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We were excited to return to Bali again and this time we traveled in a group of 10 people. My sister-in-law’s family included 2 adults and 3 kids aged 8 years to 13 years plus my brother-in-law. It was only a short trip this time, 8 nights in total but we couldn’t resist the cheap Jetstar flights that went on sale on May 23. Our flights per person including luggage and seats were $437 each, we are Club Jetstar members so we get a discount on flights, luggage, and seats. Check out the link here if you want to join too.
Our itinerary for our Bail holiday is below:
- Grand Mirage Bali in Tanjung Benoa 2 nights
- Bali Dynasty Resort in Kuta 2 nights
- Villa Joju Bali in Canggu 4 nights
We managed to pack in a huge amount for the 8 nights and it was a lot of fun traveling in a group. Can’t say it was my most relaxing trip though 😉
Table of Contents
- 1 Tuesday 8th August 2023: Flying to Bali and Grand Mirage Bali
- 2 Wednesday 9th August 2023: Grand Mirage Bali
- 3 Thursday 10th August 2023: Bali Bike Tour & Bali Dynasty Resort
- 4 Friday 11th August 2023: Bali Dynasty Resort
- 5 Saturday 12th August 2023: Quad Bike Riding & Villa Joju
- 6 Sunday 13th August 2023: Villa Joju
- 7 Monday 14th August 2023: Trans Studio & Villa Joju
- 8 Tuesday 15th August 2023: Villa Joju
- 9 Wednesday 16th August 2023: Flying Home to Melbourne
Tuesday 8th August 2023: Flying to Bali and Grand Mirage Bali
We left home at 5 a.m. and drove to Busy Beavers Airport parking near Melbourne Tullamarine airport. They delivered us in the van at the airport 20 minutes after we arrived at Busy Beavers and the drop-off point was conveniently located near the international terminal.
A couple of days prior to our flight, Jetstar had sent through that we could check in online. When we arrived at the terminal they still had check-in counters rather than bag drop so the only benefit was the boarding pass in our Apple wallet and if you had hand luggage only you could avoid the check-in lines.
Security was busy but moved quickly, from lining up to checking in and arriving at Duty-Free was 30 minutes. We arrived at the airport 2 hours 15 minutes prior to our flight time. I headed straight to St Ali’s for a coffee and then found an area near a vacant gate to spread out and chill with everyone.
Was very foggy in Melbourne so our flight took off 1 hour late. On the 787 Dreamliner plane, we had seats 24 FGHJ as I couldn’t book our usual upfront seats behind business. I brought plenty of snacks and the kids ordered the mac n cheese and the sausage roll pie combo. Remember there are only card facilities on board, and no cash is accepted.
The flight went really quick and we made up for departing late from Melbourne in the air. As we came to approach Bali Airport we were put in the dreaded holding pattern as so many planes were trying to land. We were due to land at 1:50 p.m. but ended up landing at 2:10 p.m. Our gate was the furthest from the immigration hall but a quick walk after the flight felt great! I had organised everyone’s electronic voa before we left for Bali, you can find details on how I did that in this post.
When we arrived at the immigration hall we could head to the right and join the immigration lines. If you need to purchase a Visa on Arrival you will need to go to the left-hand side to line up. The line was very short when we walked by but we were also seated at the front of our plane so one of the first people to the hall.
From departing the plane to the luggage hall it took 20 minutes so very quick. Most of our bags were out within 20 minutes but one of the group’s suitcases had burst so off to luggage services for half of our group.
As our family had all of our luggage we proceeded through customs, showed our QR code (this was done 2 days prior to flying out, see our blog post here for details), and stopped at the SIM store to pick up our pre-organised SIMs through Klook. It only took a few minutes for the staff to swap over the SIMs for our phones and we were set for internet in Bali for the holiday.
We then walked past duty-free and stopped at Starbucks while we waited for the rest of the group. Good spot to meet if you are traveling with separate families on the same flight and then you can walk out to meet your driver together. Alex from Epo Bali Driver met us with the van he had organised to carry 9 of us with all of our luggage.
The drive to the Grand Mirage in Tanjung Benoa took 25 minutes and Alex of course had drinks including Bintangs for us adults!
For our 2 night stay our family stayed in the main wing at The Grand Mirage and my sister-in-law’s family was in the family wing. We stayed in the family wing in 2017 so wanted to try out the main wing this time. We also had all-inclusive for our stay and can highly recommend if you are planning to relax at the resort. Mason took off his arm band before bed on the first night but in the morning when we took the band to reception they were able to replace it.
Our gorgeous nanny Kadek was waiting for us in the lobby and I highly recommend having your nanny come and meet you when you first arrive. It gives you time to do the check-in process, settle into your room, and get the kids ready for the pool.
Our room was number 3346 and one of the stunning 2 bedroom suites overlooking the main pool and ocean at Grand Mirage Resort.
Straight to the pool as is usually the way when we arrive in Bali and drinks plus food for everyone. We visited the other family in the family wing and the kids had fun going down the waterslides while we enjoyed the cocktails.
For dinner, it was room service for the boys with the nannies and the girls and adults ate at the buffet in the main wing restaurant Grand Cafe. Food was plentiful and yummy, we were so full and all ready for an early bedtime after a long day of travel.
Wednesday 9th August 2023: Grand Mirage Bali
I love the first morning in Bail! Mason woke me up at 4:30 am which is pretty standard for us due to the time difference. He decided that a bath was the thing to start his day and play with the toys that Bali Kidz Hire had delivered to the hotel. Love that he was entertained in the room until the sun came up!
Jed joined us for our morning walk along the beach path of Tanjung Benoa. Really easy to wander along and enjoy the sunrise.
After our walk we ventured down to breakfast in the Main Wing and what a selection! There was a huge amount of food including different cuisines, gluten-free food, and almond milk lattes. The coffee was great, I don’t often say that about hotels!
We spent the morning swimming in the pools, exchanging money, shopping at Cocomart across from Grand Mirage for snacks and I walked up the street for a coffee at Mama Krisna Coffee & Kitchen.
Kadek our nanny arrived at 12 pm so Jed and I enjoyed lunch together at the Jukung restaurant overlooking the beach and the food/drinks were good.
After lunch, I enjoyed relaxing by the adults-only pool while Jed went for a massage at Ayuning Spa on the street. $7 for a 1 hour Balinese massage. The foam party was at 3 pm at the Family wing so I went to watch Mason have a lot of fun! We then went to the beach in front of the family wing for a swim before I visited the Thalasso Spa at the resort for a massage. Approx. $75 for a 1-hour massage, the spa is beautiful and was very relaxing.
The seafood buffet dinner with a dance show was on at the Main Wing but not all of our group wanted seafood so we ate at Jukung Restaurant. A great range of dinner options including delicious cocktails. The table service was good but the food took some time to come out. It was OK as we were on holiday and in no rush!
Thursday 10th August 2023: Bali Bike Tour & Bali Dynasty Resort
Mason only woke at 5:45 am so we had a sleep-in 😉 We were up just in time to watch the sunrise from the balcony and then it was time to organise the family, pack up, eat breakfast, and check out before Alit our driver picked us up at 7:30 am.
Alit was driving us near Ubud for us to join up with Ubud Cycling Bike for a bike tour. We were lucky enough to experience a tour with them in 2017 and we were keen to try it out again! The drive took 2 hours so everyone was very glad to arrive! Komang and his team are so accommodating and fantastic with the kids. The van follows behind so if anyone needs a rest they can catch a ride in the van. We asked Komang if we could do the following things from the tour: visit the private house, ride along the streets, visit a waterfall, and enjoy lunch. It was amazing fun and we all loved it.
We finished lunch after the bike tour at 1:45 pm and then Alit drove us the 2 hours back to the Bali Dynasty Resort in Kuta. We were spending the next 2 nights so we could visit Waterbom Waterpark. We had the family studio room at the front of the resort this time and it was great to be away from the busy main pool. You can find our full review in our blog post. Everyone was exhausted after a huge day but it was straight to the pool for happy hour and then an early room service dinner for the boys and the nannies.
Us 4 adults and 2 older girls were picked up by our friend Made at 6:30 pm for the 30-minute drive to Cuca Restaurant in Jimbaran. This would be Jed’s and I third visit to Cuca, which we had previously visited in 2016 and 2017. One of my favourite restaurants in Bali so I was keen to finally get back! Beautiful surroundings, amazing staff, and the food is divine. A must-visit!
Friday 11th August 2023: Bali Dynasty Resort
Early morning walks around Kuta for Mason and me. We wandered up past Lippo Mall, through Bintang Bali Resort, and up to Holiday Inn Baruna. We loved our stay at the Holiday Inn in 2016 and next trip we will have to stay again. I love the huge open space of the gardens on the beachfront. Back along the beach path for buffet breakfast at H20 at the Bali Dynasty. A good range of options, you needed to pay for the barista coffee and it was just okay.
We had a day planned at Waterbom Waterpark so we walked the 8-minute walk to Waterbom from Bali Dynasty. We had booked the new VIP pool edge gazebo in the new Oasis Garden section of Waterbom. The perfect spot for our group of 16 people, with so many inclusions including our very own concierge. We love going to Waterbom and find cheap tickets through Klook or going directly through the website.
I had a meeting at Gracie Kelly’s after lunch so it was very easy to get back from Waterbom through the Grab app. It only cost less than $1 and the motorbike picked me up at the entrance and dropped me off at the pub, the best way to travel around!
After leaving Waterbom at 5 pm we had a rest before walking up to Lippo Mall to have a look around. Plenty at Lippo Mall including a cinema, shops including an arcade, an Apple store, a supermarket, and a play area for the younger kids. Mason had a burger at the Krusty Krab as he is a huge Spongebob fan.
We enjoyed the Malam buffet dinner at the Bali Dynasty Resort, with plenty of Indonesian food and Balinese dancers for entertainment. The AFL football was on so the girls watched it on the big screen at Gracie Kelly’s.
Saturday 12th August 2023: Quad Bike Riding & Villa Joju
The family all slept in this morning but I still woke up early so I went for a walk towards Kuta and Discovery Mall along the beach path. Super easy to walk along and also no scooters allowed so extra safe with the kids. Still a huge amount of empty stores at Discovery Mall but it appeared that more were to be opening soon. I found myself at Kuta Square and stopped at Bare Bottle for a coffee. A great cafe with milk lab milks and a huge range of smoothie bowls. A Grab motorbike back so I could join the family at breakfast at Senses Restaurant.
We visited the Bali Dynasty Resort kids club and Mason had fun on the climbing wall. We then checked out and I had one of our drivers take all of our luggage directly to Villa Joju in Canggu. We were then picked up by the drivers from Aussie Bali Adventures for our family quad-biking tour.
The drive took approximately 1.5 hours to reach the start of the quad bike tour near Pasut Beach. Check out the tour we did with Aussie Bali Adventures here. We began by getting fitted out in helmets and gear before driving towards the beach. We had two tandem bikes for the 7 and 9 year old and everyone else had a single bike. Easy to ride and the guides were awesome at waiting and showing us the way to the beach. We then spent time riding along the beach, taking photos, and stopping to look at a few temples. Was fantastic fun!
We then drove through the village to our next stop at Wisata Alam TBK Bali. A huge space on a river, there was a bar with drinks, a trampoline for the kids, and swings to enjoy the view from. Finally, we drove the quad bikes back to the office, rinsed off our feet and legs then they drove us to lunch at a local warung. The tour including lunch took 2.5 hours and we highly recommend it.
The drivers then drove us back to Villa Joju in Canggu to check in for the next 4 nights. I’m always thinking when I plan our Bali holidays how I can prevent us from sitting in the cars too long in traffic. Transferring between the Bali Dynasty and Villa Joju with the day trip helped fill in the 3 hours between check-in/out and we didn’t have to drive all the way back to Kuta. Google Maps is extra helpful when planning where you will stay and things to do. We love Villa Joju so much and this was our second stay after we last were there in October 2019. Check out our full review here.
We had organised with the villa manager Ayu to have dinner at Villa Joju the perfect choice after a huge day. Was also awesome to watch the fantastic Matilda’s match, go girls!
Sunday 13th August 2023: Villa Joju
I always love waking up in a villa knowing we can just walk downstairs to have breakfast served. The trend of a 5:30 am wake-up continued but this time we chilled out in bed as the sun rose and I caught up on social media for the blog. It is always such a tricky balance on our Bali trips, trying to relax but keeping up with the blog. Breakfast at Villa Joju was a selection of fruits, eggs, pancakes, and a Nespresso coffee.
After breakfast, we wandered locally near Villa Joju and had a coffee at the KAI cafe & bar. Delicious coffee and a great selection of food and drinks.
Evermotion Photography arrived at 10 a.m. to take family photos at the villa. I always find it great value to split it across a couple of families. The cost was 3 million IDR or approximately $300AUD, this included edited photos as well as all photos taken. The photographers are always so patient and nothing is ever a problem, we loved the result.
The girls had booked in-villa massages and facials after the photos and I ordered via the Grab app McDonalds for the kids as they kept asking me to 😉 The things we do on holidays!
I booked myself in at Bodyworks for a pedicure and the Grab motorbike only took 10 minutes to get there. A motorbike is definitely the best way to get around Canggu.
We decided for sunset we would head down to Caravan on Berawa Beach. It was quite busy and I hadn’t made a booking but they managed to find a table of 10 for us. Perfect spot to enjoy a cocktail while Mason enjoyed being buried in the sand by our nanny Mella. This was the first time we had used Mella, she was a lovely girl and did a great job with Mason.
After sunset, we walked the short distance down the beach and thought we would try Finns VIP for dinner. It was incredibly loud walking through and I could tell it was not going to suit our group so we walked across the street to One Eyed Jack. We last visited in October 2019 and we love the delicious Japanese food with the awesome kid’s menu. A great meal and it was easy to get a Grab car across the road at the entrance to Atlas Beach Club.
Once back at the villa the staff set up a movie in the sunken lounge and cooked up popcorn for everyone to enjoy. A great way to end a lovely day.
Monday 14th August 2023: Trans Studio & Villa Joju
I woke before Mason at 6 a.m. to get up and enjoy the sunrise. My favourite time of day in Bali, is the sound of the day beginning. Jed joined us for an early morning walk up past Bali Equestrian Centre, down Jl Tegal Sari and we stopped at Satusatu Coffee Company for a coffee and breakfast. Great spot with awesome prices.
We then relaxed at the villa until we ordered a Grab car to take us to Trans Studio. The Trans Studio Mall opens at 10 a.m. and has a range of shops, a small play center, and even Starbucks if that’s what you are into.
Trans Studio opens at 11 am but the ticket counter opens around 10:45 am. We had such an amazing day at Trans Studio. There were light projections as you walked in, a Titanic replica boat to get pictures on, a roller coaster on the roof of the building, go-karts, indoor rides, themed shows, and much more. We ate lunch there but not a huge range of food. Just be aware that they don’t allow pass-outs. You may want to consider eating lunch and then going in the afternoon.
Mason tried out the iFly and it was the funniest thing. He had no control over his legs and the poor Balinese staff member worked hard for it. We left the studio at 3:45 p.m. and looked around the mall. They had a pop-up store that included a car racing game so of course Mason had to do it! Also near the racing game was a human claw machine to try and get as many treats as he could.
We finally left at 4:20 p.m. and had a Grab car attempt to drive us back to the villa. All went OK until we reached near the intersection of Jl Pantai Berawa and Gg Batu Sari. It had taken us 1 hour and 15 minutes to reach this spot but then we didn’t move for 15 minutes. I quickly came to realise that it would take us 1-2 hours to get through the intersection so we got out of the car and walked through the maze of cars and motorbikes up the hill until we could easily walk down Jl Pantai Berawa, only took us 10 minutes
By the time the boys arrived back in the other car we wanted an easy dinner so we walked the short distance to Pittore, an Italian restaurant serving delicious pizza and pastas. Everything was very yummy and at a great price.
Tuesday 15th August 2023: Villa Joju
This morning it was I who woke at 5:45 am and Mason slept in. So I popped on my runners and went for a long walk down Jl Pantai Berawa and stopped in at Butterman for a coffee. A gorgeous cafe with the most delicious pastries. I continued on past Milk and Madu, Milk by Nook, and Mimpi Mannis until I had another coffee at Lusa by Suka. One of my favourite cafes in Ubud, and I was pleased to see it in Canggu. Jed and Mason walked down to Butterman and I jumped on the back of a Grab motorbike to meet them, I had to try a croissant 😉 Mason loved riding on the motorbike the short distance back to Villa Joju.
It was time to relax at Villa Joju by the pool and I also had a chance to look through Villa Joju Alit next door. See our full blog post review of Villa Joju for all the photos and videos.
The girls and I booked a manicure at J-Jireh Spa a short walk from Villa Joju. Comfy surroundings and a good job of the manicure.
After I arrived back Mason wanted to go to Bounce at Finns and we also went upstairs to Strike as they had a racing car game that Mason was very keen to try. It was time for a swim at Splash and the great thing was the VIP membership cards from Villa Joju gave us free entry plus discounts at Bounce and food at Splash. Such great value when villas include cards.
Back to the villa for a chill out before I jumped on a motorbike to Batu Bolong beach. Was keen to have a drink at the new Motel Mexicola in Canggu but they were closed for the blessing ceremony so it was a walk along the beach instead.
Bintangs by the Villa Joju pool for our last sunset in Bali, so relaxing we didn’t want to leave. We had a couple of Grab cars pick us up and drop us off at Milu by Nook for dinner. Such a gorgeous restaurant, the food and drinks were great value and the staff was amazing.
Wednesday 16th August 2023: Flying Home to Melbourne
Our last morning was spent packing and enjoying our last cooked breakfast by the Villa Joju staff. Quickly popped out to the Quickmart for snacks for the plane and a coffee from Jikaa Cafe (30 meters from Villa Joju). So hard to say goodbye to Ayu, her lovely staff, and Villa Joju!
The drive to the airport took 50 minutes and we left at 9:10 am. Our flight was due for departure at 12:45 pm so I usually aim to arrive between 2.5 and 3 hours before our flight. Security entrance was quite quick but both the line for Jetstar and immigration was quite long. It took us 45 minutes to reach duty-free after Immigration.
We found a table at Wolfgang Puck Kitchen and Bar, they had a great range of food selections and served Expat Roasters coffee. Not cheap for our meals but at least we were full for the flight. We boarded the plane at 12:45 p.m. and took off 30 minutes after the scheduled departure time. The flight was great, I will miss the 787s when Jetstar stops flying them to Bali.
We landed on time in Melbourne but we had issues being allocated a gate so spent another 30 minutes on the plane. We were finally off and could watch Matilda’s game against England that had just started. It was so funny walking through the airport and people watching the game. Our luggage was extra quick and we were back at Busy Beavers in no time.
We had an amazing 8 nights in Bali and it was great to stay at some of our favourite places in Bali again. So many adventures packed into the 8 nights, we absolutely loved riding bikes through the villages in Bali, driving the quad bikes on the beach, and visiting Trans Studio for the first time.
Feel free to join our Facebook Group if you want to connect with other families planning their Bali holidays.