Tips for Bali and East/Java when travelling with children

Hi, we are a swiss family with 2 children (10,12) speaking f, d, CH-d, e travelling in Bali and East Java for 2 mo. We are "homeless" since we were living as expat the last years.
Any local tips to meet people and enjoy the nature (hiking, biking, snorkelling) that you don't find in travel books? we will stay in Denpasaar, Ubud, Ahmed, Menjangan, Sukumade, Bromo, Malang, Yogyakarta.

Any other tips related to the health when hiking? I am thinking to snakes for instance...

And if you would like to share some time with us, we would be more than happy!

Thanks for any advice
Seramat tinggal

1 - Watch out for very helpful people in Yogyakarta who mention money. They're always scam artists only interested in your wallet.
You find the vast majority of Indonesians are helpful and friendly without mentioning money.

2 - Prices. The first moment you can, wander into a fixed price mini mart and check out prices of a bottle of water and other basic needs.
Small traders will add one or two thousand to those prices as normal but don't pay more than that.

Diving or whatever - Sengigi beach, Lombok.
Not even close to as crowded with drunks as Bali (especially Kuta area) and it's great. Nice cheap hotels all over the area.

The roads are dangerous all over Indonesia so biking on them is for the experienced and brave. Off road isn't a problem.

Things that bite.
Lots of those around, the most common and most dangerous are mosquitoes. Any of the creams will get rid of them and the ants.
Wear long trousers and strong trainers, preferably waterproof ones, especially at night.
If you intend to walk a long way off the beaten track, use lightweight hiking boots that protect your ankles.

That isn't the limit as we have a variety of other dangerous creatures including large lizards that, whilst not even as close to as dangerous as Komodo dragons and far more likely to run away from you, can still deliver a nasty bite if you get too close. I've come across monitor lizards of around 3 meters in length, the last being on a cycle route near BSD, Tangerang.
Javanese tigers were thought extinct but a couple have been photographed in the last few years (and I think one was trapped). Extremely rare and a camera job as soon as you've finished running away.
Snakes - loads of them but most aren't dangerous and will slither away rather than attack.  A man got eaten by a snake this week but that's extremely rare. The hiking boots and long trousers will pretty much negate the danger.
The biggest I've seen here was squashed on the road; it was about 4 meters long so could well have been a danger. That was in a busy town and very close to the local McD.
If you intend to go deep into the jungles, buy a local large machete. The chances of needing it are close to zero but it doesn't hurt to have one handy.
I used to walk in the forests around central Java and always had one just in case. The locals carry one for chopping wood or whatever so no one will bat an eyelid if you have one on your belt.

Sounds bad but your chances of a problem are slim.

Alphamart sell a very nice folding toothbrush that comes in a pack with toothpaste. Buy one each as they're so handy and small.

Sleeping bags are far too big and heavy so don't. But a piece of thin cotton material about 1.5 m wide and 2.5 times your height, then get a sewing guy to make it into a sleeping bag. Not enough to get hot but enough to stop the insects biting you at night, especially if you squirt insect repellent around the opening.

Use Autan.

abdulkhalil :

Use Autan.

That's the one I use and it works great.
I never get bitten when I use the stuff and the smell is minimal.

Dear Fred,
Many thanks for your precious information!
take care

The temples in Yogyakarta are pretty good but the Borodudur temples are spectacular.
That's an absolute must for any traveller to the area.
I would normally suggest Dieng ( Wonosobo area) but the local gangsters have ruined the place by setting up roadblocks and demanding cash to pass.
The local government needs to dump them before I can recommend tourists visit the area.
Pity as it's so nice up there.

If you are bitten by things use vicks vapor rub to numb the itch. Bring creams like sudocreme (found in mothercare) and also Childrens factor 50 sun cream. Aloe Vera is easy to find and also good for sun burn.

Keep the water flowing but drink coconut water and also electrolytes.

East Java and Indonesia will be very welcoming and will be curious about you and your children so be prepared to be stared at but also shown a lot of hospitality.

Tiger balm works for me.

Thanks for all the answers! Yes people look at us when we are the only white foreigners, that is normal.

Famtrav :

Thanks for all the answers! Yes people look at us when we are the only white foreigners, that is normal.

I get that all the time but it's because I'm so handsome .... I think.

More seriously, you'll find the vast majority of Indonesians are very friendly and helpful, as is google translate if you need to communicate.
Note - Download the appropriate language packs so you don't need to rely on a good internet connection.

Hi Famtrav..
I dont do nature travelling a lot so I cant give you good tips on this part. I live in east java I can give you some advice about travelling to Bromo n Malang.
First of all..the transportation. From Bali to East are you going to travel? The best is take a flight from denpasar to surabaya, then travel by train to probolinggo. Second best is by train..but if you take the can only start from you need to take a bus and cross the sea by ferry at gilimanuk bali to ketapang banyuwangi. need to take local transport to train station. A bit more complicated. Last choice is by bus. If you must go by bus.. Night buses.. The premium one is better. The one that you can book the ticket in advance, then you will get off in probolinggo bus station.
If you will join a tour to go up ti mount bromo.. I must advice you to take a reliable one.. Especially the condition of the car/transport and good driver. Do a bit of survey on this.. The best is to ask for your friends a refferral.. Read lots of reviews and choose the one that you think is best. Lots of locals in probolinggo will offer you tour to bromo once you get off the bus..sometimes in an irritating way..forcing you..etc.. And most of them are not profesional in giving service. So expect for the unexpected..
Choose wisely.
Bromo is a very touristy area... Some service providers just care for the money without giving good service in return. :(

From the bus station in probolinggo to the mount of Bromo still long way to go..this where you need to get a good transport and a good driver. Go for a car rental would probably an alternative you might want to consider.

Then..travelling to Malang.. If you go from probolinggo..and you go by bus.. Whenever possible avoid weekend, especially saturday night. The route to malang is super busy on weekend. You can expect being caught in traffic jam for many hours. Unless you travel early , very early in the morning..

Btw..what is your plan for nature travel in malang..? I dont know any adventurous activities in Malang..
Maybe it is just me.. Hehe.. Not very adventurous.
Sorry for the long message.. I hope it helps.

Have a nice holiday to you n family.

Thanks for these precious info. We could book and organize everything ( even buy train tickets online with foreign credit card...). We will stay in Malang when Indonesian are having their holiday. Looking forward to it!
Take care

Booking hotels is best via a reliable company like Agoda or Traveloka.

You can use your credit cards safely with these and you will often get a sweet discount.

I would be less tempted to use a credit card in many places as the potential for fraud is notable. Also watch out for card skimmers on ATMs.
What is an old scam in a lot of countries is still quite new here.

You are most welcome. I do hope you and family enjoy your holiday here.
I forgot to mention...that you can actually take a train from Probolinggo  to Malang to avoid the traffic jam, just in case.

Happy travelling..   :top:

I used to use the trains a lot and they're very good in many ways but they have squat toilets and, most important, pack your own food.
Gordon Ramsey would invent new swearwords for the stuff I ate on the trains before I started taking my own.

hahaha...that's very good points to note. Thank you Fred, I forgot to mention that.
When you are travelling with children especially... you should bring your own meals. The reason for me is because the food on the train is expensive and really not worth the money spent.  :) . Although they have now improved the quality of the meals/snack they sell on the train..still it is not worth buying. Better bring your own food n drink.  ;)

Thanks for the tips!

The busses.

The large air conditioned long distance busses are usually pretty good and pretty safe but be aware the rules regarding drivers that are the norm in many countries don;t apply here so tired drivers are not uncommon.
Local bus services, especially out in the sticks, tend to be hopelessly unsafe both in the state of the busses and the way the drivers attempt to get to their destination as quickly as possible regardless of safety.

In probolinggo bus terminal..there will be 2 types of bus. Always look for the one with the word PATAS on its windows (usually athe the front and rear) . It is air conditioned and bigger bus. PATAS means "cepat terbatas" = fast and limited passenger. So not overcrowded.
Dont take the ordinary bus...without the word PATAS.

thank you for this very important informatino.
actually we will arrive with the train in Probolinggo, and will have to go to bromo.
any advice of good taxi/bus services? I suppose the same than at the bus station,
or is there a difference?
many thanks!!

I don't think there is a taxi service in probolinggo. Hardly seen one.

As far as I must take "angkutan umum"/shared public transport to bus station ..then from there you will take an ELF (something like mini van, old minivan with loud noise..) to Bromo.
Not sure if there is a direct "angkutan umum" from the train station to Bromo.

As I explained on my previous reply, this is the time where you must be selective to choose the transport to bromo. If possible rent a car for yourself and family, with reasonable price of course, not a tourist price. Do some research on the approximate car rent pricing at the moment.
You might want to check this out...just to get the idea what the possibilities are.. … _Java.html

Many thanks for these additional info!

East Java is quite family-friendly and most Indonesians are very warm and accommodating.

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