When travelling to a tropical country like Indonesia, you don’t need to pack much. With all the hot weather and no need for warm clothes, it’s a great destination to just stick to carry-on only, which is handy if you’re catching one of the many budget airlines that flies into the country. Some things are obvious to pack, but my latest trip to Indonesia taught me that there are some extras you should also add to your Indonesia packing list to ensure you have an awesome trip.
1. A Camera or Phone with a Camera
It’s pretty obvious, but you’ll definitely want one when travelling to Indonesia to capture everything from the beautiful views to wildlife encounters to cocktails on the beach. On my first trip, I packed a heavy DSLR, that I got annoyed at needing to lug around. However, on my last trip, I found just an iPhone was good enough to use as my main camera. Although I also took an old point-and-shoot that with an underwater casing to use when snorkelling, plus as a back-up. With an iPhone, it was easy to share my photos directly onto social media, and it meant I could travel light.
2. But Ensure Its Waterproof!
This is far less likely to be on your regular packing list! When travelling to Indonesia, there’s always the chance of getting caught in the pouring rain, which was especially likely on my trip during the early rain season, but can happen anytime of year. To avoid ruining your camera or phone, select from either something that is waterproof (or at least splash-proof), take along a waterproof casing (and have it already inside, just in case), or take a waterproof bag (perhaps a dry bag normally used for water-sports, if you want to be 100% certain).
There’s no shortage of swimming opportunities in Indonesia, whether it’s cooling down in your hotel’s pool (and maybe having a cocktail at the pool bar), going for a swim or snorkel in the sea, or having a dip in one of the many natural pools at the bottom of waterfalls or in the forest. It’s a hot country, so take them everywhere with you just in case!
4. Thongs (or Flip-Flips)
Casual wear is the go in most Indonesia holiday destinations, unless you’re staying somewhere fancy, and then I reckon you’re spending enough money that you can choose to dress casually if you want. In that case, the footwear of choice is usually thongs (the Australian term for what most other people call flip-flops). Maybe also pack some summery sandals if you want to dress up at night. But thongs are the definitely the best choice for daytime sightseeing, when visiting temples or walking along the beach, will have you wishing for something quick and easy to take off.
When the sun comes out in Indonesia, which happens quickly even after a torrential downpour, it can be quite fierce. If you happen to forget sunglasses, or break a pair on your holiday, there’s plenty or cheap options available for sale off roadside hawkers; just don’t expect them to be genuine, no matter how much the vendor swears they are!
6. Mosquito Repellant
While many of the resorts in destinations such as Bali will spray for mosquitos, meaning that you shouldn’t spot many while staying in them, it’s still a wise idea to have protection from mosquitos, including on trips during the day. At day time there may be mosquitos carrying dengue fever, while after sunset it’s the ones that carry malaria that you should be concerned about. Check with your doctor whether you should get malaria tablets, which are generally recommended for longer trips to at-risk areas. If you’re only in at risk areas briefly, it’s usually okay to just rely on tropical strength mosquito repellant (I generally buy Bushman’s repellant with DEET in Australia before leaving) and wearing longer clothing to protect yourself.
7. And a Sense of Adventure
Finally, don’t forget to take with you a sense of adventure! You never know what may happen or what opportunities may come up, so grasp them with both hands. If you’re mainly a city person, head to the jungle or do a live-aboard. If you’re not that adventurous with food, trying something new for the first time. It may be your favourite part of your trip!
Travelling to Indonesia during Ramadan? Read about my experience during Ramadan
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