The great thing about our family Bali vacations with teenagers
is that they mix in fascinating cultural aspects alongside active adventures, and downtime on gorgeous beaches. Snorkelling, treetop ziplines, white-water rafting – these may be what grab your teens’ attention before you go, but very often it’s the quieter, more reflective moments that you’ll all remember long afterwards.
In Candidasa, for instance, you can spend a day with a farming family, learning how they grow the tropical plant pandan
whose leaves they then weave to make handicrafts for sale such as mats, trays and drink coasters. You can try your hand at making something yourself, then enjoy some tea and cakes.
And heading north to Amed on the east coast, where you can snorkel shipwrecks or try yoga on the beach, you’ll also take a guided walk through a landscape of tiered rice terraces.
It’s difficult to over-emphasise the importance of rice to Balinese culture. The terraces have been watered since the ninth century by a complex irrigation system known as subak
that isn’t just incredibly efficient and sustainable, but deeply religious. The process is managed by water temples, whose priests conduct rituals linking the natural world with the spirit world, binding Bali’s agrarian society together.
But Balinese rice-growing is threatened by water shortages
, a warming climate causing droughts that are exacerbated by the demands of tourist hotels. Staying in a succession of small, locally owned guest houses you’ll regularly see signs asking guests to conserve water, and after learning about the significance of rice to Balinese people, and the importance of water to rice-growing, the connection is easily made. With environmental concerns high on many teens’ agendas nowadays, an eye-opening excursion like this can really bring home the value of traveling responsibly.