Bali or Maldives: Which is Better For Your Family?

9 May 2022

Comparisons, as they say, are odious. And nothing could be truer when attempting to decide which is the better holiday destination for your family, Bali or the Maldives? Are you even able to compare two such dissimilar tourist destinations? 

What sounds like an idyllic stay in Bali for some people could be the utter pits for others, with the same applying to the Maldives. Both holiday destinations offer amazing family trips in their dry seasons. There’s Bali with its beautiful scenery of green rice terraces and volcanoes and Maldives with water bungalows and accommodation on stilts. Both offer amazing water-based activities. 

It is a hard choice that’s for sure.

Therefore, we at Flight Centre have taken some of the guesswork out of the equation and have instead listed the pros and cons of each destination to allow the discerning tourist to come to his own conclusions as to which is the better family holiday destination.

Differences Between Bali & The Maldives

Most of the famous destinations in Bali are temples with their beaches coming in a close second. 

It is also a very popular destination for backpackers and a popular “party destination”, especially for the younger Australian set. Bali offers a wide range of land-based attractions. Alternatively, most of the tourist spots in the Maldives are islands or resorts and can really only offer water-based activities.

The majority of beaches in Bali have golden or black sand since it is situated in a volcanic region. On the contrary, the vast majority of the beaches in the Maldives are picture-perfect white.

Bali has more religious structures, specifically temples, which are influenced by its largest religion, Balinese Hinduism. The Maldives is a strictly Islam country, it is best known for the historical Malé Friday Mosque.  

Hikers would prefer Bali over the Maldives because it has great mountain trails. The Maldives, on the other hand, is the world’s lowest country with its highest elevation being only a couple of metres above sea level. 

It goes without saying that Bali is the perfect destination for lazing on the beach, exploring ancient temples and tucking into delicious Indonesian cuisine. But that’s certainly not where the fun stops. In fact, there are so many other amazing things to do in Bali, that no list could really do them all justice. To give you a taste of some of the adventures Bali has in store, we’ve put together a list of the top 5 activities to enjoy on your holiday in Bali.

Visiting the Maldives for water-related activities makes sense as the Maldives offers more varied options since the country is comprised of 99% water with its remaining 1% of land made up of more than 1,200 coral islands. 

Choosing where to stay in the Maldives is a daunting task, to say the least! From low-key one-bedroom villas without air conditioning to top-of-the-range, 5 Star hotels and resorts with private plunge pools, the choice can be somewhat bewildering. There are over 100 resorts with almost a dozen opening year on year! Choosing which is the best island in the Maldives can make your head spin!

As a result, the Maldives is ideal for scuba diving, snorkelling, and all sorts of other water-related activities. Alternatively, many of Bali’s beaches are more popular for their big waves and therefore boast many surfing locations. There is a variety of beachfront hotels and resorts in Bali to choose from and Bali offers much more by way of tourism diversity than does the Maldives. Both of these popular beach holidays offer budget-friendly accommodation as well as all-inclusive hotel options.

Which offers better beaches, Bali or Maldives?

Bali offers white sand beaches in places like Uluwatu or volcanic black sand beaches filled with lounge chairs in hot spots such as Canggu. There's no shortage of sand in Bali, but be warned – if you stay in the tourist areas, beaches can get somewhat crowded, especially in the peak seasons.

The Maldives is truly idyllic because of its soft white sand beaches and some of the clearest and bluest waters you will ever lay your eyes on. There’s no doubt that the beaches of the Maldives are one of the country’s highlights. They're uncrowded, clean and out-of-this-world beautiful. We highly recommend you catch the best of them on an island hopping tour.

Is it better to go to Bali or Maldives?

Bali is a tourism hot spot, with nearly 10 million tourists per year. While the Maldives is a popular destination in its own right, it hosts significantly lower numbers, only some 2 million per annum. Both Bali and the Maldives have world-class hotels and resorts while both also offer accommodation in guest houses and self-catering units (in the Maldives, these are mainly found in the capital city Malé).

In terms of cost, Bali easily wins in terms of cost-efficiency and budget. While there are great deals available during the Maldives’ off-season, Bali is still cheaper. Bali will give you the culture and some stunning places to sightsee whilst the Maldives is good for snorkelling, scuba diving and a variety of water-based activities.  

Bali is a destination that can serve travellers with any kind of budget. The Maldives targets luxury travellers; however, there are still some reasonable options that are easy on the pocket. 

On the other hand in the Maldives, you will be confined to one small island for your holiday (with perhaps some excursions to other islands or even a side trip to Sri Lanka maybe?) with little else to do than relax. The atmosphere in the Maldives is one of romantic relaxation and has promoted itself as an ideal honeymoon destination. Bali is also a popular honeymoon destination and also boasts a laid-back atmosphere.

Home to more than 1,200 tropical islands with some of the most stunning beaches on the planet and their protective lagoons, as well as warm, crystal-clear waters that teem with fish and other marine life, the Maldives is undoubtedly one of the best family destinations out there. It boasts great all year round weather, incredible marine life and many, many stunning resorts. While some of these focus more on being the perfect adults-only (or honeymoon) resort, others go above and beyond to make sure the whole family will enjoy their time in this slice of paradise.

Bali is one of the most family-friendly destinations in Indonesia, thanks to its welcoming locals and laid-back vibe. Its tropical beaches are lined with all-inclusive resorts, boasting inviting swimming pools, a great variety of restaurants catering to all pockets and lively kids' clubs.

Which is better for families: Bali or Maldives? 

So, in essence, it all depends on your personal preferences whether you go to Bali or to the Maldives. Both places have so much to offer that you are actually spoilt for choice. Whatever the case, and should it boil down to cost (which it almost invariably does), Bali is by far the more affordable option; though if you can stretch your budget a bit more, the Maldives may pip Bali at the post.

Flight Centre’s expert staff will help guide you in your quest to discover the best of either Bali or the Maldives. We have experienced both these places for ourselves so can give you insights that you may not get elsewhere (even through extensive surfing of the Internet). 


What will it be? The Maldives or Bali? Bali or the Maldives?  

Does a family holiday in a country comprised almost entirely of crystal clear, tropical seawater, white sandy beaches and coral reefs like the Maldives tickle your wanderlust fancy or does a family trip to Indonesia to explore the wonders of Bali’s temples, rice terraces, beaches and its cosmopolitan, laid back lifestyle speak loudly to you?  

Once you have decided which is the better holiday destination for you all you now need to do is to talk to our travel experts and start planning your family holiday today!