Indonesia is situated in southeast Asia and is an archipelagic country between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. The country is home to more than 13,000 islands, which is an incredible number and close to 1,000 of these islands are inhabited.
There are five main islands which are Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Sulawesi, and New Guinea. Interestingly, four of the islands are shared with other countries, Borneo with Malaysia and New Guinea with Papua New Guinea for example.
Indonesia has a total land area of just under 2 million square kilometres but coupled with the surrounding sea areas, the total land of Indonesia is closer to 5 million square kilometres.
Indonesia has a fascinating history, which has been shaped by several factors including its natural resources, trade, economics, politics and geographic position.
Fossilised remains suggest Indonesia was first inhabited at least 1.5 million years ago but the Austronesian people, who are the bulk of the current population didn’t arrive in Indonesia until around 2000 BCE.
By the 16th century, Europeans started to arrive on the islands and the Portuguese among others were looking to monopolise the sources of valuable nutmeg, cloves, and cubeb pepper in Maluku. The Dutch landed not long after and did not leave until the Japanese invasion during the Second World War.
Following the surrender of Japan and a diplomatic struggle with the Dutch, Indonesia was granted independence in December 1949.
Fast forward to today and Indonesia has the largest economy in southeast Asia and is one of the emerging market economies of the world. Trade, hotels and restaurants play a large part in the economy and tourism, including Indonesia golf holidays and together they form a significant source of its foreign exchange revenues.
Islam is the main religion in Indonesia and according to the Pew Research Forum there are 205 million Indonesians who are Muslims. This makes Indonesia the biggest Muslim country in the world by volume, as it is home to 13% of the world’s Muslim community.
There are several other religions present in Indonesia but in small amounts compared to Islam. These include Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, Hinduism and Buddhism. These roughly equate to about 10% of the population.
The climate of Indonesia is tropical, there are some small variations to this but in terms of playing golf, the best weather in most regions is between May and September. These are the driest months of the year and will give the best chance of a round of golf without interruption by rain.
The wettest months in Indonesia are between October and April, with rainfall coming in short, heavy bursts.
However, when booking an Indonesia golf holiday there are some regional exceptions to be aware of in terms of climate. In Sumatra for example, it rains from October to January in the north, and November to February in the south. In the north of Sulawesi, rainfall can be expected in the northern regions of the island during June and July.
Whatever time of year you travel to play golf in Indonesia, you will experience some rainfall but tropical downpours tend to last just a few hours and not long enough to spoil a golf trip. The temperature averages 28 degrees during the day throughout the year, so there is no need to pack anything too substantial for the golf course.
Passports and Visas
To enjoy an Indonesia golf holiday, you need to ensure you have all the correct documents to gain entry and stay in the country.
To gain entry to Indonesia, you must have a passport which is valid for at least six months from the date of entry to the country. This applies to people from Great Britain, European Union, United States, Canada and Australia.
For visits up to 30 days in length, a visa is not required for nationals from any of the countries listed above. For nationals not included in the list above, you must seek advice from the embassy to check your visa requirements.
If you are planning on staying for longer than 30 days, you should apply for a visa in advance and you must have proof of an onward or return ticket upon arrival at the airport.
The currency in Indonesia is the Rupiah and this is divided into 100 Sen. Generally, tipping is not mandatory in Indonesia and if you look at your bill at an hotel or restaurant you will notice a service tax.
Many hotel services are inclusive of 21% tax, 10% of which is a mandatory government tax and the other 11% is a legally unenforceable service charge. However, if you have received a good service and you would like to leave a tip, anywhere between 5 and 10% of the total bill is fine.
Some restaurants will include a 5-10% service charge in the bill but you can tip anywhere up to 10% of the total bill although this is not compulsory.
It is worth remembering many Indonesian people are on small rates of pay, including those working on the golf course. So, if you do receive excellent service, a tip, however small, is always welcome.
Jakarta’s Sukarno-Hatta Airport and Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport are the main international air gateways into Indonesia, so chances are you will arrive via one of these airports. There are also good boat connections between Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
Once in Indonesia, you will want to avoid taking the public bus, as these are often cramped and will make it difficult for you, especially with golf clubs.
For crossings between islands, you can use the ferry services which are plentiful and frequent. However, to get around the islands and reach the various golf courses in Indonesia, you will ideally need access to a vehicle.
Experienced drivers can hire a car but we recommend organising transport with your hotel or the golf club directly. This will be safer and if you agree a price before starting your journey, there will be no surprises at the end.
Indonesia Golf Destinations
When building an Indonesia golf package, you are spoilt for choice and knowing which golf courses to include can be tricky.
Perhaps the best way to help you decide is by splitting the country into different regions and seeing which offers the type of golf you are looking for, in addition to those which are easy to reach.
This is the capital city of Indonesia and for those arriving by plane, there is a good chance this is where you will begin your Indonesia golf holiday.
The city itself is a huge metropolis, home to some 9 million people and the choice of golf courses here is fantastic. Without straying too far from the city centre, you can play Royale Jakarta Golf Club, which is home to the Indonesian Masters. Just a 15-minute journey from a city centre hotel takes you to this world class championship golf course.
For those up for a real challenge, Jagorawi Golf and Country Club comes highly recommend and is considered one the toughest golf courses in Indonesia. There are three courses in total, comprising of 45 holes and you could easily spend a few days at Jagorawi Golf and Country Club.
Other popular options in Jakarta include Damai Indah Golf, Bumi Serpong Damai (BSD) Course, Imperial Klub Golf, Damai Indah Golf, Pantai Indah Kapuk (PIK) Course and Senayan National Golf Club.
Bali is a very popular island among visitors to Indonesia and while the forested volcanic mountains, beaches, coral reefs and religious sites catch the eye of every visitor, Bali is also home to several excellent golf courses.
It could be difficult to tear yourself away from the sandy beaches of Bali but thanks to Bali National Golf Club, you will have little problem in motivating yourself for a round of golf. This is ranked as the best golf course in Bali by many who play the 18 holes and following the extensive renovations in 2013, it is easy to see why it is so highly regarded.
Bali National Golf Club was voted one of Asia's top 5 golf courses by Fortune Magazine back in 1997 and it has only got better following that recognition.
For a round of golf along the dramatic Bali coastline, nothing beats Bukit Pandawa Golf and Country Club. This is an 18-hole golf course with a difference, as every hole is a par-3 and it enjoys an envious location next to the Indian Ocean and some of Bali’s world class hotels.
Other golfing options in Bali include New Kuta Golf Club, Handara Golf Resort and Bali Beach Golf Club.
Playing golf in Bintan is a special experience, with only the sound of birds and the waves to compliment your round. Well-known for water sports, beaches and exclusive upscale resorts, Bintan is also making a name for itself thanks to the choice of championship golf courses on the island.
You have four excellent golf courses to enjoy on Bintan and could easily spend a whole week of your Indonesia golf holiday on this island and still be left wanting for more.
The big names in golf design have been eager to showcase their talents on Bintan and Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Greg Norman and Ian Baker-Finch all have golf courses on this Indonesian island.
Perhaps best known around the world is Ria Bintan Golf Club, created by Gary Player and here you are just as likely to see monkeys as you are other human beings. The 27-hole championship course has two distinct styles of surrounding, with the first played through jungle and the second alongside the coast.
You cannot miss the famous par-3 9th hole, which features an archipelago green.
You are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to playing golf on Bintan and with the Sea View Course and Woodlands Course at Bintan Lagoon Golf Club, you easily lose yourself for a week on the island, enjoying the tremendous golf and other activities.
This is one of the most popular travel destinations in Indonesia, boasting a full range of tourist attractions and stunning beaches. The Nongsa coast and Waterfront City offer exciting water sports and outdoor activities and there’s a great choice of several top-quality golf courses on the island.
Considered a must-play when booking an Indonesia golf package is Padang Golf Sukajadi. This Batam golf course is centrally located and suitable for players of all abilities thanks to the mainly flat terrain.
Water plays a significant role on this course and the quality of the greens are a standout feature, playing smooth and consistently throughout the 18 holes.
You are not restricted to Padang Golf Sukajadi and when playing golf on Batam island you should sample as many golf courses as time allows. With Palm Springs Golf Country Club, Tamarin Santana Golf Club and Indah Puri Golf Resort among others, Batam is a great place to spend your time when playing golf in Indonesia.
However, there are so many golf courses in the country, spread across several islands, you will have a memorable time exploring each of them and discovering your personal favourite.