Your ultimate Indonesia travel guide, with tips, and things to see and things to do in Indonesia. Great for first-time and returning travelers.
Indonesia encompasses far more than the well-known island of Bali. In fact, this country has over 17,000 islands, making it the world’s largest and most diverse archipelago. The 246 million people who live on the islands, which stretch 5,200 kilometres between the Asian continent and Australia, speak more than 500 languages and dialects. In Indonesia, you may expect to discover everything your heart desires, from lush jungle to magnificent beaches to a whole underwater world waiting to be explored. However, we have only visited Bali and Lombok so far, but we intend to see more of Indonesia in the near future.
This Indonesia travel guide can assist you in planning your next journey to the country.
Fast Facts About Indonesia
- 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!
- All travel in Papua outside of the main coastal towns requires a travel permit (surat jalan). Permits are easy to obtain in Jayapura and Biak, and may frequently be obtained in one day. They’re also available in the towns that don’t require a permit. Two passport images are required, as well as a processing fee.
- Look for PT Cental Kuta in Bali, which has locations in Circle K convenience stores. Smaller moneychangers are more likely to defraud; receiving heaps of small bills could indicate a con.
- A departure tax (about Rp150,000) must be paid in cash at the airport for overseas flights.
Things To See And Do In Indonesia
- Climbing Gunung Batur, Bali’s Volcano: Although it is an active volcano, you will not see any lava fields as you travel up the trail, and you will not have to worry about falling into molten lava.
- 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
- The Ocean: get a local surfer to show you the ropes and learn how to surf in Bali.
- Canopy Walk at Kalimantan: Walking through this rainforest is a great way to appreciate and feel closer to nature.
- Learn to Create Batik: Learning to make this fabric and drawing patterns is one way to embrace the culture of the people.
- Watch the Kecak Dance: This is a traditional dance performed at the Uluwatu temple and can be enjoyed with family and friends.
- 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 little abandoned islets to explore, as well as billions of magnificent coral reefs.
- Explore Bali with a local Guide: Most people will tell you that Bali is too touristy, pretentious, or overrun with resorts, but if you take the time to travel across the island, hire a great driver, and mingle with the locals, you’ll discover that Bali is full with hidden jewels.
Budget Hotels – You may stay in a budget hotel in Indonesia for as little as ten dollars per night. There is usually free Wi-Fi and parking at these hotels.
Mid-Range — Hotels in this category are similarly reasonably priced at $25 per night. Restaurants, bars, free parking, and complementary breakfast may be available.
High-end — In Indonesia, luxury hotels and villas are excellent choices. They typically cost around $200 per night and may contain amenities such as pools, a fitness centre, and a spa.
- Nasi Goreng – This is the country’s take on fried rice but with a unique Indonesian recipe.
- Siomay – Siomay is Indonesian style fish dumplings, served with peanut sauce and any protein of your choice.
- Bakso – This is a soft meatball soup that can be paired with anything from rice, to eggs, to tofu.
- Babi Guling – This is a meal of roasted pork that has been marinated in coconut milk and infused with the beast Indonesian spices.
- Sop Buntut – The oxtail soup is not just delicious, but a healthy food option as a lot of vegetables are added to it.
The Best Ways To Get Around Indonesia
Buses: In Indonesia, buses are a common mode of transportation. The buses offered are frequently full, leaving little room for luggage, so bear this in mind and make sure your personal goods are secure. Bus fares start at $5 USD and go up from there.
Taxis/Uber: Taxis and Uber are inexpensive modes of transportation in Indonesia, starting at $1. Grab and Gojek have taken over Uber’s Southeast Asian operations, and the two companies operate in very similar ways.
Car Rental: Car rental services are available, with rates averaging $30 per day. Here you can also compare prices.
When To Go To Indonesia
- There are two seasons in Indonesia: rainy and dry. The dry season, which lasts from May to September, is the best time to visit. The obvious reason for this is that the rains are very heavy at this time of year. However, if you want to save money, this is a perfect time to go because there are fewer tourists, which means everything is cheaper.
Where To Stay In Indonesia
- Meruhdani Boutique Hotel Ubud – This hotel is adjacent to Saraswati Temple and is located in Ubud. A bar, free parking, a garden, and a restaurant are all available at the hotel.
- Eastin Ashta Resort Canggu – This 4-star hotel is a tranquil spot to stay near Echo Beach. There is also a fitness facility and a pool to enjoy.
- The Alantara Sanur offers a fitness centre, as well as a garden and a swimming pool. Upgrade to a suite with outdoor showers and a floating breakfast for an additional fee.
What To Pack For Indonesia
The climate in Indonesia is almost exclusively tropical, with abundant rainfall, high humidity, hot temperatures, and light winds. November to March is the rainy season, whereas April to October is the dry season.
- The essentials: sunblock, mosquito/insect repellent with DEET or pyrethroid insecticide, sunglasses, and a hat are all must-haves for travellers. If you’re going to be in a rural region, wear clothing that covers your arms and legs and spray yourself with DEET to avoid mosquito-borne dengue fever. Mosquito coils can also be beneficial.
- A tropical outfit. Shorts, T-shirts, breathable rain gear, a warm jacket or fleece, sturdy boots, and a wrap should all be included for both men and women.
- Pack for Humidity – When travelling in humid conditions, it’s ideal to bring fabrics that breathe as much as possible, such as cotton, linen, or rayon (avoiding silk, wool and polyester). To stimulate the movement of air and allow moisture to dissipate, clothing should be loose and comfortable.
- Indonesia is all about frolicking in the sun, lounging on the beach, or plunging head first into its turquoise waters.
- Bring more than one bathing suit because no one enjoys putting on a wet suit!
- Underwater camera, snorkel, and mask Indonesia is a tropical paradise with a plethora of aquatic attractions. Bring your own well-fitted snorkel gear to avoid the fees and the potential of not being able to rent snorkel gear.
Best recommended travel luggage
The greatest travel luggage must be attractive, functional, and customized to the needs of today’s nomads. A good travel experience, no matter how big or small, requires functional design, high-quality materials, and efficient, adaptable packing space.
Check out this awesome collection of travel luggage and handbags from Titan. These are pretty much the strongest luggage I’ve seen so far. Below are a few samples.
Indonesia Travel Guide: Best Booking Resources
Whenever we travel to we make sure to start with these companies. We have tried a lot of different ones over the years and all of these have consistently proven to be the best when it comes to offering great prices.
If you’re booking a hotel, you might as well get some rewards points. Below are the top rewarding hotels to choose from (All free to join):
Below are my favorite airlines rewards programs and booking agencies, which you can use no matter where you’re traveling from: (All give you rewards when you sign up for free)
Below are the best easy to use booking services:
- Booking.com: This is our go site to when comparing prices for accommodation. It usually has the cheapest prices, especially in Europe and we love their interface. Not to mention you get free cancellation and you are guaranteed the best price.
- Trip Advisor: What we like about Trip Advisor is that we can look at all the reviews and then book our accommodation. TripAdvisor is where we go when we want to compare prices with multiple accommodation providers.
- VRBO: is the main search engine we use when we are looking for a home or apartment rental. It can sometimes be cheaper than hotels and it is the best way to stay in areas that offer a more local feel.
- Hostelworld: With one of the largest databases of hostels in the world, Hostelworld is the go-to site when you are looking for budget accommodation.
- Skyscanner: This is the first place we check for flights. It consistently comes back with the cheapest and best options. It allows us to compare a lot of airlines to get the best price.
- Rome 2 Rio: If you want to see how to get somewhere by plane, train, bus, ferry or car Rome2Rio lays it all out for you as well as related costs.I love how they show it all to you on a Google Map and it works offline.
- Get Your Guide: For all your day trip and city guide needs, we use Get Your Guide. It has the world’s largest collection of things to do with more than 30,000 activities in 7500 destinations.
- World Nomads Insurance: When traveling to Italy you should always have travel insurance. We have found the best bang for your buck is by far World Nomads.