There are no vaccination required for travel to Java, Bali and Sumatra. For all other provinces / areas, please contact the Prince Leopold Institute of Tropical Medicine (Nationalestraat 155, 2000 Antwerpen, tel (03)247 66 66, 0900 101 10, email [email protected], website www.itg.be ) for detailed information. This reputable institute will be rich source of sound scientific, up-to-date information on several health issues when traveling to Indonesia or other tropical countries. Please, be informed that information related to health when traveling might be subject to change. It remains the duty of the traveler to update him-/herself with the latest information on the subject before departing.
What to wear
You are traveling to a country with a tropical climate so light, easy to ware cotton clothes are advisable to bring along. If on a holiday, you don't need to be dressed formally. Even in the most luxurious resorts, dress code is usually very relaxed. Please, bring a light sweater along for your air trip. Temperatures may drop considerably in the airplane during your night flight. It may also be helpful for those who venture out in the mountains (1.000 m and above).
In most of the big cities and places with are large number of hotels and other tourist infrastructure, Internet cafes are widely available and relatively cheap. Usage depends on the connection, shape of the facilities and additional services available. Cost varies between Rp 7.000 to Rp 30.000 / hour. In some of the 3* and higher rated hotels and if you carry a laptop, you will be available to use an in-room telephone line for your Internet use. Some of the 4 and 5 * hotels now offer wifi-networks to their guests with additional charges. One word of caution though. Despite some signboards claiming the opposite, broadband Internet connections are not available in Indonesia. Even the top hotels do not offer this facility.
Best time to travel
It is possible to travel all year round to Indonesia. The country has a balmy tropical climate with little temperature differences year round. You'll enjoy pleasantly cool nights and mornings during the dry season from April to October. Dry and warm weather during day time. Chances for rain shower are minimal although it is possible to incur rain even in this season as Indonesia is a tropical country. Rainy season from October to March. Very humid circumstances. It doesn't occur very often that rain will persist for days, but this is possible. Mostly heavy rain showers in late afternoon.
Often this differs very much with what is considered good manners in the West.
Local currency & How to get it
You'll meet smiling people everywhere, even when living conditions may be less favorable. Your personal smile can open many doors! Indonesians are often friendly, caring people, for whom community life is more important than material welfare.
It is all right to greet people with a handshake. However don't wring somebody's hand. This will not make a good impression!
The head is considered the highest and purest part of the body. It is inappropriate to touch it. Even children, let alone their parents, like it when their kids are padded on the head, even with the gentlest touch.
The left hand is used to clean the body. Thus it is quite impolite to point the finger of the left hand to somebody. Don't ever touch somebody with your left hand!
Feet are considered to be unclean. Don't use them to point at people or things. Never place your feet casually on a table or desk. Don't walk on temple walls or temple statues.
It is appropriate to remove your shoes when entering a private house, no matter how modest it may be.
This refers to the interesting concept of time as being of very elastic nature! It is further understood the time in Indonesia is relative! People generally are not too upset if they are late a few minutes or even longer. Don't get upset when this happens to you when traveling in Indonesia and rather gracefully accept this with a smile!
It is considered very rude to burst out in public for whatever reason, even if you are think you have every right to do so. The same goes for loud talking. You won't gain sympathy of a person by asking him or her very personal questions. Scolding, cursing or swearing in public, will definitely make you loose face! It is not considered as very polite to overly show emotions in public.
Anywhere in Indonesia, the Indonesian Rupiah (Rp) will be your means of paying for goods and services. Carry around a reasonable cash amount to pay for food, drinks, taxis and small items when outside your hotel. When the need arises for a larger cash sum - in case you want to buy a big ticket item - the shop keeper will be willing to arrange a meeting in your hotel to receive payment. Or pay by credit card. It is not advised (although not impossible) to obtain Rp in your home country. Please, bring along Euros or US Dollars. It will be easy to exchange them in Indonesia at prevailing and well-published exchange rates at authorized money changers and/or banks.
Euros or US Dollars / Cash or Traveller Checques (TC Notes)?
Money changers and banks widely accept both foreign currencies. There is no advantage in preferring one above another. Bring along with you what is most convenient!
The exchange rate for bank notes and TC Notes is almost the same. It is somewhat less cumbersome to exchange bank notes versus TC Notes, but the latter carry an advantage in case of loss or theft.
Take note that you will need your passport whenever exchanging TC Notes !
Most of the hotels will accept the major credit cards. The same goes for regular shops, although some of the smaller ones will apply a surcharge of 3% on the amount of purchase. Credit cards are a too expensive way to obtain a cash advance.