Airbnb or another booking site, and choosing a spot a little way outside the hustle and bustle, up near the beautiful rice fields. We loved our stay in Bentuyung village (20 minutes walk from the town up Jl. Suweta), and the village of Penestenan gets a lot of good reviews from ex-pats as well. Jl. Sri Widari and Jl. Kajeng (pictured below) are other gorgeous little streets.

New to Airbnb? You can get $30 off your first trip here.

Staying with a Balinese family

This was probably the nicest surprise in Bali. When we booked our private, self-contained villa set in a beautiful walled garden, we didn't realise how much interaction we'd have with the family. In the past, our Airbnb hosts have been polite but kept their distance.

Leo loved playing in our beautiful enclosed garden.

The setup at this villa was perfect. We had all the privacy we needed, but could walk through our walled garden and into the family's compound to chat and ask questions whenever we wanted. We felt safe, and like we were part of a community, which was important for us since we'd just left our community in Australia, and were processing that transition.

Our hosts helped us hire bikes, showed us around the local fresh food market, walked the Campuhan ridge with us, and took us to their local temple during Galungan as well as the bigger Tirta Empul and cleansing pools.​ We became friends, and by the end their daughter was minding Leo for us, and we were eating meals together. We will always remember our time with Ayu, Ketut, and their daughters, and can't wait to visit again one day.

Eating with our Balinese host family

Hiring nannies

Hiring help is common in Bali, and very affordable, with most nannies charging between 35,000-50,000 IDR an hour (that's $2-3 USD and $3-5 AUD). We asked for help for a few hours during our last week in Bali. Once we'd tried it, we had no idea why we hadn't made it happen sooner! 

There are a few nanny in Bali Facebook groups you can check out, or just ask other ex-pats for recommendations when you arrive.

Leo loved spending time with his nanny.

What to do around Ubud

There is truly something for everyone in Ubud: even just walking around the town sparks a lot of opportunities to explore temples, art galleries, markets, great cafes and little hideaway bookstores. 

  • Explore the natural surrounds: Campuhan ridge walk, local rice paddies and the Monkey Forest (be careful, as the monkeys bite! We didn't take Leo there for that reason).
  • Visit temples and sacred sites: Goa Gajar (Elephant Temple), Pura Tirta Empul with the cleansing pools and Pura Taman Saraswati.
  • Learn Balinese dance, cooking or craft: take one of the courses at the library or advertised on the street.
  • Wind your way through the markets and boutique shopping streets: Check out the traditional art and clothing market and the fashion stores on Jl. Monkey Forest. 
  • Watch a traditional Balinese Legong dance: nightly concerts cost around 100,000 IDR each, and are held at the Lotus Cafe, Pondok Pekak Library and The Palace. (Dances go for around an hour, starting at 7.30pm, so keep this in mind if you have toddlers who like to wriggle - like ours!)
  • Indulge in a pamper or massage: spas are on every corner and you can get a full-body 60 minute massage for just 80,000 IDR ($6 USD, $8 AUD).
  • Visit the famous rice terraces: Tegalalang rice terrace is 30 minutes from Ubud or the lesser visited Jatiluwih terraces are around an hour away.
  • Our favourite secret spot in Ubud (featured in our wrap up vlog) is the little lane through the rice paddies at the end of Jl. Kajeng

Campuhan Ridge Walk

This is one of the most beautiful walks in Ubud, with 360º views across the valleys on both sides of the ridge. It's located just a short distance from the main shopping streets, but as soon as you're up on the narrow ridge path, you feel a million miles away from the hustle and bustle.

It's an easy walk, between 1-2km depending on how far you choose to go before turning around, and is incredible at sunrise or sunset, when the light is radiant and the temperature is cooler. Read our full review and instructions for finding it here.

The Campuhan ridge walk in Ubud

The views from the top of the Campuhan ridge (and best photo opportunity!)

Pura Tirta Empul

We were privileged to be taken to Pura Tirta Empul by our Balinese host family, and it was a very special experience. It's about 40 minutes drive or scooter ride from Ubud, but is hidden away off the main roads, and most tourists get there via tourist buses.

Tip: If you can direct yourself there using Google Maps and get there early (before 10am), the pools will be a lot more quiet, allowing you to immerse yourself in the Hindu ritual of cleansing.

We had to wash under 9 different fountains... This was near the end, and you can see Leo was starting to get cold!

Get there early!

After 10am the lines for the cleansing pool look more like this.

Where to buy groceries in Ubud

There are several western-style supermarkets and fresh produce markets in Ubud. If you're after western brands, import prices mean that they'll be more expensive.

Buying dairy products

Milk and dairy products aren't staples in the Balinese diet the way they are for westerners, so you'll find a lot of long-life, UHT and milk substitutes instead, as the stores prefer products with a longer shelf-life. There is one or two brands of fresh cow's milk, but it's expensive, at around 30,000 IDR per litre ($2.25 USD, $3 AUD). Luckily, Bali's hipster foodie culture means there will be imported almond, soy and rice milk available in the big supermarkets (a miracle in Asia!) 

There are imported cheeses, but they're double or triple the price of what you'd be used to at home.​

Straight from the farmer - this is as fresh as it gets!

Bread and health foods

The Balinese don't eat much wheat either - their equivalent are pancakes made of rice - but there are a few western bakeries in Ubud. Bread Life is a chain store with more dense, Asian style sweet breads. The Daily Baguette and Monsieur Spoon are both French bakeries with delicious baguettes and pastries. ​​

We also loved that there was a range of organic and health food items available, like chia seeds, coconut flakes, coconut flour and coconut water.

You can read our full guide and interactive map here.

Buying baby items

Bali has options for baby food, formula and nappies, though you may prefer to bring items from home with you. How much you'll bring will depend on how long you're visiting Bali for, and whether you're doing long term travel (like us) or a shorter holiday.

If you have a toddler, make sure you have inflatable 'floaties' for safe swimming.

Baby items you can buy in Ubud

  • Diapers (nappies) and pull ups. Keep in mind there's less choice, and the quality isn't the same as what you'd find in Australia, Europe or the USA. Watch my review of nappies in Bali here.
  • Baby wipes
  • Infant formula 
  • Cow's milk, almond milk, soy milk (see our shopping guide)
  • Inflatable floaties for swimming

Baby items you may want to bring

  • Swimmer nappies for the pool
  • Chemical-free, sensitive baby wipes
  • A portable baby change mat
  • Preferred nappy rash cream (they don't have much choice in Bali)
  • Medela quick clean micro-steam bags (perfect for sterilising)
  • Medicine and health: a baby priobiotic, teething gel, cough medicine, children's paracetemol and a general antibiotic just in case
  • Bandaids or plasters (we didn't find any good quality ones that don't peel off)
  • Huggies nappies for overnight, to prevent leakage
  • A mosquito net for the cot
  • Mosquito repellent suitable for kids, like these PARA'KITO bands

Everything you need to know about nappies in Bali is right here!

Eating out with kids

One of the trickiest things we navigated in Ubud was eating out at night, because it coincided with just when our 2-year-old was hitting the 'hangry' stage of the day. Cue the screams and tantrums (and my embarrassed face when the other diners stared). By the end of our time in Bali we became masters at eating out: the key is to get there early, order before you get the menus, chow it down and RUN! Haha.

The best restaurants in Ubud

We occasionally cooked in the villa, but the kitchen in our villa was pretty basic, and western prices in the supermarkets, plus market vendors tripling the price for fruit and vegetables when they saw we were tourists meant that eating out at local warungs was often cheaper than buying raw ingredients.

At the local warung up the street we could get two dishes, rice and an entree takeaway for 45,000 IDR (yes, just $3.40 USD and $4.50 AUD).​ That was the cheapest we found, but we probably averaged around $15 a meal when we ventured away from the local cuisine and sampled the Italian, Mexican, Japanese, raw/vegan and Western food that Ubud has to offer.

We found lots of restaurants we loved in Ubud, and many had great facilities for kids.

Where to play with toddlers and kids

Unfortunately, there's not a lot of choice for parks and playgrounds in Ubud, so we had to get creative when it came to finding things that Leo could do safely, and places he could run around. We found a bunch of free options in Ubud, some cheap options and a few places within an hour by car.

Where to work as a digital nomad

We tried out working in few cafes while we were in Ubud, and found a few good options. There's nothing quite like working in your own villa, though!

Couplepreneurs... It's a (work) date?

  • Kahiyang Coffee - top of our list! This place has the most delicious single origin Sumatran coffee in Ubud, yet being 5 minutes out of town means it's usually pretty quiet. It has a cool Island vibe, fast WiFi (most of the time, it's Bali!) and awesome, chilled out staff.
  • Anomali - good coffee and a cool upstairs area where you can chill uninterrupted, but the internet is a little patchy at times. We didn't have a VPN at that point, so maybe that would have helped. 
  • Clear Cafe - we didn't get the chance to work here, but popped by one night for a meal with Leo. The cafe was huge, the WiFi was fast, and there are lots of spots to work (low tables and floor pillows, regular tables, and an upstairs and downstairs section). The food and cafe are beautiful - check out our full review here.
  • Soma - time slows down when you walk through the traditional Balinese doors at Soma. It boasts a bunch of cool upstairs areas to chill and work in peace and quiet, and while its food isn't the tastiest I've had, their raw cakes were pretty cood! Order yourself a fresh young coconut and a raw cheesecake, find a spot with strong WiFi, and you'll be set for hours!
  • Hubud - we didn't get a chance to visit the famous co-working space as we found some great little cafes near our villa, and didn't organise a nanny until the end of our stay. We'll definitely check it out next time we're back - by all accounts it's a great option for digital nomads.
  • Outpost - located 15 minutes south of the main street, Outpost is a little out of the way, but another dedicated co-working and living space for digital nomads. 
  • If you want to meet other digital nomads in Ubud, check out the Ubud Digital Nomads Facebook group (you'll have to request to join).

Got questions?

Phew! What a list. If there's anything we didn't cover, feel free to ask in the comment section below.

Grace Koelma

Grace is a writer, designer, digital nomad, mum (otherwise known as toddler chaser), slow traveller, wild things appreciator, culture immerser, coffee opportunist... She frequently uses big words (some of which are definitely made up), likes long walks and even longer books, and her focus on wellness in 2017 means she is learning to obey her FitBit. Except when she's glued to her computer!


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The Big Guide to Ubud Bali

Where to play in Ubud with a toddler

By Grace Koelma | Dare List Mama

In this post:


I'm not going to sugar-coat this. There is a dismal lack of parks and playgrounds. It makes life in Ubud with a toddler or young kids quite difficult. Especially if you've got a super active kid! There are fun parks, water parks, and indoor play centres, but they are all ticketed and sometimes attached to resorts. Sadly, those outdoor, free range, council-maintained parks we're used to in Australia, Europe and America don't exist in Bali. 

When we got to Ubud, I started hunting straight away for places to take Leo, places for us to stop and let him stretch his legs. ​Being almost 2, he's at the (delightful!) age where he quite enjoys testing my nerves and sanity, and running for the busy road as soon as we set him down, so running freely around Ubud wasn't an option either.

We found a few good toddler-friendly cafes in Ubud, ​and a bunch of free and cheap activities in and around Ubud as well.

We've added locations to the interactive map below. Click the icon in the top left to learn more about where to play in Ubud with a toddler.

Things to do with a toddler in Ubud

1. Pondok Pekak Library

Jl. Monkey Forest, on the opposite side of the football field

pondokpekaklibrary.com

The Ubud library is a fantastic, quiet place to read, eat and hang out, nestled in a secret place right in the heart of the main centre of Ubud. We thoroughly recommend a visit and lunch! Read our whole review here.

2. Ubud Yoga Centre​

Jl. Raya Singakerta No.108, Singakerta, Ubud

ubudyogacentre.com​

A lady with kids I met in a restaurant recommended Ubud Yoga Centre to me. This kids' room is set up for parent's who come for yoga classes, but even if you're not into yoga, you can come to the centre for a cup of coffee and utilise the kids' room. It's air-conditioned, completely enclosed and has a glass window, so if your child is happy to explore and play on their own, you can order a coffee and watch them in peace and quiet from the couches outside. The bathrooms are clean and cheerful (love the bright red doors!)

How to get there: Ubud Yoga Centre is located south of the main CBD of Ubud, about a 15 minute bike ride from Jalan Raya. There's free parking onsite.

Tip: the centre has a 100,000 IDR ($10 AUD) minimum on food + drink purchases in order to be able to access the kids' room. So that's a coffee, dessert and smoothie, or a drink and basic Balinese lunch, depending on what you feel like.​

There's a large selection of books and toys here.

Mmmm... gelato + a smoothie.

 

3. Tamanak playground

Jalan Raya Sayan, Sayan, Ubud

Tamanak playground is a relatively new addition to Ubud (built in 2014, according to the internet) and is a simple yet fairly safe playground for kids. It's the only one in Ubud, and while there's no actual address since it's down a little backstreet in Sayan, typing the name into Google Maps will guide you there easily.

How to get there: If you don't have a car or motorbike, Tamanak is probably too far to walk to from the centre of Ubud, but it's a 15 minute ride from The Palace. The equipment is in dire need of cleaning, and it's all a little rundown, but it's fenced and on a really quiet street. It was deserted when we were there, and other blog reviews tell me this is the norm. 

There are a few little warungs and a highly-reviewed restaurant called Moksa nearby.

 

4. Campuhan ridge walk

Jalan Raya Campuan, Sayan, Ubud

The first thing to know about Campuhan is that it's a little tricky to find, and it's pronounced
"Champ-u-hayn". You'll need to know how to pronounce it properly so if you ask for directions, locals know what you mean! 😉

The Campuhan ridge walk is a paved path that starts beside the east wall of the Pura Gunung Lebah temple, and climbs up ​the ridge, continuing for a kilometre or so along the top towards Jl. Bangkiang Sidam. There are fantastic views across the whole valley from both sides, and it's most beautiful in the early morning and late afternoon, for sunrise and sunset.

It's an easy walk - your toddler could walk beside you most of the way, and tall grass deters them from venturing off the path too much. Once you're up on the ridge there isn't much shade though, and during the middle of the day it can get incredibly hot. Always take a water bottle (per person), just in case.​

The views from the top of the ridge (and best photo opportunity!)

Walking through the village at the end of the walk is pretty too.

How to get there: There are no directions or obvious signposts to the Campuhan ridge walk, and for first time visitors it can be tricky to find. The entrance to the walk is down a little street off Jalan Raya. Google the location of the Warwick Ibah Luxury Villa, which is well-signposted, and when you're facing the Warwick Ibah, take the street down the hill to the left from there. You'll pass a high school on your way down the steep laneway, and then a set of stairs that veers off to the right over the river.

You'll see the walls of the Pura Gunung Lebah temple on the other side, head for that and follow the path along the wall to the right, which then becomes the Campuhan ridge walk. The start of the path is a staircase through vegetation, and then it opens out onto the ridge.

Start of the Campuhan ridge walk Ubud next to the temple wall.

Tip: If you plan to walk the ridge at sunrise​, take a quick trip to familiarise yourself with the entrance around mid-morning or afternoon the day before, when most of the tourists go. There will be more people around to ask if you get lost. 🙂

5. Bali Fun World

Jl. Lettu I Wayan Sutha II Banjar Paninjoan Batuan Sukawati

Bali Fun World is an indoor play centre about 25 minutes south by car or bike from Ubud. It's in a huge warehouse and fitted out with several large jumping castles and slides, a multi-level play area and a fenced section with toys for little ones. It's on the pricey side ($10 AUD per person, including adults) but worth it for a few hours. You can read our full review here.

 

6. Kemenuh Butterfly Park

Jl. Raya Kemenuh, Kemenuh, Sukawati, Kabupaten

kemunuhbutterflypark.com

Many people visit Bali Butterfly Park, but our driver took us to the lesser-known Kemenuh Butterfly Park, which we really enjoyed. Leo loved running along the paths in the lush tropical garden, and watching the butterflies flutter past. There's a lot of butterflies in a small-ish space, so you can't miss them!

There's a pupa room where you can see the pupas​ hanging in the darkened space, and you can hold the biggest butterfly you'll ever see!

See more photos and read our full review here.​

 

7. Magical ricefields walk

At the end of Jalan Kajeng in Ubud

This isn't a place you'd usually think to take a kid for a run, but we stumbled on it by accident on our last night in Bali (isn't that always the way?) and fell in love. It's totally out of the way, and one of Ubud's best kept secrets.

How to get there: If you walk or ride to the end of Jalan Kajeng (a little street off Jl. Raya, right next to The Palace) the already narrow little road becomes a pathway just wide enough to ride a bike on. The path continues up a steep hill and then along a ridge for about a kilometre. It's a great place to let your little one run free (just keep an eye out the occasional motorbikes, you can hear them before you see them).

The pathway leads to a resort, and is dotted with little warungs, coconut vendors and traditional art stalls, so if you walked up there in the late afternoon (when the light is prettiest!) you could finish with a delicious dinner overlooking sunset on the rice fields.

Stopping for a quick feed on the way!

Yes, it really is that beautiful.

 

8. Bale Udang

Jl. Raya Goa Gajah, Ubud

Bale Udang attracts people because of its unique dining experience. Customers can choose to sit in private bamboo structures out over a lake.

The lake is teeming with thousands of Koi, and the staff give you food to feed them, so for a wriggly toddler who hates waiting for food to arrive, this is the perfect distraction! 5 out of 5 for entertainment value! Their selection of mocktails and juices is great, too.

Day trips with a toddler in Bali

Bali is a small island - you can drive across it in a few hours. When you've explored all Ubud has to offer, venture further afield for more kid-friendly action. We recommend hiring a driver to take you, and make a day of it - they cost around 500,000 ($50 AUD) for 8 hours.

8. Bias Tugel (White Sand) beach

Padangbai, Manggis, Bali

Bias Tugel is the perfect beach to visit for the day. It's located near the fishing village of Padang Bai, where the ferry to nearby Lombok Island leaves from.

The beach itself is hard to find, down a complex route of small streets behind a hill overlooking Padang Bai, so find a driver who knows how to get you there.

Like many of Bali's natural attractions, there's a small fee to enter (2000 IDR per person). ​Once you're in though, find your spot on the sand and relax! There's a warung on the beach, coconut sellers, sarong vendors and you can even get a massage!

Bias Tugel Beach is perfect for toddlers

The water was calm the day we visited.

The water is warm and an incredible turquoise on a sunny day, the sand ​is white and there's shade at the top of the beach under the palm trees.

We arrived mid-afternoon (after a morning spent at Bali Fun World and the Butterfly Park) and the two delightful hours we spent here weren't long enough. Bias Tugel, we'll most certainly be back next time we're in Bali!

9. Batu Bolong beach, Canggu

The end of Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong, Canggu

Warm water and wave rides at sunset - does it get any better?

We visited Canggu for the weekend with our relatives - it's about 90 minutes drive from Ubud (quicker if you go early in the morning, when there's no traffic!)

Our accommodation was 2 minutes walk to Batu Bolong beach, so we spent a few hours here both afternoons, and swam and ate as we watched the sun set.​ 

The vibe at Batu Bolong beach is pretty magical - it really captures the essence of a tropical island, where everything feels like a holiday. Reggae music drifts across the beach, and children frolic in the shallow water. There are bars and restaurants on the sand, people relax in deck chairs and ​surfers amble along with their boards silhouetted in the golden rays of the setting sun.

Leo loved floating in his blow-up car boat, and because the water was so warm, we could swim until sunset. Then we stood on the beach, rugged in towels and watched darkness fall. Absolute perfection.

On a clear day, sunset at this beach is something really special.

Have you been to Ubud with a toddler? I'd love to know your favourite spots! Comment below.

Grace Koelma

Grace is a writer, designer, digital nomad, mum (otherwise known as toddler chaser), slow traveller, wild things appreciator, culture immerser, coffee opportunist... She frequently uses big words (some of which are definitely made up), likes long walks and even longer books, and her focus on wellness in 2017 means she is learning to obey her FitBit. Except when she's glued to her computer!

How to travel with kids in Asia without getting sick: 10 ways to stay safe and healthy

In this article we cover how to travel with kids in Asia without getting sick (or at least avoiding it as best as possible!).

By Grace Koelma | Dare List Mama

Travelling with young kids in South-East Asia is an absolute blast. There's something weird and wonderful to look at on every corner, the locals love kids and give them lots of attention, and it's so much fun exploring a new place with your child. Especially if it's a beautiful beach like this one.

But travel with kids grinds to a halt when they become sick or injured. Little scrapes often can't be avoided, so we've made a big list of survival items we'd recommend bringing so you're not caught out when the inevitable chaos strikes. 

Note: we've only mentioned and linked to products we've tried and tested (believe me, they've been through what we call the 'toddler-wear-and-tear-test'!)

Safety

Travelling in cars

In most of south-east Asia there are very few child restraints or carseats used. While travelling in taxis, we found it safest to strap our 2-year-old son to us using the Baby Bjorn, then put the seatbelt on over it.

Side note: the Baby Bjorn is a great way to keep toddlers still on aeroplanes and in airports too.​ It can pack down into a tight space in a backpack, and be pulled out when you check in your stroller.

Walking harness

We bought a Trunki ToddlePak toddler harness from eBay for Leo. Many of the harnesses looked pretty flimsy but the Trunki brand is reputable and this harness is no exception. It feels lightweight yet strong, and I love the ease with which the harness clips on and off. You can let your little one run in open spaces and quickly clip the harness on to keep them close by when you need to. Leo loves the lion, and there are other animals too.

Leo wearing his Trunki ToddlePak harness

Stroller or baby carrier?

A bit of research told us not to bother bringing a stroller to SE Asisa, and the advice was spot on. The footpaths in many cities are uneven and there are deep drop-offs, drains and large gaping holes where the pavement has fallen in and hasn't been repaired.

It can be a bit dangerous if you don't pay attention, so I'd advise you to carry young ones in a sturdy carrier or backpack, and keep your eyes on the pavement as you walk.

Watch your step!

Pool safety

Cheap luxury villas in places like Bali and Thailand are awesome, but many have unfenced in-ground pools right next to the house. If you have young ones, make sure you keep doors closed and children under supervision at all times. Floaties are great for the pool, you can buy them in Asia or bring them with you.

Alternatively, you can sometimes hire pool fences. Just Google the location you're staying in with the words 'pool hire' or 'baby hire'.

If you have a toddler, make sure you have inflatable 'floaties' for safe swimming.

Beach safety

Many beaches in south-east Asia don't have life guards, so practice caution when swimming with children. Look for rips before you enter the water and stay close to shore.

Even though the Asian sun isn't as intense as the Australian heat, still wear hats and sunscreen. It will take you longer to feel like you're burning in Asia, which isn't a good thing really.

Maintaining health and treating sickness

Sometimes, getting sick is unavoidable, but there are some things you can bring with you to stop it in its tracks.​

Only drink bottled water​

In many south-east Asian countries the tap water is untreated and drinking it will likely give you a tummy bug. Buy big bottles of water or look for accommodation that has water filters installed on the taps or in a separate water dispenser. 

Make sure your child doesn't drink water when showering or bathing, and teeth should be brushed with bottled water, too. Wash fruit in bottled water and peel fresh foods like carrots, apples, pears and cucumber.

Sterilise cups, cutlery and plates

It's a good idea to sterilise any kid's cutlery you travel with. I found these microwavable Medela bags an easy way to sterilise on the go. Just make sure the item you're microwaving is microwave safe as well (our poor CamelBak water bottle died a sad death this way)!

Tip: I also have a packet of anti-bacterial wipes in my bag so I can wipe Leo's hands and face after meals at restaurants.

Tell the mosquitoes to back off

Staying in South-East Asia means you'll have to be prepared for mosquitoes. Some mosquitoes carry the malaria and dengue fever viruses. 

If you're bringing a portable cot, buy a mosquito net ​that can fit over the top. We used a large net with weighted corners, designed to cover spreads at picnics as it was the perfect size to fit over our travel cot.

Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk. You can spray yourself with tropical strength mosquito repellant and burn the citronella mosquito coils, but we found the best option was to wear these awesome, hassle-free PARA'KITO mosquito repellent bands.

Read our full review of the PARA'KITO mosquito repellent bands here.

Sorry Mozzies... Leo is wearing his Para'kito mosquito repellent band.

Adult sized band

Child sized band

Bring a few key medical supplies

Some of the items below may be available in SE Asia, but the experience of going into a chemist with a sick, overheated, screaming baby on your hip, and trying to read labels in a foreign language and convert prices in your head was enough to deter me from foreign pharmacies for life. So now, I've got a mini pharmacy in my bag, including:

  • an infant or child formulated priobiotic powder
  • vitamin C powder or tablets
  • baby teething gel
  • cough medicine
  • children's paracetemol x 100mL bottles
  • a general antibiotic like Amoxicillan just in case
  • Hydralyte electrolyte powder or iceblocks in case of gastro or heat related-dehydration
  • bandaids or plasters (we didn't find any good quality ones that don't peel off)
  • my preferred nappy rash cream and baby wipes

If you're breastfeeding, keep it coming!

Stopping for a quick feed!

I can't finish this list of recommendations without putting my hand up for the merits of continued breastfeeding (if you still have a toddler).

I've been feeding Leo (20 months) twice a day throughout the trip so far, and am finding it a wonderful added immune booster for him, not to mention its calming effects on plane rides and when waiting in long lines in immigration. What's not to love? It's free, it's portable and readily available.

What tips have you found helpful to travel with kids in Asia without getting sick? Comment below.

Grace Koelma

Grace is a writer, designer, digital nomad, mum (otherwise known as toddler chaser), slow traveller, wild things appreciator, culture immerser, coffee opportunist... She frequently uses big words (some of which are definitely made up), likes long walks and even longer books, and her focus on wellness in 2017 means she is learning to obey her FitBit. Except when she's glued to her computer!

Want to save this info for later? Pin it here.

This post contains affiliate links, which means that when you click the links and purchase, we get a little kickback. It's something which helps us continue to create awesome free content like this for you. We value honesty in other blogger's recommendations, and often rely on their tips when planning our travel. For this reason we only ever recommend products on Dare List Family we genuinely use and love, and if it helps you, then great! 🙂 More in our disclosure policy.

Where to find grocery stores in Ubud

Looking for where to find grocery stores in Ubud? From more modern, clean ones through to the local markets... we cover our experience (with a toddler) and give our recommendations.

Cue 3, 2, 1 until Leo starts screaming... he's not a fan of shopping!

By Grace Koelma | Dare List Mama

Want to know where to shop for food in Ubud? Here's a definitive guide, with pins on Google Maps to show you exact locations.

Over our month spent in Ubud, we did many trips to the local supermarkets. Initially we found a driver to take us there, wait for us, and take us back for 100,000 IDR ($10AUD). Later on we found our own way there, and got clever about how to carry grocery bags on a bike.

Dairy products

Milk and dairy products aren't staples in the Balinese diet the way they are for westerners, so you'll find a lot of long-life, UHT and milk substitutes instead, as the stores prefer products with a longer shelf-life. There are one or two brands of fresh cow's milk, but it's expensive, at around 30,000 IDR per litre ($2.25 USD, $3 AUD). The same applies for cheeses.

Luckily, Bali's hipster foodie culture means there will be imported almond, soy and rice milk available in the big supermarkets (a miracle in Asia!)

Bread and pastries

The Balinese don't eat much wheat either - their equivalent are pancakes made of rice - but there are a few western bakeries in Ubud. Bread Life is a chain store with more dense, Asian style sweet breads. The Daily Baguette and Monsieur Spoon are both French bakeries with delicious baguettes and pastries. ​

There are three big supermarkets we found in Ubud, spread out across town. 

Delta Dewata

Jalan Raya Andong No.14, Ubud

This was the cheapest 'western' supermarket we found for toiletries, pantry items, nappies and baby wipes, snacks, stationary etc. The fresh food and meat at Delta is not great though. People told us that sometimes the fridges/freezers turn off and they sell the food anyway - it's apparently not very regulated, but anything in a packet is fine! This was our go-to as it was closest to our accomodation.

Withdrawing cash

We liked going to Delta Dewata because there is a Commonwealth Bank (CBA) and ATM right next door. CBA is the only Australian bank in Bali. Ubud is a very cash-based society - some places accept card but most take cash - and since our money card didn't support IDR, we chose to withdraw cash every week or so and take a bit out each day.

CBA is a good option because they let you take out 3 million IDR ($300AUD) at once, whereas most local banks have a 1.5 million IDR limit in one transaction. If you're going to be slapped with a huge international withdrawal fee, get out more money, take it straight back and put it in a locked safe in your accommodation!

Note on ATM fraud in Bali

We also chose to withdraw money from ATMs attached to a bank branch, instead of an isolated ATM. This is because people advised us that any bank's freestanding ATM could potentially be tampered with, and hacking ​technology could be added to scan your card's microchip. We didn't see any actual proof of this, but to be safe, we always withdrew money from ATMS within banks (and security guards out the front).

Pepito market

Jl. Raya Tebongkang No.99, Singakerta, Ubud

Pepito market is located about 15 mins south of Ubud by scooter, but this is by far the best supermarket we found. It opened in late 2016, the food storage and presentation is very regulated and the meat was stored appropriately.

It had everything we wanted, beautiful fresh bread and pastries, high grade meat, organic health food (including coconut flakes, hard to find!) and lots of fresh fruit and veggies. The down side is it's a lot smaller (in store size and product selection) than Bintang and Delta supermarkets. It's also a little more expensive, but worth checking out if you're after fresh ingredients!

The fresh fruit and vegetable and bakery section at Pepito supermarket. Everything is sparkling clean!

Bintang supermarket

Jl. Raya Sanggingan No.45, Campuan, Ubud

We didn't like Bintang as much, it was further out of town (up a hill!), not as modern, and more expensive, though it did have a bit more choice of brands than Delta and Pepito supermarkets. Nappies were almost double the price of the other supermarkets here, and we still haven't worked out why.

Ubud fresh produce market

Down a laneway off Jl. Raya (between Jl. Karna and Jl. Gootama) every morning from 4am.

The market is hidden away in courtyards and alleyways behind the buildings on Jalan Raya.

There's a fresh produce market in the centre of Ubud every morning, and this is where the local Balinese shop. We were lucky enough to go with our Airbnb host, and haggle like a local.

It starts at 4am, so you have to be up early to get the best stuff as it all sits in the hot sun, and the freshest produce goes first. That being said, you could get there at 6 or 7am and still get fresh vegetables and fruit. After that, the swarms of tourists arrive and the hawkers and clothing stalls start setting up.

Have you been to Ubud? What are your shopping recommendations?

Grace Koelma

Grace is a writer, designer, digital nomad, mum (otherwise known as toddler chaser), slow traveller, wild things appreciator, culture immerser, coffee opportunist... She frequently uses big words (some of which are definitely made up), likes long walks and even longer books, and her focus on wellness in 2017 means she is learning to obey her FitBit. Except when she's glued to her computer!

Want to save this for later? Pin it here.

Review: Kemenuh Butterfly Park in Ubud, Bali

By Grace Koelma | Dare List Mama

Kemenuh Butterfly Park, Bali

Jl. Raya Kemenuh, Kemenuh, Sukawati, Kabupaten Gianyar

kemenuhbutterflypark.com

A visit to a Butterfly park is a lovely outing when you have young kids (and older ones!) because watching butterflies is something that seems to delight the old and young alike. 

We loved our visit to the Kemenuh Butterfly Park. Our driver took us there because it was a short drive to other places we were visiting - Tegenungan Waterfall and Bali Fun World, and since we had no expectations, we were pleasantly surprised.

Entry fee is 100,000 IDR for adults, and 50,000 for children over 2 (Leo was free). The ticket price includes a complimentary juice. It works out being a little more expensive by Balinese standards, but well worth it if you take your time when you get inside.

The butterflies are housed in a lush tropical garden surrounded by a giant mesh cage. It's a small-ish space and there are lots of butterflies, so it means they're fluttering past you a lot - photo opportunities galore! 

You can wander the paths past the fountain and spot the insects, or go to the pupa house where you can see the pupas hanging in a darkened room. You can also hold the biggest butterfly you will ever see. They are very tame, and don't fly away - even Leo held one!

Kemenuh Butterfly park entrance

Leo didn't cry, so I guess he liked it? haha

Grace Koelma

Grace is a writer, designer, digital nomad, mum (otherwise known as toddler chaser), slow traveller, wild things appreciator, culture immerser, coffee opportunist... She frequently uses big words (some of which are definitely made up), likes long walks and even longer books, and her focus on wellness in 2017 means she is learning to obey her FitBit. Except when she's glued to her computer!

Review: Bali Fun World in Ubud

In this Bali Fun World review we show what the play centre is like, where it is, and how much it costs (not so cheap for tourists).

By Grace Koelma | Dare List Mama

Bali Fun World, Ubud

Jl. Lettu I Wayan Sutha II Banjar Paninjoan Batuan Sukawati

What is Bali Fun World?

Bali Fun World is an indoor play centre about 25 minutes south by car or bike from Ubud. It's in a huge warehouse and fitted out with several large jumping castles. It has slides, a multi-level play area and a fenced section with toys for little ones.

Bali Fun World from the street

We'd read reviews that said the equipment was dirty, but it looked fine to us. There's a clean toilet with a table for baby change and a cafeteria (we didn't try the food though.)

Like so many of the attractions in Bali, it was deserted when we got there. By the end of our time (90 minutes) though a few local kids had arrived.

One big slide and one tiny boy!

One thing to note: It's fairly expensive for tourists

The lack of children visiting could be due to the price (it's double for foreigners/tourists). It cost us 100K per child AND adult to get in ($10 each)​. We chose to pay 200K total for Leo and me, and Eric sat outside with our driver. That said, it was so empty that the staff didn't mind when Eric came in to watch and take photos occasionally. 

We usually wouldn't even pay $10 at home for a play centre in Australia. But Leo hadn't been to a playground in weeks because Bali generally lacks children's play spaces and we'd intentionally made the trip for him. So we splurged a bit and he had a good climb and run around.​

Tip: Make sure you check opening times before you leave! We arrived at 9am and found it opened at 10, so we went to nearby Tegenungan waterfall first.

The cafeteria seating and cafe.

Leo loved the car - and because he was the only kid most of the time, he didn't have to share it!

Have you been to Bali Fun World? I'd love to know what you thought. Comment below.

Grace Koelma

Grace is a writer, designer, digital nomad, mum (otherwise known as toddler chaser), slow traveller, wild things appreciator, culture immerser, coffee opportunist... She frequently uses big words (some of which are definitely made up), likes long walks and even longer books, and her focus on wellness in 2017 means she is learning to obey her FitBit. Except when she's glued to her computer!

Best places to eat with a toddler in Ubud, Bali

In this article we cover our 8 best places to eat with a toddler in Ubud. We talk high chairs, amenities, staff friendliness, speed of service, WiFi, kids menus and more!

By Grace Koelma | Dare List Mama

We stayed in beautiful, green Ubud up in the hills of Bali for a month and tried out all kinds of cuisines, from the local warungs to the western restaurants and cafes. Heading out to dinner with a kid in tow is challenging at the best of times (see our tips on how to survive eating out with your toddler), and finding toddler-friendly places to eat can add stress when you've got a screaming human flailing in your arms as you cross a busy Ubudian street.

Our definition of kid-friendly

We found that the best places had:

  • quick table service
  • healthy options for kids
  • highchairs or standard sized chairs we could use to attach our portable high chair to
  • clear lighting and ventilation (you take this for granted until you find yourself in the back corner of a stuffy, poorly lit restaurant)
  • friendly waitstaff (although 99% of hospitality staff in Bali love babies, so prepare for the jokes and smiles when you bring your gorgeous bubba in!)
  • clean restrooms + air conditioning
  • free WIFI (always useful when you're a tourist!)

The 8 best places to eat with a toddler in Ubud, Bali

Kahiyang Coffee House

No. 6 Jl. Sri Widari, Ubud

Coffee: In my opinion, this is the best coffee in Ubud. The owner is a gorgeous Javanese man who is passionate about coffee roasting with the best quality Arabica beans. Just ask him a question about his roasting techniques and you'll get him talking for hours! 

Food:​ Kahiyang has a fairly limited food menu, as they're mainly focused on coffee, but they have a pretty tasty little cake selection.

Service:​ We became regulars at Kahiyang, turning up every morning for our standard order: a large latte for me and a watermelon juice for Eric Leo. We got chatting every time and were soon friends with all the baristas (family of the owner). Our son was doted on, and they were always sneaking him bonus pieces of cake and little cups of milk. They even moved the furniture to create a kind of boat/play pen for him (see photos below).

Amenities:​ There is a very basic toilet downstairs, just ask the staff for directions. They also serve free filtered water, great for hot, sticky days. There's no air con, but ceiling fans and the coffee house's high placement on the hill provide beautiful breezes.

Free WiFi: Yes, and it's pretty fast actually. Check the code on the register. It's a place with great digital nomad appeal, a little out of the way - a 20 minute walk from the main street (Jl. Raya) or a 5 minute motorbike ride - and usually very quiet. 

Cost: $ (a cappuccino or latte costs 30K IDR, a juice is 18K.)

Overall score:​ 5/5 - We LOVED Kahiyang and it become our favourite spot in Ubud. It's unpretentious, simple and has a beautiful view, and the coffee is ah-mazing and so affordable!

It tastes even better than it looks.

The little boat/play pen the staff made for Leo on our first visit.

Clear Cafe 

No. 8 Jalan Hanoman in Ubud

Ok, so this is the coolest little door ever. There's a spot on the right to put your shoes before you go in.

Food:​ Clear Cafe have the most extensive and diverse menu I've seen in a long time. It was a shoe in for our list of the best places to eat with a toddler in Ubud. Check out the full review for the menu and more photos. What we loved about this cafe were the variety of healthy foods on the menu. We ordered the hummus and veggie plate for Leo, and he loved it!

Service:​ The staff were polite and chatty with Leo. Food and drinks (both delicious!) came quite quickly (10 minute wait). It is a very lively cafe (even at 5pm before the dinner rush) so expect staff to be polite but fairly busy. 

Amenities:​ Clear Cafe has clean high chairs, clean toilets and air conditioning. There are a few safety things you'll need to watch if you want to let your toddler roam free, like the open rail stairs to the first floor, the pond on the ground level and the fireman's pole. Stick close by to them and they'll be fine.

Free WiFi: Yes. 

Cost: $$-$$$

Overall score:​ 4/5 - We loved the experience of Clear Cafe, but its price in comparison to other cafes in the area means we'll just visit occasionally as a treat. Also, it's a stimulating but not very relaxing place to hang out with a toddler, as you're chasing them the whole time, so keep that in mind if you have a little one who likes to climb.

The bridge connecting the two first floor dining areas of Clear Cafe was a hit with my son. So much to see from up there!

Frozen Yogi

Jalan Dewisita, Ubud (opposite the football field)

Food:​ Frozen Yoghurt... all the flavours and lots of extra toppings. Definitely one of Leo's favourite foods! Need I say more? 

Service:​ It's mostly serve yourself, with a cashier to weigh your bowl and assist you with payment.

Amenities:​ Air-conditioning and complimentary fruit infused water made this a haven on a hot day, and the clean bathrooms were a bonus. No baby highchairs, but who needs them when frozen yoghurt is pretty much the only thing that will make your kid sit still?

Free WiFi: Yes. A cute little sign out the front told me so.

Cost: $

Overall score:​ 5/5 - Frozen Yogi is just across the field from the library, so it's a perfect way to end an outing to the library, and a special treat for Leo on a hot day (who are we kidding, Leo's a convenient excuse but I get pretty excited at the prospect of a FroYo too!)

Delicious, free water when you buy a frozen yoghurt.

Anomali Coffee

No. 88 Jalan Raya in Ubud

Anomali Coffee storefront in Jalan Raya, Ubud. Can you spot Eric and Leo?

Coffee: Came quickly and was pretty good. Not the best I've had in Ubud, but definitely in the top 3. It was around 35,000 IDR for a single shot.

Food:​ Anomali has a fairly limited food menu, as they're mainly focused on coffee. There were perhaps 5 breakfast items and the same number of lunch items.

Service:​ The staff are polite but not very chatty, as they're busy making coffees (a lot of people stand in the entrance way waiting for takeaways). Unfortunately food service was very slow the day we went, though we've been told that may have been an anomaly (pun intended!).

We originally sat outside but smokers drove us inside and upstairs, where, thankfully, it was a lot quieter. I think we probably waited about 45 minutes for our breakfast, but when it came it was fairly tasty. Leo liked the papaya juice.

Amenities:​ We found one slightly dirty but still serviceable high chair upstairs. There are toilets (with the weirdest artwork I have ever seen in a bathroom!) and air conditioning. They have a cool little spot on the top floor with beanbags, just make sure you clear the ashtrays out of the way before you let your toddler sit down.

Free WiFi: Yes. Check the code on the register.

Cost: $$

Overall score:​ 3.5/5 - We like popping into Anomali to enjoy a coffee on the top floor. It's a quiet haven in the busiest part of town, right in the middle of the two big supermarkets and market areas, but we felt like staff forgot about us on occasion. 

Leo loves sitting on the comfy beanbags at Anomali

Bale Udang

Jl. Raya Goa Gajah, Ubud

Bale Udang attracts people because of its unique dining experience. Customers can choose to sit in private bamboo structures out over a lake. The lake is teeming with thousands of Koi, and the staff give you food to feed them, so for a wriggly toddler who hates waiting for food to arrive, this is the perfect distraction! 5 out of 5 for entertainment value!

Drinks: We ordered juices + mocktails and they came quickly (as the place was practically deserted when we visited around 11am - it had just opened, but I think it comes alive at night!)

Food: Bale Udang is known for finer Indonesian dining, especially their fish dishes, but we mainly went for the novelty factor, and just ordered some spring rolls and drinks to keep costs down. 

Service:​ The staff are polite, friendly and very attentive. Also, to attract the waiter's attention when you're ready to order, you clang a gong. Pretty cool!

Amenities:​ There are bathrooms onsite, though we didn't utilise them.

Cost: $$$-$$$$

Overall score:​ 4/5 - The drinks were a little expensive compared to the rest of Ubud, and without the Koi fish feeding attraction, we may not have visited Bale Udang, but it was a lovely little outing, and Leo was captivated by the fish the whole time.

The juices and mocktails at Bale Udang are pretty special, and around 30,000 IDR each.

 

Pondok Pekang Children's Library and Learning Centre

Jl. Monkey Forest, on the opposite side of the football field

The Pondok Pekang children's library in Ubud is one of the region's best kept secrets. It's a beautiful, quiet oasis in the middle of the busiest part of Ubud, situated in a repurposed compound donated by a wealthy American expat and her husband. And the library cafe has surprisingly great local food.

Drinks: They make a mean fruit juice with real fruit for just 15,000 IDR.

Food: There's quite a decent menu, with a bunch of traditional Balinese dishes, nothing more than 35,000 a dish. And the food is very tasty! Make sure you try the Ayam (chicken) Panggang - pictured on the right.

Service:​ The staff were friendly, though the library is so under-used (due to its low profile - it's not a public funded library like we have in the West) they often looked quite bored, poor things!

Amenities:​ The library isn't a restaurant, so there's no high chairs, and the toilets are very basic. There is a water refill station where you can fill bottles of all sizes (just 2,000 IDR for a 600mL size). But the best thing is that you can have your food anywhere in the library compound. Our favourite place was in the comfy upstairs space, where Leo could play and read books happily while we ate. The only downside was that there was no air conditioning, just a small fan on the wall.

Free WiFi: Yes. Ask for the password - it's the library phone number.

Cost: $

Overall score:​ 4.5/5 - We loved spending time at the library, and just wish more people knew about it!

Pyramids of Chi

Jalan Kelebang Moding No.22, Bentuyung, Ubud

The Pyramids of Chi is a mid-range Western 'destination' restaurant about a 15 minute scooter ride from the centre of Ubud. It's set in the middle of rice fields, and boasts two large pyramids fitted with huge gongs, where 'sound healing' sessions happen daily. Leo loved checking out the Pyramids and looking inside, and there was a grassy area at the back for him to run on.

Coffee: Came quickly and was a decent latte. Not the best I've had in Ubud and it could have been stronger. It was around 35,000 IDR for a single shot.

Food:​ There's an extensive menu with a mix of Western, Mediterranean and Balinese options. One night we visited when we had a craving for something 'from home'. We had the lasagne, a beef burger and Greek salad, plus drinks and a slice of cake for dessert, which ended up at 350,000 IDR all up ($35 AUD). The food comes quickly, and is pretty tasty.

Service:​ The staff are attentive and polite. Food always came quickly for us, because the Pyramids of Chi is pretty quiet in the late afternoon (when we went for dinner).

Amenities:​ There are bathrooms but we didn't use them, and I believe there was air conditioning, though much of the seating is semi-outdoors. Based on the style of the establishment and type of clientele I would guess they'd be very modern and clean. 

Free WiFi: No

Cost: $$-$$$

Overall score:​ 3.5/5 - The Pyramids of Chi was a fun place to visit occasionally, especially in the late afternoon when it's quiet, but the price of the food meant we only dined once there.

Having a bit of fun in front of the Pyramids.

Umah Pizza

Jl. Bisma, Ubud

Food:​ Umah is Ubud-famous for its authentic Italian pizzas, and they didn't disappoint.

Service:​ The staff are polite and chatted and played with Leo. Even though the restaurant was packed (when we got there at 5.30pm!) food came very fast. We ordered a Margherita as soon as we were seated, which helped.

Amenities:​ There are a few high chairs available and air conditioning. Didn't see any toilets but they may have been at the rear of the building. 

Cost: $$

Overall score:​ 3.5/5 - The pizza came quickly, and the food is fairly cheap (large pizzas are 35,000 - 65,000 ea) but the restaurant was packed both times we went there and the chaotic atmosphere got Leo pretty revved up, which resulted in a toddler meltdown of spectacular proportions. The waitstaff were lovely throughout though, to their credit!

What are your favourite family friendly cafes and restaurants in Ubud? Comment below.

Grace Koelma

Grace is a writer, designer, digital nomad, mum (otherwise known as toddler chaser), slow traveller, wild things appreciator, culture immerser, coffee opportunist... She frequently uses big words (some of which are definitely made up), likes long walks and even longer books, and her focus on wellness in 2017 means she is learning to obey her FitBit. Except when she's glued to her computer!

Toddler-friendly cafe review: Clear Cafe, Ubud

Clear Cafe's unique entrance way is eye catching.

By Grace Koelma | Dare List Mama

Clear Cafe, Ubud - 'Clean food for clear minds'

No. 8 Jalan Hanoman, Ubud, Gianyar, Bali

www.clearcafebali.com

Clear CafeUbud is one of the funkiest little cafes I've visited... I think probably ever. Just the entrance alone has people stopping to take Instagram photos, and it only gets more incredible inside, with lush green gardens, trendy decor and cool gimmicks like the fireman's pole that connects the ground floor with the first level (make sure to keep your toddlers away if they're not risk-adverse!).

Clear Cafe passes almost all of our toddler-friendly criteria (you can read our review here) , but if you're curious, here's a photo tour of what you'll find inside the mysterious circular doors.

The beautiful walled garden right next to the open air dining space on the ground floor.

The staircase to the first floor is one of the coolest I've seen, and behind it you can see another space, mostly filled with 'laptopers'. 😉

View of the lush garden from the spiral staircase.

The bridge across to another section on the first floor. Leo loved running along it, and it was fairly safe until he almost ran off the edge of the fireman's pole gap on the other side! Watch your runaway toddlers here!

Once they're strapped in the high chair, you can relax! Leo enjoyed the hummus and veggie tasting plate.

We ordered the Majestic Mushrooms, Blackened fish tacos and Mesopotamia falafel board. All tasted and looked amazing!

The Mesopotamia platter was a middle-eastern feast!

And as I mentioned, the menus were extensive! There were 4 pages I didn't photograph.

We visited during Galungan Day (the first of a 10 day Hindu festival) and loved the little message on the stairs.

Have you been to Clear Cafe? What did you think?

Grace Koelma

Grace is a writer, designer, digital nomad, mum (otherwise known as toddler chaser), slow traveller, wild things appreciator, culture immerser, coffee opportunist... She frequently uses big words (some of which are definitely made up), likes long walks and even longer books, and her focus on wellness in 2017 means she is learning to obey her FitBit. Except when she's glued to her computer!