Vaccinations for Indonesia

You can find many information what kind of vaccinations for Indonesia you may need, if you are planning to come to here for longer time (or shorter). But the risks to health whilst traveling will vary between individuals and many issues need to be taken into account, e.g. activities in Indonesia, length of stay, in which part of Indonesia you will stay and general health of the traveler. As well maybe some of the vaccines you already got in the childhood?

It’s recommended that you consult with your general practitioner or practice nurse 6-8 weeks in advance of travel. They will assess your particular health risks before recommending vaccines and /or antimalarial tablets. This is also a good opportunity to discuss important travel health issues including safe food and water, accidents, sun exposure and insect bites. Many of the problems experienced by travelers can’t be prevented by vaccinations and other preventive measures need to be taken.

My suggestion:

    • First of all check in your medical report which vaccines you got in the childhood and for how long it valid (or ask your parents)
    • Second, talk with the doctor, give as much as possible information – where exactly you will stay in Indonesia, for how long, what are your plans for traveling around.

The doctor will recommend vaccines and you can choose which one you really need. Don’t make too many vaccines just because of safety. Many things will depend on you, for example where you will eat, how you will take care of your hygiene, how you prevent yourself from mosquitoes and etc.

Before coming to Indonesia I made such vaccines:

      • Hepatitis A (I manage to make only 2 before coming and after all I found out that I didn’t need this one at all, like I got it in childhood)
      • Hepatitis B (I made 2 before coming to Indonesia and 3rd in Indonesia)
      • Tetanus-diphtheria
      • Typhoid

 

Which vaccines to make suggest some internet sources (you can find and other recommendations)
  • Courses or boosters usually advised: Diphtheria; Hepatitis A; Tetanus; Typhoid.
  • Other vaccines to consider: Cholera; Hepatitis B; Japanese Encephalitis; Rabies.
  • Yellow fever vaccination certificate required for travelers over 9 months of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Notes on the diseases mentioned above:

  • Cholera: spread through consumption of contaminated water and food. More common during floods and after natural disasters, in areas with very poor sanitation and lack of clean drinking water. It would be unusual for travelers to contract cholera if they take basic precautions with food and water and maintain a good standard of hygiene.
  • Diphtheria: spread person to person through respiratory droplets. Risk is higher if mixing with locals in poor, overcrowded living conditions.
  • Hepatitis A: spread through consuming contaminated food and water or person to person through the faecal-oral route. Risk is higher where personal hygiene and sanitation are poor.
  • Hepatitis B: spread through infected blood and blood products, contaminated needles and medical instruments and sexual intercourse. Risk is higher for those at occupational risk, long stays or frequent travel, children (exposed through cuts and scratches) and individuals who may need, or request, surgical procedures abroad.
  • Japanese Encephalitis: spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. This mosquito breeds in rice paddies and mainly bites between dusk and dawn. Risk is higher for long stay travelers to rural areas, particularly if unable to avoid mosquito bites.
  • Rabies: spread through the saliva of an infected animal, usually through a bite, scratch or lick on broken skin. Particularly dogs and related species, but also bats. Risk is higher for those going to remote areas (who may not be able to promptly access appropriate treatment in the event of a bite), long stays, those at higher risk of contact with animals and bats, and children. Even when per-exposure vaccine has been received, urgent medical advice should be sought after any animal or bat bite.
  • Tetanus: spread through contamination of cuts, burns and wounds with tetanus spores. Spores are found in soil worldwide. A total of 5 doses of tetanus vaccine are recommended for life in the UK. Boosters are usually recommended in a country or situation where the correct treatment of an injury may not be readily available.
  • Typhoid: spread mainly through consumption of contaminated food and drink. Risk is higher where access to adequate sanitation and safe water is limited.
Malaria
Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease transmitted by mosquitoes. You cannot be vaccinated against malaria.
  • Malaria risk is present in most areas, except Jakarta municipality, main cities, urban areas and the main tourist resorts, throughout the year. Risk is highest in rural areas and in the five eastern provinces of East Nusa Tengarra, Maluku, North Maluku, Papua and West Papua.
  • In North Sumatra, Jambi, Bengkulu, Borneo/Kalimantan, Central, South East and North Sulawesi and West Nusa Tenggara, risk is not high enough to warrant antimalarial tablets for most travelers, however, it may be considered for certain groups who may be at higher risk e.g. longer stay in rural areas, visiting friends or relatives, those with medical conditions, immunosuppression or those without a spleen.
  • There is low to no risk in Jakarta municipality, the main cities, urban areas and the main tourist resorts, including Bali and Java.
  • Check with your doctor or nurse about suitable antimalarial tablets. Atovaquone/proguanil OR doxycycline OR mefloquine is the first choice.
  • Malaria precautions: avoid mosquito bites by covering up with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers especially after sunset, using insect repellents on exposed skin and, when necessary, sleeping under a mosquito net.
  • If you have been traveling in a malaria’s area and develop a fever seek medical attention promptly.
  • Remember malaria can develop even up to one year after exposure.
  • If traveling to high risk malaria’s areas, remote from medical facilities, carrying emergency malaria standby treatment may be considered.
Dengue Fever
A viral illness that is transmitted to humans by mosquito bites. The mosquito that spreads dengue bites during the day and is more common in urban areas. Symptoms include fever, headache, severe joint, bone and muscular pain – hence its other name “break bone fever”. There is no vaccine and prevention is through avoidance of mosquito bites. Every 5 years in Indonesia exist outbreak of Dengue fever, this year (2015) was the 5th year, so many people got it.



Some information used from internet sources.

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Tips & hacks, useful information for staying in Indonesia

Here is some more useful information for those who are planning to stay in Indonesia longer.

Mobile operators

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).

Internet access

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.

Bank account

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.

Driving license

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.

Laundry

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 :).

Markets

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.
You can buy chalk from insects and draw around places that you don’t want ants to come. After some time you need to repeat this action. If it’s doesn’t work, put the salt on the place that you see ants are coming from.

 

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 :).


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Bukittinggi

I visited Bukittinggi city for the Darmasiswa scholarship program closing ceremony in May 2015. So all the things were arranged and paid for, that’s why I don’t know some of the prices or didn’t visit some places. But still, I have what to share :).

Minangkabau styleBukittinggi (in Indonesian known as “High hill”) is the 2nd biggest city in West Sumatra island. From Padang airport, it ~ 2,3 hours by bus. The road through hills so a bit tortuous.  The town has a hilly contour with small hills and valleys where possible to find ascending and descending roads and stairs for pedestrians.

Bukittinggi citizens call their town “a town with thousand stairs” – but I hardly could call it like this :). Bukittinggi is well known for its beautiful scenery and is surrounded by 3 mountains: Marapi (still active), Singgalang (inactive), and Sago (these 3 mountains more popular in the term “Tri Arga”).

Even if possible to find information that there are many touristic places to see but in my personal opinion – not so much, of course, depends on what you are interested in. I think 1 day, maximum 2 it’s enough for this city.

So the main touristic objects to visit in Bukittinggi:

“Panorama park”
Located on side of The Silent Canyon (“Sianok Canyon”) where possible to see a beautiful view of the canyon with mountain Singgalang as background. You can see here a lot of wild monkeys. It’s a place to have a nice walk or have a picnic. As well you can find here a Japanese tunnel  (“Lobang Jepang”). It was made by the Indonesian people during World War II as a bunker for the Japanese military in 1942.

The Silent Canyon – “Sianok Canyon”
It’s ~ 2 km from the city center. It’s suited on the edge of Bukittinggi which separates the town from mountain Singgalang. The cliffs are 100-120 meters in height. Sianok Canyon is a beautiful green valley with winding rivers on the bottom flowing as far as ~15 km from the back of cliffs.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t lucky to visit “Panorama park” and “Sianok Canyon”. But I think that these places the only ones that really worth seeing.

The big clock tower – “Jam gadang”
Some of the people call it “Bukittinggi Big Ben” :). It’s possible to see it in the center of the downtown and this object became the symbol of the city (this tower possible to see from many places in the city). The tower surrounded by some space where people hang around, sells souvenirs, snacks. In front possible to see “The Hills” hotel (if somebody would like to stay in the center).
It’s 26 meters high clock tower, with a roof shape like Minangkabau traditional house. From the top possible to see the Bukittinggi surrounding. The unique thing that in numerical order 4 numbers written in Roman numeral.
The tower was built in 1926 by the local architect Yazid Abidin with his partner Sutan Gigi Ameh. The clock itself was a present from Queen of Netherlands to Rook Maker, a secretary of Bukittinggi Municipality during colonization time. There are 4 clocks which face to 4 directions. The top of the clock was restored a few times. In the beginning, it had a rounds shape roof with a statue of the rooster. Then it changed into a monastery shape like a roof during the Japanese colonization. In independence time the top was changed to the shape like it is now.
Across the square is traditional tourist markets, called “Pasar Atas” and “Pasar Bawah”. Many goods sold there, from souvenirs, handicrafts, textiles, traditional food, traditional snacks, to fresh fruits, vegetables, chicken, meat, and fish. Behind the market is the town’s old Chinatown with many old shophouses.

Limpapeh bridge – “Jembatan Limpapeh”
It’s a beautiful bridge with Minangkabau architecture. It connects Kinantan Zoo (“Kebun Kinantan”) to Fort de Kock (“Benteng fort de Kock”) passing right on Ahmad Yani street. You can see a really beautiful view from the bridge: on one side the town part surrounded by one mountain on another side – another part and a different mountain.

Other touristic objects that you might be interested to see:

Fort de Kock – “Benteng fort de Kock”
Lays on the hill “Bukik Jirek” that was designed as a fortress by Duch during Paderi War. Like all visiting places have they own story but for me wasn’t so interesting this place – just a nice place to walk surrounded by some cages of birds and through it possible to go to the Zoo by “Limpapeh” bridge.

Kinantan Zoo – “Kebun Kinantan”
Was established in 1929 and is the first zoo in Indonesia with various rare endangered animals. Truly to say the zoo looks quite poor (even if there is really some exotic kind of animals). I was felt sad looking at the animals; some of them were eating plastic bags, some people were riding the elephant. And I could feel like the animal there as well – when local people started to ask making pictures with me. In this zoo, there is a customary house of Minangkabau named “Rumah Gadang”. The museum display many kinds of ancient collections and all building looks impressive. Unfortunately at that time when we visited the zoo, it was closed. And also you can visit the zoological museum.
There are few toilets but they don’t work. Some souvenir and snacks shops.
There is an entrance fee (for fort and zoo the same ticket) – but I don’t remember the price.

Tri Daya Eka Dharma Museum – located in front of “Panorama park”. You can see the historical things when Indonesia opposes the Japanese and Dutch colonial.
Museum rumah kelahiran Bung Hatta – located in Soekarno Hatta street. It’s a place where Muhammad Hatta (Bung Hatta) was born. He was the first Vice President of Indonesia and a proclaimer of Indonesia’s independence along with Soekarno.

Bung Hatta Library – located in the hill Gulai Bancah. The library made by international standards, equipped with audio-visual facilities, conference rooms, auditoriums, and mosques. Meeting rooms are usually rented for various events, weddings and etc. So if you will be lucky enough maybe you can participate in a traditional event.

The ladder 40 – “Jenjang 40” – was built in 1908 and connects the “upmarket” (“Pasar Atas”) with “down market” (“Pasar Bawah”). The ladder was inspired by composer Minang Syahrul Tarun Joseph with the title track ”Andam Oi”.
Panorama Baru view – a touristic object which has still a natural view. On the bottom side, it’s possible to enjoy the Sianok Canyon view. Here you can have lunch or dinner, camping or a bit of hiking.

The ladder 100 – “Jenjang seribu” – it’s an object with green fertile soil and the rivers follow the steep riverbanks gaps. Passing the ladder possible to enjoy the view of Marapi and Singgalang mountains.

 This is were located all the mentioned places:

 

PRACTICAL INFORMATION:

The tourist office is at Jl. Syech Bantam 1 (near the clock tower). Working:  Mon-Thurs 8:00 am-2:00 pm, Fri 8:00-11:00 am, Sat 8:00 am-12:30 pm ( tel 0752/22403).

What food to try in Bukittinggi?
Locals say that here possible to try a lot of delicious food. I enjoy “rendang” – but not all “warungs” prepares it good.
As well this city is famous for: “nasi kapau”, “kerupuk sanja”, “kerupuk kulit”, “denting kering”, “belut kering”, “pisang kapit” and many others.
Where to buy in Bukittinggi?
There are some markets like:
  • “Pasar Atas” (east of Jl. Minangkabau) –  located in front of the clock tower.
    This market provides many kinds of souvenir and special food from Bukittinggi with reasonable price: “sate padang”, “nasi padang” and “kerupuk sanja”. There is another special culinary that you shouldn’t miss when you visit “Pasar Atas”, it’s “nasi kapau” made from special ingredients that have been passed from generation to generation, from area named Kapau.
    Besides the tourism market, Pasar Atas also become a center of trading. The other unique stuff that is selling here is “bordir kerancang” – special stripes. The people of Minangkabau is known for “border” making.  You can found in this market many clothes or material with “bordir kerancang”.
    “Hari pakan” market means special days that more sellers will come. And in each area or market, they have their own “Hari pakan”. In this market “hari pakan” is on every Wednesday and Saturday.
    Try to avoid visiting “hari pakan” because if you will shopping for your own need you will find a lot of signs “sorry not allowed to buy in pieces”.
  • “Pasar Bawah”. It’s a traditional market located under “Pasar Atas”.
    Here you can find vegetables, fruits, meat, fish and many fresh spices, ingredients for cooking. Just like many other traditional markets, when you entered the alleys of  “Pasar Bawah”, you will see the same condition, wet, very humid, smelly especially in the fish and meat section.
  • “Pasar Grosir Aur Kuning”. Jl Minangkabau 19 (located near to Aur Kuning terminal). Has a huge range of textiles from Sumba and Irian Jaya and king sticks from North Sumatra.
    This market lays on a 2.3 ha wide area with around 1470 shops and many more small shops.
    It was built in 1980 and used by people to trade earth resources (plants and spices), and now this market already became the biggest grocery trading on Sumatra island. The meaning of the market name “aur kuning” is “yellow small bamboo tree”. And it seems the development of the market was related to its name philosophy – “when it is small it used for one thing and when gets elder and elder the function changing as well”.
    The “hari pakan” (market day) is on Wednesday and Saturday.

As well you can find some shopping centers, malls, supermarkets.

Festivals in Bukittinggi
This city has many events like:
  • Muharram festival
    To celebrate the entry of Moslem New Year that is the date of 1 Muharam (first month in the Islamic calendar) hence by Office of Bukittinggi Tourism Bureau to performs various activities of like competition of Moslem cloth, singing and etc.
  • Traditional Dance in Medan Nan Balinduang
    Every night in Medan Nan Balinduang is performed by the traditional artistry of Minangkabau filled by galleries under the supervision of the Office of Bukittinggi Tourism Bureau.
  • Horse racing
    Executed 3 until 4 times in one year and performed in Lapangan Bukit Ambacang.
  • Birth commemoration of Bung Hatta
    This event executed every date of the 12th of  August and filled by a various events of artistries.
  • Khatam Al-Quran
    This event usually is executed every vacation of school, where pupils MDA (Islamic Informal Institution) has finalized the education in learning read Alquran, and all the MDA in Bukittinggi does cortege together.

 

Have you been to Bukittinggi city? What else you would recommend to see?