Indonesia Escorted Tours
Currency: Indonesian Rupiah
Time Zone: WITA/WIT/GMT+8/GMT+9
Tipping: Service charge is sometimes included on some services, however if you feel necessary you can still tip. If no service charge is added, add around 10% as a tip.
Indonesia - an introduction
Known as the sleeping giant of Southeast Asia, Indonesia consists of over 18,000 islands of which two thirds are uninhabited. That said, the one third that are populated are full of life, whether it be people, tropical rainforests or steaming volcanoes emerging from the mist.
Java is Indonesia's most populated island, and in fact the world's. A stop at glitzy capital Jakarta features on most escorted Indonesia tours, as is the city of Yogyakarta. From here the UNESCO World Heritage listed site of Borobudur beckons, giving Angkor Wat and Bagan a run for their money as one of the world's great ancient monuments. This huge Buddhist relic on the Kedu Plain is a marvel to behold, with its bell-like statues and dramatic backdrop starring Mount Merapi. If you're not doing that, you can head to a spa resort and bathe in waters that are heated by a volcano.
Bali is the so-called 'Island of the Gods' famed for its beaches and lush rice terraces which make it the perfect place to unwind. Take an excursion to charming Ubud or enjoy traditional Balinese dance displays on your escorted tour.
The island of Sumatra has more of an adventure spirit where visitors can expect smoking volcanoes and crater-filled lakes. The focus here is more scenery orientated with escorted tours featuring trips to Samosir Island to see the Sipisopiso Waterfall and Lake Toba, created by the world's largest volcanic explosion.
All escorted tours to Indonesia include return flights from the UK as well as any internal flights, a full touring itinerary both on and off the beaten track, accommodation with most meals and porterage included as well as the services of a tour manager and local guide.
Things to do
There are plenty of great things on offer when you visit Indonesia, here are a few ideas of whats available:
Bunaken Marine National Park
The beautiful coral sites located off the Bunaken Island are a haven for snorkellers and diving enthusiasts. Anyone visiting this beautiful area will come across more than 250 different coral types and an astonishing 3000 species of fish! Head inland and you'll see Manado Tua which is a dormant volcano that can be climbed within a few hours.
Java's Borobudur is Indonesia's version of Angkor Wat – a mighty sight that has to be seen when touring this beautiful part of the world. This awesome Buddhist relic peeps out of the green paddy fields and luscious swaying palms, a shrine to the Lord Buddha and a popular place for pilgrimage. Once a year, Buddhists will come to Borobudur to celebrate Vesak. Do not leave Indonesia without visiting this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Although rather small, you can drive around the whole island in one trip, there's plenty to see when you visit. You'll find amazing surf and beautiful rice terraces combined with the tranquil yet passionate temple ceremonies. Sample many local delicacies at the markets of Ubud, check out the buzzing night-life of Kuta, relax on the beaches of Nusa Lembongan or admire the awesome cliff-top temple of Ulu Watu – the choice is yours!
A small volcanic island, shaped like a horseshoe, has more than 60 sq km of protected land dedicated to the local wildlife and it is the only place in the world where you'll find the threatened Bufo Valhallae toad. There's a variety of species of fish happily swimming in and out of the fabulous coral reefs so pack your snorkelling kit to get a good view. The main attraction of Pulau Weh is its stunning if not varied scenery with rocky caves, fabulous look-outs and sleepy villages to explore.
The Baliem Valley
Looking for an element of culture? You'll find plenty of it in Indonesia, particularly in the Baliem Valley area which is where most local tours start so you can uncover the tribal lands of local tribes such as the Lani, Dani and Yali. The tours will provide a glimpse into what were stone-age villages and the mountainous scenery here is awe-inspiring – definitely worth a visit if you can!
Tips & Advice
Travelling on an escorted tour means that you'll be in the safest hands when it comes to holidaying in unfamiliar lands. However, to help you have an enjoyable holiday in Indonesia, take a look at these useful tips and advice provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO):
Health and Travel Insurance
Prior to travelling you will need to check whether you need any vaccinations or medical preventative treatments. This can be done by contacting your GP.
The standard of medical care in Indonesia is fairly low and a higher standard of treatment can be costly. Make sure you always have adequate medical insurance before travelling and that you have access to funds which can cover the cost of treatment and in extreme cases, repatriation. Most tours offer the chance to purchase one-trip travel insurance at the time of booking.
Rabies is a risk in Indonesia in domestic and wild animals. Avoid contact with all dogs and cats including those that are pets. Also avoid monkeys and other animals and seek immediate medical advice if you are bitten or scratched.
There is a risk of dengue fever during the rainy season especially in Bali. There have also been some deaths caused by Avian flu (bird flu) so avoid visiting live animal markets, poultry farms or anywhere else where you could come into close contact with live poultry.
Should you need the assistance of an ambulance dial 118 for emergency help. If you are taken to a medical facility for further treatment you should contact your insurance company as soon as it is possible to do so.
As in most countries be aware of pick-pockets and street crime. Always keep your valuables safe, especially your passport and money/bank cards.
Credit card fraud is common in Indonesia so never lose sight of your card during transactions. Never dial numbers on ATMs if your card is not working; this can be a con and you will be asked to hand over your pin code.
Be vigilant when travelling on public transport and using taxi services. Only book taxis with reputable firms, which your hotel can book for you. It is advised by the British Embassy that you use Silverbird, Bluebird or Express group taxis. Never use unlicensed taxis or invite people back to your hotel room. Always buy your own drinks and never leave them unattended as they could potentially be spiked. Make sure drinks are prepared in front of you if possible at bars.
Local Laws and Customs
Always respect local laws and customs when visiting Indonesia, especially during the month of Ramadan. Do not get involved with illegal drug as any drug related crime is a serious offence in Indonesia. If caught it can lead to lengthy prison sentences or even the death penalty. Police often raid venues (normally in Bali) and may take urine or blood samples if they believe drugs have been used.
Gambling is illegal, there have been cases of tourists losing large sums of money to organised gambling gangs.
Always carry a photocopy of your photo page in your passport in addition to a copy of the arrival card for ID purposes. Keep the original documents safe, ideally in a hotel safe if possible.
British citizens need a visa when entering into Indonesia. You can purchase a 30 day visa on arrival for $25USD which can be extended once entering the country at an Immigration Office. Some tour operators offer a visa service but may charge an administration fee. If unsure, check at the time of booking.
If you are travelling into Indonesia using an ETD (Emergency Travel Document) you must apply for a visa before leaving the UK - you will not be able to apply for one on arrival.
Passports need at least 6 months validity from the date you depart from Indonesia.
Any other nationality looking to visit Indonesia must contact the local embassy to check visa requirements.
For more information about Indonesia you can visit the official tourist board website at indonesia.travel