Indonesia means many things to many tourists. It’s a link to ancient cultures and histories for some, beaches and nightlife for others, or just a great place of business opportunities for entrepreneurs. Whatever your reasons for going, it pays to make sure you have the following secured before you leave.
1. Check requirements to enter
Singapore passport holders do not need a visa to enter Indonesia, for stays of up to 30 days or less. Your passport must be valid for at least six months following your departure date, to enter Indonesia. In addition, note that you may be asked to show proof of a return ticket upon arrival. Visitors who arrive in Indonesia with a one-way ticket may be subject to further customs clearance and questioning.
2. Prepare for the climate
Indonesia is mainly hot and humid. The average temperature is around 28 to 32 degrees Celsius. However, higher mountains areas – such as Mount Kerinci in Sumatra – can see much lower average temperatures of between 23 to 25 degrees Celsius. The dry season is between May to September in most parts of Indonesia, while October to April tends to see frequent tropical downpours. However, note that this differs between the various islands.
3. Check which vaccinations you need for remote areas
Consult your family doctor on what vaccinations you may need before entering Indonesia. Common vaccinations used are:
Travellers who are planning to head into more remote areas sometimes include vaccinations for Hepatitis B, Japanese B Encephalitis, and Rabies. However, these are not usually needed in the more developed regions.
4. Get the right travel adapter and/or converter
Indonesia uses voltage of 230 V and frequency of 50 Hz so get an adapter and/or converter which is compatible. If you’re unsure, check out our travel adapter widget for handy illustrations →
5. Watch out for travel advisories from Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA)
Indonesia sits along a volatile seismic strip called the ‘Ring of Fire’ in the Pacific. Volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur regularly, which can present a potential threat of tsunamis. The capacity of the Indonesian emergency and rescue services to deal with large natural disasters, however, is limited.
Exercise a high degree of caution in in Bali, Surabaya and Jakarta, also because of the high threat of terrorist attack. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times.
Monitor media and MFA’s website for the latest information about safety or security risks, before you book your trip and before your fly.
6. Check options for a phone plan
SIM card prices in Indonesia vary significantly between retailers. The going rate, at the time of writing, is about $13 to $15 for 24 gigabytes of data. However, note that the same data package may be sold at twice the price at a different retailer – compare carefully. There are numerous counters at major airports where you can purchase SIM cards. However, note that prices at these counters are often jacked up for tourists. You may be able to get a better deal in town. Most stores will request to see your passport before they sell you a SIM card.
Alternately, you can buy ChangiWIFI to stay connected throughout your trip. Singapore’s main telcos, Singtel, M1 and Starhub, also all offer a wide range of international data roaming options, which comes in particularly handy if you’re a frequent traveller.
A drive from one end to the other end of Sumatra, the largest Indonesian island, will take you about 50 hours. That’s longer than from New York to Los Angeles. And that said, Sumatra doesn’t even cover a fourth of the size of Indonesia. Together with the mountainous landscapes and bad roads, that makes for an awful experience if you wanted to travel long distances by car. This is why there are so many flights connecting all the different islands of Indonesia and thus, it’s really cheap as well. Even the state carrier Garuda Indonesia, one of the best airlines in the world, offers flights from about US$20 depending on the length of your trip!
When you try to book your domestic flights online, it’s usually the cheapest and best to book right on the airlines website. However, there are often problems with foreign credit cards. If you encounter problems, either try multiple different airlines, book via phone, or through an online travel agency like Expedia.
8. Be wary of unlicensed transport operators
There are many unlicensed taxi cabs, boat operators, motorcycle taxis, etc. in Indonesia. The situation is gradually being resolved, but you are well advised to use conventional services like GoJek or the hotel taxi instead. The four most established taxi companies in Indonesia are Blue Bird Taxiku, Express, Dian Taksi, and Taxicab. Note that many insurance policies will not cover you, if you get into an accident while riding with “private operators”.
9. For currency exchange, avoid the smaller shops or alleyway money changers
One of the most common forms of fraud is being short-changed at small money changers, such as the sort operating out the back of a provision shop. These money changers tend to use a lot of small notes to confuse you, and won’t offer any sort of receipt (some are not even actually licensed). As a rule of thumb, it’s best to stick with banks or larger money changers (e.g. the reputable looking ones in major shopping malls).
The Indonesian Rupiah is a currency with one of the lowest values in the entire world. One Dollar equals about 13,000 Rupiah, so just be sure not to be fooled by an added 0 on the bill. Especially after having a few drinks, you might not really care about whether there are five or six 0’s to be found on your bill. Paying in cash you might notice, but a credit card reader might just deduct 2000000 instead of 200000 Rupiah (150 instead of 15 Dollars), if you don’t pay attention.
Contacting the Singapore Embassy in Indonesia
Consular Section of Singapore Embassy in Jakarta
Opening hours: 8.30 am – 12.30 pm and 1.30 pm – 5 pm from Monday to Friday.
Tel: +62-21 29950400 (Mainline)
Those who require urgent consular assistance after office hours should contact the Duty Officer at Handphone No: 001-62-811-863-348.
Singaporeans in Indonesia can register on-line with the Embassy by accessing this form.
Singapore Consulate in Batam
Opening hours: Monday to Friday between 8.30 am to 12.00 pm, and 1.30 pm to 5.00 pm. Closed on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.
For Emergency after office hours, please contact the Attache at Handphone No: +62-(812) 1324 7797
Singapore Consulate in Medan
The Consulate will open daily from Monday to Friday between 8.30 am to 5.00 pm. It will be closed on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.
For Emergency after office hours, please contact the Duty Officer at Handphone No: +62 811 613 0291