Photo: The back blocks of Candi Dasa.

Indonesia forum

Help w/ Indonesia Itinerary - 2 parents & a baby (8mos old)

Posted by lnr103 on 18/6/2013 at 21:58

Hi. I'm looking for advice. My husband and I love to travel but have been laying pretty low the past year since becoming pregnant and having a baby. We will be traveling to Indonesia this September 2013 and want to make sure we plan it right for our baby and still have an exciting, interesting, relaxing stay.

We typically don't "plan" so to speak. My husband and I are the type of travelers who book the first night and last night of our holiday and figure the middle out as we go....We typically seem to fit nicely into the "flashpacker" category....We're not into sharing a room but enjoy family run boutique hotels that have clean linens, are fairly off the grid, traditional style and fit nicely into our budget. If we end up not liking the place we just move on. Same goes for the island or the city we end up in. I have a feeling we need to have a slightly different itinerary with our child in tow so I'm hoping some friendly people on travelfish have advice for us.

My baby is still breastfed but by 8mos I will have him on a few solids. I can bring cereal and packaged food with me but is it safe for him to eat the fruit, bath in the water etc? We never worried about food for ourselves, typically still brush our teeth in local water when traveling, ate street food etc but I would die if he got sick so I need to be more cautious. Also, he will be too young for DEET or malaria pills....also too young for thyroid fever or japanese encephalitis vaccines. Are there places in Indonesia where I wont have to worry about these illnesses so much? When we were in Thailand I saw young children traveling all over. I imagine Indonesia is similar.

Are there places you would recommend? Boutique hotels or accommodations that are more baby friendly? I'm posting this under Jimbaran because the sound of pop-up fresh fish stands on the beach sound amazing but we are willing to explore anywhere in Indonesia. Places with delicious local food nearby are true perks!

Thanks for your help!!

#1 lnr103 has been a member since 18/6/2013. Posts: 6

Posted by MADMAC on 19/6/2013 at 00:25

Consult your pediatrician concerning health issues. Of course there's always a chance the child will be sick, and children have under-developed immune systems, so those odds are that much higher. The tropics, as I am sure you are aware, has more in the way of diseases than the northern hemisphere, but adequate precautions and you should be OK. The only caveat I have is that you don't want to stray too far off the beaten path, because you want access to quality medical care should the little guy get sick. I can't speak for medical care in Indonesia, maybe someone else here can help you with that element.

#2 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
 Send MADMAC a private message 

Agoda coupon: Get an extra 7% off selected properties with the coupon code

Posted by lnr103 on 19/6/2013 at 11:24

Thanks Madmac. Thats a very good point. I will have to check to see where they have westernized medical care when were spotting out places to stay. I dont want to be a boat, a bus and a ferry away from the nearest doctor. Im a nurse which oddly seems to make us too lax about medicine. Perhaps because as a nurse in the US, I simply don't trust healthcare anymore. Ive had much better care in Shanghai. (Sigh, sorry thats a side note.) We used to live in Shanghai and will be returning for a few months this summer, hence our travel to Indonesia while on this side of the globe.

Our US pediatrician, whom I typically really like is extremely lax about his travel to China. He will only be 6mos when we head back to Shanghai and she didnt seem to think he would need any different vaccinations than he has already received. HepB, tetanus, pertussis, diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella, polio... She seemed to think he would be too young for malaria meds or a typhoid fever vaccine.

#3 lnr103 has been a member since 18/6/2013. Posts: 6

Posted by lnr103 on 19/6/2013 at 11:28

He is still nursing so he has a somewhat weaker version of my immune system at this time. He is a little traveler already....still never been sick which I chalk up to momma's milk.

#4 lnr103 has been a member since 18/6/2013. Posts: 6

Posted by MADMAC on 19/6/2013 at 12:08

I have actually had good care in Mukdahan, Thailand, where I live. It's not as advanced as back in the US, and the rooms are not as modern or even as clean, BUT, I am treated like a customer, not a patient, and I like that. And it's affordable. And the quality of care has been good enough that I fully recovered, which meets my requirement.

All that having been said, I know that in some places in SEA it's not going to be quite that good. And with a small child, I am sure you don't want to take any chances that you would end up regretting.

One other point - I would try to minimize long travel legs. Kids are good to a point, and then they suck a lot, disturbing you and everyone around you. You can guage that better than anyone else. Short bus trips should be fine - overnighters, maybe. Depends on how he sleeps on the bus.

#5 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
 Send MADMAC a private message 

Posted by lnr103 on 19/6/2013 at 12:32

Yes. Very true. No one is having fun with a crying baby. Definitely limiting the duration of each travel adventure. It will be a much different trip than we're familiar with. Thanks for the pointers! So envious that you live in Thailand! :)

#6 lnr103 has been a member since 18/6/2013. Posts: 6

Posted by MADMAC on 19/6/2013 at 20:51

I moved here when my daughter was nine months old, so I got a lot of experience moving around with her. Like you of course I had concerns, any parent would. But it worked out well in the end. We love living here, but like everywhere in the world, it has plusses and minuses. Of all the things I dislike the most it has to be the driving, because people here drive as if they were morons. Dumber than dumb.

#7 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
 Send MADMAC a private message 

Posted by mauigirl on 28/6/2013 at 02:21

We did a trip to Borneo and Maratua Island with our 9 month old baby at the end of 2012. We also had our 8 year old son traveling with us. We started in Brunei, as we just wanted to see Brunei. Yawn....very boring, even for a family. We caught a boat and van to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah and surprisingly the trip wasn't too bad. It took about 5 hours. My son was nursing, so feeding him on the go was easy. We love Kota Kinabalu and find it to be a very kid friendly city. It's walkable and the food is great!

From Kota Kinabalu, we flew to Tawau and then made our way to Berau, Kalimantan. We love Indonesia and contrary to what people might think, I thought the healthcare was very good. Our baby got a bit of a cough and we visited a few clinics and pharmacies and were very well taken care of. The trip overland from Tarakan to Berau to catch the boat out to the islands, was a bit much for our 9 month old. He held up well, but it was an all day trip with boats and vans, over winding roads. If I were to do it again, I'd catch flights when possible.

We're planning another trip to the islands off of East Kalimantan and we have a more child friendly itinerary this time. We're flying into Balikpapan, Kalimantan and then catching a flight to Berau the same day. The taxi to the jetty is about 2 hours and the ride isn't too bad. From the jetty, we'll catch a speed boat to Maratua and that's 1 1/2 hours. I was a little nervous about the speed boat last time, as we took it at night. However, the boats turned out to be better than the vans. There are 2 islands off the coast. One is Derawan, which is built up a bit and the other is Maratua, which is just getting going.

Derawan was ok, but it's small and not much there. Swimming with the turtles was fantastic though! Maratua blew our minds and that's why we're going back. There's a new guesthouse opening called Maratua Guesthouse and they have a very kid friendly beach. There is actually a hospital or large clinic on Maratua and that made me feel better. We had to visit the clinic on Derawan last time and the doctor was fantastic!

The diving and snorkeling around Maratua are the best in the world and swimming with manta rays off of Sangalaki Island and with the jellyfish on Kakaban Island are two of my favorite nature experiences to date. The waters around Maratua are absolutely stunning. I only get to do a little snorkeling, as I leave the baby with my husband, but I still love it! I hope that you have a wonderful trip to Indo. I'm sure that you'll find a perfect place for your holiday.

#8 mauigirl has been a member since 28/6/2013. Posts: 6

Posted by lnr103 on 28/6/2013 at 08:02

Wow thank you Mauigirl!! Such wonderful information. That's exactly what we were looking for! Really appreciate the time you spent. You must of loved your trip. Sounds amazing.

#9 lnr103 has been a member since 18/6/2013. Posts: 6

Posted by lnr103 on 28/6/2013 at 08:07


Besides breast milk, did your 9mos old eat anything there? Im planning to just breastfeed and give bananas and other fruits with thick skin. hoping thats okay. Also, did you find it hard to keep him/her from drinking the water? Any vaccines?

#10 lnr103 has been a member since 18/6/2013. Posts: 6

Please login to add a reply

You need to be a Travelfish member to be able to add a reply to this post. Please use the button below to log in. After logging in you'll be returned to this page automatically to add your post. Not a member? Join up here.