Planning a family vacation to somewhere new is always an exciting time and Indonesia is a great place to travel with kids. The beautiful beaches, fantastic wildlife and dramatic volcanic landscape that characterize much of the archipelago make Indonesia with kids the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable family vacation.
On top of this, Indonesia is made up of many diverse and colorful cultures, which will give your kids a first-hand experience of what life is like for people living in a country that is likely very different from their own.
Indonesians are famous for their hospitality especially when it comes to children, and in some parts of the country you may end up finding your little ones are practically revered.
What to pack for a trip to Indonesia with Kids
This is going to vary a little depending on how old your kids are and what type of holiday you are planning, but here are a few basics you may need for travel to Indonesia:
- Diapers, wipes and baby food - these can all be bought in larger towns but may be a little harder to track down in rural areas.
- Sarong(s) - a multi-functional garment that can serve as a pretty skirt, scarf, blanket or towel and a definite necessity if traveling to Bali as everyone has to wear one if they want to enter a temple.
- Sunscreen and beach gear - for obvious reasons!
- Bug spray
- Hand sanitizer
- Something warm - Indonesia may be in the tropics, but much of it is mountainous, and as you get higher up, things can get pretty chilly, so, if you plan do any exploring, make sure everyone has a light jacket or jumper.
Where to travel in Indonesia with Kids
The obvious answer to this is Bali. Indonesia is a diverse place, made up of over 17,000 islands, many of which provide some great opportunities for an incredible family holiday. But Bali is the jewel in Indonesia’s tourism crown, especially when it comes to traveling with children.
Whether you are after a relaxing beach holiday or something a little more ‘off the beaten track’ Bali will have something on offer. The island has been at the forefront of global tourism for decades now and, as a result, has a much better tourist infrastructure than you will find in much of the rest of the country. There is a wide range of accommodation available covering everything from cheap and cheerful hostels to 5-star resorts and villas as well as a vast number of activities and cultural experiences that have been put together with families in mind.
Although western influences are becoming increasingly apparent in Bali, the island’s culture is vibrant and resilient, and Bali’s distinct character is still very much alive. Meaning it can give you and your family the best of both worlds when it comes to new experiences and home comforts - which may help to ease any culture shock for the kids.
If you fancy going ‘beyond Bali’ and exploring some of the other islands then it might be worth having a closer look at Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan (the Indonesian part of Borneo) or Flores. While you might find that some of the accommodation choices are a little more limited than in Bali, each of these places offer their unique character and the chance for some fantastic experiences.
Java has the world famous temple complex of Borobudur as well as some amazing volcano tours. Flores is home to the Komodo National Park, offering some of the most beautiful natural scenery you will find anywhere in the world as well as the chance to get up close and personal with actual dragons! While Sumatra and Kalimantan are two of the last places where you can still see orangutans in the wild.
Getting around Indonesia with Kids
If your travel itinerary covers several islands, have no fear, traveling around Indonesia is pretty easy and usually inexpensive, there are several budget airlines that operate within the country (its a good idea to check safety records prior to booking though as some of them are not great) and the national airline Garuda has a solid reputation.
For anyone wanting to minimize their time in the air, there is an extensive network of ferries and fast boats that ply the routes between various islands.
Once on an island, you have several options for getting between points of interest. Most of the places you are likely to stay in will have a bus network, but beware, these can be unreliable, and the stations are often in out of the way places.
Cars and scooters can be hired for just a few dollars a day, but, as with much of the rest of South East Asia, Indonesia’s roads are often poorly maintained, and the traffic is insane.
Scooters, in particular, may look like fun, but, considering the number of accidents, may be best avoided unless you have prior experience (if you do hire one, don’t be tempted to go without a helmet!).
For a more relaxing journey, hiring a car and driver, will not break the bank and will ensure that everyone has the chance to sit back and enjoy Indonesia’s beautiful scenery.
Health and Safety in Indonesia with Kids
Chances are your time in Indonesia will be amazing, but, it is worth pointing out that there are a few extra health and safety issues you should be aware of:
- Keeping vaccinations up to date is always important, but especially when traveling to countries where healthcare may be either inaccessible or of poor quality. Be aware that some of the vaccine courses recommended for Indonesia need to be started a few weeks before travel.
- It’s usually a good idea to prepare for the worst so taking out travel insurance is an excellent idea. As mentioned above, Indonesia’s healthcare is not always up to scratch, and medical evacuations can be extremely costly.
- Rabies is widespread throughout Indonesia so try to resist the temptation of making friends with any local strays, no matter how cute and friendly they may look. If you or any of your family get bitten by any animal or suffer any injury that breaks the skin, drop what you are doing and head straight for the nearest healthcare provider - time is of the essence.
- Food poisoning can be a concern but, if you stick to good quality, popular restaurants, and cafes, especially in well-known tourist areas, then the chances are you will be ok. Getting experimental with some of the local food carts can be a bit more hit and miss, especially where little kids, whose stomachs may not be as strong, are concerned.
- It is not safe to drink the tap water anywhere in Indonesia, stick to bottled water, even for teeth cleaning! Avoid ice in drinks.
- The traffic in Indonesia can be crazy, footpaths are often poorly maintained and the rules of the road, such as they are, are often ignored. Take extra care when driving and make sure to keep an eye on everyone when close to roads and highways. Look out for the occasional motorbike using the footpaths to jump the traffic!
Basic safety measures may be somewhat lacking compared to what you would find back home. Drain covers, may be broken (or missing!), places you would expect to have safety barriers may not have any and beaches with dangerous surf may be lacking warning signs.
A little extra vigilance may be required when it comes to keeping everyone safe.
This guest post was contributed by Bali Villas.
With extensive experience in servicing Australian clients, Bali Villas knows what families are looking for regarding location, style, and pricing in Indonesia.
Each of their family-friendly villas is situated on the beautiful island of Bali and has been hand-picked by a ‘family expert’.
Contact Bali Villas for a short consultation, and they will be able to find you the perfect villa. Bali Villas aims to take the stress out of planning your holiday, so you can concentrate on creating lasting memories with your family.