Best of Indonesia
Far from ‘just another island getaway’, Indonesia is in many ways a whole world of its own, a sprawling constellation of distinct islands offering a staggering breadth of experiences. This immersive combo trip begins way out in Indonesia’s wild west – on the island of Sumatra – and travels east through Java and into Bali, giving a superb overview of the country’s diversity. Move effortlessly from Christian Batak to Hinduism to Buddhism, remote jungle to untouched beach to volcano-studded valley, culture-rich urban village to streetside warung to ancient temple complex. For lovers of South East Asian adventure, this is a journey not to be missed.
Ages: 15 - 99
Accommodation: Hotel (13 nights), Camping (1 night), Guesthouse (7 nights)
Selamat datang! Welcome to Indonesia. The adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. If you happen to arrive early, perhaps check out Maimun Palace – designed by a Dutch Architect and built in the 19th century, it combines architecture from Malay, Indian and Islamic cultures and is now a museum. Alternatively, buy a ticket and take a guided tour of the museum at Tjong A Fie Mansion – known as "the historical jewel in Medan", the Tjong A Fie was built in 1895 by a hakka merchant and is modelled on the Cheong Fatt Tze mansion in Penang. After your important welcome meeting, you could head to grab some street food with your group at one of the night markets in town, or go to a local restaurant – your group leader will know of some good spots.
Jump aboard a private vehicle and drive to Bukit Lawang (approximately 5 hours). The first part of the journey involves quite heavy traffic, but the roads are nice and smooth. Closer to Bukit Lawang it gets bumpy and windy, so brace yourself for a bit of an adventure. The reward for the journey is the destination – Bukit Lawang a peaceful village located on the banks of the Bohorok river, right next to the Gunung Leuser National Park. In the afternoon you can take an optional tour in the countryside by becak (cycle rickshaw) or cool off with a refreshing swim in the river. There will be also be plenty of time to prepare for your jungle trek.
Set off on your trekking adventure through the Gunung Leuser National Park with an experienced guide (approximately 5–6 hours). The night will be spent camping out in the jungle. This UNESCO World Heritage-listed park spans 7927 square kilometres and is one of the world's most diverse ecosystems. It's the home of many endangered species, including the Sumatran tiger, rhinoceros and elephants. These animals are extremely rare to see but you will get the chance to go in search for wild orangutans. There used to be an orangutan rehabilitation centre here, but now these creatures have all been returned to their natural habitat, so this is your best chance in Indonesia to see orangutans in the wild. There are also 300 species of birds, and many rare plants and flowers. Today's hike is hilly and can be muddy. The paths are mostly clear, but there are some sections where you’ll have to climb over large fallen logs. You may stop and rest while the guides go in search for orangutans. Along the way, guides point out orangutan nests, edible plants for you to try, monkeys, birds, and wild orangutan. You will carry your own lunch and break for lunch along the way then continue trekking to the camp site, where the guides set up and cook dinner for the group.
You will wake early to the sound of gibbons and continue the trek down river (approximately 2 hours). Your feet may get wet, so strap-on sandals, booties or local rubber shoes are recommended to pack. Head back to Bukit Lawang, where day rooms will be made available for a freshen up and shower before you get on the bus. It's also a good chance to stock up on some tropical fruit for the road. Depart early afternoon for Berastagi (approximately 5.5 hours). Berastagi is the home of the Karo people, a Batak sub-group with traditional villages (long houses), and is your destination for the night.
Drive for approximately 30 minutes to the starting point of today's hike. The hike (approximately 2-3 hours) brings you to the top of Sibayak Volcano (2094 m). It's quite steep, muddy and slippery, especially in the wet season. Follow a shady jungle path which, towards the top, opens up into a more alpine setting. Long pants are essential to protect you from poisonous plants, and a trekking stick will also come in handy. After reaching the top, sit down to a traditional bungkus lunch and enjoy the views. From the summit you can see (and hear) the steaming vapours escaping from the fumaroles of this active volcano. Then it's time for the descent (approximately 1 hour). Afterwards, head straight to the nearby hot springs for a soothing soak – after a few days of trekking, you deserve to relax in these pools, which are all naturally heated by the volcano.
This morning, head to Tongging Village by private vehicle, on the banks of Lake Toba (2 hours). The road from Berastagi to Lake Toba is a nice, smooth road. Then, continue on and stop at Sipiso-Piso waterfall, which was formed by a small underground river of the Karo plateau. Watch as water cascades from a cave in the side of the Lake Toba caldera some 120 metres (360 feet) down to lake level – forming Indonesia's highest waterfall. Lake Toba itself, surrounded by mountains, is a peaceful spot to relax. It was formed by a huge volcanic eruption 70,000 years ago; a second eruption 50,000 years later created an island the size of Singapore in the middle of the lake – Samosir Island. Your accommodation tonight is right next to the lake and boasts nice views of the water, mountains and rice fields.
Embark on a day tour in Samosir. Visit the Stone Chairs and the Simanindo Museum (in a traditional house). You’ll also travel up to a viewpoint on the island which gives you a panoramic vista of the below Lake Toba and the surrounding Sumatran countryside. Walk through nearby rice fields and stop by a local Batak house for a traditional lunch. Toba Island is dotted with many ancient and modern grave sites, several of which you’ll see on today's tour. You’ll also have the chance to enjoy a traditional Batak dance performance. The Toba Bataks have a unique religion, architecture and culture. Although they are predominantly Christian, they also practice animism. The most distinctive element of their culture is the traditional architecture – extraordinary boat-like houses with roofs resembling buffalo horns.
Drive back to Simanindo (approximately 45 minutes). From there, take a boat back over Lake Toba to Tigaras (approximately 45 minutes). Make a stop at a traditional Dokan Village where you'll find a handful of traditional houses which are still the homes of local Batak families. Afterwards, continue back to Medan (approximately 3.5 hours).
Day 9: Jakarta Today you will fly from Medan to Jakarta approx. 2.5 hours. Please note you will be unescorted for this flight but you will be transferred to and from the airports. With your free time in Jakarta check out some of Jakarta's interesting museums, such as the Wayang (puppetry), Balai Seni Rupa (fine arts) and Maritime museums. The National Museum is great for first-time visitors. For city monuments, don't miss Si Jagur, an old Portuguese cannon ornately decorated with sexual imagery, or the Monas (National Monument) dedicated to the spirit of the Indonesian people. As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
Familiarise yourself with the city on a full day tour with your local guide. Take in Sunda Kelapa port, where the Dutch first landed, temple-filled Chinatown and the old town of Batavia. Visit a Chinese mansion (Chandra Naya) and gain an insight into the beautiful Peranakan architecture. Wander about Fatahillah Square, then explore the religious side of the city at Cathedral Church and Istiqlal Mosque, the largest mosque in South East Asia. Meander through the antique market at Jalan Surabaya.
Today there's some distance to cover, so you will spend most of the day travelling. Travel by train to Purwokerto City (approximately 5.5 hours), then take a private minibus to Pangandaran (approximately 3 hours). Pangandaran is a small fishing village popular with visitors looking for a coastal escape. The Penanjung Nature Reserve on the adjoining peninsula boasts some impressive flora and fauna.
Set off on a tour of the local surrounds, villages, cottage industries and the impressive green canyon. Your day trip begins with a stop at a local market to check out the produce and home industries such as palm sugar and rice cracker production, as well as the famous Javanese 'Wayan Golek' (traditional wooden puppets). Then you'll continue to the Green Canyon. Hop aboard your boat and travel upriver (approximately 30 minutes) through superb jungle scenery, before stopping for a swim up into the canyon itself. This spot, whose water is green as its name suggests, is a popular hangout for locals, so take the opportunity to interact. Your day concludes at a nearby beach where you can take a break for lunch and swim in the afternoon before heading back.
Head inland by private minibus (approximately 1 hour) before catching a train to Yogyakarta (approximately 4 hours). This town is one of South East Asia's real gems. It's Java's cultural heart, has a great atmosphere and is an Intrepid favourite. From batik workshops to the nearby Hindu and Buddhist temples, 'Yogya' offers a great array of cultural avenues to explore.
Rise early to catch the morning light and avoid the crowds at Candi Borobudur, the largest Buddhist structure on earth. This magnificent World Heritage site is set in a tranquil park. As you approach, you'll see the enigmatic temple rise before you, looming above the tropical foliage. With your local guide, follow the route of ancient pilgrims, circling the mandala-shaped structure from the early realms towards Nirvana. It's truly one of South East Asia's treasures. Afterwards, enjoy an afternoon of free time. You might like to visit one of Yogya's other heritage temples – this time perhaps of the Hindu variety. Prambanan Temple is the largest Hindu complex in Java. This evening perhaps catch a performance of the epic Ramayana Ballet. Your leader will be able to check dates and availability for you.
Pedal out of the city on a cycling tour (approximately 6 km) through the rice fields and countryside surrounding Yogyakarta. See the locals in this area making various goods, from bricks to tofu to tempe. As well as palms and lush green grasslands, you will see the odd burst of yellow and pink flowers by the side of the road, which make for great photo opportunities. This cycling tour is on relatively flat ground, so it won't be too strenuous. There will be ample time to take in all the interesting scenes of slow-paced local life. You will then have a free afternoon today and there is many activities for you to choose in Yogyakarta. Perhaps a cooking class to learn about Indonesian cuisine or limber up with a yoga class, there is something for everyone.
Travel by train (approximately 4.5 hours) before transferring on a minivan (approximately 1 hour) to Seloliman Nature Reserve. The peaceful Seloliman Nature Reserve is situated on the slopes of the sacred Penanggungan volcano. Meet some of the volunteers working at the Seloliman Environmental Education Centre and eat delicious, locally grown organic produce cooked by their staff. The centre's accommodation is atmospheric, with open-air bathrooms built in harmony with the surrounding forrest, so take this opportunity to relax. This is a beautiful spot to appreciate nature – be sure to sit under the stars tonight and take in the ambience of the mountainous surrounds.
Join reserve staff on a walk around the reserve, learning about the local environment and the Javanese tradition of herbal medicine (approximately 2.5 hours). You'll gain an insight into local flora and fauna, traditional farming methods, rice production, the mini hydro electricity plant and the local village coffee shop. Finish up with a traditional Jamu demonstration and a tasting of 'Javanese medicine'. Continue on to Mt Bromo, the timeless homeland of the Tenggerese (approximately 4 hours). The still-active Mount Bromo (2,329 m) is the most well known volcano of the Tengger massif. This region is also the homeland of the Tenggerese and the steep, cultivated hills of the Tengger Valley. Our accommodation tonight is in villa’s and each villa has 2 rooms with a lounge room and one shared bathroom between the 2 rooms. Retire early tonight, in preparation for tomorrow's early start.
Your early start today (around 3am) will be well worth it, trust us. First you'll drive to a lookout point in jeeps for sunrise over the sea of sands. If the weather is clear, the sunrise over this eerie sea of volcanoes is an unforgettable experience. Afterwards descend in your jeep to the sea of sands and climb up to to the volcano crater to take a peek inside (note this can be closed during periods of volcanic activity) The ascent is not too difficult (approximately 45 minutes), but it can be very cold, so don't forget to bring extra layers of clothing. It's also worth bringing a scarf to cover your nose and mouth, as it can get dusty. Note that Mount Bromo is one of the highlights of the trip but it’s very popular, so during holiday periods expect it to be crowded. Return to the hotel to freshen up and then depart midmorning to Kalibaru in a private minivan (approximately 5.5 hours). You'll stop for lunch en route, then arrive in the afternoon, with time to relax by the pool or perhaps indulge in a local massage.
Head out early in the morning to tour nearby coffee, cocoa and rubber plantations. You'll see how rubber is processed, how coffee is dried, and, if there's time, how cocoa is fermented. Before you set off, enjoy a nice cup of coffee or tea and snack on fried banana. Travel by minibus to the far eastern end of Java, Gilimanuk (approximately 3 hours). There is often a lot of heavy traffic on this stretch of road as it's the main entry point for Bali, so there may be some delays. Next you'll board a ferry across the Java Strait (approximately 1 hour), before boarding another minibus for a journey along the west coast of Bali (approximately 1 hour). Travel on to Pemuteran, your destination for the next two nights.
Enjoy a relaxing day in this gorgeous beach side spot. Maybe start the day with a relaxing yoga class and then explore the local area at your own pace. Visit the surrounding monkey-filled temples, go swimming, snorkelling, or simply sit back, relax and watch the fishermen go about their work.
Make the journey to Ubud (approximately 5 hours). En route, stop in at Taman Ayun Temple, taking in the impressive Balinese architecture while you stroll around the tranquil gardens. Ubud is Bali's main arts and cultural centre, recently made famous by the Hollywood movie 'Eat Pray Love'. It's a wonderful place to experience the magic that has made Bali such a popular travel destination.
Your trip comes to an end after breakfast this morning. There is plenty to see and do if you're staying longer. Hire a bicycle and explore the surrounding rice paddies and small villages, or visit galleries, museums and handicraft merchants in town.
- Mengwi - Taman Ayun Temple
Jalan Surabaya 88
Phone: +62 6141077777
Fax: +62 614520505
Agung Raka Resort & Villa
Jl Raya Pengosekan Ubud, Bali 80361 Indonesia
Phone: 0361 975757
Fax: 0361 975546
1. A Single Supplement is available on this trip please advise your sales agent if you would like to book a single supplement. Please note a single supplement is excluded on day 3 - camping, day 16 - Seloliman Nature Reserve and Day 17 Mt Bromo.
2. In order to book the train tickets on this trip we require your full passport details at time of booking, or at the latest 45 days prior to travel. Ticketing fees may apply for amendments to details within 45 days of departure, and in some cases you will be required to cover the cost of issuing a new ticket or alternative transport costs.
3. As this is a combination trip, your group composition as well as your leader may change in Jakarta.
4. Please not the internal flight from Sumatra to Jakarta is unaccompanied.
All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
FIRE PRECAUTIONS: Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms. SEAT BELTS: Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts. PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY: While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing. MOTORBIKE BAG SNATCHING: Be particularly aware of motorbike bag snatching, especially in the bigger cities.
As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required.
Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.
Passport holders for most nationalities are permitted to enter visa free for up to 30 days for tourism purposes. Please check with your relevant consulate or embassy.
Entry requirements: presentation of onward or return tickets, passport which is valid for at least 6 months. Visitors on visa-free short visits must enter AND exit from certain airports or seaports in Indonesia including: Jakarta (Soekarno-Hatta Airport), Bali (Ngurah Rai Airport), Yogyakarta (Adisucipto Airport) and Surabaya (Juanda Airport). This currently excludes entry and exist from Lombok (Bandar Udara International Airport). Visa-free short visits cannot be extended and cannot be transferred to another type of visa.
Some nationalities are required to obtain a visa on arrival, or in advance. Citizens of countries who aren't on the visa on arrival or visa-free lists are required to apply for a visa in their home country before travelling to Indonesia.
Nationals of all countries planning to stay for more than 30 days in Indonesia have to obtain an appropriate visa at an Indonesian consulate or embassy before their arrival in the country.
Local laws require that you must always carry identification. We recommend taking a clear photocopy of your passport photo page and photo of your visa (after arriving), to carry with you.
Why we love it
Gunung Leuser National Park is your best chance in all of Indonesia to see orangutans in the wild. This diverse ecosystem also harbours some 300 bird species and the endangered Sumatran tiger
The excellent Bukit Lawang Eco Lodge provides a unique jungle experience, and by staying there you support the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme
Climb the Sibayak Volcano, enjoy a picnic at its spectacular summit, then head to local hot springs for some well-earned rest and relaxation after the descent
Explore Lake Toba and the villages on Samosir Island. Check out Indonesia’s highest waterfall and a take a cultural tour that includes a traditional Batak dance performance
Yogyakarta is one of South-East Asia's standout spots, and a cycling trip takes you through its backcountry, a world of flower-studded fields and smiling locals
Take a guided walk through the jungle and rice paddies of Seloliman Nature Reserve, then sit back, relax and soak up the ambience under the stars
Climbing Mt Bromo in the early hours of the morning is an adventure to remember. If the conditions are right, you'll be rewarded with a dazzling sunset over mist-laden volcanoes
Get behind the scenes of some of Java's fascinating local industries – from coffee, cocoa and palm sugar to traditional Javanese medicine
There's plenty of time to chill out at beautiful Pemuteran by the beach
Is this trip right for you
Sumatra is less developed than other islands of the Indonesian archipelago. Due to limited tourism infrastructure, expect there to be bumpy and windy roads, some longer drives and more basic hotels. On the plus side, there are less tourists.
This itinerary spend one night camping in Gunung Lesuer National Park. Keep in mind this is jungle camping with twin share tents and no facilities. Which is of course all part of the adventure.
Gunung Leuser National Park is located in Aceh province, which is governed by Sharia Law. There are strict Sharia laws to comply to. Your leader will explain more, but conservative dress is required for these days, (and is recommended for the rest of this trip).
This trip involves a fair amount of hiking and cycling. A moderate level of fitness will help you to get the most out of this trip.
Java is one of the largest islands in Indonesia, and this trip covers a lot of ground. Travel times can be long and delays are common. Where suitable, you'll travel by train instead of drive, which will make the journey more comfortable.
It's important not to make your bags too heavy, as you will be expected to carry them onto and off trains, and walk them short distances. Porters are available in most stations at an extra charge.
Accommodation at Seloliman Nature Reserve, and near Mt Bromo is in basic guesthouses. Set on the edge of a tropical forest the Seloliman Reserve embraces philosophies of environmental education, and we are sure you will get a good nights sleep. The next night close to the base Mt Bromo our guesthouse is selected for it's location. Our stay is short, as we awake very early the next day for our sunrise hike.
Dress standards in Java are more conservative than in other areas of Indonesia. Show your respect by covering your knees and shoulders when visiting temples. It's a great idea to bring your own sarong.
All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Not all medications available over the counter or by prescription in your home country are available in other countries. Some may be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by a doctor. Always carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you take and that it's for personal use only.
Several mosquito-borne illnesses occur in Indonesia, including malaria, dengue fever and Japanese encephalitis. The risk of infection remains low. Protect yourself against mosquito-borne illnesses by taking measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent and wearing long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing. Speak to your doctor about prevention and vaccinations before you travel.
Rabies is a risk throughout Indonesia, especially in Bali. Avoid direct contact with dogs and other animals, including monkeys. Don't feed or pat them. This includes monkeys in popular markets, tourist destinations and sanctuaries where you may be encouraged to interact with them. If bitten or scratched, immediately use soap and water to wash the wound thoroughly. Seek urgent medical attention.
Pre-exposure vaccine is available but receiving rabies vaccine prior to travel does not preclude the need for post-exposure medical evaluation and additional doses of rabies vaccine. There is a shortage of rabies vaccine in Indonesia and if you are bitten by an animal you should consider travelling to a 3rd country or your country of origin for treatment.
POISONING FROM ALCOHOLIC DRINKS:
There are known cases of poisoning from alcoholic drinks contaminated by harmful substances, most recently in Bali and Lombok. Drink only at reputable venues, avoid home-made alcohol and seek urgent medical attention if you suspect poisoning.
Do not consume any non-prescription drugs in Indonesia, including magic mushrooms. They are highly dangerous and illegal. Indonesia carries high penalties, including the death penalty.
Food and dietary requirements
While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
Here are 10 quintessential dishes you have to try while travelling in Indonesia: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/what-to-eat-in-indonesia/
VEGETARIANS & VEGANS:
Strict vegetarians should be aware that a lot of Indonesian cooking contains fermented shrimp paste (terasi) as a basic ingredient. Chicken and eggs are also common in many dishes. Although there are many vegetarian options available, please ensure you are specific as possible when ordering food to ensure that your meal suits your dietary needs. If you are travelling to Ubud, see our guide to vegan and vegetarian eats: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/vegan-vegetarian-guide-to-ubud/
When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).
The official currency of Indonesia is the rupiah (IDR). There are money exchanges and ATMs available at the airport and all major towns. ATMs are the easiest and safest way to access cash, although we also recommend that you bring and carry some cash in a major currency for when ATMs can not be accessed. USD notes older than 2000 series, as well as foreign currency notes that are old, torn, worn or damaged notes can't be changed in Indonesia.
We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you bring an extra USD500 for emergencies (e.g. natural disasters or civil unrest). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to our itineraries, and we can’t guarantee there won’t be some extra costs involved.
If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Carrying small notes of local currency will make tipping easier. It is best to avoid tipping with with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes, as this can be regarded as an insult.
Optional Tipping Kitty:
On Day 1 your tour leader will discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips for drivers, local guides, and hotel staff (excludes restaurant tips). The leader will keep a running record of all monies spent which can be checked at any time, and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip. Participation in this kitty at your own discretion, and you are welcome to manage your own tipping separately if you prefer. Please note the tipping kitty excludes tips for your tour leader.
Please note this is a combination trip made up of 2 sections. There will be the option of contributing to a group tipping kitty on both sections of this trip.
Day 1 Optional tipping kitty for this section: IDR 230 000
Day 9 Optional tipping kitty for this section: IDR 330 000
Your Tour Leader:
You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-US$4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
What to take
MAIN LUGGAGE: What you need to bring will vary according to when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances. Remember to bring suitable locks for your luggage. As well as your underwear, toothbrush and other items you always need to pack for travel, below are some items that you specifically need for this trip. SMALLER BACKPACK / DAYPACK: A small to medium backpack is required for the trek in Gunung Leuser National Park. A capacity of 30-35 litres/8-9 gallons is suggested, with a waterproof cover, and spare plastic bags to keep your possessions dry. While trekking, you leave your main piece of luggage at a central point and return following the trek. ESSENTIALS: - Toiletries - Lightweight clothing: A mixture of covering lightweight clothing and some warm layers (depending on the season) are recommended. It is best to check the weather and seasonal information before travelling. Lightweight and comfortable clothes for the activities are best, and quick dry items are great in the humidity. Modest clothing that covers your shoulders and knees is also preferable in Sumatra in general, particularly when visiting areas outside major cities that are more conservative, . Laundry facilities may not be available in all destinations, so make sure you have a few cycles of clothes. For visits to religious sites you will also need to wear clothing that covers shoulders and pants/skirts that go past the knee. Jungle Trek: for your 2 day trek in Gunung Leuser National Park you will need to carry the the following specific items in your backpack: - Extra sleeping mat (optional) - thin roll mat is provided - Wind and waterproof jacket - Plastic bags: to keep gear dry, and a spare to carry toilet paper out - Toilet paper / tissues - Torch/flashlight/headtorch - Toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, bio-degradable soap / shampoo for use in the river - Insect repellent - Sun protection: hat, sunscreen/sunblock, sunglasses - Personal medical kit and personal prescription items. A larger kit will be on hand with your leader, but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes and adhesive bandages. - Hand sanitizer - Water bottle: Larger size recommended. Can be refilled from the stream on second day - Water purification tablets (boiled stream water is available at the campsite) - Swimwear (optional): or can swim in clothes like the locals - Lightweight, loose fitting and quick dry long trousers, and long sleeve / t-shirt to wear (mosquitoes can bite through any tight clothing) - 1 change of clothes for sleeping / second day of hike - Warm jacket or layers for the evening (weather dependent) - 1 small towel / sarong - Underwear - Densely woven socks - Hiking shoes/Lightweight walking shoes with a good grip or walking sandals (not flip-flops) are a good choice. If you are wearing sandals, please ensure they are not slippery between your feet and the shoe when they're wet, as this makes it impossible to walk up any hill! Rubber shoes -we recommended that you purchase some local rubber shoes for the jungle trek. These are known locally as Spatu Gambir and offer excellent grip and only cost around 4 USD. Please speak to your guide at Bukit Lawang and they can help arrange this - its recommended to bring plaster’s as first time wearers often get blisters on their heel. The above items will also be useful for the remainder of your trip. Hiking shoes/boots are useful for your climb up Sibayak Volcano RECOMMENDED: - Camera with spare batteries/power bank: You will have access to power to recharge your electrical items most days, however these are a good backup. - Electrical adapter plug - A second hand sleeping bag will be provided for the overnight camp however you may prefer to bring your own for extra comfort. OPTIONAL - Ear plugs & eye mask - A good book, a journal and music player for longer journeys. - Travel washing line and Bio-degradable washing detergent VALUABLES Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe if available. It’s a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden. It’s also recommended to bring a copy of all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary. If you need some further tips for packing, you can always check out our ultimate packing list.
LUGGAGE RESTRICTIONS: Due to luggage restrictions on the trains in Java, bags must be 20 kilograms or under and within the dimensions of 70cm long x 48cm wide x 30 cm deep. Charges for luggage in excess of 20 kilograms are IDR10 000 per kilo. You will need to pay for any excess luggage. We recommend taking a backpack or small wheeled suitcase for the train travel on this trip.
Climate and seasonal
BALINESE NEW YEAR:
Known as Nyepi and based on the lunar calendar (new moon), it takes place in March or April each year (7-8 March 2019). Local custom requires that all people in Bali observe a day of silence and do not leave their homes. Flights to/from Denpasar airport will be suspended for this day. We endeavour to schedule our trip departures so as to avoid this day.
FLOODS & MUDSLIDES:
Floods and mudslides can occur during the wet season (October - March). Heavy rains during this time can result in areas of the Jakarta region being affected by flood waters. Key services, such as emergency and medical care, telecommunications, transport, and the supply of food and water are often disrupted during floods and mudslides. Should our trips be affected by floods during this time we may need to reroute our itineraries and travellers may need to use their contingency funds to cover additional costs.
Indonesia has many active volcanoes that can erupt at any time and cause widespread disruption. Alert levels may be raised and evacuations ordered at short notice. Follow the instructions and advice of local authorities, including any evacuation orders. In the event of or following an eruption you should contact your travel insurance provider directly to ask if your policy is affected by the volcanic activity. For information regarding whether your itinerary has been affected, see our Travel Alerts page: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/travel-alerts
The most recent eruptions have been:
- Mt Agung, East Bali. Mount Agung has shown increased volcanic activity since late-September 2017. Ash from the volcano has disrupted flights. There is currently an exclusion zone around the crater, which may change at short notice.
- Mount Merapi (near Yogyakarta). Following an eruption in May 2018, people in the area were evacuated by local authorities.
- Mount Rinjani, on Lombok (near Bali), has erupted numerous times in recent years causing flight disruptions in Bali and Lombok.
Indonesia is in an active earthquake region with a high level of earthquake activity, sometimes triggering tsunamis. Earthquakes can occur anywhere in Indonesia. In the event of a natural disaster, follow the advice of local authorities. In the event of or following an earthquake you should contact your travel insurance provider directly to ask if your policy is affected by the event. For information regarding whether your itinerary has been affected, see our Travel Alerts page: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/travel-alerts
The most recent earthquakes have been:
- Lombok & the Gili Islands. A series of powerful earthquakes caused widespread damage and loss of life in northern Lombok and the Gili Islands in July and August 2018. Tourist facilities such as hotels and restaurants that temporarily closed as a result of the earthquakes are progressively reopening and ferry services are operating.
NATIONAL INDEPENDENCE DAY:
Always celebrated on August 17, this is Indonesia's national day and marks Indonesia's declaration of independence from the Netherlands in 1945. Around this time you may experience some delays to transport due to events, or alternative accommodation may be need to be sourced due to it being a peak time.
RAMADAN & EID AL-FITR:
In Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, the month of Ramadan is referred to as the ‘fasting month’ or bulan puasa, which culminates with the biggest Muslim holiday in Indonesia: Eid al Fitr or ‘Idul Fitri’. This ninth month on the Islamic Hijri calendar is considered the holiest month by Muslims, commemorating the first revelation of the Quranic verses to the Prophet Muhammad. Ramadan is a festival of sacrifice where the devout refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. During Ramadan, business hours are shortened, including opening hours at some tourist attractions. Alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and many restaurants will be closed. Please note that drivers and leaders of Muslim faith are likely to be fasting over Ramadan. While you should expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month is a fantastic opportunity to travel in a Muslim country and witness this unique period, particularly the nightly celebrations when the sun sets and the fast is broken.
Dates for Ramadan are: 5 23 April - 23 May 2020.
Dates for Eid Al-Fitr are: 23-24 May 2020
NYEPI - BALINESE NEW YEAR :
Nyepi is a Balinese "Day of Silence" that is commemorated every Isakawarsa according to the Balinese calendar. It is a Hindu celebration mainly celebrated in Bali. Custom requires that all people in Bali observe a day of silence and do not leave their homes. Flights to/from Denpasar airport will be suspended for this day and majority of services and businesses do not operate. It is expected that travellers will respect the traditions of the Balinese people during Nyepi and stay within their accommodation at this time. Dates for Nyepi may change, but are currently: 25-26 March 2020.
A couple of rules
Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden.
Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption.
The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips.
By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund.
If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/
GENERAL ISSUES ON YOUR TRIP
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
Intrepid's Indonesia Office: +62 813 3715 5533
Intrepid's Thailand Office: +66 898 103 722
Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers and staff are trained on these principles, and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel.
Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting:
When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative throughout Indonesia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees for all genders. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly hot Asian climates. In many rural areas in Asia women will need to wear modest clothing even to swim. Singlets, tank tops and topless sun bathing are all unacceptable. When visiting religious sites men often need to wear long trousers and women a long skirt or sarong.
CIVET COFFEE/KOPI LUWAK:
Civet coffee, or Kopi Luwak as it’s known in Indonesia, is made from coffee beans that have been partially digested and then excreted by small cat-like mammals called civets. High demand for this expensive drink, as well as the rising popularity of Kopi Luwak with international travellers has led to a proliferation of farms across Indonesia. Investigations by World Animal Protection reveal increasing animal cruelty to meet demands. Rather than sourcing beans from the wild, producers are capturing civets (highly active nocturnal animals) and keeping them caged in cramped, inhumane conditions on farms. Due to the numerous ethical questions surrounding this coffee's production, we strongly discourage our travellers from purchasing Kopi Luwak. If you’d like to know more, visit https://www.worldanimalprotection.org.au/news/civet-coffee-cruelty-cup
OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on a different Intrepid trip than your own.
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (subject to availability), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour.
A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and may be on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
Hotel (13 nights),Camping (1 night),Guesthouse (7 nights)