Taman Ayun Temple, Bali

Taman Ayun Temple, Bali

Indonesia is one of the most visited Southeast Asian countries. In 2012, this large archipelago was the eighth most visited Asian destination, recording around eight million tourist arrivals. Marketed as “Wonderful Indonesia,” this populous nation attracts tourists with its hospitable people and its host of natural and cultural attractions. Planning a trip to Indonesia? Here are some things to keep in mind for a pleasant and memorable Indonesian experience.

VISAS

Indonesia has 230 airports (2011). Citizens from ASEAN countries and a few other countries (Chile, Morocco, Peru, Hong Kong, Morocco, Ecuador and Macau) can enter Indonesia through a visa waiver stamped upon the presentation of their passports. This visa-free entry, valid for 30 days is non-extendable. Please check which points of entry the visa waiver is available. Most tourists have to get a visa on arrival, which costs $25 (as of this writing). You can apply for a one-time extension for another 30 days through an Immigration Office. Some may obtain a visa in advance through an Indonesian embassy. Your passport should still be valid for at least six months. ASEAN member nations are now working on a single or common visa for ASEAN citizens, similar to the Schengen visa agreement.

AIRLINE REQUIREMENTS AND BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE

Typical check-in baggage allowance is from 25kg to 40kg. Different airlines have different policies on allowable baggage and hand-carried  luggage weight and dimensions. Be sure to check with the airline or travel agency before booking a flight. Make sure that you carry your documents and valuables, securities, negotiable papers, jewelry, money and medicine at all times in your carry-on bag.

All checked-in bags should have a nametag with your address and telephone number in English.

CUSTOMS REGULATIONS

Indonesia has a reputation for being somewhat laid back when it comes to customs regulations. Tourists are allowed to carry a liter of  alcohol, 50 cigars or 200 cigarettes, 100 grams of tobacco products, and a bottle of perfume for personal use. Tourists are required to declare, upon arrival and departure, money in excess of 100,000,000 Rupiah (around $8,800). Prohibited items include drugs, guns, pornographic materials, plants, fruits, and meat.

HEALTH AND SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

Buddhist Temple Borobudur in Magelang

Buddhist Temple Borobudur in Magelang

Indonesia may not be the healthiest tourist destination but it is by no means a country that does not have health hazards.

Dengue fever and malaria can affect tourists especially in remote locations. It is advisable to use insect repellants when going to places  outside of Indonesia’s major cities. Hepatitis and typhoid fever are also quite common in many areas so get your vaccinations updated before visiting the country. Consult a travel doctor at least a month before your trip. Fill up your prescription medicine and carry them in their original package. It is prudent to carry your original prescriptions as well.

Weather can be hot so bring plenty of moisturizers, sunscreens and head cover. Indonesia has wet and dry seasons. Best time for a visit is from April to October. Avoid the period of Ramadan and Christmas as well as mid-June to mid-July as this is when tourist arrival is at its peak. Indonesia is notoriously conservative. Women visiting Indonesia are advised to cover their legs and necklines.

MONEY MATTERS

Use banks and money changers at larger cities such as Java, Lombok, and Bali. Money should be clean and recently issued. Many banks are likely to reject U.S. bills issued before 2006. Money counterfeiting is a problem in Indonesia so money changers offer lower rates to old and damaged foreign currency. Credit cards, such as Visa and Master Card are widely used in Indonesia but tourists are advised to be very careful with credit card fraud and cloning.

 

 

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