Indonesia Travel Information
This gorgeous country is made up of exquisite islands - from a vibrant cultural attraction to an island vacation paradise. Indonesia showcases an incredible history, an intriguing heritage and an awe-inspiring culture. From palace ruins to sandy beaches and mystical temples – the charm of Southeast Asia will enchant every visitor.
Entry and Exit
All visitors travelling to Indonesia will need a valid passport, with at least one open page. The passport needs to be valid for at least six months after the entry date and a proof of return ticket must be shown upon request. Indonesia plans to waive visas for nationals from the following countries: UK, USA, France and other European countries. This will be in effect as of 2015 but the exact date has not been released.
Nationals from the following countries will require a visa:
- European Union countries
Every country has their own set of custom regulations, and it is imperative that all visitors understand these rules and the repercussions of any actions which contradict said regulations.
Travellers over the age of 18 may travel with the following items:
- Tobacco products, 200 cigarettes, 25 cigars and 100 grams of tobacco.
- 1 litre of alcohol
- A reasonable quantity of perfume
- Personal goods of up to US$250 per passenger or US$1,000 per family
- Camera equipment and binoculars may be imported as long as they are carried out of the country upon departure.
The following items are prohibited unless the specified conditions are met:
- Chinese medication, printings and artefacts
- Firearms and ammunition (unless a permit is obtained)
- Fresh fruit
- Cordless telephones
The airport embarkation tax varies from airport to airport and can be paid at the airport of departure.
Amounts exceeding IDR 100,000,000 or the equivalent in a foreign currency must be declared and approved by the Central Bank or External Affairs
Indonesia is one of the world’s greatest travel and tourism destinations but there are a few precautions that every visitor should take, before travelling to this spectacular country. Tourists should visit a medical practitioner approximately 4-6 weeks before travelling, the doctor will then advise on what vaccinations are recommended for the destination being visited. All routine vaccinations should be up to date before travelling and the recommended precautions should be followed.
The following vaccinations are recommended:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Malaria – for some areas
- Rabies – in some areas
- Yellow Fever – only if travelling from an infected area
Tourists should avoid using water that has not been boiled before use and should only drink bottled water. Milk in the country is mostly unpasteurised, so this should be boiled before use, alternatively powdered or tinned milk could be used. Travellers should also beware of keeping hydrated to avoid heatstroke and should always use sun lotion.
Travel Facts for Indonesia
Indonesia is in close proximity to the equator, and in fact lies in both sides, so the region generally enjoys hot and humid tropical temperatures with two distinct seasons. The wet and rainy season begins around the month of October and ends towards the end of April. In the regions of Maluku the rainy season extends from March to August. The dry season can be characterised by its tropical showers in the afternoons and the coastal temperatures are usually around 25°C - 30°C all year round. In the highlands region the temperatures can range from a night time temperature of 7°C and can reach peaks of around 22°C.
Western Indonesian time falls in the GMT/UTC +07:00 time zone while Indonesian Central Time is GMT/UTC +08:00 and Indonesian Eastern Time falls under the GMT/UTC +09:00 time zones. Indonesia does not make use of daylight savings time.
The Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) is the only currency accepted in Indonesia while travellers’ cheques and credit cards are also readily accepted in most hotels, restaurants and larger shops. Street vendors, taxis and small local boutiques or cafés might not have credit card facilities, so be sure to keep small amounts of cash on you when travelling. ATMs can be found quite easily in larger tourist areas and money changers are also located in most areas. Make sure you have enough Rupiahs upon arrival to pay for the tourist visa as well as upon departure to pay the airport embarkation tax.
Indonesia uses a 220 Volt AC and a 50 Hz cycle power. Appliances with other voltage requirements will need an adaptor and transformer in order to work in Indonesia. The plug sockets used in Indonesia are either two prong or three prong grounded plugs, so a universal adaptor is recommended for all tourists who may not be sure of their plug requirements.
Indonesia’s country code is +62 and landlines in large cities have 8 digits, smaller areas have numbers which consist of 7 digits while mobile phone numbers vary between 10-12 digits. In order to phone a number locally in Indonesia, the country code will be followed by the area code and then the number. While callers calling from abroad will need to dial the international prefix – 00 followed by the country code, area code and then the number. Resorts, hotels and pay phones will usually have a directory filled with country codes from all around the world.
Internet in Indonesia is quite accessible in hotels, restaurants and internet cafés. Wifi is offered in most large restaurants and hotels – especially organisations which cater for international tourists specifically. Internet cafés are always quite cost effective and convenient to visit as they can be found on most streets in tourist areas. Rural areas might not offer easily accessible internet access so keep this in mind when looking for the ideal destination.
When arriving in any destination, travellers should always find out which emergency numbers should be used in case of any unfortunate events. Most hotels will have the contact details of medical practitioners and hospitals in the area, so be sure to ask the hotel staff for a list of these numbers to be kept on hand whilst travelling.
- Emergency – 112
- Ambulance – 118
- Police – 110
- Fire Fighters – 113
- Search and Rescue - 115
People and Landscape
There are over 249 million people living in Indonesia with an astounding 42% of this population being made up of people from the Javanese community. 15% of the Indonesian population is made up of the Sundanese community with an approximate 10% being made up of Malay, Batak and Mandurese communities. Indonesia is made up of over 300 different ethnic groups with 95% of these ethnicities originating from Indonesian ancestors. This large number of ethnicities makes the country’s national motto even more meaningful, showcasing that unity in diversity is the Indonesian way.
Indonesian is the official language of the country, with a number of Chinese dialects also being used throughout Indonesia. Indonesian is considered a standardised register of Malay and has been used as a lingua franca (common language) in the archipelago for centuries.
Indonesia’s central location between the Middle East, the Far East and South Asia has resulted in a dynamic culture which has been influenced by a number of religions. This colourful culture offers a gilded view of Asian vivacity – from traditional ethnic customs to stringent values and religious beliefs, the Indonesian culture is a rich and intricate tapestry of historic and modern wonder. The local Indonesians showcase their culture with pride and strongly believe in the national motto – unity in diversity, which has resulted in a multitude of religions and cultures all joining together to form a dynamic and enchanting national culture.
Although the country has been influenced by a number of different religions the government only recognises six official religions in the region. Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism are the official religions of Indonesia, but an astounding majority of the population are Muslim.
Indonesia is an archipelago of islands, which boast around 150 volcanoes, rain forests, spectacular palm lined beaches, rice paddies and dry savannahs. Indonesia is famous for lying on both sides of the equator and its inviting tropical climate plays a role in the country’s rich variety of attractions. This gorgeous country in Southeast Asia offers a wide diversity of landscapes and is home to some of the world’s most cherished animals - from elephants to tigers, leopards and orangutans. Sea turtles and other marine animals liven up the brilliant crystalline waters and offer a vibrant spectacle under the oceanic waters.
Typical Indonesian cuisine consists of roasted fish (ikan bakar), nasi timbel – rice wrapped in banana leaves and fried chicken (ayam goreng). Sambals, fried tempeh, tofu and sayur asem are also typical in Indonesian meals and are usually served alongside a bowl of lime known as kobokan. The cuisine varies according to which island being visited, but most Indonesian meals have been influenced by Chinese cuisine with noodles, spring rolls and meat or fish balls being offered on traditional Indonesian menus.
The Indonesian islands have also been nicknamed the “spice islands” and have contributed to the use of native spices being used around the world. Nutmeg, cloves and other spices are also used in most meals and visitors will often find the Indonesian menus combining a multitude of sweet, salty, sour and bitter tastes into one delightful meal. Most meals are either roasted, boiled, fried, grilled, stir fried or steamed and are truly considered a treat that will tantalise every taste bud.
When you visit a temple, please make sure that your shoulders and knees are covered. An easy way to do this is by pairing a T-shirt or light jacket with shorts and a sarong. Sarongs are very inexpensive and available in all markets and souvenir shops. They make pretty souvenirs that you can take home with you and you can also use them as beach towels. You are also not permitted to wear shoes inside pagodas and other religious shrines. The same applies to private homes. If you are unsure of where you should take off your shoes, you can find out easily by paying attention to whether or not there are shoes in the entranceway. You may wear shoes in Angkor.
In restaurants it is customary to tip. The same goes for a ride in the tuk-tuk. If you hire a tuk-tuk driver for the whole day, then you should agree on a price beforehand and tip at the end if you are satisfied with the service.
Travel and Security Information
There are a few guidelines that every traveller should follow in order to have the best vacation possible.
- Tourists are required to have a valid passport. This passport must be valid until after the last day of your trip. Visas are also required for some nationalities.
- Medical and travel insurance are strongly recommended for all tourists.
- Tourists are advised to travel in groups and should never walk alone after dark.
- Obvious shows of affluence can sometimes welcome unwanted attention from criminals. Tourists are advised to keep valuable belongings safely stowed in their hotel safes if possible. It's never a good idea to keep large amounts of cash or expensive jewellery where they are clearly visible and it's important to remember to never leave valuable items in unattended vehicles or any other public spaces, including on public transportation and luggage holds.
- It's essential that tourists keep emergency details on hand at all times. These include the numbers and addresses of nearby hospitals, ambulances, consulates, and contact details of their next of kin.
Exclusion of Liability
Those who choose to travel do so entirely at their own risk. SC Travel Adventures endeavours to inform tourists of the risks involved with travelling but cannot be held liable for any events which occur outside of their direct control. Tourists are advised to avoid areas considered unsafe, remain vigilant and cautious at all times throughout their stay, and heed the advice of local authorities.