Awe-inspiring and enchanting, Indonesia is a destination that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. This southeast Asian nation is made up of hundreds of different ethnic groups and a sprawling archipelago with more than 17,000 islands, many of which are volcanic. Indonesia is most famous for it’s breath-taking beaches, Komodo dragons and lush jungles. Although Jakarta, on the island of Java, is the vibrant capital city of Indonesia, Bali is probably the most well-known Indonesian destination for travelers to visit.
INDONESIA TOP 5 THINGS TO DO
Sightseeing on a Becak
Ride a becak in cities like Malang and Yogyakarta and buzz about Indonesia in style. Becaks can go down even the narrowest of streets so you get to see lots more than you usually would if you were sightseeing on foot or by tour bus. Feel the wind in your hair and immerse yourself in the sights and smells from every corner of the city. Just hold on tight.
Learn how to surf at Kuta Beach, Bali
Kuta beach in south Bali is a great place for surfing newbies. The waves are gentle, which makes it a perfect place for beginners and anyone that wants to learn how to surf. On this famous Bali beach you can get surfing lesson on an hourly basis and you can also rent a sponge board and ride the waves on your own. If you don’t like getting your hair wet… visit Kuta Beach anyway for the stunning instagram sunset photo opportunities.
Go trekking at Bukit Lawang
Bukit Lawang is an Orangutan Sanctuary and the last few places on Earth to see orangutans living in the wild. In these lush tropical rainforests you can also go trekking and tubing on the river but it’s the orangutans that steal the show here.
Mingle with Digital Nomads in Ubud
Ubud is Bali’s major culture and art hub with an ever-growing network of digital nomads. Soak up the laidback ambience or catch up on some emails with digital nomads and other location independent entrepreneurs in pretty much any Ubud cafe. If you fancy more of a cultural experience in Ubud then visit the art galleries here that have the works of several prominent Balinese artists on display. Dance lovers can watch the Tek Tok dance which is a new form of Balinese dancing amalgamated with the traditional form at the Bali Culture Centre at Ubud.
Indonesia has always been a top destination for divers. It has amazing diving spots like Togean island and Raja Ampat that boast three thousand marine species and vast bio diversity. The Raja Ampat Islands, off the northwest tip of Bird’s Head Peninsula in West Papua was voted one of the best diving spots in the world. Togean island is the less explored island and is a secret diving destination with a lot of unexplored areas if you’re feeling adventurous.
Read more: Top 10 Things To Do In Indonesia
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Bucket Bunny List of the top 25 Asia travel adventures.
Meet Komodo Dragons, camp at the Gates of Hell or do a Silk Road overland tour. Enjoy browsing our top 25 Asia Travel Adventures and be inspired to tick off a few yourself.
INDONESIA TOP 3 FESTIVALS
Nyepi meaning “the day of silence” is New Years Day in Bali and you will find that on this day everything is closed for business as people fast and meditate all day long. Before Nyepi the Balinese people will be busy cleaning and scrubbing their religious statues, praying and holding ceremonies.
The Festival of Eid, also known by locals as Idul Fitri or Lebaran. After a month of fasting, the Muslim community in Indonesia celebrates the Festival of Eid to announce the end of the fast. During this Indonesian festival you will find people wearing new clothes and celebrating the day with sweets, vermicelli and other tasty dishes.
Pasola is one of the most exciting and world famous Jousting Festivals where people ride horses bareback and throw holas or spears at each other in order to overthrow the opponent. This traditional Sumba ritual is believed to keep the spirits happy and bring a good harvest. Every year the date and venue of the festival is announced in advance. So stay tuned!
Language: Many languages are spoken in Indonesia but Indonesian is the official language followed by Javanese and Sundanese. Many Indonesians speak basic conversational to fluent English.
Currency: Indonesian rupiah.
Visa: Visiting Indonesia requires a valid passport but no visa is required for travelers from nearly 140 countries if you plan to stay for less than 30 days. A visa upon arrival can be issued for roughly USD 35 and can be extended if you want to stay longer than 30 days. Tourist, social or cultural visas can be issued by a consulate outside of Indonesia for a 60 day stay and can be extended for 30 days up to three times. Use these free online visa checker and calculator tools so you know if a visa for Indonesia is required (which depends on the country you’re from) and if so, how long it will take to process your visa and the cost.
Electricity: Indonesia operates on 220V supply voltage and standard frequency 50Hz. Power sockets are of two types, C and F. You can expect a two pin socket and plug just like the ones found in Europe. I recommend bringing a Universal Travel Adapter so you don’t need to keep buying new adapters for each new country you visit.
Lonely Planet Indonesia: Check price on Amazon
WHAT TO EAT IN INDONESIA
Some of the most delicious, traditional dishes that you must try when in Indonesia are listed below. Don’t drool!
Nasi Goreng: Considered to be the national dish of Indonesia. The meaning of Nasi Goreng is ‘Fried Rice’. It’s cooked in the usual south Asian way where cooked rice is stir fried in oil, but the twist is the delectable spice mix that gives it the Indonesian touch.
Beef Rendang: For all the non-veg lovers this is a must-try. This Spicy and rich beef curry takes forever to cook which gives the meat the tenderness and flavor to die for. Rendang originated from Pandang, Sumatra and has become one of the most loved dishes served in the country.
Nasi Rawon: Another heavenly dish for the beef lovers. It is a black beef soup. The dark color and the strong nutty taste is extracted from keluak or black nuts and certain other secret spices. Nasi Rawan is usually served with rice.
Siomay: One of the main ingredients in this Indonesian street food is peanut sauce. Siomay is the Indonesian version of steamed fish dim sums which is served with eggs, steamed potatoes, cabbage and loads of peanut sauce. Lookout for a bicycle vendor with a large steamer on the back of his bike because the local street vendors always make the best Siomay.
Sweet Martabak: This is one of my favorite Indonesian desserts, Sweet Martabak is basically the Indonesian version of a pancake. You can opt for the filling of your choice from the three available options – peanut, chocolate and cheese. The only thing I don’t like about Martabaks is that they are only sold in the evenings and 24 hour availability should be mandatory!
WHERE TO STAY IN INDONESIA
Indonesia is a really affordable place to visit. Finding excellent accommodation in Indonesia is super easy because there’s so many options whatever your budget.
Hostels and dormitories make travel to Indonesia affordable for backpackers and any travelers on a shoe-string budget.
Whether you’re a backpacker, flash-packer or a luxury vacationer, Indonesia will not disappoint you. A basic hotel room in Indonesia can cost less than $20 dollars. If you’re looking for accommodation that includes western amenities and comforts then there will be more options to choose from in the big cities and popular tourist hotspots like Bali.
If you’re traveling to Indonesia during peak season or wish to stay in a luxury hotel then it’s wise to book your accommodation in advance. Don’t wait until you arrive to see what’s available or you may be disappointed to find that all the best places to stay have already been snapped up. Indonesia is a very popular year-round destination you know!
Jetset Bunny recommends using Booking.com for the best accommodation deals in Indonesia. However, if you are backpacking in Indonesia or traveling on a tight budget then Hostel World is another great option. Staying in hostels makes travel in Southeast Asia very affordable and is also a great way to meet new travel buddies.
PLAN YOUR TRIP
There is a wet and a dry season in Indonesia but temperatures rarely dip below 68°F (20°C). The best time of year to visit Indonesia is between May and September when it’s dry and sunny. If you prefer less crowds, lower prices and can tolerate heavy tropical downpours, go in the wet season. The rain only lasts for a few hours a day and then the sun comes out so you can still have a good time in Indonesia during the wet season.
INDONESIA TRAVEL BUDGET
Indonesia is generally an affordable destination for travelers on all budgets. The cost of your trip to Indonesia really depends on the level of comfort you will expect while here. If you are backpacking and planning on staying in dormitories, hostels and eating street food then budget between $20 to $30 a day. If you prefer to stay in 3-4 star hotel rooms and eat in mid-range restaurants you could spend anywhere between $35 to $100 per day. If you want to enjoy luxury 4-5 star accommodation and gourmet restaurants then budget about $100 to $200 plus a day.
IS INDONESIA SAFE FOR FEMALE TRAVELERS?
Safety is a concern for most people traveling to Indonesia. Pick-pocketing, bag-snatching and other scams to take advantage of tourists are common in some areas such as Bali and Jakarta. Female travelers should take care to dress appropriately and be extra careful when walking alone or at night. Some parts of Indonesia are dangerous so do your research before you go and avoid these places. Based on many years of solo travel in Southeast Asia I would never leave home without travel insurance. I would never leave home without insurance and I recommend checking out the travel insurance plan that World Nomads can offer you a few weeks before your Indonesia trip.
INDONESIA VISA CHECKER
INDONESIA FLIGHT DEALS
INDONESIA TOURS & ACTIVITIES
INDONESIA PACKING TIPS
Packing for a trip to Indonesia, like most other places in Southeast Asia, is a breeze. You really don’t need as much travel gear as you may think for a trip to Indonesia and it’s always best to travel light whenever possible.
That said, the gear you do bring on your trip should be the very best option available for you and that doesn’t always mean the most expensive. Jetset Bunnies around the globe are always discovering the latest and the greatest in travel gear for women and this is where we share our fabulous finds with you.
It’s so easy to travel light in hotter climates just remember to pack lightweight and breathable lose-fitting clothing. Be prepared for the occasional chilly morning and evening depending on the month you visit and pack a warm sweater or coat.
Other essential items to pack for a trip to Indonesia include, most importantly, a good quality travel backpack. Choose the brand carefully and make sure you find the right size backpack for your torso. Believe me, doing this will make all the difference and prevent major backache. Read our related blog post with advice on how to choose the best backpacks for women travelers. Smaller items to pack include a padlock, sleep sheet and a money belt to keep important documents close to you.
So if you’ve found your travel inspiration, figured out the practicalities and got the travel gear it’s time to stuff it all in a bag and go right? Well, no, hold your horses, you see there’s an art to packing which we have (almost) perfected.
Hop to our Travel Packing Tips for all of the latest on this topic.