Indonesia is the largest archipelago and the world's fifth most populated
country. With 5 large islands and 30 smaller archipelagos, Indonesia contains 17.508
islands and stretches a distance of 5.150 km between the mainlands of Australia and Asia.
largest islands are Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Irian Jaya and Java. The capital of
Indonesia is Jakarta, which is situated in West-Java. The most popular island is without a
Indonesia is a tropical country. The East-Monsoon brings dry weather from june until
september, while the West Monsoon is humid and brings rain from december until march. The
transition between both seasons brings occasional showers.
The humidity is between 60 and 100% and temperatures are situated between 21°C (70°F)
and 33°C (90°F). In some mountain areas however, temperatures vary from 18 to 24°C and
can easily drop to a cool 5°C at night.
About 85% of all Indonesians are moslims. However, Indonesian law reckognizes
freedom of belief. You will find churches, Hindu and Buddhist temples throughout the
There are around 580 dialects in Indonesia, but the official language is Bahasa Indonesia.
Inmost tourist areas people will be able to speak English, especially the younger
generation, while some older people still speak Dutch.
No vaccinations are required, except for yellow fever if you arrive within six
days of leaving or passing an infected area. It is advisable to get vaccinated against
cholera, typhoid and paratyphoid and don't forget a tetanus shot. If you intend to stay
for long periods outside the big cities, gammaglobulin injections are recommended. This
will reduce the risk of getting infected with hepatitis.
Protection against malaria might be considered if you travel to remote areas but you
will have to make certain the tablets you use are effective against all strains of
malaria. Using malaria tablets is useless if you are staying in areas known to be
malaria-free and they can give you physical problems, so consult your physician or a
tropical institute before departure.
|Visa & Documents
Your passport must be valid for at least six months from the date of your arrival. If it's
not, you're probably going to be sent right back where you came from...
Tourist Cards & Visa
Visitors from Australia, Malaysia, Japan,New Zealand, most European countries, the USA and
Canada don't need an entry visa at a large number of ports of entry (including Jakarta and
Denpasar). Provided you have a ticket to leave Indonesia and a valid passport (see above)
you can get a tourist visum upon arrival that is valid for 30-days (and please remember 30
days is NOT 1 month !). Don't overstay because the penalty can be serious.
In certain cases you can obtain a 60 day tourist visum, but you will have to get this at your local embassy BEFORE you leave to Indonesia.
Driving Licence & Permits
If you plan to drive a car you must have an International Driving Permit. You can obtain
this from your national motoring organisation or your local administration, providing you
already have a valid driving licence in your own country.
Don't forget: you still need to bring your home licence in conjuction with the Internation
| Prohibited goods
The usual list of prohibited imports, including drugs, weapons and anything remotely
In addition, TV sets, radio receivers, fresh fruit, Chinese medicines and printed matter
containing Chinese characters are prohibited.
Allowed goods and
Each adult can bring:
- 200 cigarettes (or 50 cigars or 100gr of tobacco)
- a 'reasonable' amount of perfume
- 1 litre of alcohol
Officially, photo equipment (including video), computers, typewriters and tape recorders
must be declared to customs on entry and you must take them back with you when you leave.
In practice nobody really worries about this.
Indonesia ratified the CITES convention on import and export of endangered species. Stay
well away from exporting green sea turtles or any products made of turtle shells.
The export of antiquities and ancient artifacts or other cultural treasures is also
||Post & Communications
Indonesia's unit of currency is the rupiah (Rp.)
Changing money in Indonesia shouldn't be any problem in the big cities. If you're in a
remote area it can present a problem to change big notes or larger amounts of money. Bring
dollars or euro, in cash or travellers cheques.
Crazy enough the rates may vary according the denomination. 5 x 20 dollar may not be worth
as much as 1 x 100 dollar !
Damaged banknotes with tears, holes or writing on them (or even wrinkled) might not be
Once you've changed your money into rupiah, make sure to get hold of small denominations.
Taxi-drivers, warungs or other local shops may have trouble to change when you pay in big
Changing money can be done at local banks (BII, Bank Bali, BCA, BDI, etc ... ) or
moneychangers. Exchange rates at moneychangers are normally better than in the bank and
they offer quicker service. It's worth looking around and compare rates.
Beware of places offering exceptionally high rates - they might be cheating you by
shortchanging or even rigged calculators !
ATM's are quite common in larger towns. Many of them accept Visa, Mastercard, Cirrus, Plus
and/or Alto cards.
If you're in doubt, check the logo's on your ATM-card.
Exhange rates are quite good, but your bank or credit-card company might charge you high
fees for this service.
Major credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, Amex) are accepted by most bigger businesses
| Sending Mail
You can either send mail from the local Post Office of Kantor Pos (usually open
from 8:00 until 15:00 Monday to Friday) or from the postal agencies called WARPOSTEL
(warung pos & telekomunikasi) They provide normal postal and phone services - often
for slightly higher rates - and are sometimes open for extended hours.
There are poste restante services at the post-offices of most cities, so choose the one
most convenient for you. Mail should be addressed as follows:
SURNAME (in capital letters and underlined)
Kantor Pos NameOfTown
Bali (Java,....), Indonesia
You can also have your mail sent to your hotel.
Telephone & GSM
Telecoms in Indonesia are provided by Telkom (domestic). International connections are
through Indosat (dial 001) or Satelindo (dial 008).
Place calls from your hotel or at a WARTEL (warung telekomunikasi)
If you're planning to call a lot you might consider buying a prepaid SIM card for your
GSM. Interlocal and international calls from a mobile can be less expensive than through
the regular phone system and you can call and be called at all times.
Email and Internet
Cybercafés and WARNET (Warung Internet) are everywhere in bigger and smaller towns
offering internet-access from 400Rp/hour and up. There are warnets at the post offices of
Denpasar and Singaraja at even cheaper rates.