1. When is the best time to go to Indonesia?
Travelers can visit Indonesia any time of the year, with no notable "off-season". High season generally follows the drier time of year which runs from May to October, with a should season in April and November. January and February tend to be the rainiest times of year, but on most islands such as Bali, Kalimantan, Lombok, and Java, even the rainy season comes in shorter spurts of rainfall that allows you to still venture outside the rest of the day. The only islands maybe should be avoided from Dec through Feb are Sumatra, North Sulawesi, and Papua.
2. What are the accommodations like?
In each location, we strive to use charming accommodations that are locally owned and characteristic of the area. These range from charming, family-run bed & breakfasts to luxurious, boutique hotels. Most accommodations have private baths, hot water and clean, comfortable rooms except in instances where noted, such as a homestay or village hiking trip. We strive to also find hotels in good locations, whether that be walking distance to main attractions, the beach, or out of the city if it is consistently noisy. Larger hotels are used in metropolitan areas as typically these are the only available options.
3. Do I need a converter/adapter for the electricity?
Indonesia generally uses 220 volt, 50hz electricity. They use types C, F, and G power sockets. It is recommended to bring a converter or to purchase one upon arrival. One will likely be needed to adapt the plug shape for any device you bring. Some high end hotels provide converters, but just to be safe travelers should bring their own.
4. Are meals included?
Most breakfasts and lunches are included for yourselves as well as your guide throughout the trip. You will occasionally need help translating the menus, therefore the guide will typically eat with you unless you specify a different arrangement. The majority of dinners are not included since Indonesia offers such a variety of cuisine options in most metropolitan areas. Your guide can definitely give suggestions during the trip or our local office can arrange dinners before your tour if preferred. Dinners are included in special scenarios, such as culinary programs, remote trekking trips, or tour portions located in remote areas at all-inclusive lodges.
5. What are the tour guides like?
Our tour leaders are exceptional! They are fluent in English and typically Bahasa Indonesian, and some speak other rural dialects as well. Our tour leaders are all certified & licensed by the Indonesian Guide Association (HPI). Licenses are only given if a guide has proven to them to have the necessary skills. We take it a step further with our guides, and have a rigorous interviewing and training process before deciding to use a guide in the future. Many were born and raised in the local areas where they guide and are among the very best guides available in each region.
6. What type of transportation is used?
Our Indonesia tours utilize a variety of transportation including private vans/cars, bus, internal flights, etc. We use a mix of private/public transportation to provide travelers with the safest and most efficient transportation in each area. A bemo, or a minivan shuttle, is a common form of transportation on Bali. Occasionally, we may include non-typical transportation modes (becak, bicycle, kayak, motorboat, etc.) for short distances to give travelers a sense of local flavor. Each tour itinerary page has a description of the transportation included on that tour. If you have additional questions, just ask!
7. What type of food is typical of Indonesia?
Indonesian cuisine, Our tour leaders are always willing to try to accommodate different palates, such as children who may not be very adventurous or adults who are! Some popular dishes are satay (chicken skewers), Nasi Goreng which is a sweet fried rice, Gado-Gado which is a peanut dressing vegetable salad-style dish. Grilled and fried chicken and homemade soups are also popular. Rice is a staple food here and sometimes locals will eat it using their fingers or a spoon. Most in the rural areas will eat family style sitting on the floor and share a few dishes.
8. Are these trips suitable for kids?
Yes! Certain trips may be more suited to younger ages than others, and your Trip Planner can help advise you in this respect. Some tours minimize travel and drive time and maximize in-country activity that will keep even the younger minds engaged. We are also happy to customize an option that mixes various components to create a trip that will appeal to your entire family.
To make family tours easier, we often recommend having a private group and guide, though families with well-behaved children are welcome on our group departures as well. We have special private tour rates for families - please ask your trip coordinator if you are interested.
9. What is the typical age range on the Indonesia tours?
Typically, ages range from 15 to 65, however we have seen children as young as 6 and the "young at heart" as old as 90 on our trips!
10. Are these trips a good choice for solo travelers?
Absolutely! Our Indonesia tours tend to attract a great mix of solo travelers, families, friends, etc. We can often match you up with another group traveling on one of the set tours, or one with a more customized twist so long as it lines up with your dates and budget. Solo travelers should also take a look at our exclusive Solo Traveler Departures.
11. Do tour rates include international flights?
Tour rates do not include international flights. We find that it is usually less expensive for travelers to book these separately and this also allows you the flexibility to choose the schedule and routing that is most convenient for you. You can purchase international flights on your own, or we can certainly help you arrange these flights with an airfare consolidator who specializes in international flights.
12. How do I get to the hotel from the airport when I arrive?
A driver will be there to greet you at your arriving airport holding a sign with your name on it. You will be taken directly to your hotel the first night. Also, you can opt to take a taxi transfer on your own, though we do not recommend it in Jakarta.
13. Are there any discounts available?
Absolutely! We offer select trip discounts periodically throughout the year. Check out our Travel Discounts
page for the latest offers and on-going discounts.
14. How much should I budget for tips?
Tips are not required on any of our tours. However, it is customary to offer a small tip for exceptional service. Tipping amounts vary widely and are ultimately dependent upon the traveler's satisfaction. Many Indonesians survive on a monthly income of $100 Euros or less each month. With this in mind, tips are very appreciated and we recommend about a 5-10% tip on services and in restaurants, and around $5/day for a guide on a full day excursion with you. If you visit a village or have a driver on an excursion, it is customary to tip in these instances as well. Other travelers opt to bring small gifts from their home to give to service providers along the way.
15. How far in advance should I book?
You can book your Indonesia tour at any time and generally the earlier you book, the better. Booking early (3 months or more recommended, 6 months in advance for peak season dates) is especially important for travelers visiting during the height of the high season to ensure that first choice hotels are still available. Further, we usually recommend that you wait to book your international flights until after your tour is confirmed. The sooner that we arrange your tour, the sooner that you can take advantage of flight deals as they become available. We are often able to accommodate last minute travelers as well (some even departing in less than one week!!), so give us a call and we will do our best! For last-minute bookings, it helps to be flexible and organized. Your first choice hotel may not be available for your selected dates, but your trip planner can recommend some other similar options that would be equally interesting!
16. Are tour dates flexible?
YES. Please contact us if you are not able to travel on the set departure dates listed online. Most tours can be arranged on alternative departure dates for a minimum of two travelers as long as hotels and a guide are available.
17. Can I extend or change my stay?
Absolutely! Give us a call for suggestions in the region. We can easily arrange for extensions to other nearby destinations such as Thailand, Borneo, or China. Let us know how you would like to customize your trip and we will do our best to accommodate you.
18. What should I pack?
You will receive a detailed packing list after you book your tour. Since the climate varies depending upon locations and season, it is difficult to offer many generalizations. Comfort is the rule and fancy clothes are not necessary for any of our Indonesia tours.
19. How safe is Indonesia?
Indonesia is a relatively safe country both in the rural countryside as well as in larger cities. As always, travelers need to be aware of their surroundings and use common sense when venturing out at night, but crime rates in general are very low, particularly against tourists. The most common issue reported are pickpockets when visiting crowded marketplaces or shopping areas. Likewise, be aware if you rent a motorbike in a popular tourist area such as Bali, as thieves have sometimes grabbed bags off the biker's shoulder, and therefore the person, as they pass by. Be wise and keep your possessions hidden under your top layer of clothing to prevent anything from being stolen and do not leave them laying out in plain sight in your hotel rooms. It is best to store things in the hotel safe if provided. It is best to not get involved in any of the political processes in the country. Avoid drinking a local homemade spirit in Java, Bali and Lombok. Some bad batches have caused lethal methanol doses.
20. Is the water safe to drink?
The tap water is generally NOT safe to drink anywhere in Indonesia. Bottled water is readily available at tourist sites, hotels, & restaurants, and hot water (boiled to make it safe to drink) or hot tea is generally offered with a meal at a restaurant. Travelers can also use bottled water when brushing teeth, just as an extra precaution.
21. Can I use US dollars or do I need local currency? What is the local currency, exchange rate, etc.?
Generally USD is not accepted in most establishments in Indonesia outside of main cities. The Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) is typically the only way to pay in Indonesia. Upon arrival, you should plan to exchange your money at a bank or with a reputable moneychanger. The airports and hotels generally will give you a worse exchange rate. A currency converter such as, www.oanda.com/currency/converter/
, is helpful for getting the latest exchange rates. If you need assistance or have questions, your guide is your best resource and will point you in the right direction.
22. Should I bring cash or Traveler's checks? Are ATMs available? Can I use credit cards?
Credit Cards are widely accepted in larger cities, but traveler's checks are not. Cash is recommended for travel to more rural areas and can be easily obtained at ATMs in larger cities.Please check with your bank regarding any imposed daily withdraw limits It is best to plan to have cash on hand and be sure to receive smaller denominations of rupiah, as finding change for 50.000 note or higher can be difficult.
23. Can I use my cell phone?
Yes, so long as your carrier has not locked your phone and it is possible to operate on their network. You should contact your phone carrier to find out if your phone will work properly. Network access in the islands and more remote areas may be spotty or non-existent, so plan to be off the grid for any days outside of main urban areas. Upon arrival you can find a shop outside that is usually selling local SIM cards for a few dollars. It is advised to also double check your international calling rates with your provider.
24. Do I need a visa/passport?
US citizens do not need to apply for a visa in advance. Travelers only need a passport valid for at least 6 months after they depart. A Short Visit Visa-Free entry or Visa-On-Arrival is then granted so long as return airfare can be proven and the stay will not last longer than 30 days. This may be extendable up to 60 days. Visitors for a duration of longer than 30 days and Non-US citizens are advised to contact their local consulate for entry requirements.
25. What immunizations are recommended/ required?
No immunizations are currently required for visiting Indonesia. A yellow fever vaccination is required if you are arriving from another country with risk of yellow fever. This vaccination, which is valid for 10 years, must be administered at least 10 days before your arrival in the destination with yellow fever risk. Travelers must bring along their International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) as proof of vaccination. Hepatitis A and Typhoid are recommended. Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis, Malaria, and Rabies preventatives are also loosely recommended depending on where you plan to travel in Indonesia. For the most current information, please consult your doctor and/or check out the Center for Disease Control web-site
26. What time zone is Indonesia?
Indonesia is in the Indochina Time Zone, or UTC+07:00.
27. Is travel insurance recommended?
Absolutely!!! We work with a company called TravelGuard that provides reasonably priced insurance for trip cancellation, medical expenses, medical evacuation, lost bags, etc. They have two different types of insurance available, depending upon whether or not you will need the cancellation coverage. Check out our Once You're Booked
page for more information.