How to travel to Indonesia with Kids


For her summer vacation with the family, our Travel Scout Alice Mengers searched for a destination she hadn't visited before. It should offer adventure and variety, but also a pleasant climate and reasonably reliable medical care. Here she has written down for us what is important in planning a trip with children to Indonesia and reports on her fascinating experiences on site.

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Alice Mengers Travel Scout The Niche Traveller

Alice Mengers

Indonesia Nusa Pida Beachswing Alice Mengers 1

The summer holidays were approaching, and as every year, the question arose: what shall we do?

Quickly, my husband and I agreed that we would like to take a long-distance trip with our children aged 9, 12, and 14. We were looking for something unique, exciting, and new for us parents as well. So, we were drawn to Asia, a continent that had always fascinated us with its hospitality and the variety of unique accommodations on offer. We spun the globe and, on a friend's recommendation, landed on Indonesia. The initial research fascinated us. A country in Southeast Asia, made up of over 17,000 islands, with emerald-green rice terraces, jungles, bubbling volcanoes, and shimmering coastal waters, was quickly chosen as the destination for our four-week adventure trip. But with choice comes dilemmas, as one thing is certain, four weeks are not enough (at least not with children and if relaxation is also sought) to completely explore this country.

We had to decide: what did we want to experience, see, and what could we subject the children to? Nevertheless, we wanted a colorful mix. Two things were fundamentally important to me during the trip: the climate and medical care.

Indonesia spans a large geographic area and consists of different climate and time zones. Therefore, the best time to travel can vary depending on the region. For Bali, Java, and Lombok, the dry season - from May to September - is ideal for traveling. It rarely rains, and there are pleasant temperatures between 20-30°C, with low humidity. In many other parts of Asia, it is very hot and tropical in summer, which was a criterion for exclusion for us. Fortunately, we did not have to make use of the medical infrastructure, as it largely depends on the specific region of the country. In major cities, there are well-equipped hospitals and medical facilities, but in rural areas and on remote islands, it can be quite different. After extensive research, we decided to visit Bali, Java, and Lombok.

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Indonesia Lombok Senggigi Hoteljeevaklui Alice Mengers 6

First Stop: Bali

We landed late at night after a long flight to Bali, a warm breeze greeted us, and we were excited for our first stop - the Andaz Hotel in Sanur.

To slowly acclimate to the climate and recover from the long flight, we had chosen this beautiful hotel located directly on the beach, known for its modern luxury, top-notch service, and unique design. Here, we wanted to recharge our batteries for the upcoming weeks, which promised everything but one thing – relaxation. Unlike the tourist hotspots in the south, the crowded Ubud in the center, and the very party-friendly west of Bali, Sanur is primarily known for its flat, kilometers-long sandy beaches and is very popular among families.

However, on the second day, we were already curious about what else there was to discover, and we decided on a spontaneous trip to Nusa Penida. The small neighboring island promised adventure and untouched beauty. On the way to the harbor, we experienced the vibrant street life of Bali for the first time. Motor scooters with surfboards, mopeds, and cars filled the streets, constant honking and bustling activity, the smell of street food, and small decorated temples characterized the cheerful and colorful street scene, but unfortunately also an excess of trash. From plastic bottles to food packaging, the garbage lined the streets and beaches, shocking us all equally, but unfortunately, this sight became habitual.

Nevertheless, this excursion became one of our travel highlights. We took a boat to Nusa Penida, where we arrived and snorkelled in beautiful coral reefs, swam with turtles, and saw a colorful variety of fish and coral reefs. Unfortunately, it was too windy for Manta Ray Bay that day, which is surely a dreamlike sight for all underwater enthusiasts. However, the children's first snorkeling experience was an absolute highlight even without the rays.

In the afternoon, we drove around the island by car to see the famous Kelingking Beach; the bay that looks like it's straight out of an advertisement, a seeming secret that has long been discovered by many. When we arrived, we saw that the magic of Kelingking was no longer exclusive. The once-secret tip is now a pilgrimage site for those seeking the perfect shot. This race sometimes leads visitors to forget where they are. The island, like Bali two decades ago, was explained to us by someone who has witnessed the changes. Yet, amidst the lined-up selfie and eager photo sessions, the view of the original beauty is often lost. Our children didn't seem to mind this; they were overwhelmed by nature and could hardly tear themselves away from this beautiful sight. The combination of boat trip and exploration made this spontaneous trip an experience that far exceeded our initial expectations.

Bali was a great start to the journey. Especially because it's a bit more touristy here, it was a gentle and good introduction to the vibrant world of Indonesia for our children.

A week full of adventures - from temples to volcanoes

Indonesia Java Ricefields Alice Mengers 8

After these unforgettable days, a week full of adventures began for us, leading us deeper into the fascinating diversity of Indonesia. Our first stop: the famous temples of Yogyakarta. The impressive architecture and the spiritual atmosphere gave us insight into the rich culture of the region.

Our children, initially overwhelmed by the differences from their usual environment, learned to see beauty in simplicity. Through the warmth of the locals, they embraced many things, but especially the youngest one needed his moments of rest.

In the evenings, we boldly ventured onto the streets to try out the local street food stalls. Sitting on small plastic stools by the roadside, we ate, laughed with street children, and rode in a flashing rickshaw through the city, creating unforgettable highlights once again.

Next, we continued by train. We traversed endless rice fields, passed countless villages and mountain ranges, a picturesque journey that brought us closer to the beauty of the landscape. But the highlight of our trip awaited on the horizon: the volcanoes!

Contrary to all recommendations, we decided to ascend Mount Bromo not at sunrise, but at sunset. A decision that would prove fortunate. When we reached the summit, we were ALONE on the crater's edge.

The sight of the volcano and the surrounding "moon landscape" at sunset was a natural spectacle that left us all speechless. The smoking crater, the fascinating play of colors in the sky, and the silence (only hearing the rumble of the volcano) created a moment full of awe and gratitude.

Indonesia Nationalpark Bromo Tengger Semeru Mount Bromo Hiking Alice Mengers 2

The allure of the unknown beckoned us further, and so we decided spontaneously to explore the second volcano, Mount Ijen, known for its fascinating crater lake, but for this, we had to endure a long car journey. Traveling by car in Indonesia proved to be an adventure in itself. Heavy traffic, narrow and winding roads, pop-up construction sites, road closures, wedding celebrations, or religious processions right in the middle of the road turned many seemingly short distances into a half eternity. If we had known this beforehand, we might have reconsidered our route planning. However, when you want to see a lot in a short time, often there is no other choice.

But in this way, we got the chance to experience the vibrant life along the roadside up close, such as the bustling activity in the markets.

Here, our children became special attractions. Their European appearance, especially the boys' blond hair, attracted attention. Children cheered and photographed us, fascinated by the encounter with people from another world. It is precisely these encounters that also allow us to reflect on cultural differences. As parents, we quickly noticed how much our children absorbed these moments and the opportunity not only to explore foreign places but also to meet people and gain insights into their way of life. After our exciting time on Java, we set off again to Bali to spend relaxing days in a charming house in the north of the island.

The north of Bali is distinctly different from the bustling tourist areas in the south. The house, surrounded by lush greenery, not only offered comfort but the hosts also made sure we felt at home. Additionally, they provided us with countless tips for activities in the area.

One of our highlights: the crater lake of Mount Ijen

Indonesia Java Krater Vucano Ijen Alice Mengers 7

Our final destination of this trip – Lombok

The journey came to its conclusion on Lombok, an island that stands out for its originality and lower tourism density compared to Bali. Lombok impressed us with its natural beauty and largely untouched landscape. As before, we opted for a house on Lombok and spent ten days in one place. This allowed each of us to pursue our interests. Whether diving in the beautiful Gili Islands, surfing in the impressive waves, or exploring the island by scooter - we had the freedom to experience the rich offerings of Lombok. The evenings were marked by spectacular sunsets, revealing the view of Bali's volcanoes. We spent days simply by the pool or on the beach, letting ourselves drift. We exchanged stories about our experiences with other travelers in small beachside huts, experienced the warm atmosphere of the island, and were inspired by the locals' tranquility. Lombok offered us a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure.

Indonesia Gili Islands Alice Mengers 12

Our Conclusion

The trip to Indonesia with the family was an incomparable experience that I can wholeheartedly recommend. The warmth of the people and the richness of the offerings make it an ideal destination for sports enthusiasts, culture lovers, adventurers, or simply those seeking relaxation.

However, the time was not only marked by highlights and positive moments. There were, of course, situations where the mood was not always perfect. Yet, it is precisely these authentic facets that make the journey a vibrant and enriching experience.

The friendliness of the locals played a significant role in making us feel welcome, safe, and comfortable at all times. Indonesia revealed to us an impressive mix of breathtaking nature, fascinating temples, culinary delights, and heartfelt encounters, and each stage offered us unique experiences and lasting memories.

A journey that I would repeat at any time.


If you consider a trip to Asia you might also be interested in our report on How to travel with your baby to Thailand

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