How to best prepare your trip to Indonesia?

by Felike Ongkosoewito | 18 February 2020

You are planning a trip to Indonesia and want to know what you should include in your preparations? We would like to explain the most important things you should consider while preparing your unforgettable trip to Indonesia. Additionally, we give you some important information that might be helpful during your stay.

BEFORE THE DEPARTURE

Why do I have to consider the climate?

Especially if you are visiting the Indonesian archipelago for the first time, you should keep in mind that the tropical climate and weather in Indonesia depends on the season – the dry or the rainy season. To be well equipped for the weather, you should inform yourself in advance about the climatic conditions at the time of your trip to your destination. Depending on the itinerary the weather could have an impact on your journey. We at Wise Steps Travel are happy to assist you with recommendations!

What should I know about the entry requirements?

Depending on the country you come from, the entry requirements in Indonesia can be different. In some cases, a visa is required to enter the country. Usually, there is a free Visa on Arrival (for 169 countries) valid for 30 days or a paid Visa on Arrival (VoA – 35 USD) which is valid for 60 days. However, it is advisable to inform yourself about the specific regulations at the responsible Indonesian consulate in your home country in time. Here you can find the list of countries eligible for a free Visa on Arrival

Which vaccinations are recommended for Indonesia?

In order to figure out which vaccinations are essential for your trip to Indonesia and what is important to know about health conditions, you will find plenty of information in our article “Health And Safety Travel Tips for Indonesia”.

For further information about international health insurance, you can also check: https://www.wisestepstravel.com/travel-insurance/

What sockets and plugs to use in Indonesia?

In Indonesia, they use the 2-pin socket and plug as used in larger parts of Europe. The pins are round, not flat or rectangular. If you come from Australia, Japan, USA, Malaysia, UK, Canada, Singapore, and some countries in Africa, you will most likely need a plug adapter otherwise the plugs for your electrical appliances will not fit into the socket, although the voltage should be fine.

Which credit card and how much cash should I bring?

There is plenty of ATMs widespread throughout Indonesia and at most of the domestic/international Airports. Visa or Master Cards are widely accepted. You may want to notify your bank before departure, as some of them will automatically lock your card after withdrawals from unusual destinations as a fraud prevention method.

It is always good to have some cash handy ie. for public transportation, street vendors that don’t accept credit cards. The amount could range between 1,000,000 – 3,000,000 IDR (80-200 USD) depending on your individual needs. For normal food and drinks and some shopping, the daily expenses would range fro 15-40 USD per person. You can exchange at most international airports directly upon arrival.

WHILE YOU ARE IN INDONESIA

Is it easy to find ATMs?

Yes. ATMs are easy to find at most tourist destinations. However, some of the remote areas in Indonesia have few or no ATM, therefore, check where are you going first and ensure you have enough money to get around in those areas. 

Is the local Money Changer safe?

Legit local money changers are accredited by the Indonesian Monetary Authorities as Pedagang Valuta Asing Berizin or PVA Berizin (Indonesian for “Authorized Money Changer”). PVA Berizin members have a Bank Indonesia hologram and a PVA Berizin green shield logo in the shop window. Recommended local money changers where most of them have several outlets such as VIP (Valuta Inti Prima), Dua Sisi, Dolarindo, Sahabat Valas, PT Alfa Valasindo, Central Kuta Money Exchange, and Mulia Money Changer.

Is it wise to buy a local SIM card?

This comes down to your need to be constantly connected. Wifi is available in most hotels and restaurants. If it is sufficient to check updates only once in a while then no SIM card is needed. After all, it is a vacation, maybe a good time to disconnect a bit.

If you plan to stay longer in Indonesia or need to be connected, buying an Indonesian SIM card would make sense. In general, tourists can get an Indonesian SIM card with 10GB of data for less than IDR 100.000-200.000 (USD 7 – 14). Prices are generally cheap compared to western standards, depending on how much GB of data you need. 

Where to get a local SIM card?

There are top 3 Indonesian SIM card providers: Telkomsel, XL, and Indosat. Most of these providers have official stores at Airports where they usually offer tourists traveler packages. Buying at Airports can be more expensive compared if you buy at official sellers outside (please avoid unofficial sellers). 

How does the SIM card work?

Registration can be done at the kiosks when buying and takes only several minutes. After choosing which SIM card you want to buy, hand your Passport to the seller for registration purposes. Ask them to register it and they register it with their ID to make it quicker. All providers now have a mobile app to check the balance you have and track data usage. Plus, the app can show you how to top-up the balance.

Is tipping welcome?

Tipping in Indonesia is welcomed. A service charge may be added to your final bill at most hotels and restaurants. However, if a service charge is not included or service is beyond your expectations, you are most welcome to leave a little extra to show your gratitude and it will be appreciated. It would be better to hand it directly to the person to ensure the right one receives your tip.

What is the tipping expectation?

The tipping amount may be varied and there are no set rules for tipping in Indonesia. Some of the guidelines for you may be useful: for food and beverage attendants, you can leave up to 10% of your bill for exceptional service.

For housekeeping attendant and bellboy, you can start tipping from IDR 10.000 – 20.000. Stylist or spa service provider, it is common to tipping from IDR 10.000 to IDR 20.000. For taxis, you can round up to the nearest Rupiah on a fare in general. For a tour guide and driver, the amount is up to you and should reflect the quality of your experience. It can range between 15.000-25.000 per person a day but should not exceed this amount. Too much tipping can destroy local prices and lead to an overall price increase, hence negatively impact local livelihood.

What to expect in Indonesian hospitals?

Public and government health providers in Indonesia are not at par with western standards. But there is now a 24-hour emergency hotline dedicated to receiving calls from foreigners. The SOS Indonesia hotline (Jakarta: +62-21-7506001, Bali: +62-361-710505) has English-speaking staff on duty that can help you with primary health issues and preventive healthcare. For more information about their partner hospitals and clinics, check https://www.internationalsos.com/locations/asia-pacific/indonesia.

What emergency numbers in Indonesia should I save?

Police/General Emergencies: Tel: 110/112 (SMS 1717)

Ambulance and Rescue: Tel: 118

Fire: Tel: 113

Medical Emergencies: Tel: 119

Tourist Police (Bali): Tel: (0361)754599/(0361)224111

Tourist Police (Jakarta): Tel: (021) 526 4073

(Foreign phones need to add a +62 to predial)

How can I become a more responsible traveler in Indonesia?

When traveling there are plenty of things we can do or not do to leave a positive footprint here are some suggestions from Wise Steps:

Respect the locals and their custom

Try to learn about the social and cultural circumstances of the destination. Get even closer to the people by learning a few words in Bahasa Indonesia. Always ask before taking pictures of the locals especially children.

Protect the environment

Try to avoid waste when purchasing local i.e. bring your small bag when going shopping or bring your refillable bottle. Offset your C02-Emission of your long-distance flight we will automatically offset your CO2-Emissions caused in Indonesia. Try to use water and energy responsibly (due to water scarcity). Consider eating less meat and dairy because they are more carbon-intensive to produce.

Support the local community

Whenever possible try to purchase locally produced items and food. Do not purchase and consume items that are forbidden under national laws. Do not give money to beggars, rather support local initiatives. Choose locally owned hotels if possible to keep more money in the country. Hire a local guide to support local communities and help to create your journeys more meaningful.

Choose your activities wisely

Walk, bike or use public transportation when available. Choose responsible wildlife activities, no touching or feeding should be done in wild environments. Follow common sense when purchasing goods and services and think about the impact it might have locally.

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