Indonesia boasts 17,700 islands streching 3,200 miles (5,120 km) between Australia and the Asian Mainland.

Population and Language
Over 200 million people reside in 27 provinces. However, approximately 110 million of these people are concentrated on about 7% of the total area (Java, Bali and Madura).

Indonesia's tropical climate has two seasons - the dry season from May to October and the wet season from November to April. Occasional rain fall occurs in the dry season as there are rays of sunshine in the wet season. Average temperatures range f rom 68° to 86° or 20° to 30°C

Passport and Visas
Visitors to Indonesia must have a valind passport (at least 6 month prior to experation) and return tickets. No Visa requirements 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. Maximum stay for tourists from these countries: 60 days with entry and departure through:

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

A visa is required through any other entry-points. Nationals from countries other then listed above can obtain 30-day tourist visas from any Indonesian embassy or consulate abroad.

Health Certificates
Yellow fever vaccination are necessary for visitors coming from infected areas.

Two litres of alcoholic beverages per adult, 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 grams of tobacco. Photographic equipment and typewriters must be declared and are admitted provided they are taken out on departure. Prohibited from entry are the following 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.Top

Most major hotels have scheduled airport shuttels available at a cost of approximately 4,000 Rp per person. Metered Taxis are operating 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 to all major cities in the 27 provinces. These flights are supplemented by domestic air services on Merpati, Nusantara, Mandala and Bouraq .

The local currency is the Rupiah. Foreign currencies can easily be exchanged in all major tourist areas.

Service oriented businesses should be tipped according to the quality of the service. Advisable tip: 10%.

Informal ight fabrics are recommended due to the warm, humid climate. 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.

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

As in China, rice heads the list. 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 on request.

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.Top

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

Government offices:
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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Virtual Tour of Indonesia


Padangbai, Bali. Every morning the men of this small fishing community would wake before dawn and row out in their elaborately painted boats, fish for a couple of hours and return laden with tuna. The women would then come, collect and clean the tuna to be sold at the market. Photo by Rebecca Bassingthwaighte..


Lovina, Bali. Locals from this beach community offered trips out at dawn to see the dolphins. Often there were many boats competing for the best view. Dolphins seemed aware of their popularity and enjoyed the chase--proving their intelligence by leading so many people around in circles. Photo by Rebecca Bassingthwaighte.




Water Castle, Jakarta, Java. Part of this castle is at present no more than an intriguing collection of ruins, pools, arches and underground passages enclosed by massive walls, but it remains an intrigue with tales of its creation. We were told that originally tunnels were built as an escape route for the sultan. Now there is no sultan, but plenty of local boys making use of the cool water during hot days. Photo by Rebecca Bassingthwaighte.


Borobudur, Java. Borobudur is one of the greatest Buddhist relics in South-East Asia and is Indonesia's most famous attraction. Rulers of the Sailendra dynasty built the colossal pyramid of Borobudur between 750 and 850 AD, but it was soon abandoned and for centuries lay hidden under layers of volcanic ash. There are a number of levels to the temple. Starting at the base, the images show the earthly delights of man and become progressively more spiritual till they reach their climax at the height of the temple. Photo by Rebecca Bassingthwaighte.


Mt. Bromo, Java. This volcano was once an enormous mountain with a base miles in diameter...and then it blew. Now, the outer crater is a vast expanse of sand, formerly a caldera where there are two separate smaller volcanoes: the extinct Batok, which is a perfect cone, and the Bromo. Photo by Rebecca Bassingthwaighte.



Mt. Marapi on the island of Java. Before dawn, a small group of us hiked up the side of this volcano to better see the lava flows. As dawn approached, white crosses were visible where locals had lost their lives and homes a few short months before our visit. Our guide informed us that local and international scientists were concerned that Mt. Marapi would have a major eruption within this decade, possibly tearing the island of Java in half. Photo by Rebecca Bassingthwaighte.


Tofu making, Yogyakarta, Java. In a small, dilapidated cabin two men make tofu the way their ancestors did for ages. Although the area didn't look very sanitary, they managed to make fresh, tasty tofu within about 30 minutes. Both tofu and tempeh are common ingredients in any good Indonesian dish. Photo by Rebecca Bassingthwaighte.



Padangbai, Bali. Bali has always been the most touristed region of Indonesia. This small fishing village had its share.... Frequently there would be ceremonies and dances which visitors were welcome to attend. Here you see some Indonesian women dressed for the occasion with offerings of fruit, rice and other foodstuffs while tourists stand nearby. Photo by Rebecca Bassingthwaighte.