Indonesia & Bali Customer Reviews
We are very proud of the feedback that we get from our trips and are pleased to share reviews from past travellers. These are kept as up to date as possible. Please have a read through to get a real sense of the kind of experience that you might have on a family trip to Bali.
Miller Family (with two 12 year olds and teenagers aged 16 & 18)
Travelled October Half Term 2023
Dear Liddy. Well, we had the most INCREDIBLE trip. It really was out of this world brilliant and loved by all of us. Bali is truly magical so thank you for making it all happen. Singapore was great and when we arrived in Bali all went seamlessly – the beach hotel was out of this world brilliant. Just so perfect for us in every way – the food, the pool, the rooms, the service… utter heaven. Surfing was on the beach outside and the kids loved it.
The trip up to Ubud was great – longer than in the itinerary, but we loved the birds and the monkeys! The hotel was great – probably better for honeymooners (as you anticipated) but nevertheless amazing and the villa worked so well for us. The food was brilliant and spa gorgeous.
We LOVED the cycling trip and white water rafting – SO fun! We had a great lunch at Jungle Fish with the poolside DJ It was really fun for the boys.
Then the highlight was arriving at Ungasan – OUT OF THIS WORLD INCREDIBLE!!!!!! I’ll send you pics.
The villa was unimaginably amazing, the service ridiculously good and the beach club below was just so, so fun. The boys enjoyed 2 days of golf and we just relaxed a the villa or on the beach – it was truly spectacular.
I have to say, it was the best holiday we’ve ever had and we have come home with some real treasured memories.
Thank you for helping us with organising it all and I look forward to my 50th in 2 years – what adventure next?!!
Hall Family (with teenagers aged 16 & 17)
Travelled Summer 2023
Hi Emma. We had a great trip and really enjoyed Bali. It worked well for us all with a nice balance of activity and relaxation. We had a great first week in Ubud. The hotel was lovely. The restaurant was a bit quiet but there were lots of other good eateries within a short walk to explore. Activities-wise we really enjoyed the mountain biking trip and the whitewater rafting both were well organised with friendly guides and lots of fun. The cooking lesson was absolutely fantastic – it felt really special to share the evening with a family in their own home – a really intimate and authentic experience. I think this was our overall highlight. We were less inspired but the monkey forest and bird park, but this would probably suit slightly younger children.
We enjoyed Kintamani – the scenery is absolutely stunning. The Mt Batur sunrise climb was spectacular, but quite crowded – 30 years ago I believe there were just 6 of us!! Our guides suggested that hiking in the volcanos may be outlawed in the future due to cultural sensitivities – it was easy to see why! The hotel in Kintamani was also pretty good although the restaurant was very limited. There are a few places in the surrounding area but they all close quite early the hotel does run a free shuttle though. The hot springs were basically a pool complex and very crowded – we didn’t stay long!
We enjoyed Seminyak – a lovely beach and great hotel pool and a really buzzing, vibrant location with some great shops, bars and clubs – the girls were definitely in their element!! We enjoyed the snorkelling trip, but a bit of a schlep to get there and sadly the coral is a bit tired but good to get out to some of the islands.
We also enjoyed the input from the guides on each of our trips and transfers. They shared great insight into life in Bali and Cultural, political and historical aspects. Most of the temple stops were worthwhile and the few “commercial” stops were enjoyable rather than a pressure to buy.
We really felt that you got the balance right for our trip, so thank you for your expertise and insight.
Randolph Family (with teenagers aged 17 & 19)
Travelled Summer 2023 – Bali & Komodo Islands
Hi Liddy /Jess. Thanks very much for organising our trip to Bali and the Komodo islands. We had a really fabulous time. The itinerary was just about perfect though in hindsight we would have liked (time permitting) to stay one or two nights extra in Ubud. Our activities which we did from there were great but meant that we had no time to go into Ubud itself or spend much time at the gorgeous villas. We have so many highlights from the holiday: cycling around Kintamani villages and rice fields at the very beginning with a great guide, quad biking, cooking which included an interesting tour of the local village, white water rafting, the sunrise trek up Mount Batur coincidentally on Independence Day, cliff jumping at Sambangan secret garden ( including the 15-metre jump which J did !!), a village trek and waterfall swimming from the Sanak retreat, seeing 8 Komodo dragons, the pink beach (all to ourselves!) and all the snorkelling trips (I think we did 6 in total!). We loved them all.
Our last four days at Sanur were very relaxing and the hotel was a lovely oasis of calm and we were very pleased we stayed there rather than other places in Sanur. We went for a day trip to Kuta to go surfing; we used Grab taxis and that worked very well despite the heavy Bali traffic which we gradually got used to during our fortnight trip!
Debenham Family (with children aged 11 & 13)
Travelled Summer 2023 – Flores, Komodo Islands & Bali
Hi Liddy. Overall Flores is an utter dream destination – I can’t believe how unspoilt it is. Breathtaking scenery, incredible people, and a wide variety of things to do. What we loved: 1. Riung snorkeling & fish bbq trip – incredible to do this with so few other tourists. 2. Bajawa – going to the villages & springs, trekking. 3. Seraya – utterly idyllic, great food and hospitality. Kayaking out to tiny white sand islands, snorkelling in clear warm sea, fun day’s tour to Komodo etc. 4. Michael our guide, and Ofan, our driver. Michael in particular was attentive, knowledgeable, fun, brilliant English, and flexible. Always making sure we had plenty of water! One of the highlights of the trip was being invited to his house for a celebratory dinner with his family for his son’s birthday. What a privilege.
We didn’t love Ubud – totally overcrowded, the traffic on Bali is awful. A lot of travel just to see Ubud.
Amazing trip, thanks.
Cotter Family (with teenagers aged 15 & 17)
Travelled Summer 2023
Hi Sarah and Helene, we have had a fantastic holiday thanks. Bali is a beautiful country – the people are SO friendly and happy, the food is delicious and the scenery is utterly spectacular! The work that you guys did to arrange all the accommodation and activities for us was much appreciated – we couldn’t fault it! Our guide in Bali (Gustaaf) was lovely and all of the taxi drivers were all very prompt and helpful, as well as all the guides for the various activities. It was so nice knowing we didn’t have to organise anything whilst we were there. All of our planned activities were fabulous, with the white water rafting, cycling tour through the paddy fields and snorkeling particular highlights! Thanks to Helene for making us such a fabulous holiday – I have already recommended your company to friends so hope you will get some more business through our recommendation! Many thanks.
Maskery Family (with teenagers aged 16 & 18)
Travelled Summer 2023
Dear Jess and Liddy. As promised some feedback on our fabulous trip to Bali and the Komodo Islands. We had an absolutely amazing time and were very impressed with our guide and driver who not only made everything run like clockwork but were also such lovely guys. We learned a lot about Balinese life and their customs on our car journeys. It was all really interesting. Everywhere we went the people were among the friendliest and most welcoming I have ever met. The itinerary worked perfectly for us. We get easily bored lying on a beach so 12 days of being busy followed by 3 days of rest and relaxation was ideal. We enjoyed the stops en route on our car journeys (a couple of beautiful temples, the spice garden to sample luwak coffee and of course the secret garden waterfalls).
Thank you so much for organising someone to see us through immigration and to help sort out the visas once we arrived, this was a godsend after such a long journey. But even more fabulous were the 2 ladies who met us at Bali airport for our return journey. They fast-tracked us through check-in and immigration (where there was a huge queue) and then took us to the lounge. I hadn’t expected this. We felt a little bit guilty being treated like minor celebrities being whisked to the front of the queues!
Highlights of our holiday were:
– Our stay in Ubud. We loved the hotel here and enjoyed exploring the shops and eating out in the evening. The activities in Ubud were also brilliant…. cycling tour followed by a delicious lunch, white water rafting and cooking in a local village. The guides on these trips were all fabulous. We especially enjoyed the cooking. Walking through the village initially learning about village life was fascinating. The cooking (and eating!) was really fun, and our guide Dewa was so lovely.
– Pemuteran and snorkelling on Menjangan Island…wow, some of the best snorkelling I have ever done! The Plataran Resort was also sublime.
– Secret Garden waterfalls. This was a huge hit with the kids who both jumped 15 metres several times!
– Komodo Cruise. Five lovely, lovely guys looking after us, the food was fabulous. We snorkelled with turtles, manta rays, little sharks and thousands of tropical fish, and on the last morning, a pod of dolphins swam past the boat…magical. We were lucky enough to see lots of Komodo dragons too. The scenery on and off the boat was beautiful. It was a fabulous few days and afterwards, we were very thankful to have 3 days resting on the beach before coming home.
Thank you so much for organising a wonderful and memorable family holiday for us. We can’t wait to book another holiday with you and will most certainly be recommending you to our friends and family.
Russell Family (with children aged 12, 14 & 16)
Travelled Summer 2023
Hi Sinead and Tracy. We had an amazing holiday, thank you! We have been impressed with Stubborn Mule from start to finish. When we first started planning our big family trip I didn’t even know where we wanted to go, so the initial advice on location was fab. We love Bali from the culture and the people to the array of beautiful scenery. The amount of time in each location was perfect – we had a good mix of relaxing time and exploring by ourselves, to all the activities we had planned through Stubborn Mule. The trips planned and suggested by you were good quality – the white water rafting and snorkelling especially. Also, the waterfall jumping.
Our guide booked an ATV trip for us which was also excellent. It felt very stress-free having the trips already organised for us – we just got picked up and taken there, our guide sorted out the tickets and made sure everything was all good on arrival. Our guide and driver were lovely, friendly and always so helpful. We felt we were in safe hands with them.
Accommodation – just wow! I don’t know how we can top a couple of the places we stayed at. The Balinese staff were so welcoming at each place too…
We loved absolutely everything about Bali. Such an amazing experience for us all and a wonderful family trip. We will definitely use Stubborn Mule again for further family adventures – the main problem is just choosing where to go next! Thanks to you all and to Sinead for all the help in making such a memorable time for our family.
Goss Family (with children aged 9 & 13)
Travelled Summer 2023
Hi Kelly. Many thanks for arranging the trip, we all had an amazing time and I was delighted by how smoothly everything went. Having travelled a lot pre-kids, I was keen to take them on an adventurous holiday and so pleased that we booked via you, it took all the stress out of travelling with kids. Both Bali and Lombok were beautiful and we were fortunate enough to be in Bali during Gallungun celebrations, so experienced a lot of culture as a result. The holiday was exactly what we were looking for, with the right balance of culture, adventure and relaxation.
The itinerary was perfect for us and after a busy first few days, we went to the beach for a few days of relaxation and when it was time to move on, we’d found ourselves looking forward to some more activities.
We absolutely loved all of it but particular highlights were:
– Bike ride through the countryside
– White water rafting in Ubud – just right for the kids, not extreme
– Cooking with the Balinese family (I’ve been constantly harassed to cook the recipes again since arriving home)
– Snorkeling in Gili T, a particular highlight being swimming with a huge turtle
– The hike in Senaru and swimming in the waterfall pool, the female guide was fantastic and my daughters both really bonded with the guide and her assistant.
The accommodation was great everywhere but particularly loved the hotel in Gili T, where the staff were so friendly. Timings worked perfectly and the 24-hour helpline was fantastic, we used it twice when we couldn’t locate our transport and the issues were resolved quickly. The guides were flexible throughout and were more than happy to adjust the plans (always to ensure my youngest had a bit of time in the pool at the end of the day).
We have booked again via Stubborn Mule for next year and certainly hope that the trip lives up to our holiday in Bali and Lombok.
Barratt Family (with children aged 3, 5 & 8)
Travelled Summer 2022
Hi Helene. Indonesia was incredible! We had an amazing time, and all of the arrangements and plans worked like clockwork. Your Bali colleagues were extremely professional and Budda (our guide) and Leon (our driver) quickly became part of our family! T (age 3 1/2) ended up riding shotgun in the minibus wherever we went, and sat between the two of them. In fact, travelling with the children was like travelling with celebrities – people everywhere we went were enthralled by their fair skin and blond hair! It was particularly special to see how they began to accept the different culture/customs and settle into the rhythms of travelling somewhere so different.
The Balinese were delightful and we had no unpleasant experiences/encounters at all (bar some ‘enthusiastic’ salesmanship in Kuta perhaps!). The food was delicious. Both Nasi Goreng and Satay Ayam became firm favourites of the boys. I won’t lie, we did find the odd pizza here and there too! The hotels were perfect. Each different from the last and yet all welcoming to our family and with the essential swimming pools to keep the boys exercised and happy!
Particular highlights for us:
Komodo National Park – touring the islands on Cajoma 3 was incredible. The water and snorkelling just amazing, and it was fascinating to see the dragons. Wonderful trip.
Gili Islands – amazing snorkelling and a lovely hotel. Glad we were on the ‘quiet’ side of the island. Felt like a ‘holiday’ within the holiday.
Ubud – lovely central hotel amongst the bustle of the town. The cycling was fun, as was the rafting. If anything, we would have liked a bit longer here on our own time, to explore for souvenirs. It seemed here that the ‘included’ lunches took up quite a bit of time (largely because there was such bad traffic getting to the restaurant) and Ubud has such a number of lovely restaurants.
Waterfalls – the jumping in and sliding ones (R and I braved the 10m jump, Z and K did the 4m one, T did the 2m one!).
oh, and we all had great fun tea and coffee tasting at the Luwak Coffee stop – was really exciting for us to see the spices and cacoa trees.
And of course, the Bali bird park was amazing – we spent a long time here (and went into the reptile park, which the boys loved!) – though I think we were all a bit washed out for the afternoon trip then that day!
We did climb the volcano in the end, well 4 of us – T stayed with Budda in the hotel when we left at 3am. It was fun and I think Z and K had quite a sense of achievement at getting to the summit. The hot springs after were great.
I managed a brilliant surf lesson in Kuta (I’d have been sorry to not have squeezed in a surf during a Bali holiday!) and we finished with a day at Waterbom for Z’s birthday, which was super fun! Poppies hotel was a real jewel amongst the Kuta bustle.
Flights all worked very well… Stopping in KL for the night on the return leg was actually perfect because we started the long flight fresh (and the departure gate was literally next to the hotel!).
All in all, it was a really fantastic adventure and a huge thank you to you, and your colleagues at Stubborn Mule for making it possible and SO stress-free! We felt very well supported every step of the way, and in very safe hands with local and distant support. Equally, we would never have considered Indonesia as a destination without your advice, but it was just perfect for us! So, thank you!
Tallentire Family (with child aged 7)
Travelled Summer 2022
Hi Kelly. We had a fantastic time thank you, every single element of our holiday was planned to perfection – even the timings of the flights you picked worked well! We both really enjoyed all of the trips and activities, they were the perfect mix of culture and adventure and all age/ability appropriate. The waterfalls were the biggest hit and L had to be bribed to leave. Our driver and tour guides were great as well, really friendly, informative and helpful and made the whole holiday run so smoothly. Very happy for you to share our feedback on your website and we would definitely book again with you.
Ashworth Family (with child aged 10)
Travelled Summer 2022
Hi Helene. We had an amazing time and loved it. Would definitely consider returning and doing a different trip on the boat and would recommend it wholeheartedly to other families looking for something different and a bit adventurous whilst still being spoilt! First hotel in Bali was lovely. Great room, good food etc. would definitely recommend it. W loved the pools and the rock pooling when the tide went out. The trip to the food market was great (bit smaller than I was expecting but the guide was nice and we ate loads) and the fire dance was a great watch.
Cruise was excellent. Great service, food, staff etc. Bedroom was a little tight for 3 but not a problem. Activities were great, especially the whale shark, although more beach/snorkelling time than we had expected. Again not an issue just not quite what we thought. Also, a fair bit of chill time as the boat cruised from one spot to the next which was nice but probably needed to bring more books! Would definitely recommend and W has planned the next trip after talking to the tour leader on the boat!
Swimming with the Whale Sharks was an amazing experience. I was moved to tears to be near such incredible animals.
Cooking class was a great trip, shame we didn’t get to actually buy the ingredients at the market but otherwise great fun. Rafting was a highlight although the 500+ steps to get to the raft (and 250 to get back up once finished) were hard work.
All the pick-ups/transfers worked well.
Murray Family (with children aged 14 & 16)
Travelled Summer 2022
Hi Liddy. We are back after a fantastic holiday. We all really loved it. I’ll write more with photos tomorrow and happy to do an official review too but for now, just wanted to drop a quick reply to say thanks and we had a great time!!!
Gonda Family (with children aged 12 & 15)
Travelled Summer 2019
Dear Helene – Thank you again for organising this beautiful trip for us! We loved every minute of it. Yes, Bali has changed a lot in the last 20 years, but it is still magical. The amount of tourists (this coming from a tourist…!) was higher than I expected in Ubud, luckily the situation was much better in Munduk, Pemuteran and Sanur. They were great, not overcrowded.
We were very happy with our guide Ketut, he tried to explain the spiritual side of Bali life with great detail, also gave us very interesting information about everyday Bali life (schooling, marriage, families, health care, tax etc). He was also very punctual, trustworthy and caring. Everybody else involved was also very punctual, every transfer was on time and we always got nice, tidy transports.
We were also very happy with the hotels. The first one in Ubud could have been better cleaned but we loved the authentic feel, the central but quiet location with the river and the beautiful garden. The children were very happy with the pool. At the second hotel we just loved the breathtakingly beautiful garden, and the hotel personnel was really lovely. Third and fourth hotels (resorts really) were just perfect, although a bit removed from the “real Bali”.
We found Puri Santrian’s restaurant quite overpriced, but it was not a problem, we ate out lots in local warungs.
Activities were also perfect. Children loved the monkey forest, the bird park, the treetop adventure, the rafting, practically everything. My husband put snorkelling in the first place. We all loved the fantastic scenery, the lush greens, the palm trees, the rice terraces, the beautiful temples, everything. We were lucky to be there for the Galungan celebrations, we saw the locals in their traditional costumes etc.
If we would drop something we would leave the canoeing on the lake, but maybe we went at the wrong time. We went in the afternoon, and we were the only tourists, and the only ones on the lake. It felt a bit odd. Also the monkeys on the shore were all gone by this time.
The bicycle tour was fun. As I said I was not on a bike since two decades : )… our guide discovered very quickly that it is in everybody’s best interest to carry me around on a tandem, so he did, and I was very grateful for it.
We really loved the turtle sanctuary in Pemuteran, we adopted a few baby (3 months old) turtles, and let them into the wild. Our biggest piece of good luck, we still can’t believe it, happened in Sanur. On our second day at the hotel we were on the beach and unexpectedly a turtle nest hatched in front of our eyes! It was an unexpected miracle…
It went so quickly, I hardly believe it is over now and we are back to reality. Have a great autumn, thank you again for organising this trip for us.
Sykes Family (with children aged 12 & 14)
Travelled Summer 2019
We had a wonderful holiday, just an incredible experience. Bali is such a beautiful country and the people were all lovely. I think we all have slightly different highlights; I loved the rice fields up in the mountains, probably the most beautiful place I’ve ever visited. We all loved the Fire Dance – we had low expectations (sitting on the floor in a packed amphitheatre!) but it was fantastic. And the highlight was probably the snorkelling at the coral reef – swimming alongside a sea turtle is something that none of us will ever forget.
Some of the accommodation was fabulous – the first villa in Sanur was just stunning and we loved the Greenfields place in Ubud. In fact we loved Ubud, we all agreed we would have liked a little more time there.
I think if we were to do it again we would probably have had one less location and extended the others by a day or two. And it did feel that we could have reduced travel somewhat if we had ordered the locations differently although that’s obviously dependant on hotel availability.
Our guide Sas was great – desperate to please and went out of his way to be helpful. And we loved our driver Patrick. The only small criticism I would have is that the transport wasn’t particularly comfortable and seat belts would have been appreciated.
But overall just an amazing trip Liddy and I’ve already recommended Stubborn Mule to a number of my colleagues. The girls will definitely enter the competition, they took hundreds of pictures so just need to decide which ones they want to submit!
Thanks again… Hopefully we can book a trip with you again in the future.
Anderson Family (with children ages 12 and 15)
Travelled Summer 2019
Thanks Caroline! We had a great holiday thank you – even got upgraded to business class on the return flight from Dubai. All the transfers went smoothly without a hitch. Both the guide and driver were very nice. Thank you for a fabulous holiday. I am quite proud of myself for having gone that far alone with the kids!
By the time we arrived at the first hotel it was gone 1am so think a 9am start that day was ambitious. We enjoyed the bird park and the monkey forest.
The cycle ride on day 3 was probably my least favourite activity.
The cookery class was amazing! The lady running it was a character and very engaging. Even the boys, who’d been reluctant, had a great time.
We skipped the white water rafting as you know but I would say it was difficult to know how to cancel an activity…
The sunrise trek day 5 was awesome…
The hotel in Ubud was incredible. The room was superb, the staff were very friendly, it was immaculately clean and the spar treatment I had was very reasonable and enjoyable.
Day 6 was relaxed and we all enjoyed seeing the rice paddies…
The Treetop adventure place was superb and the boys thoroughly enjoyed this…
We enjoyed the waterfalls but it would have been useful to know there was the opportunity to swim as we would have had swimwear and towels ready.
Mimpi was superb. Absolutely loved this hotel.
Day 9 snorkelling was great fun…
Day 11 went to a lovely restaurant before the temple. Don’t think the boys were really that interested in the temples but I appreciated seeing them.
Day 12-14 we spent mainly on the beach, which was a short walk from the hotel. The hotel was good and the room great. We paid to have late check out.
So my top tips would be:
– Families may wish to have a few rest days
– It would be useful to have an idea of what to take on trips ie if swimwear needed
– A contact number for cancelling trips at short notice if needed
I still haven’t given up on Sri Lanka so will be back in touch when I’ve saved up!
Thank you for a fabulous holiday.
Molenar Family (with child aged 7)
Travelled Easter 2018
Thank you for putting together such a wonderful trip to Bali. It was just the right amount of active and leisure time. We had a lovely time! We really enjoyed our outings (snorkelling, hiking and bicycling). Although my husband’s favourite by far was the bicycling trip. And thank you so much for the lovely gift basket and the massage at the beginning of the trip. It was much appreciated especially the massage. We ended up with 1.5 hour massage each because 30 minutes were on the house.
Lane Family (with children aged 13 and 15)
Travelled Summer 2017
Thanks so much for a great trip to Indonesia, so many highlights it’s difficult to pinpoint the best part. For me it was definitely the boat trip in Komodo – so much fun having this to ourselves and the snorkelling stops were incredible. The Komodo dragons were also great – totally repulsive but in a strangely mesmerising way! The boys probably loved the adventure activities most.
The day cycling through the rice paddies near Ubud was particularly popular as we stopped in some little restaurant along the way and they ended up having an impromptu football match with some of the locals. The white water rafting was also a hit though frankly I thought it was terrifying. The guides were all lovely but particularly Ayu who went above and beyond during the Ubud section – always recommending excellent local restaurants, helping us plan our time and so on. Please pass on our thanks. We’re planning Peru next summer so will be in touch.
Peters Family (with children aged 14 and 16)
Travelled Summer 2017
We are all a bit red-eyed having only just got home after the relatively epic flight, but what a great holiday! We all had different favourite parts; I loved the day that we spent cycling in the area around Ubud as it was so beautiful and we got to meet some wonderful people. Johnny, our guide on this day, took us through a small village and there were chickens squawking and children running about and it felt remarkably rural so close to Ubud.
The kids somewhat inevitably loved the beach and found a gang of friends at the hotel here so we barely saw them. T loved all the art galleries and met a local artist who does really interesting work so we spent ages with him and ended up buying some lovely pictures.
Snorkelling on Menjangan was incredible as the water was so clear. We saw masses of marine life. Next time we want to visit Flores and Komodo as we met a few people who had been here and raved about it. Thanks for arranging a wonderful trip.
Family Aeberhard & friends (with children aged 2, 4, 5, 7 and 9)
Travelled Easter 2017
Dear Kelly – we had a very interesting and fun trip through Java. We saw many new and exciting things and in particular the volcanoes were great and very impressive. These were best liked by the kids of course. Our guide was very pleasant, patient and knowledgeable, so everything perfect there.
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