Travelling with a baby can be daunting, but if you come prepared, then your holiday will be fun & stress-free, allowing you to enjoy all that’s on offer!
Over the course of 2 weeks, we spent 5 days in the hipster town of Canggu, 4 days surrounded by the gorgeous greenery of Ubud and 1 relaxing week in the Gili Islands which is a 2-hour fast boat trip from Bali. All of which we would recommend visiting with (or without) a baby!
Based on our experience travelling for 2 weeks with our 8-month-old baby boy Hugo, here are our 10 top tips for travelling to Bali with a baby.
We have broken down our tips into the following categories:
- Baby food
- Formula & water safety
- Baby Carriers & Strollers
- Sight Seeing
- Nappies, Wipes, Laundry
- Baby Equipment & Safety
- Hygiene & Travel Insurance
1. Baby Food
a) Pack Enough Food For Your Travels
Now, this isn’t for everyone but it was peace of mind to know we had food that we knew Hugo liked. Back home, Hugo (8 months) had been living off of homemade pureed foods with the occasional piece of toast, avocado and banana thrown in there.
Being away from home, I was nervous about trying Hugo on any new foods as well as the availability of cooking in our accommodation (not to mention who feels like cooking on holidays anyways!) or trying to find suitable pre-packaged baby food in the grocery stores (which we actually didn’t come across). To avoid all of this, we packed 2 weeks of organic food sachets from home (Rafferty’s Garden) for our 2 week Bali trip. Let’s just say, as the weeks went on, our luggage got a whole lot lighter!
b) Utilize Organic, Local Food Options
Most accommodation in Bali will come with a fridge, so depending on the age of your baby, you can always stock it with essentials like carrot and cucumber sticks, bread, eggs, crackers, cheese and fresh fruits. Restaurants are very accommodating with babies and will heat up or puree foods for you upon request. Every restaurant we ate at also provided a high chair (just be sure to wipe it down!).
c) Get Baby Food Delivered
If packet food isn’t for you and or you simply just don’t feel like cooking on vacation (we don’t blame you), we did come across a service in Bali by the name of Mini Muncher Bali. This company creates fresh, organic baby and children’s food from scratch and they deliver right to your villa or hotel doorstep (or you can pick up from their shop in Seminyak).
They offer a range of wholesome baby purees as well as meals and snacks for older babies and toddlers. The meals are all delivered frozen and last 3 days in the fridge and 6 months in the freezer. They also cater for those with allergies or dietary requirements.
2. Formula & Water Safety
a) Consider Bringing Formula from Home and/or Rent Sterilizers
Formula is readily available at most of the grocery stores but if your baby is picky then we’d suggest bringing the formula that they are used to from home. To save space, and weight, pack the formula inside a double-bagged ziplock bag rather than bringing the entire tin. If you get desperate, you can also buy baby formula as well rent bottle sterilizers from Bali Baby Hire.
b) Use Only Bottled Water
You cannot drink from the tap in Bali so always use bottled water when giving your baby drinking water. To be extra cautious, we also used bottled water to boil water for his bottles and washing up his utensils too. You can never be too safe when it comes to water!
c) Bath Safety
Depending on where you stay, your accommodation may or may not have a bathtub. If you don’t have a bath, just use the handheld showerhead (which Hugo took too quite well) but take care in making sure your little one doesn’t drink the water in the bath or from the shower, this includes sucking any bath toys or face washers etc. If you’re staying a long time in Bali, you could always hire a baby bathtub.
3. Transport in Bali
a) For Short Trips, Hold Your Baby on Your Lap
The roads rules of Bali are considerably different from that of most Western countries. There are no laws in place that children must ride in car seats, no matter their age. In saying this, due to the often horrific traffic in Bali, you rarely go above 40km/h. Taxis don’t have the required anchors and seatbelts to fit car seats, therefore, you must be prepared to hold your baby on your lap for the shorter trips.
b) For Long Trips, Hire a Driver with a Baby Car Seat
For longer trips such as airport pick up, drop off and day trips, you can hire a driver that provides a car seat. We used two drivers – Made, who can only be contacted via email ([email protected]) and Bali Smart Tours. Both of which we would recommend.
c) Risk it On a Motorbike
Like everywhere else in Asia, motorbikes are a very popular form of transport and often whole families ride on one single motorbike. We also saw several babies in carriers on bikes, mainly by Westerners. Motorbikes are by far the fastest way to get around, but it wasn’t something we were willing to do with Hugo, but hey, each to their own!
4. Baby Carriers & Strollers
a) Take a Baby Carrier
If you’re travelling to Bali and you haven’t got yourself a baby carrier, go do so, now. Our Ergobaby 360 became our best friend. We bought the City Select Baby Jogger Travel Stroller all excited to use it for our trip to Bali but the only time we used it was at the airport… doh. The sidewalks are just not that suited for strollers.
b) Know What to Expect if You Take a Stroller
There are man-sized potholes, broken tiles, uneven surfaces, a ton of people and most of them are rather narrow, not to mention a lot of stray dogs walking right at the level of a stroller. We felt safer with Hugo high up, attached to us and it was far easier & faster to get around with him in the carrier than trying to use the stroller through the streets of Bali.
5. Sight Seeing & Activities
a) You Can Do Everything with Your Baby*
Temples, waterfalls, shops, cafes, beaches, monkey forests, rice fields, foot massages… you name it, you can do with your baby in tow. We did with Hugo! Plan your days around their nap times and you will be able to enjoy a lot more of what Bali has to offer. *if you plan correctly.
b) Make the Most of the Early Morning’s
Due to our natural early morning alarm clock (aka Hugo), we got to visit the sites with almost no one else around. At least there’s one good thing about a 5:30 am start on holidays. Make sure you get out of your hotel in the morning and make use of this peaceful time in Asia.
c) Avoid Midday and Strong Sun
Stay out of the sun and heat of the middle of the day. Head back to your hotel, take a swim or nap and then head out again later in the afternoon for sunset. It was truly unbearable in the middle of the day and it was hard for Hugo to regulate his body temperature in such heat.
Choosing accommodation in Bali can be a little daunting as there are just so many, affordable, amazing places to stay. Is it a hotel? Or your private villa? Or better yet, both combined? Our hotel in the photo shown above was the incredible Puri Wulandari – A Boutique Resort & Spa just 10 minutes outside of Ubud city centre. Heaven!
Choose Your Accommodation Wisely: 4 Things to Consider
- Location – Location is everything, stay somewhere that you can walk to restaurants, shops and some tourist sites. This avoids having to put your little one in the car 10x a day when you want to go anywhere, not to mention, takes up precious awake time.
- Accessibility – Take into consideration the accessibility of your accommodation. Luggage with a baby doesn’t come light!
- Water – Some places provided free water refills which made life very easy. Others just gave a few plastic bottles in your room and the rest was up to you.
- Pool Access – During Hugo’s naps, we wanted to be able to lay in the sunshine, by a private pool, have a bite to eat, read a book and still be within ears reach of our little traveller. Find a villa or a hotel that allows you to combine them both, don’t waste your holiday sitting inside a hotel room whilst your little one naps! We also used a baby monitor.
Book a Hotel/Villa in Bali here.
7. Nappies, Wipes & Laundry
a) Mini-Marts Rarely Have Nappies.
There are mini-marts on every second corner throughout Bali and we found they all stocked wipes (heavily scented I must say), but not all of them had nappies, and often they were sold out. We were able to pick up nappies from the larger supermarkets in the main towns – Coco Supermarket (Ubud) as well as Pepito (Canggu). They don’t have a massive selection but they do have them.
b) Stock up Near the Airport, After you Land
Carrefour which is located close-ish to the main Bali airport is more of what western visitors would expect as a large, modern supermarket. If you have a driver and time, you could stop here on the way to your first location and stock up on supplies such as nappies & baby food.
c) Nappies are ‘Nappy Pants’
Take note that the nappies in Bali are “nappy pants” similar to that of pull-ups in Australia. This means you rip them off from the sides. It took one messy nappy change to work this out.
d) Pack Swim Nappies from Home
If you’re planning to be at the beach a lot, pack swim nappies from home. We didn’t come across these in Bali.
All of the hotels and villas provide laundry services and although the clothes come back nicely folded and smelling like flowers if you have any solid baby stains, don’t necessarily expect them to come out (they didn’t for us). Pack a zip lock bag of Napisan from home to help with the tough stains. Laundry was approximately US$3 a kilo + extra for same-day delivery.
a) Your Baby will be Taken (Balinese LOVE Babies!)
If there’s one thing we can assure you, Balinese people LOVE babies! Any chance they could, Hugo was taken from us (in the nicest way possible) whilst they fussed over who could hold him. Now, I understand not everyone would be comfortable with a stranger taking their baby but, rest assured, they always asked before taking his hand and Hugo was more than happy to have a cuddle or photo. This “free babysitting” worked in our favour when we’re eating or having a foot massage.
On a side note, one thing we found rather interesting was no matter what Hugo was wearing, he was often referred to as a girl and therefore, often came back with a beautiful flower tucked into his ear. Hugo now became “Hugorina”.
b) Consider Babysitting Services
We didn’t personally use any babysitting or nanny services during our time in Bali, therefore, we cannot vouch for these particular companies but if you want some alone time, here are a few companies which provide babysitting services:
9. Baby Equipment & Safety
a) Consider Renting Baby Equipment on Arrival
If you want to pack light and avoid bringing your larger baby items, there are a few companies such as Bali Bubs and Bali Baby Hire that rent quality, well-known branded items. These items range from travel cots to strollers, high chairs (all of the restaurants provided high chairs), car seats, toys, baby carriers, bathtubs, bed rails, baby monitors, safety gates, bottle-sterilisers and even a medela breast pump (ya never know!). They range in price but are generally $4 – $5 per day. They also offer airport pick up services and babysitting.
b) Pools Don’t Have Fences (but you can rent one)
Unlike Australia, there are no laws for having compulsory fences around the pools in Bali. If you’re staying in a villa with your own pool and you’re worried your little one may find their way to the edge of the pool, you can avoid this by renting a temporary pool fence from Bali Villa Pool Fence. They will come and install it anywhere on the island no matter how big or small. Pretty neat!
10. Hygiene & Travel Insurance
a) Ensure You Have Travel Insurance
Please don’t travel without travel insurance, ever. Especially to countries where hygiene and food standards are somewhat different from a first world country. They don’t call it Bali Belly for nothing. Depending on how old your baby is, they will likely be crawling or walking, therefore, touching things left, right and centre. It is almost impossible to avoid this without having your baby in a hazmat suit for the duration of your holiday.
Put your mind at ease and grab travel insurance. We use 1Cover for all our travel insurance needs. Great prices, quick service and all-round great coverage for the whole family.
b) Always Keep Wipes Handy
Always keep wipes handy in your day bag for wiping down highchairs, table surfaces and toys that continually fall on the floor.
c) Pack Pain Medication & a Thermometer
We’d strongly recommend packing Panadol or Nurofen from home as well as a thermometer.
Our Packing List
At the time of travel, Hugo was 8 months old. He was breastfed, formula-fed & eating solids, just to make it difficult for ourselves.
So if you’re wondering what to pack on a trip to Bali with your baby, see here for what we packed:
- Sleepsacks x 2
- Travel cot
- White Noise Machine
- Mosquito net (to cover the cot and stroller)
- Bamboo cot sheets
- Light blanket
- Sippee Cup
- Plastic bowl
- Insulated Food Jar
- Baby Porridge
- Raffertys Garden Food Pouches (3 packets a day for 9 days, yep you do the math, like 6kg in baby pureed food!)
- Silicone Bibs
- Ziplock Bags
- Baby Mum Mum’s (rice cereal snacks)
- Breast Pump
- Hat ( including one waterproof)
- Baby sunscreen
- 2 x Swimsuit (including rash vest)
- Onesies (singlet, t-shirt and long sleeve)
- Light sweatshirt
- Swim nappies
- A handful of play toys (if they’re happy, you’re happy)
- Dummies + attachment straps
- Nappies + Swim Nappies
- Board Books
- Panadol / Nurofen
- Non-scented, gentle wipes
- Baby wash
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If you’re looking to visit other places other than Bali, considering the gorgeous Gili Islands, located just off the island of Lombok, 2 hours by fast boat from Bali.
» See our Guide to the Gili’s (with or without a baby)!
Do you have any other tips for travelling to Bali with a baby? We’d love to hear them!