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Indonesian foods we can’t live without

(CNN) — At a poll CNN did a few years ago, our readers voted rendang the most delicious food in the world. Now it’s high time to give culinary credentials to that islands-sprawling nation of Indonesia. Its food deserves some time in the limelight.
Here we run through a mouth-watering array of broth-soaked noodles, fiery curries, banana-wrapped fish and vegetable salads with sweet peanut dressing.
Here are 40 dishes we just can’t live without.

1. Sambal

While technically more of a condiment, the chili-based sauce known as sambal is a staple at all Indonesian tables.
Dishes aren’t complete unless they’ve a hearty dollop of the stuff, a combination of chilies, sharp fermented shrimp paste, tangy lime juice, sugar and salt all pounded up with mortar and pestle. So beloved is sambal, some restaurants have made it their main attraction, with options that include young mango, mushroom and durian.
Pedas Abis, Waroeng Spesial Sambal, Jl. RM. Said No.39, Solo, Surakarta

2. Satay

These tasty meat skewers cook up over coals so hot they need fans to waft the smoke away. Whether it’s chicken, goat, mutton or rabbit, the scrappy morsels get marinated in turmeric, barbecued and then bathed in a hearty dose of peanut sauce.
Other nations now lay claim to sate, but Indonesians consider it a national dish conceived by street vendors and popularized by Arab traders. Each vendor seeks distinction, but “sate madura” — served with rice cakes (ketupat) and diced cucumber and onion — is distinguished by its boat-shaped street carts.
Sate Ragusa serves legendary satay that dates to the 1950s. Its signature spaghetti ice cream is a perfect dish to cleanse the palate after a meal.

3. Bakso

A favorite among students, this savory meatball noodle soup gained international fame when U.S. President Barack Obama remembered it as one of his favorites during a visit to Jakarta.
The meatballs — springy or rubbery, the size of golf balls or bigger — are made from chicken, beef, pork or some amorphous combination of them all. Sold mostly from pushcarts called kaki lima, bakso comes garnished with fried shallots, boiled egg and wontons.

4. Soto

This traditional meat soup comprises a broth and ingredients that vary across the archipelago.
Common street versions are made of a simple, clear soup flavored with chicken, goat or beef. In Jakarta, home of the indigenous Betawi, soto Betawi garners fame with its sweet, creamy, coconut-milk base. It’s usually topped with crispy shallots and fried garlic, and as much or little sambal as taste buds can take.

5. Nasi goreng

Considered Indonesia’s national dish, this take on Asian fried rice is often made with sweet, thick soy sauce called kecap (pronounced ketchup) and garnished with acar, pickled cucumber and carrots. To add an element of fun to the experience, diners can try nasi gila (or “crazy rice”) and see how many different kinds of meat they can find buried among the grains — yes, those are hot dog slices.

6. Gado-gado

Literally “mix-mix,” the term gado-gado is often used to describe situations that are all mixed up — Jakarta, for instance, is a gado-gado city.
As a food, however, it’s one of Indonesia’s best-known dishes, essentially a vegetable salad bathed in the country’s classic peanut sauce. At its base are boiled long beans, spinach, potato, corn, egg and bean sprouts coupled with cucumber, tofu and tempe.

7. Nasi uduk

A perennial favorite among native Betawi, nasi uduk is rice cooked in coconut milk and includes a pinwheel of various meat and vegetable accoutrements. It almost always includes fried chicken, boiled eggs and tempe (soybean cake) with anchovies and is topped with emping (melinjo nut crackers). It’s cheap, fast and popular among lunchtime crowds.
Nearly four decades old and still going strong, Nasi Uduk Babe Saman packs in everyone from students to celebrities morning, noon and night.

8. Nasi padang

Singaporeans may say they can’t live without it, but nasi padang, named after its birth city in Sumatra, is 100% Indonesian.
Nasi padang is a meal with steamed rice accompanied by more than a dozen dishes — goopy curries with floating fish heads or rubbery cow’s feet — stacked up on the table. The best way is to chuck away the cutlery and dig in with hands then wash the spice away with a sweet iced tea.

9. Ayam goreng

The key to Indonesian fried chicken is the use of small village birds, whose freedom to run around the yard makes them tastier than the big chunks of meat at KFC. Variations on that chain have cropped up across the country — rumor has it that one of these was founded by a polygamist, so franchisees must have multiple wives.

10. Bakmi goreng

Noodles compete with rice for carbohydrate of choice in Indonesia, ranging from broad and flat (kwetiau) to scrawny vermicelli (bihun).
The best are bakmi — pencil-thin and, in this case, fried with egg, meat and vegetables. Vendors add their own special spices for distinction, but the iconic Bakmi Gajah Mada garners a cult following. More modern outlets now make noodles from spinach and beets.

11. Gudeg

Fit for a sultan it may not be, but gudeg is certainly the signature of the royal city of Yogyakarta.
The sweet jackfruit stew is boiled for hours in coconut milk and palm sugar, making the fruit so soft and tender it falls apart with little chewing. Other spices are thrown into the mix but teak leaves give it a brown coloring. Like nasi uduk, it’s served with rice, boiled egg, chicken and crispy, fried beef skin.

12. Rawon

A beef stew from East Java that goes heavy on the keluak nut to give it a nutty flavor and a deep, black color. The soup base also mingles with garlic, shallots, ginger, turmeric and red chili to make it nice and spicy. The most famous variant is called Rawon Setan (Devil’s soup) in Surabaya.

13. Pecel lele

The sight of fried catfish may surprise first-time diners since it looks almost the same as it does living. Served with rice and red and green sambal, this is simple street fare that fills the belly, which may be why it’s a standout across Jakarta.

14. Opor ayam

Small diners, called warungs, now sell this traditional dish of braised chicken in coconut milk on a daily basis. Still, it remains a staple on tables around the end of Ramadan, when it’s served with packed rice cakes (ketupat). A little like a mild, slightly chalky curry with less prep time required, it’s filled with Indonesia’s signature spices — garlic, ginger, cumin and coriander.

15. Mie ayam

For this dish, bakmie is boiled in stock and topped with succulent slices of gravy-braised chicken. Chives and sambal add extra flavor — but if it’s done right little else is needed. Unlike most Indonesian cuisine, where the secret is in the sauce, the clue to a good mie ayam is the perfect al dente noodle.
Bakmi Orpha, a hole in the wall in west Jakarta, draws Ferrari-owning clientele for its deceivingly tasty mie and wontons.

16. Gulai

Gulai is the common name for curry dishes, namely those from north Sumatra. Indonesian curries have regional variations that depend on the types of meat and fish available — though gulai almost always incorporates cinnamon. Opor and rendang can be considered gulais, but better to try out the rainbow of other options. Pagi-Sore is a national franchise serves a tangy fish-head curry.

17. Bubur ayam

From blue-collar workers to government ministers, almost everyone starts their day with this rice gruel, a savory porridge served with soy sauce, fried shallots, shredded chicken, beans and crackers. Outside Java variations can include corn, cassava and fish, while a sweeter version — for those who prefer not to start their day with a blast of chili — is made with mung beans.
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Best Trekking Tour in Indonesia

BEST INDONESIA MOUNTAIN TREKS THAT YOU HAVE TO DO

With 17,000 islands, Indonesia is the place to go for pristine beaches, clear waters, and island hopping adventures. What many people might not know is that it has just as many mountains and volcanoes. Indonesia is a geographical wonder waiting to be explored! An archipelago at the junction of many tectonic plates with a whopping 129 volcanoes encircle the stretch of Indonesia. Home of some of the most active volcanoes in the Pacific Ring of Fire, expect some stunning out of this world landscapes when exploring Indonesia. With some volcanoes being active, dormant or extinct, the rolling valleys they have created make up a landscape that you won’t see anywhere else. To narrow down the search of which mountains to climb and explore, here is our list of the best Indonesia mountain treks that you have to do.

1. Mount Bromo

The most iconic mountain in the country, Mount Bromo is often famed as one of the best mountains in Indonesia due to its stunning views. Making up a part of the massive Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, you’ll see the peak of Mount Bromo spewing off white sulfurous smoke up into the clouds. It is this majestic beauty that has travelers coming from all around the world just to catch a glimpse of its epic sunrise. Being one of the most active volcanoes in the world, and one of the most frequently visited in Indonesia. While the volcano itself is rather small, to see stunning views of the sunrise, climb the nearby Mt. Penanjakan to catch a panoramic shot of this stellar landscape. To see what we mean, check out our Epic Photo Walk of Mount Bromo.

  • Height: 2,329 meters
  • Time to Summit: Approximately 2 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy

How to get there: Fly into Juanda international airport at Surabaya. Take a bus or taxi to Mount Bromo national park. Most people tend to stay in Probolinggo, so catch a local bus from here to Cemoro Lawang.

2. Kawah Ijen

If you know anything about Mount Kawah Ijen, it’s probably its mystical blue flames! The Ijen volcano is a complex that consists of a group of stratovolcanoes, with the highest point of it being Gunung Merapi. As it is an active volcano, it is recommended to take a handkerchief with you to cover your nose and mouth from the sulfuric gases. Otherwise, if you go using a tour, gas masks are given out to help you battle the putrid smell. When you reach the crater, you’ll be glad that you did! Neon blue flames from the extreme sulfuric acidity illuminate the crater. As soon as the sun rises, you can feast your eyes on an incredible turquoise crater lake. Along the way, you will see sulfur miners who work during the wee hours of dawn carrying large blocks of sulfur. The legendary blue flames are white in the day so it is definitely worth braving the hike in the dark!

Insider’s Tip: Although this isn’t the toughest trek to do, still watch your footing as there is usually a long line of people all using one pathway to get down. Alongside with this, you also have sulfur miners who are making their way up the mountain. As a sign of courtesy, always give them right of way! They have one of the toughest jobs we have ever seen as they carry a back-breaking load of sulfur up and down the mountain at least 3-4 times a day.

  • Height:2,799 meters
  • Time to Summit:Approximately 2-3 hours
  • Difficulty:Easy-medium

How to get there:  If you are traveling from Bali, you can take a ferry to Java. The ferry ride takes about 1.5 hours and they leave every 30 minutes. Many people use the town of Banyuwangi, or Bondowoso as their starting point.

3. Mount Batur

To top our best Indonesia mountain treks list is Mount Batur! Another of the more popular mountains in Bali, this active volcano challenges the best of hikers. Although a short hike, the steepness of the trail is tough and will take down us average folk, even if we start with the best intentions. Although getting here takes some time and the hike itself is challenging, the landscape views are enough of a reward. Here you’ll see a different side to the beach Bali that we know and love, full of lush greenery and Lake Batur. The highlight of this trip however, is trekking to the summit in the early morning to witness the sunrise above the volcano. A truly magnificent sight to see, which will make you appreciate why Mount Batur is considered a sacred mountain. Some tours also offer mountain biking tours down Mount Batur which is pretty epic!

  • Height: 1,717 meters
  • Time to Summit: At least 2 hours
  • Difficulty: Medium-Hard

How to get there: Most tours offer pick up services early in the morning from Ubud, Kuta, Sanur, Nusa Dua, Seminyak, and Legian.

4. Mount Rinjani

The second highest volcano in Indonesia, Mount Rinjani towers over the island of Lombok within the Gunung Rinjani National Park. Apart from being one of the best Indonesia mountains to trek, it is also one of the most challenging! With its steep inclines and sliding sand paths, this difficult trek will test your concentration as well as your physical ability. With two to four days of demanding trekking, when you reach the summit you’ll get that “yes I’ve done it!” feeling, followed by the silent appreciation of the jaw-dropping views. Enjoy the stunning forests and waterfalls, followed by the crater lake and volcanic valleys. This breathtaking scenery is what makes this journey memorable.

Insider’s Tip: Don’t take on this mountain if you want a walk in the park! Also, don’t attempt to try and do it yourself. With so many tourists booking in advance, do your research, get a guide and climb safely. Perhaps even do some pre-hike exercise maybe? You’ll thank me later.

Height: 3,726 meters

Time to Summit: Trekking tours are 2-4 days

Difficulty: Challenging

How to get there: To get to the trailhead, you can either

  • Take a taxi from the Lombok airport (3 hours)
  • Take a boat ride and taxi from Gili islands (2 hours)
  • Take a taxi from Senggigi (2 hours)
  • Take a taxi from Kuta Lombok (3.5 hours)
  • Take a boat ride from Bali and a taxi (3-9 hours depending on your route)

5. Mount Agung

Yes, another mountain in Bali! However, unlike the others, the sacred mountain of Mount Agung takes first place for the highest. Holding a spiritual significance to the Balinese as the Mother Temple of Besakih, the legend says that it was created by the Hindu God Pashupati. You can sense this sacred atmosphere as you pass temples on the trekking trail. As well as a spiritual journey, the mountain will also take you on a physical one! This is one of the best Indonesia mountain treks if you want adventure, as it is full of difficult sections and sheer drops. As you reach the top, the whole of Bali’s coastline stretches before you. Again this view is even more awesome at sunrise!

  • Height: 3,031 meters
  • Time to Summit: 6-7 hours
  • Difficulty: Medium

How to get there: There are two different ways to reach the summit of Mt. Agung. You can either climb using the pathway in Puru Pasar Agung in the South passing directly over the Pasar Agung Temple.  Alternatively, for those that are up for a challenge, you can hike up the route from Besakih.

6. Mount Semeru

Another popular mountain trek is Mount Semeru, the highest mountain in Java! Known as ‘Mahameru’ or the ‘Great Mountain’ by the locals, Mount Semeru is the most active volcano in Indonesia. You can even see regular ash explosions every 10 to 20 minutes! This mountain is one that almost all mountaineers aspire to climb, most likely for the demanding trail, jaw-dropping scenery and credit for conquering the biggest! Surrounded by greenery, panoramic views of Java and the turquoise blue of Ranu Kumbolo Lake, it is truly stunning. The last slope up to the summit is the most challenging, so take care when climbing in the dark. You can see Mount Semeru standing tall from the Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park.

  • Height: 3,676 meters
  • Time to Summit: 7 hours (trek tours are 2 days)
  • Difficulty: Medium

How to get there: The starting point of this trek is the village of Ranupane. You can get there either via Malang and Tumpang.

7. Mount Kelimutu

The Kelimutu Lakes are a popular sight to see in Flores and going there is worth the visit if you’re not too busy hiking and diving around the Komodo Islands. The Kelimutu National Park is home to three lakes, the Lake of the Ancestors’ Souls, Lake of Old People, Lake of Young People’s Souls, Lake of Young Men and Maidens and the third lake is called Lake of Evil Spirits, Bewitched or Enchanted Lake. You have various trekking options to reach these stunning multi-colored lakes. These lakes change in color (last year it was white, turquoise, and red!) and is a natural phenomenon. If you go by organized tour, some will just drop you off near the starting point and the climb to the summit is a relaxed 20-minute hike. However, you can also trek from the National Park Gate which takes around 3 hours.

Height: 1,620 meters

Time to Summit: 3 hours

Difficulty: Easy

How to get there: The closest villages to reach Kelimutu is Ende and Muni. If you’re coming from Labuan Bajo, traveling to Muni can be quite the journey so some opt to catch a local flight to Ende.

8. Mount Penanjaken

This takes one of our top spots for mountain treks in Indonesia! It’s the trek that brings thousands of visitors to the country every year just to catch a glipse of the beautiful Bromo sunrise. From waking up when it’s still dark and riding in a jeep with your eyes half closed, to forcing one foot after the other to climb to the top, what you see when you get there will make all that effort fall away. Waiting like an excited kid at Christmas, finally, the sun arises on the horizon lighting up the volcanic range in a warm orange glow. As the sun breaks through the clouds, the whole picture is illuminated and the smoking Mount Bromo stands proudly. These views, together with the walk through the ‘Sea of Sand’ to the crater is mind-blowing. Think of this trek as a pilgrimage, to worship a slice of nature’s beauty.

  • Height: 2,770 meters
  • Time to Summit: 2 hours (to first vantage point)
  • Difficulty: Medium

How to get there: Fly into Juanda international airport at Surabaya. Take a bus or taxi to Mount Bromo national park. Most people tend to stay in Probolinggo, so catch a local bus from here to Cemoro Lawang.

9. Mount Merbabu

Loosely translated as the “Mountain of Ash,” Mount Merbabu is said to be the best of the best Indonesia mountain treks out of all the dormant volcanoes. Although dormant, the volcano is still a mountain to be reckoned with! At first, it lulls you into a false sense of security, starting the trail on asphalt roads. Soon this becomes a forest path, which becomes steeper and more overgrown with every step you take. Alternating from vast grassland to forest paths, you’ll think you’ve reached the peak every time the steepness subsides, only to be disappointed when the summit still isn’t in sight. This cruel tango carries on for many hours until you finally reach the summit and breath a sigh of relief! Now you get to relax and enjoy the views.

  • Height: 3,142 meters
  • Time to Summit: 5-7 hours
  • Difficulty: Hard

How to get there: Climbing Gunung Merbabu can be done either through Selo which is to the south of the mountain or via Kopeng (northwestern flank) which is easily accessible from Salatiga City.

10. Mount Anak Krakatau

Known as “Krakatau” or “Krakatoa,” this small cluster of small islands in Sumatra is the site of one of the most violent and well-known volcanic eruptions in history. In 1883, Mount Krakatoa erupted (or rather exploded), causing a giant tsunami that killed 35,000 people and dust that stayed in the stratosphere affecting the global climate for several years. The blast was even heard 4,000km away in Australia and India! Now, in the destruction of Krakatoa, stands a new, growing volcano named Amak Krakatau (child of Krakatau). This volcano is still very active, so you can’t always trek to the crater rim. If you’re lucky enough that you can, you’ll see the devil’s cauldron!

  • Height: 324 meters (but grows every year)
  • Time to Summit: 1.5 hours
  • Difficulty: Hard

How to get there: Take a boat from Anyer beach or Carita Beach in West Java, or Lampung in Sumatra, to Anak Krakatoa Island. You can then take a bus to Krakatoa.

11. Puncak Jaya (Cartensz Pyramid)

Last but not least the mountain trek that tops everything is Puncak Jaya in Papua which is the highest peak in Indonesia. Apart from being ultra challenging, this is also the only peak in Indonesia which has a glacier top. Located in the Lorentz National Park in Papua, only advanced climbers are encourage to summit this peak which is part of the seven summits of the world. Due to its remoteness, summiting this is also pretty expensive as permits and other various clearances is needed. Only serious expedition climbers take this mountain on as part of their quest to climb the seven summits of the world.

  • Height: 4,884 m
  •  Time to Summit: 16-18 days
  • Difficulty: Very Challenging

Surely you’ve had enough of the best mountain treks in Indonesia by this point? If you haven’t, then I can only apologize. With so many volcanic trekking trails to choose from, hopefully, now you can spend less time researching which ones to do and more time actually doing them!

 

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Travel with Children

Want a great way to improve your Indonesia trip? Bring the kids! Parents say that they see more because children are so quickly whisked into everyday life across this child-loving archipelago. Natural barriers break right down as locals open their arms – and lives – to children.

Best Regions for Kids

Indonesia for Kids

Travel outside cities requires patience, hardiness and experience – for both parents and kids. Most Indonesians adore children, especially ones touring their country; however, children may find the constant attention overwhelming. One ex-pat mum who has travelled with her family across Indonesia told us that it’s easier with kids. ‘People are more helpful than when you’re alone as an adult. They want to make things easier for you.’

You will need to learn your child’s age and sex in Bahasa Indonesia – bulau (month), tahun (year), laki-laki (boy) and perempuan (girl). You should also make polite enquiries about the other person’s children, present or absent.

Planning & Practicalities

Bali zoo

Kid-friendly facilities are generally limited to Bali, which caters well to holidaying families. Elsewhere you will find Indonesia very hit or miss in terms of specifically catering to children, even as it warmly welcomes them.

What you bring from home and what you source in Indonesia largely depends on where you’re going and what you’ll need. As always, you can get most things you might need on Bali (or to a certain extent Lombok, Jakarta and Yogyakarta) but there is the trade-off of tracking down what you need and simply adding it to your luggage.

For very young children, the dilemma is to bring either a backpack carrier or a pram/stroller. If you can, bring both. Prams are tough going on uneven or nonexistent footpaths, but are worthwhile in south Bali and other developed areas.

  • Children’s seats for cars are rare or where they exist, may be of low quality.
  • Sunscreen and mosquito repellent are difficult to find on Bali and nonexistent elsewhere.
  • Baby wipes, disposable nappies (diapers) and baby formula are all readily available in cities and big towns but seldom elsewhere.
  • Bali has a ready supply of babysitters (and lots of nightlife to divert parents). Elsewhere you will be providing the childcare.
  • Nappy-changing facilities usually consist of the nearest discreet, flat surface.
  • Breastfeeding in public is acceptable in areas such as Bali, Papua and Sumatra away from Aceh but virtually unseen in Maluku, Sulawesi and Kalimantan. In parts of west Java and the conservative islands of Nusa Tengarra it’s inappropriate. Take your cue from local mothers.
  • Hotels and guesthouses often have triple and family rooms, plus extra beds can be supplied on demand. Baby beds and highchairs, however, are uncommon.
  • Hotel staff are usually very willing to help and improvise, so always ask if you need something for your children.
  • Larger resorts often have special programs and facilities for kids that include lots of activities during the day and evening.
  • Bring binoculars so young explorers can zoom in on wildlife, rice terraces, temples, world-class surfers and so on.
  • With widespread 3G data and wi-fi, a smartphone or tablet is handy so children can tell those at home about everything they’re missing and have an easy escape from the trip itself.

Children’s Highlights

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES
  • Bali Good for surfing and snorkelling and has classes geared to kids.
  • Pulau Bunaken Offers fabulous snorkelling where you can see dolphins, flying fish and more in the wilds of Maluku.
  • Bukit Lawang River tubing and gentle jungle hikes with a good chance of spotting orang-utans.
CULTURAL EXCHANGE
  • Temkessi, West Timor Children can make friends with their peers in the ancient villages of this area.
  • Putussibau, Kalimantan The communal living in the longhouses of the Kapuas Hulu region helps kids quickly make friends with their Dayak counterparts.
  • Yogyakarta, Java A classic destination for Indonesian school kids and yours will enjoy its myriad cultural attractions as well.

Family Travel

ANIMAL-SPOTTING
STAYING SAFE

The sorts of facilities, safeguards and services that Western parents regard as basic may not be present. Places with great views likely have nothing to stop your kids falling over the edge, that gorgeous beach may have perilous surf, swimming pools are never fenced etc. Health standards are low in Indonesia compared to the developed world, but with proper precautions, children can travel safely.

  • A major danger to kids – and adults for that matter – is traffic and bad pavement and footpaths in busy areas.
  • Check conditions carefully for any activity. Just because that rafting company sells tickets to families doesn’t mean they accommodate the safety needs of children.
  • Consider the health situation carefully, especially with regards to malaria and dengue fever.
  • Rabies is a major problem, especially on Bali. Keep children away from stray animals, including cats, dogs and monkeys.
  • As with adults, contaminated food and water present the most risks; children are more at risk from sunstroke and dehydration.
  • Pharmaceutical supplies can usually be purchased in larger cities.

Nusa Tenggara

Lombok is a slightly more adventurous version of Bali but is still easy for families and has gorgeous beaches in the south. Of the Gilis (where no one ever got lost), Air combines a relaxed vibe with activities, hotels and restaurants that are great for kids. Flores offers amazing wildlife at Komodo National Park.

Java

Batu Karas is a wonderful and safe beach. The easy hiking around Gunung Bromo is a good choice for families. More remote, the beaches and offshore islands in Karimunjawa delight families while kids lap up the mysteries of Borobudur and Prambanan.

Bali

The island at the heart of Indonesian tourism is ideal for kids. There are beautiful beaches, many with gentle surf, plus great spots for first-time snorkellers and surfers. Cool temples of Indiana Jones ilk dot the island and there are dozens of child-friendly hotels and resorts.

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Indonesia at a Glance

Being one of the most diverse countries we’ve ever been to, Indonesia is the epitome of a country which has a little bit of everything for everyone. From the lush rice fields and waterfalls of Bali to iconic temples and volcanoes in Java, to the incredible wildlife in the deep jungles of Sumatra, Indonesia is a country that is largely underrated. While the sandy shores of Bali are frequented by many, there is so much more to this incredible country that remains unexplored.

Indonesia Quick Information

Currency: Indonesian RupiahElectricity Socket: 230V AC electricity. Power outlets are usually two-pin round plugs. To avoid the hassle of having to buy new adapters for everywhere you go, we recommend picking up a Universal Travel Adaptor before you leave.

Visa: In Indonesia, 169 countries can now obtain a visa on arrival. This is valid for 30 days but cannot be renewed or extended. If you wish to stay in Indonesia for longer, you can pay for a tourist visa (there is a special line in the immigration customs for it). This gives you 30 days plus a chance to extend it for another 30 days through any immigration office. If you want to stay for longer, it is also possible to get a social visa which gives you around 6 months.

Safety: Although violent crime is fairly rare, there is a lot of petty theft, especially in touristy areas like Bali. With that being said, as long as you are sensible with your belongings (always put your bag strap across your body), never leaving your things unattended, you will be fine. ATM skimming is also pretty common so whatever you do, make sure you only go to ATM machines that are directly connected to a bank or to go to machines which have surveillance systems pointing at the machines at all times.

Based on our years of experience of traveling all over the world, we would never leave home without travel insurance. We recommend going with World Nomads due to their great travel activities coverage..

Apart from petty theft, alcohol poisoning is another serious issue that Bali and the popular Gili Islands is facing. Due to heavy alcohol import tax, some local vendors opt to stretch out their supply with other chemicals so it’s best to stay away from the local arak and only buy drinks from reputable bars and restaurants. Chances are, if you find a beach bar offering ridiculously low cocktails, the local alcohol might be mixed with extenders. Indonesia also has a zero tolerance for drugs, with the death penalty being imposed on a few convicted criminals so never put yourself at risk by carrying packages for people or even going to parties where you know drugs would be present.

Language: Everywhere you go in Bali, you will easily be able to find people who speak English, especially in touristy areas like Canggu, Ubud, and Seminyak. However, the further you decide to go, the level of English lowers. With that being said, no matter where you go, the people who work in the tourism and hospitality industry always has a good understanding of the language. The local language is called Bahasa and is spoken and understood widely despite the fact that they have about 300 native dialects.

As mentioned, although English is widely spoken, it doesn’t hurt to learn a few words to help you out.

Good Morning: Selamat Pagi
Yes: La
No: Tidak
Thank you: Terimah Kasih
To eat: Makan
Spicy: Pedas
No Spicy: Tidak pedas
Vegetables only (for vegetarians): Sayur saja
Cool: Bagus

Festivals and Celebrations: When traveling around Indonesia, watch out for the end Ramadan (July) as a lot of stores and restaurants are closed during these periods. During this time, making bookings for both accommodation and transportation is recommended. Other big celebrations worth seeing are Nyepi, which is the Balinese New Year celebrated in March.

Transportation: Transportation is a bit of a mission in Indonesia as it is pretty spread apart. To get from one place to the next, we recommend downloading the Skyscanner App to help you find cheap deals. When we were there, we got cheap flights from Bali to Sumatra thanks to the Skyscanner App. Alternatively, you can also use the 12Go website to view bus, boat, and train schedules ahead of time. In Bali, I suggest downloading the Blue Bird Taxi App to help you get around from one place to the next.

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