As someone who spent part of their childhood in the country of Indonesia, I have been keen on traveling with kids in Indonesia since they were born. But so far, we’ve only had a few opportunities due to the cost of such a trip. So when my sister announced that she was having her wedding in Bali, my husband and I jumped at the chance to travel with kids in Indonesia.
I was a bit apprehensive of what my kids would think of Indonesia, but so far, they seem to be loving every minute of it. Despite the occasional melt down, battles with mosquitoes, and struggling with jet lag early on during the trip, our little vacation has actually been quite enjoyable.
This post was updated on November 30, 2019.
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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.
While these are legitimate concerns, I find that Indonesia is actually an excellent place to take kids. We’ve hiked to see orangutans in Sumatra, and learned about Indonesian culture on a Bali day tour. There are so many things that families can take in on a visit to Indonesia.
For ideas on what you can do with your kids in Indonesia with kids, buy this Indonesia guide book: Lonely Planet Indonesia Travel Guide
For first time travelers 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 six things you should know about traveling with kids in Indonesia.
Need help budgeting for your family trip to Indonesia? Take a look at my budget tips for traveling to Indonesia with kids.
1. Be creative in getting around with kids in Indonesia
On past trips to Indonesia, I often relied on taxis to get me from place to place. However, that there are plenty of other ways to get around with kids in Indonesia. In the city of Yogyakarta, the becak (Indonesia’s version of a pedicab) is a popular transportation option. And in the big city of Jakarta, bajais (motorized auto rickshaws) play a similar role of taking people around the city for short distances.
In many cities, Gojek and Grab (ride sharing options similar to Uber and Lyft) make 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, renting a scooter can be a good option if you’re comfortable driving one.
This thinking outside of 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 less than $100, we were able to buy four Executive class tickets for train travel between Yogyakarta and Jakarta.
2. Homestays are a great way to experience Indonesia as a family
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 families traveling on a budget.
The homestay we stayed at in Yogyakarta had a room with a king size bed, a twin bed, and a futon. It was just the perfect size for our family. We were served a home cooked breakfast every morning, and in the afternoon, we had a comfy place to spend some down time before dinner.
We also 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!
Want to know what you can do with a family in Bali? Take a look at my Bali itinerary for some fun ideas!
3. Indonesia is safe for families to travel
In general, Indonesia is a safe place. However, there are still some dangers that abound for little kids in Indonesia. When walking in the street, make sure your kids are safely on the side of the road, as motorcycles tend to zoom wherever they see fit. In public areas, make sure to keep your kids close by so they don’t get lost. And be wary of letting them touch animals in case they may have rabies.
With that said, don’t be afraid to let your kids do a bit of exploration and experimentation. 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.
4. Be open to exploring other islands
We love going off the beaten path, and Indonesia is the perfect country to do that. The country of Indonesia has over 17,000 islands. About 6,000 of those islands are inhabited. And within those inhabited islands, there are over 1,300 distinct ethnic groups.
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 yourself 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 visiting many places in between. Here’s a sample of the islands we’ve visited in Indonesia:
Want to make your travel experiences with kids in Indonesia more educational? Here are my top tips to incorporate learning into your travel activities.
5. Take it slow and leave room for down time
Indonesia is a hot place, so it’s important to make sure your kids in Indonesia don’t get overheated or overtired. Many of the tours offered in the tourist areas are geared towards adults. They tend to pack many activities into one day. This may get too exhausting for little ones!
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. Better yet, try exploring places on your own so that you can go at your own pace.
Here are some ideas for things to do with kids in Indonesia in various cities around the country:
Yogyakarta: 20 Best Things To Do In Yogyakarta With Kids
6. Indonesians love having families travel with their kids in Indonesia
The thing I’ve noticed the most about traveling with kids in Indonesia is that Indonesians love kids. Whether we were walking around touristy areas like Kuta, or eating at a random restaurant, people were always coming up to our kids and playing with them.
For parents who are used to the conservativeness of American culture, this may seem a little off-putting at first. However, it’s better to just embrace it. There is definitely a positive aspect to all this adoration towards little kids. You’ll find that compared to the United States, people are a little more forgiving of the melt downs and tantrums that inevitably occur during travel.
As you travel through Indonesia, remember to be respectful and responsible travelers. Read my tips on how families can travel more responsibly on their next vacation.
Experiencing Indonesia as a family
It’s interesting to look back and see how our kids enjoyed Indonesia. I know this trip may not stick in their memory since they are both so young, but something tells me it will still be influential in their lives. At the very least, I think it will bring us closer as a family. Traveling with kids in Indonesia has been 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 these three weeks with my family for anything.
Have you had experience traveling with kids in Indonesia? Share your tips and suggestions in the comments!
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