After just returning from our family holiday to Bali with our kids the number one question I keep getting asked is should we still travel to Bali with kids? Will we be safe from the Mt Agung eruption? Should we cancel our trip? What is it like in Bali at the moment?
Our 2 families with 5 kids ranging in ages from 18 months to 8 years had a fantastic couple of weeks staying at the Padma Ubud, Sea Shanty Villa in Jimbaran and a night at the Grand Mirage Family Wing. When we flew to Bali on the 20th of November 2017, we were aware that Mt Agung was active but the alerts had appeared to go down. All this changed the next night when we found out through social media that Mt Agung had started to let of a bit of steam. Our trip did not become affected until the following week when the eruptions started to get more serious and the Bali airport was closed. The last few days of our trip were spent monitoring where the ash cloud was, if our flight would be cancelled home with Jetstar and just what would we do if that happened? We kept it as normal as we could for the kids, they were aware that the volcano had erupted but we still did lots of activities like days out at Waterbom and Splash.
I’m not sure without social media that we would have known about the volcano eruption. We did get quite a few text messages from concerned family and friends back in Australia but otherwise our holiday in Bali was relaxing and a lot of fun. Not seeing any planes land or take off in Jimbaran was an indication that something was going on and the other thing that may have indicated that something big had happened, is how quiet it was and how concerned the Balinese were about the lack of work and tourists. While people did not seem concerned in the tourist areas of Jimbaran, Nusa Dua and Canggu, there was no hiding the excitement on the Balinese faces when the planes starting flying again.
My thoughts were also turned to the evacuation camps near Mt Agung and all the displaced Balinese out of their homes. The images of these poor people living in terrible conditions made our situation seem insignificant and we hope our donations of money and clothes will go to help those affected. If you too would like to donate, Kopernik and Solemen are doing amazing work in helping the Balinese families displaced.
So should you currently travel to Bali with your family while Mt Agung is still active?
My answer is yes and no.
It all depends on your family circumstances.
- Ensure that you either have travel insurance or extra funds in case your flight is cancelled for accommodation and food. Also be aware of what exactly your travel insurance will cover and that you will need to first pay for your extra stay and then be reimbursed by the travel insurance company. Keep all receipts.
- If you can not afford to be stuck in Bali or have something that you have to return home for, I would seriously reconsider if you travel to Bali. At the moment Mt Agung is calm but still active underneath, who knows what may happen. Please don’t become one of those tourists that is complaining about the airlines cancelling flights when all they want to do is fly when it’s safe.
- Register with Smart Traveller if you are Australian or relevant government travel alert websites in your own country and check out any travel alerts they may have.
- Make sure you are kept up to date with what is occurring. This doesn’t mean to be alarmed but to ensure that you make the best decisions for your family. This article by Ubud Hood has a great list of excellent resources and many that we used while in Bali.
- Health wise, it comes down to being prepared so taking N95 masks from home and eye protection in case of an ash cloud. Extra medication in case your flight is cancelled is also a must. I was most concerned about Mason as he had only been in hospital the week before with asthma. At the first indication of ash, I would have kept him inside until the ash had cleared.
In the southern areas of Bali where most tourists stay, Mt Agung is at least 70kms away so any direct impact from a larger eruption is not likely. You may be like us and enjoy your holiday without any disruptions but as I said it’s best to be prepared for worst case scenario like ash in southern tourist areas.
If you do choose to go to Bali with your family have a great holiday! We did and the Balinese definitely appreciated our business. If we were due to fly out tomorrow we would still go. For your family your choice may be different, do what feels right for you. As we have learnt over these last couple of months, mother nature will do what she wants, when she wants.