Here is some more practical information for those who are planning to stay in Indonesia longer.
In Indonesia you will find 4 main mobile operators (“Telkomsel”, “XL”, “Indosat”, “Smart”) with different prepaid cards – for example “Loop”, “IM3” and etc. One of them is more expensive but covers mostly all Indonesia and you will be reachable will be hiking in volcano or camping somewhere further from civilization. Others will be cheaper but sometimes with delay SMS delivery and etc.
Before choosing the mobile operator ask yourself what you need mostly – write SMS, use internet in mobile or something else? Ask local students; people which operator they are using, like most probably they are using the cheapest one and which has good connection in the exact (their) area.
Compare some mobile operator’s prices by your requirements and then choose which one suit you best. For example in Yogyakarta, you can find many mobile operators in one place – “Jogjatronic” mall.
In Darmasiswa scholarship opening ceremony, most probably, will be one mobile operator who will suggest their SIM cards for free and will give some extra benefits. Like speaking between Darmasiswa students for free and etc. It’s nice offer – BUT! Most probably it will be one of the most expensive mobile operators. My suggestion – take that free SIM card for couple of first months and then change to that one that suits your needs (believe you can save some money:)).
When you will choose mobile operator you will need to put money to prepaid cards (“pulsa”) each time when you will finish your limits. The “pulsa” amount depends on how much you want to put to prepaid cards. Usually its fixed amount – 5 000, 10 000, 15 000, 25 000, 50 000 or 100 000 Rp. Not in all places you can put bigger amount like 50 000 or 100 000 Rp. As well the “pulsa” validation depends on mobile operator – one suggest validation of 1 month, others – to use till you will finish it (no matter if it will be even couple of months).
Indonesia can’t proud with fastest and very good quality internet :) As well, internet not accessible everywhere. Not many houses have WI-FI, so USB internet modem can be your “best friend” during using internet.
Before choosing the internet provider, if you have possibility, borrow internet USB modem from someone (neighbors, other students) and check if it works in your place. Like different providers have different signal quality, some of them won’t work in your places, others – will be excellent quality.
You will need to put money to prepaid cards (“pulsa”) each time when you will finish your internet limits. The “pulsa” price depends which operator you will choose, how much monthly limit of GB you want to have.
You rare will find any free WI-FI spots in cities. But many cafes suggest free WI-FI access, to attract more customers (you will see that even in their sign outside first “reason” to convince you to go to their place will be written “FREE WI-FI” ;)). But main problem, that most cafes try to save money and make not proper access. If somebody will come first, he will get better quality connection and speed, than those who will come later. So you can imagine if many people at once are using WI-FI how “fast” it can be ;).
You can as well use internet in internet cafes (“warnet”). Usually 1 hour access cost 3 000-5 000 Rp. Some of the places works 24 hours, have all needed equipment like scanners, printers, headsets for “Skype” calls and etc. Some of Indonesian people go there to copy the movies from already downloaded movies folder (usually it’s English movies with Bahasa Indonesian subtitles). You can stay only 1 hour and copy more than 20 GB of newest movies :).
Mostly all universities have free WI-FI but you can log in only with students ID information.
If you plan to stay longer in Indonesia you can easily open your Indonesian bank account. It’s useful when you are traveling, so no need to take bigger cash amount with you. As well if you are a student, you can ask to transfer you scholarship amount to account (maybe not all universities will agree, but at least you can try to ask ;)).
In Indonesia you will find private, governmental or half governmental banks. Which one to choose you can ask couple of local people or students. Most probably they will be using that bank that gives the smallest amount of fees, don’t charge for cashing money in ATM’s. As well check which bank’s ATM is nearest your living, working or studying place. Some of supermarkets “Indomaret”, “Alfamart” have ATM’s too. But not all banks and not all this brand supermarkets gives opportunity to cash the money.
If you want to open your bank account you will need your ID card or passport, visa (KITAS or another one which allows you to stay in Indonesia longer than like a tourist) and if you are student – student card.
You must have international driving license if you plan to drive in Bali. If you don’t have – it’s matter of your negotiating skills when you will be stopped by policemen. In Bali policemen are most “hungry” to “hunting” foreigners and get some extra money.
In other places, the main thing policemen will check motorbikes technical passport (brown paper). So be sure that when you will rent motorbike to get this document and check if it’s still valid. And usually policemen don’t ask foreigners to show driving license. In worst case, just show any document (ID) from your country :).
If you want to buy motorbike you need to get as well blue bigger book – owners documents. My advice to buy motorbike in your city, in another case, you will need to go to another city to extend your documents all the time.
You can get Indonesian driving license as well. You should have permission to live in Indonesia and will need to pass theoretical and practical exams.
Like probably at home you won’t have washing machine, at least time to time you would like to use laundry service rather that washing all blankets by hands and etc. Different places can give you different prices. For example in some places you will pay for a kilos of laundry and if you want to wash blankets, bags and similar stuff they can ask for it separately money. Other places ask money not for kilos but for the stuff that you give – jeans, jackets and etc. and they will calculate separately each cloth.
Around your place you will see quite many laundry services, try to wash in different ones and see how quick which works, how pack washed things, working hours and then choose which one suit you best.
Important thing – sometimes you can lost your clothes in laundry or find something that not belongs for you. As well in laundry they don’t wash separately white and dark clothes – everything goes together. So after some time light close can change color. As well they use only cold water and sometimes your clothes can be damaged. Doesn’t matter which place you choose – it’s just happen time to time everywhere :).
Most of the bigger markets have morning and night working time.
In the morning best time to go there till 8:00 am. They will work till ~12:00-1:00 pm, but at such time you won’t find many options left, just couple sellers. In the morning they sell mostly food.
“Night market” in the same place usually working ~6:00-~10:00 pm. At this time you can find second hand clothes, things for motorbike and etc. They sell new things as well. Best time to come to “night market” on Saturdays, but at that time will come a lot of local people as well. Some “night markets” works separately from day market in some city areas, for example in Yogyakarta, in front of Beringharjo market is parking area (in the morning). In the evening in that parking area is “night market”.
Bathing water cleaning
Like you know (probably?) – in Indonesia mostly using cold water. Often it’s taken from borehole by automatic pump, in some places people as well use well. The water is low quality, it’s treated with chemicals (DON’T drink it from the tap).
After some time using such water with combination of sweat, dust, sun and etc. it can start irritate your skin (even influence your hair condition). Every person’s skin can react differently – can start acne, other skin problems (or maybe nothing at all ;)).
I found out that cleaning often the water trough and plastic dipper helps to prevent some skin problems.
What you should try to prevent skin problems (what I do):
- At least couple times per week, in the evening, put “Dettol” bottles 2 filler-cap to almost empty water trough. Let the water with the cleaning liquid stay over the night. In the morning let out all water away and clean all water trough. Then give a rinse couple of times and full fill the new water.
- Every couple of days let out all water and brushes all water trough walls. Again give a rinse couple of times and full fill the new water.
- At least once per week, clean plastic dipper with “Dettol” like water trough, just put dipper to a bucket, to clean not only inside but outside side as well.
- After some time using dipper buy a new one, depends on dipper condition, decide when is better to change it.
As well I’m using “Asepso” soap, to prevent skin from acne.
If you got any skin problems and cleaning bathing water doesn’t help after sometime, I suggest to visit the doctor.
Protection from “pets”
In Indonesian houses sooner or later you will see couple of frequent visiting “pets”: ants, lizards, geckos, cockroach, and maybe mice.
From lizards and geckos, you won’t probably find protection – and no need :). They are not harmful. Just time to time, maybe, you will need to clean their shit, hear them and see falling from ceilings, running through walls in any places.
Cockroach not harmful but not everyone’s feel pleasure to see them running from corner to corner, flying over your head. If you really can’t stand them, try to spry on them couple of times with spry from mosquitoes. For a moment they will be still very alive, but then you will see how poison kills them (so don’t spry too much and expect that effect will be sudden ;)).
Most harmful are ants and mice. Both of them like your food that you may leave not carefully closed. As well ants like to live I wooden parts of doors or windows.
- First of all keep your food in bigger plastic boxes (or other type boxes, bags) closed properly.
- Clean the dishes that contain any sweet things (ants love sugar and you will see how quick they will “attack” your cup of coffee that is even already empty).
- Don’t keep longer that for 2 days fresh vegetables or fruits that you already cut (if you don’t have a fridge).
- Take out often trash bin with food remains from the house.
If mice disturb you too much and make any harm – you can buy poisons. I tried several but only once helped. The main thing that when the mice eats this poison, after some time you even don’t feel any smell or know where mice disappeared. Just be careful taking the poison from the box, better do it with napkins or tissue, not straight with hands.
Hope this information will help you during your stay in Indonesia :).