Travelling to Indonesia from Malaysia? Here’s what Malaysians need to know

Hannes Ausmees

Planning a family break and wanting to travel to Indonesia from Malaysia? Or maybe you’re hoping for a quick weekend on the beach, or a yoga retreat in the hills, and you want to travel to Bali from Malaysia? After years of changing travel rules, where does the land lie in 2024? Can Malaysians travel to Indonesia now, and if so, what are the restrictions?

This guide has you covered. We’ll also touch on how Wise can help you save money as you spend, with MYR to IDR currency conversion that uses the mid-market rate with no hidden fees. More on that, later.


Covid: Indonesia travel restrictions to know about

Ready to travel to Indonesia from Malaysia as soon as possible? As with most countries, covid restrictions have evolved over time and have often changed at short notice. But the good news is that at the time of writing, entering Indonesia from Malaysia is possible, with a few provisos.

If you’re looking for a straightforward roundup of the current rules about entering Indonesia, in English, they can be found on the website of the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Switzerland. Here’s a quick summary at the situation as stands, from the last update in June 2023:

  • An advance PCR test and proof of covid vaccination is not required to enter Indonesia
  • Specific covid insurance isn’t required (although it may still be a sensible precaution)
  • Travellers are highly encouraged to receive their second booster of the covid vaccination before travel
  • Masks are no longer required but recommended if the traveller is feeling unwell or at risk of covid while in public spaces

You can also read the full Indonesian government circular on covid travel protocols, in the original form, here.

Travel rules can change abruptly, so it’s well worth double checking the situation before you make any travel bookings - just in case.

Do I need an Indonesian visa for Malaysian citizens or residents?

According to the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Malaysia, Malaysians are among 9 ASEAN countries which do not require a visa to enter Indonesia, from 14 September 2022. There’s also a pretty extensive list of visa on arrival countries, so if you’re a foreigner living in Malaysia, it’s worth seeing if your home country is on the list, so you can simply pick up your visa when you get to Indonesia.

If you’re planning to go to Indonesia for the long term, to work or study, you may still need a visa. You’ll be able to check the different visa options over on the website of the Indonesian Embassy, and apply from Malaysia prior to travel.

Indonesia travel restrictions

We’ve covered the main requirements to enter Indonesia from Malaysia, including visas and covid rules. One other thing to be aware of is that you’ll need to complete a customs declaration form for the Indonesian customs authority, which is usually handed out on the plane to speed your passage through immigration. Here you’ll have to declare any excess cash, restricted goods, or dutiable goods you and your family are carrying.

If you’re unsure of the rules you’ll be able to ask the customs officers on arrival to check you’ve made your declaration thoroughly.

Travel to Indonesia from Malaysia - options

The Indonesian tourism website covers lots of ways to travel to Indonesia if you’re looking for some inspiration. The good news is that depending on where in Malaysia you happen to be, you’ve got a fair few options.

If you’re flying to Indonesia, you might want to head to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta, either to visit Jakarta as a destination in its own right, or to get a connection to other cities in Indonesia. There are also plenty of flights to Bali - which we’ll cover in just a moment.

Aside from the capital, you can also go from KL to cities including Yogyakarta, Denpasar, Surabaya, Medan and Makassar. Plus there are flights from other Malaysian cities, including direct trips to Indonesia from Johor Bahru and Penang. Services may be seasonal so check your options in advance, but in general, these routes are very well served, with a selection of carriers and flight times.

Malaysia shares land borders with Indonesia in Sarawak, so you can also cross here at various official border crossing points, by car or by bus from Kuching.

Finally, you can also get to Indonesia from Malaysia by ferry on a number of routes from Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah state and East Kalimantan. From Peninsular Malaysia there are frequent ferries to various destinations in Indonesia from Johor Bahru and KL’s Port Klang. Routes are also serviced between Malaysia and Batam Island and Bintan Island, or you can head over via a brief trip to Singapore if you’d prefer.

Travel to Bali from Malaysia

Headed to Bali to hit the beach, or maybe for some peace and culture in Ubud? You’ll likely want to fly into Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali. From Kuala Lumpur there are about 14 direct flights a day in high season, with the flight time taking just 3 hours.

Travelling to Indonesia? Get the Wise card to spend IDR without losing ringgit on exchange rates and foreign transaction fees

Ready to get off to Indonesia? Get Wise so your money goes further while you’re there.

Open a Wise account before you travel, and order a Wise card for a low one time fee of 13.7 MYR. There’s no minimum balance and no ongoing fee to pay, and you’ll be able to use your Wise account to hold and exchange 40+ currencies, and your Wise card to spend in 150+ countries.

It’s free to spend any currency you hold, so you can simply top up in MYR and switch to IDR using the mid-market rate and low, transparent fees from 0.43%. Or, just top up and let the card do the conversion for you at the point of purchase, with the lowest fees and the mid-market rate every time. Easy.

Order your Wise card today! 💳

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