By Kris Gadsby – Gadsventure
Table of Contents
Bali Off The Beaten Track – A Bit of Background
Everybody has heard of Kuta right? And then there is Seminyak, Nusa Dua, Sanur, Legian and even Uluwatu. These are the most popular places in Bali to stay. Even Canggu is gradually losing her hipster feel, as it succumbs to the mainstream Bali visitor. So, many people are wondering, with a family, is Bali off the beaten track even possible?
The answer is of course it is!
Just this year, we spent an awesome couple of months on our favorite Indonesian island. Since we first started visiting Bali, we have definitely noticed an increase in visitors and a decrease of rice paddies. Those secret spots are getting harder and harder to come by, especially if you don’t have time for something like this 2 week Bali itinerary. These days you queue for 2 hours or more just to get the perfect Instagram shot of THAT Bali gate or of some other well-visited tourist spot.
I will let you in on my new favorite and off-the-beaten-track places in Bali to visit with your family. But I suggest you see them right now before everybody else turns on. And if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.
Jasri Beach – Bali Off The Beaten Track
Jasri Beach is so top secret, I am not even sure I should be telling you about it. Jasri Beach is located only 40 minutes south of Amed, and it is an absolute top surf spot. There are a handful of villas which are very reasonably priced, and they are right along the top of the beach. Even more, the break is framed by tall palms. The kids enjoyed the 3 pools at our accommodation, the Villa Matanai, and the surfer in the family spent his days carving up the perfect left hand point break. Jasri is the sort of place you go if you just want to get away from it all.
Medewi – Bali Off The Beaten Track
Medewi is a surfer’s paradise and boasts the longest right-hander in all of Bali. The main Medewi Point breaks over rocks and reef, but there is also a more mellow beach break further down the coast a little which is great for kids to muck around in. Medewi is about 2.5 hours drive from Seminyak (depending on traffic), but it is literally another world away. The green rice terraces are dotted with scenic palm groves all of which run along the coastal highway. The main things to do here are surf, explore the coast and watch the sunset. If you grab a villa with a pool, you’ll be able to entertain your kids quite well in the down time.
Sidemen – Bali Off The Beaten Track
We came across Sidemen by accident when we were looking for budget Airbnbs. We love that AirBnB is free to browse, and this is often the source of some of our greatest stays! The Natural View House in Sidemen was one such place which we absolutely had to stay at. Looking at the photos of a beautifully furnished villa for only around $30 USD/night and seemingly endless valley views, we booked it without thinking about where the heck it actually was. Sidemen is an incredibly magical place. Go there if you want relaxation and sublime views, with not that much to do. Actually, we did a fun market tour and cooking class that included a gorgeous walk around the farms on the valley floor. Sidemen is definitely getting off the beaten track in Bali. It will take around 2 hours to get here from Seminyak.
Amed – Bali Off The Beaten Track
Amed has increased in popularity since we first started visiting this beautiful little area. However, it is still off the radar for so many (so don’t tell anyone). Amed is a series of bays at the base of the alluring Mount Agung volcano. If you’re keen, you can actually hike up Mt. Agung. The coastline is reminiscent of a Mediterranean scene as you visit bay after bay of pebbled beaches.
Snorkeling and diving here is the order of the day, and you can enjoy amazing fish life straight off the beach. We were able to take our kids snorkeling a mere 15 meters off shore, and we were able to see an actual Japanese shipwreck! There is another famous dive site called the USS Liberty which is one of the top wreck dives in the world. Amed is super charming. If you come for a night, you will want to stay for a month. At least. Amed is about a 2.5 hour drive from the airport in Denpasar, so it is easy to get to straight after landing.
Gili Islands – Bali Off The Beaten Track
Ok, this one is not top secret, I know. But thanks to its relative isolation and being a bit of a mission to get to, the Gilis are still off the beaten track, especially to many family travelers. Combine this with Gili Trawangan’s ‘party’ reputation, and you see only the most intrepid families making the trek. The truth is, the Gili Islands are a great way of getting somewhat off the beaten track in Bali, even if only a little bit.
The Gilis are made up of 3 reef fringed similar shaped and sized islands. Each has vastly different infrastructure and atmosphere. Gili Trawangan or “Gili T” is known as the party zone, but it is just the most built up. With a family, if you stay on the western side, you are far away from the party zone. Here you can enjoy the best sunsets ever with bonfires and horse rides on the beach. The villas are cheapest on Gili T. Gili Meno is super quiet and pretty expensive for exclusive resort kind of stays. And, Gili Air sits somewhere between these two vibes. Quiet if you want, but also enough action for a few days.
Getting here is not super tricky, but it requires a little planning. You can go from Lombok to Gili Trawangan, and it’ll be quite easy. No matter what you do, getting to the islands involves a ferry ride. Most folks start from either Lombok, Amed, Padang Bai or Sanur. These vary in price and comfort. At the time of writing , we paid around $25 USD per person for a 1-hour ride across the Lombok Strait from Amed. You need to book your ferry a few days in advance, especially in peak holiday season.
Google Map of Locations
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so we hope this Bali Off The Beaten Track Google Map helps you to plan your own Bali off the beaten track experience!
So as you can see, there are plenty of places that are just perfect for getting off the beaten track in Bali. If you are excited about seeking out new spots and finding your new favourite, then give these gorgeous locations a go. We took our four kids along, and we found our new favourite places all to be completely safe, and like all of Bali, full of super friendly people too.
Have you been to any of our off the beaten track places in Bali? Have you got more to add to the list? Be sure to also check out some of these best things to do in Bali with kids, and then leave us a comment below! And, if Bali just isn’t right for you, but you’re looking for another off the beaten track tropical family friendly destination, consider some travel to Palau and in particular the Carp Island Resort.
Kris is a travel writer for some top international travel blogs and also has her own family travel site Gadsventure . Fresh from an 8 month trip around Southeast Asia with her husband and 4 young children by her side, Kris is an expert at taking little ones traveling. And because they are from Australia, they get to explore Bali for more hidden gems every year!