Swings in the middle of the ocean, daily yoga classes, AND getting to hang out with wild monkeys? Think of the best day you’ve ever had multiplied by 20. A gap year in Indonesia is the perfect time to figure out who you are, what you’re made of, and what you want to do with your life! It can be a time to work, save money, explore a new interest, learn a different language, or even volunteer. Lover of animals? More than 60 percent of Indonesia is forested and the constant volcanic activity has produced an environment supporting thousands of animal species.The possibilities are endless with a gap year in Indonesia!
Location! Location! Location! Where you go ultimately defines your overall gap year experience. But with THOUSANDS of islands to choose from in Indonesia, it’s important to narrow your search to meet your particular needs and interests. Do you like the slow paced island life? Or do you prefer the city? Most likely, you can incorporate both into your gap year experience!
Bali. Oh yeah. We’re talking major Eat, Pray, Love scenery. Bali is a popular city for gappers in Indonesia. It’s not just a land filled with infinity pools, stunning beaches, and romantic jungle retreats (as seen online). Instead, it has so much more to offer! Cultural traditions, spiritual atmosphere, luscious nature, adrenaline pumping adventures, artistic vibes, and warm people make this location hard to beat. You can literally visit hundreds of temples and shrines to experience peace and tranquility at any time during your gap year in Indonesia. Let’s not forget the food. Bali is a vegan’s paradise waiting for you to experience it!
Jakarta. Interested in the big city experience? Jakarta is known for its party atmosphere and can definitely be the right place to settle into during your gap year abroad in Indonesia. It is the melting pot of Indonesian cuisine where you can sample street foods originating from each of the country’s 33 provinces. If shopping is your thing, you’re in luck because gigantic shopping malls are scattered throughout the city where you can explore for days on end. Plan to take a fat wallet if you’re a party person because most nightclubs will charge a cover fee around $20. If you’re of drinking age, be aware that alcohol is taxed heavily. Mingle with western expats and upper class Indonesian locals in Jakarta to learn how to save more, while still having the time of your life!
Adventure travel? Internship? Study? Volunteer? Work? No matter what your area of focus, there are countless fun and rewarding opportunities to fill your time during your gap year abroad in Indonesia.
Adventure travel. Ever considered climbing active volcanoes? The 2AM wake up call may not seem worth it, but the view at the top will your make your journey feel like a million Buddhas. Adventure travel is a popular activity for gappers in Indonesia because of its natural beauty and landscapes. Whether you spend your time hiking, exploring the jungles, cliff diving, surfing, snorkeling, or scuba diving—your adventure travels during your gap year will never be dull!
Internship. Along with study abroad opportunities, internships are also highly attractive for gappers in Indonesia because you can learn and gain invaluable experience—all while enjoying breathtaking scenery, surroundings, and culture. Consider a social media marketing internship where you can learn the ins and outs of branding, content design, and SEO, while still having the opportunity to scuba dive every single day! The locations where you can do both of these at the same time are far and few.
Volunteering. Spend some time giving back during your gap year abroad in Indonesia. The amazing opportunity to combine adventure, learning, self-love, and helping others will help you find a clear direction. You will learn more about yourself and where you fit in the world with volunteer programs. If you like working with animals consider a marine conservation volunteer program, orangutan protection, or sea turtle rescue program. If you prefer working with people, consider volunteer opportunities with children where you can help Indonesian schools, orphanages, and maybe even assist with English classes. Build the best version of yourself during your gap year in Indonesia.
Everything Else You Need to Know About Gap Years in Indonesia
Costs and Accomodations. When considering a gap year, cost might be your determining factor of your duration and how you’ll spend your time. On average, plan to budget around $50 per day depending on where you stay, what you eat, where you go, and how you get there.
Planning to live frugal and stay in a hostel? Expect to pay about $10 per night. If you require more privacy or essentials, a budget hotel will likely include Wifi and breakfast ($15) or a chain hotel/Airbnb ($30). Street food will start as low as $1, while higher end meals can start around $4. Plan to use local transportation to minimize costs as well. With over 18,000 islands in Indonesia, you will become experienced at taking the ferries to make your way around the country.
Visas. A 30-day tourist visa can be obtained through the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in your residing country or upon arrival in Indonesia. Visas may be extended at an immigration office in Indonesia and extension lengths may vary depending on your nationality. Be aware that a round-trip airline ticket is required to obtain all types of visas, and your passport must be valid 6 months past your planned departure from Indonesia. Those travelling to Indonesia for business or study purposes must be in possession of a visa prior to arrival. For more detailed information check out the GoAbroad Embassy Directory.
Safety. Indonesia is fairly safe, but plan to take the same precautions you would anywhere else in the world. Violent crimes are uncommon but pickpocketing or theft from hotel rooms and cars can occur. Keep your money and valuables with you or hidden away, and most important—use common sense!
GoAbroad’s Inside Scoop
Why do gap year’s rock? By immersing yourself in a different culture, you will become more open minded and have a broader world view. Not only will you make your parents proud, but you’ll gain a sense of direction and purpose—crucial to preparing you for college. This path less traveled will give you a new understanding that not many others have.
So put a lid on the naysayers and make an investment in your future college career by being purposeful with your life. Research shows that 30% of college students fail to graduate. But with a renewed mindset and refreshed focus, you will fly through college with ease and be ready to conquer the world with confidence.
Besides the obvious sunscreen and bug spray, you are going to need a few other important items when you travel to Indonesia! Don’t forget your universal charger and most importantly bring your appetite! Plan to eat like a local since tasty, cheap, street food can be found pretty much everywhere. You definitely won’t go hungry—Nasi Goreng anyone? Your gap year in Indonesia will be a challenging, yet rewarding year (once you’ve finally mastered that handstand scorpion pose). So get some courage, grab some bananas for your monkey friends, and set off on your best adventure yet!
Come on, take the plunge! Read six reasons on why you should have a gap year adventure in between high school and college!