Family Trip To Indonesia: 10 Best Travel Tips For Kids In Indonesia

March 6, 2024

A family trip to Indonesia should be on every family’s bucket list! The country of Indonesia is full of culture and history, as well as amazing natural wonders. It’s the perfect adventure for families.  And as someone who’s been to Indonesia too many times to count, I have the best tips to make traveling with kids in Indonesia worry-free!

Ever since my kids were little, I’ve loved traveling with kids in Indonesia. I spent a large part of my childhood in the country of Indonesia, and so I love sharing that part of my life with my family. It’s fun to see my kids connect with the culture that I love so much whenever we take a family trip to Indonesia.

Taking a tour of a Balinese village during a family trip to Indonesia (photo by Astrid Vinje)

But I wasn’t always this way. The first time I took a family trip to Indonesia with my kids, I was a bit apprehensive. Is it safe traveling with kids in Indonesia? Will they enjoy the food and culture? 

Despite the occasional meltdowns, battles with mosquitoes, and struggles with jet lag, our trip with children in Indonesia was a success. And since then, we’ve been to Indonesia many more times, including six months in Indonesia from 2019-2020.

If you’re worried about traveling with kids in Indonesia, here are some expert tips to ensure you have an amazing family trip to Indonesia.

This article was originally published on September 8, 2015.

This post may contain affiliate links. That means I may receive a small commission if you click on the link and purchase something. But don't worry, this will not result in any extra costs to you.

Best places to stay during a family trip to Indonesia

We’ve traveled with kids in Indonesia quite extensively, so we know all the best places to stay for a family trip to Indonesia. Here’s a quick list of recommended lodging for our favorite places to visit in Indonesia with family.

Traveling with kids in Indonesia

Indonesia may not seem like the typical family vacation destination. Many families are quite reluctant to take their kids to a developing country. There are safety concerns, health concerns, and a general fear of the unknown.

Traveling with kids in Indonesia by train
Riding the train from Yogyakarta to Jakarta with kids in Indonesia (photo by Astrid Vinje)

While these are legitimate concerns, I find that Indonesia is actually an excellent place to take kids. We've done things like taking a jungle trek in Sumatra to see orangutans, learned about Indonesian culture on a Bali day tour, and visited a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are so many things to do in Indonesia for families to experience.

For some ideas on what you can do with your kids in Indonesia, this Indonesia travel guide book is a great resource to start with: Lonely Planet Indonesia Travel Guide.

If you're a first time traveler to Indonesia, though, there are a few things to keep in mind to make your visit a bit easier and less stressful. Below is a list of 10 useful tips for traveling with kids in Indonesia.

Take a look at my budget tips for traveling to Indonesia with kids.

1. Consider transportation options for your family trip to Indonesia

Taxis are a great way for families to get from place to place. However, there are plenty of other ways to get around with kids in Indonesia.

Driving a scooter around Bali on our family trip to Indonesia (photo by Clint Bush)

In the city of Yogyakarta, for example, the becak (Indonesia's version of a pedicab) is a popular transportation option. And in the big city of Jakarta, the bajaj (motorized auto rickshaws) plays a similar role of taking people around the city for short distances.

Many cities have Gojek and Grab (ride sharing options similar to Uber and Lyft) which makes traveling around fairly simple. Public transportation options can be hard to navigate, but they do exist. The MRT in Jakarta makes crossing the city much faster. And in smaller cities, especially in Bali, renting a scooter can be a good option if you're comfortable driving one.

Thinking outside the box when it comes to transportation also extends to longer distances. Rather than dealing with a plane, a fun (and cheap) way to travel through Indonesia is by train. For example, for less than $100, families can buy 4 Executive class tickets for train travel between Yogyakarta and Jakarta.

Don’t be afraid to be creative with your transportation options on your family trip to Indonesia.

Ready for a change? Take the first step to living a life of full time travel.

2. Book homestays for a more local experience with kids in Indonesia

Homestays are Indonesia's version of a bed and breakfast. They're usually owned and managed by a family. But they're a perfect and inexpensive accommodation option for a family trip to Indonesia on a budget.

A man and boy walking through a neighborhood in Yogyakarta, while traveling with kids in Indonesia during a family trip to Indonesia.
Walking through a neighborhood in Yogyakarta with kids in Indonesia (photo by Astrid Vinje)

Homestays typically offer a variety of lodging options for families. They typically serve a home cooked breakfast every morning, and sometimes tea options in the afternoon. It's always nice to have a comfy place to spend down time before dinner.

Some homestays also offer pools. We stayed at an amazing homestay in Ubud on the island of Bali. Every morning, we had our pick of smoothie bowls, omelets, or pancakes topped with exotic fruit. And there was a nice pool to swim in. We truly felt like we were living in luxury for a fraction of the cost!

If you're looking to book a budget-friendly lodging option with your kids in Indonesia, consider a homestay.

Check out my Bali itinerary for some fun Bali travel ideas!

3. Understand the safety considerations for your family trip to Indonesia

In general, Indonesia is a safe place. The country enjoys overall political stability, and most of the crime that occurs is petty crime (like pickpocketing) in tourist-heavy areas.

Our kids pretending to drive scooters during a family trip to Indonesia (photo by Astrid Vinje)

However, there are some considerations to keep in mind for some families. While Indonesian citizens hold many rights, those rights are limited for groups like the LGBTQ community. In Indonesia, being gay is considered a criminal offense, so LGBTQ families will need to keep that in mind.

Additionally, black families may experience occasional microaggressions. Part of this can be tied to some Indonesians’ views towards people of West Papua (Indonesia’s easternmost province, next to Papua New Guinea). The people of West Papua have been protesting for racial justice, relief from discrimination, and sovereignty for years. 

And for families traveling with little kids in Indonesia, there are some considerations for dangers in Indonesia related to toddlers. Be careful when walking along the side of a street, as motorcycles tend to zoom wherever they see fit. In public areas, keep your kids close by so they don't get lost. And be wary of letting kids touch animals in case they have rabies.

With that said, don't be afraid to let your kids do a bit of exploration on your family trip to Indonesia. The fun part about travel is being able to do things that you may not necessarily get to do back home. And most places in Indonesia are safe for travelers.

Be ready for any emergency with the insurance made for digital nomads!

4. Go to other islands besides Bali when you’re traveling with kids in Indonesia

We love going off the beaten path, and Indonesia is the perfect country to do that. The Republic of Indonesia has over 17 000 islands, with a population of over 273 million people. About 6,000 of those islands are inhabited. And within those inhabited islands, there are over 1,300 distinct ethnic groups.

Seeing Komodo dragons on Komodo Island on our family trip to Indonesia (photo by Astrid Vinje)

What this means for families visiting with kids in Indonesia is that you'll have plenty of opportunities to learn about the many cultures that make up the country of Indonesia. Most travelers to Indonesia only come to Bali. But there is actually so much more to explore in Indonesia if you're willing to be open to adventures. Don't limit your family trip to Indonesia to exploring just one tiny island!

Throughout our travels in Indonesia, we've explored jungles in Sumatra and hiked hills in Flores. And we've also visited many places in between. Here's a sample of the islands we've visited in Indonesia. Take a look at each page to see how diverse Indonesian culture and life truly is:

If you can only travel to Bali and have limited time for your family trip to Indonesia, a day trip to one of the Gili Islands (Gili Trawangan, Gili Air, or Gili Meno) is a great way to squeeze in something different during your time with kids in Indonesia.

Read my tips to build learning into your activities with kids in Indonesia.

5. Take tours and workshops on your family trip to Indonesia to get to know the culture

Speaking of culture, the best way to get to know Indonesian culture for kids is by doing tours and taking workshops. There’s so much about Indonesian culture to learn about, and each island is distinct and unique! Having a guide to help navigate each island’s culture allows you to connect with Indonesia on a much deeper level.

Making batik during our family trip to Indonesia (photo by Astrid Vinje)

During our time in Indonesia, we visited traditional villages, practiced making batik, took dance classes, and learned how to cook different foods.

Here are some amazing tours and workshops to do with kids in Indonesia:

When doing tours with kids, it's best to choose a half day one. This gives your kids part of the day to explore, and part of the day to rest.

Family travel resources for a famiy

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6. Leave room for down time during your family trip to Indonesia

Indonesia is a hot place, so it's important to make sure your kids in Indonesia don't get overheated or overtired. Build in breaks during your activities in Indonesia for children so they don’t get exhausted.

A man and boy walking through the streets of Jakarta while traveling with kids in Indonesia during a family trip to Indonesia.
Walking with kids in Indonesia during Car Free Day in Jakarta (photo by Astrid Vinje)

Also, you should know that Indonesian cities don't often have a lot of park options for families. But they do have malls with air conditioning! 

Consider spending an afternoon at a mall and getting to know local modern Indonesian culture.There are also some great cafes and restaurants in Indonesia where you can enjoy a relaxing meal. 

Check out these city posts to get ideas for down time for families and kids in Indonesia:

Jakarta: 20 Family-Friendly Attractions in Jakarta

Yogyakarta: 20 Best Things To Do In Yogyakarta With Kids

Ubud: 10 Best Activities In Ubud For Kids

7. Learn some basic Indonesian words before your family trip to Indonesia

Before your trip, take some time to learn some basic Indonesian phrases. That will help you connect with Indonesian families better.

Taking language courses in Yogyakarta (photo by Astrid Vinje)

My free Indonesian phrasebook is perfect for getting you started on learning some Indonesian words for your family trip to Indonesia. I’ve compiled 25 essential Indonesian words and phrases to help you travel in Indonesia.

Additionally these phrasebooks are great resources for learning Indonesian:

Indonesian for Beginners

Lonely Planet Indonesian Phrasebook & Dictionary

Instant Indonesian: How to Express 1,000 Different Ideas with Just 100 Key Words and Phrases!

You can also get this Indonesian picture dictionary to review vocabulary with pictures with your kids.

Get ready for your trip to Indonesia with my FREE 25 Essential Indonesian Words and Phrases!

8. Be open to opportunities to connect with other families and kids in Indonesia

One thing to know about traveling with kids in Indonesia is that Indonesians love children. Whether you're walking around touristy areas like Kuta in Bali, or eating at a random restaurant, people may come up to your kids and play with them.

Kids riding a becak in Sumatra during a past family trip to Indonesia (photo by Clint Bush)

For parents who are used to the conservativeness of American culture, this may seem a little off-putting at first. However, there is definitely a positive aspect to all this adoration towards little kids. You'll find that compared to the United States, people are more forgiving of the meltdowns and tantrums that inevitably occur during travel.

Additionally, there are plenty of expat families living in Indonesia. Tap into some of the online communities to find opportunities to connect with other families during your family trip to Indonesia. 

Here are two of my favorites online groups:

Get tips for traveling responsibly with your kids in Indonesia.

9. Don’t be afraid to sample the variety of cuisine with your kids in Indonesia

Food in Indonesia is a social affair! And the country's cuisine is influenced by many cultures, including China, India, Malaysia, and the Netherlands. When you're visiting with your kids in Indonesia, don't be afraid to sample some of this cuisine.

Eating delicious grilled clams and satay in Lombok on our family trip to Indonesia (photo by Astrid Vinje)

Here is a quick list of Indonesian dishes to try while you're there:

  • Nasi goreng - fried rice, often topped with a fried egg
  • Bakmi goreng - fried noodles, often topped with a fried egg
  • Satay ayam - grilled chicken skewers with peanut sauce
  • Bakso - beef meatballs in soup with noodles
  • Martabak telur - street food dish of fried egg pancake stuffed with meat
  • Martabak manis - street food dish of sweet pancake stuffed with chocolate
  • Ikan goreng/Ikan gakar - fried (goreng) or grilled (bakar) fish
  • Gado-gado - lightly braised vegetables served with peanut sauce
  • Ketoprak - stir-fried vegetables served with peanut sauce
  • Tahu/Tempe goreng - fried tofu (tahu) or tempeh (tempe)

Indonesians enjoy using hot sauce (sambal) with their meals. But you can always ask whoever is preparing your dish to not use sambal. Additionally, Indonesians love to use a sweet soy sauce called kecap manis as a topping to their rice. This can be something fun for your kids to try.

10. Make sure you have the right visa for traveling with kids in Indonesia

For short term visits (up to 30 days), you’ll need a visa to enter Indonesia. United States citizens, including those from territories such as Puerto Rico, can apply for an electronic Visa on Arrival (e-VOA) to Indonesia. 

Visiting Monumen Nasional in Jakarta during a family trip to Indonesia (photo by Astrid Vinje)

This visa, officially known as the B1 - Tourism (Visa On Arrival), is valid for 30 days and can be extended for up to 30 days. Citizens of countries such as the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, South Africa, Hong Kong can also apply for the e-VOA. 

Citizens of countries like Costa Rica, Sri Lanka, Dominican Republic are not eligible for the e-VOA. However, they can apply for the 60 day single entry tourist visa. Citizens of e-VOA eligible countries can also apply for the 60 day single entry visa, which is extendable, if they're planning a family trip to Indonesia that's longer than 60 days.

Visit the Indonesian government's immigration website for up to date information for your family trip to Indonesia.

Learn more about the amazing family travel resources we use for worldschooling!

passport, journal, and sunglasses

Bonus: more expert tips for a family trip to Indonesia

The tips I list above are just the basic tips for making the most of your family trip to Indonesia. Check out these other tips for traveling with kids in Indonesia to make your vacation smooth and memorable.

Sampling street food in Yogyakarta during our family trip to Indonesia (photo by Astrid Vinje)

Money tips:

  • Make sure to carry cash (Indonesian rupiah) with you since not every place accepts credit cards.
  • Tipping at restaurants and hotels is generally not mandatory (unless you’re in an upscale place), but if you want to tip, 5-10% is sufficient.

Cultural customs and habits:

  • Always give and accept items with your right hand, and always eat with your right hand.
  • Never pat a child on their head, as this is seen as disrespectful.
  • Wear conservative clothing that cover legs and shoulders when entering temples or places of worship.
  • When visiting mosques, women should wear conservative clothing and cover their hair.
  • Drivers drive on the left side. Keep this in mind when you’re renting a car or a scooter. 


  • When dialing Indonesian phone numbers, make sure to use the country code: +62
  • For additional mobile WiFi options for your phone, you can purchase local e-SIM cards from Telkomsel, Indosat, or SmartFren.

Making your experience with kids in Indonesia a memorable one

It's interesting to look back and see how our kids enjoyed Indonesia. Our six month stay in Indonesia left an indelible mark in their memories. But even for families who can only do short trips, a vacation like that will certainly be influential in the lives of your kids. Traveling with kids in Indonesia is truly a wonderful bonding experience.

Essentially, that is why we travel - to experience the world together as a family. All the months of planning and saving money for this trip have been worth it. I wouldn't trade that time spent with my family for anything.

If you're planning a short family trip to Indonesia, use my family vacation planning checklist to help you prepare for your trip:

8 Steps for Preparing for a Family Vacation

But if you're planning an Indonesia gap year, or visiting Indonesia as part of a bigger trip around the world, my family gap year guide will certainly be a valuable tool for you:

Guide to Planning a Gap Year With Family

Family Trip To Indonesia: 10 Best Tips For Traveling With Kids In Indonesia | The Wandering Daughter | Pinterest image with two photos and text overlay. The top photo shows a man and boy walking along a wall with potted plants hanging on it. The bottom photo shows a family with conical straw hats standing in the middle of rice paddies.

Need help thinking through how to budget for a family trip? My Travel Budget Worksheet is just the tool you need! Click here to receive your free copy by signing up for my newsletter.

Want to connect with me on social media? Find me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. And for those of you who are dedicated to traveling more responsibly, sustainably, and ethically, join over 200 like-minded families on my Facebook group, Responsible Family Travel.

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