All foreign visitors to Indonesia must have a passport, which will remain valid for a minimum of six months after the return date of arrival, and have proof (tickets) of onward travel or return passage. U.S. citizens may obtain a Visa on Arrival, which is valid for a stay of 30 days, and is extendable for an additional 30 days. The current Visa on Arrival fee is US$25. It is recommended to have this amount in exact change.
Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia) is the national language of Indonesia, although most Indonesians can also speak regional dialects like Javanese, Minangkabau, and Sundanese. English is widely spoken by Indonesians working in the tourism industry.
The official currency is the Indonesia Rupiah, or IDR. Information of daily exchange rates can be found in newspapers, on the web, and on the website of Indonesian banks. IDR and US$ are the most accepted currencies. Most tourism resorts have money changer facilities, but make sure to check if they are charging a commission fee or not. Credit cards are accepted by the larger hotels, restaurants, shops, and travel agencies, but often 3-5% is added to the bill. ATM's are found in the major tourist areas and are an easy way of drawing IDR. Indonesian banks and merchants do not accept bills that are worn, torn, or marred in any way, so make sure to bring newer, clean bank notes.
Phones & Communications
The international country code for Indonesia is 62. International costs may be expensive when calling from hotels. For better rates you can make calls from the state-run Telekom office, or from the privately run Wartel offices. Sim cards for your mobile phone are widely sold, and often offer the best rates for calls back home. Internet access is available in the hotels, and in Internet cafes in the major tourist areas.
The climate in Indonesia is tropical. Pleasant daytime temperatures range between 68F to 93F degrees year round. From Dec to Mar, the West monsoon can bring heavy showers and high humidity, although the days can be sunny with rain occurring overnight. The humidity is lower from Jun-Sep, with cooler evenings. In mountain areas, such as Ubud (in Bali), expect cloudier weather and more frequent showers.
The voltage in Indonesia is 220V. A converter is required for U.S. appliances rated at 110V. A round plug type is used; therefore, you will need to bring along a universal adaptor.
There are 3 time zones in Indonesia. Western Indonesia (Sumatra, Java, West and Central Kalimantan) is 7 hours ahead of GMT, or 12 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time. Central time (Bali, South and East Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Nusa Tenggara) is 8 hours ahead of GMT, or 13 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time. East Indonesia (Maluku and Irian Jaya) is 9 hours ahead of GMT, or 14 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time. No daylight savings time is observed.
Tipping is not a normal practice in Indonesia, but is appreciated to recognize good service. Most hotels add a 10% service charge to the bill. In restaurants where a service charge is not added, a tip of 5 to 10% on the bill will be appropriate depending on the service and type of establishment. Leaving the loose change for taxi drivers is a common practice, and it is appropriate to tip bellboys for luggage porterage. It is customary to tip your tour guide and driver.
There are no required immunizations to enter Indonesia, unless you are arriving from an area affected by cholera, yellow fever or smallpox. Consult your physician if you plan to travel outside of Bali or the major cities. It is a good idea to make sure that your vaccinations are up to date. Bring along any essential medication, and remember to drink only bottled water.