Zac is well on the mend from his surgery. But not enough to do many of his favourite things, or even ride a motorbike — and most of his friends are away.
You see, a lot of Zac’s favourite things for kids to do in Bali are on the active side. Neither of us want to risk waterslides, ziplines, whitewater rafting or surfing when he’s got a three-inch incision in his abdomen that isn’t fully healed.
My real focus is for him to be well recovered in time to see his dad in Australia, and fully healed for Nepal, where we’re planning to trek to Everest Base Camp.
It’s not that we’re Ubud-ed out.
It’s the nature of life that when you spend a long time in a place, you’re much less likely to see the main attractions — we checked off more big-ticket items in a few days in Lebanon than we did in months in Bali, and saw a lot more on a big day out in London than we’d have done in months when we lived there.
Out of Bali’s star attractions, we have yet to climb Mount Batur, the volcano which dominates the centre of the island, or visit Bali’s most famous temple, Pura Besakih. Zac has expressed zero interest in either the Bali Bird Park or the Elephant Sanctuary.
And… We’ve done none of these on this visit, either. Out of all the things to do with kids in Bali, this is what he chose:
Zac displays a touching concern for our travel budget, except when it comes to his favourite restaurants, Tutmak, an international bistro affair whose daily specials board he scans for carpaccio, Cafe des Artistes, a Belgian place with a shady garden that has, we think, the best steaks on the island, and Pizza Bagus, where he rates both the deli and the pizzas.
Have a Fish Pedicure
We first came across doctor fish in Siem Reap, and allowing fish to eat away the dead skin on your feet is now a popular tourist activity across South-East Asia. You can find fish pedicures on Jalan Raya Ubud, on Monkey Forest Road and even at the airport.
Go to Art Galleries
Zac loves the drop photography at the Infinity Gallery. The owner began taking photos of water droplets and printing them on canvas, then took early retirement and turned his hobby into his business.
We love Pondok Pekak, the library and learning centre on the football field in the heart of Ubud, which has an extensive menu of classes for kids and kidults alike. Zac’s outgrown fruit carving, so he designed and made his dad a birthday present out of wood (here’s more on arts classes in Ubud).
Look at Birds
As we learnt on the Bali bird walk, Ubud is remarkably rich in birds. And the cockatoos in the garden of the opulent Blanco Museum, once the residence of a Catalan artist and his Balinese dancer wife, made a nice substitute.
For a $20 hotel, ours has a gorgeous pool (it’s Gayatri 2). And we spent a lot of time in it this visit. Not so much swimming as footling around…
Cooking classes? He’s done that. Temples? Seen ‘em. Spice farms and coffee plantations? Check.
But, as we head off down to Seminyak, a rather more upscale part of southern Bali, where we’ll be based in advance of the usual antisocial flight to see his father, it feels as though we really haven’t done enough…