Indonesia Travel FAQ

Is Indonesia an easy country to travel in?

In general, it is. The country is very cheap, its people are exceptionally friendly, the transport options are plentiful (if a little slow) and limited English is widely spoken. Unsurprisingly, travel is easiest in the most visited areas of Bali, Lombok and, to an extent, in Java. In Bali almost everybody speaks a fair amount of English and travel is the easiest in the archipelago. At the opposite end of the scale, travelling in the more remote parts of the country, such as Maluku and Papua, is significantly more difficult, but potentially more rewarding for the seasoned traveler.

Is it safe? What about for women?

In the main, Indonesia is a safe country. Although violent crime is rare, in some of the tourist areas pickpocketing and small scale scams are a fairly common occurrence. If you use your common sense and keep an eye on your belongings when in crowds you should avoid any of these problems. Plenty of women travel in Indonesia by themselves or with others and experience few problems. However, as a western female you will receive extra attention from the Indonesian men. This attention sometimes takes the form of being sincerely complemented by waiters, tour guides etc. but can also be less desirable in the form of horn-honking, wolf-whistling and shouts. The best ways to avoid, (or at least lessen), this attention is to dress conservatively and/or consider travelling around with a male companion.

How severe is the terrorist threat? How have the Bali bombings affected the country?

Indonesia is a much less dangerous country than people imagine. Police have clamped down severely on the perpetrators of the Bali bombings, and have increased spending on anti-terrorist measures. As tourism is one of Indonesians main industries is definitely within the interests of the authorities to extinguish the terrorist groups. Although safety cannot be absolutely guaranteed within the country, you are extremely unlikely to encounter any problems. The main effect of the Bali bombings has been its effect on tourism. Visitors to the region dramatically decreased in the months following the troubles. Although tourism is beginning to revive in the country, many places are significantly quieter than they used to be. This means that some of the most stunning attractions in the country are eerily quiet. Make the most of it.

Are there any areas that should be avoided?

There are areas of the country that are experiencing political strife that should try to avoid. However, these are all more remote areas of the country that you would not stumble upon accidentally in your travels and therefore should not affect most visitors. Areas of unrest include the Aceh province of northern Sumatra, Ambon in Maluku and parts of central Sulawesi. Although violence is not an everyday occurrence in these areas, it is more likely than in the rest of the country. If you decide to travel in these areas, it is best to check with the advice of your foreign office and ask around locally for up to date information before visiting.

What is the weather like? What time is the sunset?

Northern Indonesia has an equatorial climate meaning it is mainly warm and wet. Temperatures in the lower areas average about 28ºC/82ºF. As the island are volcanic, large areas are well above sea level and are correspondingly a couple of degrees cooler. In the south of the archipelago (Java, Bali, Lombok, Flores etc.) temperatures are similar but precipitation is less. On the beach island destinations it is almost always sunny and hot. The sun rises around 6am and sets quite rapidly around 6pm.

What time is checkout in hotels in Indonesia?

Checkout time is generally at 12 noon. Most guest houses will charge a surcharge of up to 50% for checkouts between noon and 8pm. After this time, you will have to pay the full cost of the room for the night.

What kind of entertainment and nightlife is there?

Entertainment ranges from cinemas to puppet shows, from nightclubs to traditional ballets. Entertainment facilities are obviously most extensive in the big cities such as Jakarta, but are fairly extensive elsewhere. Although Indonesia is Islamic, bars and nightclubs are a fairly common sight. Jakarta is the home of several large nightclubs which range from the height of class to the depths of sleaze.

Where is the best place to see traditional entertainments?

Probably the best places for these performances will be the most touristy areas. Yogyakarta is famous for its performing arts, with regular performances of Javanese ballets and leather and wooden puppet shows (the longest of which lasts a mammoth 8 hours). These performances can all be seen in Bali also, with the addition of Balinese gamelan music. Ubud in south central Bali is one of the best places for these performances.

What scams should I look out for?

As a westerner you are likely to experience small scale 'scams' most of the time, in that you will rarely pay the same price as a local for goods or services. It is difficult to define when this overcharging becomes a scam but there are plenty of instances of it to be found. Yogayakartahas an abundance of batik salespeople. These people can often be very subtle, pretending to be an instant friend, taking you on a tour of the local attractions and then leading you to several batik shops for an extremely hard sell for hugely inflated prices. Another well known scam is being invited to a locals house, and then being persuaded to play cards where you always lose a large amount of money. The best advice in all these circumstances is to use your common sense. You will quickly get a sense of who is being genuinely friendly and who has an ulterior motive in talking to you. If you don't like the situation you find yourself in, get out of it.

What sort of food do Indonesians eat? Is it good?

Of all the thousands of reasons to visit Indonesia, the food is not likely to be one. The basic diet includes many foods that are designed to fill you up cheaply, but are not always tasty. Staples of the Indonesian diet include rice, noodles, chicken, and fish. These are prepared in a variety of ways; usually either fried or boiled and served in a soup. Dishes such as nasi/mie goreng (fried rice/noodles with spices and vegetables), sotoayam (chicken and noodle soup), and ayam goreng (fried chicken) are the usual types of dishes served at warung. Food also tends to be fairly (or very) sweet or conversely, quite spicy. Having said this however, standards of food can be extremely good when eating at more upmarket restaurants. Specialities such as bebek betutu (duck stuffed with spices and cooked in coconut husks and banana leaves) and Sate (skewered marinated chicken served with spicy peanut sauce) are extremely tasty. Eating at good restaurants as opposed to warung will probably be about 3 times more expensive, but still only cost around 30,000 Rp ($3). Western food can be found in abundance in areas where tourism is greatest and also in the form of fast food restaurants in larger towns/cities. Ubud in southern-central Bali has an extensive range of exceptionally good and fairly cheap western food.

Can I buy camera films there or will I need to take some with me?

All popular types of film are widely available in Indonesia, so there's no need to take lots with you. It's likely to be cheaper in Indonesia too.

Is it a good idea to develop films in Indonesia?

Photo developing labs are all over Indonesia and elsewhere, and will generally produce decent but unspectacular prints. If you have special requirements or your photos are particularly important, you might be better to save it until you get home but the ones in Indonesia are fine for the average set of holiday snaps.

What is the quality and availability of health care and medicines like?

Medical care is at its peak in Jakarta but may not be very good if you get well off the beaten track. The best bets for treatment in these areas are Catholic or missionary hospitals and clinics. In the towns and cities it is fairly easy to locate doctors and dentists. The best ways to find them are to ask hotels, embassies or at large companies. Most hospitals have English speaking staff.

Pharmacies are widespread but take care when using them. Many drugs can be obtained here without prescription and they are not always in the best condition. Ensure you check expiry dates on drugs before taking them as they may well be out of date.

What is the time difference in Indonesia?

Indonesia has three different time zones. These are as follows:

Western Indonesian Time = GMT+7 (Java, Sumatra, West and Central Kalimantan) Central Indonesian Time = GMT+8 (Bali, Nusa Tenggara, Sulawesi, South and East Kalimantan) Eastern Indonesian Time = GMT+9 (Papua and Maluku)

Indonesia has no daylight savings time adjustments (due to its equatorial position), but remember to adjust for your own countries adjustments in the summer months.
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hii i want to ask about the budget that i should take with me i am going to bundung for two months and the accomodation is provided so it will be great if you will give me numbers ? thanks
' amal
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