Indonesia & Malaysian Borneo Practical Information
Indonesia What to Expect – Day to Day Experiences
You are embarking on an adventure in a place and amongst people whose lives are very different from your own. Many aspects of life in Indonesia will seem unusual. Remember that these are often the same aspects that make an area an exotic and attractive destination. While boat expeditions are considered easy, no trek is easy, even those rated “easy or moderate”. In addition to the personal physical challenges you may face, travel conditions can present unexpected obstacles, such as rough and bumpy roads and changeable weather. To prepare for this “pack” a flexible and relaxed attitude. Bring a spirit of adventure and inquiry, a healthy sense of humour and a willingness to encounter the unexpected, and you will find your trip to Indonesia the adventure of a lifetime!
A valid passport is required by all foreigners traveling to Indonesia. For United States, British and Australian citizens, a visa can be obtained upon arrival in Jakarta and Bali. Passports must have at least 6 months before they expire. An Indonesian Tourist Visa is valid for 30 days. Visas are available on arrival. You will need a valid passport, proof of sufficient funds for your stay and an onward airline ticket with confirmed bookings. The fee is currently US$25 (it is advised you have the exact money to prevent delays).
The currency in Indonesia is the Ruphia (Rp). Exchange rates vary depending on the strength of the US dollar. As of May 2008 a U.S$ is worth Rp 9000. Cash and travellers’ checks are readily accepted and can be exchanged for Ruphia at the airport, hotels or banks in any major city. Credit cards such as American Express, Visa and MasterCard are accepted in many hotels, shops and restaurants in major towns and cities. There are also plenty of ATM’s in Bali and one ATM in Labuan Bajo. For spending money while on expedition it is best to have money in local currency (Rp).
Adequate travel insurance is mandatory for everyone who participates in a Pioneer expedition. Emergency Medical Evacuation Insurance is required for all participants. We strongly recommend that you take out baggage loss and accident insurance. Please bring a copy of your insurance policy and contact numbers to give to your expedition leader in case of illness or accident.
Many of the places you will visit are pristine. As travellers, we should try to have as little impact on these natural environments as possible. As such we recommend the following:
1/ We discourage the use of soaps when washing both body and clothes. Vigorous scrubbing is usually sufficient. Even biodegradable soap is not good for any water course and as such is harmful to the eco-system
2/ Please do not dispose of plastic bags and wrappers in either pits or in fires. These take years to degrade or let off toxic fumes when burnt. Simply put them in your pack until you return home (they can be discarded in waste bins before going through customs and immigration).
3/ Please do not dispose of batteries in country. They are extremely harmful to the environment and usually local governments do not have any means to dispose of them correctly. Return old batteries to your home country for disposal there.
4/ At campsites, use toilet facilities that are provided. If you are in the remote, walk off the track and dig a small hole approximately 15cm deep and at least 100m from any water course. If safe to do so, burn used toilet paper in the hole (toilet paper takes a long time to degrade). Once fire is out, cover with soil. In rocky terrain (where a hole cannot be dug), cover waste with rocks. Tampons and sanitary pads should be placed in a plastic bag and placed in the rubbish bin back at camp. By abiding by these simple guidelines, you will be protecting the local environment for the people who live there and for your children’s children.