What To Do in Indonesia - Travel for Your Life

What To Do in Indonesia

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What To Do in Indonesia Contents

Indonesia Travel Itinerary | Top Tips | Getting Around | Costs

My Experience

I’ve spent a LONG time in Indonesia, it’s very easy to get stuck here (in the best way possible ?). There’s so much to do and see in Indonesia it’s incredible. Even on one island alone you’ll find a huge variety of things to do.

I’ve spent most of my time in Bali. I’ve also been to Java and Lombok but only for shorter trips to surf so for now Bali is has the most information. I definitely need to go and explore Java more though to see the Borobudur Sunrise, go on one of the Raja Ampat Liveaboards, see Yogyakarta and even hop across to Bintan one time when I’m in Singapore as it’s so close to there despite being in Indonesia.

Plus I need to go check out the Whale Sharks in Papua and orangutans in Sumatra. Indonesia has such an incredibly diverse amount of islands and nature to explore.

I also definitely need to get better at surfing so I can go surf the Mentawi islands as they’re supposed to be incredibly beautiful with amazing waves, but not exactly beginner to intermediate level.

Top Tips

Are You Married? Where Are You Going? – No question is off limits in Indonesia. You’re allowed to ask people anything and it’s not seen as intrusive or rude. You’re just showing an interest in that person. The most popular question people ask is “where are you going?”, they’re not planning on stalking you when they ask this and in general have no untoward intentions, it’s just a general question of interest. It’s used with the same frequency in Indonesia is “How are you?” is in the West. It’s just one of those opener questions.

If you’re female you will also get asked a lot if you’re married or if you have children yet. Again no harm is meant by this. You’ll be asked it by both men and women and the men aren’t usually coming onto you by asking it, it’s just a question people ask. There are different quirks on each of the islands, for example Bali has its own nuances too.

Appropriate Clothing – In Bali everyone’s walking around in shorts and small tops constantly and people are so used to seeing foreigners that it’s not a problem doing so but on the other islands and in less touristy places in Bali it’s a good idea to cover up a bit more. Almost all of the other islands are predominantly muslim and therefore appreciate conservative dress. When I’ve gone to Java to surf it’s been fine for me to surf in shorts and a tank top but wouldn’t be for me to do so in just a bikini like I would in Bali (I confirmed this with an Indonesian friend from that area). You’ll also get a lot of attention in the less touristy areas and covering up will help reduce the number of stares. There will still be stares and photo requests but just maybe a few less!

Motorbikes – the easiest way by far to get around a lot of Indonesia is by scooter. There are a lot of places, even in Bali, where if you can’t drive a scooter you’re going to struggle. It’s therefore well worth learning how to drive a scooter before you set off on your trip. Remember though that if you don’t have a proper motorbike license back home you will not be covered if you have an accident. It is even possible to cycle around Indonesia if you feel comfortable using a scooter.

Getting Around

Busses – There are long distance busses that can take you across the islands and even from island to island. For example you can get a bus from Bali to Java. Be warned though a lot of the busses journeys are along very winding roads and there is a bit of a reputation for the bus drivers doing meth to stay away on the long drives therefore they can be a scary experience.  If you can avoid using them for the long journeys I personally would.

Boats – Between a number of the islands there are fast and slow boats that transport people. Usually the fast ones are passenger only and the slow ones you can go on with bikes and cars. The slow ones are known for being a lot safer as the seas can get pretty choppy round Indonesia and safety standards in general just aren’t always as high as might be desired.

You can even find liveaboard boats in Indonesia to do diving tours.

Planes – You can get cheap domestic flights between most of the islands and it will save you a lot of time.

Cars/Scooters – It’s not that expensive to hire cars or to hire a driver and car for a day. I’d personally only want to hire a car with a driver as the traffic is nuts in a lot of Indonesia and it’s much safer to have someone who’s experienced with the roads there driving the car. Scooters are also very cheap to rent and will save you A LOT of time in traffic.


Accommodation – You can get hostels from about $4 a night and your own private room in a lot of homestays for as little as $10 night. If you’re staying for a while in the same place you can very much negotiate the price of hotels and homestays to give you a monthly rate.

Food – Local food will only cost you about $1.50-$3 and it’s really good. There’s so much variety in the cheap local food you could eat it for weeks without getting sick of it. Western restaurants will set you back quite a bit more at about $5-15 a meal. A lot of the time any drinks you have will be the same price as your meal.

What To Do in Indonesia

  • Bali – Rice fields, Surfing, Temples, Volcanos, Beaches
  • Lombok –Surfing, Volcanos, Quiet Beaches

Click on each location for more information

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