Travel Guide to Indonesia

Indonesia Travel Guide: Everything To Know Before You Go

The sheer breadth of experiences that can be unearthed in Indonesia makes it an enchanting dream holiday destination, from pulsing city energy to beachside bliss, temple wandering to underwater exploring

The world’s largest archipelago nation, sprawling more than 5,000km along the equator, Indonesia attracts superlatives. It’s home to 120-odd active volcanoes, 700-plus languages, around 275 million people and more than 17,000 named islands – the official count is a work in progress. World-class surfing, diving, jungle trekking and volcano hikes – plus beaches in hues from white to pink to glittering black – draw active travellers; yet from 9th-century Borobudur, the world’s largest Buddhist temple, to the Bandas, the original Spice Islands, culture buffs will find plenty to love.

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PASSPORT & VISA

PASSPORT: Passport with a minimum of 6 months validity from the arrival date.

Applying for Indonesian Visa is Faster and Easier with e-Visa

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 transmission, the Indonesian government is continuously leveraging innovative responses such as the introduction of digital public services. The Indonesian Ministry of Law and Human Rights has launched an electronic visa (e-Visa) application system aimed to provide ease of access, especially during the pandemic.

The e-Visa application system will also facilitate future foreign tourists who wish to visit Indonesia after the pandemic, making a positive impact on the development of tourism and creative economy of Indonesia. In the meantime, safe tourist destinations are being prepared in compliance with health protocols.

With the launch of this service, foreigners no longer need to visit the Republic of Indonesia Representative out of the country or the Immigration Office in the country to get a visa sticker on their passport. To enter Indonesia, they just need to apply for a visa online via this e-Visa application system.

The steps to apply for the Indonesian e-Visa are as follows:

  1. Visit : http://evisa.imigrasi.go.id/
  2. Register
    • Enter data and upload required documents (individual/ corporation)
    • Wait for the email notification which contains the username and password
  1. Apply for Visa
    • Log in using the username and password
    • Select the type of visa you wish to apply for, enter data, and upload required documents
    • Make PNBP payments (Make sure the data and documents are correct. If the application is rejected, the payment shall not be refunded)
    • If the application is approved, a notification will be sent via email

The application for e-Visa can be submitted from wherever the applicant is. The verification process will be quick, which is 3  (two) – 5 (five) working days, and then the visa will be sent to the applicant. In order to cut bureaucratic procedures, the applicant and the guarantor will not be required to appear in person and the visa will be sent directly via email. Once the foreign citizens (WNA) receive their e-Visa, they can immediately travel to Indonesia. 

The ease of applying for an Indonesian visa will play an important role to facilitate the post-pandemic recovery of tourism and creative economy sectors. With this innovation, the number of tourists visiting Indonesian destinations is expected to grow after the pandemic.

Circular Letter of the Directorate General of Immigration No. IMI-0700.GR.01.01 of 2022 concerning the Ease of Immigration to Support Sustainable Tourism during the COVID-19 Pandemic, effective since 15 September 2022.

Meanwhile Countries and certain entities list also can do VISA UPON ARRIVAL IN INDONESIA AIRPORT subject to Visa on Arrival fee at USD.35 or IDR.500.000 per person for Leisure Purpose (including tourism, government visit, business meeting, and transit), for the countries list from January 9,2024,  please VISIT our website : https://indonesiaimpressiontour.com/indonesia-insights/visa-immigration-policies/

BALI CULTURE TAX For Preservation Bali Culture and Environment ;

From 14 February,2024, the Bali Provincial Government imposed a new tourist levy of IDR 150,000 per person to foreign tourists entering Bali. The tourist levy is separate from the e-Visa on Arrival or the Visa on Arrival. Cashless payments can be made online prior to travel or on arrival at designated payment counters at Bali’s airport and seaport. See the Bali Provincial Government’s official website and FAQs for further information.

The official local government in Bali impose a Rp 150,000 ($10) tax on foreign tourists entering the ‘Island of Gods’ whether by air, sea and land transportation from February 14, 2024. The payment of a fee for foreign tourists applies only one time during their visit to Bali.

The move seeks to address the issue of increasing waste generated by tourism activities and the urgent need to safeguard Bali’s unique cultural heritage. The administration has set the tax at 150,000 IDR (10 USD) per person, with the expectation that it would help maintain Bali’s status as a world-class tourist destination.

HOW TO GET THERE

Most tourists will arrive in Indonesia via Soekarno–Hatta International Airport near Jakarta or one of the airfields that serve the areas of Bali, Lombok, Yogyakarta, and Surabaya.

  • Soekarno–Hatta International Airport(CGK) is the primary airport serving the capital Jakarta in West Java. Please ask our team for a list of airlines that offer direct flights to Jakarta.
  • Yogyakarta International Airport (YIA) is the principal airport serving the Yogyakarta area in Central Java. Yogyakarta is the cultural heart of Indonesia and home to two of the countries most famous visited sites, the UNESCO protected temple compounds of Borobodur and Prambanan. Please ask our team for a list of airlines that offer direct flights to Yogyakarta.
  • Juanda International Airport (SUB) serves the metropolitan area of Surabaya plus extended urban area in East Java. It’s the closest airport to one of Indonesia’s most famous attractions, Mount Bromo. Please ask our team for a list of airlines that offer direct flights to Surabaya.
  • Ngurah Rai International Airport(DPS) – officially known as I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport – is the main airport in Bali and the second busiest airport in Indonesia after Soekarno–Hatta International Airport. CPlease ask our team for a list of airlines that offer direct flights to Bali.
  • Zainuddin Abdul Madjid International Airport(LOP) is the only airport on the island of Lombok. Please ask our team for a list of airlines that offer direct flights to Lombok.

Before you buy your domestic flight ticket, please ask our team for best price available : https://indonesiaimpressiontour.com/contact/

Indonesia Flights/ Airports

Indonesia has 673 airports in 2013, ranging from grand international airports to modest unpaved airstrips on remote islands or inland interior areas located throughout the archipelago. Most of them operated by Transportation Ministry technical operation units and state-owned PT. Angkasa Pura I & II.

10 Remarkable International-Class Airports in Indonesia
Whenever you are traveling abroad by air, the airport is the first place that will welcome you to your destination. Every airport has its own uniqueness, including in Indonesia, where many of the airports have been recently upgraded. The 10 international airports are Soekarno-Hatta Airport in Banten, Juanda Airport in East Java, I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport in Bali, Hang Nadim Airport in Batam, Riau Islands, Raja Haji Fisabilillah Airport in Bintan, Riau Islands, Sam Ratulangi Airport in North Sulawesi. , Zainuddin Abdul Madjid Airport in West Nusa Tenggara, Kualanamu Airport in North Sumatra, Sultan Hasanuddin Airport in South Sulawesi, and Yogyakarta International Airport in the Special Region of Yogyakarta.

BEST TIME TO VISIT INDONESIA

Weather in Indonesia can be split into two seasons – wet and dry – with warm tropical temperatures averaging 28°C (82°F) during the day, throughout the year. In most regions, the dry season spans from May to September, with the rains falling between October and April but these days rain usually come start end of November or beginning of December

  • The dry season– which lasts from May to September – is considered the best time to visit Indonesia, with plenty of sunshine and day temperatures in the high 70s°F to low 80s°F (26°C-29°C). Sporadic showers may occur in the dry season but are infrequent events. These months are the ideal time to travel if you are planning on sunbathing, diving, exploring cultural sites, or climbing one of Indonesia’s famous volcanoes.
  • The wet season – occurs between October and April with frequent rainfall that comes in the form of intense tropical downpours that tend to last for a couple of hours. December, January, February and March see the most rainfall. The eastern parts of Indonesia (Lombok, Flores and the islands beyond) are more affected by the rainy season than the western parts (Java, Sumatra and Bali). During the peak of the wet season, muddy back roads can be a problem if you intend to explore more off the beaten track locations and rough seas can render some islands inaccessible to smaller boats.

There are some regional exceptions. For example, north Sulawesi experiences some rain in June & July.

WHAT LANGUAGE IS SPOKEN?

The national language is Indonesian, but most Indonesians also speak one or more of the 700-odd local languages.

INDONESIA CURRENCY 

Indonesia uses the Indonesian rupiah (IDR). In more remote parts of the country, cash is king and international ATMs are few and far between; in big cities and Bali, ATMs are common and credit cards generally accepted for larger purchases.

The local currency is the Indonesia Rupiah (abbreviated to IDR/RP ). Bank notes are 1000rp; 2000rp; 5,000rp; 10,000rp; 20,000rp; 50,000rp; 100,000rp.

SAFETY

Indonesia is, for the most part, safe to visit, though you should keep in mind many dangers that may befall you if you plan on visiting this gorgeous country. There are many threats that lurk in Indonesia, from natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes, to social disturbances such as terrorism, attacks, corruption, and crime.

Though crime rates in this country aren’t the biggest issue, and it’s mostly non-violent, you should still take care and be extra cautious. Muggings, petty theft, and pickpocketing still happen in Indonesia, especially in crowded places such as bus and train stations, markets and areas frequented by tourists. Watch your laptops, cell phones, valuable cameras and money as thieves have been known to snatch them. Also, be careful on public transport, since that’s where pickpockets operate and where you can encounter several forms of crime.

GETTING AROUND

Despite its larger size, it’s easy to travel around Indonesia since the country is well covered by public transport. However, it can be frustrating at the same time, due to frequent delays caused by weather and mechanical issues, so my advise is to keep your schedule as flexible as possible. Be aware that safety standards can vary widely when making use of public transport in Indonesia.

  • Air travel is the quickest and most convenient way of getting around Indonesia, and sometimes the only way to reach certain parts of the archipelago. Most routes are flown several times a day, although plane schedules – particularly on smaller airlines and to less-visited destinations – can be unreliable and infrequent. There are several domestic airlines in Indonesia, and the competition between carriers means that tickets are usually cheap, especially if you book in advance. Tickets can be booked online via the airlines’ websites:
  • In Java, trains are considered one of the most comfortable, fastest and easiest ways to travel. In the east, the railway service connects with the ferry to Bali, and in the west with the ferry to Sumatra. Some of the most popular train journeys run between Jakarta and Yogyakarta, and Yogyakarta and Surabaya. Most trains can be booked online and offer three classes:
    • Executive (eksekutif)– air-con with mandatory reservations.
    • Business (bisnis)– no air-con but mandatory seat reservations.
    • Economy (ekonomi)– no air-con, crowded and unreserved.
  • While there are ferries between Indonesia’s main islands, flying is almost always the faster and more reliable way to cover distances of any note. Public ferries run regularly on the shorter crossings between neighboring islands, such as between Sumatra and Java, Java and Bali, and Bali and Lombok. Ferries from Java to Bali are particularly popular among tourists: the ferry departs Ketapang in east Java many times a day, 24 hours a day, to make the 30-minute crossing to Gilimanuk in western Bali and there’s no need to book in advance (you can just arrive at the ferry port and buy a ticket for the next crossing). Check with shipping companies, the harbor office, travel agents or hotels for current schedules and fares.
  • Coach and bus travel is an option when you are traveling in Indonesia on a budget. There are several categories of bus travel, such as long-distance buses, and short-distance minibuses (widely known by their Balinese tag, bemo). Long-distance coaches generally have air conditioning, reading lights, reclining seats, in-bus entertainment showing Indonesian films. It is, however, the most time-consuming means of getting around.
  • One of the best ways of getting around in Indonesia is by hiring a car and a driver. It gives you the freedom to explore the scenic beauty of the country. Having a driver takes away the stress of having to navigate the small roads or worrying about getting lost, and they can also help with any translations. Private transfers can be booked via most hotels.

INDONESIA TIME ZONES

Three Indonesia Time Zones

The Indonesian archipelago stretches from 94°45′E to 141°05′E longitude and spans three time zones from UTC+7 in the west, via a central UTC+8, to UTC+9 in the east.

Six thousand of Indonesia’s more than 17,000 islands are inhabited. Western Indonesian Time (WIB), including the densely populated island of Java and the capital Jakarta, is the time zone that a majority of the population use. Central Indonesian Time (WITA) is used in the central region, including the holiday island of Bali. Eastern Indonesian Time (WIT) is used in the east, including West Papua on the Indonesian part of the island New Guinea.

TOP REGIONS AND CITIES

Bali

Known as the Island of the Gods, Bali offers Hindu temples, hikes through rice fields, yoga retreats and party-hearty beach clubs, plus diving, arts classes and world-class hotels, spas, and restaurants – all packed into an island about the size of Trinidad. It’s Indonesia’s signature tourist destination, so over tourism is an issue. But much of north, east and central Bali still offer the rice terrace landscapes, volcano views and the resilient culture that first drew travellers to the island.

Java

About the size of Greece but home to roughly the population of Japan, Java’s rich volcanic soils teem with life (and people!). This is Indonesia’s economic motor and dominant culture, the centre of empires for centuries. It’s home to gridlocked, water-logged Jakarta, the nation’s administrative capital (for now), and Yogyakarta, a regal university city which does battle with neighboring Surakarta (also known as Solo) for the status of Java’s cultural capital. From smouldering Mount Bromo to the Unesco-listed temples of Borobudur and Prambanan, and the historic tea plantations around Bandung, it’s easy to spend weeks, if not months, exploring – some of it by train.

Flores and Komodo

Famous for Komodo dragons, Earth’s largest lizard, Unesco-listed Komodo National Park offers glorious diving and snorkelling, as well as stunning island views: liveaboards are the way to go. To protect the fragile reef and many tiny islands, authorities hiked the entrance fee to a hefty $200 per day in August 2022, only to repeal it sharpish after tourism workers protested; check the current position before you visit. The Komodo archipelago’s parent island, Flores, offers tribal cultures, mountain valleys, and highlights such as Wae Rebo, a postcard-perfect highland village, and Kelimutu, a volcano with multi-coloured crater lakes.

Lombok

Lombok’s Gili Islands, a triptych of low-lying sand islets a short hop across the water from Bali, are a law unto themselves – quite literally, as there’s no permanent police presence. Party-seeking youngsters flock to Gili Trawangan and older reprobates to Gili Air; Gili Meno is quieter although sound does carry. Yet there’s more to Lombok than these and other gilis (gili simply means island): the Rinjani volcano offers a challenging but rewarding multi-day hike, the south coast unfurls rugged promontories and sweeping golden beaches, and cultural attractions run from an ancient palm-thatch mosque to a fusion Hindu-Muslim temple.

Sumatra

About the size of Spain but with much less infrastructure, Sumatra is known for rainforest. Despite surging deforestation – during a bad season, the peat fire haze can cause diplomatic incidents – it still has tonnes to offer. Gunung Leuser National Park is probably the world’s best place to see orangutans in the wild. Advanced surfers are drawn to the remote Mentawai Islands for exceptional reef breaks. The cool highlands around Lake Toba, the world’s largest crater lake, house fascinating cultural relics. And the Minangkabau region gave Indonesia its signature – spicy, aromatic – Padang cuisine.

Best under-the-radar destinations

Kalimantan

Indonesia occupies the lion’s share of Borneo, the world’s third largest island: Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) is about the size of France. From orangutans, sun bears and pygmy elephants to idyllic private island dive resorts, from indigenous longhouses to historic canal cities, it’s endlessly fascinating. A river trip on a klotok houseboat is a must.

Sumba

Sumba is known for Nihi, a boho-luxe surf resort with free-roaming horses that’s famed as a billionaire’s playground. Yet there’s an increasing range of accommodation at friendlier price points, allowing ordinary punters to access Sumba’s long, pristine beaches and tribal villages. Visit during the spring Pasola festival for dramatic horseback battles and photogenic rituals.

Sulawesi

Shaped like a tormented starfish, Sulawesi is a little smaller than Great Britain. Highlights run from the world’s oldest figurative cave paintings to weird and wonderful marsupials and tiny, bug-eyed tarsiers, not to mention spectacular diving and serene islands. The soaring clan houses in the Toraja highlands host eye-opening funeral rites, including Ma’nene, when Torajans exhume their loved ones and dress them in their Sunday best.

Western New Guinea

Indonesia occupies the western side of the planet’s second largest island, New Guinea. Whether you call it Papua, West Papua or Western New Guinea, it’s remote and inaccessible but the wildly corrugated interior boasts some of the last true wildernesses on earth, while the Raja Ampat islands are known for incredible diving opportunities. The Baliem Valley Festival each August provides a user-friendly introduction to the diversity of Papuan cultures.

BEST THING TO DO

Try scuba diving

Most of central and east Indonesia falls within the Coral Triangle, a global hotspot for marine biodiversity. While the currents that feed reef ecosystems and draw sharks and rays can be challenging, Indonesia offers brilliant diving in warm and generally clear waters. Komodo, Raja Ampat and Alor draw experienced divers, generally on liveaboard boats, Bali and the Gilis are popular places to learn, while Sulawesi’s Lembeh Strait is known for weird and wonderful critters.

Go surfing

Warm waters and epic waves make Indonesia a lure for surfers. Far-flung islands like Rote, in the far south, and the Mentawais, to the west, boast long, steady, big waves that draw experienced surfers. Bali offers year-round surfing – on the west coast in the dry season (roughly April-October) and on the east coast during the wet season (roughly November-March) – at levels from child-friendly to competition grade.

Experience a religious ceremony

With six official religions, most of them available in a range of distinctively Indonesian flavours, the country’s rituals are fascinating. Buddhists come from around the globe to celebrate Waisak at Borobudur; in Yogyakarta, the Prophet’s birthday celebrations see epic parades; at Balinese New Year (Nyepi), marching monsters give way to a strictly enforced day of silence; at Lombok’s Bau Nyale, locals race into the sea in search of coral worms. Dates generally follow non-Gregorian calendars.

INSPIRATION, HIGHLIGHTS & TRAVEL TIPS

There are several good reasons why you should put Indonesia on your bucket list:

  • Visit Borobodur, the world’s largest Buddhist temple
  • Visit Prambanan, Indonesia’s most beautiful Hindu temple
  • Explore Borneo by river
  • Climb Mount Rinjani in Lombok
  • Track orang utans in Sumatra
  • Relax on the beaches of Bali
  • Stay at ultra-luxe resorts in Bali or Sumba Island
  • Face the dragons in Komodo National Park
  • Watch the sunrise at Mount Bromo

RECOMMENDED HOTELS & RESORTS (+ REVIEWS)

Consider visiting Indonesia Impression best hotels and resort list, please click this link : https://indonesiaimpressiontour.com/resorts-hotels/

SUGGESTED ITINERARIES 

It’s impossible to suggest one itinerary for Indonesia, but I hereby share with you a two-week schedule In Java and Bali based on my own travel experiences in Indonesia. Three weeks are recommended though if you have more time and want to travel at a more leisurely pace or add some other islands to your itinerary (e.g. Lombok, Sulawese, Sumatra or Borneo).

  • Days 1-4: make Yogyakarta your port of entry in Indonesia and explore the temple compounds of Borobodur and Prambanan (recommended hotel: Plataran Heritage Borobudur Hotel and Amata Borobudur Hotel )
  • Days 5: take train to Surabaya (6 hours) followed by a 3 hour private car transfer to the Mount Bromo area, for a visit to the volcano the next morning (recommended hotel: Plataran Bromo & Bromo Terrace Hotel)
  • Days 6: watch the sunrise over Mount Bromo and visit the caldera, followed by a 7 hour private car transfer to the Ijen area (recommended hotel: Ijen Resort & Villas and Ketapang Indah Hotel ).
  • Day 7-10: midnight visit to the Mount Jien to watch the Blue Fire, followed by a boat trip to Bali (30 min) and a private car transfer to the Ubud area (recommended hotel: Royal Pitamaha Ubud and Puri Sebali Resort Ubud).
  • Days 11-15: transfer to the Uluwatu area in the south of Bali for a couple of days of relaxation in Bali’s most spectacular coastal area (recommended hotel: Anantara Uluwatu Bali Resort and Six Senses Uluwatu).

For more ideas, I suggest the excellent Indonesia itineraries by click this link : https://indonesiaimpressiontour.com/tour-destinations/

TIPPING

Tipping is not compulsory, however, if you are happy with the services provided by your local staff as a guide and driver, a tip is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, tipping inspires great service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across Indochina destinations. Therefore, our tour price doesn’t include a fixed amount to cover all potential gratuities. If you would like to know the proper amount for tipping, the following standard is for your reference:

  • Group size 1-5 persons: 5-6 USD per person per day for guide, 3-4 USD per person per day for driver, 1-2 USD per person per day for doorman waiter
  • Group size 5-10 persons: 4-5 USD per person per day for guide, 2-3 USD per person per day for driver, 1-2 USD per person per day for doorman waiter
  • Group size 11-20 persons: 2-3 USD per person per day for guide, 1 USD per person per day for driver, 1 USD per person per day for doorman waiter

Of course, you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip.

HEALTH

There are no compulsory vaccinations needed for entry into Indonesia unless you are arriving from an area in the Yellow Fever zone in which case you will be required to show that you have been inoculated against the disease. However, it is essential when travelling overseas that you are up to date with your vaccinations and you will need to be up to date with at least the following: Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio and Hepatitis. We therefore strongly recommend that you visit your doctor or a travel clinic for appropriate advice well in advance of your travel date.

MONEY-SAVING TIP

Learn the language. It’s purely phonetic, with no tenses, genders or cases to worry about, and written in a shortened version of the Roman alphabet. Indonesian was chosen as the national tongue because basic Indonesian is incredibly easy to learn, whatever your language background. Learning some basics will help you meet locals, make life much easier off the tourist trail, and likely also save money: it’s easier to negotiate if you have a common language.

WHY WON’T MY PHONE WORK IN INDONESIA?

The Indonesian government has barred your phone from accessing data on any SIM because you’re using an Indonesian SIM in a foreign phone and didn’t register your IMEI code on arrival at the airport. All GraPARI outlets can help you sort this out, as can many businesses that sell SIM cards to tourists; in the meantime, you’re reliant on Wi-Fi.

WHAT TO PACK ?

Passport (with visa); Tickets & itinerary; Travel insurance; Traveler’s cheque/ credit cards/ cash; Essential toiletries; Any medicines that you generally use; Mosquito repellent; Sun cream & lip balm; Hat, sunglasses; Good pair of walking shoes; Lightweight raincoat, small umbrella; Camera & film; Alarm clock; Adaptor.

Have nice holidays in Indonesia. I hope you have a wonderful time with Indonesia Impression Tour

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