Indonesia family holidays
Family holidays to Indonesia are as diverse and distinct as every family. There are thousands of ways to discover this incredible island nation - the hardest part is narrowing down where to go!
Find Bali’s boho beach bliss, and surf in the archipelago’s world-famous waves. Discover Kalimantan’s rainforest wilderness and Komodo’s extraordinary dragons. The adventures Indonesia offers up are straight out of a kid’s wildest dreams.
Whether you’re excited to explore Java’s astonishing temples, or eager to head off piste to Raja Ampat’s remote paradise, Indonesia’s array of possibilities will keep your family smiling for years.
With a UK based team of Destination Specialists with offices and partners across Asia, ensuring we focus on staying really local in our approach. Our specialists have travelled extensively in India and throughout Asia, many having also lived in the region.
Along with enjoying great travels, the team regularly inspect the best hotels, seek out new activities and design new routes – for inspiration we’d suggest taking a look through some of their Favourite Journeys. The weather during any of the kids' holidays is always an important consideration and we have that covered with our best time to visit Indonesia section.
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Highlights of an Indonesia family holiday
Spot orang-utans and other wondrous wildlife from the wooden deck of a rainforest riverboat
Cast yourselves away on Komodo’s pink sands, and snorkel offshore to spy seahorses in the coral
Trundle by rail through the lush landscape towards Mount Bromo’s volcanic peak
Sail between hundreds of rocky islands in the Flores Sea in search of real dragons!
Scramble barefoot across Bali’s beautiful beaches to splash in the crystal shallows
How to spend your time...
Three of our favourite family-friendly itineraries in Indonesia
...and where to rest your head...
Three of our favourite family-friendly hotels in Indonesia
Indonesia with kids: what to expect?
When it comes to outstanding family travel, Indonesia is your proverbial oyster. There’s a wealth of dynamic experiences to choose from, and it offers fantastic value for money to boot.
Indonesia Specialist, Ed, suggests making an off-piste start to your family holiday with a klotok boat journey through Kalimantan’s lush rainforest. Enjoy a few days cruising through Tanjung Puting National Park, unwinding into the holiday rhythm, while your eager young naturalists scan the banks for orang-utans, macaques and gibbons.
For an alternative taste of adventure, think about heading for the stunning surroundings of West Bali National Park. You can trek through forests full of rainbow-hued birds, and snorkel over an otherworldly underwater landscape, before heading back to your forest-hugged hotel for a splash in the pool.
When choosing between Bali’s beaches, Kuta’s southern surfer haven immediately springs to mind, but it can get pretty hectic. Families who want the best of the Kuta beach life, with a more peaceful vibe, often head down the coast to Jimbaran Bay. Enjoy top-quality barefoot chic, secluded villas and plenty of opportunities to body-board in those world-class waves.
Ubud really lives up to its ‘so chilled it’s horizontal’ reputation, with a laid-back, family-friendly bustle. Creative kids can craft their own souvenirs in artisan-led workshops, and you can experience a real-life Jungle Book vibe watching macaques roam through Monkey Forest’s atmospheric temple ruins.
A family visit to Java delivers plenty of big city impact. You can rise early to watch a stunning Borobudur sunrise, then spend a leisurely day wandering between Yogyakarta’s fascinating temples and filling hungry tums with streetfood treats. For a stand-out adventure, take the train through the misty, Tolkien-like landscape towards Mount Bromo’s legendary slopes.
The islands around Komodoevoke a particular kind of storybook fantasy, and not just from extraordinary resident ‘dragons’! Sailing between dozens of uninhabited islands in the Flores Sea, as manta rays, sharks and turtles swim beneath the bow, can give kids a castaway adventure to send their imaginations into overdrive.
Family adventures off the beaten track...
Step back in time in Sulawesi…
For families keen on exploring a bit further afield, Sulawesi is extraordinary. Inquisitive kids can can soak up the island’s rich history, explore Fort Rotterdam, get involved with vibrant festivals and even witness unique burial rituals. Travel further south, and families can enjoy some of the most breathtaking snorkelling and diving in Indonesia. It’s a great option for a second visit, or families who love doing something really different.
Raja Ampat’s hidden wonderland…
For truly adventurous families, Raja Ampat in West Papua is pretty much as remote as you can get, and one of Indonesia’s most incredible destinations. Think ultimate tropical island paradise, boat trips between untouched shores, and crystal waters teeming with sea life. One to consider if your family is serious about going off the trail.
Things you’ll all love in Indonesia
What to do in Indonesia: Discover more with our hand-picked experiences & highlights
Experience natural Bali at its very best. The lush rainforest and rolling savannah are alive with rare birdsong, a colourful coral reef thrives offshore, and the wild beaches perfect to be explored by little ones. Expect peaceful shores, superb panoramic scenery, and plenty of adventure for all (with the option for incredible diving and snorkelling), look no further.
Sumatra is one of the top places in Indonesia to see orang-utan, and this experience will get you as close as we can take you to these elusive, endangered creatures. These red-haired ‘people of the forest’ may be the main reason to visit Bukit Lawang, but they are far from the only reason - it’s an enchanting area in its own right, with dense forest, clean rushing rivers, and the whole place chattering with forest wildlife.
The early wake up call is definitely worth it when you witness the sun rising at Borobudur - Indonesia's most famous Buddhist temple (and the largest Buddhist temple complex in the world!). It’s glorious at any time of day, but at daybreak there’s an especially ethereal, other-worldly quality to the place. There are more mundane benefits, too, like fewer people (than at popular sunset), and the gentle morning climate.
Escape from it all with a diving experiences on one of several private atolls and islets, with stylish accommodation and a pick-up boat just a call away. Ideal for those looking to spend their quality family time snorkelling through rainbow-coloured coral gardens, enjoy sunset dinners, or simply relaxing in Indonesia's tropical bliss.
Responsible Travel in Indonesia
Our own team's travels in Indonesia have generated some very positive feedback on the efforts being taken by many Indonesian island's to cut single-use plastics out of day-to-day use. Hotels and resorts have certainly taken up the fight, with the vast majority providing alternatives and refills helping to minimise their own footprint. However, plastics are of course not just a tourism problem, the Indonesian people themselves have a considerable contribution to make and evidence suggests that they are doing so.
Small projects have popped up all over Indonesia helping to combat the issues. Some islands are gearing up to complete ban on single use plastic (Bali has already implemented the ban), and whilst travelling on Sulawesi recently Nick was impressed by rural villages that have weekend clean-ups organised by the Sulawesi-wide PKK group.
19,000 islands makes for a lot of coastline meaning that the sea, and its well-being, is central to many Indonesian people's lives. Away from plastics, innovation is playing its part - projects such as the Biorock at Pemuteran is both restoring reef damaged by fishing and growing new reef with electric current . We support this and many other worthwhile projects by introducing them to clients and ensuring that part of their holiday spend is supporting responsible initiatives.
Our Indonesia Specialists' top tips for families
With quite a few parents among our well-travelled Destination Specialists, we know how important it is to get the finer details sorted before travelling with kids, and we always go the extra mile to make sure they are. We want everyone to enjoy each moment without sweating the small stuff.
If you have any questions, or want to have a chat about planning your family holiday to Indonesia, we'd love to have a chat. In the meantime, here are a few FAQs to help you get started…
- When is the best time of year for a family holiday to Indonesia?
As Indonesia’s dry season falls between May and September, it is a natural choice for a family summer holiday. This time of year is by far the most popular time to visit Indonesia, so if you’re planning to head there in summer, make sure you book as early as possible. That said, although the rainfall from October to April makes for some definite wet days, the temperatures are lovely and warm at this time, and the rainfall comes in short bursts with clear skies in between. In these respects, it can make a great destination for escaping the winter chill too!
- Do I need a guide in Indonesia?
Having an experienced, knowledgeable and welcoming local guide on hand during your trip is absolutely invaluable. They’ll be able to meet you upon arrival, act as translator, transfer you between locations, and generally make everything go as smoothly as possible. They’ll leave you to your own devices as much or as little as you wish, but we think a good guide is essential for a successful family holiday. We pride ourselves on using only the best guides in a given region. All our guides are trained to the highest level, and fully certified and licensed. The feedback we get from our clients is that the guides make a great trip into an outstanding one. Find out more about our brilliant guides here
- Is Indonesia safe for families?
Indonesia is such a popular destination for family travel, and it’s easy to see why! Everything is made as stress-free as possible, from smooth transport links to plenty of family-friendly accommodation, and it’s somewhere that families return to again and again. The feedback we get is that it’s a safe, reassuring and supportive destination, the people you meet are friendly and helpful, and the infrastructure is easy to navigate. As with all unfamiliar places, some things will definitely differ from what you’re used to, but most places feel totally secure and safe. If you need anything, or have any queries once you’re there, our guides are always on hand to help.
- What vaccinations do I need for Indonesia?
When planning a trip to Asia, it’s important to consider the possible requirement for vaccinations and immunisations. Most importantly, we stress that you should contact your doctor or medical practitioner well before you depart to get their advice on any vaccinations you may need for your trip. If you’ve travelled recently and believe that you are already up-to-date, it is still worth checking as vaccinations have a varying life span. The NHS Fit for Travel map The NHS Travel Vaccinations site has lots of up-to-date information on vaccinations and other travel health.
- Do I need a visa to go to Indonesia?
169 nationalities, including citizens of the UK, EU countries, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States, can now enjoy visa free access into Indonesia when arriving into any of Indonesia's international airports and over 80 seaports. The maximum period of stay is 30 days, and the visa cannot be extended or converted into another class of visa. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months at the day of exit, and should contain at least one empty page on the day of arrival. The standard tourist visa is a single entry visa that allows you to travel in Indonesia for 30 days from the date of your proposed entry. Travellers visiting for over 30 days will need to pre-purchase a Visa-On-Arrival, which is available for 35 USD payable in cash or apply for a visa at the nearest Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia.
- What should I pack for a trip to Indonesia?
Though you can pick up quite a lot of stuff you might need in the major hubs, we’d recommend taking supplies of any essentials, such as favourite nappies, formula etc., as well as your preferred brand of sunscreen and insect repellent. Light, long sleeved shirts, a light scarf or two, and long trousers or skirts will mean that you’re prepared for any eventuality, including modest dress codes at sites of religious significance. They’ll also help provide valuable protection against strong sunlight and mosquitoes. If you’re travelling with tinies, consider taking a really good baby carrier, as push-chairs might be a pain to get around with.
- Where can we do yoga in Indonesia?
Many people visit Indonesia to participate in its world-famous wellness culture, including yoga, and there are plenty of ways for families to get involved. If you’re in Bali, the question should probably be ‘where can’t we do yoga?!’ Yoga and meditation are offered at many resorts, and it’s so ubiquitous that many don’t make a big thing of it on their websites, so it’s always worth asking if you’re keen. Some resorts offer private yoga classes which can be adapted for kids, and there’s often childcare available if you want to participate without the littlies in tow!
- What’s the best currency to take to Indonesia?
ATM machines are widely available throughout Indonesia, including most airports, so there’s no need to obtain Rupiah in advance of your arrival, although it is possible to do so. It is essential to arrive with some US $ to obtain your visa upon arrival, which must be paid in US$ cash. ATM’s usually offer good rates of exchange, often better than you will find in many currency exchange bureaus or hotels. In most shops and restaurants only Rupiah cash and card payments are accepted.