Indonesia. A Complete Travel Guide for First-Timers


Thinking about heading off on a trip to Indonesia? I’ve put together this one month Indonesia travel guide, aiming to help you out to organize your trip and make the most of your stay. It’s an open guide, so you can adjust the days and mix the islands if needed!

Since Indonesia has over 17,400 islands, at first sight making the choice of the islands to visit may seem overwhelming; usually happens, more options, more doubts arise. For that reason, in this post I’ve put together everything you need to know especially if you are traveling to Indonesia for the first time.  I invite you to discover the best of Indonesia following this itinerary:  Bali, Lombok, Sulawesi, Flores and Yogyakarta (Java).

When organizing our itinerary through Indonesia, in the first place, we aimed to see as much as possible. We’re aware that one month is not a long time but, certainly it’s enough to enjoy this amazing country full of contrasts, cultures and religions.

Introducing the Country

Along this month we will discover messy and chaotic metropolis, ancient rice terraces in Bali and in Flores, the unique “Cancar Spider Rice Field”; the hanging tombs in Sulawesi and the spectacular volcanoes of Bromo and Kelimutu, just to name a few ones.

In Flores, we will find the missing link of our ancestor (The Hobbit), in Rinca (Komodo National Park) the famous Komodo dragons. There are also spectacular waterfalls and dreamy beaches.


Last but not least, in Java (Yogyakarta), we’ll be imbued in spirituality walking through  the remarkable Prambanan and Borobudur temples.



I have to admit: I bought the tickets at the last minute, so the price was not the best. I took a round trip from Madrid to Jakarta with Emirates, with a stopover in Dubai. It was the first time I used this airline, and I enjoyed it, great food and the area between seats quite broad.

In order to look for flights options, I always search in And I also like very much

From Jakarta to Bali (Denpassar) we flew with Air Asia.
Also, we took a couple of flights with Garuda Indonesia and the two companies worked well, we had no problem either of luggage or schedules.

Passport and Visa

For Spanish nationality travelers, passport should have at least 6 months of validity, in other words, it must be valid for at least 6 months after your last departure day.

When the trip is shorter than 30 days, then an On Arrival Visa can be requested at the airport. Its price is 35 USD.
If you are staying over 30 days, you must apply for a visa. See more info on this web:

The Indonesian Climate

Generally speaking the climate in Indonesia is tropical all year round, with 2 distinct seasons. The rainy season, which runs from November to March and the dry season which covers the months from April to October, which is when it gets hotter.

As for the temperature, you can expect it warm at any time of the year, 30 – 32ºC.


The official currency of Indonesia is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR). See the current exchange here

As a side note: It’s important to have small notes of 50,000 or less on hand, in order to pay in shops, since many places will no accept larger bills.

Remember: Shops and restaurants don’t take any broken notes. If you happen to have some, you can change them at the Bank.

Also you will find that you can pay by credit card in many popular hotels and restaurants, but take into account that the amount will be increased by 3 to 5% fee.

ATMs and currency exchange places are available in the most touristy areas: Bali, Lombok, Flores and Java.



More than 85% of its inhabitants are Muslim. On the island of Bali the 90% are Hindus, which makes it different from the rest of the country, and in Sulawesi are Catholics or have local animist beliefs.


The official language of Indonesia is the “Indonesian” or Bahasa, although in all the hotels, restaurants and tourist places you can speak in English.  

Electrical Plug

Voltage 230 v and 2 types of plugs (type F and C). Don’t forge to get a universal adapter.


When it comes to infectious diseases, Indonesia is a safe country. In general, no vaccinations are required for travelers arriving from Europe.
However, a few vaccines are recommended: Hepatitis A and B, and Tetanus.

The prophylaxis (Malarone) is recommended depending on the areas you visit.


First thing to remember during your trip: Take care of the water you drink, always bottled never from tap, as well as be careful with raw vegetables/fruits you eat.

Travel Insurance

Indonesia traditional dancer

It’s very important to have a good insurance that covers any eventuality because the cost of medical assistance in Indonesia is highly expensive. You never know what might happen!

I always use Iati Seguros, and truth is they always respond perfectly to my needs. For being a reader of the blog My Lifetime Journey you have a 5% discount if you contract your Iati travel insurance here.

Essential Packing List for Indonesia

Since this country is extremely varied, to get around the different islands you will use different means of transport: bus, boat, plane… so, it’s really helpful to pack light and comfortable.
Below you find the list of things you need for the trip:

Clothes: mostly cotton or linen, and some sweater or fleece lining for trekking days.

Shoes: comfortable shoes for hiking, booties or sandals for the beaches, sometimes they are rocky or with a lot of coral.

Sunscreen: It is mandatory a good sunscreen with a minimum SPF 50.

Cotton or silk sleeping bag: I carry it on all trips, depending on the quality of the accommodation I appreciate getting into my own sleeping bag.

Mosquito repellent spray:  Ben’s repellent and citronella bracelets. 

Snorkeling equipment: Although it can be rented right there, sometimes it’s defective. If you have your own snorkeling gear, grab it (tube and glasses)

Don’t forget: Sunglasses, a sun hat and a micro fibre towel (beach and hotel).

Related Post: Practical Products you need for your Trips

Getting around the Islands

Public transport is almost non-existent and with no specific schedules available, for that reason it’s better to get around on your own . Check out the best options below:

– The easiest way to get around the cities is by scooter provided that you are not afraid, because the traffic is pretty chaotic and be aware that driving is on the left and the roads are not in very good condition.

Equally important, when driving a scooter, always take with you the driving license and use a helmet, otherwise the police will give a ticket.


Private car with a driver-guide. The price is about 550,000 IDR for 1 day (8 hours), includes driver and petrol. In the hotels themselves can arrange transportation for you. As we were a group of 7 people it was our best choice.

– By taxi, I recommend you download the app Grab which works really well.

If you take a taxi the best company is Blue Bird Taxi and always make sure the meter is running.


Indonesian cuisine is tasty and slightly spicy. If you want to taste the typical Indonesian food, try it at a Warung, which are also absolutely cheap.

The Warung are the typical street restaurants, and although they are not over specific about the hygiene, it is the best way to eat authentic Balinese food. Here, the food is spicy, because they use a homemade chili sauce called Sambal.

Or if you prefer to eat at any restaurant, don’t worry because you will find that they have been able to adapt their kitchen to meet the tourist’s likes.

Tipical dishes

The most typical Indonesian food is the following dishes: Mie Goreng, Nasi Campur, Chicken Satay, Nasi Goreng and Gado Gado. All of them are simply delicious!!!


NASI Goreng consists of salted fried rice with chicken, veggies, fried egg and normally soy sauce.  

MIE Goreng with fried noodles, instead of rice, same version of the previous dish. 

NASI Campur mixture of tofu, noodles, vegetables, meat (optional) and rice.

Chicken Satay assorted grilled meat skewer with spices: turmeric, pineapple, peanuts.

Gado Gado traditional dish with different vegetables with peanuts´s sauce and mixed spices. 


Balinese culture is one of the most methodical in the world, both religions as social, it’s like a hive where each member takes a stand and practices a series of ceremonies. The Balinese Hindu community operates based on the collaboration of all of their members. Each town or village in Bali has a ‘Banjar’, which is an organization of citizens to manage political, economic and religious decisions of the people, always in a consensual basis.


Here, life is a constant cycle of offerings. Some ceremonies are performed five times a day, others once a month.
Typical daily offerings are usually little pieces of palm leaves with a bit of rice (the meal of the day) and is offered as an expression of gratitude to their God.


They place these offerings all over the house, in the temples of each House, in the street in front of their shops, and all of them with different intentions (to be lucky, to avoid danger, to succeed in business).

Above all the ceremonies, the funeral ceremony stands out. Since it involves the transition from death to reincarnation, it’s the most mystical of all. For this reason, it is celebrated in all its splendor, with great offerings, dances and music. It is truly a fascinating culture!

I hope this one month Indonesia travel guide was useful when planning your trip.

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