Traffic, Drinking Water & Geckos: Must Read about Indo

No matter if you are in Indonesia already or about to pack your bags: we prepared some essential Tips & insights for an unforgettable vacation and not a 5* but a million star experience!

Cultural Shock: What to expect

  • Traffic: Right after arriving you will think ‘Where am I?’ Honking vehicles, lots of traffic jam and people driving with up to 4 people on a scooter! Want to see a Driving Fruit Stand?
  • Garbage: In the ocean, in the bushes on the streets. Some do not know the difference between a banana and a plastic cup.
  • It’s burning! Many locals burn their garbage since there is not a developed waste collection in most parts of Indonesia.
  • Poverty / Culture: Not everything you see is poverty, some is just culture. People sleep in the same room not only because they have to but also they want to. (Cliques about Indonesia!)
  • Time is rubber! People are relaxed and especially food sometimes takes forever. But you are on holiday and not in rush, right?
  • 15+1 problems you will have coming to Bali & what you can do about it.

Always keep in mind you are traveling in a 2nd world country. Things are not better / worse, they are just different. You come as a guest but you will leave as friends and sometimes even as family.

Getting around: Transportation

Coming here you have two options, either you drive yourself or you get a driver. We advise to drive yourself in small towns but get transportation in busy areas.

  • Rentals: You can simply rent a motorbike with your local host. (50.000 IDR / daily, 600.000 IDR / monthly)
  • Transportation: Need help organizing a ride? Book a Home Sweet Home Ride and travel around with reliable drivers!
  • Police Controls: Bring an international driver’s license to show during police controls. The fee is negotiable (it is weird, yes!) and in case you don’t stop, they will not follow you. (this is even more weird!)

Stay connected: Wifi, Data, 3G/4G?

  • Wifi is available almost at every restaurant and homestays or sometimes even at public places. But keep in mind usually it’s not high-speed internet & just right for checking Instagram, Facebook and E-Mails. Please support the locals: Internet for locals is expensive, don’t steam & download your movies. At the airport there is free wifi. 
  • SIM cards are available in kiosks, phone shops and at the airport.  Simpati/Telkomsel is considered to be the best with the widest coverage (also most expensive). Dial *888# for remaining phone credit and *889# for remaining data credit. To recharge simply use the App or ask for ‘pulsa’ at the store.  XL is a cheap alternative if you are not reliant on good reception.

Health & Safety

  • Water: You might already know you cannot drink the tab water. We also advise you to not brush your teeth with it due to bacteria and heavy metal.
  • Refill Water: Keep it green and refill your water bottle!
  • Ice cubes: It’s a lot of effort to produce ice cubes (freezer, energy, time). Most locals buy it from authorized stores. Enjoy a cool drink & cool off!
  • Food: You might be afraid of the notorious Bali Belly. Simply watch the rule: Cook it, boil it, peel it or forget it! No worries with street food, it’s mostly fried anyway!
  • Mosquitos: Dengue fever and Malaria are transmitted by mosquitos, but Malaria only appears in rural areas. Things to prevent mosquito bites or would you prefer a place to stay with a mosquito net?
  • Health insurance: Make sure your insurance covers your vacation (mostly the varaibles are the country and duration of stay)
  • Stay hydrated & use sunscreen

Better be safe than sorry: Generally speaking, Indonesia is a safe place. But, as with any other country in the world, Indonesia is no exception to dodgy areas or crimes. Read more on how to stay safe!

Emergency contacts, just in case

  • Police 110 (Bali Tourist Police 0361- 224111)
  • Ambulance: 118
  • Fire department: 113


  • Weird sounds in the air: You might wonder what it is: It is a GECKO!
  • (Street) Dogs: they are mostly harmless and peaceful. When barking they want to protect the local homes, but normally they don’t do anything.
  • Monkeys: Have you ever seen in a monkey in wildlife? Yes, they look so cute when they are jumping around or cuddle each other. But watch out: Make sure to put sunglasses, hats, food, etc. in your backpack to not get it stolen. Attacks are rare, but it happens. So stay in distance. 
  • Chicken/Rooster: ‘COCK-A-DOODLE-DOOOO’ That sound is definitely part of nature in Indonesia.

Try some famous & tasty Indo Food

Most famous dish is the delicious Nasi Goreng. Nasi means ‘rice’ and goreng means ‘fried’. You find it for a little money at  ‘Warungs’ (Indonesian word for restaurant). What about some delicious street food and learning eating with your fingers?

Etiquette: Do’s & Don’ts

We are all guests in this world, same in Indonesia: Show some respect.

  • When entering a temple: cover your shoulders & wear a sarong. Did you know that it’s not allowed to enter a temple impurely (Having a period, bleeding,…)?
  • Don’t touch somebody’s head (it is a sensitive zone)
  • When sitting on the floor, don’t show the soles of your feet
  • Take off your shoes when entering a house
  • Dress appropriate: While Bali is easy going on other islands you should cover your shoulders and knees – The locals are not used to naked skin

Religion & Belief:

Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world, though the island of Bali is different: The majority of the population in Bali practices a very unique form of Hinduism. Don’t confuse it with Buddhism, as Hindus have a long list of gods they worship. That’s why Bali is also called the Island of Gods and 10,000 temples. Read more about Black Magic, Rituals, & Ghosts. Have you ever heard of The Stabbing Ceremony?

Language: Bahasa Indonesia

Even though English is widely spoken, specially in touristy areas you can get an extra smile when speaking a couple words of their language. Bahasa Indonesia is the main language everybody speaks while every island (even regions) speak their own dialect or even language. Especially in tourist areas such as on Bali, the locals mostly speak & understand English. Learn your first words with Home Sweet Home Flash Cards and why not try out an authentic Introduction Language Lesson?

Would you like some FREE travel planning, customized for you?

You haven’t planned your activities so far or need some support in planning your travels? Tell us a little bit about yourself and get some help from locals & experts customized for your unique Bali vacation. Simply ask us! 

Additionally  download our FREE Local Travel Guide!

A good deed a day: Travel Sustainable with Home Sweet Home

We visited 99% of the local places and designed their profiles online – We don’t charge anything, not even commission to the locals. We want to support the locals and promote positive tourism to keep the culture alive. We open the doors to the world!

With every booking through Home Sweet Home you help the locals. Learn more why we do what we do!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *