Trip idea / Indonesian Borneo, Java, Bali

Far-Flung Family Travel

In Indonesian Borneo, Java & Bali

Take your family on the route less travelled through Indonesian Borneo, Java and Bali.

The Lowdown

  • What:

    An intrepid two-week trip that takes you to the heart of Indonesian Borneo, onto mist-swirled temples in Java and finishing at an off-radar eco hotel in eastern Bali.

  • When To Go:

    Indonesian Borneo, Java and Bali are best visited in the dry season (April - October), when the island is hot, humid, and at its driest; also coinciding well with school summer holidays.

  • Who For:

    As there's quite a bit of intrepid travel involved getting from one destination to the next, we'd recommend this trip for children over 12 years old.

  • How To Get There:

    Fly to Jakarta in Java then onward to Pangkalan Bun airport in Central Kalimantan. Return via Semarang to visit Java’s temples before connecting with Bali for a final sojourn on the beach.

Take a walk on the remote side with an intrepid riverboat trip to the jungle wilderness of Indonesian Borneo, reaching the heart of wild orangutan country. Paired with a trip to the world’s biggest Buddhist temples in Java, where ancient Javanese dynasties come to life followed by beach time in a low-key resort in east Bali, this is a wildlife and cultural exploration that goes far beyond the well-trodden track and will be lodged in your family’s memory for years to come.


      • As a family, uncover a wild and totally un-touristy route through Indonesia’s lesser known places
      • Encounter wild orangutans and other wildlife at close range deep in the jungle
      • Take a traditional two-night riverboat trip along the Tanjung Puting National Park, way off the beaten track
      • Admire the carved stories on 9th century Buddhist temple Borobudur in Java, bringing ancient Javanese dynasties to life
      • Finish at a beach hotel on Bali’s quiet eastern coastline discovering local culture

    Jungle Boat Trip

    To access this far-flung part of Indonesian Borneo, fly to Java’s capital, Jakarta, for an overnight stay near the airport before touching down in Pangkalan Bun, the gateway to adventures in Central Kalimantan, a region in lesser-visited Indonesian Borneo characterised by pristine jungle, profusions of wildlife and fascinating tribal culture.

    Board your comfortable houseboat to begin your two-night river journey into Tanjung Puting National Park, made up of swirling rivers, deep rooted mangroves and dense forest. Come to shore to trek deep into untouched jungle and seek out rare wildlife. With carefully placed feeding stations created by national park rangers, your chances of seeing wild orangutans are high. The first indication is a crashing in the treetops before the distinctive orange primates come into view, usually led by the alpha male, recognisable by his ‘flanged’ facial features. It’s also likely you will see proboscis monkeys, gibbons, exotic birds, crocodiles and even tarantulas. You’ll also have time in Camp Leaky, a research, rehabilitation and conservation centre found deep in the jungle, adding an educational slant to the trip. The family will be well looked after on board, with three delicious Indonesian meals a day; down below, the cabins are air-conditioned to ensure a good night’s sleep.

    Ancient Buddhist Temples

    From the wilds of the untamed jungle to the mystical temples of Borobudur, journey back to Java, landing in local airport Semarang before transferring to the blissful serenity of hotel Plataran Borobudur, encased in teak forests. A two-bedroom pool villa awaits – the perfect setting for some family downtime before exploring the mist-shrouded UNESCO World Heritage Site of Borobudur.

    We recommend a private guide who will bring the majesty of the 9th century structure to life and answer any questions the intriguing temples will provoke. Set on three tiers and decorated with bell-shaped domes and Buddha sculptures who stare impassively into the misty valley, Borobudur is one of Southeast Asia’s most impressive sites and the largest single Buddhist monument in the world. Be sure to admire the intricate, carved reliefs that depict Buddha’s life, legend and stories and wonder how this well-preserved ancient temple was built without mortar – the pieces slotting together like a puzzle. Visit a local village by horse drawn buggy, learn about rural Javanese life including harvesting and enjoy a lesson in Indonesian Gamelan music. Back at your hotel, perhaps pop to the spa or have a splash in your private pool before anticipating dinner of Indonesian cuisine created with ingredients from the garden.

    Bali Beach Time

    Travel to nearby Yogyakarta to fly to the neighbouring island of Bali. In keeping with your off-the-beaten-track trip, you’ll avoid Bali’s busy spots and instead head to the quiet, eastern shores of the island. Rugged and backed by the natural drama of Mount Agung, your home for the next few days will provide not only relaxation but opportunities for authentic cultural immersion into local way of life.

    Arriving at beach side resort Alila Manggis, note how the low-rise hotel camouflages itself into the natural vernacular and coconut groves using Indonesian architectural techniques like thatched roofs, local teak wood and open-sided builds. A hotel that received an impressive EarthCheck Gold certification for its environmental successes, including a zero-waste policy, Alila also champions the local and this is evident in the activities that you and your family can enjoy. Join a cookery class to learn the secrets of east Balinese cuisine, dive deep on an ocean clean-up session and visit the hotel’s newly grown coral garden. Take a visit to the temple complex of Besakih, set in the foothills of Mount Agung or walk to the neighbouring village of Tenganan to admire the unique ikat woven cloth. And of course, have time to appreciate the east coast’s beautiful beaches and the hotel’s azure swimming pool, edged by soaring coconut trees. As your trip to Indonesia closes out, cherish final moments in Bali before you return home.