Indonesia is so much more than the highly popular island of Bali. In fact, this country is home to over 17,000 islands, which is by far the largest and most varied archipelago on Earth. More than 500 languages and dialects are spoken by its 246 million people as the islands spread over 5,200km between the Asian mainland and Australia. Expect to find all your heart desires in Indonesia from lush jungle to epic beaches to a whole underwater world that ready for you to explore. This Indonesia travel guide will help you plan your next vacation.
Indonesia Travel Guide: Fast Facts
- Indonesian power voltage is 220 V 50 Hz; Power sockets C, F & G
- Indonesia currency is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) and is around 13,000 IDR for 1 USD.
- Go Scuba Diving – some of the best diving in the world can be found in Indonesia, and there are plenty of certification centres!
- Travel permits (surat jalan) are required for all travel in Papua beyond the main coastal towns. Permits are easily acquired in Jayapura and Biak, where they're usually obtainable in one day. They are also available at the other non-permit towns. Two passport photos and an administration fee are required.
- In Bali, look for PT Cental Kuta, which has branches at Circle K convenience stories. Smaller moneychangers frequently cheat; receiving stacks of small bills can signal a scam.
- On international flights, a departure tax (approximately Rp150,000) must be paid in cash at the airport.
Top Packing Tips for Indonesia Travel
Indonesia has an almost entirely tropical climate, characterised by heavy rainfall, high humidity, high temperatures and low winds. The wet season is from November to March while the dry season is from April to October.
- The protection basics – Travellers should stock up on the essentials: sun block, mosquito/insect repellant containing DEET or a pyrethroid insecticide, sunglasses and a hat. If you plan on traveling in rural areas, make sure to avoid mosquito-born dengue fever by wearing clothes that cover the arms and legs and spraying yourself with DEET. Mosquito coils can also help/
- A tropical wardrobe. This should include—for both men and women—shorts, T-shirts, breathable rain gear, a warm jacket or fleece, sturdy footwear, and a wrap.
- Pack for Humidity – for humid weather it is best to pack fabrics that breathe as much as possible and natural fabrics, like cotton, linen or rayon (avoiding silk, wool and polyester). Clothing should be loose and comfortable to encourage the flow of air and allow moisture to evaporate.
- Swimming suits (plural!) – Indonesia is all about frolicking under the sun, lazing at the beach or diving head first in its turquoise waters. Make sure to bring more than one bathing suit as no one likes putting on a damp suit!
- Snorkel, mask, and underwater camera. Indonesia is a tropical paradise with uncounted underwater wonders. Avoid the fees and the possibility of not being able to rent snorkel gear by bringing your own well-fitted gear.
Top Things to do in Indonesia
- Climbing Gunung Batur, Bali’s Volcano – Yes, it is an active volcano, but you won’t see any lava fields flowing by as you walk up the trail and you won’t have to worry or fear that you may tumble into molten lava.
- Explore Bali – head inland to see the real Bali. Away from all the bars, malls and shops you will find a much simpler way of life
- Hit the Waves – get a local surfer to show you the ropes and learn how to surf in Bali.
- Witness a Cremation Ceremony – when we were in Ubud, Bali a very prominent priest passed away and could afford to have his own elaborate cremation ceremony.
- Get Lost in the Togean Islands – there are over 56 islands and tiny deserted islets and billions of amazing coral reefs to explore
- Explore Bali with a Local Guide – Most people will tell you that Bali is over touristy, pretentious or overloaded with resorts but if you spend the time to see other parts of the island, find an awesome driver and mingle with the locals, you’ll find that Bali is just full of hidden gems.