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Indonesia is a beautiful country that often doesn’t get the credit it deserves for its incredibly diversity, beauty, food, adventure, and culture. It’s the kind of place that is very raw and real. Aside from the super-touristy areas of Bali, the other parts of the country are unknown to most mass tourists and that’s really where the fun begins. As you’re planning your trip, you’re naturally going to be thinking about what to pack. I’m here to help you with that.
It’s pretty much hot all year round in Indonesia no matter where you are, because of how close the country is to the equator. That means that your packing is going to be focused on summer attire. T-shirts, shorts, and skirts are going to rule most of the wardrobe while you’re there. My personal recommendation is to bring as much quick-dry type of clothing as you can. The more sweat wicking you can get, the more comfortable you’re going to be out there. In addition to that, you’re going to want to make sure everything is as lightweight as possible. Not only does this help with the packing but it also means you’ll be walking around with less weight on you and your clothes will naturally dry faster. From a footwear perspective, make sure you have flip-flops for beach destinations like Bintan Island but then also pack sturdier and breathable sandals for city walking that you might do in Jakarta.
An Interesting Mix of Religions
I didn’t know this at first but Indonesia has quite the mix of prevalent faiths with Islam, Protestantism, Catholicsm, Hinduism, and Buddhism. This might seem like a weird thing to bring up for a packing post, but I swear there’s a point to this. As with a lot of countries in Southeast Asia, you will be channeling your inner Lara Croft or Indiana Jones as there will be a lot of temples to explore. When visiting these temples, you want to make sure you respect local traditions. Both men and women are expected to wear shirts that cover shoulders and part of the arms, so that means no tank tops. Flip-flops are generally acceptable. The general rule of thumb is to dress modestly. For the ladies, I recommend picking up a sarong along the way as those become very handy in these situations to cover up.
Bali Will Impress
For an island so well-known, with its reputation of the luxury resorts of Nusa Dua, surfing near Sanur, and partying in Seminyak, Bali turned out to have it all. But, it was also well-balanced with beautiful rice paddies, mountainous volcano landscapes, monkey forests, and impressive temples. So whether you’re relaxing by the beach or exploring the island, there are a few things I’d recommend. For one, sunscreen is a must because I know from personal experience that travelling with a burn is no fun. Mosquitoes also seemed to be more vicious here than other parts of the country so do make sure you bring your own bug spray and preferrably the kind that includes DEET as I found that to be the most effective. One last big lesson learned here is the fact that you’re going to want to make sure that you bring very clean and crisp $50 and $100 bills that are post-2006 for exchange.
These covers the basics that you’ll want to think about prior to heading to Indonesia. For more tips on everything I learned while backpacking through Indonesia, make sure you check out my mega guide.