2 weeks before departure

Make sure your luggage is up to the task. A medium sized ‘four wheel spinner’ for checked bags and a smaller than average four wheel spinner carry on is recommended. Marshalls and AAA have good deals. Look for double zips, medium quality or better zips, 2 zipper pulls (one on each end) and a large outer pocket on the rollie. NEVER buy black. 95% of all bags are black and yours will be hard to find.

It’s also helpful to buy 4 word locks. A word lock is the same as the 3number luggage lock except is has 4 letters and therefore is 10 times harder to break. Make sure they are TSA compliant (can be opened by TSA) and order 4 locks from Amazon. Locks are useless against hardened thieves who will just cut the bag open, but they do deter workers who in 5 seconds open your bag and pilfer a couple of high value items inside. A word lock will deter them enough to skip your bag and move on to the next one.

Your carry-on bag should have two parts. The larger rollie that you may need to check at some points like a hotel valet, and a smaller knapsack no larger than a purse that can be used for day excursions.

Buy small gifts and bring many many business cards.

  • Expect to receive gifts when you are leaving
  • Be prepared to give small gifts to your hosts and others who have helped you in unexpected ways
  • Expect the people to whom you give gifts not to open them in your presence unless you request they do so

4 weeks before departure

Check your Health Insurance coverage

Maintenance or Daily Medications

If you take daily pharmaceuticals that you get from a US Pharmacy each month, you may experience some challenges if you travel to Indonesia for more than 2 – 3 weeks.   Call your pharmacy in advance to be sure you can get the drugs you need for your entire stay. It is EXTREMELY HARD to have your drugs follow you by being mailed/shipped from the USA – the shipments will come under a lot of scrutiny and may be delayed. Try to take the drugs you need with you. If you can’t, get the script from your USA doctor  and bring it to the pharmacy in Indonesia since many drugs are ‘over the counter’ in Indonesia. You may need to see an Indonesian physician to receive a prescription, the name brands used in Indonesia may be different than in the USA, and understand that like the USA opioids are carefully controlled in Indonesia. Googling ‘Australia – Indonesia Pharmacy Concordance’ will help you find either the same drug using a different name, or a similar drug, in Indonesia. Understand that the drugs purchased in Indonesia may not be eligible for reimbursement by USA health insurance because the insurer may not recognize the name of the drug or it may not be on their approved schedule. You can appeal that decision and see what happens.

Activating your cell phone

Here are 2 stories that occurred representing the range of issues with US cell phones in Indonesia.

One traveler checked with T Mobile and determined there was free data and texting in Indonesia included in his US plan. He traveled around the country 2 weeks texting and search www sites, returned to the US, and incurred no extra charges.

A second traveler checked with Verizon and determined there were roaming charges. He decide to turn his phone off on arrival in Indonesia. He plugged in his phone to charge overnight which had the effect of turning the phone on. Since apps were running in the background, before he woke up in the morning he inadvertently accrued $50 in roaming charges.

Therefore, check diligently with your US provider to determine what is included. Make a decision as to whether you will use only your US phone with roaming, or if you will obtain an Indonesian telephone sim card and number on arrival. Generally, if you are in Indonesia for less than a week with only a small number of tasks, you can get away with data and text only. If you are there for 3 weeks you will likely want to get Indonesian 4G service on arrival with voice, data, and text. Regardless of what you decide, have your US provider electronically ‘unlock’ your phone so a new sim card can be placed in it on arrival in Indonesia. Historically US providers worked hard to talk customers out of this option, since they cannot charge the exhorbitant roaming fees, but more recently they are willing to unlock your cell. If you get any resistance then ask to speak to a supervisor. The sim card is a small electronic card inside the phone to which the phone number is attached. A ‘locked phone’ is synced only to the US sim card. An ‘unlocked’ phone allows users to insert other sim cards. When overseas you can buy a new sim card for small money so that your ‘US Phone’ will become an ‘Indonesian phone’ with an Indonesian number. On return to the US you swap the sim cards back. Note that a small number of US phones, mostly Motorolas, do not have a sim card, which means if you want to have an Indonesian number you have to buy a cheapie Indonesian phone since there is no sim card to swap out in your US phone.

In Indonesia, cell phones are called Handphones, abbreviated HP (pronounced hah-pay).

On arrival in Indonesia, bring your passport and HP to a cell phone store and bring a local with you. Locals will have different preferences and different companies have better coverage in some cities than others, but generally if you’re in Java choose Telkomsel. If you’re traveling across Indonesia choose Indosat. Indosat works marginally less well than Telkomsel, but it works in even the most rural areas.

At the store you will buy a sim card ($5) and a data/voice/text plan. Texts are called sms. You will also need to pre-pay for minutes (called pulsa) and data. Decide on how much you want, but usually $10 for limited use and $30 for moderate use is about right. Have the store clerk show you how to check your balance and if there is any special access/discount code to call the USA. Check the data, voice, and text features before you leave the store. If you run out of pulsa you can go to most shops, provide your number and how much pulsa you want to buy, and be recharged in 5 mins. Most people buy additional minutes in 100,000 IDR blocks. It will cost about 105,000 IDR, because it’s 100,000 for the pulsa and 5,000 for a service charge.

8 weeks before departure

Airline Ticket Purchase – Special requests such as meals, seats, frequent flyer numbers, and passport information should be provided directly by you to the carrier. Carriers can lose this information and long delays can happen (recently, 14 hours on the tarmac in a dust storm at Abu Dhabi) so pack foods and buy liquids at the gate (liquids will be taken at security screening).

– Keep the baggage stub you receive when you check your bag – you will likely need to show it in Indonesia when exiting the baggage area.

Clean out your bookshelf to donate books to our BOOKS DONATION PROGRAM.

– Buy a ‘universal power adapter’ with usb outlet. About $15 on Amazon. Buy 5-10 cheap flash drives with small memory ($25-$50 on Amazon). DO NOT place your usb drive into other people’s  computer and then back into your own, especially a private computer. A lot of software in Asia is pirated, has viruses, and can crash your system. Save the work, give it to your Indonesian colleague, and have them keep the usb.
– Leave hair dryers and curling irons at home and buy one at destination.
– Your laptop will be smart enough to know what voltage it is plugged into.
– If you want to use your cell phone in Indonesia, well before you go, check the rate for Indonesia with your carrier.  The rate may be as high as $5.00 per minute for calls and for voice messages and $1.00 per minute for text messages. Instead, call your provider and tell them you want your phone unlocked. Then buy a sim card on arrival. Some US Carriers (T Mobile) has good international data coverage. Check with your provider.

  • The least expensive way to maintain contact with family and colleagues is email and Skype
  • Wifi and internet connection generally works in hotels.
  • International Direct Dial calls from hotels are exorbitant. Don’t use it.

12 weeks before departure (EX; ES)


  • Passport valid for 6 months beyond return date. Two blank pages.
  • Visa types:

1. Tourist. Citizens of about 150 countries can enter without a visa for stays of less than 30 days. US Citizens are eligible. If you are not a US Citizen check your eligibility. No visa required.
2. Visa on Arrival – Citizens of 80 countries are eligible. Good for 30 days and renewable for another 30. If you arrive at 23:55 and depart 10 minutes later at 00:05 that’s a 2 day stay so count carefully. Pay $35 USD Cash at the VOA booth before the first immigration counter. Do not overstay your visa. This category is used for faculty and volunteers visiting educational organizations. DO NOT SAY you are ‘working in Indonesia.’ Say that you are visiting colleagues in Indonesia for meetings. Pick this up on arrival.
3. Educational and Social Cultural visa. Requires application at the Embassy 3-6 months prior to departure. Used for faculty conducting research or those who need an extended stay.

Consider if you want to volunteer to be a speaker at a partner institution in a transit city. Join the USINTEC Facebook and let people know your expertise.

Decide if you need inoculations. See Medical Advice on the previous part.

The book ‘Indonesia’, published by Lonely Planet, and available at Barnes and Noble stores or Amazon is an indispensable guide


University Guest House. Many universities have guest houses on or near campus for long terms stays (1 week – 1 year). Expect AC, satellite TV and a housekeeper who may prepare meals.

Hotels. Can range in quality and come in all shapes, sizes and star levels. Agoda.com is an excellent resource and allows you to book and pay in advance in USD. But don’t feel the need to have to book everything a month in advance unless it’s holiday time.

Guest House – Indonesians use the term ‘Guest House’ as the name for the kind of accommodation we might call ‘Inn’ or ‘Bed and Breakfast.’

College Dorms. Often bunkbeds in a large room, sometimes separated by partitions without Air Conditioning. Generally not used by US travellers.

Kost – an apartment sized building with 2 – 50 rooms. Sometimes the room is only large enough to hold a matt on the floor. Others are more like a 1 bedroom apartment. Price will dictate if there is AC, TV, wifi, bathroom in the room, and cooking facilities. Rented by the week or month to Indonesian students and sometimes  faculty.

  • Travel light to avoid excess baggage costs; laundry service is good but expensive in major Jakarta hotels; expect anything you wash by hand to take 2 days to dry. If you can find a local laundry in the neighborhood expect incredibly cheap prices and amazingly cleaned and pressed clothes.


During your planning, determine who will pay what costs. OSU faculty should read the OSU Travel Policy. If a traveller is funded by US federal funds, such as Fulbright or a grant, the ticket must be ‘Fly America’ compliant. If it’s funded by any Indonesian funds, travelers must keep their ORIGINAL boarding passes for ALL flights. If the pass is lost, try using the bag tag as a substitute.  After the ticket is purchased, enroll in the relevant frequent flyer program. A roundtrip ticket to Indonesia will earn about 24,000 miles – almost enough for a free roundtrip ticket in the USA.

Airlines. Here are tips for international ticket purchases.
– Google Expedia or other search engines for flights. Some travelers want the shortest trip and connections (25 hours) while others want longer itineraries (48 hours) with long stops in transit cities that can be explored.

– If you have time and flexibility, be creative in exploring options. Funders are willing to buy elaborate itineraries as long as the total price is less than the cheapest most direct route. Examples include: 1. Columbus-Chicago-Tokyo-Jakarta-Beijing-Wuhan-Jakarta-Tokyo-Chicago-Columbus cheaper than a roundtrip ticket to China. 2. Columbus-Dallas-Tokyo-Jakarta-Guangzhou-Auckland-Sydney-Dallas-Columbus cheaper than Columbus – Jakarta.

– Know approximate costs before calling the travel agent. Generally between Labor Day and Memorial Day (except at Christmas) roundtrip fares should be $800-$1,000. Memorial Day – Labor Day fares can be $1100 – $2200. Cheap fares can be obtained as little as 2 – 3 days before travel, but choices become more limited and less likely.

– There is no non-stop flight from the US to Indonesia. Typical carriers are American or JAL (Chicago/Dallas via Tokyo), United or ANA (Chicago/Newark via Tokyo), Delta or Asiana (JFK/Atlanta via Seoul or Tokyo), American or Qatar (DC/JFK via Doha), Cathay (Chicago/JFK via Hong Kong), Singapore (Houston/Moscow/Singapore) or Emirates and Etihad (DC/Dallas via UAE). Note middle east carriers weigh carryon luggage leaving the USA and insist on less than 9 pounds (that’s not much). Also, returning to the USA laptops in carry-ons are prohibited. Best service? Singapore. Good service? Cathay, ANA or JAL. Acceptable service? American, Delta and the Middle East Carriers. Worst? United.

– After you have the itinerary and price call the travel agent. If the agent provides a crazy air fare, persist and find out why. It’s not uncommon to get an initial estimate from an agent with a crazy price but when you demonstrate your homework the agent will persist and find the fare you identified on the www.

– In preparation for your trip, consider: 1. Packing personal clothes near the end of their life which will soon be given away and wear them in Indonesia. Then leave the clothes behind and bring home mementos in your bags. 2. Participating in the book donation program. Academic and children’s books can be shipped in your luggage and donated to partners in Indonesia. Ask for details. 3. Bring materials in one bag, leave the materials, and use the bag for taking home treasures. 4. Make sure you have 6 months left on your passport after the return date. Research which visa you will need (see below).

Domestic Air – EX

Use Skyscanner.com to identify domestic Indonesian carriers or regional international flights to adjacent countries. Some western agencies and online sites do not have ticketing agreements with these carriers. Arrange with your Indonesian host to buy the domestic ticket for you and reimburse them on arrival.

Garuda – a legacy carrier with meals and tv.

Lion – a discount carrier similar to Southwest.

Wings – regional prop planes operating on flights less than one hour owned by Lion

Citilink – Garuda-owned discount carrier.

Batik – Lion-owned full service carrier intended to compete with Garuda.

Air Asia/AirIndonesia – Air Asia is the Malaysian based discount carrier providing regional international flights which also owns Air Indonesia providing domestic flights.

Sriwijaya – old planes on less traveled routes.

Nam – a new start up owned by Sriwijaya.

Expressjet- a new startup for less travelled secondary cities.

Kalstar – load your own luggage and sit next to the pilot on these small planes for isolated areas.

  • Expect to be charged excess baggage by domestic airlines
  • Expect your luggage to show up on the next flight if it doesn’t make the trip with you; report it missing in the baggage claim area, give your hotel information; get an airport number to call to check to see if it has arrived; expect it to be delivered within a few hours.
  • You may think the kind people of Indonesia are pushy and mean when flights are called or in boarding planes. Not so! They have a different sense of personal space. The aisle in the plane is considered a 2-way space. Someone in the widow seat may try to crawl over you. The moment the flight is called expect 100 people to charge the gate at once. But don’t interpret that as being pushy – just as being efficient. Enjoy this time to meet your neighbors, smile and enjoy it, and if you need space ask for it. Just hold up your hand and say ‘Wait’ or motion you will get up from your seat so your new friend can get to the window seat.


Rail. Except for  an air train service in Medan, an inner city service between Jambi and Palembang, and a proposed train in Kalimantan, all rail services are located on the island of Java. Two lines run east – west between Jakarta and Surabaya with one line on the north shore and the other on the south shore. One line then connects Surabaya with the eastern terminus connecting to Bali ferry service. The quality of the trains is comparable to commuter train services in the Northeast USA. The Air Conditioning is good and the cars are well-lit, even over night. There are 3 classes of service: Executive (Airplane style seating), Business (Bench seats for 2) and Economy (Bench seats with 2 facing 2). The bench seats can be turned to face the window or for groups, can be turned to face your fellow travelers. The rail service has its own www site but Traveloka.com also is helpful.

Some cities may have one station but multiple stations are listed far from the city center. In other cases, like Semarang, 2 stations may be within one mile of each other. In Jakarta, two stations serve the city, with one providing national service and the other regional service, so make sure you have the right one. Executive and Business class tickets sometimes avoid frequent stops. Traveling by car may be quicker according to google maps, but if there’s traffic cars are stopped while the train moves on. Generally, rail trips less than 5 hours are faster by train and those more than 6 hours are faster by air.

Tips: Trains can book early. On board, go to the Dining Car and try the “Train Chicken”

Ferry. It’s an island nation so there are hundreds but the most heavily traveled ones connect Java with Sumatra and Java with Bali. It’s an adventure but it will take 1 – 2 days.

Taxi. Some cities are served by bluebird (blue Toyotas) or silverbird (black Mercedes with drivers who speak some English). If your city is, ONLY USE that company. They’re the best and safest. They also have an app you can download.

RideShare. Uber or Grab. Grab is more popular. Download the app. 60% of the cost of taxi.

Ojek. A guy on a bike who you walk up to on the street and you ride on the back. Most trips $1 – 2. Gojek – A guy on a bike in a green jacket marked Gojek. You can order one with their app.

Angkot. Minivans that run on routes. You can discern the route by number, color, sign, or a combination. Less than $1 per ride. Ask locals for routes and fares.

Trikes. In some cities, like a gojek with 3 wheels.

Bus. A range of busses of different qualities departing from one station if it’s intercity or multiple stations in the city. Transjakarta is the Jakarta one that runs on special lanes. If it’s painted pink, it’s for women and small children only.

Travel Car. It could be a minivan. Or it could be a car parked at a known pickup location. When the car fills up with people who want to go to the same place the driver leaves. About $5 for a 3 hour trip.

Walking. Streets may not be lit and there may be deep unexpected holes in the sidewalk. Don’t break a leg.

Self-Drive Car/Motorbike. DO NOT self drive. You’ll be lost and frustrated. To rent a car with a driver is the same as to rent without, so trust your local driver. Indonesia requires insurance but not many have it so if there is a collision expect a lot of loud angry arguing from the other driver, all his friends, and whoever he can recruit to yell the loudest. As a foreigner, you will lose.

Here is a story recently shared by an Indonesian colleague:
“Well I drank too much and I hit another car – it was a small dent. The other driver yelled at me and found a police officer so we went to the Station. In Indonesia the Army is stronger than the police so I called my friend from High School who is now in the Army. He brought his friend. When they arrived at the Station the police left and my Army friend threatened to hit the other driver. That’s when the friend of my friend who is also in the army said – hey – that other driver is drunk too! That’s when the police came back and said everyone should go home since both people were drunk and the court would not be able to find anyone guilty. I drove home but my Army friend told me I had to be careful because he was going away to fight terrorists and if I hit someone else he would not be around to help me.’

  • Expect to be driven around by your hosts or their drivers
  • Expect to spend an hour trying to get anywhere by car in a major city
  • Macet – the Indonesian word for traffic.
  • Jakarta has THE WORST traffic in all southeast Asia.
  • Look out the windows while in transit to take in Indonesian life, work, and people; you will miss them if you talk or work all the time
  • Sit in the front seat with the driver if you want to wear a seatbelt
  • Trust your Indonesian colleagues, your driver, and a higher spiritual power; sit back and relax; you are NOT in control
  • Expect taxi and university drivers to take short-cuts through neighborhoods and shopping areas or to go one direction to a round-about and then turn and go back the other way. Indonesian drivers try their best to avoid traffic jams and must abide by city rules (e.g., 3-in-1, must have three persons in the car to use main streets at certain hours)
  • Watch the synchrony of vehicles as they dance with each other through traffic
  • Learn why government employees sometimes carry 2 different license plates not necessarily corresponding to the vehicle registered to that plate.

Planning your trip (EX; ES)


The Indonesian School Year is similar to the USA, starting late July to late August, with a month long break beginning around Christmas, and resuming in February to late June. There is some variation in start and end dates across the country.

Indonesians observe Muslim, Christian, Buddhist and Hindu religious days, so there are a lot of Holidays. Holiday names may be misleading. For example, Nyepi of Balinese Hindu New Year is a day of complete silence with lights and electronics turned off. No Balinese person will work on this day or she will risk bad karma for an entire year. All flights to Denpasar Bali will be cancelled. Most tourists leave Bali during this day. Idul Fitri is also a mammoth Muslim Holiday which in it’s intensity is like American Christmas and Thanksgiving in one. It’s at this time that Indonesians generally return to their family homes for the holiday. During the week before and after the three day observance, no meaningful work can be done. On the Eve of Idul Fitri expect a 3 hour car ride to become 24 hours and a $50 flight become $500. On the bright side, Jakarta is empty with no traffic. Many holidays are based on alternative calendars such as the Java Calendar, the Balinese Calendar, or the lunar calendar, so they will move throughout the year.

With this in mind, it’s essential that your first step in planning a trip is to google ‘Indonesian Holidays’ and see which ones may be taking place during your proposed trip. Then you should contact your hosts to determine how significant any holiday ay be and how it will effect your trip.

Immunizations and Health

Travelers have had different experiences with immunizations and illness. Some are immunized for every illness and still seem to contract them. Others have no immunizations and have no illness. It’s recommended you:

– Google ‘WHO Immunizations Indonesia’ to see what the World Health Organization recommends. Some immunizations should be received 12 weeks prior to departure so schedule a Doctor visit early. OSU Faculty with PrimeCare coverage can receive immunizations from the Travel Clinic at Rankin Family Practice Center on North High St. Uninsured travelers can receive good prices on immunizations from their County Public Health Clinic. Immunizations likely include Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B if you plan to have tattoos, acupuncture, or engage in sexual activity with Indonesian partners, Polio adult booster depending upon your age and the type of vaccine you took as a child, Typhoid, and a Tetanus/Diphtheria booster if your last one was 10 or more years ago.

For faculty covered by Primecare, google ‘Travel coverage – HR OSU Benefits Medical’ and print reference pages that list your international medical coverage. For students, or faculty traveling with students, google ‘OSU OIA Education Abroad travel insurance’ – students must have this coverage. The coverage is highly recommended for faculty.
-The illness you’re most likely to encounter is Traveler’s Diarrhea, usually contracted from contaminated water or food preparation. Exercise caution in drinking water, or consuming uncooked foods. YOU MUST DRINK ONLY BOTTLED WATER in Indonesia. No where is tap water intended for consumption. Exposure to bacteria occurred 6 – 24 hours prior to symptom onset. So if you ate some bad pizza at 6 pm and are sick at 7 pm, whatever is making you sick is probably what you ate for breakfast or lunch. Symptoms differ by patient, but likely include rapid onset nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, sometimes severe. Use pharmaceuticals listed below to control symptoms. If symptoms exceed 36 hours or are so severe that dehydration is setting in get to a Doctor.

In preparation for your trip, gather medicines to take with you. In Indonesia, medicines from Azithromycin to Viagra are available over the counter at the Apotek (Pharmacy). Here are some common medicines travelers carry with them from the USA or obtained shortly after arrival in Indonesia. Talk with a Doctor before taking medicines:

Purchased in USA
– Sudafed 24 – decongestant for allergies, colds, and for travelers experiencing ear pain during the ascent/descent of flights. 1/day.
– Loperamide – 2 mg. Take one after second bout of diarrhea and additional pills about every 4 hours as symptoms persists. Generally Doctors don’t want you to take Loperamide – the ‘poop it out’ philosophy. But if you need to travel or sleep then you have no choice.

– Dramamine. As indicated, for nausea and vomiting.

– Benadryl – for allergies.

– Tylenol – for headaches.

– Aspirin – take one every 4 – 6 hours during the duration of your 24 – 36 hour flight. This suppresses blood clots forming in the lower extremities. Deep Vein Thrombosis is extremely rare, but is real and serious. Aspirin can help.

– Bandaids, tweezers, sunblock (minimum spf 40), needle/thread, fly spray – using wipes in small packets will be more convenient than a fly spray. This guards against mosquito-born dengue fever spread by day-biters.

– mini pack Kleenex tissues and Wet Wipes in small packs for toileting needs since restrooms outside malls and hotels do not stock these items.

Purchased in Indonesia

– Ciprofloxacilin – antibiotic used for travelers diarrhea in Indonesia. 500 mg x 2 /day maximum 14 days. Can be taken on arrival in Indonesia 500 mg x 1/day to avoid onset of diarrhea maximum 14 days.

– Azithromycin – antibiotic used for travelers diarrhea in countries adjacent to Indonesia. 500 mg/day x 3 days.

– Ondansetron – a pill that goes under the tongue for severe vomiting when you can’t keep a Dramamine down. 1 – 2 at onset, and additional 1 every 3 – 4 hours for symptomatic relief.

Seeing the Doctor in Indonesia. Like the USA, the quality of health care can vary widely and you may have extremely negative or positive interactions with health care professionals. In extremely rural areas you may potentially purchase pharmaceuticals for veterinary use which are also effective for your ailment. Gili Trawangan is an example since there is no resident Physician.

Worst experience of a traveler: A traveler with a routine yeast infection presented at a specialist obgyn hospital in Jakarta and was told by a ob-gyn specialist that yeast infections are only common in, quote “slutty American women and Indonesian women do not have such infections.” (In Indonesia yeast infections are generally called ‘thrush’ in English, and because of the disruption in climate and diet the chances of getting one are slightly heightened. If you’re looking for an Indonesian equivalent to Monistat or other drugs, google ‘Australian Indonesian pharmacy medical concordance’).

Best Experience of a traveler: A traveler presented at an Eye/Ear/Nose Specialist with a classic case of Whooping Cough contracted in the USA. He was treated and medicated within 15 minutes for $15.

Other best experience of a traveler: A traveler with severe diarrhea and vomiting from Travelers Diarrhea was transported by ambulance including services of a doctor, nurse, and driver, hospitalized, treated, medicated and released in 8 hours for $400.

Indonesian law requires that physicians practicing in Indonesia must be fluent Indonesian speakers. They may or may not speak English and their English may be non-existent or it could be quite good. If you can, find a physician who may have been foreign trained to maximize the chances your physician can ask you questions or explain your treatment in English.

Here are some tips:

  • Jakarta, MCCC Siloam Hospital, Jl Garnisun Dalam, No.2-3, Semanggi, Jakarta. From Indo cell phones: 021-2996-2777. Ambulance dispatch: 1-500-911
    Bali. Singaraja Public Hospital. Jl Ngurah Rai 30, Singaraja. From Indo cell: 0362-22573.
    Bali. BIMC Kuta, Jalan ByPass Ngurah Rai, No 100X, Kabupaten Badung, Kuta Beach, Bali, 80361. 0-361-761-263. www.bimcbali.com
    Yogyakarta. Rumah Sakit Bethesda, Jalan Jenderal Sudirman 70, Yogyakarta, 55224. From Indonesian Cell Phones: 0-274-562-246. www: Bethesda.or.id
    Outside these areas, see recommendations from the Lonely Planet publication Indonesia, or call your travel insurance providers for recommendations
  • For routine illnesses especially those contracted locally, like a jelly fish sting or Dengue Fever, local physicians are well equipped to diagnose and treat those. Physicians often have their practice attached to an Apotek (Pharmacy) and are open 8:00-22:00, 6 – 7 days. Bring a local with you, possibly from the hotel, to translate.
  • If you have a life-threatening illness, like chest pain or stroke-like paralysis, go to the NEAREST hospital IMMEDIATELY. If possible, try to bring a local with you to translate but do not delay. Also, unlike in the USA, take the first car or taxi to the hospital that is available. Ambulance service and traffic is not necessarily rapid like in the USA. Unlike the USA, it may be quicker to take a taxi to the hospital than to wait for the hospital to send an ambulance to you. (Indonesia does not have 911 services, and ambulances are dispatched from the hospital.)
  • If you are managing a complicated illness, like heart disease, cancer, or an auto-immune disease, and you know your illness is worsening and will need complicated and complex intervention, rather than making an emergency return to the USA consider travelling to Singapore. From Jakarta and Bali flights to Singapore are running every couple of hours, and the flight time is 1 (Jakarta) or 2.5 (Bali) hours. Potentially, from the moment you make a decision to travel to Singapore to the moment you are in a Singaporean hospital, it could be as little as 6 hours. After 2 – 3 days treatment you could potentially opt to return to your assignment in Indonesia. This could be much better than returning to the USA, because if you decide to return to the USA it will probably take you a minimum of at least 36 hours to arrange and make the trip. So Singapore medical interventions which are comparable to the USA, represent a more rapid treatment option and if your health is stabilized give you the option to return to Indonesian work. When completing your travel insurance forms and you need to list the countries to which you are travelling, list both Indonesia and Singapore so that you will be sure you are covered.
  • Additionally, if you spend enough time in Indonesia you will meet Indonesians who also use faith healers or shaman. Some shaman are scams, intent on taking the patients money. Other shaman harness traditional rituals to capitalize on the power of belief to support mental health, or sometimes sleight of hand to create illusions that cause the patient to believe they feel better. These shaman operate at the edge of traditional muslim teachings, since islam stands against ‘black magic’ but shaman using traditional rituals would argue they are healing and not using supernatural powers. It will be also helpful to understand that large numbers of Indonesians believe in the supernatural, especially ghosts.


Personal Safety

Indonesia is as safe as the US.
Threats from People. Like the US, Indonesia will have dangerous neighborhoods, dangerous people including terrorists, and dangerous experiences like some raucous political demonstrations. But like the US, you can avoid these rather easily and have a great time. Get advice from locals about the neighborhood. Dress so as not to draw attention from locals. Travel in groups. Secure laptops in the hotel safe. Keep phones out of sight unless in use. Spread your cash in multiple pockets. Keep small amounts of cash (called ‘small money’ in Indonesia) in one pocket so you do not show large amounts of cash in public places.

‘Preman’ are petty criminals who extort cash from locals. But since they don’t speak English foreigners are more or less left alone. AVOID police interactions. Don’t do anything that’s likely to draw the attention of police. Don’t drive. Don’t bring expensive items like jewelry with you. If you have to obtain a police report for insurance purposes, bring an Indonesian friend with you to help talk to police. Consider having the friend make the report for you.

Threats from Nature. Like the US, Indonesia has nature-related dangers including earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, and cyclones. And like the US there are precautions you can take like making an emergency plan, but bad weather can happen anywhere including the US or Indonesia.