Indonesia is the largest archipelago and the fourth most populous country in the world. Consisting of five main islands (Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Papua) with 33 provinces, 39 smaller archipelagos, it has a total of 17, 508 islands of which about 6,000 are inhabited. It stretches 5,150 km between the Australian and Asian continentals and divides the Pacific and Indian Oceans at the Equator. The name Indonesia is composed of two Greek words: “Indos” which means Indian and “nesos” meaning islands. The capital city of Indonesia is Jakarta.
Garuda, Indonesia’s flagship airline serves all major cities in Indonesia. They fly only jets and mainly wide-bodies. Many other airlines also serve domestic routes. PELNI (The National Passenger Line) crosses the archipelago on a fixed schedule. The main ticketing sales office is on Jalan Angkasa 18, Kemayoran; Tel. (62-21) 4241963. Train travel across Java and Sumatra is the fastest and cheapest method of transportation.
All travelers to Indonesia must be in possession of a passport valid for at least six months from the date of arrival and must show proof (tickets) of onward or return passage. Immigration authorities provide “Exempt Visa” for a period of 30 days to nationals from 12 neighbouring countries only on the basis of reciprocity. These countries are Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, the Philippines, Hong Kong SAR, Macao SAR, Chile, Morocco, Peru, Vietnam, and Ecuador.
“Visa on Arrival” will be given to nationals from 64 countries. These are Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Czech, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, India, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Laos PDR, Latvia, Libya, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Maldives, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, People’s Republic of China, Poland, Portugal, Oman, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, South Korea, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Timor Leste, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and USA.
“Visa On Arrival” is valid for 30 days and may be extended with the permission of the Indonesian Immigration authorities with conditions as follows: natural disaster occurs in the area visited by the tourist; the traveler is taken ill or meets with an accident during his visit. Other nationals must apply for visas at Indonesian Embassies or Consulates in their home country. In addition, the visa cannot be replaced with any other form of immigration letter.
Entry ports where “Visa On Arrival” may be issued are the Soekarno-Hatta Airport in Jakarta, Ngurah Rai Airport in Bali, Polonia Airport in Medan, Sultan Syarif Kasim Airport in Pekanbaru, Tabing Airport in Padang, Juanda Airport in Surabaya, Sam Ratulangi Airport in Manado, Husein Sastranegara Airport in Bandung, Adi Sucipto Airport in Yogyakarta, Ahmad Yani Airport in Semarang, Adi Sumarmo Airport in Surakarta, Supadio Airport in Pontianak, Sepinggan Airport in Balikpapan, Hasanuddin Airport in Makasar.
Authorized seaports are namely at Batam, the Sekupang, Batuampar, Nongsa and Marina, Teluk Senimba, Bandar Bintan, Talani Lagoi and Bandar Sri Udana Labon in the Riau archipelago, Sri Bintan Pura in Tanjung Pinang, Belawan and Sibolga in North Sumatra, Yos Sudarso Tanjung Perak in Surabaya, Telok Bayur of Padang, Tanjung Priok in Jakarta, Padang Bai and Benoa in Bali, the port of Jayapura, Bitung, Tanjung Balai Karimun, Tanjung Mas in Central Java, Tenua and Maumere in East Nusa Tenggara, Pare-pare and Soekarno-Hatta ports in South Sulawesi.
Customs allow on entry a maximum of one litre of alcoholic beverage, 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 grams of tobacco,and a reasonable amount of perfume per adult. Cameras, video cameras, portable radios, cassette recorders, binoculars and sports equipment are permitted provided they are taken out on departure. They must be declared at Customs. Prohibited items are firearms, narcotics, drugs, pornography, transceivers and cordless telephones. Chinese traditional medicines must be registered with the Department of Health of the Republic of Indonesia. Films, pre-recorded video tapes and laser discs must be screened by the Censor Board. Possession of Indonesian currency exceeding Rp. 100 million is prohibited.
Indonesia has three time zones—Western Indonesia Time which is GMT +7 (covering Sumatra, Java, Madura, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan), Central Indonesia Time which is GMT +8 (covering East and South Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Bali, Nusa Tenggara) and the last is Eastern Indonesia Time which is GMT +9 (covering Maluku and Irian Jaya).
The capital Jakarta is GMT + 7 or 16 hours ahead of US Pacific Standard Time.
Office hours start from 8 AM to 4 PM, or 9 AM to 5 PM. Lunch break occurs between 12 noon to 1 PM. Usually offices are closed on Saturdays, including government offices.
Government office hours start at 8 AM and end at 4 PM.
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Standard banking hours are from 8 AM to 3 PM from Monday to Friday. However several banks open their branches in hotels (and some in malls) longer than office hours as a few are open on Saturdays. Jakarta has a number of international banks. In addition to that even you can also exchange currencies in some hotel cashiers and official money changers.
IDR and US$ are the most acceptable currencies.
Most tourism resorts have money changer facilities. When you are traveling to remote areas it is advisable to exchange your money and clear your check. Credit cards are only acceptable in big hotels, restaurants, shops and traveling agencies.
Due to the warm and humid climate, and clothing of light fabrics are recommended in Indoensia. The highland areas are noticeably cooler, in which you require a light sweater. Accepted attire for men is a shirt and long pants. A jacket and tie are required for official calls or for more formal occasions. Long sleeved batik or handwoven shirts are acceptable for evening functions. For ladies, dresses, blouses, and long pants are appropriate. Shorts, halters or tank tops should only be used at sports facilities or on the beach.
Major cities in Indonesia have shopping complexes, supermarkets and department stores where prices are fixed. Shops are usually open all week including Sundays. Shopping hours are usually between 9.00 am and 9.00 pm for department stores and supermarkets in the large cities with shorter hours on Sundays. In smaller cities, shops may be closed between 1.00 pm and 5.00 pm.
Bargaining is customary in small shops and markets, the art of which is to start at half the asking price and slowly increase your offer until a compromise is reached. Remember it helps to smile while bargaining.
Traditional sports in Indonesia include bull races, bull fights, rowing, and unique ram fights, all of which are held as part of special festivities.
Silat, a martial art, can be performed as a dance or an exercise and is comparable to Karate or Kung Fu. However, the most popular sports in Indonesia are soccer, badminton, and table tennis. Golf is becoming more and more popular and a number of excellent golf course can be found across the archipelago.
Most major hotels have their own tennis and squash courts, swimming pools, health clubs and those at seaside resorts provide equipment for sailing, surfing, scuba diving and windsurfing. There are also a growing number of dive shops which provide necessary equipment and professional services.
Electric power supply is 220 volts in all regions. So be careful with your 110-volt electronic equipment.The sockets will only fit with with two pins rounded-tip plugs (technically known as Type C, E, and F) or use adaptors. Most hotels and many restaurants in large cities provide internet connections or free WiFi.