I’m excited for this guest post by the lovely ladies of Indohoy — an insiders guide to what to see in Indonesia.
What do you have in mind when you hear the name “Indonesia”? Jungles, naked people on trees, and terrorists? Well, we can’t blame you for we know how powerful and misleading the news media can be. But in case you didn’t know, we are blessed with sunlight all year long, pristine beaches and diverse kinds of cultures and people’s characters. But don’t let it all confuse you when packing your gear for a trip to Indonesia.
There are some items that we recommend a female traveler prepares for herself for the trip no matter which and whatever part of Indonesia you’re going to visit.
Shorts & tank tops
Most of the areas are hot, the average temperature is about 30 C. Even in the rainy season the daylight can make you sweat just by walking from your hostel to the diner in the corner of the street. Shorts and tank tops don’t only help you feel cooler, they’re also space saver in your backpack.
Pants longer than your knees and sleeved loose top
The citizens in Indonesia are predominantly muslim. In some places with strong Islamic teaching applied (ie. in Martapura and Padang), we recommend you to prepare and wear clothes that cover up your shoulders down to at least your knees. In Banda Aceh they’re even stricter. Females are to wear headscarfs and long pants. And you don’t get trouble with the Sharia police. A tip so as these clothing don’t make you feel hotter under the hot sun: choose the ones with thin materials, but not see-through.
A small towel
If you don’t like to be smothered in your own sweat, prepare a small towel to wipe your sweat as you go along. The hot air will welcome you as soon as you step out of the airplane. In cool places like Lembang in West Java or Batu in East Java you might not need it, but who knows you might decide to go hiking and sweat a whole lot.
They aren’t popular amongst Indonesian women. We use feminine napkins rather than tampons. You wouldn’t have a problem finding tampons in big supermarkets or in Jakarta shopping malls, but good luck finding them in rural areas of Central Sulawesi, for instance. So if you’re a tampon user, better pack them in your bags.
>> Menstrual cups are another option to pack
Tissues / toilet papers / wet wipes
Indonesians use water to clean after themselves in the toilet. Some toilets are equipped with tissues or toilet papers, and some aren’t. As locals, even we have to carry around small packs of these on our daily activities in Jakarta. You can buy them here, too, but just in case you prefer a certain brand and type, then pack your own.
A simple party dress
Who knows! A place with many tourists and a backpacker center like Kuta in Bali offers so many party and event opportunities. Though located in a beach area, it’s nice to show up with not only your bikini. If you come closely acquainted with the locals, you can easily get invited to a local party. Those Manado people love to party! Having prepared your own proper little party dress (but not a skimpy one, just right for a laid-back party) will reduce the hassle when you get invited at the last minute.
A medium sized scarf
This is a multifunctional item. You can wear it as a headscarf, a wrap-around on the beach, to cover your thighs when it gets too cold in the night train of Java, or throw around your simple dress to give it more of a party-look. I always bring a scarf when traveling and it really comes in handy.
Raincoat / umbrella / rainproof jacket
Being tropical, rain can be unpredictable. It’s one thing if you’re already underneath a roof once a rain starts, but it’s another thing when you’re trotting around in the jungle, traveling far on a motorcycle taxi, or hitchhiking on the back of a truck with cauliflower. You’ll be glad you have waterproof attire with you to protect your dry clothes that you can change in to. Plus, it can be the icing on the cake in your pictures. No more boring poses!
So come visit Indonesia being as prepared as you can be. Aside from these items, and with a little creativity, you can get everything else that you need in the country. Hope you’re ready for adventure!
Book a Viator Tour Before You Go
Best Private Tour: Puncak Highland from Jakarta – $83.75*
Exchange the hustle and bustle of Jakarta for the cool and misty Puncak Highland. This private day trip from the capital takes you to the town of Bogor, situated in the foothills of Mt Salak. Learn about the area’s horticulture from your private local guide as you stroll through Bogor Botanical Gardens, and then visit the Gunung Mas Tea Plantation. Glimpse mountain resorts and vast tea plantations as you travel through Puncak Pass, ending your full-day tour with an Indonesian lunch at a local restaurant.