Traveling Indonesia can be done as cheap or as expensive as you want. Everywhere you go you will find cheap home-stays (losmen) as well as luxury villas for less than $50-$100 a night. Listed below are rough prices of basic costs for things in Indonesia. Generally speaking, a budget of $25-30 a day is pretty good. If you’re planning on doing loads of tours and activities during your time, consider stretching your budget up to $35 a day.
Indonesia is vast, so you may need some vaccinations depending on where you’re travelling. It is recommended that you consult with your GP 6-8 weeks in advance of travel. They will assess your particular health risks before recommending any vaccinations.
Malaria is also present across Indonesia, so you will need to take anti-malarial medication. Wearing long sleeves and trousers is also advised, as well as insect repellent. This also protects against dengue fever. Remember, malaria can develop up to a year after exposure, so keep an eye on any symptoms.
Dengue fever exists in parts of Indonesia and is transmitted to humans by mosquito bites. Symptoms include fever, headache, severe joint, bone and muscular pain, but there is no vaccine and prevention is through avoidance of mosquito bites, so wear long sleeves and trousers, and apply repellent as often as possible.
Tap water is unsafe to drink – also be wary of ice in drinks and unpeeled fruit and vegetables that might have been washed in dirty water.
Avoid eating bushmeat such as monkeys or bats as these are often carriers of diseases – as well as often being inadvisable for environmental reasons.
Indonesia has some high climbs and trekking routes – make sure you’re aware of the symptoms of altitude sickness before you go.
Leeches are present in the lowland. These are more unpleasant than dangerous, but you can buy “leech socks” which are effective at stopping them, and keep your trousers tucked into your socks or boots.
Indonesia can get incredibly hot and humid, so keep well hydrated at all times.
Bring a basic first aid kit and medication for sickness if planning to trek or cycle in remote regions. Also get the recommended shots before leaving home.
If you need to be hospitalized, travel to the mainland may be necessary, so be sure you have comprehensive travel insurance, which covers medical evacuation, along with any other activities you may be doing, such as high-altitude hikes, kayaking or diving.
Forest fires in Indonesia can cause serious air pollution in June to August; travellers with respiratory problems should exercise precautions.
Petty crime is common in Indonesia, including on Bali and Lombok. Incidents of bag-snatching and pick-pocketing occur and can become violent. Ensure your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure when walking in public areas and travelling on public transport. Exercise caution, particularly at night
Only book taxis with a reputable firm, or ask your hotel to book your transport in advance.
Credit card fraud, including skimming, is common in Indonesia. We recommend that you take extra care when using credit cards and ATMs and carefully check credit card statements for fraudulent charges.
There have been incidences of both tourists and locals becoming seriously ill from food and drink spiking. Do not leave food or drink unattended or accept any food or drink from strangers or recent acquaintances. Deaths and long-term ill-health have also been reported after drinking local moonshine/homebrew beverages. These should be avoided.
Credit card fraud is common in Indonesia’s cities, so be careful not to lose sight of your card during transactions.
Indonesia is a largely conservative country and you should dress modestly, particularly in rural areas, to avoid causing offence.
Homosexuality is not widely accepted and is considered taboo in Indonesia, so same-sex couples are advised to act discretely in public.
We advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel to Papua and West Papua provinces. The security situation remains unpredictable and there is a risk of kidnapping. Political tensions associated with anti-government groups and local rivalries can lead to violent clashes. Sporadic violence has occurred in Papua province, mainly in Jayapura, and in the central highlands. Clashes between security service personnel and civilians, and between groups of civilians, have resulted in deaths and injuries. If you are travelling to Papua or West Papua provinces, a travel permit known locally as a “surat jalan” is required. Should you need medical attention, limited facilities are available.
Demonstrations, often large-scale, are a feature of Indonesian life, especially in Jakarta, Surabaya, and other large cities. Most demonstrations pass without incident, but we advise travelers to avoid all demonstrations, rallies and large crowds as they have the potential to turn violent with little warning. Be aware of your surroundings, monitor local news and follow the advice of local authorities.
Indonesia is located in an active seismic zone and is prone to earthquakes, with the potential threat of tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions.
On September 28, 2018, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck the central region of the island of Sulawesi, resulting in many casualties. Due to damage from the earthquake and tsunami, infrastructure is still in a state of rebuilding and basic services may be difficult to obtain in Central Sulawesi, including the city of Palu, Donggala District, Sigi District and Parigi Moutong District.On 5 August 2018 a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck the North East area of the island of Lombok, causing many fatalities and injuries, as well as impacting local infrastructure. On 29 July 2018 a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck the same area and was followed by several aftershocks. A volcanic tsunami occurred on 22 December 2018 killing 426 people and causing significant loss of infrastructure along the south Sumatra and north Java coastlines. Slips, flooding and landslides occur with little warning throughout the country.
There are a number of active volcanoes in Indonesia and many have high alert levels which, at times, necessitate evacuations. These volcanoes erupt from time to time and in the past have caused destruction and loss of life. Ash clouds have also caused disruptions to flights. Mount Agung, an active volcano on the island of Bali has erupted sporadically since September 2017, as has Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra. For active volcanoes, the alert level of Indonesia’s Natural Disaster Management Authority can change with little warning.
Inter-island travel by boat has its risks and a number of passenger boats have sunk in bad weather and due to mechanical failure. Passenger and cargo limits are not always observed and sufficient safety equipment may not be provided. We advise against boarding any ferry you believe to be overloaded or unseaworthy. We also recommend caution when taking tourist boats and to check that appropriate safety and communications equipment are on board.
Piracy is a problem in South-east Asian waters, particularly in the Straits of Malacca. Mariners are advised to take appropriate precautionary measures in these waters.
Indonesia is a diverse country in both a cultural and religious sense, which often differs from region to region. Some areas, such as Aceh are extremely conservative, and expectations of high moral conduct are enforced. Sharia law operates in Aceh and it is expected that all visitors to the province behave in an appropriate manner and respect local customs. Travellers are advised to respect religious and social traditions throughout Indonesia to avoid offending local sensitivities.
People travelling or living in Indonesia should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place, including a provision for medical evacuation by air and coverage for high risk adventure activities.
Travellers are urged to take note of Indonesia’s strict, and stringently enforced, laws against the possession, use or sale of illegal substances.
Everywhere you go across Bali, you will easily be able to find people who speak English, especially in popular areas like Canggu, Ubud, and Seminyak. However, the further you decide to go, the level of English lowers. With that being said, no matter where you go, the people who work in the tourism and hospitality industry always have a good understanding of the language.
Experience more of Indonesia than the average traveler by speaking Indonesian. Simple courtesies and greetings will make your trip more productive and rewarding. Our phonetic style makes it impossible to mispronounce important words. Order your hard copy. Indonesians will sparkle with delight when you speak just a few words in bahasa Indonesia. Watch our Indonesian tutorial on YouTube.