7 family-friendly things to do in Ubud
Think Ubud is just for yogis and soul searchers? Think again. This Balinese town surrounded by serene rice terraces and lush forest is also an unforgettable family paradise.
- November 2019
From skateboarding and forest hikes to puppet shows, Ubud could be an unexpected destination for your next family holiday. Here are seven activities the whole family can enjoy.
1. Take a walk and admire the views, Ages 4+
Wake the kids early and hike Campuhan Ridge before the heat hits. The two-kilometre (one-way) stretch isn’t exactly undiscovered but it’s still very peaceful. Walkers starting near the bridge on Jalan Raya Ubud (near the entry to the Warwick Ibah Luxury Villas and Spa) pass a large temple before the well-marked trail snakes past jungle-like scenery on both sides of the ridge. It can take more than two hours with a pre-schooler in tow, but kids over six will handle this walk easily, especially if motivated by ice cream (there are plenty of cafés at the end).
2. Unwind by the pool (All ages)
Parents who’ve spent much of the Campuhan Ridge walk lugging a small child will be feeling the heat. The cure? An afternoon at Jungle Fish. At this urbane pool bar attached to the upmarket Chapung Sebali resort, it’s impossible not to decompress. Kids are welcome and the entry fee includes a towel.
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3. Cycle the back roads (Ages 2+)
With younger kids nestled on the supplied child seat and guides taking up the front and rear, GREENBIKE Cycling Tour takes small groups through quiet village streets, dense forests with narrow off-road tracks, and picturesque rice paddies. It’s hard to decide what’s most satisfying — the serenity of Bali’s back roads, the chance to spend an entire day surrounded by greenery or the fact that the whole route is downhill.
4. Work on your kickflips, (Ages 6+, 4-6 with supervision)
Families will have a blast at Blue Bear Bali Skatepark, the first of its kind in Ubud that provides group and private skating lessons for both kids and adults. Parents can join in and skate (or if they prefer to take it easy, there’s great coffee on offer), while younger children frolic in the fully supervised play area. It’s even a good opportunity for a dance — there’s live music on Wednesdays and resident music days from 11am on Sundays.
5. See shadow puppets (Ages 7+)
As Bali’s cultural centre, Ubud abounds with dance performances. But venture to Oka Kartini BnB on a Wednesday, Friday or Sunday night and it’s shadow puppets entertaining the audience. Be warned — this is a traditional show so it’ll be more rewarding for older children who can bear a slow start. The tiny performance area means you can stand to the side of the stage and watch the puppeteer and assistants at work — it’s incredibly interesting.
6. Tour a school with a difference (Age 4+)
Set amongst lush forest about a 30-minute drive out of Ubud, Green School’s wall-free bamboo classrooms are world-renowned. There are daily guided tours and while it may seem a bit odd to spend the school holidays in, well, a school, the tour feels more like a nature walk. The school is designed to be rugged so be prepared for a hike with steps, steep inclines and meandering paths down to the Ayung River. You might actually have trouble getting the kids to leave, especially once they discover the joys of hiding among the large bamboo “chimes” in the central building.
7. Do dinner and a movie (Ages 4+)
Like your cinema sustainable, thought-provoking and super comfortable? Ubud’s unique Cinema Paradiso experience trumps Gold Class at home — not only can you have an organic, vegan meal delivered to your lounge during the show, but the price of your movie ticket comes off the price of any food you order. Paradiso screens plenty of children’s movies each week and this is a “shoes off” experience.