The incredible diversity of Indonesia is commonly known. The archipelago offers a wide range of possibilities and every tourist will be satisfied while staying in the region. Therefore giving you a straight answer to ‘what I should pack?’ seems hopeless. A list of everything we need will change due to your purpose in visiting Indonesia. Those of you who are planning to climb an active volcano or high mountains covered with snow in West Papua, need to pack in a different way than those who want to do snorkeling or diving, lying on beaches and sunbathing. Even those who consider visiting cities and learning native cultures should have other items in their luggage.

To make the answer easier we divided the article into few different groups. You need to understand what kind of trip you want to choose and what is useful. In the first part, we focused on general items, which are crucial for each type of travelling. Next, we concentrate on more specific trips addressed to different tourist groups. At the end we are going to tell you what you should not take to Indonesia with you and why.

Items needed always and everywhere.

  • Health insurance – it is worth buying it before leaving. As everywhere else as in Indonesia some unforeseen circumstances may occur. Some doctor’s appointment or hospital stay may be necessary. In this case the luck of medical insurance can be a bit of a thug.
  • First aid kid- everyone must take what they need on the daily basis. Apart from that any antipyretic, painkillers, an antibiotic for poisoning, special waterproof plaster for blisters, regular plaster and some powder for wounds.
  • Repellents- the more DEET in it the better. The best is of about 50-60%, as the higher may damage our skin. If someone plans to stay only in big cities then the concentration of DEET may be even lower. There are not so many mosquitoes in cities.
  • Raincoat – crucial, as there is quite a heavy rain.
  • Little rucksack for one-or-two-day trip –with many pockets, waterproofed. Just to carry a bottle of water or some medicines. Try not to put your documents or money there. Valuable object are better to be hidden in pockets of your jacket.
  • Padlock- if you do not want to carry valuable object with you, you can leave it at your accommodation. Better hotels provide you with safes or guests can leave their stuff at the reception. However, while staying in hostels or dosshouses padlock is necessary.
  • Earplugs- no matter if you stay in five-star hotel or dosshouse, earplugs are crucial. Especially if a mosque is located nearby. Apart form that the streets of Indonesia are usually very noisy and crowded even at night.
  • Shoes –first of all it must be comfortable. Apart from trekking shoes we always take CROCS as they are very comfortable, waterproof and are perfect for all type of streets and pavements.
  • Sunglasses- the sun is very intense there, so they are really useful.
  • Baseball cap – just to protect yourself from the sun.
  • Guidebook –the good one can be really helpful. We can get the recommendations on where to sleep and to eat with any type of budget.
  • Camera- Indonesia is such a picturesque country with so amazing flora and fauna that you can’t help taking photos all the time. Having a waterproof one allowed you to take underwater photos.
  • Video camera- small, light and wide-angle lens. GoPro can be used in the water up to 40 meters deep.
  • Memory cards –the best choice is to take many of them, just to avoid being damage or lost.
  • Money- credit or debit cards are commonly used, there are plenty of ATM’s however, in more remote and less touristic areas there are less of them. So the best option is to have US dollars that can be exchanged into IDR Indonesian Rupiah. Remember that only new, in excellent condition, are accepted by banks.

Items needed while doing trekking.

  • Trekking shoes –they are crucial as shoes can make our trip unforgettable; either enjoyable or nightmare. You have to think carefully while taking shoes. Boots are the most important items of equipment on all trips. The combination of quality materials and handcrafted production means that you get boots that you can rely on for a long time.
  • Shin- guards –made of proper membrane just to protect your legs and ventilate them. Very useful during the jungle trek as a protection against snakes, leeches and other insects. It can protect us from extremely hard palm spikes.
  • Walking poles –protect your knees from the impact of walking downhill, increase your walking speed, aid balance and stability on uneven trails, improve your posture so that you walk in a more upright position.
  • Insects bites ointment
  • Odourless deodorant stick – convenient, does not spill, does not explode because of heat, does not attract so many insects as a regular one.
  • Microfiber towel – lightweight, take us little space, dries very quickly, very useful to have it at the beach.
  • Long sleeved shirt and long trousers- to protect form insects and sun. There are some cooler places in Indonesia, especially in the evening, so it is worth having something a bit warmer.
  • Sleeping bag and sleeping mat – to comfort yourself.
  • Reusable plates and cutlery – having a banana leaf as a plate is not very comfortable, and so is it eating with your hands.

Items needed at the beach.

  • A hat, sunscreen with high UV, sunglasses and an e-book. A regular book is impractical as it is big and heavy.
  • A mask, a tube, fins –snorkeling is one of the most interesting task that can be done while being at the beach; water shoes – the ocean bed is often stony.

Items needed while visiting cities.

  • It is advisable to have some petty cash as it is easier to change and no one knows how much money do we have. If you happens to have some more cash then you should keep it deep in your pockets.
  • If you wish to visit temples then you have to have proper clothes. It is most appropriate to wear modest loose- fitting ones. Women should wear pants or full- length skirts or dresses with long sleeves. Sometimes they are asked to wear a headscarf. Men should have long pants. Remember that Indonesia is mostly Muslim.

What not to take with you.

  • Jewellery- it is usually useless, and it can be easily lost or forgotten. No point in taking a risk.
    High- heeled shoes –unnecessary luxuries on busy and hot Indonesian streets.
  • Cosmetics –those the very basic ones only, but such as lipsticks, eye-shadows, eyeliners or hairspray are simply impractical.
  • It is often too hot to use them, no time for doing so, and hairsprays can easily explode because of heat.
  • Have in mind the size and weight of your rucksack, that is crucial for your comfort.

Indonesia is a beautiful country that is really worth being explored. You can find anything you want in that place: high mountains, rainforests, fabulous rice fields, green valleys, picturesque beaches with crystal waters and white sands. No one regrets being there. Every single trip is really amazing, but to make it really unforgettable it is crucial to be prepared well. I hope the clues in the article will help you prepare well. If we happen to forget something or if you have your own proven solutions please let us know. Write your suggestions in comments.

Apart from items listed here we suggest you taking infinite patience, positive thinking and a good sense of humour. With all those things packed in you rucksack we guarantee that your trip will be unique and fantastic. Good luck.

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Information technology architect, loving expeditions in the wilderness of Indonesia.

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