White beaches, Komodo dragons, Balinese puppets, orangutans, tea plantations, typhoid, terrorism, suicide bombers, hepatitis, prison. Indonesia is a combination of natural beauty and disaster, incredible art and suffocating repression, rampant fraud and strict police. This is definitely a place where advanced planning and Indonesia travel insurance are essential.
The first step is to get all your shots: Hepatitis A and B; measles, mumps, rubella; tetanus; diphtheria; pertussis; typhoid; rabies; chicken pox and cholera. Plan ahead, as some of these vaccinations must be administered over a few months. If you’re travelling during the Australian winter months, be sure to get a flu shot. The cholera jab may also help with traveller’s diarrhoea. Pack clothes that protect against mosquitoes. Insect avoidance is the best way to avoid malaria.
With 87% of the population Muslim, southpaws beware! Lefties should practice eating with the ‘wrong’ hand at home.
Despite religion, Indo is a boozy place. But many bars cut costs by brewing up their own hooch and pouring it into name-brand bottles. A slight chemical mixup during distillation produces methanol, which turns your buzz into brain death. Stick to beer.
Terrorism, piracy and kidnapping are facts in Indonesia. Don’t smoke dope! The drug laws are very strict. You may be urine-tested if suspected of being under the influence.
When shopping for travel insurance, don’t skip the terrorism insurance. It doesn’t cost much, and if you need it, you really need it. Despite advance planning, medical emergencies happen. Be sure your policy has got you covered. Credit card fraud and pickpockets abound in Indonesia. Consult with your card company ahead of time to know what to do if you lose your cards, or find a €3000 pornography charge on your bill. Consult with your policy writer about inland air travel, as some airlines aren’t covered. (If they’re not insurable, you may want to walk away from that rust bucket.)
It may seem like a lot of work ahead of time, but all that planning will pay off when you’re communing with the Komodo dragons or scuba diving the reefs.