Indonesia simply is a breathtaking country full of natural and architectural beauty. The culture of Indonesia is not at all comparable to Western cultures and that’s why there are a lot of Indonesia Travel tips to know before you go as a Backpacker to Indonesia.
In the following, you won’t only find a comprehensive list of useful Indonesia Travel info but also practical Bali travel tips.
What to find out in this post
- 1 Indonesia Facts
- 2 Where is Indonesia
- 3 Best time to visit Indonesia – Indonesia Seasons
- 4 Bank Holidays
- 5 Important Words
- 6 Plug in Indonesia
- 7 Money
- 8 Visa Indonesia
- 9 Security in Indonesia
- 10 Taxis
- 11 Infrastructure
- 12 Transport
- 13 Already packed?
- 14 Temple Dress Code in Indonesia
- 15 Things to know before going to Bali
- 16 Indonesia Travel Insurance
- 17 Where to next?
- 18 Indonesia Guides
- Biggest Island State in the world
- 4th most populous country in the world
- The Country with most Muslims worldwide
- Includes 17.508 Islands
- The majority of Indonesia is located on the continent of Asia, but a little part is located on the Australian Continent
- Independent from the Netherlands since 27.12.1949
- More than half of the inhabitants live in Java Island
Where is Indonesia
Before we go deeper into the Indonesia Travel information, first we have to check where Indonesia is located.
You can find this wonderful country in the Southern Part of Southeast Asia bordering on Malaysia (On Borneo-Island).
Best time to visit Indonesia – Indonesia Seasons
Obviously, you want to have great weather when Backpacking Indonesia. But if you have a look at the Indonesia map, you can see that the country is huge. Therefore, it’s hard to tell which is the right season for your Indonesia travel. Let’s check the main parts of Indonesia.
General High Season in Indonesia
May – October
High Season in Java (excluded West Java) & Sunda-Islands (Bali, Lombok, Flores etc.)
May – October
Rainy season in Java & Sunda-Islands (Bali, Lombok, Flores etc.)
October – May
Rainy Season in Raja Ampat
July – September
High changes of rain all year long
Sulawesi East Coast
May – August
High changes of rain all year long but higher between October – March
- 01.01: New Year
- Maulid an-Nabi
- Good Friday
- 01. May: Labour Day
- Ascension Day
- Isra and Mi’raj
- 17. August: Independence Day
- Eid al-Fitr
- Idul Adha
- Islamic New Year
- 25.12. Christmas
Thank you – Terima Kasih
You’re welcome – Sama sama
Hello – Halo
Bye – Selamat Tinggal
Delicious – Lezat
How much does this cost? – Berapa Biayanya?
Yes – ya
No – tidak
Chicken – Ayam
Fried Rice – Nasi Goreng
Plug in Indonesia
In Indonesia, they use they use plugs type C, E & F.
Anyway, we recommend to buy a Worldwide Travel Adapter instead of single adapter for every country.
The Currency in Indonesia is the Indonesian Rupiah. 1 Euro equals around IDR 16.719 and 1 USD around IDR 14.320. (July 2018)
Withdrawing Money in Indonesia
In Indonesia, you can find ATMs in all big cities and touristic places. If you plan to visit places that are a little bit off the beaten path, make sure to carry a sufficient amount of cash with you.
Prices in Indonesia
The Prices in Indonesia are usually quite affordable. But there can be huge differences in prices between the different areas. The more remote a place is the more expensive it probably is, for instance, Raja Ampat.
There is already quite a big differences in prices between Java and Bali. The more touristic, the more expensive it usually is.
Tipping in Indonesia
In general, it is not that common to give a tip in Indonesia. Anyway, in touristic places, people get more and more used to receive tips, especially in Bali. Since the salaries there are pretty low, it can be a nice token of goodwill to leave some tip.
The prices for food differ a lot from area to area, as well. In Java, the food usually was pretty cheap in comparison to Bali or the Gili Islands. Anyway, when looking for food in a touristic area, make sure to check the backstreets as well to find some local restaurants.
There is no visa requirement for EU and US citizens if you stay less than 30 days. Anyway, make sure not to stay longer as they are charging IDR 300.000 per day stayed longer.
(Important: The day of arrival and departure are counted as full days.)
Author’s note: Please note that this information can change at any time. Please make sure that information is correct by contacting an official source before your trip or applying for your visa. This post is just for general information and I can’t guarantee or be made responsible for any changes or exceptions.
Security in Indonesia
I haven’t felt unsafe at any moment during our stay in Indonesia. Annoyed? Yes, definitely. But unsafe? No. I could totally see myself going to Indonesia as a solo traveler as well. The locals are usually really friendly, helpful, and generous.
However, I have to admit that they have tried to scam us at any given occasion and more than in other countries in Southeast Asia (I am not saying that everyone tries to scam you, but sometimes it was just too much.)
Anyway, lately (2017/2018), there is a lot of trouble with the Mount Agung on Bali that is spitting lava from time to time. You definitely should comply with the given safety distance.
Pickpockets & Scams
As already mentioned it isn’t hard to get scammed in Indonesia. The nearer you get to Bali, the higher the chances to get scammed.
The extreme example is Probolinggo, near to the volcano Mt. Bromo on Java. Here, you will probably talk to more scammers than trustworthy travel agencies. Well, basically there is one trustworthy agency which is called Toto. Anyway, there will be at least 3 that tell you that they either are working with Toto or are the Toto travel agencie themselves (which they are usually not). There are even travel agencies with the same name just with the purpose of scamming people.
At this place, you simply can’t trust anyone. Even the public transport sometimes brings you to fake bus stations where there is only one travel agency that offers you “a great deal for your whole trip up to Bali”, which is actually pretty expensive. (What a surprise!)
One bus driver in Bali didn’t even try to hide that he was overcharging us. He explained that in Western countries “everyone is rich” and that’s why it would be just fair for us to pay 5 times of what is the normal price for a simply bus ride.
The locals usually know that foreigners often pay way higher prices or get scammed. So, most of the time, they don’t interfere during the scam. But as soon as the scam is over (successful or not), they might explain you what just happened and give warnings for the future.
During your trip, you should always have an eye on your belongings. (As in every other touristic destination)
Especially, from airports or in other touristic areas, taxis can be madly expensive. Try to always use the official Blue Bird taxis to be sure, they put the taximeter and charge you fairly.
Using Grab can be a little bit tricky in Indonesia sometimes. While in other countries throughout Southeast Asia, it is legal and common also in touristy places, in Indonesia it is not. Grab drivers often park a little bit outside or pick you up in places without regular controls. Therefore, they often refuse to take foreigners from popular places as it is too suspicious. (When getting into a control while carrying locals they can still pretend to be friends instead of customers)
However, from less touristic places, you can usually use Grab. Anyway, many of our drivers had trouble finding us or our destination. So, you might want to call them early if you have to get somewhere on time.
The infrastructure can differ from place to place.
The most popular public transport in Indonesia are boat, bus, and airplane. (Depending on the distance since Indonesia is a huge country). You can find the best and trustworthy deals with 12Go Asia.
Powered by 12Go Asia system
Renting a Motorcycle or car
If you want to rent a motorcycle or car, you should keep in mind that in Indonesia, they have left-hand traffic.
Anyway, the traffic can get quite chaotic compared to the traffic we are used to in most Western countries. If you are not an experienced driver, you might want to let someone else drive or practice a little before getting on the road.
Temple Dress Code in Indonesia
Probably, you have some temples on your bucket list to visit during your Indonesia trip. Please keep in mind to be respectful when entering a temple and dress accordingly.
While in other countries in Southeast Asia, (besides covering your shoulders) it is enough to wear pants that cover everything up to your knees, in Indonesia, you usually have to wear a Sarong. (Even for men)
If you plan to visit several temples (and I recommend to do so), it’s usually cheaper to buy a sarong than renting one for every temple. Or simply bring yours from home.
Things to know before going to Bali
When thinking about Indonesia, most people automatically think of Bali , which is the most popular island in the country.
Related article: Our ultimate Bali Itinerary 10 Days
For us, the most important Bali travel tip: If you aren’t particularly looking for cheap alcohol, parties and tattoo studios, you might want to avoid Kuta Bali. We didn’t catch up on the different parts of Bali before we arrived and therefore our first stop was Kuta. We left right the next day to Ubud.
However, besides that, just stick to the travel tips for Indonesia given in this post. Here, you will most probably also encounter some scams, so be careful and think twice before agreeing to any offer.
Usually, the cheaper taxi/local restaurant is right around the corner, so just keep looking if something feels odd.
More Information about Bali
If you are going to Bali for your honeymoon make sure to check this Ulimate Bali Honeymoon Guide.
If you want to know more about Bali, check this great Bali Itinerary.
Make also sure to check these amazing things to do in Munduk, Bali.
Indonesia Travel Insurance
Another important Indonesia travel advice – maybe the most important of all – is: Do not travel without insurance! Especially when you are planning to take a motorcycle or go on adventures such as monkey tours (like this Orangutan Tour in Kalimantan), jungle hiking or something along those lines you should make sure you are covered.
Make sure to check the World Nomads Travel insurance which is one of the most popular for travelers.
Read also our Travel Insurance Comparison in order to find out which travel insurance is best for you.
Where to next?
How about a Trip to Yogyakarta? You can find my comprehensive Yogyakarta Itinerary here.
If you want to visit Lombok make sure to check out this Lombok Itinerary before you go.