For travellers willing to step outside their comfort zone, who don’t mind being thrown in at the deep end. Just the ticket for those aged between 18-35 or anyone young at heart with an open mind, an eye on the budget & a nose for adventure.
Our Basic tours offer superb value and are ideal for those who are happy to forgo some creature comforts in favour of an authentic and fun experience. Under the leadership of a fully trained tour leader, you will enjoy all the highlights and freedom of independent travel with the convenience, security and companionship of a small group.
This document contains essential information that you need to prepare for, as well as information you will need during your holiday with us.
We ask that you read it carefully and that you take the document with you on your holiday. It contains information on visas, vaccinations, spending money, etc, as well as a detailed, day by day itinerary of your trip.
International flights, arrival and departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, all other meals, all optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.
Visas on arrival are valid for 30 days, cost US$25 and are available upon arrival by air in Bali, Jakarta, Medan and a few other international airports, or by ship at a limited number of Indonesian sea ports. No extension of these visas can be made, they will be issued to arriving passengers at a counter set up prior to immigration processing. Payment for the visa can be made in all major currencies or by VISA/Mastercard. The above information has been put together as a guide. We do endeavor to update this information as much as possible but it’s also important that you check for yourself as visas are the responsibility of the traveller. Entering Indonesia without any visa is now possible for nationals of the following countries and territories: Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Citizens of these countries will be issued a stay permit on arrival for 30 days free of charge, upon presentation of a passport which is valid for at least 6 months. This stay permit cannot be extended or converted into another type of visa. Citizens of all other countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required. Citizens of countries who aren't on the visa on arrival or visa free lists are required to apply for a visa overseas before travelling to Indonesia. Nationals of all countries planning to stay for more than 30 days in Indonesia have to apply for the appropriate visa at an overseas Indonesian consulate or embassy before their departure.
Many governments publish up-to-date travel advice for countries around the world. Information is gleaned from both local and international sources as well as ‘friendly’ governments, and the notices are often on the cautious side. Sometimes there will be conflicting information. For example, the Australian, UK and Canadian governments may agree on the nature of the advice; however, frequently they do not. And sometimes the views expressed by a particular government can be coloured by political considerations. We will monitor these travel advisories closely and may alter itineraries or cancel trips as a result. However, it is also your responsibility to stay informed and form a balanced view. We recommend that you visit the websites or contact the departments listed below. Unless otherwise stated, it is not normally the intention of the relevant government travel advice to dissuade you from travelling. Rather, it is to inform you of where and when you should exercise caution to avoid problems. Please also note that, as a responsible tour operator, we maintain constant links with our ground operators and your safety - at all times - is our paramount concern. You can check your government's latest travel advice at one of the links below:
Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
U.S. Department of State New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
We strongly recommend you visit your doctor to discuss health requirements for your trip. They will advise you regarding the appropriate inoculations. In some places anti-malaria medication may also be required. Some vaccines need to be administered a few weeks before departure so allow yourself plenty of time. Obtain a certificate of vaccination and carry this with you on this trip. A dental check up is also highly recommended
Vaccinations may be required for this trip. Please consult your doctor or a travel health specialist. The choice of vaccinations can depend on a range of issues including the specific destination, the duration of the trip, your personal health and of course what vaccines you have had before.
Routine Background Vaccines: We strongly endorse current public health recommendations that all travellers should be up-to-date with their routine vaccines such as tetanus, diphtheria, measles/mumps/rubella, polio and influenza, and paediatric vaccinations for children.
Travel Vaccinations: While the food and water-borne diseases such as hepatitis A and typhoid will apply to most of our travellers, other travel vaccines such as hepatitis B, rabies, meningitis, Japanese encephalitis and cholera may apply to select travellers, especially long-term travel. Travel health experts can advise on what is required and also what is not required!
It is your responsibility to ensure that you obtain any vaccinations or preventative medicines for the countries you are visiting – or any which may be required by your home country upon your return. To find out which, if any, vaccinations are mandatory or recommended for your destination contact your local doctor, immunisation centre or medical centre for up-to-date information. If you need to arrange vaccinations or a supply of preventative medicine (e.g. malaria tablets), you should contact your doctor at least two months before you depart. Some inoculations require more than one visit and can take several weeks to administer the full course.
For travellers from Australia and New Zealand, we strongly recommend Travel Doctor-TMVC clinics to obtain the most up-to-date advice on health risks and vaccinations (see www.traveldoctor.com.au for locations and detailed vaccine information or phone 1300 658 844 for an appointment in Australia). Some vaccines require more than one dose, so arrange for your visit at least 4-6 weeks before you travel. Travellers living outside Australia and New Zealand will need to consult a similar organisation in their own country (please ask your travel agent for recommendations), but can still access the following link for information:
You should be issued with an International Certificate of Vaccination booklet that records each vaccination. Always carry this with you on your travels; it could provide essential information for doctors in the event that you fall ill whilst travelling.
Malaria: There is no vaccination against malaria, which is transmitted by mosquito bites and is a risk in the tropical areas. Protection against mosquito bites is essential and where the risk is considered high, anti-malarial medications are recommended. Anti-malarial medications should be discussed with experts as there are different medications available and not all medications suit all people or all destinations. We prefer that trekkers to altitude try to avoid the use of mefloquine (Lariam) if possible.
We recommend that you photocopy the main pages of your passport, your airline ticket, itinerary, insurance policy, traveller’s cheques and credit card. Keep one set of photocopies with you, separate from the originals. Leave one set of copies at home with family or friends. It is also worth taking some extra passport photos with you in case of additional visas, permits or other unforeseen paperwork.
None of the activities featured in this trip require special training or skills, just a reasonable level of fitness and a willingness to participate. If you are in any doubt contact your doctor for advice.
Remember - the lighter you travel the better! You may be buying things as you go, so you should not bring too much from home. Many people find a backpack the most suitable type of luggage for our holidays. Medium-sized suitcases can be used; however, you should avoid the large, bulky cases that are difficult to carry. The lockable suitcases on wheels are the best types to use. Be aware that some hotels in Asia are not over-endowed with lifts (elevators) and there may be occasions when you need to carry your luggage up stairs or along railway platforms, etc.
When packing, consider cultural differences which may mean that some attire that we wear at home is not appropriate in Asia and may be offensive to the local people. Beachwear in towns is not appropriate, nor is 'short' shorts, particularly for women. Light cotton pants are a better option. When visiting sites of religious significance, modest clothing should be worn. Sandals, thongs, flip-flops or jandals are appropriate footwear in the tropics.
Please refer to the specific country section for climate details. When you pack your clothing, consider the climate at the time of year you are travelling and any specific requirements for your trip as at certain times of the year some of the items suggested in the list that follow may not be necessary. Bear in mind that the weather will vary significantly from place to place. The majority of time the weather is warm in South East Asia; however, it may be distinctly cold up in the highlands. If there are specific requirements for a trip, these will be noted in the separate country section, or in the Trip Notes relating to that trip. Please note that in the last few years, the world’s weather pattern has gone somewhat awry. The effects of ‘El Nino’ and ‘La Nina’ are very real and this has resulted in unseasonable droughts followed by unseasonable deluges. Be prepared for the unexpected! Laundry facilities are available in some destinations.
Below is a list of equipment and documentation that we suggest you take with you. Please use this checklist as a guide when packing for your holiday.
It is a good idea to take a small medical kit with you, and you should consider packing the following items:
Antibiotics, Lip-balm, moisturiser, sunscreen, headache tablets, antiseptic (e.g. Betadine), anti-diarrhoea tablets (for changes in diet and water), laxatives, band-aids/moleskin/dressing strips for blisters, small scissors/tweezers. Note that moleskin is particularly good for blisters and can be obtained from any pharmacy.
It is also recommended to carry a letter from your doctor explaining any less common prescribed medications that you may be carrying.
Diarrhoea Stomach upsets are not uncommon when travelling through new destinations (usually a 24 - 48 hour 'bug') and this may cause diarrhoea, leading to dehydration. Should you develop a stomach upset you should eat only in moderation and drink plenty of fluids. It is a good idea to carry a couple of sachets of rehydrants with you (such as Gastrolite). We also suggest that you carry one of the common anti-diarrhoea tablets such as Imodium.
Sunstroke It can be quite easy to get sun burnt when you are not accustomed to the sun in new climates. You should take sensible precautions such as wearing a hat and using a good UV sunscreen. Finally, drink plenty of fluids - preferably water.
Water In general, water is not safe to drink in the areas through which we travel. Bottled Water is widely available and most travellers prefer to drink this. Your guide can assist you in regards to the relative safety of tap water and the availability of bottled water on each tour. When walking, or in hot conditions, you must make a conscious effort to maintain your hydration, drinking as much water/tea as possible to offset fluid loss.
The unit of currency in Indonesia is the Rupiah (Rp). Notes come in the following denominations - 500 Rp (rare), 1000 Rp, 5000 Pr, 10,000 Rp, 20,000 Rp, 50,000 Rp and 100,000 Rp. The most common coins are 25, 50, 100 and 500.
Check out www.xe.com for current exchange rates.
US dollars are the most widely accepted currency, but all currencies may be changed in major cities. There are plenty of money changing facilities in Bali and Lombok. Authorised money changers generally offer the best exchange rates but it’s worth it to shop around. Bali and Lombok also have a plethora of ATMs which can also be used to get cash advances on credit cards. Look for ATMs displaying Maestro, Cirrus, MasterCard or Visa symbols.
You will need to take money with you to cover sightseeing, entrance fees, meals and drinks. Other costs to consider are drinking water, tips, laundry, souvenirs, additional activities during free time and possible delays. It is much better to come with more than you would expect to spend and to end the trip with a surplus, rather than being caught short! It is always useful to carry an additional amount for emergencies that could happen en route. If there is a medical emergency you are sometimes required to pay at the source and be reimbursed later by your insurance company. How Much Money? In our trip notes we have suggested an appropriate allowance for additional meals. This does not include alcoholic drinks, e.g. beer. In addition to this you should carry sufficient funds for optional activities, additional sightseeing, shopping and tips. As a guideline we suggest that you allow $US15-20 per day (or maybe less!) in Asia would allow you to eat and drink reasonably well. Emergency Funds In the unlikely event of an emergency of a personal nature or unforseen changes to the Gecko's schedule, we recommend you have access to an additional US$300 to cover any costs that may arise as a result of these events.
Passengers departing on international flights are required to pay an airport tax of 150,000 Rps. For domestic flights, airport taxes vary from 10,000 to 20,000 Rps depending on the airport.
If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many of our destinations. Although can be difficult to source we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier.
The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers: Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest US$1. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest US$2-US$3 per day for local guides.
Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest US$1-US$2 per day for drivers.
Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-US$4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
In total, we recommend you budget approx US$5-US$10 per day of your trip to cover tipping. At your group meeting on Day 1 your tour leader will discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip.
Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult.
Please make your own way to joining hotel unless you have booked an arrival transfer (please refer to your itinerary for joining hotel name and address).
Generally, your room will be available from around midday as Check In and Out times are midday according to hotel policy. Sometimes it may be available mid-morning but this is in no way guaranteed. If your flight is scheduled to arrive in the early morning you may have to wait until a room becomes available. Alternatively you can book one night's 'pre-tour accommodation' which will ensure that your room is ready whenever you arrive. Please refer to the 'Additional Services' panel in the pricing page of our brochure. When arriving early after an overnight rail journey, it is not always possible to check into your hotel immediately. Please be patient and wait for your tour guide’s instructions. Normally the leader will arrange a day room for guests to share if it is not possible for all rooms to be ready at once. Rooms must generally be vacated by 12.00 noon unless you have made prior arrangements with the hotel reception. If you want to keep your room for longer you may have to pay an additional charge. Please ensure that you settle all bills (eg mini-bar, phone calls) when you check out. If you are sharing a room with someone who is checking out before you make sure they pay their bills at reception or you collect some money to cover their bills as you will be asked to pay upon check out.
Please ask first if you want to take someone's photograph. This is just a normal courtesy and if you are refused permission please abide by that person's wishes. At certain ancient sites, and in most museums, photography (video or still) may be forbidden, or may incur an extra charge for camera-use. Do not take photos of buildings, structures and personnel of potential military significance (including airports, bridges, and police stations).
Travelling with us can provide you with some really rewarding travel experiences. Our tours visit countries where travel modes and lifestyles are often not as sophisticated as our own. There is also a laid-back attitude amongst workers and there will often seem to be huge amounts of red tape and bureaucracy when doing the simplest things. You will enjoy your trip much more if you slip into the rhythm of local life and are prepared to take things as they come.
In most countries even the smallest quantity of an illegal substance is considered a very serious offence and can carry lengthy jail terms. Avoid any contact with illegal drugs. Don’t put yourself and others at risk and never carry bags or luggage for other people. Any person found to be carrying or using illegal drugs will be asked to leave the trip immediately without the right to any refund.
Indonesia is a very inexpensive country to visit by western standards. To put it into perspective, you should pay around 12,000 Rp (about US$1.30) for a small bottle of the local Bintang beer. Bottled water cost around 8000 Rp (about US$0.90c). A normal meal costs about the equivalent of U$$4-US$5.50.
In case of emergency or if you need assistance please call our local emergency number on +62 (0) 811 380 3820 (hotline no: 4 – Edy)
Due to safety reasons, we no longer include a visit to the Monkey Forest in Ubud. Many of the monkeys are now getting very aggressive and there have been instances of people getting bitten and bags being snatched.
There are many cultural differences that you will notice whilst you visit Indonesia. For example:
- Being friendly and polite in Indonesia is considered a very high quality to have. Anger is often considered a weakness. If you find yourself in a situation remember that a smile is often your strongest weapon!
- Try not to criticize someone in front of others. This causes embarrassment, and whilst they will not show it, you will find it hard to get anything done afterwards.
- Indonesians find it difficult to give bad news. So much so that they will often postpone it to the very last minute. They will often deliver it within a beautiful story!
- If you find yourself asking for directions always best to ask a number of times. If a local has no idea what you are asking they will often provide incorrect instructions - this comes hand in hand with not wanting to pass on bad news!
- Whether you are male or female you may find yourself being greeted with "Hello Mister".
- You may find locals asking quite a number of questions, when you meet them they usually want to know where you are going (Mau Kemana), where you are from (Dari mana), whether you are married, how many children you have, how long you are wanting to stay, even how much your salary is etc. If you prefer not to answer any of these questions it's best to make up an answer!
- Indonesians are very religious, to have no religion in Indonesia is considered very strange!
- You may find yourself coming from a culture that is driven by time and money. In Indonesia this is not the case, please remember that you are on holiday and there may be times when things do not go to plan. A popular saying in Indonesia is to be on "rubber time" (Jam Karet).
- Never touch someone's head, or point with your finger (instead use your thumb). If you wish to call out to someone do so with a downward wave. It is also impolite to put your feet on a table or to point the sole of the foot towards other people!
Please remember that our tours are of an adventurous nature. Our style of travelling means that it is more desirable to carry a backpack and a day pack on our tours.
Please note that the accommodation facilities here are basic, but provide you with an authentic experience of how these people live. You may wish to bring an inner sleeping sheet for the train journeys and the village stay, but please note that this is not a necessity. For light sleepers, we recommend that you bring ear-plugs and eye-patches for the overnight rail journey and the village stay. Occasionally it may be necessary to amend this itinerary for reasons beyond our control such as weather and road conditions.
Please note that Indonesia is a developing country whose infrastructure may differ from what you expect in your homeland. Expect poor road conditions and be prepared for some inconveniences due to such things as restaurants or tourist sites being closed (especially during festival periods). Some of the accommodation is of a basic nature, as our aim is to enable you to experience how the local people live.
This is an 'adventure' trip and we hope to expose you to all aspects of the local culture. Please be open minded while travelling, as this will allow you to truly experience everything that Thailand has to offer.
On this trip you may link up with passengers on other Indonesia tours.
At some of the tourist sites and in the cities it is possible you will come across beggars. This can prove an uncomfortable encounter especially for inexperienced travellers. There are many genuine beggars, however there are also those who find the lifestyle easier than working and these people often see tourists as easy prey. As a general rule, if you feel the impulse to give, you should be discreet in the giving. Never make a show of it, as you will attract a crowd, which brings with it its own set of problems. There are often charities that take care of the needy and it may be wise to give to them rather than to individuals begging.
In places you should dress conservatively to avoid attracting unwanted attention and so as not to offend the local population. This is especially applicable to women travellers. Dress rules also apply at many of the religious sites.
Ramadan occurs in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is an interesting time to travel in Indonesia. In the evening there is a celebratory atmosphere as people break their fast, and to witness all this is a real highlight. However, during the day, people must refrain from eating, smoking and drinking so if you encounter someone who is a bit grumpy, be sympathetic! Tourist sites are generally unaffected although some places may close early, but your leader will plan around this. Most hotels bars and tourist restaurants will remain open. Ramadan lasts for one month and the exact dates for each year can be found on the web at www.holidays.net/ramadan/dates.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
Meet your travel buddies in Yogya. Take a cycle rickshaw (becak) tour to the Sultan’s Palace and learn the tricks of the trade in some puppetry workshops.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
Borobudur is a temple complex on top of a hill just out of Yogya. We head to a puppetry show or gamelan concert in Yogya tonight.
Meals included: 2 breakfasts
There's quite a bit of driving over the next two days. First stop is Prambanan and its 220 odd temples, then we stay in Solo and drive to Malang on Day 5.
Meals included: 2 breakfasts
Take the lazy-arse way up a mountain (in jeeps) to watch sunrise. Sleep in bungalows on a coffee plantation in the hills near Kalibaru.
Meals included: 2 breakfasts
Drive to the port of Banyuwangi, where you’ll see kids diving for coins from high poles. It’s the local sport. There’s more to Bali than cheap beer and novelty t-shirts you know.
Meals included: 2 breakfasts
On our way to the north coast we'll check out the temples of Taman Ayun and cool off under the Gitgit Waterfalls.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
Leave the coast and hit the slopes of Mount Batur where we stay the night near Kintamani.
Meals included: 2 breakfasts
Those who are fit and don't mind a 2 am start can attempt an optional climb up to the top of Mount Batur for sunrise. Travel to Sanur and time for shopping, eating and a few Bintangs before the trip finishes.
The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please ensure that you have the most up-to-date information for your trip. We recommend that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
10 April 2014
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