Indonesia Travel Guide
- Everything you need to know for your trip to Indonesia-
Indonesia, officially the Republic of Indonesia, is the largest archipelago globally with over 17,000 islands that would take you a lifetime to visit all! However, among these islands, there are some more tourist areas like the world-famous and beautiful Bali that you should visit at least once in your life. Indonesia has a vast potential for adventure lovers.
Why Visiting Indonesia?
Indonesia is probably not the first choice of tourists, but you should know that this country is a real gem that is unknown to most tourists. This country has over 17,000 islands! Isn’t it fascinating?! This number of islands has made the country one of the most beautiful beach destinations for any visitor worldwide. In Indonesia, you will be stunned by the beautiful pristine beaches, such as world-renowned Bali. Here, you can enjoy different kinds of sea activities such as scuba diving, hiking, etc.
The beauty of Indonesia is not limited to the beaches. Active Volcanos such as Mount Bromo and Ijen Crater, tropical forests like Ujung Kulon National Park, the famous Komodo Dragon, Lorentz National Park, etc. are some other world-famous attractions in Indonesia.
Aside from natural attractions, it would be best if you did not miss the mouth-watering Indonesian dish. Cooking techniques and delicious spices combine and prepare an unforgettable taste for you.
Another reason for visiting Indonesia is the people! Indonesians are warm and friendly. You will not face any trouble in Indonesia because there is always an Indonesian to help you! Indonesia people, like many southeastern Asian people, have beautiful smiles. They are happy people being proud of their history, culture, wildlife, etc.
Indonesia Top Destinations
Click on each Indonesia destination to read the full travel guide of the city.
Best Time to Visit Indonesia
There are two main seasons in Indonesia, which are the dry season and the rainy season. The dry season is the best time for visiting Indonesia.
Dry season (June to October)
Features: The weather during this period is dry and sunny, caused by Australian continental air masses. You can enjoy beaches, natural attractions, etc. without any concern about the rains and monsoons.
Wet Season (October to April)
Features: in the wet season, you can expect short and heavy rains. This participation is caused by Asia and Pacific Ocean air masses.
Best Indonesia Tours
Things to Do in Indonesia
If you want to spend some time in the closest thing to paradise, you might want to know more about Indonesia and where to go and what kind of things to do in Indonesia. With thousands of islands and its beautiful landscape, it can be one of the top places for adventurers who want to explore and visit the wildlife. Right after having stunning beauty all over the country, there are numerous temples and heritage sites. While enjoying all that there is to this fantastic country, you can also have fun among the locals and get a taste of their delicious Cuisine.
See All of Bali
The number one place to go when in Indonesia is Bali because it has a wide variety of activities and marvelous places. Bali has the best beaches you can find to have fun from relaxing and sunbathing to any watersports. It is simply a paradise for diving and going on boat rides and cruises. One of the top things to do in Bali is diving at the Liberty Wreck, and even if you are a rookie, you can even get some lessons for diving and other watersports.
Of course, it is not just having fun at its beaches, since it has several festivals and other land activities. If it is your first time and you have a time limit, Bali is the top pick for your first trip. Even if it is not your first time, it is still one of Indonesia’s most extraordinary parts.
Visit Borobudur – the Largest Buddhist Temple
Among the things you can do in Indonesia is exploring the massive complex of Borobudur Temple near Yogyakarta. It dates back to the 8th century and is surprisingly well-preserved despite the nearby regions’ eruptions and earthquakes. It is also said the temple was forgotten and abandoned for the numerous eruptions until it was rediscovered in the 19th century.
Borobudur is currently a top and famous UNESCO Heritage Site of Indonesia. Its fame and popularity are mostly because of this place’s magnificent ancient architecture and its picturesque location. This visit during sunrise and sunset is incredibly stunning.
While speaking of Yogyakarta, it is a great place to spend more time sight-seeing and exploring. This city is one of the destinations that is filled with cultural and artistic activities and places. You can catch the modern life of Indonesian people and still see traces of their older lifestyle in their fantastic food and shopping centers. Another good idea in Yogyakarta is visiting another UNESCO Heritage Site like the Prambanan temple or going to the Sultan’s Palace. Whichever you prefer, be ready to spend some time in the city.
See the Orangutans of Borneo Up-close
While putting more items on your Things to do in Indonesia, be sure to include seeing the Orangutans. Visiting a country’s wildlife in their national parks is always a suitable activity for all ages and groups. And since these animals are unique in Indonesia, as the Pandas of China, you better not miss your only chance to see them in their natural habitat. The Orangutans are an endangered species in Indonesia; they are mostly kept under research and protection in areas like the Tanjung Puting National Park of Borneo.
Relax at the Gili Islands
There is nothing to compare the Gili Islands’ peacefulness to any other place when you imagine relaxing. Its beautiful beaches and waters are perfect for any activity near the sea. Like Bali, it is one of the most popular sites to do fiving, and for that end, there are some lessons for people who have never dived before. The effort is very much worth it as the Gili Islands’ rich marine life is one of the many reasons many adventurers visit this part of Indonesia. While having fun or relaxing, be sure to give their seafood a try as well.
Meet the Komodo Dragons
All the national parks of Indonesia have something worth seeing. The Komodo National Park, however, has the Komodo Dragons that you cannot see anywhere else. The Komodo Dragons are not very similar to the mythical dragons, but since you can see them here and on Komodo Island’s pink beaches, they are protected in a UNESCO Heritage site. They are quite dangerous so you cannot get close to them but seeing them and their place of living is one of the most recommended things to do in Indonesia.
Catch the Sunrise at Mount Bromo
While you can see the sunrise in many places all over the country, seeing it at Mount Bromo is something special. There are tours to the region that will enable you to see and behold the beauty of the sun rising over Mount Bromo, but you can also always go hiking. The surrounding lands are also magnificent and fertile because of the eruptions of the volcano. It does not matter how you get there while you have it on your list, but as you depart for Mount Bromo, you might want to pack your camera with you.
Marvel at the Beauties of Indonesia in Lake Toba
If you are looking for a peaceful place, an oddly beautiful location, and get some chilly and pleasant weather while sitting next to a supervolcano, Lake Toba is your place. This lake is known to be one of the largest Caldera Lakes on Earth, formed as a result of a catastrophic eruption. This event took place nearly 70,000 years ago, but the result is something trendy among travelers.
Find Cruises and Boat Rides at Raja Ampat Islands
Another one of the magnificent and peaceful places in Indonesia is the Raja Ampat Islands. This country is full of spectacular sights and diving spots with many trees, such as these islands. What makes this place worth the visit is the shape and looks of the islands as well as the marine life around them. These turquoise waters are a popular spot for divers and those who want to have luxurious boat rides and cruises next to this paradise. Raja Ampat Islands are full of life and exceptionally amazing for families and couples looking for a calm or romantic experience.
Hiking up Mount Rinjani
If you ask other travelers about Mount Rinjani, there is a good chance they will tell you it is a challenging hike but very much worth the effort. And it would be true as some people take more than one-day trekking and hiking at Mount Rinjani. But the view you get at the end of this adventure is so unique that nobody will dissuade you from going there if you can handle the challenge. From there, you can see the results of the eruption of the volcano that created a caldera lake there in the 13th century.
Other than the view and the beautiful path, you get to see some of the wildlife in this region. Check your gear, find some suitable traveling companions, and set off on a memorable journey at Mount Rinjani.
Try the Indonesian Cuisine
When traveling in Asia, you should always try the local and traditional food of the country. Indonesian Cuisine, like many other Asian cuisines, relies on rice prominently with various other ingredients. You can always stay with western foods in major cities, but local food is much more advisable. Even if you are a vegetarian, you can select delicious, meat-free, and healthy dishes.
Spend Some Time at the Cultural Heart of Bali at Ubud
Ubud is, to some extent, still in the same hippy mood of the 80s, which is very much peaceful. It is a great time to seek the Hindu temples’ spiritual aspect and see the sacred monkeys. If you want to find peace away from the beaches, Ubud and exploring it is what you want to do.
Visit the Locals at Sumba Island
Whenever you decided to visit villages and see some old and traditional houses in the jungles, you should head over to Sumba Island. Like all the other islands, Sumba Island is a great place for watersports, but not for everyone. It is where you want to learn about the culture and way of life of locals, which also has luxurious hotels and resorts.
Behold the Devil’s Tear on Nusa Lembongan
At Nusa Lembongan, you can see yet another natural part of the country, also known as the Devil’s Tear. You will enjoy the ocean beauty and the power of the waves as they smash against the rocks. If the calm near most if the coasts bore you, this is where you want to see and admire the tide and waves at Nusa Lembongan.
Learn About the Sea God at the Uluwatu Temple
There are several sea temples in Bali, all of which are mesmerizing in their terms. Uluwatu Temple stands out because it sits on the top of a limestone cliff over the sea. You can see either the trees on the cliff and the nearby lands or the sea down below. What you must keep in mind that there might be monkeys who might want to take your things and run away. As soon as you have had enough of the natural landscape of Indonesia at Uluwatu Temple, you can try and see the Kecak dance and other available performances at this temple.
Local Transportation in Indonesia
Beck is a cycled or motor rickshaw in Indonesia, banned from the large cities’ broad streets, but you can find them in small streets moving people or any other objects. It would help if you negotiated for the fee before taking the Becak and if you are two individuals, make sure to arrange for both.
Make sure to take metered taxis that the driver uses this tool! If you can’t find the metered taxi, make sure to bargain to reach your destination at a fair price.
Bemos is a kind of minibus that has benches rather than seats in most cases. Make sure to ask the fee before getting in to avoid any trouble. It would be better for the first time to ask another person waiting for Bemos to help you with the routes and prices.
Ojek is a motorbike taxi which can take you anywhere at a very low price. They are in terminals, markets, or anywhere else. As Jakarta suffers from traffic jams, this method is the right choice for getting around the city. You can also rent them for sightseeing.
Dokar is a light horse-drawn vehicle, which has a bench suitable for two or three people. It can be a memorable experience for you in Indonesia.
Large buses don’t play an essential role in the Indonesian transportation system; however, an extensive network of local buses exists in Java and Jakarta. If you want to use buses, make sure to be aware of pickpockets.
Intercity Transportation in Tuerkey
Air travel is the best way of domestic travel in the largest archipelago in the world. Some areas of the country are also only accessible by air travel, and it makes the airlines the significant players in the transportation of Indonesia. The prices of air travel in Indonesia are reasonable and inexpensive.
Indonesia doesn’t have a railway network generally; however, Java and Sumatra are exceptions! In Java, the train is the most convenient way of transportation. The railway service is connected with the ferry to Bali and Sumatra in the east and west, respectively. Sumatra has a limited network system running from Bandarlampung to Lubuklinggau in the south and Medan to Tanjung Balai and Rantau Prapat in the north.
The long-distance bus network in Indonesia is very cheap and convenient. Java has the best long-distance buses from Jakarta to other points.
The long-distance bus network in Indonesia is very cheap and convenient. Java has the best long-distance buses from Jakarta to other points.
Indonesia is the largest archipelago globally. Therefore, it’s serviced by an extensive ferry network ranging from simple and wooden boats to beautiful and convenient steel ferries.
Flight Deals to Indonesia
Indonesia Travel Costs
|Food & Drink|
|Cheaper Restaurant||2-4 USD|
|Higher-end restaurant||5-11 USD|
|Bottle of water||0.50-1 USD|
|Local beer at a convenience store||1-2 USD|
|Beer at bars or clubs||2.50-5 USD|
|The Daily Budget for food||7-10 USD|
|Basic budget||9 USD|
|Average hotel prices||30-50 USD|
|Accommodation Daily Budget||9-20 USD|
|Taxi / motorbike||0.50-1.50 USD|
|Rent a motorbike||7 USD|
|Rent a car or SUV||22 USD|
|Train||7 -12 USD|
|Bus (12 hours distance)||18 USD|
|Daily Transportation Budget||4-7 USD|
|Museums, Temples, or Mountains||0.50 – 3 USD|
|Day tours and activities||25-35 USD|
Best Hotels in Indonesia
Find the best hotels in Indonesia using our best price search engine, or go with one of our All-inclusive tours with 4 Star hotels included. You can book our guaranteed hotels for your extra accommodation; before or after your tour days.
Indonesia Travel Tips
Drinking tap water in Indonesia is not recommended. Make sure to drink bottled water. You can buy a large gallon of water for your entire trip.
Tipping in Indonesia is different depending on the region. For example, in Jakarta, 10,000, or 20,000 rupiah is reasonable. In Bali, however, the tip is included in most restaurants’ bills, so you don’t need to pay more. For a spa service, offering a tip to a masseuse or other service providers is considered polite.
Take Blue Bird Taxis as they are the safest taxi service in the country. The prices in these taxis are set by meter, so you have nothing to worry about the costs. This service also offers an application in which you can pay online.
The local language in Indonesia is Bahasa, with about 300 native dialects! You will have no problem with the language in tourist areas, especially in Bali; however, in other areas, English speaking locals’ level reduces. Of course, in your hotel or travel agencies, you can easily find English speaking staff.
For traveling to Indonesia, bug spray for insect bites, aloe vera gel for skin smoothing, sunscreen for protecting the skin, and a universal charger are recommended for packing.
Indonesia is diverse in terms of religions and cultures. In Java, the majority of people are Muslim. However, in Bali, people are Hindu. You may see religious offerings in the street, and you should not disrupt it. Also, if you visit a mosque or temple, you need to cover your head with a scarf. Besides, women are not allowed to visit temples while menstruating.
Indonesian people are very friendly and warm. Interacting with them can make your day!
Toilets in many public areas of Indonesia are squats. Also, you need to bring tissue and sometimes soap in less touristy areas.
|ٍEmergency Calls in Indonesia|
|Indonesia country code||62|
|International call prefix||001/017|
Currency & Money Tips
The official currency in Indonesia is Rupiah (IDR). Other currencies, especially USD, can be used in some places like major hotels and tourist stores as well. IDR banknotes are available in 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000, 20000, 50000 and 100000 denominations. Besides, IDR coins are available in 100, 200, 500, and 1000 rupiah denominations.
ATMs can be found in most areas of the country except in very remote or rural locations. Most of them accept cards affiliated with international networks, but they don’t always work except the Bank BNI, which is more reliable. Withdraw limitation is not always the same. Sometimes it can be 2,000,000Rp and sometimes 500,000Rp.
In mid-range and high-end hotels as well as large shopping centers, travel agents, etc. always accept credit cards. MasterCard and Visa cards are the most accepted credit cards in Indonesia. Make sure to inform your credit-card issuer that you will travel to Indonesia; otherwise, your account will be frozen.
Where to exchange?
Like other cities, you can exchange your money in the banks of Indonesia and major airports as well as ATMs, money exchanges, etc. Of course, banks and ATMs are the most reliable money exchangers.
Food & Drink (Indonesian Food)
The question of what to eat in Indonesia has a very simple answer: everything! Like many Asian countries, they use a lot of rice in the cuisine and all the other types of meat, vegetables, and their local herbs. The most useful tips about Indonesia’s cuisine are that you must try their seafood near the seas and beaches. Try all you can, especially in some cities like Bali. In any case, do not miss any of their local food, and be sure to try our top recommendations.
Fried rice or Nasi Goreng is one of Indonesia’s most famous foods, which has a combination of tastes. Due to its popularity, Nasi Goreng is found in most restaurants and food stalls in the streets. The food is very simple, with vegetables and eggs that may differ from one place to another. Either in the streets or restaurants, be sure to give it a try.
Gado Gado, another famous Indonesian food that is also known for being a perfect dish for vegetarians. Other than the vegetables, fried Tofu, Tempeh, hard-boiled egg, and boiled potatoes can be served with the dish. The original dish of Gado Gado is very refreshing and nutritious. Vegetarian or not, it can be an amazing and rich meal for any time of the day.
Satay and varieties of Satay or Sate are barbequed meat on skewers. It can be chicken, beef, fish, and pork, or all of them. The meat is first marinated with a mix of sauce, spice. If you see delicious grilled Satay while walking in the streets, buy a few sticks, and enjoy a popular and amazing food.
A soup that is very common and loved among locals is the Oxtail soup or the Sop Buntut. The meat in this clear broth is tender, and along with rice, chili, and the rest of its ingredients, it gets a salty and spicy taste. Sop Buntut can be found in many other countries as it is loved by almost anyone who tries it, so you do not want to miss it.
Similar to other versions of Soto, the Soto Ayam can be simplified into a “chicken soup” with a great smell and some spice. It is usually served with rice noodles (vermicelli) or rice cakes (Ketupat). Coconut milk is used in Soto Ayam, along with local lemongrass and lemon leaves.
Soto in Indonesia is a variety of broths and soups and all favor Soto Betawi. These traditional dishes are prepared differently in all regions and may have their own local ingredients. But a Soto Betawi is usually prepared and served with coconut milk, spice, cow milk, and vegetables. The bowl of this watery and creamy Soto Betawi is then topped with its own tasty beef, which will taste like heaven.
Coto Makassar means Makassar Soup, which means it is basically another dish like Soto with a different name. It comes from Makassar in southern Sulawesi and makes full use of most parts of a cow. The used meat makes the broth a little thick and dark, and with the rest of the ingredients in Coto Makassar, it tastes sour. The dish is prepared without salt in some places, but you can add some as it is served.
Rich with proteins and a good option for vegetarians is the fermented soybeans, made like a cake. It can be prepared in different ways and served with other food instead of meat. Tempeh, like Tofu, is good on its own but can also be served and prepared with other dishes. The taste and unique texture of Tempeh is something to try in Indonesia.
Food of the Minangkabau people, Rendang is a tender beef covered in its special gravy and vegetables. If an Indonesian friend invited you for Rendang or prepared this dish for you, they must really like you. This dish is mostly served for values and honored guests, and because of the delicious spicy taste, it is trendy in Indonesia.
Sayur Asem or sour soup or sour tamarind soup is a spicy broth filled with vegetables and served with fish stock or meat stock. The vegetables mostly include corn, long beans, jackfruit, chayote, peanuts, and tamarind. It can get very sour but also very addictive, but, in any case, the Sayur Asem is a must-try.
Bakso is an Indonesian meatball made of minced meat and tapioca. They have exceptional taste and texture and come with optional rice noodles or egg noodles. The vegetables, soy sauce, and a little vinegar make the already good taste even better. You may find its other variants made of fish or shrimp meat, or even pork if you are lucky enough. It is so popular that it is even seen in the neighboring countries.
Jackfruit stew or Gudeg is a dish you should never miss while in Yogyakarta. This city is one of the best options for trying the best food in Indonesia, the top of which is Gudeg. The Jackfruit stew is made of young jackfruit, palm sugar, coconut milk, bay leaves, lemongrass, coriander powder, kaffir lime leaves, shallots, and garlic, and other ingredients. The richest of flavors and textures are found in this national food known as Gudeg.
Babi Guling is roasted pork, which is rarely found outside Bali since most Indonesians are Muslims. Roasted pork may not sound sophisticated, but it is so unique that it was preserved in a predominantly Muslim population. This whole roasted pig of the Hindu people, the Babi Guling, is stuffed and cooked with a wide variety of spices such as lemongrass, black pepper, turmeric, and garlic. The mix of the stuffing, herbs, and spices used in this mouthwatering dish must not be missed. Babi Guling might not be seen regularly in all places, but it is a top recommendation if you can find it.
The Indonesian version of the Chinese Dumplings is known as Siomay. They are very similar in terms of the meat and egg they use as fillings, but the vegetables, sauces, and herbs, are different. The Tofu, potato, and everything else inside a Siomay are dipped into or topped with unique sauces. The best combination is when you have the Siomay with peanut sauce, but soy sauce and chili or ketchup sauce are great as well. It can be an ideal snack as you walk the streets, but it is not just limited to the street stalls.
Crispy and fried, served with rice, is a delightful dish of Ayam Goreng in Indonesia. Fried chicken is perhaps the most popular food around the world. The Ayam Goreng is a safe option if you are not familiar with Indonesian food and their tastes. There are several kinds of Ayam Goreng, which means you should try it in more than one place. It is crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside with various vegetables and herbs in the dish. What is expected in most of these places is getting a dipping chili sauce with your Ayam Goreng to enjoy your meal better.
Like Tempeh, Nasi Uduk is white rice cooked with coconut milk and other ingredients that make it smell really good. You should try this food as a rich breakfast if you can, but it can also be seen as a meal. The Nasi Uduk is prepared differently in each region, and you may see things like eggs and noodles, among other things, right beside the dish.
One of the most aromatic and flavorful soups or broths you can find is the Sop Konro or beef rib soup. It is very juicy and tender, full of herbs and spices that make it popular. Lemongrass, nutmeg, cinnamon, bay leaves, and galangal are only some of a Sop Konro. It takes a reasonable amount of time to prepare this dish, but as you try it, the meat melts in your mouth, releasing all the flavors.
Bubur Ayam can be described as a chicken rice porridge with soybeans, celery, and fried onions. It is cheap, famous among locals and travelers, and simple to prepare. When it is ready, it can be served with shredded chicken and skewers of chicken organs. The mix is found easily on the streets both as a snack or a quick breakfast. If you explore the streets long enough, you can try all the different varieties of its delicious toppings.
A traditional food known as Nasi Campur is a mixed rice dish. This dish is not like the Tempeh, which can be served beside other foods. The Nasi Campur can actually be the rice base that is served with one or several other meals. The herbs and ingredients mixed into the rice make it good for mixing the rice into other delicious food. Nasi Campur alone tastes good and enough for one person, and as a stand-alone meal, it is mostly served with other deceitful treats.
Mobile & Internet
Buying a SIM card in Indonesia is not a very complicated process, and you can have a good quality call and high-speed data.
The best company
The best company in Indonesia for buying a SIM card is Telkomsel, with the broadest coverage reaching 98% of the country. XL Axiata, IM3, and Tri also offer an excellent service at a cheaper price; however, the quality is not as good as Telkomsel.
Where to buy?
Airports are the best places to buy the prepaid SIM cards. The critical point is that your SIM card needs to be registered in Indonesia, and the airport booths can easily register it for you. You can also buy these SIM cards from outside of the airport from other vendors; however, for registering, it’s better to choose the airport to purchase SIM card.
You need to pay 85,000 IDR for a Telkomsel SIM with 12GB of data, valid for one month.
Holidays & Festivals
A notable population of Indonesia are Muslims and major holidays in this country is dedicated to the religious events.
|Holiday Name||Date in 2021||Date in 2022|
|New Year’s Day||1-Jan||1-Jan|
|Hari Raya Nyepi||14-Mar||3-Mar|
|Hari Raya Puasa||13-May||3-May|
|Hari Raya Puasa Holiday||14-May||4-May|
|Hari Raya Puasa Holiday||17-May|
|Hari Raya Puasa Holiday||18-May|
|Hari Raya Puasa Holiday||19-May|
|Christmas Day Holiday||27-Dec||27-Dec|
Shopping in Indonesia
Puppets have a long history in Indonesia. These puppets are either wayang kulit (leather or shadow puppets) and wayang golek (wooden puppets). Different parts of the country have their own style of puppets, and they have not been changed over the past 300 years.
Batik Fabric is one of the most famous Indonesian souvenirs capturing the beautiful Indonesian culture. These products are made of batiks, and they can be a great gift for your loved ones. In the past, this kind of fabric was used for everyday clothing.
Local wooden carvings in Indonesia represent one of the most beautiful arts of local people in this country. Some of the most beautiful wood carvings are wooden masks with different designs, sizes, shapes, etc. Make sure to buy them!
Looking for something unique for your decoration? Batik painting is the best choice! It represents an ancient and lovely art in Indonesia. An old wax-resistant dyeing technique is used in these paintings. Different designs such as flowers, landscapes, myths, traditional life, etc. can be seen in these paintings.
Gamelan is the ancient Indonesian music played for ceremonies and other formal occasions. In this traditional music, percussive instruments play an essential role, including bamboo flutes, rebab, xylophones, metallophones, hand playing drums, etc.
Incense has a long history in Indonesia produced in different forms, including raw wood, chopped herbs, pastes, powders, liquids, or oils. The fragrance from Bali is the best choice if you want to bring some at home.
Kopi Luwak (Civet Coffee)
Kopi Luwak is one of the most expensive coffees globally, obtaining from the coffee beans that Asian Palm Civet has been eaten, which is passed through its digestive system and finally defected. The coffee is very aromatic, with less bitterness in comparison with other coffees. You can find and buy this coffee in Java, Bali, and Sulawesi. The price is between $100 and $600 per pound.