Travel Tips


Before to go

Tourist visa and passport: (3/8/2004) On February 1, 2004, Indonesia introduced wide ranging changes in the national visa-free and visa on arrival system. We've tried to summarize those changes here for your convenience.

Visa Free on Arrival

In the past the nationals of 48 nations were given a 60-day stay (visa free) upon arrival at an Indonesian international gateway.
Under the new rules effective since February 1, 2004:

Visa on Arrival

Since February 1, 2004, the nationals of 21 countries are required to obtain a "Visa on Arrival" processed at the gate of entry following the payment of an official fee.

Visa on Arrival at Limited Gateways

The visa on arrival facility is only available at the following international gateways:



Applying for Visas Before Arrival

Citizens of countries not included on a visa-free or visa-on-arrival lists must apply for a visa overseas before arriving in Indonesia. Citizens of any country wishing to stay more than 30 days must also apply for an appropriate visa at their nearest Indonesian Embassy or Consulate before traveling to Indonesia.

Special Facilities

A certain number of special facilities are being introduced in connection with the new visa policy, including:


You can bring 1l of alcohol and 200 cigarettes (but cigarettes are cheaper in Indonesia then anywhere else in the world so this is not a problem!). Of course drugs, weapons are prohibited, as are pornography and publications in Chinese letters.
Some everyday use products price samples:
A Beer (0,70cl): 12 000 idr = 1, 3 usd
A Beach Sarong: 20 000 idr = 2, 2 usd
A Camera film (36): 30 000 idr = 3.5 usd
20 American cigarettes: 7 000 idr = 0.9 usd

Local hour

GMT + 8 in Bali and Lombok. GMT + 7 in Java.


Bahasa Indonesia, the national language since the independence is a mixture between Malaysian language, local dialects and quite a lot of foreign words. Very easy to learn for a communicative chat, difficult if you intend to be able to read it and write it fluently. Most of the Balinese people practice some Basic English and a good number of Javanese and people of Lombok also. But in some remote places old people only know and practice their dialect.


The local money, the Indonesian rupee (idr) will change you in a millionaire! 1usd = 9 000 idr (exchange rate at the 1 October 2004)

Credit Cards

American Express and Visa international (among others) are accepted in the big hotels, restaurants and shops. Otherwise they are useless. We advice you not to use them before thinking twice (many cheatings...).

Living costs

Very cheap if you live as the locals do. Well, tourists don't, but still, you get a lot for your money there. Activities like golf or rafting are based on average international rates though.


Hot all year long, between 25 and 32 degrees Celsius. Less humidity in the air from June to September, more wind and less hot. The so called rainy season goes from November to March: it rains more but doesn't compare with the infamous Indian mossoms.

Most of the time the sun is shining until late during the day with the rains starting usually around 5 or 6. You might be lucky and get no rain during two weeks or on the other end, very unlucky, and get heavy ones. Well, no rice fields without rain... Bali is known as having one of the smoothest weather in the archipelago because of the winds refreshing the air.


The general sanitary conditions can be of occidental standards if you are ready to pay the price for it. Some private health clinics are under foreign management and care for the tourists needs. In fact tourists don’t suffer from much more than colds because of air condition, sun burns, and some light stomach problems because of changes in the diet. Surf and motorbike accidents are why foreigners usually look for help at the hospitals. A minimum of care should avoid you any kind of health problems.


Ask for advices to your doctor. (Vaccination against hepatitis A and Typhoid should be considered)


Do never drink water from the water tap without having it get boiled previously. The best is to drink mineral water in sealed bottles (you can get them anywhere). Juices can be a problem if ice has not been treated (but this is not the case at the hotels or good standard restaurants so don't panic!). Drink a lot


Don't eat rare food except in good hotels and restaurants. Don' eat too spicy! You should give your stomach a rest for one meal a day (try to eat like at home). But of course it would be a pity not to enjoy the often superb Indonesian food!

The sun

Really burning... Do not play with it! A terrible sun burn can waste your holydays. Put something on your head. Think about wearing a t-shirt while you are snorkeling.


This is serious staff. But in Bali, Java and Nusa Lembongan it is of no real use. In Lombok a preventive treatment is highly recommended if you think you can not follow some basic rules (no perfumes, light color clothes covering all your body after 6 in the evening, anti-mosquitoes cream etc...).

You get malaria by mosquito bites, which you can in fact avoid. Preventive treatment doesn't protect you from getting malaria but helps you a lot to fight it when you are contaminated (the disease will be less strong and quick to finish).

Taking pictures

Usually Indonesian people are happy to have their picture taken. But of course this is not always true so ask first. It is easy to buy films. The printing of your pictures is cheap but of irregular quality. The cameras themselves or other material is not granted cheaper than in west.

What to bring with you

Don't take too much clothes as it will be easy for you to buy some after arrival (cheap and suiting to the weather). Think about hot clothes and good sport shoes if you want to trek or enjoy countryside walks in the mountains. It can be really very cold if you climb a volcano at night time. Sun lotions and body care products are usually not difficult to get but if you are addicted to some special brands it may be wise to bring them with you.

See also : Tips for a safe travel

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