Family Bali holidays with teenagers

Bali is fantastic for teenagers and an ‘easy’ destination for families all-round, with an appealing blend of adventure, culture and relaxation.
The great thing about our family Bali holidays with teenagers is that they mix in fascinating cultural aspects alongside active adventures, and downtime on gorgeous beaches. Snorkelling, treetop ziplines, white-water rafting – these may be what grab your teens’ attention before you go, but very often it’s the quieter, more reflective moments that you’ll all remember long afterwards.

In Candidasa, for instance, you can spend a day with a farming family, learning how they grow the tropical plant pandan whose leaves they then weave to make handicrafts for sale such as mats, trays and drink coasters. You can try your hand at making something yourself, then enjoy some tea and cakes.

And heading north to Amed on the east coast, where you can snorkel shipwrecks or try yoga on the beach, you’ll also take a guided walk through a landscape of tiered rice terraces.

It’s difficult to over-emphasise the importance of rice to Balinese culture. The terraces have been watered since the ninth century by a complex irrigation system known as subak that isn’t just incredibly efficient and sustainable, but deeply religious. The process is managed by water temples, whose priests conduct rituals linking the natural world with the spirit world, binding Bali’s agrarian society together.

But Balinese rice-growing is threatened by water shortages, a warming climate causing droughts that are exacerbated by the demands of tourist hotels. Staying in a succession of small, locally owned guest houses you’ll regularly see signs asking guests to conserve water, and after learning about the significance of rice to Balinese people, and the importance of water to rice-growing, the connection is easily made. With environmental concerns high on many teens’ agendas nowadays, an eye-opening excursion like this can really bring home the value of travelling responsibly.

Why is Bali so good for teenagers?

Teen-friendly family trips to Bali tend to focus on the east of the island, where there is white-water rafting, treetop hikes on suspension bridge pathways, mountain bike tours to hidden beaches, and snorkelling and surfing in turquoise waters – plenty to keep teens on the go. Staying in a handful of different places, including Ubud, Amed and Candidasa, means you see more of the island and get a real sense of discovery too.

The adventurous stuff is nicely balanced out by exploring Balinese culture, from farm visits to roaming beautiful rice terraces and water temples, and cycling through rural villages.

Coincidentally, Dyan Mckie from our partner Intrepid Travel was in the midst of packing for her own family getaway to Bali when I asked for her take on what makes the island perfect for families.

“I think Bali is just an ‘easy’ destination for families all-round and for teens in particular,” said Dyan. “Plus, it offers the activities like white-water rafting, bike riding and snorkelling. There aren’t too many early mornings or long travelling days either, which we’ve found keeps the teens happy!”

Naturally, the various comfortable hotels you’ll stay in throughout a Bali trip will have Wi-Fi so that teens can stay in touch with friends/make them jealous with their photos. But when you’re on a tour following a structured itinerary, hanging out with other kids of around the same age, the phones do tend to be forgotten in bedrooms for much of the time.

Travelling with teenagers in Bali: our highlights

Amed

Consisting of a long strip of fishing villages in East Bali, backed by hills thick with palm trees, Amed is a great place to explore underwater. Nearby snorkelling sites include Jemeluk coral bay, a Japanese shipwreck and the USA Liberty shipwreck in Tulamben. Snorkelling expeditions are accompanied by a qualified guide and tailored to match everyone’s swimming ability.

Candidasa

There’s an attractive narrow beach and lotus lagoon at Candidasa, the atmosphere is deliciously drowsy, and the food is superb. It’s an idyllic spot to jump on bikes, pedalling past rice paddies and plantations of peanuts, potatoes and flowers to reach White Sand Beach, a pretty inlet where you can swim and enjoy some well-earned downtime.

Rural Bali

Trekking through the rice terraces of eastern Bali, guides explain the principles and practise of communal irrigation, and the importance of rice-growing to Balinese culture as well as the island’s economy. You can visit the Tirta Gangga water palace, a maze of pools, fountains, carvings and statues surrounded by gardens. Stepping stones take you over the water and closer to the huge koi carp living here.

Seminyak

This upmarket but laid-back beach town in the south of Bali is a pleasant place to unwind at the end of a holiday (and is conveniently close to the airport), with large beaches and amazing food, as well as plenty of spa treatments and massages on offer for teens and parents seeking a treat before heading home, or onwards to other parts of the island.

Ubud

Ubud is the bohemian and cultural centre of Bali, an atmospheric place full of small artist studios, yoga schools and cafés. In the island’s largest botanical garden is a treetops adventure, with suspended pathways, jumps and flying swings – serious fun for all ages. You can also travel from Ubud to the picturesque temple complex of Ulun Danu on Bratan Lake or try white-water rafting on an 11km stretch of river with grade II and III rapids.

Our top Family with teenagers Holiday

Bali family holiday with teenagers

Bali family holiday with teenagers

Family activity holiday in Bali, Indonesia

From £1105 to £1215 8 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2023: 7 Jan, 8 Apr, 10 Apr, 24 Jun, 1 Jul, 8 Jul, 5 Aug, 16 Sep, 30 Dec
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Family with teenagers or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.

Practicalities

Family Bali holidays with teenagers are usually small group trips that give you a good feel for eastern Bali in a week. They pack in plenty of activities and sights without feeling rushed, with room to unwind and grab some time with the Wi-Fi (and away from parents) worked into itineraries.

Group make-up

Group sizes are usually capped at 16 but average around 10, so you can expect to be travelling with between one and three other families. The minimum age for children is 10 – not strictly teens, but handy if your youngest child hasn’t quite hit 13 yet. Our Bali travel partners can recommend certain departures if you want to ensure your kids are with others of a similar age.

These trips are purely for families, although the term family is lightly applied; think ‘extended’ rather than ‘nuclear’. So long as you’re with a teenager, that’s fine, and any other cousins, grandpas or uncles are welcome to come along, too. The benefit is that your young people can meet other young people, bond with them over exciting adventures and have mates to hang out with during downtime. You will also have similar-aged adults to bond with over a beer. Intergenerational sociability is what it’s all about.

When to go

Given that you’ll probably travel during the school holidays, the best times for family getaways to Bali are either April at the end of the rainy season, which is usually sunny, or July to August (though this is also high season in Bali, so you’ll want to book early). December is also busy, with Australian and New Zealander families flocking to the island, but it can make for a memorable post-Christmas treat.

Where to go afterwards

“Our own trip finishes in the seaside town of Sanur,” says Dyan. “Any families wanting to stay in Bali for a bit longer after the end of their holiday can continue to Seminyak, Canggu or Nusa Dur – all lovely and relaxed coastal resorts within a 30-60 minute drive away.”
Written by Rob Perkins
Photo credits: [Page banner: Jamie Fenn] [Intro: Ruben Hutabarat] [Amed: Sebastian Pena Lambarri] [Rural Bali: Dave Weatherall] [Practicalities: sophie peng]