- Are ATMs available? Do vendors take credit cards?
ATMs are ubiquitous and that will be your best way to access local currency.
We suggest you change a small amount of cash at the airport upon arrival and then hit an ATM when you get into the first city in which you arrive. Carry enough cash with you in case you can’t access your bank account with a debit or credit card. It depends on your spending habits as to how much money you might bring with you.
- What should I use to write and journal while traveling?
A journal is great because you don’t have to plug it in. But you might consider carrying a small netbook or iPad with a keyboard.
- How do I apply for an Indonesian visa?
Here’s a handy link where you can find those details.
- Will bottled water be readily available?
Yes it will. However, we strongly urge our tour participants to carry their own reusable water bottle, so as to cut down on the number of plastic water bottles that get thrown out daily in Indonesia. It’s believed that on Bali alone, more than 30 MILLION plastic bottles get disposed of every month. Our villas in Les have a water cooler where water bottles can be refilled. You will need this water for brushing your teeth as well.
- I need some suggestions of gifts to bring. What might I bring that they don’t have there?
We would suggest something from your region. Something that is popular like a food item or something representative of where you live (a coffee mug with the Space Needle on it, for example).
- I know I should pack light with perhaps just a carry-on but that is difficult!
While you will be more comfortable moving around with fewer bags, you likely won’t be the only one with more than a carry-on bag.
- How much is the International Departure Tax for Indonesia?
Indonesia is one of the few countries where a Departure Tax is required for those departing on an international flight. The cost is approximately $20 US and can be paid in US funds or in Indonesian rupiah.
- Do I need to worry about mosquitoes and/or malaria in Indonesia?
We suggest you check with your doctor about malaria prophylaxes. Here’s an excellent article on TravelFish about malaria in SE Asia – it’s a good place to start your research.
- Is it necessary to spray my clothes with an insecticide?
It is quite unlikely you will encounter mosquitoes throughout the trip. To avoid them if necessary, you can wear clothing with permethrin or wear some sort of mosquito repellent.
- Shall I bring a bathing suit?
Our hotel in Ubud has a pool, and we will be swimming/snorkeling in the ocean so you will need a swim suit. A one-piece swim suit is recommended for polite discretion in mixed company. You can use your sarong as a cover-up.
- Will I be able to launder clothing so that I can pack light?
You can hand-wash/rinse your clothes out in the evening and let them dry out overnight on an outdoor drying rack. For this, you’ll need clothes made from relatively quick-drying material.
- Do I need to learn any Bahasa Indonesia?
It isn’t necessary as many people speak English but it might be fun for you to learn a bit of the language in advance. Being able to say “hello,” “goodbye,” “thank you” and “excuse me” will go a long way. Lonely Planet has an excellent phrase book that will get you started.
- Can I use my cell phone in Indonesia?
It depends. First, your cell phone must have GSM technology in order to tap into the local network. If you plan on bringing the phone that you use on a daily basis at home, CHECK WITH YOUR PROVIDER to determine what they will charge for calls and texts – both outgoing and incoming – and for calls within Indonesia and for international calls. These calls can be exorbitantly priced per minute.Consider carrying an old phone that is unlocked – meaning that it doesn’t have a call plan attached to it. Remember that it has to have GSM technology in order to tap into the local network. When you arrive in-country, you can purchase a SIM card for that phone and then be able to tap into the local network. Domestic and international calls will likely be far cheaper than using your own phone on your current plan. When you add the new SIM card, this phone will be assigned a phone number that you can then share with your family at home and they can call you directly (sometimes you’re not charged for incoming calls).
Here’s a blog post about cell phone usage abroad.The above also applies to iPads with 3G. If you are under contract to an internet provider at home you will probably not be able to change out the SIM card in your iPad. The iPad must be “unlocked” in order to use the 3G capabilities without paying huge roaming fees. Please check with your provider before leaving home. You might also consider signing up for Skype and putting money on your account so that you can call home using this technology. Skype to Skype calls are free while Skype to cell or land lines have a nominal per minute charge.
- Are travelers checks accepted in Indonesia?
Fewer and fewer places around the world are taking travelers checks but it’s not a bad idea to have these as a backup in case you can’t find an ATM that will accept your card(s).
- How much should we be prepared to bring extra for tipping?
Tipping is completely at your discretion. You can consider about $5 a day for the guides and $3 – $5/day for the drivers.
- If I bring US dollars, are Indonesians fussy about them being perfect?
It’s a good idea to have newer/crisper bills as sometimes the money changers won’t take ones that aren’t in good condition.
- I have a moneybelt that goes under my pants or skirt in which I carry my passport. Do you recommend getting something more substantial?
A money pouch that you can discreetly tuck underneath your clothes is a good way to carry your money and passport.
- Are short skirts (slightly above the knee) acceptable in the temples? How about calf-length skirts? Just pants?
You will receive a sarong and scarf on our first day in Les Village, which can be worn in temples. Please bring a light weight, long sleeve or ¾ sleeve blouse as appropriate temple wear.
- Would you recommend taking a rain coat? Something more than one of those flimsy “emergency” ponchos?
It will be the dry season when we visit Bali so a substantial raincoat will not be needed.
- Should we bring our own toilet paper?
No need to bring toilet paper as it will be available at our hotel and villas. All toilets are western style.
- Can I bring my laptop?
Of course, you will have power at the hotel and villas. WiFi is available at many hotels and also in cafes.
- What sort of power adapter do I need?
Indonesia uses the same sort of adapter as other parts of SE Asia (see photo). It’s a two-pin adapter also common in Europe.
- Are there hair dryers at the hotels?
Sometimes but don’t count on it. As mentioned above, there will be power at all hotels. Just remember that no one’s going to be looking their finest, so if you don’t have to have the hair dryer, please consider leaving it at home.
- Do I need any dressy clothes?
- What kind of shoes should I hike/walk in?
It depends on how much ankle support you need. Hiking boots may not be necessary but consider light hikers or even something like Teva-type sandals that have a grip on the bottom or just regular sport shoes. These will come in handy as you walk up to the volcanoes, around the temples and through the rice fields.
- Is it safe to assume we are going to be responsible for moving our luggage around every day, and also that we may be needing to pick it up more than wheel it, due to fairly uneven and unpaved terrain?
You’ll have very little interaction with your luggage other than moving it from the van to your room and usually there’s staff to help with that. Generally there’s a sidewalk and you can roll it but sometimes it might be a dirt track. You might consider a small roller bag that is carry-on size (under 22″).
- What tricks do you use to fit all that stuff into a carry-on? And still have room somewhere for souvenirs?
- It’s true that if you pack light, you’ll have to do more laundry. But I’d rather live with rinsing out some clothes every four or five nights than lugging around a big bag. Check out this article on secrets to packing light. I sometimes purchase a bag at my destination in which to carry souvenirs.
- Do you recommend taking a drivers license with you on trips where you aren’t planning on driving? Or just rely on your passport, or get an International Drivers License as another form of ID?
You definitely won’t need your drivers license but if you feel more comfortable carrying it, by all means, do. Your passport is really the most important ID you’ll need.
- Will you be sending an updated itinerary with our overnight accommodations so we can leave it with folks at home?
You’ll receive the hotel information one or two weeks before departure along with emergency contact information.
- Do I need insurance for this tour?
Yes, you are required to have trip insurance, and we definitely think it’s a great idea – not just for unexpected cancellations, but also for health issues and medical evacuation while you’re abroad. We highly recommend evacuation insurance for this and all international travel. We recommend Insure My Trip. They have a wide range of options, good customer service, an easy to navigate website and they offer numerous affordable options including travel, medical and evacuation insurance.
- Will we have internet access?
There are many places where you will have access to email and the internet. Our hotel in Ubud will have internet access. Our villas in Les have limited-time internet access. Certainly you’ll be able to regularly check in with family but it won’t be like home. Some cafes also have WiFi.