Indonesia’s the world’s largest island country and one of Asia’s most densely populated.
Only Brazil is more bio-diverse and nowhere else on earth has such a huge variety of endemic wildlife, apart from Australia. Vast stretches of the country are wild, remote and inaccessible completely contrasting with teeming, hectic Jakarta and tourist hotspots like Kuta.
Choose the right area and there are few places more welcoming, enchanting and thrilling for kids or better at creating unforgettable family holiday memories.
The Indonesian archipelago contains over 13,000 islands including Java, Sumatra and Bali.
Weather’s hot and high chance of sun in December and January (regardless of rainy season). Dry, hot and sunny from June to October.
The archipelago lies along the equator with average temperatures of 30˚C year round and a rainy season between November and March.
Indonesia’s waters contain over 3500 different marine species, over twice as many as the Great Barrier Reef.
The country has eight UNESCO World Heritage sites including the cultural landscape of Bali Province, Komodo National Park and the rainforest of Sumatra.
TripAdvisor voted Waterbom in Bali, Asia’s #1 Best Waterpark 2016 and #2 World Best.
Famous beaches like Bali’s Padang Padang and Kuta Stretch form part of Indonesia’s 55,000km coastline – the longest in the world.
Bali’s enchanting and Indonesia’s most popular holiday island, particularly on the sunny and beachy south coast. This is where you’ll find infamous Kuta, the city that’s become a rite of passage for young Australians and has the bars, clubs and tacky tourist traps to prove it. Fortunately, it’s easy to avoid staying in Kuta itself and still take advantage of the city’s waterparks, big stretches of sand, great restaurants and lively entertainment district.
Break with the first instinct to stay by the beach in Bali and think about Ubud. The cultural heart of Bali dates back to the 8th century and it’s wildly beautiful, exotic and fascinating. Kids love Ubud for the birds and animals, green river valley and lush forest landscape, outdoor activities, traditional theatre and performance, colourful festivals and warm, friendly people.
Most UK visitors fly into Jakarta in the far west of Java. The Indonesian capital is one of the world’s busiest cities and, appalling or spectacular, depending on how much you like relentless, seething crowds, glittering modern architecture, humid smog and non-stop noise.
Staying in Jakarta for a day or two with older kids or teenagers can be exciting but it’s not the city to find traditional Indonesian culture or a great deal of the country’s famous charm.
For all of that, and beautiful South Java Sea beaches, travel to Yogyakarta in central Java.
One of the few Indonesian cities with an historic centre, Yogyakarta’s also close to 8th century Borobudur: the world’s largest Buddhist temple, a UNESCO World Heritage monument and the country’s most visited site.
Lombok’s to the east of Bali, about the same size, and where to head for a barefoot, beachy and almost untouched Indonesian island holiday.
Driving in Bali is one of the best ways to explore the island and just about the only way to really see the remarkable interior. The roads are safe and well maintained in most places but driving during the rainy season (November to March) can be challenging – keep an eye on weather and traffic reports. Most Indonesian cities are easily managed with a mix of public transport and taxis. There are regular daily flights from Jakarta to Yogyakarta and Bali and flights from Bali to Lombok take 30 minutes.