Indonesia is vast, so you may need some vaccinations depending on where you’re travelling. It is recommended that you consult with your GP 6-8 weeks in advance of travel
. They will assess your particular health risks before recommending any vaccinations.
Malaria is also present across Indonesia, so you will need to take anti-malarial medication. Wearing long sleeves and trousers is also advised, as well as insect repellent. This also protects against dengue fever. Remember, malaria can develop up to a year after exposure, so keep an eye on any symptoms.
Dengue fever exists in parts of Indonesia and is transmitted to humans by mosquito bites. Symptoms include fever, headache, severe joint, bone and muscular pain, but there is no vaccine and prevention is through avoidance of mosquito bites, so wear long sleeves and trousers, and apply repellent as often as possible.
Tap water is unsafe to drink – also be wary of ice in drinks and unpeeled fruit and vegetables.
Avoid eating bushmeat such as monkeys or bats as these are often carriers of diseases – as well as often being inadvisable for environmental reasons.
Indonesia has some high climbs and trekking routes - make sure you’re aware of the symptoms of altitude sickness before you go.
Leeches are present in the lowland. These are more unpleasant than dangerous, but you can buy “leech socks” which are effective at stopping them, and keep your trousers tucked into your socks or boots.
Indonesia can get incredibly hot and humid, so keep well hydrated at all times.
Bring a basic first aid kit and medication for sickness and diarrhoea if planning to trek or cycle in remote regions.
If you need to be hospitalised, travel to the mainland may be necessary, so be sure you have comprehensive travel insurance, which covers medical evacuation, along with any other activities you may be doing, such as high-altitude hikes, kayaking or diving.
Forest fires in Indonesia can cause serious air pollution in June to August; travellers with respiratory problems should exercise precautions.