What should tourists avoid in Indonesia

General information about Indonesia

Travel information about Indonesia

General information: Entry / Visa | Geography | Climate | Flora and fauna | Population | History | religion | Time zone | Transport | Money | Communication | Health | Luggage | Power supply
Special travel information: Cultural characteristics | public holidays

Entry / Exit / Visa (DE / AT / CH)

Entry: To enter Indonesia, travelers need a valid passport with space for the visa, which is valid for another 6 months after leaving Indonesia, as well as a valid return ticket.
From May 2016, new entry requirements for tourists in Indonesia will apply. Since then, travelers from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and 166 other nations have been able to enter and leave the country with a free visa ("FREE VOA") on arrival, provided they are entering and leaving via one of the 29 authorized airports (or 88 seaports). The FREE VOA is valid for a stay of up to 30 days. It is non-renewable and non-convertible.
For the free tourist visa / FREE VOA authorized airports (Subject to change):
I Gusti Ngurah Rai (Bali, DPS)
Seokarno-Hatta (Jakarta, CGK), Adi Sucipto (Yogyakarta, JOG), Ahmad Yani (Semarang, SRG), Juanda (Surabaya, SUB), Adi Soemarmo (Surakarta, SOC), Halim Perdana Kusama (DKI Jarkarta, HLP), Husein Sasranegara (Bandung, BDO)
Kualanamu (Medan, KNO), Polonia (Medan, MES), Minangkabau (Padang, PDG), Sultan Iskandar Muda (Banda Aceh, BTJ), Maimun Saleh (Sabang, SBG), Sultan Mahmud Badarudin ll (Palembang, PLM), Sultan Syraif Kasim ll (Pekanbaru, PKU)
Kalimantan / Borneo:
Sepinggan (Balikpapan, BPN), Supadio (Pontianak, PNK), Tarakan (Tarakan, TRK)
Sultan Hasanuddin (Makassar, UPG), Sam Ratulangi (Manado, MDC)
Bandara International Lombok (Mataram, LOP), El Tari (Kupang, KOE), Belitung (Tanjung Pandan, TJQ), Binaka (Sibolga, FLZ), Frans Kaisiepo (Biak, BIK), Pattimura (Ambon, AMQ), Hang Nadim (Batam, BTH), Mopah (Merauke , MKQ), Mozes Kilangin (Timika, TIM)
It is still possible to get the regular tourist visa on arrival (Visa on Arrival, "VOA"). The paid tourist visa is also valid for 30 days and costs USD 35 per person. The validity can be extended for a further 30 days. The visa is only payable in US dollars (USD) and Indonesian rupiah (IDR). Visa offenses are strictly sanctioned in Indonesia. For longer stays, the appropriate visa must be applied for at the relevant embassy or consulate of the Republic of Indonesia before departure. The current entry requirements can also be requested from the official representations. You can also find more information on the website of the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism: Wonderful Indonesia

Departure: When leaving Indonesia via the airports, airport fees are due. Example: Denpasar and Yogyakarta IDR 200,000 p.p. (~ EUR 13.00).
Special note for honeymooners: If your family name changes with your marriage and you want to go on your honeymoon straight away after your wedding, you should make sure that the spelling on the flight ticket matches the passport at the time of travel. The Foreign Office on the subject of "New passport after marriage": www.auswaertiges-amt.de


The Southeast Asian Republic of Indonesia extends over a length of around 5,000 km over around 17,508 islands, which form the largest archipelago on earth. Over 6,000 islands are inhabited. The majority of the 260 million inhabitants live on the main islands of Sumatra, Java, Borneo (Indonesian Kalimantan), Sulawesi and New Guinea. From Sumatra in the west to West Papua in the east, the island nation is a country full of contrasts. The capital Jakarta (formerly Batavia) is located in the west of the main island of Java. It is the country's commercial and financial center and according to the Latvian census, around 10 million people live in the city. The metropolitan region Jaboderabek, consisting of Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi, has about 30 million inhabitants.
Sumatra is part of the Great Sunda Islands and is located in the far west of the archipelago. The island extends over a length of 1,800 km and is characterized on the one hand by flat marshland and tropical rainforest, on the other hand there are over 50 volcanoes in the Bukit Barisan mountain range. The volcano chain also extends over the neighboring island of Java. With 130 million inhabitants, this is one of the most populous regions in the world. In this way, the fast-growing metropolises become a melting pot of cultures.
The diverse flora and fauna of Sulawesi, together with the Lesser Sunda Islands, is also known as the transition zone between the Asian and Australian regions. Located in the heart of the Coral Triangle, the reefs of Indonesia are uniquely rich in marine life. Due to the tropical climate and the topographical features, the flora and fauna on land is more diverse than at almost any other point on earth.

Climate and the best travel time

Indonesia has a warm, tropical climate all year round. There are no pronounced seasons like in Europe. The average daytime temperatures are between 24 and 30 ° C. In the mountain regions it is a little cooler and at night the thermometer occasionally drops to 5 ° C. The Indonesian islands stretch on both sides of the equator and the climate is primarily influenced by the monsoon winds. From December to March the winds bring moist air masses with them. In the rainy season, continuous rain for days is not uncommon and there is a relative humidity of 65-95% (core rainy season, Lesser Sunda Islands: December - March). From June to October, dry winds blow increasingly over the country. During the dry season there is a relative humidity of 55-75%. Most of the afternoon rains are comparatively short. The best travel time varies regionally (from island to island). Basically from April to October, but due to the unique topography of the Indonesian island world, it is not possible to make a clear statement about the weather there. In addition to the monsoon winds, too many other factors influence the local weather (land, sea, mountain and valley winds).

The preceding graphic compares the average values ​​of the German climate with those in Indonesia. You can clearly see that in Indonesia, too, during the driest months (June to September) there is significantly more rain than in Germany. At the same time, the maximum temperatures in the German summer only correspond to the lowest temperatures in Indonesia.

Flora and fauna

The flora and fauna of Indonesia are tropical. The Wallace Line runs across the country, which biologically separates fauna and flora between Asia and Australia. This imaginary line got its name from the British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, who traveled and explored the islands of the Indonesian archipelago in the 19th century. Wallace realized that flora and fauna are different on either side. Endemic species that can only be found in Indonesia have developed on the numerous islands.
The rainforest of Indonesia is known for its greatest biodiversity in the world. But at the same time it is very much threatened by extensive deforestation. The ongoing overexploitation of the Indonesian rainforest has given Indonesia the longest list of endangered species. The threatened animal species in the forests of Indonesia include, for example, the orangutans, the Sumatran rhinoceros and the Sumatran tiger. Palm oil plantations are spreading more and more, especially in Borneo. In order to gain land, large areas of rainforest are burned down every year in the dry season, which is why this time is also called the burning season. The fires are so big that they can be seen from space. The resulting billows of smoke (called haze) also worsen the air quality massively in the neighboring countries of Malaysia and Singapore. A daily updated map can be found online on the website of the ASEAN Specialized Meteorological Center.


Around 260 million people (2016) live in Indonesia. This makes the country one of the most populous nations in Asia. 2/3 of the total population live on the islands of Java, Bali and Madura alone. In the past, attempts were made to counter this apparent imbalance in the population distribution by relocating people from the densely populated core areas to regions on the outer islands (Transmigrasi). Indonesia is a nation with a very young population. 29% of the population are younger than 14 years. Apart from Java, most Indonesians live in villages. Most Indonesians belong to the Malay-Polynesian ethnic family. Descendants of the Papuan and Melanesian ethnic groups live in eastern Indonesia, especially in West Papua (formerly Irian Jaya). The Chinese represent the largest ethnic minority in Indonesia. These are mostly descendants of traders and wage workers. The Indonesian economy is dominated by the Chinese, which puts a heavy strain on the relationship between the Chinese and Indonesians.


There is no state religion in Indonesia. The Panca Sila, in which the basic principles of the state are formulated, however, provides for belief in one god. This poses a problem especially for the members of the innumerable natural religions, but also for the Hinduists in Bali. Statistically, 88% of the total population believe they belong to Islam, 7% to Christianity and 3% to Hinduism. During the Fasting month of Ramadan public life in Muslim countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei rests. Many restaurants and other public facilities may be closed during the day. Around the solemnly celebrated end of the month of fasting (Idul Fitri, Adil Fitri, Lebaran, Hari Raya Puasa), an increased volume of travel is to be expected. This can lead to long waiting times at important traffic junctions (airports, train stations, ferry terminals, etc.) and on busy routes.
Dates of the month of fasting in Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei (deviations are possible):
2019: 05.05.2019 - 04.06.2019
2020: 23.04.2020 - 23.05.2020
2021: 12.04.2021 - 11.05.2021
Another important holiday on the predominantly Hindu island of Bali is the Hari Nyepi, the Hindu New Year celebrations. The holiday is also called Day of silence known. No work may be done, only spoken softly, no noise and no fire / light made. There are no international flights to and from Bali (Denpasar Airport). Tourists are asked to stay in the hotels. The next "Hari Nyepi" in Bali is expected on 07.03.2019.

Time zone

Java and Sumatra CET +6 hours (CEST +5 hours)
Bali and Sulawesi CET +7 hours (CEST +6 hours)
West Papua (Irian Jaya) and Moluccas CET +8 hours (CEST +7 hours)


Domestic flights: In principle, we expressly reserve the right to make changes to flights. The flight times can change at short notice. For this reason, the trip can only be carried out after taking note of the information for domestic flights in the booking form. For domestic flights, airport fees may be due (approx. IDR 40,000 p.P.), if these are not already included in the ticket. Please also note that a baggage limit of 10kg sometimes applies on domestic flights - the excess baggage rates are, however, very cheap (from around EUR 1 per kg).
If your round trip begins or ends at a location that is not served by international airlines (see the description of the round trips under "Flight recommendations") or a combination of round trips connected by domestic flights, domestic flights with an Indonesian airline are essential. These were prohibited from operating in Europe from July 2007 to June 2018. With the update of June 14th, 2018 the blacklisting was lifted and all Indonesian airlines removed from the safety list (see Safety List of the European Commission). The possibility of a future blacklisting of individual airlines is not excluded.
Car trips: Due to the sometimes very poor quality of the roads and the high traffic density in the metropolitan areas and around important traffic junctions, car journeys can take much longer than planned. Especially during the rainy season and the fasting month of Ramadan.
Rental vehicles: If you want to rent a vehicle in Bali, you must have an internationally valid driver's license with you. In Indonesia there is left-hand traffic.

Currency and money exchange

Currency: Indonesian Rupiah (IDR)
Traveler checks in EUR or US $ are not very popular in Indonesia. You will have no problems with new (!) And larger banknotes in USD or EUR. For larger banknotes you usually get a better exchange rate. It is not advisable to change Indonesian rupiah in Germany, as this can have a very unfavorable effect with the strongly fluctuating exchange rate of the rupiah and the import (and export) of large amounts of rupiah to Indonesia is prohibited. You can change banknotes in the numerous exchange offices in the tourist areas (on Bali). Payment by debit or credit card is also no problem there. Inquire at your bank where there are cash machines (ATM) and what fees apply per debit with the bank card. Unrestricted use of credit cards is only possible in the big cities and on Java and Bali. If your trip takes you outside of the area, be sure to bring enough cash with you.
Daily necessities only cost around a third of what they cost in Germany. In Indonesia it is customary to give tips. In the restaurant, look for a Service charge (corresponds to the tip) is included or not. Porters get IDR 10,000 to 15,000 per piece of luggage, depending on the size and effort. If you are satisfied with the trip, the driver and guide are happy to receive one Tip (Guide value: guide EUR 6 / day, driver EUR 4 / day). Of course, there is no obligation to tip.


Mobile telephony: There are several Indonesian network operators (e.g. Telkomsel and XL) who offer prepaid cards with low tariffs. A text message home then costs around IDR 600 (EUR 0.05). You can get tickets from the various providers almost everywhere in / in front of supermarkets and in the small warungs (kiosks). Attention: During the main season in Bali (July / August) the connections are unfortunately often very unstable.
Mobile Internet is possible and can be booked as a package with the prepaid card (e.g. 3GB for IDR 60,000 (per 30 days)). The coverage is astonishingly good, despite the fluctuating quality. This is usually enough to check e-mails and stay in contact with those who stayed at home. W-LAN is still recommended for Skype (if available).
Useful vocabulary:
kartu telepon - phone card
prebayar - prepay
pulsa - telephone unit (s), (card) credit
Area codes for calls from Indonesia to ...
Germany: 00149
Austria: 00143
Switzerland: 00141
Internet: Free WiFi is available at many airports, cafes, shopping malls and other public facilities. Many hotels also offer the service. Ask for login details and costs when you check-in.


Before starting the trip, it is advisable to consult your family doctor or, if necessary, a tropical medicine doctor in order to find out about preventive health care. Useful links are, for example: Travel medical information service: Fit for Travel, Institute for Tropical Medicine of the Charite in Berlin or the country website of the World Health Organization
Non-binding information on vaccinations for which sunda-islands.com assumes no liability:
- Diphtheria, tetanus, polio booster
- typhoid
- Hepatitis A - prophylaxis, possibly hepatitis B, for stays> 1 month
- Malaria prophylaxis (recommended all year round in risk areas). Malaria prophylaxis must be discussed with the attending physician and coordinated with the travel destination.
Risk areas: The hinterland of Borneo, the islands east of Bali including Lombok and Flores.
Low risk: Big cities, Jakarta and the tourist centers of Java and Bali.
To avoid illness, you should only eat food that is cooked or fried. Parasites that cause diarrhea can be found especially in meat. Only drink from the originally sealed bottles. If there are none, drink boiled water. Coffee and tea are not a problem. Avoid hastily drinking iced beverages. If you suffer from diarrhea, one of the most common motion sicknesses, while traveling, you need to make up for the body's loss of fluids and restore the minerals it has lost. The following applies: drink a lot (unsweetened tea) and eat salty foods. Boiled white rice (Indonesian nasi putih). If possible, avoid using anti-diarrheal drugs such asImmodium because they only remove the symptoms and not the cause of the disease. It is better to find out more at the pharmacy before leaving. If there is no improvement after about 3 days, you should consult a doctor to clarify the cause of the disease. A sunstroke shouldn't be underestimated either. You can prevent illness by only briefly exposing yourself to the blazing sun, wearing a sun hat and drinking plenty of fluids (water). Avoid too much exertion and provide cooling. To prevent sunburn, you should rub the skin with a suitable sunscreen. In Indonesia, culinary delights beckon on every street corner. If you don't want to regret it, you should stick to a few basic rules. Avoid raw foods, ice cream, mayonnaise and only drink (drinking) water from sealed bottles. Do not eat unpeeled fruit.


What you want to bring to Indonesia with you depends on your personal preferences. Most airlines have a maximum baggage allowance of 20kg (LH) to 30kg (SQ, MH) for flights to Asia. Depending on the route, it is advisable to stay below the maximum limit, as the upper luggage limit for domestic flights can be 10-15kg. In an emergency, everything can be bought cheaply on site. Many hotels offer laundry services for a fee. your suitcase should have a manageable size (+/- 80l) and as many handles as possible so that carrying helpers can safely carry it from the vehicle, through the forest, across the river to the boat etc. Very few areas in Indonesia are so well developed that you can pull trolley suitcases without any problems. Good experiences have been made with trolleys from Eastpak and similar models.
Here's what you should pack:
The really important things:
- Current passport (valid for at least 6 months)
- Travel documents (vouchers)
- flight tickets (e-tickets)
- Means of payment: money, credit card
- Copies of important documents
Equipment for excursions:
- small backpack (daypack)
- sturdy shoes *
- kl. towel
- Flashlight / headlamp if necessary
- Sun protection: hat / headgear, sunglasses, sunscreen (waterproof)

*) The footwear should match the route. A solid profile is essential. Shoes without a profile and slippers are extremely unsuitable. For Jungle walks also keep in mind that you may have to wade through water, deep puddles, and mud. The shoes should be easy to clean and dry quickly. Comparably good experiences have been made with the Hydroterra Shandals from Adidas or similar models. Shoes with studs grip the loamy, slippery ground almost better. If you are afraid of leeches and other forest dwellers, you should use higher closed shoe models and think of protective socks (leech socks). For Volcanic explorations The same rules apply as for other mountain hikes. The slopes of the volcanoes in Indonesia are often forested in the lower area, the paths are hardly paved and accordingly muddy. The closer you get to the crater, the more rocky the path becomes.

- Travel Guide
- Camera with memory card
- Batteries (charging cable)
- Towels
- personal medication
- (Bladder) plaster / disinfection
- Painkiller
- if necessary, anti-diarrheal agents
- Feminine hygiene articles should be brought in sufficient quantities. The offer in Indonesia is limited.
- Insect repellent (best to buy on site)

Dress appropriately for the tropical temperatures during your trip. Loose-fitting, light clothing made of linen or cotton with a comparatively high absorbency is recommended. Garments made from quick-drying materials have proven their worth not only on trekking tours in the jungle lasting several days. For trips of several days to the higher mountain regions, you should bring enough warm clothing (pullovers / sweatshirts, (rain) jackets).
Try not to dress too revealingly according to local customs (knees and shoulders should be covered). For women, this means, for example, not wearing tight-fitting tops and other body-hugging clothing.

Power supply

In Indonesia, the voltage in most regions is 220-240 volts. In rural regions it can also be 110 volts. There can always be strong fluctuations in the power grid. Power outages are also not uncommon. Depending on this, the sockets are suitable for two-pole round or flat plugs (adapter). For travelers in remote areas, an external battery (power bank) for charging small devices (smartphones) would be a useful addition to the luggage.

Cultural peculiarities

Some basic rules of conduct are taken very seriously by the Indonesians and should also be observed by visitors:

- The left hand is considered unclean. Avoid greeting your counterpart with your left hand. When eating with your fingers, you should only use your right hand.
- The exchange of tenderness (kissing, holding hands) is not welcome and is considered improper.
- Before entering a mosque, shoes must be taken off. This also applies to private houses.
- In order not to be considered impolite, you should avoid showing the soles of your feet when you are seated.
- Photographing / filming: Please ask for permission before photographing people and respectfully accept the respective answer.
- The Mandi: The scoop bath is an Indonesian specialty and travelers prefer to meet them in simple accommodations and in remote areas. It should be noted that the large basin is not a bathtub, but only serves to store water. Use a ladle to pour the refreshingly cool water over yourself to cleanse yourself. Under no circumstances do you step into the water basin. Often the toilet flush only works with a trowel and water from the Mandi.

- Never touch the head of a Balinese (not even with children!) Or never point your finger at him. When entering a temple one should be appropriately dressed. That means you should wear a sash around your waist and your knees should be covered. (At most temples you can borrow a sash and sarong for a small fee.).

- "Topless" bathing is forbidden nationwide and is considered immoral behavior.
- Do not visit mosques or Hindu temples during menstruation, as women are considered unclean during this time.

Important holidays (selection)

01/01/2020 - New Year
01/25/2020 - Chinese New Year
February 19, 2020 - Galungan (Bali) - Anniversary of the creation of the universe and the descent of god Sang Hyang Widhi
February 29, 2020 - Kuningan (Bali) - End of the Galungan festival period and memorial day of the souls of all deceased
March 22nd, 2020 - Isra Miraj, Mahammeds Ascension
March 25th, 2020 - Nyepi (Bali) - Balinese New Year, Day of Silence
April 10th, 2020 - Good Friday
May 1st, 2020 - Labor Day
May 7th, 2020 - Wesak (Day of Enlightenment in Buddhism)
May 21, 2020 - Ascension Day
May 24th, 2020 - Lebaran (Idul Fitri, end of the fasting month of Ramadan)
07/31/2020 - Idul Adha (Festival of sacrifice)
08/17/2020 - Indonesian National Day
08/20/2020 - Islamic New Year 1442 AH
16.09.2020 - Galungan (Bali) - Anniversary of the creation of the universe and the descent of god Sang Hyang Widhi
09/26/2020 - Kuningan (Bali) - End of the Galungan festival period and memorial day of the souls of all deceased
October 29, 2020 - Maulidur Rasul, birthday of the Prophet Mahammed
December 25th, 2020 - Christmas

01/01/2021 - New Year
02/12/2021 - Chinese New Year
03/11/2021 - Isra Miraj, Mahammeds Ascension
March 14th, 2021 - Nyepi (Bali) - Balinese New Year, Day of Silence
April 2nd, 2021 - Good Friday
April 14th, 2021 - Galungan (Bali) - Anniversary of the creation of the universe and the descent of god Sang Hyang Widhi
April 24, 2021 - Kuningan (Bali) - End of the Galungan festival period and memorial day of the souls of all deceased
May 1st, 2021 - Labor Day
May 13th, 2021 - Ascension Day
May 13, 2021 - Lebaran (Idul Fitri, end of the fasting month of Ramadan)
May 26th, 2021 - Wesak (Day of Enlightenment in Buddhism)
07/20/2021 - Idul Adha (Festival of sacrifice)
08/17/2021 - Indonesian National Day
08/10/2021 - Islamic New Year 1443 AH
October 19, 2021 - Maulidur Rasul, birthday of the Prophet Mahammed
11/10/2021 - Galungan (Bali) - Anniversary of the creation of the universe and the descent of god Sang Hyang Widhi
11/20/2021 - Kuningan (Bali) - End of the Galungan festival period and memorial day of the souls of all deceased
December 25th, 2021 - Christmas