Things for Kids to Do in and around Ubud

Most kids really hate shopping.  Sightseeing also gets to be a drag. Here are some other options.

1)  Fishing at the Ubud Water Palace.  There are beautiful water lily ponds in front of the Water Palace (hence it's title) which local children fish in.  Remember to pack fishing rods/nets.  The Lotus Cafe, which is mentioned in the Lonely Planet is directly in front of the water lily ponds, so you can watch your children fishing while you enjoy refreshments.

2)  Fishing/paddling in the river/rice field streams.  There are various parts of the rivers/streams flowing though the area that can be accessed on foot.  Some descents are very steep while other spots are quite accessible.  Eels can be fished out of the rice paddies (you can see these alive and writhing for sale at local produce markets).  It would be worthwhile to get the advice of a trekking guide or other local about the best places to access for fishing.

3)  White Water Rafting in the Ayung River. There are several operators that offer this activity.  Prices seem to be negotiable depending who you go through.  It is possible to pay less than 300,000 rupiah per person. The Ayung River is a level 2 river, for those who know something about whitewater.  This is relatively gentle so pretty reasonable for children as well as fun for adults.  For safety the minimum age with most operators seems to be 7 years.  Rafting is loads of fun and a great activity to keep cool on a hot day.  Parents who are not incredibly fit should be warned, however, that the access to the river is down very long staircases built into the walls of the gorge, and worse still climbing up them again at the end of the rafting journey.  Getting up and down the gorge is much tougher than the actual rafting experience itelf.  Not for those with a heart condition.  Also ensure your children are well briefed that this is not the time to act out their pirate fantasies by clobbering people in other boats with their oars.  This will disqualify them from the activity.

4)  Cheap DVD's.  There are several shops in central Ubud that sell cheap DVD's.  Ensure you keep the receipts and that you have some equipment to test them with as it is not unusual to find that several don't work, but the shops were happy to exchange (so don't buy them on your last day).

5)  TreeTop Adventure Park at Eka Karya Botanical Gardens, near Bedugal, Bali.  This is a rope and pulley course set up through a forest of trees at Bali Botanic Gardens. Cost $13 per child.  There are 5 Adventure Circuits from one tree to another with height range between 2-20 meters. 65 challenges for all levels and ages. Suspended bridges, Spider Nets, Tarzan Jumps, Flying-Fox, Flying Swings, and many more  fun challenges.12 flying  fox up to 160 meters in height.  Open daily for individual or group from 8.30 a.m to 6.00. p.m.  Each circuit takes about 2 1/2 hours.  Entry fee in January 2010 was $13 USD per child and $20 USD per adult.  Trained supervisors are on hand to ensure safety. Bedugal is also the location of a volcanic mountain and lake which is very scenic.  

6)  Bali Botanic Gardens, Ubud.  There is a big maze to find you way through, among other things.  It is situated near the village of Petulu just outside of Ubud, where hundreds of white cranes are known to rise on a nightly basis (around 5.30 pm) and create an interesting sight. Could be a good combined trip.   

7)  Hot Springs.  There are hot springs at Mount Batur and some other hot springs at Angseri near Bedugal.  These were a pleasant surprise if you are expecting sulphurous fumes, as there weren't any.  Just hot water pools in a tropical jungle gorge.  Magic. The ones at Angseri are set up like big swimming pools, and also huts with individuals spas in them.  Popular with local youth and well maintained.  There is a waterfall next the hot pool you can cool off under if you want to.  

8)  Bali Bird and Reptile Park - Children can get up close to some incredibly colourful parrots that don't seem to require cages to stay in the park. The park is small but beautifully landscaped, making a great exploration environment for little ones, and the exotic birds are magnificent to look at.  Boys in particular will enjoy the snakes and lizards next door at the reptile park.  They can hold a giant iguana which is an interesting experience and good photo opportunity.  The entry fee is pretty good value at about $20 USD each (it's a combined ticket for the bird and reptile park), but the food is high end tourist prices, so bring some with you or eat elsewhere if you want to save $$.

9)  Bali Zoo.  The Zoo is located between Ubud and Denpasar. It's website was under construction at the time of this post.

10)  Riding an Elephant at Bali Elephant Safari Park.  This is a pretty costly exercise at around $60 USD per child for a half hour ride, particularly if you have more than one child/are on a tight budget, so perhaps only do this if your child expresses a strong desire in this direction. 

11)  Buying a bird kite from one of the kite shops in Ubud and finding somewhere to fly it.   Guide books talk of the romance of flying a kite in the rice fields. This wasn't observed on our journey, but that doesn't mean it can't be done.

12)  Go for a walk through the rice fields and look for ducks.  Guide books would have you believe the rice paddies are bristling with quacking ducks.  In fact this is not so.  Ducks are only used during certain times of the rice growing process and at other times are kept out of the way.  Therefore keeping an eagle eye out for them can be an amusing challenge for children on a walk.  

13)  Take a class in traditional Balinese dance/ woodcarving / offering making / painting / cooking - classes for children and adults are offered by a range of artisans in the local area.  Ubud Tourist Information may be able to provide information about who offers what. 

14)   The Green School located not far from Ubud sponsors a Green Camp for children during school break, weekends and holidays.  For $65 USD per day, children can participate in a range of adventure and craft activities for a day.  Hotel pick-ups and drop-offs are arranged also.  http://www.greencampbali.com provides more info.  A good option if parents want a day to themselves.  

15) The Sacred Monkey Forest.  Some guide books make the monkeys sound quite un-child friendly, but this was not our experience.  Some exhibited curiosity and came quite close.  They did not seem particularly keen to snatch stuff  and it seemed quite safe to offer them fruit to eat, so long as it was done in a sensible way.  (ie. don't wave stuff at them randomly or have lots of things dangling off you).  In general the monkeys in the sacred forest seem to be pretty well fed and not ravenous.  You can really can quite close to them - just don't get so close that you touch them (or they think you will) as this will make them defensive. The babies are particularly cute.  The monkey forest itself is pretty spectacular and has some great statues, bridges, walkways and water fall bits in it so another fun area for kids to explore.  It is shady so a good activity for the hot part of the day.   

16)  Go on a jungle trek.  Especially for the intrepid Indiana Jones type of child.  The jungle is fantastic.  Take a local guide with you so you don't get lost though. 

17)  For the studious child - pick up an intricately carved Balinese chess set and spend some quality time playing a tranquil chess game or three.  Chess is very popular among Balinese boys, and it's a good way to meet the neighbors in the evening.

18)  If you're brave enough, give your children the opportunity to develop their bargaining skills for some desired item at the Ubud 'art' market or one of the many shops that doesn't operate with set prices (make sure your child understand the price limit you're prepared to pay for whatever it is).

19)  On the inevitable car journeys or walks to see one site or another, count the chickens, ducks, dogs and cats; Identify the best looking fighting rooster. 

20)  If all else fails, take a DS with you as a standby, and make plenty of use of the hotel pool.

A PRECAUTIONARY NOTE:  Dogs, monkeys and bats can all carry the rabies virus.  ANY bite or scratch from these animals should be immediately addressed, preferably by a physician at BIMC, SOS or Sanglah Hospital.

21)  Bali Quad Discovery Tours in Payangan, Ubud. The specialize in Quad Bike / Buggy Car Tours. The Bali Quad and Bali Buggy Tour bring you to the different parts of Bali, where you can see rice fields, cross the jungle and drive through Balinese Kampong. They only accept a limited number of participants during one tour. 

 22) Bike Tour in Ubud, cycling adventure through the countryside will bring you up close and personal with friendly local people, their unique culture, beautiful villages, stunning landscapes and amazing ancient temples. ...