It is widely known that Indonesia is the biggest archipelago country in the world. Diverse cultures have given Indonesia a rich heritage of traditions and art which are closely related to religion, highly sophisticated music and dances, the richest of biological wonder, and diverse product including nature with tropical rainforest, mountain lakes, idyllic, beaches and the world’s largest (and smelliest) flowers.
The Republic of Indonesia comprises the world’s largest archipelago, spanning 3,200 miles from east to west along the equator. Indonesia’s 13,667 islands are nestled between two continents, Asia and Australia, and two oceans, the Indian and Pacific.
Java, Sumatera, Sulawesi, Kalimantan, Irian Jaya, Maluku, Nusa Tenggara, and Bali.
Indonesia’s lands are totals 782,665 square miles and its sea territory 1,222,466 square miles. Indonesia shares land borders with Malaysia, Brunei Darrusalam and Papua New Guinea, and sea borders with Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines and Australia.
Jakarta, Surabaya, Bandung, Medan and Semarang.
Indonesia is ranked the world’s fourth most populous nation after China, India and Pakistan. Annual increase of 1,78%.
A full 85% of Indonesians subscribe to the Islamic faith, 10% to Christianity, 2% to Hinduism and 3% either Buddhism or animism.
The national language, Bahasa Indonesia, is spoken everywhere, despite the fact that there are 600 languages and dialects spoken in homes throughout the archipelago. Particularly on Java, where international business and tourism flourish, it is easy to find guides who speak not only English, but also practically every European language and most Asian ones.
Climate wise, Indonesia is distinctly tropical. The east monsoon from June to September brings dry weather while the west monsoon from December to March is moisturladen bringing rain. Humidity is high all year, from 70-100%. The transitional period between these two seasons alternates between gorgeous sun-filled days and occasional thunderstorms. Temperatures at range between 21° C (70° F) to 33° C (90° F). In the mountains it can be quite a bit cooler.
Light, casual clothes are the most practical. Natural fibres like cotton or linen are the most comfortable in Indonesia’s often humid conditions. Casual clothes are acceptable in most places and a lightweight suit and tie are usual for business or formal meetings. Light cotton dresses are generally acceptable in most situations. Batik is popular for both men’s shirts and women’s dresses.
Foreign currency are exchangeable at banks or money changers in the big cities, hotels or main tourist destinations; but it is advisable to carry rupiah’s in sufficient before traveling to outer provinces or minor towns. Daily rates are posted in banks and in leading daily newspapers. Indonesia’s Rupiah comes in nominations of Rp. 100.000, Rp. 50.000, Rp. 20.000, Rp. 10.000 , Rp. 5.000, and Rp. 1.000. Rp. 500 in bank notes and Rp. 1.000 Rp. 500, Rp. 100 Rp. 50, Rp. 25 in coins.
Tipping for good services is not expected but always appreciated in developing nations. It is customary, though not compulsory, to tip tour guides and drivers at the end of the tour. Hotels and station porters should also be tipped.
All visitors to Indonesia must be in possession of passport valid at least six months with proof on word passage, either return or through ticket.
Visas are required except for the national of Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom ( Great Britain ), United Arab Emirates, States of America, Venezuela, Yugoslavia and Taiwanese holding MFA / M passport.
The visa requirement is also waived for other nationals from friendly countries, attending a conference which has received official approval. Free entry visa id for maximum of 2 months and is not extendible.
International certificates of valid small pox, cholera and yellow fever vaccinations are required only from travelers coming from infected areas.
Customs allow on entry a maximum of one litter of alcoholic beverages, 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 grams of tobacco and reasonable amount of perfume per adult. Cameras, video cameras, portable radios, cassette recorders, binoculars, and sport equipment are admitted provided they are taken out on departure. They must be declared to Customs. Prohibited are firearms, narcotics, drugs, pornography, Chinese printing and medicines, transceivers and cordless telephone. Films, video tape and laser disc must be screened by censor board. There is no restriction on import or export of foreign currencies and traveler cheques, however the export of Indonesian currency exceeding Rp. 5 million is prohibited.
An Airport tax is levied by the airport authority for travelers on International routes and domestic routes.
There are metered taxies in major cities, train traverse the island of Java and part of Sumatra. Fare is comparatively cheap but higher on air conditioned train running between major cities. Beside Garuda Indonesia as Indonesia ‘ flag carrier, has extensive network throughout the country. To all major cities on the archipelago, Garuda has daily service. Garuda services are supplements by those of Merpati Nusantara, Bouraq and Mandala.
Long distance call within Indonesia is by direct call. International Direct Dial (IDD) system is being expanded and is available in major cities and at most hotels. Long distance, IDD and facsimile service area also available at the telecommunication offices (Wartel) cities and hotels.
Most hotels use 220 volts and 50 cycles and a two pronged plug. It is advisable to check before using an appliance.
Government offices open from 08.00 am to 04.00 pm from Monday to Friday, and some open from 08.00 am to 02.00 pm on Saturday. Business offices have staggered hours. Some open from 08.00 am to 04.00 pm or 09.00 am to 05.00 pm. Some stay open for half day on Saturday. Banks are open from either 08.30 am to noon or 02.00 pm. Bank branches in hotel stay open longer hours, and money changers till evening.
The Indonesian staple food is rice – steamed, boiled of fried. Some accompanying dishes can be pepper hot, big red pepper or spicy ones, so it is advisable to ask before ordering. There are many restaurants specializing in European, Japanese, and Chinese cuisine. A variety of beverages are available everywhere keep to bottled drink if doubtful of water served in restaurants.
The big cities have shopping complexes, supermarket, malls and department stores where prices are fixed. Open daily from : 09.00 am to 10.00 pm seven days a week.
Indonesia is very polite people. Handshaking is customary both for men and women on introduction and greeting and smiling is a national characteristic. Use of the left hand to give or receive is taboo, also crooking your finger to call someone is considered impolite. Pork forbidden for Moslems and Beef for the Balinese Hindus but they are available at many restaurants.