INDONESIA

 

GENERAL INFORMATION
 

CAPITAL CITY

The capital and largest city of Indonesia is Jakarta, officially known as the Special Capital Region of Jakarta. Located on the northwest coast of Java, Jakarta is the country's economic, cultural and political centre, and with a population of 10 million, it is the most populous city in Indonesia and in Southeast Asia.

SIZE

Inland area: 1,919,317 Km2

Length: 2,210 Km

Width: 5,271 km 

GEOGRAPHICAL SITUATION

Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world. It consists of five major islands and about 30 smaller groups. There are total number of 17,508 islands of which about 6000 are inhabited. Straddling equator, the archipelago is on a crossroads between two oceans, the Pacific and the Indian Ocean, and bridges two continents, Asia and Australia. The country shares land borders with Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and Malaysia. Other neighboring countries include Singapore, the Philippines, Australia, Palau, and the Indian territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The country is predominantly mountainous with some 400 volcanoes, of which 100 are active.

POPULATION

The population of Indonesia according to the 2010 national census is 237.6 million, with 58% living on the island of Java, the world's most populous island.

Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation, with almost 86.1% of Indonesians are declared Muslim. 8.7% of the population is Christian, 3% are Hindu, and 1.8% are Buddhist or others. Most Indonesian Hindus are Balinese, and most Buddhists in modern-day Indonesia are ethnic Chinese.

LANGUAGE

Bahasa Indonesia is the national language however English is spoken in all tourist areas. Some Dutch and French are also spoken in the big cities. Altogether, around 583 languages and dialects are spoken in Indonesia, including those of the many ethnic groups of the nation. Some of these include: Acehnese, Batak, Sundanese, Javanese, Toraja, Buginese, Ceramese, and several Irianese languages.

CURRENCY

The local currency of Indonesia is Rupiah. Bills come in denominations of Rp 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 and 100,000. Coins come in denominations of Rp 100, 200, 500 and 1000. At the time of writing exchange rate is 1 US $ = 13 762 IDR and 1 EURO = 14 537 IDR (December 2015).

In addition to the local currency, both Singapore and US dollars are readily accepted in many places and most mid-range hotels, all top-end hotels and restaurants list their prices in US dollar.

Exchanging money, either banknotes or travellers cheques, is easy at banks and authorised moneychangers in major tourist destinations, and credit cards are accepted at most hotels and restaurants in main cities, but can present problems elsewhere, so it’s best to ensure adequate cash before setting off to more remote locations.

Banking hours are generally from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Friday and until 11 a.m. on Saturdays, but exchange rates offered by the moneychangers are generally better than the banks, they stay open longer and transactions are quicker.

ATM’s are easy to find in the major regional cities and tourism areas in Indonesia with many allowing cash withdrawals from debit cards. Most of them are connected to international banking networks, thus making it possible to look for machines that are affiliated with your own ATM network. Although credit cards are accepted in many places, credit card fraud is a significant problem with “card cloning” on the increase.

Also don't forget that there is a Rp 150,000 departure tax payable only in Rupiahs at the airport upon departure. So please keep this amount aside on the last days of your stay in order to save time running around the airport to change the money.

CLIMATE

Indonesia experience moderate climate conditions all throughout the year and the climate is almost entirely tropical. The uniformly warm waters that make up 81% of Indonesia's area ensure that temperatures on land remain fairly constant, with the coastal plains averaging 28 °C, the inland and mountain areas averaging 26 °C, and the higher mountain regions, 23 °C.

There are mainly two seasons in Indonesia - wet and dry - weather conditions may vary from one place to the other, so it is advisable to visit Indonesia depending on the season and reason. Best time to visit Indonesia is during dry season between April and October. The humidity is relatively less and weather is pleasant at this time of the year. Though travel in the wet season is possible in most parts of the archipelago, it can be a deterrent to some activities.

 

LOCAL TIME

There are two Standard Time zones: 

·         Sumatra, Java and West & Central Kalimantan are 7 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+7)

·         Bali, Nusa Tenggara, South & East Kalimantan and Sulawesi are 8 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+8)

 

ELECTRICITY

Electricity in Indonesia is 220 Volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second. If you travel to Indonesia with a device that does not accept 220 Volts at 50 Hertz, you will need a voltage converter.

Outlets in Indonesia generally accept 2 types of plug: Two round pins and two parallel flat pins with ground pin.

WATER

It is advisable to drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes, although ice served in all the restaurants in Bali are controlled by the government and safe.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Indonesian telecommunications are of a high standard and generally available. Hotels offer international direct dialling, facsimile and, often, Internet connections.

The government has also established a nationwide network of small business people operating "WARTEL" or telecommunication kiosks offering international and domestic telephone communications at competitive rates.

Indonesia has several mobile telephone servers that, depending on agreements in place with your home service supplier, should provide roaming support for your hand phone brought from home.

HEALTH & MEDICAL FACILITIES

Health insurance to include emergency repatriation cover is strongly advised. Adequate routine medical care is available in all major cities, but emergency services are generally inadequate outside major cities. The best public hospitals are found in Jakarta, where the ratio of medical staff to general population is much higher and clinics catering specifically to foreigners can be found. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payments before any treatment is given, so it is advised that you have travel insurance before travelling to Indonesia. The number for medical emergencies is 119; for ambulance services call 118. Although medical costs are relatively cheap, drugs can be expensive.

Although no vaccines are required for travel to Indonesia, visitors are advised to update vaccinations against cholera, hepatitis A and B, typhoid, and Japanese encephalitis before travel. Other diseases that are present in the country are malaria, schistosomiasis (found in fresh water), dengue fever, toxoplasmosis, HIV, and tuberculosis.

TRANSPORTATION

Due to the nature of Indonesia’s geography, getting around by plane may be the easiest option.  There are 186 airports with paved runways in Indonesia, making a large number of domestic flights possible each day. The Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta is Indonesia’s largest airport. Other busy international airports include Juanda International Airport, located outside of Surabaya, and Ngurah Rai International Airport, located 13 kilometres outside of Denpasar in Bali.

Due to the sudden and considerable population surge in cities such as Jakarta, Bandung and Surabaya, the road transportation system in general has suffered. Despite substantial work on the road and transportation infrastructure, progress is still slow.

Many Indonesians who do not have a car own a tuk tuk instead. During your time in Indonesia, don’t miss out on the opportunity to take a ride on one of the dozens of these traditional tuk tuks, motorcycle-like vehicles with a top and several seating options – but make sure it’s in a relatively quiet and safe area rather than in Jakarta’s rush hour traffic.

DRIVING

Indonesians drive on the left-side of the street. Most of them are narrow, enough for two cars, one in each direction. Some people also park their cars on the street (no room for garage), making it more difficult to drive. On top of that, you have to be careful with motorcyclists, people walking (also jaywalking) on the streets, and public transportation cars or buses which stop and cut you in an unpredictable manner.

To drive a car or a motorcycle you need a driving license. Many countries issue International Driving Licenses which are valid in Indonesia. Nevertheless, visitors are advised not to drive as it can be quite confusing and dangerous if you're not used to the road network.

COOKING

Indonesian food reflects the country's diverse cultures and traditions. In general, Indonesian food is rich in spices. The indigenous cooking techniques and ingredients have benefited from trade and influences originating in places as far away as India, China, the Middle East, and Europe.

Rice is a staple food for the majority of Indonesians. It holds an important place in the country’s culture. It shapes the landscape, is served in most meals, and drives the economy. Plain rice is known as nasi putih. Often, it is accompanied by a few protein and vegetable side dishes. Rice is also served as ketupat (rice steamed in woven packets of coconut leaves), brem (rice wine), and nasi goreng (fried rice).

SHOPPING

If shopping is your passion, then go no further than the major metropolitan cities of Indonesia. With high end labels from around the world, many of Indonesia’s malls can rival Europe and America with their collections. The malls of Jakarta, Indonesia’s bustling capital vary from those with high end designers to the chaotic crowds of local markets where anyone can pick up a bargain. If fashion is not your style, try shopping at a traditional market where you can test your bahasa bartering on local produce, handicrafts or antiques. Sample the tropical fruits or take in the sights of traditional bamboo furniture for sale. For those who like to browse, it will be impossible to resist the temptation to wander the streets and look at all the traditional wares on offer, from beautiful batik materials to shiny pieces of hand crafted silver jewellery.

TIPPING

Most hotels in Indonesia are charging 21% on top of the total bill. Of this percentage, 11% is government tax while the added 10% is service charge. Check your bill for this. If it has been added, no further tip is necessary. If not, you may or may not give a tip since tipping is not mandatory at all. Yet, you may give 5-10% of the total bill if you desire to tip.

Likewise, some restaurants charge 5-10% to their bill. But if your bill does not include service charge, you may give between Rp5, 000 to 10% of the total bill.

VISA AND PASSPORT

The visa situation in Indonesia seems to be constantly changing. It is essential that you check the current formalities before your arrival.  Failure to meet all the visa entry requirements may cause immediate deportation.

Please make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months from the date of your arrival and should have enough space for the visa sticker. You should also have your return flight ticket be printed out, just in case.

The main visa options for visitors to Bali, Java, Lombok and most of the other islands of Indonesia are as follows:

·         Visa Free – Citizens of the following 45 countries can receive a non-extendable 30-day visa for free upon arrival:

-          15 certain countries will have a visa-free visit through all air, sea or land crossing points in Indonesia: Brunei, Cambodia, Chile, Ecuador, Hong Kong, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Morocco, Myanmar, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

-          30 countries will have a Visa-free for Tourism purpose only when entering Indonesia through certain Immigration points:

§  5 Airports: Soekarno Hatta (Jakarta), Ngurah Rai (Bali), Kuala Namu (Medan), Juanda (Surabaya), Hang Nadim (Batam)

§  4 Seaports:  Sri Bintan Pura (Tajung Pinang), Sekupang (Batam), Batam Center Sea Ports and Tanjung Uban (Riau)

Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Poland, Russia, Qatar, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States.

·         Visa in Advance – Citizens of countries not eligible for Free Visa or Visa on Arrival must apply for a visa before they arrive in Indonesia. Usually this is a visitor’s visa, which comes in two options: 30 or 60 days. Details vary by country, so you should contact the nearest Indonesian Embassy or Consulate in order to determine processing fees and time. 
Note: this is the only way for people from any country can obtain a 60-day visitor visa.

·         Visa on Arrival –Citizens of some countries may apply for a Visa upon Arrival. There are special lanes for this at the immigration in the arrival area. The cost is US$35, payable on the spot. It would be easier to prepare the exact amount in US currency. This visa is only good for 30 days and cannot be extended.

Note that citizens in the 30 countries eligible for a Visa Free may also need to obtain a Visa on Arrival for US$35 when entering via a port of entry other than the 9 specified Immigration Points.  

Visitors will be issued a tourist card that is valid for a 30-day or 60-day stay accordingly (if you have obtained a 60-day visa in advance, be sure that the immigration officer at the airport gives you a 60-day card). Keep the tourist card with your passport, as you will have to surrender it back when you leave the country; otherwise you will be fined.  Visitors who stay beyond their visa expiry date will be charged a fine of USD20.00 per day.  Over 60 days of overstaying may mean jail.

BEFORE GOING

Think about warm clothes and good sport shoes if you want to trek or enjoy the countryside walks in the mountains, and if you plan to climb a volcano at night time, warm clothes are recommended as it can be very cold. In any case, you can always buy clothes after arrival, cheap and suiting to the weather.

Although you can find all these products in Indonesia, we recommend that you take products for mosquitoes and for the sun, a cap or a hat, sunglasses and a small bag to carry a few things in case you have to leave your big suitcases at the hotel for a few days.

Indonesia by and large is safe, but the country is so vast and different that there are definitely things to avoid.  For this reason we recommend that you leave your belongings such as gold and jewellery at home.

For safety reasons, we advise travellers not to leave valuables in vehicles during their journey.

ASIA HOLIDAYS WISHES YOU A PLEASANT TRIP