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5 Cultural Things to do in Bali with Kids

by Family Globetrotters

Take Your Children on a Cultural Journey Through Peaceful Bali and Expose Them to What This Beautiful Place Truly has to Offer. There Are So Many Cultural Things to do in Bali That the Whole Family Will Enjoy.

Bali has long been a very popular destination for families from all around the world. It is well equipped with their fair share of attractions, activities and culinary dining experiences for every discerning traveller. However Bali has so much more to offer than possessing one of Asia’s best water parks, great shopping and being lazy poolside in a luxurious villa. There are so many cultural things to do in Bali that we often forget to add it to the itinerary.

The island of Bali is home to most of Indonesia’s Hindu minority and thus has a significant and complex cultural background that spans the life of all Balinese people. Should you wish to immerse yourself into what truly shapes Bali, here are some kid friendly cultural activities to engage in:

#01 – THE UBUD ROYAL PALACE

The Ubud Royal Palace was built in the early 19th century by the lordship of the late Ida Tjokorda Putu Kandel and it is considered to be the main landmark in Ubud both for its prominence and its central location. Known locally as Puri Saren, the palace is well known for its architecture, charming garden settings as well as its local traditional art market.

The front section of the palace is open to the public. Day time walkthroughs for viewings and photos is complimentary. The palace is also famous for its nightly dance performance with gamelan orchestras and the perfect way to introduce the kids to Balinese dance.

#02 – TRADITIONAL BALINESE DANCING

Traditional Balinese dancing is an important part of Balinese culture as they are unique and closely connected to religious rituals. The dances are often performed at ceremonies or are part of a theatrical show as they mainly depict the Hindu Ramayana epic. Training for these traditional dances is typically instilled at a very young age and requires discipline as they are often strict and arduous.

Perhaps the popular Kecak dance, Barong dance or the Sanghyang Jaran dance may be less suitable for very young children as they tend to portray stories involving demons, mythical creatures or they go into a trance and perform amazing feats such as walking on hot coals! Although I’m sure the teenage kids may get a kick out of it! Try catching the Legong dance where they are performed by young ladies in fluid, beautifully choreographed movements and colourful dress.

Balinese Dancers

#03 – BALINESE TEMPLES

A Balinese temple is known as a Pura whilst Bali is also known as the island of Gods. You would be surprised to know that there are over 6000 temples on this Indonesian island, testament to the importance of religion in everyday life. Here are our top 5 temples worth visiting with your children as part of their cultural tour of Bali:

Tanah Lot

Tanah Lot is a rock formation made famous by the ancient Hindu shrine, Pura Tanah Lot, making it a picturesque sight and perhaps the most popular temple to visit in Bali. Erected in the 16th century this sea temple was at risk of being washed away due to the persistent large waves crashing into the sides of the rock formation. In 1980, restoration efforts began to preserve the temple from the constant threat of erosion. This one of the most famous Balinese temples.

Besakih Temple

Located in the Karangasem District, about 2 hours from Seminyak is Bali’s largest and holiest Hindu temple of almost over 1,000 years. It is built on the slopes of Mount Agung and the entire complex comprises of 86 temples that is surrounded by scenic rice paddy fields, mountains and streams. The whole compound is huge and filled with holy shrines and statues of which most of them are only accessible via steep stairs. If you don’t have a lot of time, just visit the largest temple on the site, Pura Penataran Agung which is built over 6 levels, terraced up the slopes 1,000m off the ground. Do be aware that many tourists have complained about scammers in the area which certainly takes away the serenity of this functional temple.

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Balinese Hindu temple Tanah Lot Cultural Bali
Gunung Kawi

Gunung Kawi is an 11th-century temple and funerary complex in Tampaksiring and perhaps our favourite temple to visit. It comprises 10 rock-cut candi (shrines) that are carved into some 7-metre-high sheltered niches off the sheer cliff face. To get to the shrines, it does require a steep decline down stone stairs built alongside rice terraces but in our group children as young as 3 managed to make it all the way down without too much trouble. As you turn into the rock face, you are greeted by these shrines which literally took our breath away. There is also a lovely walk around the other side of the creek through beautiful greenery.

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Tirta Empul

A holy water spring temple also located in Tampaksiring, worshippers come here to be cleansed and to purify the soul from negative energy. The children were fascinated as they watched the devout immerse themselves in the water, each facing a fountain head, providing their offerings followed by meditation. Around the other side of the temple is a large school of beautiful koi in one of the bodies of water of which the kids were permitted to feed.

Pura Lempuyang

This is the most Instagrammable temple in Indonesia and is known as the Gateway to Heaven. This temple is located on a mountain in East Bali and about a 2.5 hour from the centre of Bali. The entire complex is vast so if you really want to explore it in its entirety I would set aside about 4 hours.

Pura Lempuyang Bali temple gateway to heaven

#04 – BALINESE FOOD AND MARKETS

Food in Bali is an eclectic mix of traditional and indigenous Balinese heritage mixed with Indonesian influences to include Chinese and Indian cuisines. Their food uses a substantial amount of spices and lots of local vegetables, meat and fish. Bali has an abundance of cooking classes you could venture on with your family that also include a trip to the wet markets to learn about key ingredients such as galangal or tempeh. Check out Paon Bali Cooking Class, Bumbu Bali or Anika Cooking Class.

When understanding a culture of any place, food always plays an important role. It shows us their heritage and their influences. One of the best things to do in Bali with kids is to take them to some of the markets to introduce them to new and interesting local produce.

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Balinese wet market vegetables

#05 – BATIK WORKSHOP

This is by far our most favourite cultural activity to do in Bali. Batik is a method (originally used in Java) of producing coloured designs on textiles by dyeing them, having first tracing an image you have selected followed by applying wax to the parts to be left undyed. Batik workshops and classes are available whereby they supply all the necessary materials to design a classic piece.

This is an interactive and fun way to learn about this traditional art form. Check out Widya Batik who operates out of Ubud in his rustic surrounds. The class goes for 5 hours of which you are actively making your batik throughout that whole time. This was right up my daughter’s alley and although she is only 8 years old, she does have a better concentration level then most so she was able to complete the class with no problems. Widya does have several staff on hand to help with the whole process so it is very suitable for children. We thoroughly enjoyed doing something quintessentially Balinese.

Batik Workshop Bali Family Cultural Bali

Do try and venture out to at least one of the above mentioned cultural activities or sights so that we may instil some respect to Balinese culture. This naturally charming island is a popular tourist destination only because the religious and peaceful Balinese people have infused it with their beliefs and way of life. Enjoy Bali for all it has to offer and we’re looking forward to our 5th trip in July!

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5 Cultural Things to Do in Bali With Kids

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10 comments

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umiko Silalahi February 26, 2019 - 2:55 pm

There are so much to do in Bali with your kids when you talk about the culture. Learning Balinese dancing sounds fun. Imagine they’re trying to move their eyes like the dancers. lol. Cooking class and batik workshop look like a great activities to learn more about Balinese culture. Seems like Bali has a never ending cultural experiences for its visitors.

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Family Globetrotters February 27, 2019 - 11:33 am

That is so true. their deep Hindi faith and local Balinese traditions lends itself to be a cultural hub. It really is never ending!

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Mayuri May 24, 2018 - 9:51 am

These are great cultural tips. Not only for kids, but I’m sure I will enjoy some of these as well

Thanks for sharing the cultural side of Bali

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Family Globetrotters May 29, 2018 - 9:49 pm

You welcome Mayuri. I thought I would od this blog post because so often Bali holidays are only associated with beach club, cocktails, nightlife and shopping. Bali has so much more to offer:)

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Kate Comer June 7, 2017 - 12:21 pm

Love this list! We had the most amazing experience when our Nanny invited us to visit a village in Sideman that she had helped fund the repair of a house of one of the families. We were able to visit the school and give out food and books to the kids. The morning tea we received by one of the local villagers was a highlight of our trip.

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Family Globetrotters June 8, 2017 - 9:14 am

Thank you Kate! And that sounds like a wonderful experience:) What a great way to give back.

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scj ins February 19, 2017 - 7:02 am

Kudos to you! I hadn’t thought of that!

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16 Tips for Your First Family Holiday to Bali August 2, 2016 - 9:59 pm

[…] make your family travel easier and more comfortable. Check out my post about some of the wonderful cultural activities you could engage in with your family. Have a fantastic trip! Just got back yesterday and already […]

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Kristie July 13, 2016 - 4:48 pm

Great post! I love Bali and think you have really made a great post about cultural activities for families! I once went to a cultural performance at Uluwatu and was such an awesome experience!
Kristie x
http://youtheworldwandering.com

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Family Globetrotters July 15, 2016 - 7:15 am

Thank you Kristie! Bali is so beautiful in so many ways. We’ll be there again in a few days and looking forward to discovering more!

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