When we think of a holiday in Indonesia, Bali immediately comes to mind. While the island is one of the most beautiful places in the country – and certainly one of the best places to visit in Indonesia – it is only one of some 17,000 islands that make up the Southeast Asian country. It’s a land of many incredible natural wonders, home to so many different cultures, traditions, plants and landscapes. But the one underlying aspect of this vast and varied country is its warmth and friendliness, its simplicity and charm.
As the largest island country in the world, Indonesia is home to over 200 ethnic groups that speak more than 300 languages, living on islands that offer a multitude of incredible, diverse landscapes. Centuries-old history is seen everywhere you go, from the imposing Borobudur Temple in Java to the striking Uluwatu Temple in Bali.
Indonesia’s numerous natural wonders include unique wildlife (this is where the giant orangutan lives, along with the legendary Komodo Dragon). And its marine world is quite extraordinary, making diving and snorkelling around Indonesia’s extensive, vibrant coral reefs an absolute delight for divers and underwater enthusiasts.
Why visit Indonesia
- It’s an intriguing, intoxicating land offering some of the greatest adventures you can experience.
- Its natural attractions are abundant and spectacular.
- It is home to untouched beaches, mountains, lakes and other breathtaking landscapes.
- Diving and snorkelling are unmatched in Indonesia’s legendary coral reefs. And the surfing is famous, too.
- The weather is superb year-round.
- It’s one of the oldest countries in the world, with a rich and fascinating history.
- The food is delicious – and very diverse.
There’s something for everyone to enjoy on holiday in Indonesia, whether you’re looking for a beach holiday, adventure, history, natural beauty – or a little bit of everything. This charming, beautiful destination will provide an extraordinary experience. Let Thompsons Holidays take care of all the details for you with one of our fantastic Indonesia holiday packages.
Indonesia is made up of thousands of islands offering visitors a picturesque tapestry of lush jungles, golden beaches and rich culture. There are excellent snorkelling and scuba diving opportunities, fascinating traditions to discover and friendly locals to meet. Most people travel to Indonesia for a beach holiday in Bali combined with some island hopping and a culture trip on the mainland.
Beach life is just one aspect of an Indonesian holiday. There are many exquisite natural wonders to explore, vibrant nightlife to enjoy, superb shopping for traditional crafts and a wide variety of art and culture to discover.
Things to do in Indonesia
- Visit Kintamani, the top of a volcanic caldera with breathtaking views of its crater lake.
- Explore lively Yogyakarta, a blend of ultra-modern restaurants and city life, ancient cultures and traditional music.
- Watch the sunrise over Java’s Mount Bromo.
- Visit the untouched Komodo Islands, literally paradise on earth.
- Practice the ancient art of Batik.
- Learn to surf in Nusa Dua.
- Take a stroll through the rainforest in Kalimantan.
- Watch the Kecak Dance at Uluwatu Temple.
- Visit the iconic lake temple of Ulun Danu Beratan.
- See an endangered Sumatran tiger – there are only 500 left in the wild.
Yes, Indonesia is exotic. It’s also charming and welcoming, and extremely beautiful. Book a travel getaway in this idyllic location now with Thompsons Holidays.
- There are no direct flights from South Africa to Indonesia. You will typically travel via Jakarta, Surabaya, Balikpapan, Medan, and Denpasar.
- The shortest flight duration from South Africa to Indonesia is 13 hours, 40 minutes.
Do I need a visa?
- South African passport holders do not require a visa to enter Indonesia for a period of up to 30 days.
- Passports should be valid for 6 months after travel.
What time is it?
- Indonesia is 6 hours ahead of South Africa.
- The official currency is the Indonesian Rupia (IDR).
- Major credit cards are accepted in hotels and large shops. However, cash payments are preferred everywhere.
- Bureau de Change is found at the airport and offers the best exchange rates. You can also change money at most hotel receptions.
- ATMs are found in most shopping outlets.
- Tipping is an accepted custom in Indonesia. Tip restaurant staff, luggage porters, drivers and guides. However, it is not mandatory to tip.
Language & phrases
- Indonesia’s national language is Bahasa Indonesia. Locals speak their local dialect, e.g. Balinese in Bali, Javanese in Java.
- English is relatively widely spoken in the main tourist centres, and Dutch is understood by the older generation.
Culture & religion
- The Indonesian government recognises 6 official religions: Islam, Protestant Christianity, Roman Catholic Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism.
- When visiting sacred sites and temples, dress conservatively. (See ‘What to pack’).
- Be aware: smoking is only permitted in designated areas. It is prohibited in indoor public areas.
- It is not safe to drink tap water in Indonesia. Bottled water is readily available.
- No vaccinations are currently required but check with your travel clinic before you go.
When is the best time to visit?
- Indonesia has a varied climate, but you can visit all year round.
- The best time to travel is in the cool, dry season – between June and October.
- Indonesia’s rainy season is usually from November to March. The wettest months are January and February.
- Average temperatures range from 30°C – lowest temperatures are in July & August.
What must I pack?
- Depending on when and where you visit, lightweight clothing for summer, warm clothing for winter, rain gear, beachwear if relevant and ski gear if travelling to a ski resort. Choose items that can be layered.
- Comfortable walking shoes.
- Sunscreen, lip balm, hat and sunglasses for summer holidays.
- Mini first aid kit and regular prescription medication.
- Hand sanitiser and insect repellent.
- Travel adaptor.
- Taxis and buses are easily accessible. Taxis are preferable. Inter-island ferries are also frequent.
What can I do to be a responsible traveller?
- Wherever possible, buy local food and souvenirs and support local artisans.
- Avoid single-use plastic; rather take fabric shopping bags with you and use refillable water bottles (when local drinking water is available).
- Respect each other's cultures and customs and avoid imposing your beliefs.
- Do not support animal encounters and wildlife activities that are harmful or unethical.
- Always have a map (or app) on hand, especially when travelling at night.
- Be safety conscious: don’t display cash or valuables. Leave jewellery and expensive watches at home.
- Keep your belongings safe – use the hotel safe for passports and valuables and watch out for pickpockets and bag snatchers when out and about.
What do I do in an emergency?
- If passports or valuables are stolen, report the theft to the hotel/police immediately.
- Contact the Thompsons Holidays 24-hour care line to assist.