Indonesia Travel Guide
When you speak of beach holidays in Southeast Asia, it’s difficult not to do so without talking about Indonesia in the same breath. The wildly appealing archipelago, trimmed with stretches of pristine beaches and forests, is the setting for many adventures and exploration, tricked out with wildlife, Buddhist temples, volcanoes and a mix of rich cultural traditions.
Sunset or sunrise trekking across a volcano? If this sounds like your type of adventure, look no further than Mount Batur, otherwise known as the second most active volcano in Bali, located inside a gigantic crater. This is your chance to embark on a gentle trek through some of nature's finest displays. Don’t forget to pack your camera for the panoramic vistas that await at the top.
The ethereal temple compounds of Borobudur is one of Indonesia’s iconic landmarks, and rightfully so. This ancient central Java religious site, which boasts that gracefully intricate Buddhist architecture, dates back to the 9th-century and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s been the terminus for many religious pilgrimages, and today, a popular site for many surreal, photogenic visits.
Though famed for its most famous inhabitants, the Komodo dragon – also knowns as the world’s largest living lizard, the captivating Komodo Island definitely boasts far more than that. It’s the venue for untamed yet indulgent adventures thanks to its pristine coasts, emerald waters and peaks with fierce panoramas. And did we mention it’s home to one of the only seven pink beaches in the world?
If clear azure waters and white sand beaches aren’t your ideas of paradise, you might as well leave now. Gili Islands, located just off the northwestern coast of Lombok, is nothing but that, and the swaying palms, hip retreats and vibrant nightlife are enough to tempt any type of traveller. If that’s exactly what you’re looking for, kick off your shoes and adopt the barefoot lifestyle.
A holiday in Indonesia isn’t complete without a quick stop to one of its small villages. Consider Bukit Lawang in North Sumatra. It’s home to the majestic orange orangutans that you can observe from the village’s famous Orangutan Viewing Platform as well as the strange-looking Thomas Leaf Monkey. It’s also the place to go for jungle trekking, river tubing and canoeing adventures.
Imagine from your lofty vantage point an island covered with sharp ridges, rolling hills and turquoise bays. Flores is verdant, commanding and charming all at the same time. And it’s home to beauties like the Liang Bua Cave – site of an important Palaeoanthropological dig, the Spider Web Rice Fields, and of course, the impressive Kelimutu National Park. Head to Labuan Bajo for more adventures.
Indonesia is home to a few thousand volcanic islands and sits northwest of Australia and south of Thailand and the Philippines. It’s a 22h 30m flight from New York with a layover, and 16h 30m from London with a stopover.
Jakarta is not only Indonesia’s largest city, but it also serves as its sprawling capital. It sits on the northwestern coast of the island of Java and remains to be one of Asia’s most diverse cities.
The Soekarno-Hatta International Airport is the busiest and largest in Indonesia as well as the busiest in the southern hemisphere. It’s located less than 30 kilometres from Jakarta on the island Java and serves Greater Jakarta.
- Closest City
The official language of Indonesia is Indonesian, although over 700 languages and dialects are spoken on the islands. There are many English speakers, it is not as prevalent as it is in Thailand.
Indonesia uses the Indonesian rupiah. The currency code is IDR. ATMs and money changers are widespread in cities. Carry enough money with you at all times as most businesses prefer cash.
Citizens of more than 150 countries are visa exempt and can travel to and around Indonesia visa-free for 30 days. Included on the list are the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and Germany.
The standard voltage in Indonesia is 230V while the standard frequency is 50Hz. The country uses the Type C plug (also known as the Europlug) with two round pins and the Type F plug with two round pins and two grounding clips.
Boosters of Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, and Tetanus are advised. Other vaccines to consider include Hepatitis B, Rabies, and Typhoid. Proof of Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is required for when arriving from countries with risk of Yellow Fever.
In Indonesia, the emergency phone numbers are as follows: 110 for the police, 112 for general emergencies, 113 for fire, and 118 for an ambulance.
When to Visit
Visit ResponsiblyTravelling responsibly means respecting the communities, culture and environment of the places you visit. Keep these tips in mind when travelling to Indonesia:
Go green. Be environmentally conscious on the road by taking short showers; turning off the lights in your hotel room when you leave; and resisting the urge to collect any plants, seashells, or other natural flora.
Respect cultural differences. Before travelling, read about the local culture and customs – even just knowing the dress code and a few basic phrases in the local language will go a long way.
Support local businesses. Enjoy a more authentic experience and directly support the local economy by travelling with a local guide, eating in local restaurants, buying from local artisans, and staying in locally-owned and operated accommodations.
Wherever possible, avoid single-use plastics. Pack reusable items such as your own shopping bags, utensils, a water bottle, and a straw. These items are typically lightweight and compact, and will greatly reduce your consumption of plastics.
Be conscious of overtourism. Opt to visit the lesser-known regions of Indonesia or travel outside the peak season – you'll likely even get a better deal and won't have all the crowds!
Sustainable Tourism in IndonesiaGreeneration Foundation (GF)
Founded in 2014, GF is an NGO that promotes Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) in Indonesia through the use of creative media. Their activities include collaborations with the government, communities, and environmentally-focused organizations.
Sustainable Tourism in Indonesia
Affirming Indonesia’s commitment to promoting sustainable tourism products and services, the Sustainable Tourism Destination Standard achieved ‘GSTC-Recognized’ status by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). The Sustainable Tourism Destination Standard strives to guide the sustainable development of popular tourism destinations in Indonesia. As the demand for travel continues to grow in these areas, the Ministry of Tourism is seeking sustainable development opportunities for each of them.
A Sustainable Future
The Low Carbon Initiative (LCDI) of 2017 was launched by the Ministry of National Development Planning (BAPPENAS) in an effort to place low-carbon development at the forefront of Indonesia’s next five-year development agenda. In addition, Indonesia’s first-ever sustainable development plan, RPJMN 2020-2024, was released in January 2020.