As every year I knew well into 2017 that I was not going to spend the following winter in Germany. In fact, I haven’t spent an entire winter in Europe for the past 13 years, why break with this tradition? Knowing I would be traveling with my 3-year old I opted for a place I had only been once many years ago but kept hearing wonderful things about: Bali.

Also referred to as “Nanny island” I was curious to see what this Indonesian paradise would hold in store for me and my little one. Shortly after booking our Premium Economy flights with Singapore Airlines (which by the way are definitely the way forward with traveling to Bali) I got into the nitty gritty of planning our stay and realised quickly that Bali held a lot of options for people visiting with kids. I was quick to book a gorgeous and very affordable pool villa in Umalas, a part of Canggu which turned out to be a lovely and peaceful haven with plenty of amazing cafes and restaurants. Though not directly located by the sea, Uber picks up from here and has you and your family at the beach within 10 minutes for less than 1€.

A large house meant we could house a live in nanny which I found via the Canggu community Facebook group, by simply posting a shout out. The same tactic found me our stunning villa which was far better value than anything I had found on Airbnb. I had my house and my babysitter but what would my little guy and I be doing for 2 whole months? I roamed the web for answers, asked locals and went on a spree to explore all that is good with kids. This is the list of my favorite things to do in Bali with (small) children.

1 Waterbom

This is a bit of a splurge and not something you want to pay for every day, but one day of your holiday should really be spent here, supposedly Asia’s biggest and baddest water park which not only kids will enjoy. All the facilities are extremely well maintained, the loo’s are clean and the food is tasty. There are so many rides here and during off season you won’t be queuing for any of them for more than 5 minutes. I have seen slides here I haven’t seen in any other water park before, so make sure to swing by here one day and enjoy the goodness.

2 Pirate Bay at Nusa Dua Beach

Fancy a lazy day by the beach? Make it this one! Nusa Dua beach might be a bit of a drive from Canggu but it’s worth it because you can easily lounge away an entire day here. Due to a small peninsula here there are actually 2 stretches of beach, left and right from you and you get to choose between calm waters and super flat entry (perfect for toddlers!) and a deeper, slightly choppier ocean stretch. Both beaches are clean and beautiful and will please your eyes as much as your instagram following. While you could easily just find a lounge chair and lie down, I recommend picking a bean bag or a table at Pirate Bay, to enjoy the comforts of readymade food and drinks (although no culinary master pieces here), nearby bathroom facilities and a beautiful garden with swings, tree houses and a pirate ship, waiting for little pirates to hop on and play play play.

3 La Casita

Oh the many hours we spent here, this little cafe is just one for the heart. There is a super adorable little playground attached to this open-walled restaurant where your littles can play in a tree house, a pirate ship and a children’s kitchen, or they could engage in some arts and crafts, that are regularly being offered here. The smoothie bowls are nice and there are some good deals on kid’s meals, although on the whole the Peruvian fare served here is nothing out of the ordinary.

4 Joglo

The Joglo is a larger version of La Casita and features a slides, swings and even a trampoline! We came here often, it’s a great place to lounge and read a book or getting some work done on your laptop, while the kids are having fun on the enclosed outdoor playground. There is also decent ice cream here and some pretty good deals on kids meals and Friday’s they offer kids movie nights.

5 Canggu Club

If money isn’t an issue to you, Canggu Club could work for you. Officially called Finn’s recreational beach club, most people simply refer to this place as Canggu Club. There is a water park here, which is smaller than Waterbom but still nice to fill a day worth of happy splashing and riding down long slides. You’ll also find a kids Club, a Gym and more.

6 Monkey Forest

Monkey Forest is the one thing n his list, which is really a sight-seeing staple of any Bali trip. Monkey Forest is in Ubud which you may or may not be visiting on your Bali adventure, as it is located closer to the middle of the island. However, my son loved this place where hundreds of monkeys just roam freely, eat bananas and occasionally jump on visitors, so be careful and follow the park guidelines. I would definitely recommend this place more than the zoo or the bird park or the other attractions around Ubud that are advertised as family-friendly.

7 Pool and Beach at Haven Suites

Although most hotels and villas you might be booking in Bali, finding one that is also close to the beach is not necessarily a given. Even more reason to come to Haven Suites, which is the only hotel in Canggu I know of that lets outside guests use their beautiful large pool. What I love about the pool is that it’s divided in a good sized deep pool for swimmers and one that even smaller kids can stand in. There is good coffee here too and direct access to the beach. If you’re looking for a hotel, the rooms at Haven Suites are large and good value.

8 The Garden

Do you need to get something done where you can’t bring your kids? Does your little one miss playing with other children? The garden might be the answer to both problems. This is a kindergarten center which features a flexible drop-off option for visiting parents. Best is to commit to 15 hours, which come at the discounted price of just 500.000 IDR, as opposed to 60.000 for one hour. The Garden Early Learning Centre is located right next to Sprout, a popular cafe serving fresh baked goods and decent coffee.

9 Beach Clubs

We only discovered beach clubs later into our trip and regretfully so, because these places are a perfect place to waste away time as a family. There are many to choose from in Bali and each one has a different perk to it. Our favorite one was The Lawn, a small and vibey place with a tiny pool and right by a beautiful stretch of beach. There are some epic sunsets to be watched here, kid-friendly live music in the evenings, very good mocktails and food. All at very good rates, so this place is an all around winner. If your kids love pool time, Mrs Sippy could be a good address, although the many tweens here don’t actually make this a family-focused place. La Laguna is my absolute favorite for epic sunsets, with or without children.

10 Bike Tour through the Rice Fields

Truth be told, I didn’t end up booking this tour, although I so badly wanted to. I love biking and I love rice fields so being able to enjoy both while my little one chills on the bike children’s seat seemed ideal. Ubud-based Bali Go Bike gets good reviews and offers baby seats at an additional rate. They provide pick-up from other parts of the island so you don’t have to be staying in Ubud to join.