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Indonesia Travel Information - Vital Information for the First-Time Visitor

Visas, Currency, Holidays, Weather, What to Wear

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Flag of Indonesia.

Flag of Indonesia.

From CIA World Factbook. Public domain.

Visa and Other Entry Requirements

Before planning your trip, consult our Indonesia Profile page for basic information about the country.

You’ll only be allowed into Indonesia if your passport is valid for at least six months after arrival, and must show proof of onward or return passage.

Most foreigners must secure a visa from the nearest Indonesian embassy or consulate.

You can get a single entry visit visa for US$45, permitting you to enter one time only, for a stay not longer than sixty days. You can also get a multiple entry visit visa for US$100, allowing multiple trips within a year for stays no longer than sixty days.

You can also get a Visa on Arrival (VOA) with a validity of 30 days, for US$25 (this can be renewed for another 30 days if you can pay another US$25). There used to be a short-term VOA of a week's duration, but it was scrapped as of Jan 26, 2010.

Citizens from 11 countries are allowed to enter Indonesia through Non-Visa Short Term Visit. Visitors arriving under these terms are allowed to stay for up to thirty days.

  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Chile
  • Hongkong SAR
  • Macau SAR
  • Malaysia
  • Morocco
  • Philippines
  • Peru
  • Singapore
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

Foreigners are restricted from entering Maluku, Poso, and West Papua unless written permission is granted by certain Indonesian government agencies. Permission to enter these areas must be sought from your local Embassy or Consulate

For more visa information, visit the website of the Indonesian Embassy in the United States (offsite).

Customs. Adults are permitted to carry a maximum of two liters of alcoholic beverages, 200 cigarettes/50 cigars/100 grams of tobacco, and a reasonable quantity of perfume for personal use. Cameras and film are to be declared on arrival, and will be allowed in provide you bring them out of the country with you.

The following are prohibited from entry: narcotics, firearms and ammo, transceivers, cordless phones, porn, printed matter in Chinese characters, and Chinese traditional medicines (this must be registered by Depkes RI before you can bring it in). Films, prerecorded video tapes and DVDs should be checked by the Censor Board.

Indonesia does not restrict the import or export of foreign and travelers checks. Prohibitions apply to the import and export of Indonesian currency exceeding Rp100 million.

Airport Tax. The airport authority levies an airport tax of Rp100,000 on international travelers. Travelers on domestic routes will be charged Rp30,000.

Health & Immunizations

You’ll only be asked to show health certificates of vaccination against smallpox, cholera, and yellow fever if you’re coming from known infected areas. More information on Indonesia-specific health issues are discussed at the CDC page on Indonesia.

Safety

Most places in Indonesia may be relatively free of violent crime, but not of theft. You will run the risk of getting your pockets picked, so use one wallet with just a little money in it, and keep a larger amount in your shoe or on a security belt. If you’re keeping belongings safe in a hotel, get a receipt.

Indonesian law shares the draconian attitude to drugs common in Southeast Asia. For more information, read: Drug Laws and Penalties in Southeast Asia - by Country.

Money Matters

Indonesia’s currency is the rupiah. If you need to change your foreign currency or traveler’s checks, you may safely do so at major banks or authorized money changers. Some banks will charge a stamp duty or transaction fee. Watch money changers carefully while they’re counting your cash, to ensure that they’re not shortchanging you. Always count your money before you leave. Click here to see the rupiah’s exchange rate against the US dollar.

Traveler’s checks are accepted at all reputable hotels and larger shops (and some smaller ones too). You will need to provide your passport number for a valid transaction.

Small denomination coins are in circulation, but it’s not uncommon to receive candies in place of coin change when buying at supermarkets or stores.

Credit cards are generally accepted at respectable hotels, resorts, travel agents, and popular handicraft shops. You’ll find ATM machines in thickly-touristed areas, although the amount of cash advances you can make through your credit card might disappoint you. Small towns are highly unlikely to have ATMs, so you better stock up on the cash if you’re planning to go somewhere remote.

Tipping. Gratuities are not usually included in rates. Follow the guidelines below for calculating tips.

  • Restaurants & bars: Many restaurants don’t require tipping, as a 10% service charge is already tacked onto your bill. If you don’t see a the service charge on the receipt, then tip 10% if dining at a luxury hotel restaurant. For other restaurants, let your conscience be your guide.
  • Taxis: at least 500 rupiahs
  • Hotel Services: 3000 rupiahs
  • Parking Attendant/Valet: 3000 rupiahs

Climate

Indonesia is a tropical country, with high humidity and temperatures ranging from 20° to 30°C (68° to 86° on the Fahrenheit scale). Therefore, dress for the climate – lightweight cotton clothes will suit the sunny outdoors. Bring a raincoat or umbrella, in case of rain.

In case you need to make a business call, a jacket and tie is appropriate. Don’t wear shorts and beachwear outside the beach, especially if you’re planning to call on a temple, mosque, or other place of worship.

Women would be wise to dress respectfully, covering shoulders and legs covered. Indonesia is a conservative country, and modestly-dressed women will get more respect from locals.

When/Where to Go. The best time to go would be on July through September, avoiding the rainy season and its typical hampered transportation. (Flooded roads and high sea swells will make certain routes impassable.)

Travelers headed for Bali would be advised to avoid Nyepi season – this holiday is particularly sacred for the Balinese, and the island grinds to a complete stop. For the rest of Indonesia, avoid the month of Ramadan – most restaurants in the West of Indonesia will be closed during the day.

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