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Indonesia Travel Guide: All the information you would like to know before travel to Indonesia

Indonesia Travel Guide

All the information you would like to know before travel to Indonesia.

The Indonesian people and the language

In this Indonesia travel guide we will start by quoting a fragment of a old Javanese poem, where the Indonesia diversity is described as Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, literally means “many, yet one” 

Indonesia consists of 633 distinct ethnic, with 40% of Javanese as the largest ethnic group. Along with the ethnicity, there are 300 different native language spoken in Indonesia. Indonesia’s official language, Bahasa Indonesia, is widely spoken in the country.  

For the majority of cases, in some areas that receive many touristsnumber of people have good command in English and you will be able to have some basic conversation with the people. Learn some important dan basic sentences in Bahasa Indonesia before and during your stay to enhance your experience and impress the local. Check our Instagram posts on some important phrases.

Papua Tribes - baliem valley papua
Pasola Festival in SUMBA ISLAND
Indonesian sumatra mentawai tribe

Travel to Indonesia respecting the local and the cultures

Navigating local custom and traditions can be tricky indeed, especially in a country with very rich culture like Indonesia. It is important to remember that Indonesian in general choose to smile over problem and save face of others, as Indonesian taught from a very young age to remain calm in public, avoid disagreements, speak quietly with considerationNevertheless, good cultural awareness will help you preventing cultural shock 

  • Hierarchy plays a great role in Indonesia culture; relationship are respected and maintained, and usually shown to those with status, power, position and age. Try to bend slightly when meeting or greeting the locals. 
  • Understand the cultural concept of ‘Saving Face’. Openly airing your displeasure on certain circumstances or insult anyone and shortcomings would be considered disrespectful. Whenever possible, any shortcomings should be discuss the privately to ‘save face’. 
  • Indonesian always try to not giving negative answer, so a ‘No’ does not always mean ‘No’ in Indonesia. Elaborate in details to get a more clear respond. 
  • Greetings all the way. Indonesian in general are very friendly. They greet you morning and night, and shake hands (always the right hand) is a polite and common gesture to show that they are happy to see you. 
  • Head touching considered very disrespectful. 
  • When entering the local house, remember to remove your shoes or sandals at the door to a house. Try as much as possible to not show the soles of your feet to anyone. 
  • Dress Appropriately and modestly. In some areas it is considered impolite for woman to wear mini skirt, shorts, or tank tops. It’s best to always carry a sarong or scarf with you to cover up , for example when visiting the religious sites. 
  • Dining etiquette is generally relaxed although it is polite to wait to be invited to eat before you start. In many places utensils are provided although Indonesian love to eat with their bare-hands.  
  • Ask for permission when taking a picture of strangers or when you passing by someone in the small street. A simple nod and smile would do.  
Bali temple mothe besakih come2indonesia

How to behave during your travel to Indonesia

When traveling to a foreign country, remember that you are a visitor and a representative of your country. It is best to try to understand their cultureadapt to their custom, and abide the laws applied.  

  • The Indonesian people smiles a lot: when they greet, when they agree (or disagree), and even when they do not understand what you mean. Always speak clear and polite, do not shout if they cannot understand you. This, most likely, simply because they do not speak your language or English, as it is not widely spoken. Know some survival phrases will be best, especially if you plan to wander around by yourself. The local are relatively helpful and will try their best to accommodate your doubt. 
  • Note that Indonesians are pretty religious, especially the older generation and people who live in the small cities. Therefore displaying public affectionare considered inappropriate.   
  • Always be cautiousChange your money in an authorized money changer even if they rate shown a little lower than the one next door. ATM scammers also arrived in Indonesia, check and make sure the ATM machine is working properly. If your card being swallowed, double check the contact number of the bank is correct. Do not be flashy showing off your money, as eyes are everywhere. 
  • Follow the traffic regulations especially if you plan to drive by yourself. Indonesians drive on the left sideInternational driving license is required to be able to drive the vehicle here. 
  • Remember to always practice good hygieneYou know why. 
Bali village come2indonesia tours indonesia
culture Indonesia tours
Get ready

Before your travel to Indonesia starts

Where is Indonesia?

Located in Southeast Asia and Oceania, between the Indian and Pacific oceans, Indonesia consists of more than seventeen thousand islands, including  Sumatra,  Java,  Borneo (Kalimantan),  Sulawesi, and  New Guinea (Papua), with over 267 million people, it is the world’s 4th most populous country as well as the most populous  Muslim-majority country. Java, the world’s  most populous island, is home to more than half of the country’s population. 

Indonesia is the world’s largest island country and the 14th largest country by land area, at 1,904,569 square kilometers (735,358 square miles). 

How do I get to Indonesia?

There are 2 main airports in Indonesia: Jakarta and Bali. International airlines mostly fly to these 2 main airports, while some other small ones from around Asia likely have direct flight to a smaller airports like Jogjakarta, Surabaya, Manado or  Medan. 

Depends on the route of your trip, both Jakarta and Bali airports are hubs to most destination in Indonesia. Jakarta, as the capital, has daily flight to every part of Indonesia. Whilst if you are thinking to explore the South Eastern part of Indonesia, you may as well choose to land in Bali. There are frequent connection between Jakarta and Bali too. 

What about flights?

While you need to arrange the International flight by yourself, we will/can arrange the rest of the domestic flights for you. Please check with us before purchasing or obtaining your tickets so that we can verify your arrival and departure schedule and ensure it matches your planned itinerary. 

Passport, VISA for Indonesia and Custom policy

Passport for Indonesia

If you don’t have a passport yetyou need to apply for one now because the process can be lengthy. If you do have a passport, find it and check the expiration date. Your passport has to be valid for minimum 6 months valid for at least six months beyond the date you complete your trip Indonesia as well, as proof (tickets) of onward or return passage. 

Countries requiring visas require a completely blank passport page, so be sure your passport contains at least one blank page for each country you plan to visit. 

Note: Indonesia does not accept Emergency Passport to enter the country 

come2indonesia Terms & Conditions

Indonesia Tourist Visa 

⚠️ ¡UPDATE! ⚠️
Indonesian immigration authorities announced at the end of January 2023 that travelers can now apply for tourist visas (VOA) online.
You can check all the detailed and updated information in this article:
New Online Tourist Visa to travel to Indonesia (eVOA) and 30-day Online extension + Online Customs Declaration

indonesia search tour by come2indonesia

Indonesia Customs 

Maximum items allowed by customs when you visit Indonesia: 

  • 1 liter of alcoholic beverages 
  • 200 cigarettes OR 50 cigars OR 100 grams of tobacco 
  • Reasonable amount of perfume per adult, meaning if you arrive drenched in perfume the customs probably will not mind you carrying loads of bottles. 
  • Cameras, video cameras, portable radios, cassette recorders, binoculars and sport equipments are admitted provided they are taken out on departure. They must be declared to Customs.

You are prohibited to carry into Indonesia

  • Firearms (Need special licence)
  • Narcotics drugs 
  • Pornography materials
  • Transceivers and cordless telephone 
  • Films, pre-recorded video tapes, laser discs, VCDs, DVDs must be screened by Censor Board. 
  • Import or export of foreign currencies and travelers’ checks are allowed. However, the import and export of Indonesia currency, exceeding 100 million Rupiah (or equivalent in other currency) must be declared.

What’s the Indonesia climate like? 

Indonesia located in the tropics and is considered to be equatorial, temperatures are fairly consistent year round as things don’t get extremely hot nor extremely cold. The average temperature is around 25-30 degrees Celcius, and somewhat humid. Indonesia only have 2 seasons: dry and wet, April to October normally drier than November to March that tends to be wetter. However, as the size of Indonesia is super big, the rain does not apply at the same time at the whole country, nor will it rain the whole period. In some areas, the rainy season means 2-3 hours of rain in the morning or in the afternoon. 

What is the currency in Indonesia? Can I exchange cash? 

The local currency in Indonesia is Rupiah. The Rupiah is the only official currencythat widely accepted in areas where you are visiting. US Dollars, along with other major currencies like Euro, can easily be exchanged at the bank or money changers in the main cities. Bring bigger notes 50/100 USD for better exchange rates, and make sure all your notes are new or in perfect shape. Banks tend to reject torn or old notes everywhere and money changers provide a less favourable exchange rate on smaller notes. You SHOULD exchange money only with licensed money changers.Your guides can assist with these transactions for you when necessary, or do so at the airport on arrival. 

Note that once you are inside Indonesia, payment in other currencies than Rupiah is not accepted. 

When is the best time to travel to Indonesia? 

Our favourite time for travel in Indonesia is between April to October, although Indonesia is a great year-round destination, offering memorable experiences for all kinds of adventures. July to August are the peak summer months. In West to Central part of the weather is delightfully warm and it’s a popular time for travellers to visit for holidays, whilst if you wish to travel from October to April, the Eastern part Indonesia, like Banda and Raja Ampat, would be the best option. 

If you wish to have a relaxing journey in Indonesia with less crowds, the shoulder months of April to June and September to October are ideal and slightly more economic. If you must travel in ‘high season’ but want to avoid the crowd, worry not, there are numbered of unbeaten track in Indonesia ready to be explored. 

Can I use my credit card or ATM card? 

It is very easy to access ATMs in all major cities including towns. So taking cash from the ATM is also one option, although you only can take the maximum of 3.000.000 Rupiah per transaction. In the cities and in larger hotels, restaurants, and shops, payment by ATM or credit cards are readily accepted. The most common credit cards are Visa and Mastercard with an extra fee of around 3%. American Express is rarely accepted 

What should I bring to travel to Indonesia?

The tropics is a warm and often sweaty place, especially if you have Borneo or Sulawesi included in your travel. Check out our suggestion on What to Wear:

  • Comfortable and light shirt and at least a pair of long sleeves 
  • Comfortable walking shoes or trekking shoes if your trip include some trekking 
  • Shorts and long pants 
  • Couple of pairs of socks 
  • Waterproof Jacket/Raincoat 

 Depends on the type of travel, you may also need these in your What to Bring list: 

Indonesia Underwater Trip 

  • Dive Insurance 
  • Dive certificate 
  • Certificate of Nitrox (for those who are using Nitrox) 
  • Dive equipment except Tanks and Weights. Please consult your travel expert to find out if the equipment is inclusive or not in your booking 
  • Swimsuit/Dive suit 
  • Adaptor DIN to INT/Yoke
  • Flashlight 
  • Sunscreen SPF +40 
  • Waterproof bags 

Land Tour And Trekking In Indonesia

  • Small backpack for daily important item 
  • Travel Insurance, which covers trekking and sport risk 
  • Trekking shoes (check with your travel expert if you need a Goretex or simply a walking shoes) 
  • Pullover (as in some area like Mt Bromo and some other places at high altitude, the temperature can get as low as 0 degree)  
  • Hats 
  • Small flashlight or head flashlight 
  • Towel (preferably quick dry microfiber towel) 
check list come2indonesia

General Packing List For Your Trip To Indonesia

  • Flight tickets (keep the soft copy in your mobile) 
  • Valid passport with Valid Visa (or check if you are eligible for Visa Free Entry) 
  • Travel/Dive Insurance 
  • Personal medication (include contact lenses) 
  • Waterproof bag to put all important documents 
  • All documents for your trip: vouchers, tickets, contact numbers 
  • Credit card (in some major cities, credit card are widely accepted in restaurants and shops. Small charge might be applied) 
  • Cash in Euro or USD (you may change into local currency Rupiah when you arrive here) 
  • Camera, Battery and Charger  
  • Adaptor (220V is used in Indonesia) 
  • Toiletries 
  • Sunscreen and Sunglasses 
  • International driving license (iyou plan to drive on your own) 
  • Mosquito Repellent with DEET 
  • Hygienic travel kits (mask, disinfectant or anti-virus spray, etc.)  

Indonesia Travel Expectations

Accommodation in Indonesia

Indonesia is well divided into developed area ready for tourism such as Bali, Java and some part of Sulawesi, as well as less developed areas most likely at the Eastern part of Indonesia where choice of accommodation options are still relatively limited. Make sure to consult to our travel expert about your options. 

Indonesia Domestic Flights 

Airlines in Indonesia works slightly different with the ones in your home country. Delay of minimum 30 minutes is quite common, so when you book connecting flights by different airlines, you need to count an extra 2-3 hours in between as delays are expected. Book a short connecting flight, although it seems effective, might cost you losing the connection.

Indonesia Wildlife

If visiting wildlife in Borneo, Komodo, North Manado or Sumatra is part of your trip, please bear in mind that you are visiting them in their natural habitat, not in the zoo. Meaning that there is chance that you may not be able to see them during your trip. However, if you wish to see orangutans, proboscis monkeys, the dragon of Komodo, hornbill, tarsier, crocodile, and other iconic wildlife there are certain locations such asNational Park of Tanjung Putting, National Park of Komodo or Reserve Park of Tangkoko that will offer the best chance to see these animals. During the walk in the forest, you will be amazed by the numorous amount of biodiversity in the plants, insects and smaller animals that often get little notice . 

Indonesian Food

Unless your travel plan include boat trips or to remote areas, we normally only include breakfast at the hotel as meal. There are many option of restaurants where you can opt for lunch and dinner. In the case of boat trip or trip to remote areas, we will prepare delicious local cuisine served in family-style to allow you to taste a variety of dishes as well as fresh local fruits.  
Due to limited sources we may not always be able to fulfill your request. If you havea special diet that you really need to follow, we recommend you to bring a supply for your meals. Make sure to consult to our travel expert incase you have a special dietary or food allergy prior to booking or your arrival so we can advise our crew and guide. 

Luggage in Indonesia

While most of the International Airlines give 25-30 Kg free checked-luggage, domestic airlines only give 10-20 Kg/person for  checked-luggage, depends on the airlines and type of aircraft. Please double check your ticket and consult our travel expert if you have doubt when preparing your luggage. Any excess kg can be paid directly at the airport counter.  

Bear in mind that all liquid above 100 ml have to be packed and checked.  


Long-trip Travel around Indonesia

If you book a long trip to us, you will be traveling in comfortable and safe vehicle. Size of the vehicle will be depend of the size of your group. In big and developed cities in Bali, Java, Sulawesiyou will drive on paved roads, whilst in some other areas with less developed infrastructure like in Flores or Sumatra, you may drive on unsealed roads.  

Wi-Fi in Indonesia

If you need to be 24h connected to internet during your trip, the best way is to bring along an empty phone and get the local SIM card on your arrival in Indonesia.Telkomsel has wider reception among other, including in some remote area in Papua and Borneo. However, if you prefer to be less contacted but still want to read some news, most hotels and restaurants in Indonesia provide Wi-Fi connection at no charge. 

Medical Matters in Indonesia


At the moment, 2 Covid vaccinations are required to enter IndonesiaRegulations and recommendations change frequently, so we advise you to discuss your travel plans and personal health with your doctor to determine which vaccines you will need. 

⚠️ ¡UPDATE! ⚠️
You can check all the detailed and updated information about requirements to enter to Indonesia in this article.

Personal first aid kit to travel to Indonesia

In our vehicle there is always a basic first aid kit for emergencies, but you must bring your own personal first aid supplies. For legal reasons, our guides are prohibited from administering any type of medications including headache tablets and antibiotics for our customers so please ensure that you are adequately prepared forthem 
Small cuts can get infected easily in the tropics so make sure to bring antibiotics and an ointment  to apply. 
If you have a serious allergy (e.g. bees, ants and other insects) please inform us beforehand so that we can advise our guides accordingly. An allergy medicine (such as epi-pens for allergic reactions to bee stings or anti-histamine) also advised to be included in your list. 

Mosquitoes and Malaria in Indonesia

Malaria is a big issue in Indonesia, especially in the Eastern part but not limited: Nusa Tenggara, Flores, Maluku, and Papua. In the area of Borneo, Lombok, Sulawesi, Bali and Java, Malaria also exists although not common.  

Mosquitos that spreads Malaria normally comes out during sunset time. 
Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants in early evening hours is a good precaution against bites. You are also advised to use an insect repellent containing DEET to prevent bites of mosquitoes and biting flies.  

You may also opt to take the pills to avoid Malaria before arriving in Indonesia, incase you are traveling to these areas. Please consult your doctor for further detail. 

Physically Condition 

When preparing your trip with our travel expert, it is important to mention your level of fitness. This way we can suggest which route is suitable or less suitable for you. If you happen to choose a challenging route, it is important that you  physically preparedAlways take into consideration that the heat and humidity can make you easily worn even just by doing a short walk.   

Unless your trip include climbing activity, for example to Volcan Ijen or Rinjani, the length of walk in the rainforest usually can be adapted to your like.  

During your travel to Indonesia

What happen when I arrived in Indonesia?

If we arrange a full long trip for your, including an airport pick up, you will find Come2indonesia sign after you exit the arrival and immigration hall with your name on it. If you need any assistance upon arrival, please do not hesitate to tell our guide or driver, they will be happy to help.  

What if I need a medical assistance in Indonesia?

Purchasing a travel insurance is highly recommended before you arrive in Indonesia. All of our vehicle have basic first aid equipment but if you need a serious medical assistance, our guides and driver will assist you to the nearest hospital or medical center.  In an unpredictable case where Medical Evacuation is needed via helicopter, we will help to arrange at your expenses or your insurer’s expense.  

Can I smoke in public?

Smoking in Indonesia is common, as there are approximately 57 million smokers which makes 34% of the total population. There are, however, limited places where you cannot smoke such as airport, public transport, healthcare facility, educational facility, shopping center, and some other places where designated smoking areas are provided. If you are a smoker, you may not smoke in our vehicles and at meals.Our guides and drivers who smoke also follow the same consideration.

Tipping and Gratuities in Indonesia

Most restaurants add service charge to the bill on top of the tax. If service charge added, you do not need to tip more. Meanwhile tipping the local guides, drivers, and boat crew are not included in your package cost. Tipping is at your own discretion,shall you are happy with their service. If you choose to tip, any amount is acceptable and will be appreciated. Tips are best paid in cash in local currency. 

What if I cannot find my guide/driver?

Some airports can be a little crowded. So if you do not see them, do not worry. Please simply head to the information center and request for assistance to contact our guide, as they will be most likely around there but unseen. You may also contact tour 24h phone number shown in your voucher. 

Important Documents for Indonesia

During check-in, hotels and accommodation facilities will be requesting copy of your passport as cited by law. During your daily activities, you may be asked to present your passport to identify yourself. Make sure to keep the soft copy of your passport and other important documents to show when requested. 

Can I drink tap water? How can I help to reduce plastic bottle consumption?

Tap water in Indonesia is not drinkable. You may find purified water (galloon water) almost everywhere, including in our boats and our vehicles. Providing purified water is one of our effort to minimise the use of single plastic bottle. If you book Borneo trip (or long trip including Borneo) with us, you will get a reusable bottle which you will use during the trip and may bring with you for the rest of your trip in Indonesia. This single act have helped us to cut single plastic bottle used for as many as roughly 12.000 bottle every year. We could not thank you enough for your support. 

Where can I do my laundry?

Hotels and accommodation normally offer laundry services at some charge. In major cities like Bali, if you prefer to do the laundry outside the hotel, there are many laundry services available. 

What if I lost my luggage?

If your luggage does not arrived with you, please go to the LOST & FOUND office at the airport to reclaim your luggage. You need to request for reclaim number, take the name/phone number of the person in charge as well as the phone number of the Lost and Found Office. Please inform them your itinerary and and leave them OUR contact number. Be sure to send us photos of all the claim number and send us by e-mail or WhatsApp so we can help to follow up the status of your luggage.  

Special Case Cause by Force Majeure

Indonesia located at the meeting point of three major continental plates and falls on the Ring of Fire, a horseshoe-shaped area around the edges of Pacific Ocean, from Australia to Andes, along which 90% of all earthquakes occur. The archipelago has been created with many islands forged out of the tectonic and volcanic forces pushing up land, which frequently resulting in eruptions. 

There are more than 70 active volcanoes in Indonesia. Earthquakes and eruptions have caused many airports closed temporarily, which can caused change in your travel. 

If there is any problem caused by Force Majeure happen during your trip, we will do our best to assist you, including giving the best suitable options to choose, such as alternative ways to reach the destination, alternatives of activities or tours, etc, etc, in the most cost effective wayHowever, we do seek your understanding that we will not bear any extra costs due to changes.  

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