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.
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 30°C.
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.
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
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 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.
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 .
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.