Indonesia Travel Guide

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Indonesia has some of the best diving spots of the world which is well known for its underwater life biodiversity. Along with the diving spectacle is the affluent volcanic area which brings together many kilometers of coastline, warm currents, rich up-swellings, and humid climate that create a living paradise. The splendid reefs and glorious marine ecosystems draw the global diving society to its crystal clear oceans.

Lying over the equator extending from the mainland Asia to the Pacific Ocean, Indonesia is the earth’s biggest archipelago.

Plan your next dive trip to Indonesia with the following travel tips and advices.

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Pictures of Indonesia


Indonesia Travel Guide

Indonesia is an archipelago consisting of over 17,000 islands. Some of the largest islands are Java, Sumatra and Borneo. Many of Indonesia’s islands are uninhabited, offering pristine recreation opportunities for the adventurous. These tropical islands are located between Australia and Southeast Asia. Shaped like a giant crocodile spanning a wide range of the Indian ocean, some of the closest bordering countries are Malaysia and Thailand.

The country has a motto ‘Unity in Diversity’, taking into account the vast number of cultural, linguistic, and religious groups situated amongst the many places of the country.

Things to do in Indonesia

Apart from scuba diving, activities in Indonesia range from lazing on tranquil beaches to fine dining to trekking through pristine rainforest and wildlife watching.

  • Scuba diving beautiful reefs in crystal clear water

Bali is the most well known and remains the most popular tourist destination. Every island has its own special character and offers jewels to the adventurous traveler.

A few ideas for tours and activities:

  • Snorkeling protected coves and laying out on beautiful island beaches
  • Observing amazing Birds of Paradise in Papua New Guinea
  • Viewing Komodo dragons, the world’s heaviest and longuest (up to 3m) lizards in the world
  • Surfing world famous reef breaks and perfect tubes
  • Viewing endangered orangutans in Bukit lawang (Sumatra) or Tanjung Puting (Kalimantan/Borneo)
  • Climbing active volcanoes including Mount Bromo
  • Go to vibrant nightclubs and bars in Bali
  • Get a glimpse into the Bali’s rich cultural heritage in Ubud

Best Months to visit Indonesia

Indonesia has a tropical monsoon climate. There are wonderful things to do and see throughout the year. Some of the best surfing can be had in the winter months, and the clubs are often filled with Europeans on holiday around this time as well. The summer months are usually the driest, beginning in June and ending in September.

Where to stay in Indonesia?

Indonesia abounds with lodging options. Travelers may stay in spacious resorts, luxury hotels and quaint villas. Rest assured that all options are quite affordable, with even 5-star properties being available for less than $200 a night.

How to get to Indonesia?

There are a few dsirect flights from Europe but Indonesia cannot be directly accessed from the United States. Most flights are routed through Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or Dubai and land in Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital.

Jakarta is about a short 1 hour flight from Kuala Lumpur and about eight hours from Tokyo. Airlines options include Singapore Airlines, Air France-KLM, Emirates, Cathay Pacific, etc.

Map of Indonesia

map of indonesia

Map of Indonesia

Indonesia Dive Map

How to get around Indonesia?

Flying is usually the best and option for interisland travel. Garuda has a subsidiary- Citilink, that handles a majority of the domestic flights. Good deals can be had with a little bit of advanced planning.

Indonesian travel can be a bit frustrating at times. Delays are to be expected. Relax and try to take in the tropical experience and slower pace. One important thing to remember to do is confirm your seat after booking. Indonesian airlines operate with long waitlists and travelers are sometimes bumped off a flight they had previously reserved. Bringing a paper copy of your reservation to the airport and arriving early are both wise measures of insurance.

By flights

There are daily flight from from Jakarta, Bali, Surabaya, Jogjakarta, Komodo, etc… to the following top diving destinations:

  • Raja Ampat (West Papua): fly to Sorong (Dominique Edward Osok Airport)
  • Lembeh & Bunaken (Sulawesi): fly to Manado (Sam Ratulangi Airport)
  • Komodo & Flores: best visited by liveaboard (fly to Komodo Airport, Maumere or Labuan Bajo)
  • Wakatobi (Sulawesi): fly to Wakatobi (Matahora Airport on Wangi-Wangi Island)
  • Bali: best visited by dive safari (fly to Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport)
  • Lombok & Gili Islands: fly to Lombok (Seleparang airport in Mataram)
  • Pulau Weh: fly to Banda Aceh (Sultan Iskandar Muda Airport)
  • Halmahera (North Maluku Islands): fly to Ternate
  • Borneo (East Kalimantan): fly to Balikpapan or Berau
  • Banda Sea: best visited by liveaboard (fly to Ambon Pattimura Airport)
  • Triton Bay (West Papua): fly to Kaimana

By liveaboard

Joining a liveaboard is often the best option and sometime the only way to combine several of the best dive destinations in a single trip.

Departure ports

Departure and arrival ports for liveaboards, dive cruises and dive charters include:

  • Bali
  • Manado, Bitung and Kendari (Sulawesi)
  • Sorong (Raja Ampat)
  • Ambon (Komodo)
  • Maumere (Flores)
  • Bima (Komodo, Flores)
  • Labuan Bajo (Flores)
  • Halmahera (Maluku Islands)
  • Saumlaki (Tanimbar)

By taxi

Taxis as well as private cars are available in both large cities and smaller tourist destinations. Passengers will do well to remain alert – negotiate a fare upfront when possible and pay attention to the meter if there is one. Uber and other modern taxi alternatives are beginning to appear throughout Indonesia.

By rental car

In tourist destinations like Bali and major cities like Jakarta, car and motorbike rentals are plentiful. Travelers should observe all local regulations and be cautious of poor road conditions and reckless drivers. Seatbelts are required in cars and helmets on motorcycles.
By bus

Java and Bali both offer small scale bus systems, but they can be difficult to navigate.

By ferry

Indonesia is an island nation. Boats are an interesting and usually cost-effective alternative to flying between islands. There are publicly operated ferries between neighboring islands. Sumatra to Bali and Bali to Java are both possible via public ferry. Longer or more remote runs are covered by privately run tour boats, with the possibility of bus service once shoreside.

By mototaxi (Ojeks)

Motorcycle taxis are called Ojeks, and are one of the most affordable ways to quickly get around locally.

By tricycle (Becak)

Becaks are small tricycle carts. Some are motorized, some are pedaled. Agree on a fare before accepting a ride and make sure it will be sufficient for all passengers and luggage. Tipping is not required but always appreciated.


Hitchhiking is no really recommended for safety reasons, but some intrepid backpackers do cross the islands this way.

Scuba Diving in Indonesia?

Check out our Indonesia dive guide and start planning your next dive trip!

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