Indonesia is a nation in Southeast Asia and the world's largest
archipelagic state comprising 17,506 islands, of which
about 6,000 are inhabited. These islands are scattered over both sides of the equator.
Indonesia measures around 5000 x 1700 km2.
Lying along the equator, Indonesia has a tropical climate, with
two distinct monsoonal wet and dry seasons. For most parts of
Indonesia the dry season is from April until October, and the wet
season form November until March. Average annual rainfall in the
lowlands varies from 1,780–3,175 millimeters (70–125 in), and up to
6,100 millimeters (240 in) in mountainous regions. The mountainous
areas in the west coast of Sumatra, West Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi,
and Papua receive the highest rainfall. Humidity is generally high,
averaging about 80%. Temperatures vary little throughout the year;
the average daily temperature range of Jakarta is 26–30 °C (79–86
Jakarta is the capital and largest city of Indonesia, located on
the northwest coast of the Java Island. Jakarta has a population of
12 million people.
Jakarta is served by the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.
With a population of 230 million people, Indonesia is the
world's fourth most populous country and the most populous
Muslim-majority nation, although officially it is not an Islamic
Despite its large population and densely populated regions,
Indonesia has vast areas of wilderness that support the world's
second highest level of biodiversity (Source: Conservation
Indonesia has developed a shared identity defined by the
national language ‘Bahasa Indonesia’. The knowledge of the English
language is poor, except in Bali, certain areas of Lombok and the
better hotels in tourist centers and big cities.
Live-aboard cruises have dive guides and cruise directors that speak
The Indonesian government
officially recognizes only six religions: Islam, Protestantism,
Roman Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. Although it
is not an Islamic state, Indonesia is the world's most populous
Muslim-majority nation, with almost 86% of Indonesians declared
Muslim. 11% of the population is Christian, 2% is Hindu, and 1% is
Fasting month (Ramadan) and Idul Fitri
and 2013 the fasting month will cover the following periods:
2012: 21 July – 19 August (AH 1433)
2013: 08 July – 08 August (AH 1434)
Because the main part of the population follows the rules of fasting
and praying during Ramadan, the pace of daily life slows down a
little bit. Alcohol is not available during Ramadan, only in the big
hotels. In Bali, parts of Lombok and Toraja the Ramadan has no
effect at all. The celebrations after the fasting month (called Idul
Fitri) cover officially two public holidays, but can disturb some
operations (especially government offices) for more than a week.
Idul Fitri is as well characterized by large amounts of people
moving to (and later back from) their home areas. This causes
over-full public transport facilities and huge traffic jams on the
main roads (especially in Java).
For guests on live-aboards the
fasting month does not have any noticeable influence.
The currency in Indonesia is the Indonesian Rupiah (Rp). There are
Rp 1,000, Rp 500, Rp 200 and Rp 100 coins. Lower value coins are no
longer common. Bank notes are printed with values of Rp 100,000, Rp
50,000, Rp 10,000, Rp 5,000 and Rp 1,000. Please be aware of the
fact that the Rp 100,000 notes and the Rp 10,000 notes look quite similar!
Cash is the most common and easy way to pay your bills.
Cash withdrawal from ATM machines can easily be made in the bigger
and medium-sized cities. The smaller cities and villages often don’t
have these facilities or the available machines might be out of
order. The most common banks giving access to Master, Cirus, Maestro
or Visa are: Bank Mandiri, BCA Bank, Lippo Bank, City bank, Danamon
bank and Permata bank. The maximum withdrawal varies between Rp
600,000 and 2,500,000 in one time, depending on the value of the
bank notes dispensed. The maximum withdrawal per day normally is Rp
Credit cards like Master and Visa are accepted in most shopping
malls, hotels and restaurants in the big cities. Normally 2% or 3%
is being charged for using credit cards.
In most cities money and traveler’s cheques can be changed at
authorized money changers. They normally give better rates than
banks. The notes however should be in perfect state with no wrinkles
or writing on it. For American dollars the best to bring is from 10
up to 100 Dollar notes, Euros are normally accepted from 10 until
For actual rates of foreign currencies please visit www.xe.com/ucc
The most important international airports are Sukarno Hatta near
Jakarta and Ngurah Rai Denpasar on Bali. Through these airports you
can easily connect to most destinations in Indonesia. We can issue
tickets for you and send them to your home address. In case you
decide to book your domestic flight tickets yourself, please note that flights can be full and you might have to stay over a
couple of nights. Domestic flights between the bigger cities and
most well known islands are scheduled on daily bases. For domestic
flights you normally have to pay airport tax at special counters
after checking in.
Most airports have special airport taxi services that can be ordered
at a counter. They apply standard rates for different zones.
Especially in Jakarta you will find people in the airport who offer
you their transport services. We advise you to use the airport taxis
or metered taxis instead. It is normal you pay extra for airport
service tax and the toll roads between the airport and your
In most cities there are sufficient metered taxies driving around
that you can wave down. These are not expensive, but you should make
sure they turn on the meter after you get in. Enough small value
notes in your pocket will prevent change problems.
All over Indonesia, in cities as well as in the countryside, you
will find minibusses called Bemo or Pete Pete. Both are driving the
same route all day and can be made use of against a very low rate.
Their drivers try to put in as many customers and luggage as
possible, so you probably will have no comfort at all, but you will
find it an unforgettable experience being stuck in the back between
bales of rice and sometimes even live stock. You can just wave this
kind of minibusses down, but should be sure that you know where they
Becak & Ojek
Also low priced, but more private, is transportation by Ojek and
Becak. The Ojek (motorcycle taxi) is a small motorcycle that will
take you anywhere you want to go. Sit on the back, use the plastic
helmet and enjoy the ride. Make sure you agree upon the price before
you take off. The same goes for the Becak (pedicab), a tricycle for
carrying passengers, which you find plenty in the cities and
villages. They cycle you around as long as you like. Their motto is:
you take care of us, we take care of you!
You will find reasonably good quality long distance bus connections
between the bigger towns. It is best to inform about their schedules
at a local travel agency. Normally these busses depart from special
bus terminals that are mostly located just outside town.
If you like to rent a car and drive yourself we recommend to do this
in Bali only. There you can rent cars everywhere against low rates.
Please bring your international driving license. For the rest of
Indonesia we advise you to hire a driver if you need a private car.
Hotels and travel agencies can help you with finding a car and
driver. Compared to western standards the rates are relatively low,
however you still are able to negotiate the first offer. Make sure
you know whether the fuel is included or not.
Basic shopping can be done in the many small or medium shops you
will find in nearly any place where people are living. Most of them
open 7 days a week from early in the morning until early in the
evening. The big and medium sized towns have shopping malls that
will open at 10.00 am and close around 09.00 pm, 7 days a week.
Please be aware of the fact that wine and spirits are expensive and are
impossible to get outside the big cities.
Depending on your provider you can use your own cell-phone in most
inhabited parts of Indonesia but usage probably is expensive. If you
intend to call or sms frequently you better buy yourself an
Indonesian mobile number and put the SIM card in your own phone (ask
your dealer if your phone is not ‘locked’ and will accept the
Indonesian SIM card). New phone numbers are easy to obtain in every
city. We advise the provider Simpati (Telkomsel) which has the best
coverage over the country. A new number is around 2.- USD. You can
top-up your phone credit by buying Simpati credit vouchers. These
are commonly available for Rp 100,000.- , Rp 50,000.- or Rp 20,000.-
An alternative is using a public phone shop, though these are
becoming less common since mobile phones became popular in most
areas. These shops are called ‘WARTEL’ (“Warung Telekomunikasi”) and
basically are mall shops with one or more phone booths. The more
remote your location is, the more difficult it will be to make
Internet cafés you can find in every big city and in all popular
tourist places. Most 4 and 5 star hotels have internet facilities in
their business centers.
Most live-aboard vessels have a satellite phone that can be used on
request. If you expect that you will need this service, please
inform about this facility and the additional costs before booking.
Please make sure you have read the part “Insurance” under “Travel Advice”
(Click here for moving to page "Travel Advice")