Planning and preparation are both essential home-works that travelers need to do before departing to their dream destinations. However, traveling can be full of pitfalls especially if the plan consists of trips to places away from the comfort of urban civilization. As an archipelago comprising of more than 17,000 islands, many villages in Indonesia are still relying on themselves for electricity and don’t have decent paved roads nor decent public transportation. Traveling to these regions might be a tricky and tough thing to do. Below are the tips that might make the exploration effort easier.
It is very important to be prepared for any emergency before you fly to foreign places. As a general rule of thumb, extensive researching about the remote destination is a must. Knowing the weather forecast, the climate, the local culture and customs is a good start in order to adapt instantly to the destination’s environment. Please be aware that traveling to remote areas in Indonesia might pose travelers to certain risks. Robbery and pickpocketing are common crimes in Indonesia, particularly happened in public transportations, market and other crowded scenes. So, never leave your belongings unattended. Also avoid wearing glittery jewelry and watch inside public transportation nor exposing fancy smart phones and DSLR camera. Appearing low-key at all time and mingling with the locals is highly advised. Talking to local people might also benefit you to find out what and where to avoid when exploring certain remote regions.
When traveling to remote places, consider taking a backpack or carrier and leaving your wheeled luggage home. If the trip consists of exploring Borneo’s lush tropical forest or scaling Rinjani’s peak, a good pair of hiking boots is a good choice to keep your feet comfortable and dry. The rainy season which usually falls in November to March may going to make your traveling path muddy as well as cause your belongings wet or damp. Self hand-wash laundry is advisable whenever you spend days away from a decent hotel. Always keep a sachet of powder detergent and elasticated clothesline inside your bag in case of emergency. Pack yourself sets of quick-dry clothes and quick-absorb travel towel to lighten your laundry chore. Bring along sarong or pashmina since it can practically worn as skirt, blanket or even headgear. During rainy season, cover your backpack with rain cover all the time to keep it clean and dry.
Money changers are widely available especially in Java, Bali, and Lombok. If you travel beyond those islands, finding a place to exchange money (especially for currency other than USD) can cause a major headache. It is better to load yourself up with rupiahs before heading to Indonesia’s outer islands. ATMs of international bank chains such as Citibank, HSBC and CIMB are commonly available in major cities and tourist destinations, but only limited local bank ATMs can be found in rural areas. BCA, BRI and BNI are three local bank’s ATMs commonly be found in small towns. As for credit cards, Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted but keeping a stash of cash with you is the only reasonable way to do when traveling to the country’s remote villages.
Even the most luxurious trip would not be enjoyable if you were sick along the way. To keep yourself in the best shape during your visit to Indonesia’s remote spots, there are several things you need to know. Food hygiene might be questionable especially at street vendors. Lack of water supply and sanitary in remote villages can also lead to poor food hygiene. To prevent diarrhoea, bring along imodium tablets or other diarrhoea medicine with you. Keeping oral re-hydration sachets in your bag is also a good option. As with hepatitis A and typhoid, a vaccination prior to arriving in Indonesia is a wise precaution. Located within the tropical climate zone, Indonesia is a habitat for various species of mosquitos. Dengue fever can be infected anywhere and Malaria is still present in several rural areas in Sumatra, Borneo, East Lombok and some other eastern parts of Indonesia. Malaria prophylaxis should be taken prior, during, and after traveling to Malaria-risk zone to boost the immune system. Bring along insect repellent lotion in your bag and if you plan to camp, sleeping in an insect netting equipped tent is a wise choice.
This article is originally posted in The Jakarta Post Travel