Indonesia travel tips: The most important information for planning your trip

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Welcome to Indonesia, the world’s largest island nation! Indonesia is – as trite as it sounds – one of the most diverse countries we have ever been to. Yes, maybe it is even the most diverse. Indonesia has volcanoes and huge cities, lonely islands and heavenly beaches, dense rainforest and ancient temples.

And then of course there is the small Hindu island of Bali, which somehow doesn’t really fit in with the rest of Indonesia. Yes, Indonesia can be quite overwhelming at first considering its size and diversity.

Indonesia is so huge, that you can hardly see all regions on one trip unless you’re going to be away for months, of course (and even then it’ll be difficult). Although we have been to Indonesia several times, we (like most) have not yet traveled to all of the islands.

Our travel guide therefore focuses primarily on the islands Java, Bali and Lombok – but is of course also a welcome source of valuable tips for all other islands in Indonesia. In this article you will find our best travel tips and all Information you need to know to prepare and plan your trip to Indonesia.

1. Indonesia travel tips before your trip: Overview & travel time What you Expected in Indonesia About 11.! So many islands belong to Indonesia – crazy, right? It’s no wonder that you’re a bit overwhelmed at first, considering the size and variety. Therefore, we would like to briefly list three points that make up Indonesia at its core.

Impressive nature: Indonesia is a true natural jewel. You’ve probably seen one or two volcanoes, because there are plenty of them in Indonesia. Indonesia is also one of the largest areas of rainforest in the world. (That’s why it breaks our hearts when we see pictures of burnt down jungles, but that’s another story.) The rainforest is home to countless (some endangered) animals. For example, on the island of Sumatra you can see some of the last wild orangutans. Beaches: Admittedly – that’s also part of nature. But because Indonesia has so many islands and therefore beaches, we have to mention them separately. Indonesia (especially Bali) also magically attracts many surfers. And then of course there are some diving spots in Indonesia. Fascinating Culture & Temples: Last but not least – Indonesia is full of cultural highlights. We personally find the Hindu temples in Bali particularly impressive. You can also find some cultural treasures on Java, such as Borobudur. This temple near the city of Yogyakarta is actually the largest Buddhist temple complex in the world. Further blog article: Indonesia itinerary with all stops & info

The best Season for a trip to Indonesia Roughly speaking, there are two seasons in Indonesia: The rainy season and the dry season. In the rainy season you have the advantage that there is generally less going on. The accommodations are therefore usually cheaper. In addition, nature is more lush and lush green. The disadvantages are obvious: the rain can sometimes be really annoying. From half an hour of dribbles in the middle of the night that is hardly noticeable to days of continuous rain, everything is possible. Unpredictable, almost. In the dry season you avoid the rain as much as possible, but there can still be showers all year round. Most people travel in the dry season and this is of course reflected in the prices.

In general, from April to October there is a dry season in Indonesia, whereby some areas are a bit out of sync. Sumatra, for example, is less predictable and parts of the Moluccas and West Papua have a rainy season between May and September.

We have been to Indonesia in April/May and July/August, namely in Java, Bali and Lombok or Karimunjawa. In April and May we have particularly good memories of the lush nature. You can tell that the rainy season is not that long ago. The plants are growing, everything is green. In late summer the landscape is drier and of course (due to the holidays) there are simply more people on the move. In this respect: Thumbs up for April and May!

Travel guide for Indonesia: Our tip Although you can already find many Indonesia travel tips on the internet (like on our blog, for example hehe), we never travel without a printed travel guide. In Asia we have a clear favorite among travel guides: Stefan Loose. We really like the Stefan Loose travel guides. They are well researched and perfect for individual travelers.

Stefan Loose’s Indonesia travel guide has accompanied us to Indonesia several times. It is (as usual from Loose) very detailed and filled with great tips. We have a clear recommendation.

You can buy the travel guide here: Stefan Loose Indonesia

2. Entry into Indonesia Free: Visa Free Entry Indonesia makes entry quite easy for travelers. The most uncomplicated and cheapest option is the so-called Visa Free Entry. This is possible, for example, with a German, Austrian or Swiss passport that is still valid for at least six months. On the plane you will only receive a customs form that you have to fill out and hand in.

The Visa Free Entry is complete for you . free. Important: You may need to show a return ticket. And you cannot extend your stay with the Visa Free Entry! So if you are longer than 30 want to stay days in Indonesia, this is not the right choice for you.

Paying: Visa on Arrival Unlike the Visa Free Entry, a Visa on Arrival chargeable. After landing, you simply go to the payment counter. The commission fee is 35 Dollars per person. In the past you had to pay the money in cash, but now in many places (including Bali) it is already possible to pay by credit card. Here, too, it may well be that you will be asked for your return ticket. You will then receive your visa at the immigration counter together with the invoice.

The Visa on Arrival is also initially only for 35 days valid, but you can add more 30 extend days. For the extension you can either contact a visa agent or you can do it yourself at the respective immigration office. It all takes a bit of effort. So if you are sure before your trip that you will stay longer than 30 days, we advise you to come right away 75 day visa.

3. Travel tips for getting around Indonesia Depending on which part of Indonesia you want to travel to, the transportation options differ serious. For example, the train network on Java is extremely well developed – but on other islands there are sometimes no trains at all.

For the booking of tickets we can you the provider 11 recommend There you can search for trains, buses, ferries, taxis or even flights and book the corresponding ticket right away. Especially in a country like Indonesia, the possibilities can be quite overwhelming.

You can book tickets for the transport here:

Train travel in Indonesia Train travel is extremely convenient in Java. There are usually three different classes: Ekonomi, Bisnis and Eksekutif. (No, that’s not dyslexia, that’s actually the official description.) For a 5-hour train journey in the Eksekutif class you pay about 10$.

Train journeys have a huge advantage over buses and taxis: you escape the nerve-wracking Indonesian traffic. The times given for train journeys are therefore almost always adhered to to the minute. The same cannot be said for bus trips. Culinary desires do not remain unfulfilled: For example in 10-minute clock one is from “Nasi Nasi Nasi Goreeeeeeng”-calling people deprived of their sleep.

Bus travel in Indonesia Let’s come straight to the second variant: to the bus, or Coach. If there were a ranking on our part, the bus would rank at the bottom as a transport option. The reason: there are rarely air conditioning systems, which makes traffic jams all the more common.

Bus stations are also a guarantee of being harassed by dozens of Indonesians (we deliberately choose the male form). (They want to sell you a ticket, for example, or persuade you to stay at their hotel.) Hence our tip: try to avoid bus rides as much as possible.

The Bemo is a cross between a taxi and a bus, a type of minibus that is mainly used by locals. As soon as enough people are gathered in the vehicle, the journey begins. There are no stops – you stop the minibus by waving it over. The whole thing is usually quite an experience, which is often accompanied by a deafening background noise (traffic & Indonesian music from the loudspeakers).

The Bemo fares are absolutely opaque to us. We are sure that we paid about ten times as much for the route from Gilimanuk to Denpasar as the boy in the next seat. But it doesn’t matter, the prices can’t be beaten. The problem is much more that in some areas tourists are kept away from the cheap Bemos with all their might in order to earn money from them by expensive taxis.

Boats & Ships in Indonesia At some point, when traveling to Indonesia, you will have to ask yourself the question: How do I cross the water unscathed ? And by water we mean the ocean. Unfortunately, Indonesian shipping is not one of the safest means of transport.

In the area around Bali, the Gili Islands and also for a trip to Karimunjawa, a trip with the Speedboat advertised. Reviews on the internet are sometimes devastating. Speedboats are expensive (usually only tourists and not locals ride them) – and not entirely harmless. If the weather is bad, you should definitely avoid a crossing!

An alternative is often the much larger ferry. With the ferry you are usually significantly longer on the way and the destinations are often not headed for directly . On the other hand, you are usually surrounded by locals on the ferry and it is quite comfortable.

Taxi driving in Indonesia When driving a taxi, you should definitely (!) rely on the Blue Bird Group. Blue Bird taxis are forced to use the meter. The fare is therefore reasonable and apart from that they are hailed on the internet as the most trustworthy taxi company in Indonesia. We can only agree with this praise. We have only had good experiences with Blue Bird Taxis. You can find them in every major agglomeration, but it’s best to check the Blue Bird website directly.

Longer journeys are by taxi also possible if you want to get from A to B by land using the shortest route. For example, for the route from Jepara to Solo, we have 30 euros paid. The price is negotiated in advance for such routes and is of course minimized for each individual with a correspondingly higher occupancy of the taxi.

Flying in Indonesia For longer distances, plane is a welcome alternative. The prices fluctuate greatly. The earlier you book, the cheaper it is in most cases. In any case, check the prices directly on the website of the respective airline.

Which brings us to the next topic: choosing the airline. With Air Asia we always felt safe. The crash dating 2014 spoils the good overall picture a bit.

Lion Air has quite a few incidents. We’re trying to avoid Lion Air because the business model (expansion at any price) doesn’t seem serious to us. Garuda Indonesia, the state airline, was once on the EU’s black list, but has improved again – if one can believe the reports on the Internet. We felt safe, which may have been due to the age-related experience of the pilots (at least we hope they are experienced).

Scooter riding in Indonesia It is very popular to rent a scooter locally in order to explore nearby destinations on your own. In Bali, for example, you get the feeling that every traveler is on their own scooter. With a scooter you are fast, flexible and above all cheap on the road: Just
. 01 until 75. IDR costs the rent for one day .

Very important: Riding a scooter in Indonesia is always associated with a risk. In the event of an accident, you have no sheet metal protection. It is not uncommon for scooter accidents to result in serious injuries or even death. Scooter riding in Indonesia is and remains dangerous. We recommend the following things to be as safe as possible on the road:

Be sure to wear a helmet ! Yes, it’s tempting to forgo it in the heat. Please don’t! Sand on the road can easily lead to slipping – especially in the curve. So always drive as slowly as possible or adjust your speed to the conditions. Many travelers tend to overestimate themselves. We personally try to avoid it to drive in darkness. Firstly, the view is limited and secondly, it is not uncommon for people to be under the influence of alcohol. Pay attention to that , so that you don’t burn yourself on the motorcycle’s exhaust pipe. You usually don’t need a international driver’s license to rent a car, but the police can very well ask for one. In addition, for example, your travel insurance can be thwarted in the event of an accident if you drove without an international driver’s license.

We’ll give you more tips for riding a scooter in Indonesia you in this article: Day trip Bali by scooter

4. Travel expenses Indonesia: How much money do you need Currency & Payment in Indonesia Indonesia’s currency is the Indonesian Rupiah (abbreviated IDR). Withdraw money without any problems at the ATMs (cash dispensers). If you are from Austria, then make sure before you leave your bank that the GeoControl function is deactivated. You can usually do this online.

Also interesting to know: You have to get used to the fact that when you take off you usually Extremely many bills are spat out – the largest bill in Indonesia is not even worth 6 euros!

Travel expenses Indonesia : Price level and price examples What does it cost in Indonesia…?

Eating out for two people in a warung (= cheap restaurant): 80. IDR an overnight stay for two people in a beautiful double room with air conditioning and private bathroom: 350. IDR (in Bali it is called al however more expensive) rent a moped for one day: 75. until 90. IDR in Liters of petrol: 02. IDR the jeep tour at Mount Bromo: 500.000 IDR (for the whole jeep) entrance fee for Borobudur: 90.000 IDR a Bintang (= beer) in the restaurant: 30. IDR a flight from Jakarta to Bali: between 456. and 801. IDR per person The Price level in Indonesia we would describe as fairly cheap. However, Bali is an exception. There are tons of hip restaurants and cafes where the prices are almost at European level. The prices for accommodation in Bali are also significantly higher than, for example, in Java.

5. Food and drink in Indonesia Indonesian cuisine is dominated by rice (“nasi”). It goes with almost every dish. Meat and fish is eaten with pleasure and a lot in Indonesia. However, it is also possible to eat a plant-based diet – this is of course particularly true in Bali, where you will be overwhelmed by the range of vegan restaurants.

We have to admit that we personally get a little bored with the traditional Indonesian cuisine after a relatively short time. We miss the extraordinary taste experiences that we know from Thailand, for example. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t eat well in Indonesia – but it’s not really great love for us. We also have to admit that after a trip to Indonesia we mostly ate our fill of peanut sauce. This is served very often.

Those who go out to eat traditionally visit a so-called warung in Indonesia. In these small food stalls there is usually wonderful food. Depending on the warung, the dishes are already cooked or they are prepared in front of your eyes. In Warungs you usually eat very cheaply: For around .000 IDR you already get a hearty meal.

Classics and specialties in Indonesia: Traditional dishes Nasi Goreng: The absolute classic that you can get almost everywhere: fried rice. Nasi goreng often comes in a variety of flavors – it’s often served with chicken (ayam), but you can also get it vegetarian. Nasi Goreng is often served with a fried egg. The same dish is also available with noodles, then it’s called mie goreng. Nasi Campur: One of the national dishes in Indonesia, which translates as “mixed journey”. Here you get a portion of rice and a colorful selection of other ingredients (meat, tofu, vegetables) and sauces. You can often choose the ingredients on site. Gado Gado: The most typical of all vegetarian dishes in Indonesia. It consists of various (mostly cooked/blanched) vegetables served with a peanut sauce and usually with a hard-boiled egg. Tempeh: Not a dish per se, but so-called tempeh is often found. Tempeh is made from boiled and fermented soybeans. It has a firm consistency and tastes slightly nutty. Tahu Telur: The Indonesian form of the omelette: here egg is fried in a pan and served with tofu and a special sauce. Cooking Class in Indonesia If you would like to learn more about Indonesian cuisine or just want to have a fun, interesting afternoon, then we can recommend a cooking class.

Cooking courses are very popular, especially in Bali, but also in Yogyakarta. A cooking course usually lasts around six hours. The course often starts with a visit to the market. Then different dishes are cooked. Of course, such a cooking course does not make you a master chef, but the whole thing is really an experience.

We can recommend this cooking course in Bali (Ubud): Farm Cooking School

6. Religion and culture in Indonesia: Tips for behavior & dress Indonesia is known to be a Muslim country – more precisely, it is even the country with the largest Muslim population tion worldwide. 328 percent of the population profess Islam. An exception is Bali, for example. A large part of the population there is of Hindu faith.

In most parts of the country (especially Java, Lombok, Sumatra), the mosque and singing are therefore also part of it of the muezzin to daily life. In this chapter we will tell you what else you need to consider.

Clothing: Our recommendation We strongly advise you to wear appropriate clothing – this is especially true in the Muslim parts of the country like Java. While Indonesian women are rarely fully veiled, many wear headscarves. Respecting religion is important to us, so we can’t understand how travelers sometimes dress. We recommend covering your shoulders and, if necessary, your knees.

Things are different in Bali: the locals there are dressed less covered and tourists especially like to walk around in short clothes.

Religious celebrations Ramadan We were lucky enough to travel through Indonesia once during the fasting month of Ramadan and would like to give a brief account of our experiences. Ramadan takes place at a different time every year.

During Ramadan devout Indonesians only eat and drink after sunset. Many shops and restaurants are closed during the day and only open at sunset, i.e. around 18 Watch. In areas that are developed for tourism, however, it is always easy to get something to eat. It can be more difficult in remote areas.

The highlight of Ramadan is Idul Fitri, the festival of breaking the fast. During this 3-day festival, the situation then comes to a head. If our guesthouse operators hadn’t fired up the grill for us, we would have had to live off biscuits for a few days. All restaurants were closed. But we have to say that we were on Karimunjawa (a rather remote island). It is probably less dramatic in tourist areas.

Public transport can also be affected: buses, trains and flights are often fully booked during Ramadan, but especially during Idul Fitri. And: you have to reckon with a considerable restriction of the night’s sleep at this time. The reason for this: the increased volume and the high frequency of the prayers in all mosques. But it doesn’t matter, we think.

Nyepi The Balinese New Year, called Nyepi, is the most important Hindu holiday in Bali. It always takes place in spring – but the day is always different.

Nyepi is also called “Day of Silence”. Nomen est omen, because on this day everything really stands still in Bali. All people must for 12 hours at home. No work is allowed, and no lights or fires are allowed to be lit. All these strict rules even apply to tourists.

In the days before Nyepi you can look forward to really impressive Balinese ceremonies in the villages and temples. Speaking of ceremonies: These take place regularly throughout the year in the temples of Bali. It’s best to inquire at your accommodation so that you can perhaps experience one or the other ceremony live – it’s really an experience!

Hospitality & Interest from locals Indonesians we experienced as incredibly hospitable. We were invited several times into the house of locals, cooked and fed. We were even allowed to stay overnight with a family. And no matter how much we resisted – even the restaurant bill was taken over by our hosts. We really always felt very welcome in Indonesia. In general, we had the feeling that tourists were met with a great deal of curiosity.

Western tourists with light skin are called “Bule” by the locals. For some reason we don’t really understand, bules are a popular photo motif. Especially on Java, we were very often asked to take a photo together.

So if you have light skin and are traveling to Java, you can expect to have to pose for a photo often. And so often that the visit to the temple is often quite tedious. Especially school classes and young people are particularly euphoric. The whole thing is pretty strange. Not that it means we didn’t warn you!

7. Health in Indonesia
We strongly recommend that before your Travel to a tropical institute to get advice. Ideally, you should be there about four weeks before your trip, but it’s usually not a problem if you’re a little tighter. In Vienna we can warmly recommend Traveldoc. For years, Traveldoc has been our first point of contact when traveling abroad.

Which vaccinations you need exactly, you can also find out when you visit the Tropical Institute. The topic is a very individual one: Some only travel with the most necessary vaccinations. Some get vaccinated against everything that is possible (rabies, Japanese encephalitis). We will not make any vaccination recommendations here – that would be dubious. The best thing to do is find a doctor you trust.

Is there malaria and dengue fever in Indonesia? Unfortunately yes! Both tropical diseases are transmitted by the bite of mosquitoes . The bad thing is, there is no vaccination against it. And: The dengue mosquitoes are more active during the day, the malaria mosquitoes more at dusk or at night. There are also other tropical diseases that are transmitted by mosquitoes (Japanese encephalitis). Therefore, the most important tip we can give you: always (i.e. at any time of the day) pay attention to sufficient mosquito repellent.

Tips for mosquito repellent Personally, we handle it in such a way that we wear long clothes as much as possible. In risk areas we impregnate the clothing with the Nobite clothing spray. (Mosquitoes can usually bite through the fabric without any problems.)

You should also always protect the skin. We often use the proven Nobite. This contains 50% Deet – the active ingredient that is supposed to keep mosquitoes away. That’s quite a high proportion, which is why Nobite works well. For less severely affected areas, we often use local products. We will give you more information in the article on our packing list.

Otherwise, we recommend that you sleep under a mosquito net at night. That’s pretty sure protection against stings. If necessary, air conditioning in the bedroom will do – mosquitoes don’t feel so comfortable then. Many accommodations have mosquito nets on the beds, but by no means all. Therefore, many travel with their own mosquito net. To be honest, we haven’t done this before – if you’re mainly traveling in more remote regions, then it’s probably worth it.

By the way: Although the risk of malaria in Bali, for example, is rather low, dengue is quite common there. So it’s best never to feel safe! On the other hand, please don’t drive yourself crazy with the first mosquito bites. So far we have gotten some on every trip without getting dengue or even malaria right away.

Stomach and Intestinal Problems in Indonesia The chance of catching a gastrointestinal infection is comparatively high in Indonesia. No matter how careful you are, many travelers get caught sooner or later. In Bali, the gastrointestinal infection has even been given a name: Bali Belly.

Your first-aid kit should therefore contain suitable medication for upsets in the gastrointestinal tract. We usually have several different means with us – we’ll tell you exactly which ones in our packing list.

We usually stick to the principle “Cook it, peel it or forget it.” We try it personally Also, especially when it comes to street food, only eat freshly prepared dishes. But even then you can never be sure.

8th. Internet & Apps in Indonesia: Our Tips
Mobile Internet: SIM card in Indonesia Because we are now too used to being mobile all the time when travelling be, we usually get a local SIM card in Indonesia. For example, you can navigate from A to B, research certain things or, of course, contact family and friends via Whats App stay friends. Almost all hotels and restaurants in Indonesia have WiFi,, but let’s be honest: in the long run it gets annoying to be dependent on it.

You can usually get a SIM card without any problems in one of the numerous mobile phone shops. If you are unsure where to look, ask your accommodation, for example – the employees can almost always help . In the cell phone shop, the new local SIM card is then usually inserted directly into your smartphone. Voilà: You are online within a few minutes. The only requirement: your smartphone must be unlocked for all networks.

By the way, we usually choose the provider Telkomsel. Its prepaid packages are called SimPATI. Telkomsel is a rather expensive provider, but the network coverage is usually very good. The prices depend on the selected data volume. With about 10 euros but you’re already doing well. Note: Some packages are only valid regionally, so it’s best to ask if you also want to travel to other Indonesian islands.

Helpful apps for your Indonesia -Travel or CityMaps2Go (download the Indonesia map so you can use it offline): Perfect for marking individual sights and restaurants. Happy Cow: With this app you can find vegetarian and vegan restaurants near you. Map app (iPhone) or Google Maps: Great for navigating from A to B. Google Translate: Great for translating. It is best to download the Indonesian package so that you can also use it offline. Grab and/or Gojek: With these apps you can order a private taxi or motorbike taxi. In some regions this is a great way to get from A to B as comfortably as possible.

Transparency: Affiliate Links 8211 This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we get a small commission n. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!

Do you have any further questions about your trip to Indonesia? Or do you have tips or experiences that you would like to share with us? We look forward to your comment!