Do's and don'ts Indonesia

Indonesia is a great country to travel to. Each island is a world on itself, with different cultures and natural wonders. Are you traveling through Indonesia and do you wish to get the most out of your trip? Emile and Nettert, the travel experts of Better Places, give you the do’s and don’ts for a great trip through Indonesia.

Indonesia travel blog

Travelling through Indonesia: Do’s

Take your time

Indonesia is big and you can travel countless of times to this country and still feel like you are discovering new things. Most travellers have ambitious plans, but it is important not to do too much. Choose a limited number of islands and explore them in a relaxed way, no hurries. Do not plan out every part of your day, in order to keep space for unexpected things or plans to happen. If you are only busy traveling from one place to the other, you don’t have time left to get to know Indonesia well.

Be kind to the locals

Indonesians are very friendly and curious. They speak regularly to you in the street, people would love to take a picture with you and enthousiastic children wave to you when you cross the road. When you respond to this kindness, you could have surprising encounters. Before you realize you are celebrating a wedding or sharing a local lunch.

Indonesia travel blog

Occasionally do a workshop

If you want to learn more about Indonesian culture, then it’s really nice to do a workshop. For example, you can opt for a cooking workshop, where you will learn to prepare the best Indonesian dishes. In West Sumatra you can follow special local cooking classes. In Yogyakarta you can do a creative workshop and in Ubud there are plenty of workshops. Very fun and you learn a lot!

Go cycling in Indonesia’s interior

Whether you are in Bali, Lombok or Java, cycling is always a good idea. You can choose different tours, ranging from day trips to multi-day cycling holidays. By bike you reach places that you would not reach otherwise. You have all the time to take in the green landscape, stop for a chat with the locals or discover a hidden temple. On a bike you experience Indonesia differently.

Indonesia travel blog

Take the train on Java

Java is plenty of cultural and natural wonders. The Bromo- and Ijen Volcano, the Borobudur and the Prambanan, are all highlights that you do not want to miss. On Java, you can travel by train. This is a more eco-friendly option compared to the car or bus and it is a relaxed way of traveling. You do not have to engage in Java’s chaotic traffic, but instead you can easily pass and take in the passing landscape.

Make sure your money goes to local businesses

Indonesia is a poor country and it is not always easy for the locals to provide for their living. Therefore, it is important that you support them as a traveller as much as possible. For example, do not shop in big supermarkets, but get your stuff at a local store. Choose for restaurants and hotels run by locals and when possible look for local guides.

Indonesia blog

Travelling through Indonesia: don’ts

Get angry

Not a good idea: getting angry. Not everything goes so smoothly in Indonesia, and the culture is simply different. That can sometimes be frustrating, but getting angry will only work against you. Keep smiling, be patience and stay friendly, because you will reach more with that attitude.

Buy plastic bottles

Indonesia, like many other developing countries, has a problem with its waste disposal. Therefore, it is important that passengers produce as little waste as possible. During a two week trip you drink about thirty bottles of water and you diminish this by yourself. For example, take a Dopper with you, a refillable water bottle. In increasingly more places you can refill your own water bottle. Soon there will be an application that gives you an overview of the water refill points in Bali.

Dress inappropriately

Indonesia is still a conservative country, and people dress like that. Tourists are expected to do the same. On the Bali beaches you can wear whatever you want, but anywhere else it would be smart to think about your clothes’ choices. Shirts that cover your shoulders and skirts that are knee-length are highly appreciated.

Indonesia do's and don'ts

Feeling inspired?

Take a look at our travel suggestions and design your own Indonesian travel experience.

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Read on for tips from our travellers and local expert!

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