The best places in Indonesia for families – especially with kid-friendly facilities – are generally limited to those within Bali, which caters well to vacationing families with a myriad of activities to choose from that all the family will enjoy. Elsewhere you will find Indonesia somewhat hit or miss in terms of specifically catering to children, even though it warmly welcomes them.
A trip to Bali with kids can be both culturally enriching and fun and makes for a great introduction for families making their first trip to Indonesia. With its family-friendly facilities and fun activities, it’s no wonder many with youngsters going on an Indonesia vacation make a beeline for Bali and its beaches. A bonus is that children are social assets when you’re in Bali; the Balinese love kids and will pay them a great deal of attention.
For those wondering where to stay in Bali with kids, the best Bali area for families would be in the south of the island in Nusa Dua, home to many of the island’s five-star hotels and child-friendly beach resorts. Here, safe shallow waters provide plenty of activities for kids, including snorkeling, jet-skiing, surfing, sailing, and glass-bottom boat tours, but this is just the beginning.
Bali offers everything from adventure sports to theme parks, and just about every attraction on the island is child-friendly. Here are our top things to do in Bali for families:
Bali’s Waterbom Park in the heart of Kuta is a fabulous place for a family day out with rides, slides, adventure and leisure attractions to suit kids and adults of all ages. Incorporating serious state-of-the-art tubing, matting, and body sliding rides, the whole complex is built and maintained to strict international safety standards.
Waterbom’s ‘Bombastic Aquatic Playground’, designed for children of 12 and under, is an interactive pool of fun where youngsters can experience hours of merriment, thrills and spills within a fully supervised, safe environment. The brightly colored apparatus is reminiscent of something you might find in a mad professor’s laboratory, customized with tubes, cylinders, ducts, ropes, cargo nets and receptacles.
Flourishing with tropical plants and trees, Bali’s Bird Park incorporates about 60 aviaries and is home to more than a thousand exotic and beautiful birds. The 250 species include birds of paradise, kingfishers, hornbills, parrots, flamingos, peacocks, and the critically endangered Bali Starling. The bird park provides a superb educational outing for the whole family, and you can pose for photos with the gregarious macaws.
Every morning at sunrise, dolphins gather and play in large schools just beyond the coral reefs off the pretty black sand bay of Lovina in North Bali. For a small fee you can go out with the fishermen in a tiny, traditional ‘jukung’ fishing boat. Most of the time dolphin-watchers are treated to the breath-taking spectacle of these graceful mammals vaulting out of the water in a remarkable aerial display.
A protected reserve and the site of three ancient temples, Ubud’s Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary allows little travelers to meet the primates. The sanctuary is home to four troupes of long-tailed Balinese Macaques – about 600 monkeys in total – occupying different areas of the park. This is one of several macaque-inhabited forests in Bali, and the best known due to its community-based management, location, and ease of access.
The monkeys can be very mischievous, but they are fascinating to observe, especially with their young. Follow the paved pathways through the forest and be sure to conceal your cameras, jewelry, keys, hats, sunglasses, or any other shiny object, for the mischievous and fearless macaques will snatch them and runoff in a flash.
Whilst Bali is undoubtedly the best place in Indonesia for families, there are many other Indonesia family holiday destinations you might like to consider visiting from your Bali base during your Indonesia vacation.
Tanjung Puting is the most popular tourist destination in Kalimantan, and for good reason. A near guarantee that you’ll see free-roaming orangutans, combined with a storybook journey up a winding jungle river, gives this adventure world-class appeal. And though remote, the park is easily reached via direct flights from Jakarta and Surabaya. Another way to explore the wildlife and observe the Orangutans in their natural habitat is to embark on a Borneo river cruise to otherwise inaccessible parts of the island.
Imagine telling your kids that they can see a real-life dragon. You can observe Komodo dragons in their natural habitat on nearby Komodo Island and Rinca Island while hiking along spectacular nature trails with an expert ranger. Both Komodo and Rinca can be visited on our Komodo cruises, many of which depart from Bali.
Bukit Lawang, in Sumatra, is a sprawling tourist village laced along the fast-flowing Bohorok River and bordered by the dense vertical-rising jungle of Gunung Leuser National Park. Its legend is built around the orangutan rehabilitation center, which was set up here in 1973. It is the best place in Sumatra to spot habituated orangutans on a trek. It’s also a very traveler-friendly place, with some great-value jungle resorts where your kids can enjoy splashing or tubing in the river.
This tiny, coral-fringed isle is North Sulawesi’s top tourist destination, offering you and your kids fabulous snorkeling and the opportunity to see dolphins, flying fish, and more in the wilds of Sulawesi. The friendly islanders have a seemingly endless reserve of authentically warm smiles and there are no hassles here – just laid-back beachy bliss.
Unlike the Borneo and Sumatra destinations above which require a layover when flying from Bali, Sulawesi can be reached by direct flight, which may make Pulao Bunaken more appealing than Bukit Lawang and Tanjung Puting to those with smaller children.
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