Planning a family vacation during the school holidays? Why not consider the exciting cities of Medan, Lombok or Surabaya in Indonesia? They offer a range of fun-filled adventures for families with children of all ages. These destinations are just a stone’s throw from Singapore, so you won’t have to worry about your kids getting restless on a long flight.
1. Enjoy the local offerings of Medan
Tantalise your tastebuds with the fiery saksang, or pork curry, of the Batak people. Non-spicy options are available for younger kids too
Go on an authentic epicurean discovery
The foodies in your family will truly appreciate the chance to #eatlocal in Medan. The cuisine of the indigenous Batak people of north Sumatra is widely recognised as one of the better preserved local cuisines.
The fiery fare often uses andaliman, also known as Batak pepper to the locals, to spice up its dishes. If you have a taste for spicy food, it’s worth sampling iconic Batak dishes such as arsik, which is carp marinated in Batak pepper, ginger flower and chilli. Also try tasak telu, which is chicken cooked three ways – where the chicken is boiled, cooked with spices and ground corn kernels, then with chopped vegetables and spiced coconut. You can also try saksang, which is spicy pork stewed in coconut milk, spices and pork blood. For your young ones, there are non-spicy options such as grilled pork or fried noodles, guaranteed to whet their appetites!
Get up close to one of Indonesia’s tallest waterfall
Give yourself - and the kids - about 30 to 45 minutes to scale the staircase to the majestic Sipiso Piso waterfall at a leisurely pace
Enjoy the cool mist generated by one of the tallest waterfalls in Indonesia, Sipiso Piso, as you take in the view and snap envy-inducing photographs. Literally meaning “like a knife”, the waterfall is 120m tall.
Take the stairs from the north side of Lake Toba to get to the foot of this waterfall. Do ensure that your child is up for this physical challenge or you might end up doing some heavy lifting.
While there, you can also go for a swim in a plunge pool or hop on a ferry to get a closer look at the waterfall, which are suitable activities for families with younger children.
Enjoy the cool mist generated by one of the tallest waterfalls in Indonesia, Sipiso Piso, as you take in the view and snap envy-inducing photographs
2. Enjoy the aquatic life in Lombok
Remember to slather on sunscreen to protect the family for an afternoon at the beach
Watch the sunset on a pink beach
Instagram fanatics will love taking family photos on the beautiful Tangsi Beach. The sand here is pink in colour, caused by microscopic organisms that have a reddish-pink shell. When they die, they get washed up on the shore, where they blend in with the sand and corals to form pink sand, giving the place the moniker of Pink Beach. Go in the early evening as the rays of the setting sun really enhance the pink glow of the sand.
Bring a frisbee or a beach ball to enjoy a fun game of catch or build sandcastles with your kids. This beach also makes for an idyllic picnic spot as you watch the sun set over the horizon.
Indulge in water activities galore
Strap a life vest on young ones for added peace of mind when you go snorkelling
The Gili Islands are an ideal place for families who love water and watersports. Activities include diving for adults and older teens, while the young ones can enjoy a snorkelling trip. You could even swim with turtles or join other activities such as boating and fishing.
Younger children will also enjoy a ride on a glass-bottom boat, where they can catch glimpses of the aquatic life, making this an educational yet entertaining adventure for them.
3. Discover the culture and history of Surabaya
The traditional fishing boats and fishermen at Kalimas Harbor offer a glimpse of life from yesteryears
The bustling city of Surabaya holds hidden treasures that allow your family to discover Indonesia’s rich cultural heritage
Learn about Indonesian history and art
Bustling Surabaya, Indonesia's second largest city, is centuries old and has always been an important port. Take your kids on a walking history lesson with a visit to the Kalimas Harbor, where you can still see traditional fishermen and old-fashioned schooners. You can also tour the interior of the nearby Monkasel submarine monument, and meet retired sailors with plenty of entertaining stories to share.
For insight into Indonesia's rich performing arts culture, visit the historic Balai Pemuda building, a beautifully restored Baroque building that now hosts traditional Javanese performances like wayang puppet shows, as well as concerts and exhibitions.
Experience family fun at educational parks
With a cooler climate than Surabaya, the hilltop colonial town of Batu is a popular getaway to escape the summer heat, and offers a wide variety of fun activities for children of all ages. It is about a two hour drive from Surabaya city - you can rent a car or hop into a taxi.
One of the key attractions in Batu is the Jawa Timur Parks 1 and 2, which house a zoo, science centre and museum among other things, making it worth a visit for people of different age groups. Museum Satwa (or Museum of Wildlife), located within Park 2, features realistic replicas of dinosaur fossils and dioramas of preserved animals from all corners of the globe. There are also fruit plantations in the outskirts of Batu where kids can try their hand at picking their own apples and oranges!
Discover Indonesia at Changi Airport
Protip: For more information about these Indonesian destinations and other exciting activities, visit the Discover Indonesia event at Changi Airport Terminal 3, Departure Hall (Level 2) from 10 March to 2 April, noon to 11pm daily.
Highlights include a special exhibition journey, coffee tastings and unique premiums to be redeemed. Children can also participate in an exciting Indo Junior Warrior Challenge, and those with the fastest qualifying times will compete in a finale on 2 April, where they will stand to win a family holiday for four to Indonesia! Find out more here, terms and conditions apply.