This 10-day family adventure combines two gorgeous islands—Java and Bali—that showcase the best cultural activities in Indonesia. Start in the royal city of Yogyakarta, where you'll explore two ancient UNESCO-listed sites, including the largest Buddhist temple in the world. Then hop on a short flight to Bali and get close to Hindu traditions at temples, classes, and dance performances—with plenty of monkey sightings—for an educational trip you and your kids will never forget.


  • Explore Indonesia's biggest temples for Buddhist and Hinduism
  • Join workshops for chocolate-tasting and puppet and batik-making 
  • Visit a small village on each island and learn about the local lifestyle
  • Hit the local market with a chef and join a family-friendly cooking class in Ubud
  • See various performances, including a fire dance at Uluwatu Temple—at sunset

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Yogyakarta, Explore Yogyakarta
Day 2 Borobudur Temple Tour, Visit Candi Rejo Village Yogyakarta
Day 3 Chocolate Tasting, Puppet & Batik Workshop Yogyakarta
Day 4 Prambanan Temple Tour, Ramayana Ballet Dinner Yogyakarta
Day 5 Fly to Bali, Transfer to Ubud, Explore Ubud
Day 6 Gunung Kawi Temple Tour, Visit the Ubud Monkey Forest Ubud
Day 7 Cultural Immersion & Traditional Lunch, Barong Dance Show Ubud
Day 8 Market Visit & Cooking Class Ubud
Day 9 Transfer to Uluwatu, Temple Tour, Kecak Dance Performance Uluwatu
Day 10 Depart Bali  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Yogyakarta, Explore

Start your trip at the 18th-century Taman Sari Water Palace

Welcome to Indonesia! Your adventure begins in the city of Yogyakarta, usually called Yogya (or Jogja) for short, which is located on Java, one of more than 17,000 islands in Indonesia. Upon arrival, your driver will be waiting at the airport to transfer you to your hotel. Take some time to rest and unpack after your long flight. If your kids need to work off some energy after sitting on an airplane, you can start exploring at your own pace.

Yogyakarta is a bustling city with modern conveniences, but it's best known as Indonesia's cultural soul with access to some of the country's most impressive ancient temples and royal Javanese palaces that you'll visit in the coming days. If you have time today, start with a visit to Taman Sari Water Palace, a peaceful 18th-century palace complex with pools and fountains.

Day 2: Borobudur Temple Tour, Visit Candi Rejo Village

Wander around the iconic stupas at Borobudur
Wander around the iconic stupas at the largest Buddhist temple in the world

After a good night's sleep and a full breakfast at your hotel, your family will be ready to head out of town to one of Java's most awe-inspiring ancient places, Borobudur, the world's largest Buddhist temple. The UNESCO World Heritage Site dates back to the eighth and ninth centuries, and there are more than 500 Buddha statues to explore. You and your kids will enjoy climbing the steps for impressive views of the surrounding jungle, farmland, and villages. Look for Indonesian school groups visiting who like to practice their English, and encourage your kids to chat with them.

Next, a driver will take you to the nearby village of Candi Rejo. During the visit, you'll see how Indonesian villagers live, take a bicycle or horse ride (depending on the ages and abilities of your kids), learn how krupuk (crackers) are made, and visit a local school. You'll also be introduced to gamelan music, a style of traditional Indonesian percussion, which will repeatedly provide a melodic backdrop to your travels in Java. Refuel with a local lunch with your guide before returning to Yogyakarta.

Day 3: Chocolate Tasting, Puppet & Batik Workshop

Practice the traditional art form of batik with your kids

Give your kids the chance to express themselves today in various ways. Your first stop is the Monggo Chocolate Factory, which blends Indonesian and European traditions by using Belgian chocolate-making techniques with locally produced cocoa beans. Sample different chocolates and learn why the Javanese consider Monggo chocolates to be the best; you and your kids will enjoy finding out whether you agree. 

Later on, join a workshop and learn about local puppet and batik-making traditions. Javanese shadow puppets, or wayang, are a classical art form that your kids will surely love watching and playing with. You'll also get the chance to make traditional batik fabric. This wax-resist technique is used to decorate fabrics throughout Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. Take a look at some traditional designs before making your own design on fabric with liquid wax.

Day 4: Prambanan Temple Tour, Ramayana Ballet Dinner

Watch a traditional Ramayana ballet dance at Prambanan Temple

After some free time today, you'll experience more Javanese culture, religion, and history as you visit the beautiful ninth-century Prambanan Temple just outside Yogyakarta. This UNESCO-listed Hindu temple reflects Java's diverse past and contains exquisite sculptures and carvings. There are 240 temples within the Prambanan complex, including three principal temples devoted to Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma. The tallest temple is 155 feet (47 m) high. 

Time your visit to Prambanan for the afternoon so that when you've finished exploring, you can segue into an evening Ramayana ballet performance held on the grounds. The Hindu performance tells the epic story of Rama and Sita through 200 dancers adorned in beautiful, colorful costumes. Listen to musicians playing the gamelan as you eat a tasty dinner and watch this tale of good versus evil unfold.
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Day 5: Fly to Bali, Transfer to Ubud, Explore

Explore Ubud's streets and temples at your own pace—and say hello to the locals

Say goodbye to Java today as you fly east to Bali, a short 1.5-hour flight away. Look out for the spectacular volcanic Mount Bromo in East Java from the plane and Bali's Mount Agung as you come in to land. At Denpasar airport, your driver will be waiting to transfer you to Ubud, a culture-rich town in Bali's hills.

After settling into your hotel room, get out to explore Ubud on foot, as it's a walkable town for all ages. You won't have to go far along the street to come across beautiful little temples and palaces, as these are a feature of Ubud. Parents might like to trade turns and get a massage or other spa treatment, as there are plenty of options here.

Day 6: Gunung Kawi Temple Tour, Visit the Ubud Monkey Forest

Visit these friendly monkeys with a bit of caution at Ubud's Monkey Forest

After breakfast, you'll get a full day's worth of exploring Ubud and its surrounding area. Start at Gunung Kawi, one of Bali's largest temple complexes and a unique archaeological site. The ancient shrine reliefs are carved into the rocks and cliffs overlooking the Pakerisan Valley near the village of Tampaksiring. Kids with an interest in "Tomb Raider" or "Indiana Jones"-style archaeology will love this place.

Your next stop is the beautiful Monkey Forest, right in the center of Ubud. This lush tropical forest sanctuary spans over 30 acres (12 ha) and is home to a horde of nearly 1,000 long-tailed macaques. Many of the macaques are completely unafraid of humans, providing kids with a unique opportunity to interact with them up close. They are also quite bold and have been known to snatch sunglasses, climb onto visitors' heads, and more! Proceed with a bit of caution.

Day 7: Cultural Immersion & Traditional Lunch, Barong Dance Show

Watch a traditional Barong dance featuring a lion-like creature

Following a day exploring Balinese nature and archaeology, today, you and your kids will be immersed in Balinese culture. Visit a local family at their traditional home in the countryside who will introduce you to various aspects of their daily life through fun, engaging, and enriching activities. Tour the village rice fields and plantations and learn about the unique agricultural techniques Balinese farmers use. Then, sit down to enjoy a traditional-style local lunch to finish the excursion.

Later on, sit down for an entertaining and enlightening Barong performance, which features a lion-like creature and character in Balinese mythology. Barong is the king of the spirits, leader of the hosts of sound, and enemy of Rangda, the demon queen. Learn about this mythology through a Barong dance that represents the eternal battle between good and evil. Kids will love the rhythm of the music and the fantastic dance and costumes. 

Day 8: Market Visit & Cooking Class

Start your day at the market, where you'll pick ingredients with a local chef

Many kids love helping out in the kitchen and creating their own dishes, and they'll get the chance to do so today while learning about Balinese culture through its cuisine. First, take an early, pre-breakfast trip to a local market with a guide, where you will see a variety of fresh items for sale, including tropical fruits, organic vegetables, exotic spices, and more. Get a taste of local life as many Balinese come to the market each morning to do their daily shopping. Your chef will help you look for ingredients for your cooking class later on.

From here, walk back to your hotel for breakfast. Later in the morning, you'll head to a traditional kitchen to start your Balinese cooking lesson. With your help, a chef will prepare a selection of local recipes while describing the traditional culinary techniques and flavors of Indonesia. Your kids can be given tasks (and food items) that are suitable for their age and abilities. At the end of class, sit and enjoy the freshly-prepared dishes for lunch. 

Day 9: Transfer to Uluwatu, Temple Tour, Kecak Dance Performance

Finish the day (and the trip!) with this memorable Balinese Kecak dance

Enjoy a leisurely morning in Ubud this morning, perhaps taking a final stroll around the town and visiting some boutiques and temples. After lunch, a driver will transfer you to Uluwatu, on the southernmost tip of Bali. After checking into your hotel, it's time to get ready for Uluwatu Temple.

Uluwatu Temple is perched on a cliffside at 230 feet (70 m) above the sea. This afternoon, take time to wander around the temple dedicated to the Hindu god Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa in his manifestation as Rudra. Enjoy spectacular views of the waves crashing below the temple as you learn a little bit about its history. Head to a great viewpoint to watch the sunset with beautiful ocean views.

From here, find a good spot at the temple to watch an evening performance of the traditional Balinese Kecak dance. The dance is based on the story of the Ramayana from Hindu mythology (which you may remember from your visit to Prambanan in Java) and has been presented at temples and villages across Bali since the 1930s. A few dozen men dance and chant, accompanied by drums and fire. The rhythm of this cultural performance is said to put dancers in a trance, and surely your kids will be mesmerized by the whole scene.

Day 10: Depart Bali

Until next time, Bali!

The day has come to say goodbye to Indonesia! Depending on your hour of departure, there may be time to enjoy a leisurely breakfast or even some beach time before a driver picks you up and transfers you to the airport in Denpasar for your flight. Safe travels!

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Map of Cultural Family Vacation in Indonesia: Yogyakarta & Bali - 10 Days
Map of Cultural Family Vacation in Indonesia: Yogyakarta & Bali - 10 Days