Tray Tables away

travel tips and tales for mature travellers

Bali, overseas getaways, things to do in Bali, Travelling with kids

The Bickels go to Bali! How one family spent their annual family holiday in Bali and loved every minute

On my recent trip to Bali I caught up with a Brisbane family who were holidaying there. It was their first family holiday in Bali and I loved hearing about their activities and adventures, especially with 3 children ranging from 10 to 17. Jodi was keen to do a guest post for Tray Tables away and here is her summary of their summer holiday.
Words and photos by Jodie Bickel

There’s nothing like a presidential inauguration to take your mind off post Bali holiday blues. Although I must say I think our Bali tan runs rings around Trump’s tangerine tones.

It all seems so long ago that we, 3 teenagers, hubby & I, were squeezing in as much as we could in our final hours. On the last night at the Pullman Bali Legian Nirwana, we launched ourselves on neatly placed bean bag chairs to take in 3 very talented fire dancers. Their seamless fire twirling and breathtaking choreography were a hit according to the kids and it was performed to music that could have come straight off their playlist.

We didn’t know what to expect when we booked a family trip to Bali. It’s a risk taking the kids out of their cotton wool home and expecting them to have an affinity with a 3rd world country. But that they did, particularly my 17-year-old. He keeps saying he likes the Balinese sense of humour.

The locals are endearing, their well-rehearsed strine erupts when you pass them in the street, “bla-r-d-y cheap maaaaate” and “you want taxi’? If we had 1,000 Rp for every time we were tooted at by a “taksi” we’d be covering the expenses for Rhonda & Ketut’s wedding!  

This was my second time in Bali. I had been there 30 years ago as a uni student sans husband & kids. When Ketut was but a twinkle in Rhonda’s eyes & tuk-tuks were the transport du jour.

Bali and it’s people still impress just differently. It is confronting & enriching.  Ironic in every sense…poor yet rich, mayhem yet systematic, persistent yet persistent. Even Alanis Morrisette would agree there really is no other lyric for their customer service – persistant it is! Why else would we end up with a brass gecko, a wind chime & 12 leather bracelets from beach hawkers. All we wanted was to take in a Kuta sunset. In all seriousness these people are struggling to make a living so we didn’t mind parting with some Rupiah.

Our first dinner out was to a restaurant called La Lucciola, recommended to us and situated on the beach in Seminyak. We were seated on the second floor which was a little hot but were treated to fireworks on the beach directly in front.  The waiter made a fuss of the kids which helped them to enjoy that little bit more.  The food was tasty Italian with a touch of Asian spice. Our teenage boys had the pork belly which was the pick of the menu according to them! 

A highlight while we were there was the elephant ride, albeit expensive, but a once in a lifetime experience. It was for 30 minutes and cost $100 per/person. A keeper/ trainer/mahoot sits bareback on the front of the elephant and then there is a double seat just behind. We rode 3 elephants in convoy as they sauntered around their home through muddy tracks, past thick vegetation and cheeky monkeys. At one point we stopped to feed them some sugar cane. My daughter & I marvelled at the dexterity of their trunk as they broke it up and placed it in their mouth. My son lost his thong at the end of the ride and the elephant grabbed it in his trunk and placed it back in front of him.

Another experience for us was the Bali Dolphin Watersports at Nusa Dua. We all rode the family tube ride holding on for dear life as we crisscrossed the waterway in figure eights and circles. I went on the Flying Fish with my daughter. It’s like an enormous air bed where you lie face up hold on to the ropes each side. We were flying the same height as a plane landing at Denpasar airport – a safe distance apart – but still quite a unique experience.  

The last highlight was a visit to the Kintamani district, Mt Batur, but be prepared for a long drive. We had lunch at a restaurant with the most incredible vista, admiring the outlook  over a couple of Bintangs. Try to have a read of the information board set amongst some pretty heavy hawker territory. It provides interesting information illustrating how as much as we fear volcanos they are a necessary part of the vegetation cycle. The last time Mt Batur erupted was in 2000.

On the shopping front, my husband discovered a 3 level shop full to the brim of “authentic replica” goods in Kuta called Bagus Watch. No not bogus. ‘Bagus’ which means “good” in Indonesian. He went back a couple of times because apparently a man can never have enough bling-bling watches.  The address is:  Bagus Watch Jalan Raya Kuta 36B Kuta Square, Kuta, Bali.

I hope this provides a snapshot into Bali it’s people and what’s on offer to see and do. Would we go back to Bali? We definitely would – that copper gecko needs a mate!

If you would like to book your next family holiday in Bali please CLICK HERE for some great accomodation choices!


  1. Kate

    I love La Lucciola! It was also recommended to me before my first trip to Bali. You can’t beat that location.

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