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.

The Highlights

The Basics

When to Visit

when to visit
  1. Peak Season

    June to August

    As Indonesia is a long archipelago that covers from the southern end of the Andaman Sea to the western border of Papua New Guinea, each major island has its own dry and wet seasons. Generally, June, July and August are the busiest when folks from Australia are travelling on quick jaunts for the winter and travellers from the US are on their summer holiday. For affordable rates, fewer crowds and pleasing weather, the shoulder months of April, May and September are your best bets for Java, Sumatra, Bali and Nusa Tenggara. Festival Teluk Kendari is a great festival to attend in April.

  2. Low Season

    November to March

    Indonesia’s low season is probably its wettest, which hovers around November through March, although December does get a lot of traffic from holidaymakers celebrating the Christmas season. Is the monsoon season an ok time to visit? The answer is yes if you can forgive the heavy downpours that might only last for a couple of hours or so, then you’re likely to get away with very cheap prices. Attention to the weather and a bit of planning is necessary so you can schedule around the rains and still enjoy the country’s offerings. Join the fasting and meditation during Nyepi and watch the jousting competitions during Pasola.

Indonesia Tours

FAQs about Indonesia

  • Do you tip in Indonesia?

    Tipping in Indonesia is not at all mandatory. However, it’s definitely appreciated in the service industry. The rule of thumb is to leave a 5% to 10% tip at restaurants, round up your taxi meter fare, and maybe leave your tour guide a small gratuity.
  • What is the internet access like?

    WiFi might be easily accessible all over Indonesia, except in the remote areas, but it’s not often as fast as you’re probably used to. Restaurants and cafes offer free WiFi, while hotels either have them for free or for a fee.
  • Is the tap water safe to drink?

    Don’t do it. Locals either boil it or drink bottled water, and you must do the same.
  • Can I use my credit cards?

    Visa, Mastercard and American Express are accepted, but only at higher-end establishments. Stick to cash, but only carry enough on your person. ATMs machines are easily available in a lot of tourist areas, anyway.
  • What are the public holidays?

    Alongside Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, Indonesia celebrates Chinese New Year (1st day of the 1st month in the Chinese calendar), Nyepi (every Isakawarsa in the Balinese calendar), Vesak, Independence Day (August 17), and the Islamic New Year.
  • What are the toilets like?

    Know that both sit or Western-style and squat toilets are available in Indonesia. The thing you should keep in mind the most is that toilet paper is not commonly used. Do yourself a favour and carry a wad of toilet paper with you during your trip.