COUNTRY GUIDE

Indonesia

Indonesia is an archipelago so air travel is the most comfortable and efficient way to visit the country and its islands. Indonesia is one of Asia’s largest air hubs, so it is very well-connected to the rest of the world. Besides Sukarno Hatta Airport in Jakarta and Ngurah Rai Airport in Bali, also several other airports are served by direct international flights. Always consult your EXO travel consultant for routings, fares and flight availability to Indonesia.

Airlines

Indonesia’s air access from abroad and the domestic route network are constantly improving. While the national carrier Garuda Indonesia offers excellent services and operates its fleet on international safety standards, there are a number of airlines that are EU-blacklisted. We do strongly recommend flying the national carrier Garuda Indonesia and will always include those flights into our proposal where domestic flights are required an air access to a destination is possible with Garuda Indonesia.
In any other case, we would always inform of the airline options to access for example more remote areas, and on the status of the respective airlines.
Major airlines flying in and to/from Indonesia include:
International: Cathay Pacific Airways, Emirates, EVA Air, KLM, Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways
Domestic: Garuda Indonesia, Air Asia Indonesia, Lion Air, Merpati Airlines, Trans Nusa Airlines, and Trigana Air

Airport Tax

Airport taxes for domestic and international flights are included in the airfares. There is no airport taxes payable upon departure anymore.

Arrival in Indonesia

Indonesia is an archipelago so air travel is the most comfortable and efficient way to visit the country and its islands. Indonesia is one of Asia’s largest air hubs, so it is very well-connected to the rest of the world. Besides Sukarno Hatta Airport in Jakarta and Ngurah Rai Airport in Bali, also several other airports are served by direct international flights. Always consult your EXO travel consultant for routings, fares and flight availability to Indonesia.

Arrival Formalities

The filling-in of arrival/departure declaration cards is not required anymore. However, all visitors have to fill-in a customs declaration form (one per family if travelling together). The forms are usually available in the aircraft, and also at the arrival hall prior to customs counters.
If you have booked a transfer from EXO Travel we will provide you with the information on where to meet your guide/driver as well as a 24-hour phone number to be used in case of emergency.

ATMs

ATMs for withdrawing Indonesian Rupiah are widely available in major airports, shopping malls, hotels, convenience stores and almost all provincial banks in Indonesia. For many banks there is a maximum withdrawal of IDR 2,500,000 per transaction, and depending on the ATM location lower amounts are possible. Usually, several withdrawals may be made in a single day. Ask your tour guide for help when you need to locate an ATM. Particularly at ATMs that are highly frequented in tourist areas and that are not supervised by security personnel, fraud through card skimming occurs on a regular basis. We don strongly recommend using preferably ATM machines that are located within banks or convenient stores and that are being supervised by security personnel!

Clothing

Indonesia has a hot and tropical climate, so light and airy clothing such as cotton is more comfortable for traveling. The dress code is fairly casual as in most parts of the tropics but it is advisable to cover arms and legs in the evenings against biting insects. As Indonesia is a largely Muslim country, it is advisable to dress more conservatively, especially for women. Hammer and sickle symbols are prohibited by law. A lightweight raincoat or umbrella is a good idea in the rainy season from November through March. The months from July to September can be cooler, and especially when travelling to mountainous areas, such as the central and eastern parts of Bali (Kintamani, Sidemen, Bedugul) a warm pullover or a jacket is recommended. Visitors should not wear shorts, short skirts or other skimpy clothing when visiting religious sites and temples. A sarong & waist sashes should be worn when visiting temples (these are often provided for a small fee at the temple entrance), and shoes should be removed before entering a private house.

Credit Cards

VISA and MASTERCARD are widely accepted in Indonesia, as well as most other major credit cards and US Dollar traveler-cheques. Not all shops and restaurants accept credit cards, so do check with the cashier before making any purchases. Bear in mind that some places may pass onto you the fee imposed on them by the credit card company (approximately 3-4% depending on card type). At shops and some restaurants it is recommend not to leave credit card out of sight. Frau does occasionally occur.

Do

Experience the best of Indonesia from mist wreathed jungle to modern metropolis, from volcanic landscapes to pristine coral reefs. Whether you’re after a touch of culture, a surge of adventure, or some laid-back lounging, the vast Indonesian archipelago offers an abundance of options for unique experiences. Our custom private tours of Indonesia are tailored based on traveler preferences so get in touch and chat with a travel consultant today.

7 Days / 6 Nights
Bali

Cycling Bali’s Remote East Coast

  • Ride through Bali’s rice fields
  • Cycle down Batur volcano
  • Snorkel off Amed’s coast
  • Pedal past coastal viewpoints
  • Visit rural Balinese villages
3 Days / 2 Nights
Borobodur

Experience at The Cicadas’ Residence

  • Experience living in an authentic homestay
  • Discover local life from the hosts
  • Cooking lesson with the host
  • Bike around Borobudur area
  • Learn traditional Javanese arts
6 Days / 5 Nights
Berastagi Villages

North Sumatra Soft Adventure - Anticlockwise

  • Explore North Sumatra
  • Visit Samosir Island
  • Experience tribal cultures
  • Cruise around on Toba Lake
  • See orangutans in the wild

Electricity

Indonesia switched to 220V recently so in some areas 110V is still used. Most hotels use 220 volts, 50 cycles and a round, two-pronged slim plug. Bathroom shaver plugs usually have a transformer switch. We suggest taking an international adaptor plug for your personal appliances depending on where you arrive from.

Entertainment

There are plenty of entertainment options in Indonesia and restaurants, bars and nightclubs open until late at night or early in the morning. Restaurants offer a wide variety of cuisine, ranging from Balinese, Thai, Chinese, and Italian to French.

Food

The staple of the Indonesian meal is rice, usually steamed or fried. The meal is complemented with main dishes of vegetables, meat, seafood, egg, fish and soup. Although Indonesians generally prefer hot, spicy food, not all dishes are so intense and the amount of chilies can be modulated to suit most tastes. Indonesia is also the perfect place to sample a large variety of tropical fruits such as mango, pineapple, banana, mangosteen, rambutan (hairy red skin fruit), salak (snake-skin fruit), jack fruit, as well as the famous durian- dubbed ‘the fruit of the gods’ for its very special smell and taste. Refer to our Restaurant Guides for Bali and Yogyakarta for more detailed information and recommendations.

Health

No vaccinations are required except for yellow fever if you are coming from an area where the disease is present. However visitors should be vaccinated against typhoid, cholera, hepatitis A and B, tetanus and polio. Malaria is present in most of the region and it is advisable to take precautions especially if traveling off the beaten track. The standard of medical facilities is generally good and Java & Bali have international hospitals. Remember to wash your hands often with soap and water, especially before eating. It is advisable to take out a good medical insurance policy before traveling in case evacuation is needed. Dengue Fever and rabies outbreaks do occur from time to time. With the prevalence of monkeys in and around temples in Bali and occasionally stray dogs in less frequented alleys, we ask that travelers take precaution to avoid making contact with them or teasing them.

Hours of Business

Most businesses are open from Monday to Friday. Government offices are open from 07:30 to 16:00 with some closing for lunch from 12:00 to 13:00. Many retailers and travel agencies are also open on Saturday and most shops are open on Sundays.

Internet

Internet cafes are widely available and are easily found in major towns and cities. Prices are reasonable but may vary from IDR 6,000 – 10,000 an hour. In many internet cafes, you can buy pre-paid international phone cards to dial from a computer to a landline or mobile phone worldwide. Most internet cafés are equipped with webcams, headsets and microphones. Wi-Fi hotspots are available at most hotels, restaurants and cafes. Many hotels also have Business Centers with PCs connected to internet or in-room broadband access. Please note that this service is not always free and the rates are usually more expensive than at internet cafes. Buying a local SIM card and the respective package at about 60.000 to 100.000 IDR you will be able to have 3G (4G in bigger cities such as Jakarta, Denpasar or Surabaya) internet connectivity from your mobile phone for up to a month.

Language

Bahasa Indonesia is the official national language. There are hundreds of regional dialects and variations in speech from island to island, but the basic words remain the same. A large majority of the population, especially in areas more frequented by international travelers, such as Bali, Central Java and Lombok, as well as the county’s youth usually speak English.

Money

The Indonesian Rupiah (Rp or IDR) is the official currency of Indonesia. ATMs and moneychangers are found throughout the country and credit cards are accepted at major hotels and some restaurants. Caution is required with money-changers that offer their services in small booths on the street. We do advise to change money only at authorized and professional money changers, that your tour guide will be able to point out to you, as well as at bank counters. Also hotels and the airports have money-changing facilities, but the rates are usually not matching the official rates provided by banks and authorized money changers.

Photography, Filming & Drones

Photographing or filming people should be undertaken with care and respect. It is advised to ask for permission. Any commercial photo or video productions require official permits and the respective visa arrangements. To our current knowledge, drones do not require a special permit. However, caution is advised in flying drones. Particularly, exclusion zones need to be respected, which comprise prohibited airspace, restricted areas such as near military compounds, areas of flight operation safety (aerodromes, airports), controlled airspace dedicated for airline traffic and uncontrolled airspace above 150 meters.

Post Mail

Postcards are sold at all main tourist sites and stamps are available from post offices and some hotel reception desks. A postcard to Europe costs IDR 10,000 to send and can take two to three weeks to reach the country of destination.

Public Holidays

The yearly official public holiday calendar incorporates many religious holidays such as Islam’s Eid around mid-year and the Christmas or Good Friday. Tourist sites remain open although they may be busy with local travelers. Bali is a Hindu island and celebrates many more holidays including the unique ‘Day of Silence’ in March, on which NO services of any sort are available on this day, including flights. Guests have to remain within their accommodation and may not enter the streets. The preceding night boasts colorful OgoOgo parades. Most religious ceremonies are colorful spectacles but should be respected by travelers. Please also note that during Eid al-Fitr you can double every road transport time indicted in Java, and many shops, sites and amenities are mostly closed, why we do not recommend this time to travel in Java.

1 January
Fri
New Year's Day
13 January
Wed
Siva Ratri Day
30 January
Sat
Saraswati Day
3 February
Wed
Pagerwesi Day
12 February
Fri
Chinese New Year
11 March
Thu
Isra Mi'raj Mohammad
13 March
Sat
Hindu's new year (Nyepi Day)
1 April
Thu
Good Friday
13 April
Tue
Galungan Days
23 April
Fri
Kuningan Days
1 May
Sat
Labour Day
13 May
Thu
Ascension Day of Jesus
13 May
Thu
Ascension Day of Jesus in Indonesia
13 May
Thu
Eid Al-Fitr
26 May
Wed
Wesak Day
1 June
Tue
Pancasila Day
19 July
Mon
Eid al-Adha
10 August
Tue
Islamic New Year
17 August
Tue
Independance Day
19 October
Tue
Mohamed Prophet's Day
24 December
Fri
Christmas Day
31 December
Fri
New Year's Eve

Reading List

  • The History of Java – Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles – Containing a comprehensive ethnographic description of the island’s society, describing its economy, trade, languages and dialects, and religious and social customs, together with a detailed history of the island, including a discussion of the introduction of Islam.
  • Kretek: The Culture and Heritage of Indonesia’s Clove Cigarettes – Mark Hanusz – Provides a detailed history of Kretek – Indonesia’s indigenous cigarette – companies and manufactures in Indonesia.
  • Ring of Fire: An Indonesia Odyssey – Lawrence Blair – Describes Lawrence and Lorne Blair’s explorations in Indonesia in the 1970s and 1980s: headhunters, grubs for treats, leeches, visions, dragons, semi-pirates and more
  • Borobudur: Golden Tales of the Buddhas – John N. Miksic, Anita Tranchini, Marcello Tranchini – A comprehensive introduction to the temple itself, Indonesian history and Buddhism.
  • Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert – The pursuit of worldly pleasure, spiritual devotion, and what the writer really wanted out of life, setting out for a year to study three different aspects of her nature amid three different cultures, Gilbert explored the art of pleasure in Italy and the art of devotion in India, and then a balance between the two on the Indonesian island of Bali.
  • Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded – Simon Winchester – Examines the legendary annihilation in 1883 of the volcano-island of Krakatoa, which was followed by an immense tsunami that killed nearly forty thousand people.

Religion

In Indonesia, the majority of the population follows Islam but most Balinese are Hindu. Religion plays a major role in everyday of people life. There are a number of different religions that are practiced in Indonesia, which exude a significant influence on the country’s political, economic and cultural life.
Officially, 5 religions are recognized by the official philosophical foundation of the Indonesian state, named Pancasila. According to it, Indonesian citizens have to have a religion and it needs to be religion that worships a god.

Safety

Indonesia is a safe country to visit. As a global rule, never leave your belongings unattended and always maintain eye contact or a firm grip on cameras and shoulder bags. Do beware of scams and touts that remain fairly common in popular tourist destinations.

See

Few destinations in Asia compare to Indonesia for the sheer richness of natural beauty and cultural diversity. Our Indonesia day trips and city tours offer evening, half-day and full day experiences designed to showcase the many facets of this incredible nation. Get in touch with our local travel consultants to discuss a tailored Indonesia day trip.

Indonesia
Half Day

Cycling The Backroads of Lombok

  • Cycling through the backroads of Lombok
  • Discover the daily life of Lombok’s villages
  • Visit Pura Lingsar the temple of harmony
Indonesia
Full Day

​Sumba Culture and Beaches

  • Explore megalithic tombs villages and the custom home
  • Discover Sumbanese traditional houses and skull tree
  • Visit two white sandy beaches of Kerewei and Watubela
Indonesia
Half Day

Javanese Local Market and Traditional Medicine ​​​​​​​

  • Discover the secrets of Javanese herbal medicine
  • Shop for exotic spices at one of Java’s oldest markets
  • Learn to make traditional tonics with a Javanese herbalist

Shopping

Indonesia is known as a treasure trove of interesting souvenirs and handicrafts. A fascinating array of products, from traditional antiques to the latest quality fashions to ethnic handicrafts can be found at many local markets, shopping malls and boutique shops. At smaller shops, bargaining may be necessary but it often adds to the fun of shopping in Indonesia. Shopping hours are generally from 09:00 to 22:00. Refer to our Shopping Guides for Bali and Yogyakarta for more detailed information and recommendations.

Stay

Indonesia appeals to all types of travellers thanks to its diverse landscapes, sublime natural beauty, and varied cultures. Our curated selection of best hotels in Indonesia is as wide ranging in style and character as the Indonesia archipelago and when selecting one of EXO’s preferred hotels in Indonesia, you can be sure our expert team of travel consultant and inspectors have visited it recently and provided the stamp of approval.

Bali

WakaGangga

Bali

Ubud Village Resort

Bali

Hanging Gardens Of Bali

Telephone

Most hotels have offer international dialing and fax facilities although be warned that these services are expensive in Indonesia. The best way to stay in touch is to buy a local SIM card at a convenience store for your mobile phone. They cost approximately IDR 10,000 and offer international dialing rates as low as IDR 7,000 per minute and free incoming international calls. Internet cafes usually offer cheap web-phone call systems as well, however the quality is often poor. Buying a local SIM card and the respective package at about 60.000 to 100.000 IDR you will be able to have 3G (4G in bigger cities such as Jakarta, Denpasar or Surabaya) internet connectivity from your mobile phone for up to a month.

Time

GMT/UTC +7 on Java and Sumatra, GMT/UTC +8 on Bali, Lombok and Sulawesi, GMT/UTC +9 on Maluku and West Papua.

Tipping

Tipping for good service is not expected but is always appreciated in Indonesia. It is customary, though not compulsory, to tip tour guides, drivers and co-drivers at the end of a tour. Hotel and station porters should also be tipped for their service. Many restaurants declare a service charge on their bills, tips are thus included. Any further tipping is at your discretion. You may refer to our Tipping Guidelines for details and recommendations.

Traffic & Driving

Generally, an international driving license is accepted by Indonesian traffic authorities. However, we do not offer self-driving or car / motorbike rental services, and do not recommend driving in Indonesia for several reasons: Driving behavior of traffic participants is often not predictable, as rules are often interpreted flexibly. Bad accidents involving travelers on rented motorbikes and cars are common.
Road and traffic conditions as well aslegal regulations and proceedings upon any incidents differ much from those in the countries of origin of our clientele.

Transportation

The majority of taxis are now metered, with Bluebird taxi being the most reliable company. Bemos – pick-up trucks with rows of seats along each side – provide a unique and cheap form of local transport. Motorcycles and bicycles can also be hired in many places but special care should be exercised at all times as road and traffic conditions can be dangerous in certain locations. Services such as Grab, Uber or the Indonesian motorcycle taxi service GoJek are available in urban areas, but there are conflicts with taxi drivers and local communities offering private transportation services. The cars are often allowed to drop-off guests while there are exclusion zones for the pick-up. During the tourist season in July and August, as well as the Christmas and New Year period, Bali can get crowded. Traveling around Indonesia is generally easy because the people are friendly and happy to offer advice and directions.

WATER

It is not advisable to drink tap water in Indonesia but bottled mineral water is safe and available everywhere. Iced in drinks are generally OK in good standard hotels and restaurants but it is best to avoid it on street stalls or in the countryside.

Weather

Because its proximity to the equator, seasonal weather variation in Indonesia is limited. Roughly speaking, there are two mild seasons: wet season, which runs October through April, and dry season, which runs May through September.

Due to its size and the effects that each island’s geography can have on weather and climate, seasonality can vary significantly from one island to the next. Islands east of the Wallace Line (between Bali and Lombok), which denotes the transition between the Asian and Australian continental plates, tend to be drier and more arid. 

REGION
1 Jan
2 Feb
3 Mar
4 Apr
5 May
6 Jun
7 Jul
8 Aug
9 Sep
10 Oct
11 Nov
12 Dec
JAVA-BALI-
LOMBOK-FLORES-
KOMODO
SUMATRA-
SULAWESI-
KALIMANTAN
RAJA AMPAT

Pleasant Weather, No Rain

High Heat and Humidity

Tropical Climate, Possible Intermittent Rain

Tropical Climate, High Chances of Rain

Possible Risk of Typhoons and Storms

Cool to Cold Temperature (At Night)