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traveling with kids to Hong Kong and Bali

traveling with kids to Hong Kong and Bali

Jan 13th, 2011, 08:22 PM
  #1  
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traveling with kids to Hong Kong and Bali

Hey All, Ive been thinking of spending a month this summer traveling in SEA with my husband and four young kids. We've done this sort of thing before, spent a month in ALaska last year and in Italy the summer before. We always find it challenging, amazing and totally rewarding traveling with the kids (also I cant wait til they grow up to see the world). This summer my husband has work in Hong Kong in July so we thought we'd start there and then head to Bali for a few weeks. We really like to get to know new cultures and walk around amazing cities and enjoy nature. Basically we are game for anything. Was wondering if anyone knew of any great villas or houses we could rent while in Bali. Also should we be going to mainland China being that we are so close and if so where and for how long? Also Ive been reading all of your blogs and it seems like breaking the Bali trip in two, the beach and Ubud is what you all suggest. Anyone have any kid friendly activities or suggestions that cant be missed? also we are vegetarians, will we have anywhere to eat while we are away?
Regine_Ashkenazie is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 10:03 PM
  #2  
 
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Some thoughts and suggestions:

1. July 1 is a public holiday in Hong Kong (National Day) and there are usually, but not always, fireworks in the harbour that evening. If you can arrange your trip to be here for July 1, that might be a great start to a visit to Hong Kong.

2. With regard to going to the mainland of the PRC, your message does not indicate how long you will be in Hong Kong, or whether a trip to the PRC would take time out of your trip to Bali. For one thing, to go to the PRC each of you will need a visa which costs about US$100 per person, so if you go you should commit some time to the trip, and not just pop over the border (which has the same scenery as the Hong Kong side). Without knowing how long you would have in the PRC it’s hard to say whether you should go. Beijing is certainly fascinating with lots to see and do. But it is a huge country with lots to offer; if you only have 3-4 days for a trip to the PRC, I doubt it is worth it. And in that case stick to one city. But if you can provide more details on how much time you have for the entire trip, that would probably prompt better responses. But going just for a weekend may not be worth the plane flight (and plane fare), as you could go to Macau for a weekend, or a holiday chalet someplace like Lamma Island which would be a different experience from the city.

3. You should have no trouble finding vegetarian food in either place. Hong Kong has numerous vegetarian restaurants, including places where you can get veg food made by monks or nuns. There are also a number of Indian “pure veg” places. Bali, which is Hindu, also has a vegetarian tradition in its cuisine. In either place, even in restaurants serving meat, there are always a myriad of veg choice (some of these may be cooked in chicken stock or with lard unless indicated otherwise on the menu, so ask or consult menus). Happy Cow lists vegetarian restaurants world-wide: see http://www.happycow.net/browse.html.

4. There are hundreds of villas for rent in Bali. See vrbo.com for a start. I have not rented from them in Bali, but have had very good luck with them in other locations. I agree on splitting time between beach and the Ubud area if you can. Vrbo.com seems to offer lots in both places. You can also book a hotel for a few days and look around for a villa from there. In past years, I have rented a house in Seminyak and thought it was very nice. See
http://www.laksmanavillas.com/villajemma/index.html. This is a compound of several villas of varying sizes and prices. Each of the 5 or so villas which comprise the compound is set in its own garden and has a good-size pool, the furnishings, etc are in good shape and nicely done. There is a full kitchen that is well fitted-out. They can provide a cook for meals if you want or you can self cater. The prices for meals does by the cook are actually quite reasonable, and it is so lovely to come back from the beach and have lunch made for you!!

5. Hong Kong has hundreds of miles of walks and hikes, many of which can be done as a family. July will be very, very hot and quite humid, so you have to pace yourself, start early and bring a lot of water. (Also make sure your hotel has a pool, as your kids will thank you.) But the walks are extremely enjoyable, most offer terrific views and they will take you to very untouristed parts of Hong Kong. It’s my favourite thing to do in Hong Kong. Dymocks, a local chain of bookstores here, has an excellent selection of walking books, go to http://www.dymocks.com.au/ for a list of locations in Hong Kong. The Serious Hiker's Guide to Hong Kong, the "Heritage Hikers Guide to Hong Kong" and The Leisurely Hiker's Guide to Hong Kong, all and by Pete Spurrier, are very good for walks all over Hong Kong (the latter is esp good for family walks), and Above the City is good for walks on Hong Kong Island. Jason Wordie, a local historian, has two very good books on street/neighborhood walks in Hong Kong, called Streets: Hong Kong and Streets: Kowloon respectively. He also gives very good walking tours, see www.jasonswalks.com. (It may almost be worth joining the American Women’s Association for your brief stay here, as they offer all sorts of programs, including many walks done by Jason which are better priced than his private walks, see https://www.awa.org.hk/. You may also just be able to attend as a non-member, although programs cost a bit more.)

6. For activities in Hong Kong, please search this board for my list of personal reccos called “Cicerone’s Reccos for What the Locals Do for Fun in Hong Kong (Hint: We DON’T Go to those Awful Night Markets....)” this should give you some ideas for what to do, including a list of walks and some sources for more walks. For a quick photo of one walk, click on my name above and see my profile. For a description of some of other favourite walks on Hong Kong Island, see my posts called “Cicerone’s Favourite Hong Kong Walks II: Paradise Found! From Happy Valley to Stanley in High Heels! (Almost) The Tsz Lo Lan Shan Path” and “Cicerone's Favourite Hong Kong Walks III: The Dragon's Back” and “Cicerone's Favourite Hong Kong Walks: Severn Road, The Peak “. You can find all of these posts by clicking on these links:
http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...l-night-ma.cfm http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...eels-alm-1.cfm
http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...agons-back.cfm and at http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...d-the-peak.cfm.

7. Bali equally offers a lot for kids, esp music and the arts. There is less purpose-built stuff for kdis (there is no Disney or Ocean Park like in Hong Kong), but I think you will be well-entertained there. There is some walking and hiking (although trails are not nearly as well marked as in Hong Kong, but get a copy of the Bali Pathfinder when you re in Ubud which shows several good walks). There are opportunities for kayaking or canoeing (this may not be suitable for very young children)
Cicerone is offline  
Jan 14th, 2011, 02:48 AM
  #3  
 
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www.travelforkids.com/Funtodo/Bali/bali.htm

great site if you do not know about it...

Check consular advisories get trip insurance

www.mdtravelhealth.com for health issues

related to your travels LOTS of veggie options

so no worries...

Happy Journey,
qwovadis is offline  
Jan 14th, 2011, 03:40 AM
  #4  
 
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I can't come close to Cicerone's level of knowledge, but will tag on a bit of encouragement on traveling with kids. Been to HK and I imagine it's pretty much like any city visit with kids, although we went just before we expanded the family. But the bird garden, the ferries, people coming and going at the temples, markets and things would be entertaining.

We did take her to Bali. (She's 3, so for what all this is worth) She loved the beach of course - but also the whole area around Tanah Lot... because of the activity, people, and especially hunting in the rock pools as we waited for the sunset. She liked Ubud and exploring during walks. She really loved the traditional music and dancing. Couldn't take her eyes of the women dancing or the dragon! Also, the elephant park north of Ubud, in Taro, is particularly well done. Not seedy or any appearance of animals being mistreated whatsoever. We've faced the "confusion" of being taken to a different park when we asked for the one in Taro, so be aware. Bali, IME, is one of the more challenging places we've been in terms of touting at even minor attractions and with being steered to commission paying services. A large part of that was our drivers, of course, but it helps to be aware, I think. Also, the monkeys can be very aggressive at the Monkey Forest in Ubud.

Sorry, can't help with the villa as the one we stayed at in Seminyak is booked through June and July.
Clifton is offline  
Jan 14th, 2011, 04:42 AM
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Chinese visa fees is now US$140/person for US citizens. One should really think hard about it, since the young kids probably wouldn't care about or remember the visit.
rkkwan is offline  
Jan 14th, 2011, 06:28 AM
  #6  
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Thank you all for your responses. I think you guys are right. It doesnt pay to go to China this time around. I dont think i have enough time to do both places justice. I will stick to my original Hong Kong Bali plan. Cicero your feedback is so helpful, thank you. Any other ideas in Bali? has anyone done any other nature stuff there? There seem to be resorts in the national park but it looks like it can get pricey....How about the Green School I hear they have summer camp programs that can be adapted to families. I wouldnt send my kids solo but maybe go with them? Loving the feedback Clifton happy to hear you were there with a three year old my youngest will be about 2 1/2 when we go- wondering if your flight was as long as mine will be...
Regine_Ashkenazie is offline  
Jan 14th, 2011, 06:29 AM
  #7  
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ok also any ideas about where to stay while in Bali- what city or area? and should we look to be in two or three different locations?
Regine_Ashkenazie is offline  
Jan 14th, 2011, 07:07 AM
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I'd say look at two locations in Bali, one beach and one inland near Ubud.

How old are your children?
Kathie is offline  
Jan 14th, 2011, 12:20 PM
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youngest will be about 2 1/2 when we go- wondering if your flight was as long as mine will be

Thinking about what I'd said... she's 3 and a bit now. She was 28 months when we were in Bali. We flew from Melbourne, Australia and it's a 6 hour flight from here. She was kind of used to flying though, so we knew how she was with it. We'd already flown from the US to Australia (20 hours + layovers) when we moved here. And before that she'd flown from Russia to the US and to Peru and back. Kids all seem handle things so differently and in their own way though, don't they?

But the ability to four together and moving roughly forward at the same time? My hat is off to you!
Clifton is offline  
Jan 14th, 2011, 03:02 PM
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Kids love Bali and Bali loves kids. My son made his first visit when he was 3 and now 20+ years later it's still his favorite place on earth.

There are tons of accessible nature stuff and culture stuff that appeal to every age.

Agree, split your time between sea and the inland area around Ubud. July is peak season, and good value villas are being reserved now.

Seminyak has the most choices in villas. I like the area for the long big wave beach, sunsets, shops, restaurants; however, the surf may be too aggressive for your little ones. You might look at Sanur or Jimbaran. Older kids love the waves, though.

I don't have any specific villas recommendations (except I also like the Laksmana group). You just have to go through the photos on the on line booking sites and counter check with tripadvisor comments. Very few villas are actually on the beach, but are within walking distance.

To keep it simple you might prefer just to stay at an all purpose resort on the beach. you get pool(s), a beach with life guards and beautiful gardens to roam around in. Plus 24 hour room service. They all offer kids activities. In Seminyak I'd look at the Royal Beach Seminyak Resort and the new W. In Sanur, the Hyatt. In Jimbaran the Intercontinental.

In Ubud you could either stay in town or outside of town. I'm familiar with the Green School and would think that a summer program would be a lot of fun. The architecture is other-worldly!

Along with the cultural events -- masked dance, gamelan, religious processions, arts and crafts making -- all of which kids find fascinating, there are a lot of nature oriented activities in the area -- rafting, bird watching, trekking, bicycling. Or you can just take a walk in the rice paddies and examine the irrigation system.

I'd suggest the Alam Sari as a great family, nature/culture oriented resort.
marmot is offline  
Jan 14th, 2011, 03:08 PM
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PS, no problem with avoiding meat in Bali, but you you don't eat seafood, eggs or dairy, you'll have to specify very carefully or stick to like-minded restaurants (of which there are several).
marmot is offline  
Jan 14th, 2011, 06:34 PM
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Meant to mention earlier, on the "Bali loves kids" theme: Number of restaurants where the waitress asked if it was ok if our daughter could come play over where they were (within view) = 5. Number of those who took her (with us in tow) through the back and to a family house so the rest of the family could meet her = 2.
Clifton is offline  
Jan 14th, 2011, 07:42 PM
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My kids, 7 & 10, have requested a third summer vacation to Bali. We previously took them to Italy every August, but they were bitten hard by the Bali bug.

We rented a house outside of Ubud, and will return again this year -- http://www.vrbo.com/103402. We've also love Villa Saba outside of Seminyak. You can check out my info on Bali on my blog www.amywattbaker.com.

I just started reading about the Green School and camp -- sounds very cool! Also Museum Puri Lukisan in Ubud offers art and music classes for both children and adults together.
amarena is offline  
Jan 15th, 2011, 05:02 PM
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Really appreciating the feedback. Clifton, my flights from the US so its pretty far but youve done it all the way to Australia (my husband is dying to get to Australia so if traveling this far goes well, we may venture to your side of the world next summer)! Also amarena, your website is great Ive been thinking of starting a blog of all of my trips as well, yours looks fantastic. Also I checked out the house in Ubud it looks amazing, do u think I should look into it for my family? id also prob want someone to cook for me since we are vegetarians and with the kids its often easier, do u think that would be possible? everytime I come on here I get more excited and find such great information....
Regine_Ashkenazie is offline  
Jan 17th, 2011, 12:21 PM
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I would definitely consider Rumah Cinta -- just google "vrbo rumah cinta" and you'll find the website. There is a guesthouse next door which provides breakfast every day for the guests, either in the villa or at the guesthouse. They are the most amazing cooks and will cook other meals as well, once again at the villa or at their warung, Ibu Putu -- they make some of the best Balinese food I've ever encountered AND for pennies. There are also many other warungs in the immediate vicinity and I'm sure with many vegetarian options.

The guesthouse family has 2 kids who have become friends with mine... lovely, lovely family. The father can arrange transportation for you on a daily basis if necessary or just as needed. The mother has babysat for us many times. They also make arrangements for activities (renting scooters, white water rafting), make restaurant and spa reservations, whatever you need. They will do the laundry, plus clean the villa each morning. Really wish I could just pack them all up and bring them home with me...
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Jan 29th, 2011, 05:20 AM
  #16  
hcs
 
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The Green School does sound wonderful and may warrant our return visit...

We have two children ages 6 and 3, and have been to Bali three times in the past two years (though we currently live in Bangkok so much less travel time). The kids love it and we love it.

I agree that Ubud is a wonderful area to stay. We stayed in Ubud during our first two trips.

This last trip, over Christmas 10 and New Years, we decided to stay somewhere different and took a bit of a risk. And, for once, we aced it. We were the first official guests at Bali Eco Stay. It is an amazing place and we can't say enough good things about it. It is debatable what the best part of the stay was. Our children say it was becoming friends with the son of the Australian owners, a sociable 6 year old who showed our kids the swimming holes, rabbits, and local fishing competition. For us, it was the setting and the design. A village of 22 houses, set on a piece of paradise. The vibe is low-key, but warm and friendly. I think our 'Mountains to the Sea' bike ride was among the best we've done. Excellent food. As authentic as it gets in Bali, from what we've seen. http://www.baliecostay.com

Then, we stayed at Monduk Moding Coffee Plantation. The setting was also beautiful and loads to do in the area, though the weather was not in our favor. There are only four cottages on an active coffee plantation, which is huge. They have two ponies, tennis courts, a beautiful pool and walking trails. They are planning a big expansion sometime on 2012, so be sure to get there before.

We also visited the Bali Bontanical Gardens, which are beautiful. There is an extensive ropes course which our 6 year old especially loved...I'm sure your children would love it as well.
hcs is offline  
Feb 21st, 2012, 05:03 AM
  #17  
 
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So, how did the trip to Bali turn out? Did you stay at the accomodation you menioned?
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