Family Vacations to Indonesia

Borobudur Temple Compounds, central Java, Indonesia
Borobudur Temple Compounds, central Java, Indonesia (DAJ/Getty)

Indonesia Family Travel Tips

  • Bahasa Indonesia is one of the easiest languages in the world to learn and, as English is not spoken everywhere, it is worth learning a few key phrases.
  • Traveling outside of the main cities and resorts with small children can be a challenge, so plan your itinerary carefully.
  • Indonesian food can be very spicy. If in doubt, ask your server to recommend milder dishes for the children.

Indonesia is one big country—and the world's largest archipelago. This Southeast Asian nation of more than 17,000 islands spreads out for 5,000 kilometers along the equator. It may have one national language, Bahasa Indonesia, but it is one of the most diverse, captivating, and thrilling destinations in the world for all travelers.

Indonesia boasts bustling, chaotic cities—including the "mother city" of Jakarta—that offer many of the attractions of other major regional hubs, including hectic street life, great shopping, and a wealth of cultural attractions aimed specifically at families. The real allure, though, lies beyond the urban sprawl in a wildscape laden with voluminous volcanoes, rice-paddy-clad countryside, dense jungles, sweeping beaches, and rugged mountains. The wealth of adventure sports on offer gives young ones the chance to explore and get closer to nature. It's also a handy base for striking out to some of the islands to the east such as Lombok and Flores, though if you want to make any sort of dent into even the top fifty islands you are talking months rather than weeks of travel.

Indonesia has world-class cultural offerings as well. Two of the world's most dramatic temple complexes, Prambanan and Borobudur, lie at the heart of the main island of Java. Each offering gives insight into the respective Hindu and Buddhist religions of an eclectic country that is now predominately Muslim. Traditional Indonesian music played by a gamelan, or musical ensemble, is captivating, and the country's brightly clad dancers are also sure to fire up the imaginations of younger visitors.

Just decades ago, Indonesia was dismissed by some as a "hippie" or "backpacker" destination, but the same can certainly not be said of it today. It still offers some of the best values of any destination in the region, but also boasts brand-new luxury hotels and resorts.

One of the world's top holiday destinations, Bali is a remarkable tropical playground, perfect for families. You can drive the island's length in a single day, but packed within this compact space is Indonesia in miniature. Here, you can meet monkeys, hike up a volcano, enjoy breakfast with the dolphins during a sunrise boat trip, or just laze on a lovely beach.

Published: 8 Jul 2009 | Last Updated: 30 Mar 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


Sign up to Away's Travel Insider

Preview newsletter »