Viktorija Panovaite
What to take

What to take with you before coming to Indonesia

It’s my recommendation what to take before coming to Indonesia. Mostly this information useful for Darmasiswa scholarship students but as well some parts for those who are planning to come to Indonesia longer than 1 month or just for short period.
It’s just advice, nothing is mandatory. Only you know what you can need during living abroad.


Don’t take too many clothes, in Indonesia, you can find second-hand shops, other cheap clothes shops as well very known brands. Also, don’t take clothes that are expensive, have some meaning for you, a lot of white ones and etc. like in laundry sometimes soon those clothes will change color,  white will become grey, can be damaged or lost. With the shoes the same – during the rainy season will be very humid, so your shoes can be damaged by mushrooms.

In Indonesia, people are more discreet than in Europe or other countries. Usually, girls wear a T-shirt, rarely a low-cut or a sleeveless T-shirt. Nobody will criticize you because of your clothes, nobody will do or but don’t feel harassed when you get stares. In most universities, it’s forbidden to come with flip-flops (called sandals in Indonesia). At university or any institution, public or religious building, proper clothes are a must
Large-sized men and women may not easily find ready-to-wear clothing to fit them. However, tailors and seamstresses can easily make custom clothing to fit any size individual. Large shoe sizes are also not available, the exception being sports shoes at the factory outlet stores. Indonesia generally uses the European shoe size system, making up to size 38.

My suggested list for girls:

  • T-shirts (that covers shoulders, with straps, long ones)
  • Shorts (till knees, short ones)
  • Skirts (till knees or long ones)
  • Dress (casual till knees, nice one till knees to wear in official ceremonies for example weddings if you will be invited, meeting with important community people and etc.)
  • Pans (for trekking, for evenings – like during the rainy season will be a bit colder, as well going with the scooter in the evenings the wind can be cold)
  • Leggings (longer, shorter – very good for daily activities, going with the scooter. But in Indonesia you can buy it as well with batik patter and etc. :))
  • Sweater or jacket (for trekking, colder evenings/ going with scooter and light one for very sunny days not to get burn your skin, which covers all arms)
  • Shoes (slingback, slippers, sneakers, trekking shoes (if you like to trekking), suitable for rainy weather – for me was very good – “Crocs”)
  • Swimsuit (better to take a couple – one-piece for those beaches that comes not a lot of tourists or just swim with shorts and T-shirt – like it’s common between local people and second – separate for touristic beaches)
  • Raincoat (if you have your favorite take it with you (if you like trekking you can take warmer one as well), if not – during the rainy season you can buy in Indonesia very cheap and choose from many kinds :)
  • Sleeping clothes (if you wear them during the night ;))
  • Home clothes – where at home (if you changed them after coming from outside)
  • Underwear (for the girls with more curvy hips, you must know that most underwear is not available in your size, except for the international, expensive brands)
  • Scarf (for entering some visiting places, cover in the beach)
  • Hat (if you have your favorite, take it – if not, you can buy it in Indonesia)
  • Belts (if you need for pans, your dress or other clothes)
  • Socks (for trekking, wearing at home during the rainy season because can we quite cold walk on the ceramic pavement)
  • Clothes for your studies (if you choose dances, ceramic and etc.)

And any other clothes that you think you can need or you like to wear :).

Hygiene stuff:

  • Cream for the face (everybody told me not to take it like it’s humid and the skin becomes very quick oily, but for me, it helped during the trips on the road, like it was easy  to remove the dust from my face and it does not stay straight on the skin, the cream observe it)
  • Ears pick (just for the beginning, like later you can easily find it in Indonesia)
  • Shampoo (travel size – the empty bottle will be useful for the trips in Indonesia and later you can easily buy here, except if you use some specific shampoo then take a bigger amount). Notice: most girls in Indonesia experience hair fall, lack shine, and less smoothness. A reason for this is the low quality of tap water. It is highly treated with chemicals (absolutely not drink it) but it also affects the skin and hair.
  • Comb (take your favorite from home)
  • Toothpaste (travel size – till you will find the nearest shop where to buy normal size, except if you use some specific toothpaste, then take bigger amount)
  • Toothbrush (just for beginning, later you can easily find a new one)
  • Dental floss (if you use it, it helps to keep the tooth clean after all Indonesian food and I didn’t find in Yogyakarta, where to buy it)
  • Sun cream (you can easily find here but only till ~30 SPV, if you use a specific one or stronger, take it with you from home)
  • Bath gel (travel size – the empty bottle will be useful for the trips in Indonesia and later you can easily buy here, except if you use some specific shampoo then take a bigger amount). Better to take antibacterial – like the water in some places not so clean, so you can get allergy, acne (but in Indonesia, you can easily find soap “Asepso” – for me helped a lot)
  • Body lotion (even if in Indonesia quite humid, still sometimes skin needs some “help”)
  • Scrub (for face and body if you use separate products, it helps to remove the dust after driving, walking)
  • Shaving tools (take more recharge, like in Indonesia hard to have opportunities to choose from different brands and find it, as well it’s quite expensive comparing with Darmasiswa scholarship amount). Also take shaver cream, if you use – epilator (for me it was the best solution). Waxing is mostly not available in Indonesia, so if you like it – take with you enough tools.
  • Tampons (if you use it, take enough, like here it’s very hard to find, if you are lucky it will be very expensive for a small amount (compering with Darmasiswa program money) or better take menstrual cup – water to clean you will find everywhere)
  • Pads (if you have your favorite, take enough, if not – in Indonesia you can buy them easily in bigger supermarkets. There are many brands of normal pads, night pads, day pads, etc.
  • Manicure tools (everything that you use, if like – take some colors, remover you can buy in Indonesia)
  • Pumice for feet (if you use that, like after trips, walking without shoes it’s very useful)
  • Perfume (take if you have your favorite smell, but I almost didn’t use it, like on the sweaty body (and during the dry season you will sweat a lot :D, take a shower probably couple times per day) it doesn’t smell nice :()
  • Deodorant (take if you use it, I took ball it was much better than spray)
  • Make up tools  and remover (if you use makeup, take your favorite tools and colors)
  • Eyebrows tools
  • Wet napkins for cleaning (just for the trip) if you will need later – you can easily find in Indonesia as well as disinfection liquid for hands
  • Spry from mosquitoes (strong one, like during the trips and at home, you will have them. And mosquitoes can cause Dengue fever)

And any other stuff that you think you can need or you used to use :).


  • If you use some medicine by recipe – take the recipe with you and enough amount of medicine because possible that you won’t find exactly medicine in Indonesia. Also if you usually use some medicine at home – just write on the list their name and if you will need, you can show for doctor (for example almost nobody in Indonesia use probiotics, like the expenses of the insurance here doesn’t cover – when I asked to give me some – they asked me what kind of brand I usually use – I didn’t remember and they give me whatever they found in the medicine list :). The medicine you can buy here as well but you may not find exact brands that you used to use and also the same brand medicine for Indonesian people can be modified by their health condition (like usually, health conditions of different nations are different).
  • Antibiotics (if you can’t get them before coming to Indonesia, take it – it will be helpful during the rainy season, as the weather will be windy, sometimes cold and humid, easily to get flue and similar disease)
  • Plaster (for the trips and till your foots will adapt hot weather, sweating foots and disappear calluses )
  • Bandage (especially useful for the trips)
  • Deodorant or powered for foots (useful for trips and first months till foots adapt for hot weather)
  • Disinfection liquid or cream (useful from scratches, like fly can bring you easily infection on it)
  • Cream from mussels paint, tension, bruise
  • From the paint (head, muscles, stomach)
  • From diarrhea (especially can be during first months till stomach adapt for the new food)
  • From nausea (especially can be during first months till stomach adapt for the new food)
  • From fever
  • From throat paint (will be very useful during rainy season or during the hot days, drinking cold drinks and the going to air conditional room)
  • From the flue (by accident you can get it even during dry season because of temperature differences between outside (hot) and air conditional rooms (in shops, university and etc.)
  • Drops for eyes  (if you have contact lenses it will help your eyes to keep not so dry, as well because of big air pollution even those that not use lenses can feel dry eyes, so it useful)
  • From acne (if you use some medicine at home, take with you, also good to have some preparation from it because of sweating, air pollution and not quality water you can get it easily)
  • Vitamins for immunity system
  • Contact lenses and liquid for cleaning it (if you use it, I suggest to take enough pairs for all Darmasiswa scholarship period)
  • For girls: contraception pills or other medicine that you use (if you use it take enough for your scholarship period and take the recipe as well. Can be that you won’t found exactly the same that you use, as well in some pharmacy (especially in smaller towns, villages) they can ask you to show marriage paper before selling it (not allowed to have sex before marriage and if you are not married it means you don’t need such pills ;)) It’s difficult to find the morning-after pill.
  • Condoms: you can find to buy them in Indonesia in pharmacy or supermarkets. You can find international brands and local production. But don’t expect to have such a big variety like in Europe, so if you have some favorite ones – just take them with you from home.

And any other medicine that you think you can need or you used to use :).

Other stuff:

  • Passport
  • Plane tickets
  • International driving license (if you have. In Bali only with the international driving license you won‘t be stopped by police)
  • Vaccination book (if you will take any vaccinations before coming to Indonesia)
  • Insurance document copy (if you will have it, in a case if you will need to use it immediately)
  • Laptop
  • Mobile (take with you and your country SIM card, like sometimes it’s cheaper to contact with your family in emergency case)
  • Photo camera
  • Hard disk (to put pictures from a laptop, to download movies, make a copy of your laptop documents)
  • USB (good for files that you can need to be printed)
  • Chargers (for mobile, photo camera, computer, and other devices that you will take). Your device system should work in Indonesia with a transformer, if necessary, to adjust to voltage differences.
  • Scissors (moved to new house you never know what you can need to cut and first weeks you may not know where to find what)
  • Strong glue (in a case you will need to glue your shoes, furniture and etc.)
  • Towel
  • Mirror (at least small one, like you don’t know if in a house will be any)
  • Sunglasses
  • Earplug (if you are sensitive for sounds, in the beginning you will need it because of loud callings from mosques for praying and etc.)
  • At least one time fork, spoon, knife (you never know what will be in a house for first days)
  • Stuff for trips (if you like to travel so you will need some usual things that you take with you. Sleeping bag – you can buy here quite cheap, mattress for trips or tent as well)
  • Flash (for trips and if electricity will be gone)
  • Books (at least a couple of them, later you will find some places where you can change your books, rent it or buy-but in the English language it will be more expensive)
  • Souvenirs from your country (sweets, some traditional cookies, postcards, magnets – whatever small, like you will visit some places, also can organize an international evening where you will need to present your country)
  • Jewellery (if you use it)
  • Bag, purse (for daily use) – but in Indonesia you can find really colorful and beautiful ones.
  • Money (enough for first months when you will need to pay for rent, buy some things for a house)
  • Catadioptric (if you will walk in the evenings in the streets without light, here nobody use it – so if you would like to buy, I don‘t think so that will be easy to find)
  • Mosquitoes protection (net to cover the bed – here you can find but can be not good size, not good material, so better take what you usually use during the trips) also can bring electrical tool from mosquitoes, like during rainy season there will be a lot of them.
  • E-bank facility (if you use take with you security codes or other things that you need to log in to your e-bank)
    Passwords: in safe place write the passwords to log in to your e-mails, e-bank, mobile. If you won‘t use it frequently you can just forget it.

And any other stuff that you think you can need or you used to use :).


All imported food in Indonesia is expensive (comparing with Darmasiswa scholarship amount) and not in every shop you can find known food brands. So if you like to cook, I suggest to bring from your country:

  • Olive oil (even small plastic bottle)
  • Spices (oregano, pepper, tarragon, and others that you usually use)
  • Chocolate (Indonesian one doesn’t taste like real one)
  • Alcohol (just in a case wine bottle or something stronger, like here in shops you won’t find a lot, mainly can drink in restaurants that is orientated to a tourists)

And any other products that can last long, don’t take much space and weight, is specific from your country.

Maybe you have other suggestions what to take more? Share your ideas :)

Useful? Great! :) You might also like these:

What to do before going to Indonesia
Vaccinations for Indonesia
1 EUR “power” in Indonesia