Travel With Kids: Bali Fish Market

See also: Bali with Kids – The Guide

An early morning visit to the fish market in Bali.

Our journey to Bali a few years back was our first real trip as a family vacation and as such contained many memorable events. But perhaps the most memorable was one of the simplest. We had been told by the workers of our hotel that the biggest event in the rather sleepy town of Jimbaran was the fish market that took place every morning very very early. What time? Very very very very early. So one morning my oldest son Samuel (about 3 1/2 at the time) and I woke up at 4am, tiptoed through the hotel and walked a few blocks through deserted streets to the beach and attempted to find the market.

We were told the fishermen bring in their haul every morning as the sun rises. As we walked out onto the beach not a soul was in sight. I mean no one! In one direction, about 500 metres to our left was the sight where 2 terrorists had blown themselves up in a crowd of tourists about 10 months before. The market was supposedly in the other direction so we turned right and started to walk.  The only thing I could make out was a long line of lights leading out into the ocean. (As the sun slowly came up this was revealed to be a string of small boats each with a small light, stretched all the way from the beach to the larger boats moored about a mile out in the water.)

But at this point there was no sun, no light and we were still all alone. But then, the town seemed to do a little shake. Seemed to shift and turn and let out a little sigh. And then one and then two and then 3 people arrived, then 4 and 5 and 6. And without us taking note there was a whole community of fish buyers and sellers. There was a bustle of people moving and humming and barking. There were boats filled with men and buckets filled with fish. There were women selling prawns and a old man selling balloons. Hey, there really is a market here I guess.

The fish coming in from the boats and the market gets going as the sun slowly rises.
Early morning on the beach in Jimbaran, Bali.

Taking a closer look.
Having fun on the beach.

I got the feeling they didn’t see a whole lot of tourists down at the market.
On the beach in Bali.

The fish just kept coming.
The boats in Jimbaran bay.

Taking a turn behind the counter.
Travels in Bali

We walked slowly back along the beach, the town was slowly waking up. It was almost 8 o’clock and all we had taken with us was a bottle of water. We were hungry and happy and ready to dive into the swimming pool.
Back to the hotel.

6 questions and comments

  1. AvatarLinvana

    Loving your blog. We are on our way up to Bali and staying at JB so we will definately do this on one of the first mornings when the time difference has us all up early! Travelling with children is not about whether they remember the holiday but is about giving them life experiences and broadening their cultural knowledge in a practical rather than theoretical way. Time with them is short so give it all and love it!

  2. AvatarBridget Smith

    What an amazing photo essay. Your son must have had so much fun on this unusual adventure.

  3. Avatarwandermom

    That’s a great story! I’m very impressed that you (and your son!) got up at 4am to experience that. I’m glad you did so you have this story to share.

  4. AvatarTheWordWire

    What a great experience for you … what a great experience for your son! Thanks for sharing this story. The best travel moments seem to come from the places locals know but tourists don’t.

  5. AvatarVictoria

    My favourite thing about travelling is joining in with people’s everyday lives. Fish markets are always fascinating.

  6. AvatarLucia

    Gorgeous colors in those pics. Love these kind of adventures when traveling with our kids…you are right some of the simplest outings can be the most memorable. Especially local markets…No need for expensive entrance fees, tour guides, or searching for ways to keep the kids quiet/occupied. good for you for getting up at 4 am to experience it.

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