An Introduction to Indonesia
Stretching between the Australian and Asian continental mainlands and dividing the Pacific and Indian Oceans at the Equator lay the exotic islands that make up Indonesia.
The name Indonesia has its roots in two Greek words: "Indos" meaning Indian and "Nesos" which means islands. It is an appropriate description of the archipelago (the world’s largest), as there are estimated to be a total of 17,508 islands of which only about 6,000 are inhabited.
Five main islands and 30 smaller archipelagoes are home to the majority of the population. The main islands are Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Irian Jaya and last but not least Java, home to 70 percent of the country's population. Indonesia shares Irian Jaya with Papua New Guinea and two thirds of the island of Kalimantan with Malaysia and Borneo.
Indonesia is at the heart of the triangle of the world's greatest marine biodiversity, boasting more amazing diving destinations than anywhere else on earth. Not only is diving in Indonesia on every semi-serious diver's 'Must do' list but there are also many great places for less experienced but no less enthusiastic divers. Areas like Komodo and Raja Ampat are becoming known as among the world's best live-aboard destinations, adding to places such as Sulawesi and Wakatobi which are already established as world class.
Indonesia also offers many delights for non-divers. Visitors can marvel at the spectacular Prambanan temples in Java: enjoy ancient music while watching traditional dancers in spectacular costume: visit animated floating markets: experience a close ecounter with the famous Kamodo dragons, spend time with enigmatic orangutans in their natural habitat: hike volcanic cones, forests and mountains.
What to Expect in Indonesia
- Normal banking hours are from 8.00 am to 2.30 pm from Monday to Friday
- Some bank branches in hotels, however, keep longer hours. Jakarta has several international banks but money can also be changed at hotel cashiers, and authorized money changers.
- Daily exchange rates are published in newspapers.
- The US dollar is the most readily accepted currency.
- Most major tourist destination areas have foreign exchange facilities, but for travel to remote areas, it is advisable to change money and travelers cheques in advance.
- Credit cards are acceptable only at major hotels, restaurants and travel agencies.
- The unit of currency is Indonesia Rupiah indicated as IDR. USD1 is roughly equivalent to IDR 9,055. Foreign currency can be converted at banks and money changers.
- Straddling the equator, Indonesia tends to have a fairly even climate year-round.
- Rather than four seasons it has two – wet and dry – and there are no extremes of winter and summer.
- Temperatures climb to about 88°F in coastal regions, dropping (but not by much) further inland.
- Departure tax applies on both international and domestic flights. Departure tax from Jakarta and Denpasar (Bali) Airport is 100,000 IDR and at other international airports, 75,000 IDR.
- Visitors should not drink tap water and avoid ice and fresh juices as they may have been watered down.
- Bottled water is generally safe but check that the seal is intact at purchase.
- To drive in Indonesia, you officially need an International Driving Permit (IDP) from your local automobile association.
- This permit is rarely required as identification when hiring or driving a car but police may ask to see it.
- You should also bring your home driving license as well as it’s supposed to be carried in conjunction with the IDP.
- Power supply is usually 220 volts/250 cycles in large cities, but 110 volts is still used in some areas.
- Normal outlets are plugs with two rounded pins.
- It is advisable to check electricity supplies before using any appliances.
- All visitors must be in possession of a passport valid for at least six months from the date of arrival and have proof of onward passage.
- Certain nationals, including US citizens are able to obtain a "Visa on Arrival" processed at a recognized gate of entry following the payment of an official fee. Such fee is dependent upon a 30 day or a 7 day visa. The Visa on Arrival is non-extendable and cannot be converted into another class of visa.
- Details of countries participating in the Visa on Arrival program, variations and current visa prices are available from the Consular Section of your nearest Indonesian Embassy.
- The season for scuba diving in Indonesia runs all year round.
- However, the best dive conditions usually exist from April to October, as many provinces have a rainy season from November to March.
- The live-aboard season - cruises all year round.
- In addition to your routine vaccinations, no other inoculations are required for entry into Indonesia with the exception of: Yellow fever is required for all travelers greater than one year of age arriving from a yellow-fever-infected area in Africa or the Americas.
- However, we always suggest that you speak to your family physician or specialized travel clinic for a personal recommendation.
- As most vaccines don’t produce immunity until at least two weeks after they are given, allow sufficient time for consultation before departure.
WATER TEMPERATURES AND WETSUITS:
- Water temperatures vary between 70 degrees and mid-80s Fahrenheit depending on destination and season.
- We will be happy to advise you in more detail when arranging your trip.
Visual Tour of Indonesia