“Your mouth is your tiger.” ~ Indonesian Proverb
- Indonesia is an archipelago. Most travel into the country will be via air or boat.
- There are 3 land border crossings on the island of Borneo, between Malaysia and Indonesia.
- 169 countries may enter with a non-extendable 30-day visa free of charge. Extendable visas will cost $35 USD.
- Be wary of overstaying your visa, days are counted at midnight, not time of arrival.
- Indonesia is a very cheap country to travel through in. If you eat local, you can get large portions of food for around a $2.50. Even eating out at more western places will rarely cost more than $10.
- Indonesia uses the Rupiah. With a rather difficult to manage exchange rate, it can become confusing when dealing with so many paper bills when making purchases.
- ATMs are not widespread outside of large cities such as Jakarta or Yogyakarta; be sure to get enough cash to last you. Bali however, is more likely to have access, due to tourism.
$1 USD = 13360 Rupiah (IDR)
A local meal will cost 25,000 IDR ($1.87 USD)
1 bed apartment will cost $260 USD in the city center. Half everywhere else.
- Indonesia lies directly along the equator. As such it remains warm and tropical year round.
- A volcanic archipelago, Indonesia comprises of thousands of islands – the largest are: Java, Sumatra, Borneo (shared with Brunei and Malaysia), New Guinea (shared with Papua New Guinea), and Sulawesi.
- The entire nation is tropical rainforest. It has a wet season November – March and a dry season April – October.
- Cooler conditions exist at higher elevations along it’s volcanic mountain ranges.
- The surrounding seas of the islands give way to some of the best reefs for diving in the world, with rich sea life.
Evidence of human settlement dates back to to 35,000 BCE. In the 7th century, the Srivijaya empire rose and spread Buddhism and Hinduism across the islands. Multiple kingdoms evolved and Islam began to spread – by the 16th century Indonesia was primarily Muslim. The Dutch colonized the island starting in the 16th century, but did not have a firm grasp outside of colonial outposts. World War II brought about Japanese occupation and the end of Dutch rule, the end to the fighting led to Indonesia declaring independence just days after the new peace. Indonesia began as a democracy, but fell towards authoritarianism, coming back to democracy in 2005.
Need to Know
- Indonesia has the largest Muslim population of any nation with 87% of their 237.6 million citizens adhering to Islamic faith.
- Although being a Muslim nation, many religions are tolerated. Hinduism is particularly prevalent on the island of Bali. Java even boasts the largest Buddhist temple in the world at Borobodur near Yogyakarta.
- With 76 active volcanos, they play an important part in Indonesian life. You can take amazing treks to the peaks of many such as Merapi and Bromo. However, these are still dangerous mountains that do erupt and cause disasters.
- Tempeh, a good vegan protein source originated in Indonesia. While meat is readily consumed, due to: low income, historical culture, and religion, it is easy find good vegan and vegetarian meals.
- In general, Indonesia is safe and friendly. However, there have been extremist attacks in Jakarta and the possibility of attacks can occur where people congregate. Rates have declined since 2005 though.
- Pick-pocketing and petty does occur, but is not prevalent. Be aware of you surroundings.
- ATM skimmers have been on the rise, only use credit cards at trusted establishments.
- Be weary of the local liquor arak outside of reputable bars and restaurants. Low quality and toxic liquor has killed tourists.
We recommend reviewing safety guidelines by various state departments: – we make no guarantees to your safety!
US State Department – Moderate to High bias, with moderate levels of broad information. We advise checking against other sources to confirm veracity of statements.
British State Department – Low bias, and very thorough information. We recommend checking with the FCO for tourist warnings.
Canada State Department – Low bias, with thorough information. We advise using as an additional resource for tourist warnings.
We spent 2 weeks in Yogyakarta on the island of Java and 1 week in Kuta on the island of Bali.