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Things Girls Need When Traveling Indonesia

indonesia

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.

covered up clothes
Covered Up Clothes

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.

small towel
Packing a small towel is essential

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.

Tampons

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.

umbrella for more fun
Umbrella for more fun

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!

To learn more about Indonesia, be sure to follow Mumun and Vira’s blog, Indohoy. You can also follow the adventure on both Twitter and Facebook!

Book a Viator Tour Before You Go

Private TourBest 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.

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Gear We Use

Organization

Packing Cubes – Organize your luggage with the lightweight, durable and compressible Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Compression Cubes.


Backpacks + Daypacks

Pacsafe – Since they come with extra theft-resisting features, Pacsafe bags make you a more confident traveler. We especially love this bag.

Sea to Summit – Of all the Sea to Summit products, our most recommended is the fits-in-your-palm, super packable Ultra-Sil Daypack.


Personal Care

Nalgene Toiletry Bottles – These leak-free toiletry bottles and tubs come in all sizes – even super tiny, helping minimalists pack it all without bulk.

Turkish Towels – They’re thinner than most travel towels, and they actually cover your body! We can’t get enough of Turkish towels for travel.


Clothing

Speakeasy Supply Co. – They make the awesome hidden pocket infinity scarves that are perfect for stashing secret cash, lip balms, and passports.

Anatomie – Anatomie travel pants come with luxury prices, but they offer many benefits for travelers. See our review of the famous Skyler pants.

Travel Resources

Booking Airfare

Dollar Flight Club – Get flight deal alerts for your preferred departure airport. There is both a free and premium version (recommended for more sweet deals). Members save on average $500 USD per flight!

Skyscanner – Skyscanner is our preferred site for searching flights. They offer unbiased search results and are free from hidden fees. You can also book your hotels and rental cars.


Accommodation

Airbnb – Airbnb is the best place to book out apartments around the world. Sign up using this link to get $37 USD off your first stay booking + $14 USD towards an experience booking!

Booking.com – Search for hotels, hostels, and apartments using this one resource. Use it for flights, car rentals, and airport taxis as well.

Hostelworld – For hostels, Hostelworld remains our number one source for booking stays. Choose from straight up hostels, budget hotels and bed and breakfasts.

Trusted Housesitters – Save money on travel accommodation by becoming a housesitter. Housesitters often have extra duties, like caring for pets and gardens.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Christine says

    I found it really helpful to travel with a large sarong in my purse–easy to tie it on and cover up down to my ankles whenever I wanted to go to a temple!

  2. Nethwen says

    Thank you for this informative article.

    One thing I always wondered, but am uncertain how to ask: How does one become thoroughly clean when using only water after the toilet? Any excess soil or moisture leads to itching and chafing, not to mention stained undergarments.

    Also, how do you keep your clothes from becoming wet? Anyone know where to find tasteful instructions on this technique?

  3. Mumun - indohoy says

    Woohoo! Come to Indonesia :D!

    Sarongs are definitely useful anywhere you go in Indonesia. Even to cover yourself when the sun is a bit too hot.

    Nethwen, don’t gross out on Indonesians just yet when I tell you this, ok?

    We clean our parts with our left hand, until its really clean. Then we wash our hands thoroughly with soap. That also is the origin of why we consider the right hand as the ‘good hand’ compared to the left hand.
    And honestly, most Indonesians don’t understand how ’tissue’ culture can stand not washing their parts with water. I’m somewhat in the middle and I’m very flexible :D.

    What do you mean of keeping your cloths dry?

  4. Vira says

    Or… some girls prefer using both water and tissue. After cleaning the parts with water, they (including me, actually) wipe with dry tissue. It’s dryer than the wiggling method 😀

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  1. […] After finishing my Master’s degree last year, my husband and I moved to the incredible city of Chiang Mai, Thailand.  By day I’m an English teacher at a local private school, and by night/weekend I work with Shan refugees at an awesome organization (thaifreedomhouse.org), eat delicious street food, and am always planning our next trip!  We just got back from a visa-run-turned-adventure through Laos, and in the next year we’re planning to travel all around Thailand and to Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, and maybe Indonesia.  […]

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