Indonesia Country and Travel Information
Climate || Visas || Customs || Transport || Currency || Tipping || Clothing
Office hours || Food || Shopping || Culture || Public holidays
Tourist Destinations || Map of Indonesia

Introduction

The Republic of Indonesia is the world's largest archipelago and is the fifth most populous country, with 17,700 islands streching 5,120 kms (3,200 miles) between Australia and the Asian mainland.

Population and Language

200 million people are distributed throughout 27 provinces. However, 55% of these people are concentrated on Java, Bali and Madura, on only 7% of the total area.

Climate

A tropical country, with humidity ranging from 69% - 95%, there are two seasons: Dry Season, from May to October and Wet Season, from November to April. It should be noted that occasional showers do occur during the dry season; similarly, during the "rainy" season it is more likely that heavy tropical down-pours are interspersed with sunshine. Average temperatures range f rom 68 to 86 or 20 to 30C
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Passport and Visas

Visitors must arrive in Indonesia with passports valid for at least six months after arrival and with onward or return tickets. Visas are not required for nationals of: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, New Zealand, Singapore,South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States of America and West Germany.
A non-extendable tourist pass for citizens of these is issued for a maximum of 60 days with entry and departure through:

Airports: Medan, Batam, Pekanbaru, Padang, Jakarta, Bali, Manado, Ambon, Biak,Ku pang, Pontianak, Balikpapan and Surabaya;
Seaports: Medan, Batam, Jakarta, Surabaya, Semarang, Riau, Bali, Manado, and Ambon.

Through other ports, a visa is required. Nationals of countries not listed above can obtain 30-day tourist visas from any Indonesian embassy or consulate abroad.

Health Certificates

International certificates for smallpox and cholera are not required and yellow fever vaccination are necessary only for visitors coming from infected areas.

Customs

Each adult is permitted to bring, on entry, a maximum of two litres of alcoholic beverages, 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 grams of tobacco and a reasonable quantity of perfume. Photographic equipment and typewriters must be declared and are admitted provided they are taken out on departure. Prohibited from entry are the fol lowing items: narcotics, arms and ammunition, TV sets, radio and radio casette recorders, pornography, fresh fruit, printed matters in Chinese characters and Chinese medicine. All movie films and video casettes will have to be deposited for review by the Film Censor Board. There is no restriction on import and export of foreign currencies and travellers cheque; however, import or export Indonesia currency exceeding Rp 50,000,- is prohibited.

Airport Tax

Airport tax levied on passengers for international travel is Rp 17,000,-. While for travel within Indonesia it varies from one region to another with an average of Rp 3,500,- for each departure.

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Transportation

An airconditioned airport-hotel shuttle service, operates frequently scheduled trips to/from major hotels to coincide with flights from Jakarta's international airport at a cost of approx Rp 4,000,per person. Taxis at a higher rate, are also available with metered taxis operating only in Jakarta, Surabaya, Bandung, Semarang and Solo. Elsewhere, other forms of transportation, which required setting the fare in advance, include minicars for two passengers, "bemos" or small buses covering regular routes and "becaks" powered by human energy. Trains operate in Java and parts of Sumatra. Garuda Indonesia has an extensive networkof dailyflights toallcitiesinthe 27 provinces. These flights are supplemented by domestic air services on Merpati, Nusantara, Mandala and Bouraq .

Currency

The local currency is the Rupiah. Foreign currencies, either banknotes or travellers cheques, are easily exchangedatbanks and moneychangers in major tourist destinations. Credit cards are accepted at most hotels and restaurants in main cities. It is advisable to carry sufficient amounts of Rupiah when travelling to smaller towns or outer provinces.

Tipping

Major hotels add a 10% service charge to bills. Where it is not included a tip of between 5% to 10% of the bill would be appropriate if service is satisfactory. Airport poterage is Rp 500,- for a small bag and Rp 1,000,- if weighing more than 20 kg. Tipping taxi and hire-car drivers is not mandatory, but Rp 500,would be sufficient for a taxi driver, but more for a hire-car driver.

Clothing

Dress is generally informal in Indonesia. Light fabrics are recommended due to the warm, humid climate. For men, a jacket and tie is considered appropriate when making officials calls or non formal occasions. Or, follow local custom by wearing a long-sleeve batik shirt. It is recommended to bring a sweater or light jacket for travel to mountain areas. Shorts and beachwear are not considered appropriate except at sports facilities and on the beaches, and never appropriate for visits to temples, mosques and other places of worship.

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Office Hours

Government offices:
Monday - Thursday 8 am to 3 pm
Friday 8 am to 11.30 am Saturday
Saturday 8 am to 2 pm
Business offices Monday - Friday 8 or 9 am to 4 or 5 pm Some offices are open half day on Saturday.
Banks: Monday - Friday 8 am to 3 pm


Food

The main staple food of the majority of the population is rice. Coconut milk and hot chili peppers are popular cooking ingredients nationwide. Tastes range from very spicy dishes of meat; fish and vegetables to those that are quite sweet. The most popular dishes are "nasi goreng" (fried rice) which is otten served for breakfast, lunch or dinner, "satay" barbequed meat or chicken on skewers and "gado-gado", a vegetable salad with a pean ut sauce.All are most compatible with internationaltastes. Inthemaintouristcenters and cities, restaurants catering to international visitors are many, from fine continental grill rooms to Japanese specialty restaurants. Chinese restaurants are found in all towns throughout Indonesia. Tropical and subtropical fruits are available yearround. Bottled drinking water can be purchased everywhere.

Shopping

Many of Indonesia's main cities have department stores, supermarkets and large shopping complexes, open generally from 9 am to 8 pm, where fixed prices prevail. In local markets and small shops bargaining is the rule.

Time

Indonesia streches across three time zones: Western Indonesia (Sumatra, Java, West and Cen tral Kalimantan) + 7 GMT Central Indonesia (Bali, South and East Kalimantan, Sula wesi, Nusa Teng gara) + 8 GMT East Indonesia (Maluku and Irian Jaya) , +9 GMT

Electricity

Most hotels use 220 volts 50 cycles and two-pronged plugs. However it is not uncommon to find some hotels using 110 volts, particularly in the provinces. Check before using an appliance. Some hotels supply adaptors on request.

Communication

Long distance calls within Indonesia may be made by direct dialing through International Direct Dial (IDD) in major cities or through operator-assisted calls. Telex and fax services are readily available in major hotels and larger cities.

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Culture and Traditions

Indonesians are a very friendly and polite people. Handshaking is customary, for both men and women, on introduction and greeting, smiling is a national characteristics. The population is predominantly Moslem. Nevertheless, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism and other religions are freely practiced. Traditional customs form a major part of family and community life. The use of the left hand to give or receive is considered ill-mannered. Likewise crooking your finger to call someone is impolite.

Public Holidays

January 1 New Year
Feb 20, 21 Idul Fitri Festival
March 21 Seclusion Day / Saba New Year
April 5 Good Friday
April 28 Idul Adha Great Day
May 16 Ascention day of Christ
May 19 Hijriah New Year
June 2 Waisak Day
July 28 Maulid of Prophet Mumammad
August 17 National Independence Day
Dec 8 Isra Miraj of Prophet Muhammad
December 25 Christmas Day

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