| Part 1: Introduction
has been my second time to Indonesia, after my first visit in 1997. I
used to be a bit nervous about visiting the country due to the unstable
situation, but it appears that Indonesia is reasonably safe.
things to see, will probably visit Indonesia more often in the
future. The level of harassment in the streets is quite high if you are
a western tourist (by
comparison, in Malaysia you get bothered by people very rarely).
In Indonesia there is this huge differences in
prices. Some things are incredibly cheap in a place, elsewhere almost
the same stuff costs a multiple of what you paid.
In the tourist zone in Bali where we stayed (Nusa Dua) prices are
relatively high compared to the rest of Indonesia, especially for what
concerns food and hotels, but you pay less than what you would spend in
Europe. A rented car + driver is quite cheap though. Elsewhere in
Indonesia things are very cheap, for instance I paid 18000
rupiah (1.40 Euro) on Mt Bromo for a dinner with two dishes and a
drink. Transportation can be very cheap if you use public transport,
more expensive if you travel comfortably. Inexpensive flights with
AirAsia to cover larger distances. Overall it should be possible
to travel on a very budget, although I used to travel comfortably on a
Food is ok in Indonesia, although unremarkable. The quality
standards are lower than in Malaysia and there is less variety.
We stayed in a four star hotel in Bali, booked with an Airasia package.
The hotel must have cost the equivalent of around 60-80 Euro/night.
Elsewhere in Java I stayed in mid-range places costing 300000-400000
rupiah per night (20-30 Euro). Comfortable but no luxury.
/ Exchange rate (June 2009)
1 Euro = 14000 rupiah
1 Euro = 1.40 USD
the Universal Currency
ATMs are everywhere, so that you can easily get cash with a
Cirrus/Maestro ATM card. You won't need traveller cheques. Max. amount
of 2000000 rupiah per withdrawal with my card (but you can make several
on the same day), annoying if you have to pay a fixed 4 Euro fee
per withdrawal to your bank.
phones and prepaid cards
Prepaid cards for GSM phones are available apparently everywhere,
although I didn't buy one. I should, as I later realised when I saw my
mobile phone bill back in Germany (expensive roaming calls).
Plenty of Internet cafes everywhere. I relied however mostly on
Internet access in the hotel room using my notebook, more comfortable
than having to walk
in the evening to the next internet cafe.
June apparently is the dry season in this part of the earth. It was
mostly sunny with blue skies and dry. Very little rain and cloudy only
every now and then. Tropically hot.
You'll need to usual set of vaccinations for tropical countries. We
didn't renew them, as our immunisations were still valid. Concerning
malaria I tried to avoid mosquito bites and relied instead on mosquito
repellent (applied it twice a day, once in the morning and once in the
evening). I had almost no mosquito bites in Indonesia.
Swine flu screening in all airports in June 2009, although the risk of
swine flu is low in Indonesia due to the hot and humid air.
VISA / Entry
Visa on arrival for citizens of "developed" countries. USD 10 for one
week, more expensive if you stay longer. ASEAN citizens need no visa.
Swine flu screening in all airports when we travelled.
Indonesia seems safe enough to travel, although occasionally once a
year or so a bomb explodes somewhere.
A problem are the scams, for instance at the bus station in Probolingo
where a travel agency specialises in ripping off tourists. The amount
of money stolen is usually low, but these scams can be irritating.
- Breathtaking sunset on Mt Bromo.
- Borobudur in the early morning.
- The temple complex of Prambanan is also impressive.
Things to avoid
- If you are staying in the extreme south of Bali (Nusa
Dua), doing daytrips to the major sights of Bali can be very tiring, as
you will spend literally hours in cars or minibuses.
- The bus station in Probolingo.
For longer distances the best option is to take a
flight, although the Indonesian airlines don't have the best safety
track record. Within Java the train is a comfortable option to get from
A to B. Taxis are inexpensive and renting a car + driver for a daytrip
is also relatively inexpensive.