What we have learned from travelling in Indonesia

We have travelled for almost a month and covered big parts of Bali and also Gili Trawangan. It's rain season here now so I guess parts of these experiences might not occur when it is dryer.

- It seems that from most places you need to have a ticket out of the country to be able to go in the first place. Check this beforehand. The same situation can occur for the next country if it has a visa limitation.

- Many nationalities (including Sweden) are allowed a VOA (= Visa On Arrival). It costs 25 US dollars per person. We did not need passport photos despite all that we have read about it. Your passport also has to be valid for the next 6 months.

- Before you fly there you have to fill in a paper stating whether you are bringing in more than 1 million rupiah (currently this is 500kr). If so, you have to go through an extra procedure. So take out money there.

- The mosquitos are aggressive and like to bite. So come armed with spray or buy some good stuff here that is effective and cheap! Indonesia does have mosquitos carrying the virus that can gives you dengue fever - good to read up on the symptoms.

- DON'T DRINK THE TAP WATER. Ask if the ice in your drink is from bottled or filtered water, if not, don't have ice. Also be wary of the food you eat due to the heat - we are used to high standard in our restaurants and sometimes it's good to have a critical eye.

- Stay clear of the local alcohol called Arak. People have been known to get methanol poisoning.

- Be prepared to suffer from tourist diarreha. So bring stomach medicin and maybe tablets that keep you hydrated. If you have cramps - buy Buscopan.

- The Indonesian toilettes range from squatting toilettes that are a hole in the ground with foot rests, to Western toilettes. A lot of the time there is not toilette paper available, so ALWAYS have a roll with you... and hand disinfectant is a good idea too.

- The first night in a new place can always be nice to have booked beforehand. But prices are higher on the internet and when you get here, especially during low season you can bargain. And make sure to check the facilities before you agree - most places are good but sometimes you can save yourself a rubbish night.

- In Bali 93% of the people are Hindus. The temples are holy and you are expected to wear respectable clothes. This means a sarong around your waist (even guys). Also it is good to cover your arms, and in some places you are supposed to wear a scarf-like item round your waist too. This will help you not get fooled by people who can see you are a tourist too.

- The rest of Indonesia is 98% muslim. Make sure you wear the right clothes to respect the peoples' beliefs, especially in and around the mosques. From what we have experienced, the tourist areas are more liberal/accepting (like on the Gili Islands).

- At this time, a big bottle of water should cost 5000rp in a shop.

- Bargaining is a custom and even the locals do it with each other (though not to the same crazy prices). Sometimes you can knock off up to 50% of the price. (Expensive in Indonesian is "mahal").

- Thank you in Indonesian is " terimah kasih".

- One letter or postcard needs stamps worth totally 10 000rp.

- Cooking classes are widely available. A fun way to learn about the culture!

- A traditional Balinese dance is worth attending. They cost around 80 000 rp and are for approx. 1,5 hours. The dancers are dressed up and the musicians are very good.

- A poncho or an unbrella is a very good idea to carry with you at all times as the downpour can happen at any time.

- Personally we think jeans shorts are too hot as it is so humid here. Pack and repack to make sure your clothes are light. There are loads of flowy pants, shorts and dresses but not so many basic tops. 

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