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This page only contains information about Indonesia in general. To get specific information in each region, please visit the related pages.
Table of Contents
Millions of people visit Indonesia and most of them come for traveling purpose. It has instantly become world’s favorite country to visit. Everything can be found here, from the biggest buddies temple in the world to the newest 7 wonder’s world, Komodo island.
It’s a home to hundred species of flora and fauna, making it a country with most biodiversity in the world. It’s also a heaven for surfer enthusiast because it’s magnificent surreal waves.
Traveling to Indonesia sometimes might be not really as easy as it seems. The transportation, the, and the currencies, for example, can often be confusing. if you are budget travelers, Indonesia can be quite cheap if you know how.
As it’s still a developing country, there are of course many different things that must be considered before you travel to Indonesia. You should whether to learn a little bit about the country or to read some article about its destinations.
Indonesia was independent in 1945 from more than 3 decades of Netherland colonialization. So far, there have been 6 presidents with a democratic political system. The first president, Soekarno was internationally famous in the world for his brave and though to defend Indonesia.
The president is considered as one of the most influential people around the world. That’s why his name can be found everywhere in Indonesia and used for the name of any street in Indonesia.
The Dutch colonialization made so many influences in Indonesian history including its culture and buildings. There are so many Dutch buildings that become attractions. Jakarta, the capital city, has an area called “Kota Tua”, a small old town that comprises the original downtown of Jakarta.
Indonesia is also known for its prosperous culture. There are more than 300 ethnic groups and different native languages spoken. It has 6 official religions including Including Islam (The majority), Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism.
Yogyakarta is one of the cities that represents the culture. The city had become the special region of Indonesia and the center of Javanese culture. The system of the city based on Javanese kingdom ruled by a king called “sultan”. Sultan has a magnificent palace called “Keraton” which turned into one of the most visited destinations in Indonesia.
Indonesia has become the most visited countries in the world for its wonderful destinations. It has so many different travel destinations and things to do. Java, Bali, and Lombok are the most popular destinations. According to the Indonesian translation of Central Agency on Statistics (BPS) around 20 million people come to Indonesia every year. Bali is the main destination for traveling purpose (516,143 persons) per month.
There are over 15 million people visit Indonesia every year according to Indonesian central agency of statistic (BPS)
The Indonesian tourism development has been quite improved from year to year. The tourism awareness has been increased especially in the popular destinations. Bali, for example, has significant improvement in its tourism facilities and safety.
The other popular destinations like Yogyakarta and Lombok also have some improvement. The Indonesian tourism is organized by Indonesian ministry of tourism with its program called “wonderful Indonesia.
This program promotes the least popular destinations in the world such as in the eastern destinations.
Indonesian people love to laugh and make a joke, try to merge with them with your best joke.
In general, Indonesian people are super friendly. They often treat foreigners as their family instantly. They love to laugh and make a joke everytime they want no matter situations. Every province has its own stereotype and behaviors.
Javanese people who live mainly in java islands like Yogyakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta, Malang, and Surabaya tend to speak softly and slowly. While people who live in Sumatra like Medan, Aceh, and Padang tend to speak louder.
Indonesians have been described as shy and modest. When it comes to meet someone new or people foreigners, they are shy. when they speak to foreigners, they feel shy and sometimes not very comfortable. It takes a bit time to make them comfortable to talk to you.
So, if you want to ask for directions, for example, you should speak a little bit softer. English is popular and spoken mainly for young ages. So, if you travel to Indonesia and ask for directions, you should ask young ages.
There is different character between locals who live in the village and the cities. Villagers are less confident than city people. The people who live in in the cities are much more highly educated than villagers.
So, when you meet locals and talk to them, do not talk about hard topics such as politic and religions. Talk about your experience and a little bit about lifestyle in your country. Most of the Indonesian people can not afford to travel outside. So they are really curious about what the other countries look like.
Indonesia is multicultural countries with more than 300 ethnic and languages spoken
Indonesia cannot be defined as one singular culture. it has more than 300 different ethnic groups and native language spoken. It has 34 provinces where every province has certain language and tribe. Javanese is the dominant tribe centered in central Java where they spread almost in every island in Indonesia. Javanese tribe is often related to the symbol of Indonesian culture. There are so many Javanese people who seat in elite politics and business. All of the Indonesian presidents are Javanese. So, that’s why Javanese tribe is powerful and huge.
Indonesian is a perfect place for flora and fauna due to its moderate climate throughout the year. Indonesia is Located in the ring of fire (continues series of oceanic trenches and volcanic arcs) that makes the soil becomes fertile. There has been numbers of eruptions almost every volcano in many parts of Indonesia. This makes the plants grow really fast.
Vegetation found varied from the different island of Indonesia. Every island has its certain characteristic of vegetation due to the difference in rainfall, soil, and altitude. The wide rainforest can be found in wetter islands including Sumatra, and Kalimantan. These islands are rich in diverse vegetation such as spice trees, fruit trees as well as hardwood.
Indonesia is also endowed by the existence of many species of animals. From Sumatran tiger and Kalimantan orangutans to exotic bird of paradise in Papua. There are also many conserved rare animals including Komodo, anoa buffalo, elephant, etc. The national parks are preserved to protect the animals throughout the archipelago, covering both land and sea.
Indonesia is a democratic country where everyone should speak their right. Indonesia is very big. sometimes it’s really hard to generalize the level of security of each province. It depends on which province and cities do you go.
Almost everyone here has motorcycle, scooter or car. More vehicles and not enough roads with sometimes bad facilities. The minimum age for a license in Indonesia is 17 and above. But, in reality, almost Indonesian people do not care about the regulation. It’s really common to see a 12-year-old kid driving a motorbike without wearing a helmet.
The traffic is really bad in the big cities, especially in Jakarta. Motorist can easily drive a motorcycle under influence of alcohol. Indonesian police are not equipped with alcohol detector. According to Indonesian national police around 32,000 road crash fatalities in Indonesia annually. So, it’s not highly recommended for tourists to drive a motorbike in the big cities.
Indonesia is developing the country with more than 40 percent of the people live under poverty line. The poverty causes the increase in urbanization. The villagers move to the cities like Jakarta, Surabaya, Medan, and Makassar to seek their fortune.
The Indonesian government is failed to distribute jobs to poor people because of educational background. That’s why, it’s often small crimes such as stealing, rubbing, looting and many more. these crimes are often found in public areas like in the train, bus, and traditional market. So, it’s not advised to place your phone or wallet in back pocket.
Generall, Indonesian government bans the existence of alcohol and cigarette. But practically, there is some part of the country which still allowed. The beer is the most favorite alcohol in Indonesia. The shops and bars which sell alcohol need a permit to the government. So, sometimes it’s really hard to find alcohol in many cities in Indonesia.
The taxation and restriction make alcohol both local and imported alcohol are expensive.
Indonesian official currency is rupiah (Rp) controlled by Bank Indonesia. For some people, Indonesian currency is a little bit confusing because of a lot of zeros. They use a comma (,)for decimal to separate thousands and millions and dot (.) every three zeroes.
Indonesia has two weather seasons, wet and dry. The weather currently is not predictable. Sometimes there is rain and sun at the same time in a day. Usually, the dry seasons start from may to September. The wet season starts is between April and October with some rainfalls. The temperature is around 28 degree depends on the locations. But most in the cities the temperature start from 27-30 degree with humid and dry.
The best time to travel to Indonesia is between may and October because usually, it’s always sunny around those months. The transition between rain and sunny season are sometimes a little bit extreme, especially in Java, Bali, and Lombok. So, some travelers tend to get sick easily around this period. So, make sure that you have to prepare a good vitamin C to avoid the sick.
Indonesia has lots of holiday in a year. It has 6 religion which means has holidays for every religious festivities. As the most populous Muslim community in the world, Indonesia put much appreciation for Islamic events.
Ramadhan, the Islamic fasting month, followed by Islamic celebration starts around June and July. They have a long holiday during this celebration around 2 until 3 weeks. So, local people travel to big cities and prominent destinations in Indonesia. So, sometimes, it causes a extreme traffic everywhere around Indonesia. If you come on this holiday, it would be a little bit hard for you to cope with it because it’s really crowded everywhere.
Indonesia has dozens of sim card provider with affordable prices, and even for the most expensive cards. Instead of paying roaming fees from your usual provider in your country, you should be better to buy the new sim card here. There are lots of calling card or SIM card shops that you can find here. Do not pay SIM card at the airport because it’s a little bit expensive than in the small shops.
Before you buy the sim card, make sure to understand the provider with good service. The best SIM card is TELKOMSEL, the best coverage across the country. Telkomsel provides very fast speed wherever you go. other providers like Indosat and XL are well used only in the big cities in Java and Bali. These provide coverage is not very fast in the small town or villages. Prices can vary depends on how much data do you need. If you stay just one week or less, do not buy more than 5 GB.
However, the new regulation requires all foreigners to register their cards using a passport. But this can not be done when you buy it in the small shops. You should go to the official provider service center called “GraPari” (use google map to find it nearby where you are) for registering. Make sure you visit Grapari as morning as possible because there is always a long queue especially in Jakarta.
Visa on arrival is for those who visit Indonesia for a short period (valid for only 30 days). Many travelers visit Indonesia using visa on arrival with 30 days extended. The price of visa on arrival is USD $35 for 30 days. If you overstay in Indonesia, you will get penalty about USD $ 23 per day. If you want to stay in Indonesia for a longer period, you can go to other countries like Malaysia or Singapore for a visa run. If you are in certain, for example, you are being treated in a hospital that makes you unable to travel. in this case, you should contact the immigration to explain your condition.
You can also get your visa granted before arrival to Indonesia from your countries. This is usually for those who have planned to go to fixed destinations to Indonesia. Contact your nearest immigration office for more information. Visa in advance is the best way to get 60 days of visa.
If you travel to Indonesia, you should avoid bringing these listed things:
If there is something happened to you during your visit to Indonesia, just use these emergency numbers to get a help :
In the big cities such as Jakarta, Bandung, Medan, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, and Bali, the calling service is usually 24 hours. But when you are not in these locations, you should contact one of them and tell them where you are.
If you don’t speak Indonesia, here are some basic useful words that you should learn:
You can enter Indonesia from your countries directly with some transits. Indonesian main airport is Soekarno Hatta (CGK) in Jakarta that also linked to Malaysia and Singapore. You can visit Singapore or Malaysia first then directly to Jakarta. If you are from Australia, you can directly fly to Bali, Ngurah Rai international airport. Garuda Indonesia is an official Indonesian flight that operates to Asian destinations including China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Netherland and many more.
Many travelers also love getting to Indonesia by water transportation. there are some ferries that connect Indonesia with Malaysia and Singapore. If you come to Sumatra islands such as Medan, Riau, Aceh, and Padang, there are lots of options including ferries from Singapore to Batam, Singapore to Tanjung Pinang and Singapore to Tanjung Balai. There are no ferries from Singapore to Java.
There is a limited option if you enter Indonesia by land especially if you come from European and American countries. But if you come from East Timor, you can use land transportation to connect the eastern of Indonesia. you can also enter Indonesia from Sarawak to Kalimantan crossing Entikong Tebedu.
The plane is the easiest and the quickest way to get around in Indonesia. You can reach other islands in Indonesia from Jakarta by a plane including to Sulawesi, Sumatra, Java, Bali, Kalimantan, and even Papua. It’s cheaper to get everywhere from Jakarta by plane. You can use this website to book a flight to get around Indonesia: www.traveloka.com
The boat is also popular transportation in Indonesia especially if you travel to another island. From Jakarta to Sumatra you can find the ferries in Merak harbor to get Bakahueni harbor in Lampung. You can also get used boat from Bali to get Bayuwangi to cross Bali Strait. Pelni is Indonesian shipping companies that provide a trusted journey to get everywhere around Indonesia. There is 6 office center of PELNI in Indonesia including Jakarta, Surabaya, Medan, Makasar, and Jayapura. You can use this website to book your ticket: https://www.pelni.co.id/
The train is developed in java island including Jakarta, Bandung, Bogor, Yogyakarta, Solo, Surabaya, Probolinggo, Bayuwangi, and Denpasar. While in Sumatra there is also train in the cities like Palembang, Lampung, and Padang. However, the train between Sumatra and Java are not connected. The train in Java is more reliable than Sumatra. You can buy a ticket at the train station called Loket. You can also book online on https://kai.id/ and pay it via credit card or in Indonesian supermarket called including Indomaret and Alfamart. Make sure to bring foods outside because the foods offered on the train is quite basic and a bit expensive.
Indonesia has an extensive network of intercity and inter-island buses. The terminals often located outside downtown or city center. The standard buses often have an air conditioner, reclining seats, toilet, and even wifi. There are 3 classes of the bus including the economy (non-air-con), executive (including wifi and air con)and VIP. You can see the schedules and book the ticket in the terminal. You can also use online service to search for buses and schedules including https://www.redbus.id/ and https://www.bustiket.com/.
Even though traditional transportation is not as popular as it’s in 10 years ago, but there is also many people use them. Becak is one of the best traditional transportation in Indonesia and usually used in the cities. Yogyakarta, Jakarta, Bandung are the cities which still use the becak service. Becak is perfect to use in the cities to explore a city with a different perspective. Becak don’t have a fixed price, so you can bargain with the driver. Most of the driver cannot understand English, but they know the numbers and some word to explain the price. Bargaining is quite difficult sometimes, so what you should do is to cut the price about 50% of what offered.
Indonesia is one of the south Asian countries with the increase of startup companies. Online transportation is very popular in Indonesia. most people use the service because of the flexibility, efficient and affordable. However, the online transportation only used in big cities mainly in Java and Bali. Grab and Gojek is the most used online transportation in Indonesia. You can order their service for 24 hours. You can also enjoy the other service like food delivery, massage and many more. Once you arrived in Indonesia, do not forget to download Gojek or Grab application to make it easier for traveling.
Indonesia has thousands of islands with very beautiful beaches. Most of the beaches in Indonesia has white sand and turquoise water sea which is perfect for a sunbath and sunset. If you want to do surfing, beaches in Bali and Mentawai are the most recommended.
Here are the most beautiful beaches in Indonesia
Indonesia sits in the pacific’s ring of fire with hundreds of mountain and volcanoes. Some of them are the most active volcanoes in the world. Indonesian volcanoes are beyond amazing and sad if you don’t climb. Here are the most beautiful mountain and volcanoes if you travel to Indonesia.
Indonesia is also a romantic place for just married couples. The atmosphere and tropical climate make Indonesia becomes the best honeymoon destination in the world. Here are the most recommended places for honeymoon holiday :
Having more than 300 ethnic groups and different culture makes Indonesia become the most visited country for its cultural attraction. Indonesia also has many historical building and museums with dutch influential. Here are the most recommended and popular cultural attractions in Indonesia such as Borobudur temple, Prambanan temple, and many more.
Indonesia is rich in underwater life including manta ray, dugongs, reef sharks, mola, and many more. Before you go to Indonesia for scuba diving, make sure to know the places for diving. Here are the best scuba diving spots that you should visit :
If you are surfing enthusiast, Indonesia is a heaven for you. There are many places for surfing with a different type of waves. Bali might be the popular destination for surfing, but Indonesia actually more than that. Here are the best surfing spots in Indonesia :
Volunteering is one of the best ways for a budget traveling. You can help the Indonesian problems while enjoy and know Indonesian culture. There are so many volunteering programs provides including in the tourist destinations like Bali, Yogyakarta, and Bandung. Here are the list volunteering website finder that provides volunteering program to Indonesia:
Indonesia is not only about its beautiful beaches or its great temples. Indonesia is also about culture and the local people life. Visit Indonesian traditional market is the best way to know more about Indonesian culture. the traditional market also provides cheap goods and foods especially fruits and vegetables. You can also find unique Indonesian fruits here including durian, mangosteen, Snakefruit, rambutans, Boni, soursop, java plum, yellow and orange coconut, Ambarella, and Pamelo. Try one of the fruits if you visit Indonesian traditional market.
When it comes to nightlife activities, Indonesia might have limited destinations. the nightlife in Indonesia often related to prostitution, drug, and alcohol selling. These things are banned in Indonesia. But, there are few places that allow nightlife, especially in the tourist areas. Here are the best nightlife and the destinations:
As the best tourist attraction in the world, nightlife activities are allowed in Bali. The best locations to find nightlife is in Legian street, Kuta and Sanur. There are lots of bars and clubs that you can find here –
As a metropolitan city, Jakarta provides its best nightlife activities including bars, nightlife dancing shows, and clubbing
Batam is an industrial city with its magnificent building. As said as the replica of Singapore, Batam city also provides the nightlife activities. Nagoya is the prominent location for clubbing, drinking and partying
Indonesia has hundreds of cuisines. Every province has its own traditional cuisines. Here are the most popular cuisines in Indonesia.
Originally from West Sumatra province, Nasi Padang has been on high demands from year to year. Randang is the most favorite traveler so far. You can find Nasi Padang almost everywhere around Indonesia.
Satay is one of the best cuisines in Indonesia. The main ingredients are beef and chicken combined with gravy or any type of sauces. Satay can be found everywhere in Indonesia.
Bakso is originally from Java. Bakso is very famous traditional cuisines in Indonesia with many variations. Bakso is a meatball with noodles and crips poured by hot soup. Bakso is best to eat after lunch or in the afternoon.
Nasi goreng is fried rice often made with spicy and sweet sauce combined with garnishes. Some of Nasi goreng also added with seafood or beef. Nasi goreng is a must to try if you travel to Indonesia.
Gado-Gado is Indonesian vegetable salad often combined with steamed rice and peanut sauce. Gado-Gado can be found everywhere in Indonesia especially in Java and Bali. Yogyakarta is the city with the best Gado Gado in Indonesia.
Indonesian people love to drink. There are many kinds of drinks in, especially traditional drinks. Every province has its own best drinks. Here are the best drinks in Indonesia that you should try :
Wedangan is popular in Java island including Yogyakarta, and Bandung. Wedangan is a type of drinks mainly from herbs including gingers, cinnamon, turmeric and other herbs. Wedangan has many variations and served both hot and cold.
Cendol is best to drink in the summer, especially in the hot weather. This type of drink is the combination of rice flour, grated ice, liquid palm sugar, and coconut milk. Some people also put jelly and certain fruits like mango to make the taste stronger.
This drink is originally from West Sumatra. this drink is made from the tea and stirred egg yolk combined in a glass and added with sugar. This drink can be found in Padang restaurants. This drink is good to drink especially in the night. This drink can boost your energy because it contains the eggs.
As one of the most visited countries in the world, Indonesia has become the most valuable place for accommodation business. There are so many types of accommodation from backpacker hostel to luxury resorts. In the big cities such as Surabaya and Yogyakarta often provide cheap options for backpackers. While in Bali, the most favorite place for a holiday, tend to have many luxuries resorts and hotels. The range of accommodation price is quite different between touristy places and untouristy places, as well as in the city and in the village.
Batik is originally used by Javanese people then becomes the Indonesian official traditional clothing. It’s the most highly developed art of forms well known internationally. The Indonesian Batik is a symbol of the existence of Javanese culture and the independent of Indonesia. Locals started to wear Batik before the colonialization. Now batik has become one of the best product from Indonesia as well as to represent the country to the world.
Batik is made using the traditional technique of wax-resist dyeing applied to the whole cloth. There are few stages to make batik including the drawing the motif, the dyeing process, and the final drawing. It takes few and more days to make an original Batik depends on the length and wide.
Indonesia is one of the countries rich with its coffee. Most of the Indonesian people are coffee drinkers especially in the province like Aceh, West Sumatra, and java. Indonesia is also a big exporter of coffee beans. There is two type of coffee in Indonesia including robusta and arabica. Every province has its own specialties. Kopi gayo, originally from Aceh province is the most popular in Indonesia followed by Kopi Toraja (Sulawesi) and Javanese coffee.
There are many variations of Indonesian coffee depends on the province. Kopi Tubruk is the most popular brewed coffee famous in java including east java, west java and central Java. If you come to these provinces, you should try Kopi Tubruk. Kopi Tarik (pulled coffee) is also a famous variation of coffee. But it’s often served as very sweet coffee. Ginger coffee is another variation of Indonesian coffee where the brewed coffee mixed with ginger and a little bit of sugar. Kopi joss is a unique variation of coffee where brewed coffee mixed with charcoal to make the taste stronger. This special coffee is commonly consumed in Yogyakarta.
Tea is one of the most consumed drink in Indonesia outside coffee. This drink has been a traditional beverage in Indonesia for over 200 years. This makes Indonesia one of the biggest exporter of tea in the world. North Sumatra, Java and Jambi are the provinces with the biggest tea plantation in Indonesia. If you visit this province, do not forget to try their authentic tea. Indonesia tea has also many variations in the making. Teh Tarik (Pulled tea) for example is famous in Aceh provinces because of the influence of Arabian culture. Teh Tarik has become the symbol of Aceh traditional drinks.
Who doesn’t like chocolate? This addicted food might be everyone’s favorite in the world. Chocolate found everyone including in Indonesia. As one of the biggest chocolate companies in the world, Indonesia is a haven for chocolate lovers. Indonesia has many cacao plantations that make this country famous for its chocolate. There are a lot of locals brands that produce original chocolate. Try Cokelat monggo, one of the best chocolate in Indonesia originally produced in Yogyakarta. Chocolate monggo contains a bigger portion of chocolate powder compared to other products. The price of chocolate monggo is between IDR.20,000 – IDR.150.000 depends on the types and size.
Indonesia is rich in cultural possessions, arts, as well as local handicrafts. Indonesian handicrafts are very unique and authentic. Some of them are sold as a souvenir and while some of them are sold as export commodities. Woodcarving is the most popular one in Indonesia. Woodcarving can be seen in Indonesian traditional building and furniture. If you travel to Indonesia, a simple statue with artistic woodcarving is best to carry on to your home. If you love fashion, Batik is a must to bring home. Batik represents Indonesian history. Craft puppet, bamboo wickerwork, and pottery are also the most sold handcraft Indonesia. You can find these craft In Bali,Yogyakartaa, and Bandung.
If you travel to Indonesia, do not forget to install useful apps in both local and international apps to make your traveling easier. Here are most useful apps that you can use in Indonesia.
Most backpackers know this cool application. Indonesian people also are quite familiar with this application. Many Indonesia people are members of couchsurfing, especially for young adults. People in Indonesia use this application mainly to have a language partner or native speakers like English native speakers. You can use this service to stay and learn culture with locals.
If you are backpackers focusing on volunteering while traveling, this apps is for you. Workaway is an app that connects a volunteering project with the volunteers. Volunteering is one of the best ways to get a cheaper option for traveling in Indonesia. There are lots of volunteering projects in Indonesia found on this website. Go to https://www.workaway.info/hostlist-ID.html for more details and find the hosts.
Gojek is most online transportation apps in Indonesia. Gojek offers many services including taxi, car, motorcycle, food delivery, massage service and many more. This application is very useful and affordable. You can get their service for 24 hours. If you want to grab something to eat, just use this application to order a food.
Traveloka is an Indonesian flight searching app. Traveloka is the new emerging startup application where you can book a flight, train and tour packages. If you are lucky, you can get a discount on its service.
This application is not very famous in Indonesia, but you can still use this service. With local offers you a local guide with affordable tour package. Instead of using a travel agent, you can use this application guided by locals. You can find this service only in Jakarta, Bandung, and Bali. so, if you want to go to one of these places, use this app.