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Indonesia Travel Guide: Useful Tips On What To See, Eat & Do

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Indonesia, the archipelago of some 17000 islands is a land blessed with exotic beaches, tranquil islands, quasi-active volcanoes, vibrant tribes and rich culture. No, it’s not a dream, its Indonesia! Want to know more about it? Here is our Indonesia travel guide ready to lend a hand. Read on!

Courses or boosters usually advised against Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Tetanus and Poliomyelitis in Indonesia

Welcome to Indonesia and prepare to get hooked by its raw and tranquil beauty

Indonesia Travel Guide

Table Of Contents


Best Time To Visit Indonesia

Indonesia experiences a tropical hot and humid climate throughout the year. The country observes two distinctive seasons- dry and rainy. However, the best time to visit Indonesia is between May and September when the weather is dry and sunny. Let’s have a closer look at both the seasons.

bali tour-trip-attractions-kuta beach

The alluring beaches of Indonesia are the main attractions of the country

Dry Season: The dry season in Indonesia falls in between April and September. It is the best time to visit Indonesia as the skies are clear and the wind is lightest and breeziest. Wildlife and national parks are the key attractions and it is a good time to spot orangutans as they come out to play in the forests. Water is clear, beaches are great to relax, swim or indulge in water sports. This is the best time to visit Bali and Lombok as the weather is perfect. Tourists can enjoy festivals like Muharram, Id-Ul-Fitr and Ramadan. This is also the peak season for Indonesia tourism and consequently the flight fares, hotel bookings and adventure sports are quite steep during this time.

bali travel guide

Get enchanted by the beautiful and colourful Ogoh-Ogoh Statues, Bali, Indonesia

Rainy Season: The rainy season begins in November and extends till March with December, January and February getting more torrential rains. The weather is very humid and the level of precipitation makes it very difficult to enjoy activities like swimming, hiking and diving. Although it is considered as a low season, but it is a good time to visit Maluka and Papua. It is an excellent time to refresh yourself with traditional Indonesian massages. Tourists can also enjoy festivals like Christmas, New Year, Chinese New Year and Hari Raya Nyepi or Balinese day of Silence. This is a great time to visit Indonesia for budget travellers as flights and accommodations are extremely affordable during this time.

So, choose your perfect time and start planning your Indonesia holiday!

Wish to explore Indonesia?

See Indonesia Tour Packages


Travel Documents For Your Indonesia Tour

Travellers need the following documents for their Indonesia trip:

  • A passport that is valid for 6 months on the date of arrival with at least one blank page.
  • Indian nationals do not require a visa if the duration of stay is less than 30 days. Visa Exemption Stamp is required at the immigration counter.
  • Travel insurance for a safe travel is a must.

Also Read: Explore Borobudur in Indonesia

Explore Borobudur Temple, Indonesia


Where To Stay In Indonesia

With an array of accommodations, Indonesia won’t disappoint you. Picture source –

Indonesia offers an array of accommodation options ranging from five star international chain hotels and resorts to home stays and budget hotels. If you are in a mood to splurge then luxury international hotels like St.Regis, Four Seasons, JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton are surely going to spoil you with their mind-boggling services and amenities. If you are looking for something more private staying in a villa in a resort is the best bet. Anaya Bali Resort and Spa, The Oberoi Lombok, Keraton At The Plaza (Jakarta) and Bulgari Resort Bali are the finest options. Travellers on a budget can either choose to stay in a home stay or budget hotels. Jakarta Airport hotel, Legian Beach Hotel(Bali), Casa Nemo Beach Resort and Spa (Sumatra) are the best budget options in Indonesia.


Travelling Within Indonesia

When your little one learns how to walk, that's when you let them walk into the wild

Hop on the flight to begin your Indonesia travel  and discover its welcoming vistas

  • By Air: Indonesia has an extensive network of domestic flights that connect most places to Bali and Jakarta. Garuda Indonesia, AirAsia and LionAir are among the most popular carriers.
  • By Train: Train travel in Indonesia is limited; primarily in Java and a small network in Sumatra. In Java, trains are comfortable, quick and easy to travel. In the east, the trains link with ferry to Bali and in the west with the ferry to Sumatra. Sumatra has a restricted rail network that runs in the south from Bandarlampung to Lubuklinggau and in the north from Medan to Tanjung Balai and Rantau Prapat.
  • By Bus: Buses are economical, trouble-free and very easily available. Most of the buses are long-distance and tickets are sold a day or more in advance from the point of departure or bus company offices. For short distances there are mini buses or bemos that run on set routes and are quite cost-effective.
  • By Car Rental: Driving is the best way to explore Indonesia. There are a number of car hiring companies such as Hertz, Avis and Rhino Car that offer daily and weekly rentals. Apart from cars you can also hire scooters and motorcycles. You just need to make sure that you have an international driver’s licence.
So I board the ferry in hopes of an unforgettable adventure

Enjoy the ferry ride as you revel in the clear waters and cool breeze

  • By Taxi: Taxis are widely available and can be hailed very easily. Most of them are metered but if the metres do not exist be sure to bargain the fare in advance. The Blue Bird taxis, mostly recognised by their light blue colour are very dependable and comfortable. App taxis like Uber are also getting very popular and prove to be much economical.
  • By Ferry: Indonesia is serviced by a large network of ferries. Public ferries run between neighbouring islands like Sumatra and Java, Java and Bali and Bali and Lombok. In addition to this there are tourist boat services also. Most reliable ferries are Pelni, which is Indonesia’s state owned shipping company. These ferries carry up to 5000 passengers and have six classes of accommodations.
  • By Becak: Within cities or towns there are motorised versions if rickshaws called a becak. It can carry two passengers with the driver paddling behind them. Be sure to negotiate on the rate before the ride.
  • By Dokar: Dokar is a two wheeled horse drawn cart found all over Indonesia. It usually has a bench seating which can accommodate three or four people.

Wish to explore Indonesia?

See Indonesia Tour Packages


Places To Visit In Indonesia

Wondering where to go in Indonesia? Well, here we come to your rescue with some of the best places to visit in the country.

1. Jakarta

Indonesia travel guide - jakarta

The iconic blend of modern and traditional aspects of Jakarta will mesmerise you in every way

Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia is a buzzing metropolis and a dynamic place full of life. Its chaotic charm, delicious traditional food, crazy nightlife scenes and friendly people will you make you go with the flow and you are going to love every bit of it. From brash new buildings to ancient colonial quarters, from fantastic restaurants and shopping malls to Dutch-settled old tows- the city is forever changing and curiously blends old and new, wit and class at a raging speed. Do visit historical sites like Istiqlal Mosque, Gereja Cathedral Church and Glodok, Indonesia’s very own Chinatown. Pasar Santa, the hip New Market consists of more than 350 food and shopping joints and is a highly significant market that is absolutely worth visiting. At night, head to the city’s best rooftop bars and restaurants and make the most of their royal treatment. With a plethora of tourist attractions along with a thrilling mix of a bit of everything, Jakarta is one of the best places in Indonesia and will undoubtedly be an unforgettable experience.

2. Bali

Forget about your computer and spend time in that desktop background come to life

Forget about your computer and spend time in that desktop background come to life

Bali is a lush island paradise in Indonesia that has been welcoming tourists from all over the world. Known for its pristine beaches, spectacular temples, rejuvenating yoga retreats and day spas and amazing hospitality, Bali is certainly one of the best places to visit in Indonesia. Do visit the Tanah Lot Temple to marvel at the amazing architecture. Nature enthusiasts should definitely check out the Bali Safari and Marine Park and the Monkey Forest. Mount Batur is an excellent place for adventure seekers who want to try their hands at trekking and hiking. Bali also has a terrific nightlife and boasts of having a number of pubs, clubs, beach bars and rooftop lounges. The island city has something for each and every one and should not be missed on any Indonesian bucket list!

3. Semarang

Indonesia travel guide - semarang

Marvel at the natural wonders Semarang offers

Nestled at the northern coast of the island of Java, Semarang has started drawing a lot of attention from the millennial travellers. It is one of the oldest cities of Indonesia, renowned for its ancient historic buildings, museums, adventure activities and lots of good food. Do visit Semarang’s Old Town and get charmed by its former colonial glory. Lawang Sevu or the building with a thousand doors, located in the Old Town is a must visit place. The city also has lots of modern buildings and proves to be a perfect blend of old and modern architecture. Semarang is a place for foodies as all its delicacies are created using a mellifluous blend of ethnic flavours. Do not leave the city without trying Ayam Penyet, Lumpia and Lekker Paimo. So, do give Semarang a chance to win your heart in your Indonesia travel plan.

Also Read: The Ultimate Bali Travel Guide for First Time Travellers

Bali Travel Guide: What To Do, See With Useful Bali Travel Tips


Things To Do In Indonesia

1. Immerse In The Aura Of Borobudur Temple

Indonesia travel guide - temple

Give in to the serenity the Borobudur temple offers

Located in Central Java, Borobudur is the world’s largest Buddhist temple and certainly one of the best things to do in Indonesia. Dating back from the 9th century, this famous temple is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Indonesia’s most visited cultural sites. Set amidst striking hills covered with rice fields and palm trees, the main temple is a stupa built in three tiers- a pyramid base consisting of five concentric square terraces, the trunk of a cone with three circular platforms and the colossal stupa at the top. The circular platforms have 72 sculpted figures of Buddha. The temple compounds consist of three monuments; the Borobudur Temple and two smaller temples, Mendut Temple and Pawon Temple. Do watch the sunrise over Borobudur and get mesmerised by its beauty. Your visit to Indonesia will be incomplete without visiting this beautiful ancient wonder.

Indonesia Travel Guide Tip: Be sure to dress modestly.

2. Explore Komodo National Park

The rebirth of dragons at the Komodo Island

Observe the rebirth of dragons at the Komodo Island

Nestled between the Islands of Sumbava and Flores, Komodo National Park was declared a World Heritage Site and a Man and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. It is one of the top Indonesia tourist spots that is simply unmissable. Encompassing a total of 29 volcanic islands, this park is home to more than 2500 Komodo Dragons and various other species of mammals, birds and reptiles. Trekking, scuba diving, snorkelling and observing the Komodo Dragons are the most popular activities here.

Indonesia Travel Guide Tip: Do not feed or disturb Komodo Dragons. They may become aggressive.

3. Stroll around Lake Toba

Indonesia travel guide - lake

Lake Toba is definitely a must visit

Located in North Sumatra, Lake Toba is among the best Indonesia attractions. This natural lake is the largest lake in Indonesia that sprung from the crater of a dormant volcano. Tourists can enjoy swimming, water sports and activities or simply visit the traditional houses of indigenous people, the Batak. Tourists can also stone replicas of Batak houses that are actually the graves of Batak kings and nobles or spend the entire afternoon in a Batak village to learn unique weaving techniques and other form of arts.

Indonesia Travel Guide Tip: Be sure to carry an extra set of clothes.

4. Hike Up To The Crater Of Mount Bromo

Indonesia travel guide - mount bromo

Enjoy hiking? Head to Mount Bromo

Mount Bromo, located in East Java is one of the nicest Indonesia tourist attractions. Standing tall at 2329 metres, it is the most active volcanoes in the world. It is an excellent combination of beauty and danger and tourists can trek and hike up to the crater to witness the breath-taking landscape during sunrise.

Indonesia Travel Guide Tip: Be sure to carry a flashlight and drinking water.

Wish to travel to Indonesia?

See Indonesia Tour Packages


Nightlife In Indonesia

Indonesia boasts of having a terrific nightlife with a number of pubs, clubs, beach bars and restaurants. Not only the days, but the nights here are also quite happening and exciting. You can experience the best of Indonesia nightlife in the following cities.

Indonesia travel guide - nightlife

Surrender to the exciting night life scenes in Indonesia

Jakarta: Jakarta is undoubtedly the best city to party in Indonesia. Apart from nightclubs, bars and restaurants the city also has a number of strip clubs and luxury massage parlours. Most recommended places are Dragonfly, X2 Club, Immigrant Lounge and Club and Colosseum Club.

Bali: Bali simply loves the night and party-goers are sure to have some fun time in the city. Some of the most happening party places in the city are Sky Garden, Pyramid Bali, Hard Rock Cafe Bali, Mirror Bali Lounge and Club and OPIVM Nightclub.

Bandung: Bandung is a major student town and is home to numerous reasonably-priced bars and pubs. Most amazing places include Queen Rose Lounge, Sobber’s Bar, Shelter, Hollywood Bar and Amnesia.

Grooving already? Get set to have a crazy time in Indonesia!


What To Eat In Indonesia

Good food should be one of the top most reasons to visit Indonesia. The country’s rich and abundant natural produce, spices and herbs makes the traditional delicacies so scrumptious and tasty that it is hard to resist. Here is a list of some of the most wonderful dishes of Indonesia.

Bali travel guide - bali food

Taste the flavours of Indonesia which is a  blend of sweet and spice

  • Begin your Indonesia gastronomic journey with Nasi Goreng, a traditional Indonesian fried rice served with vegetables, choice of chicken,mutton, pork or fried eggs. It is a curious combination of sweetness and spicyness.
  • Do try Satay or tasty meat skewers marinated in turmeric and peanut sauce and slowly cooked over charcoal.
  • Rawon is a spicy thick beef stew which has a nutty flavour and is deep black in colour. With strong flavours of ginger, garlic, shallots and turmeric, this dish is a must have for spice lovers.
  • Bakpao or fluffy meat filled buns is a great snack in Jakarta you cannot miss.
Seafood Sate with Rice: An authentic Balinese feast

Gorge on the Seafood Sate with Rice: An authentic Balinese feast

  • Gado-gado is an Indonesian vegetable salad consisting of spinach, potatoes, bean sprouts and tofu. Often served with rice cakes, this dish is for vegetarians.
  • Other delectable delicacies include Pempek, Rendang, Gudeg, Tempeh, Nasi Uduk, Babi Guling, Mie Aceh, Woku, Ayam Goreng, Bebek Goreng, Nasi Padang and Martabak Manis.
  • Apart from the above delicacies, the country cooks up amazing Chinese, Thai, Continental, Italian, American and Japanese cuisines.

With such a wide range of exotic delicacies, Indonesia will definitely win your hearts!


Communication And Connectivity In Indonesia

best places to visit in the world for female travellers

Marvel at the Pura Ulun Danu Bratan Shiva Temple, Bali

Are you worried about how to stay connected with your family and friends while holidaying in Indonesia? If yes, then don’t worry at all as Indonesia is a fun holiday destination and everything here is quite easy. In case you are planning to get your own mobile phone, the best way is to set your phone with a basic international calling data plan and amend it according to your needs. Alternatively, getting a prepaid local SIM card is the best bet. SIM cards in Indonesia are quite economical and very easily available at almost all convenience stores. The leading operators are Telkomsel, Three and Indosat. You will only need to make sure that you have an unlocked mobile phone.


Money In Indonesia

The official currency if Indonesia is Indonesia Rupiah (IDR). Amounts in Rupiyah tend to be very large because of all the zeros. Indonesia Rupiyah is very colourful in order to differentiate between denominations. Notes come in the denominations of 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000, 20000, 50000 and 100000. All major debit cards and credit cards such as MasterCard, Visa and American Express are widely accepted. ATMs are widespread and money can be easily exchanged in banks, airports, hotels and money changers.


Indonesia Travel Guide: Tips For Your Indonesia Tour

bali tour-trip-attractions-pura tanah temple

Go temple-hopping when in Bali to ignite your spirituality!

Here is a list of Indonesia travel tips for your Indonesia holiday.

  • Always keep your ID handy.
  • Although the local language is Bahasa, but English is widely spoken.
  • Electricity in Indonesia is 220 Volts 50 Hz.
  • In case you carry medicines, be sure to carry prescriptions too.
  • Avoid using plastic bags and bottles.
  • Tap water is not safe to drink.
  • Dress a little conservatively while visiting temples.
  • Smoking is prohibited in public places including hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions.
  • Indonesia drives on the left.
  • Indonesia is very hot and humid so be sure to keep yourself hydrated at all times.
  • Major hotels and resorts easily accept credit cards but smaller hotels, guesthouses and home stays might not acknowledge it.
  • In case of an emergency, dial 110 (Police) or 118 (Ambulance).

So, Indonesia is waiting for you with an experience you will never forget! When do you plan to visit it? Make it soon and always remember to keep our versatile Indonesia travel guide handy.

Wish to explore Indonesia?

See Indonesia Tour Packages
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Cox & Kings

Cox & Kings is the longest established tours and travels company in the world. Established in 1758, we are headquartered in Mumbai with a presence in over 13 countries worldwide. Our services include destination management, domestic and international holiday packages, luxury travel, business and MICE, NRI and foreign exchange solutions, as well as insurance.

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