Your Guide to Indonesia

It has been widely known that The Republic of Indonesia is the biggest archipelago country in the world. The largest archipelago in the world comprising 13,466 large and small tropical islands, many still uninhabited and a number even still unnamed. More than 200 ethnic groups inhabit this country resulted diverse cultures from art, tradition, religion, local language, to culinary. Indonesia has abundant biodiversity and nature condition that covers marines to mountains. 

About Indonesia

Indonesia comprises the world’s largest archipelago, spanning 3,200 miles from east to west straddling the equator, situated between the continents of Asia and Australia and between the Pacific and the Indian Oceans. 

Main Island
Sumatra, Java, Bali, Kalimantan (formerly Borneo), Sulawesi (formerly Celebes), the Maluku Islands (or better known as Moluccas, the original Spice Islands) and Papua (formerly Irian Jaya).

Indonesia’s lands are totals 782,665 square miles and its sea territory 1,222,466 square miles. Indonesia shared land border with Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Papua New Guinea, and marine borders with Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, The Philippines and Australia.


Major Cities
Jakarta, Surabaya, Bandung, Medan, Semarang, Yogyakarta, Balikpapan, and Makassar.

Indonesia is ranked the world’s fourth most populous nation after China, India and Pakistan, Annual increase of 1,78%.

As many as 85% of Indonesians subscribe to Islam, 10% to Christianity, 2% to Hinduism and 3% either Buddhism or animism.

The national language, Bahasa Indonesia, is spoken everywhere, despite the fact that there are around 600 local languages and dialects spoken throughout the archipelago. Particularly on Java, where international business and tourism flourish, it is easy to find guides who speak not only English, but also practically every European language and most Asian ones.

Climate wise, Indonesia is distinctly tropical. The east monsoon from June to September brings dry weather, while the west monsoon from December to March brings rain. Humidity is high all year, from 70-100%. The transitional period between these two seasons alternates between gorgeous sun-filled days and occasional thunderstorm. Temperatures at range between 21 C (70F) to 33 C (90F). In the mountains it can be quite a bit cooler.

Light, casual clothes are the most practical. Natural fabrics like cotton or linen are the most comfortable in Indonesia’s humid conditions. Casual clothes are acceptable in most places, and suit and tie are the outfit for business or formal meetings. Light cotton dresses are generally acceptable in most situations for women. Batik is popular for both men’s shirts and women’s dresses and acceptable as well for formal occasions.


Foreign currency are exchangeable at Banks or money changers in the big cities, hotels or main tourist destinations, but it is advisable to carry rupiah’s in sufficient before traveling to outer provinces or minor towns. Daily rates are posted in banks and in leading daily newspapers. Indonesia’s Rupiah comes in nomination of Rp. 100.000, Rp. 50.000, Rp. 20.000, Rp. 10.000, Rp. 5.000, Rp. 2.000, Rp. 1.000, Rp. 500 in bank notes and Rp. 1.000, Rp. 500, Rp. 200, Rp. 100 in coins.

Tipping for good services is not expected but always appreciated in developing nations. It is customary, though not compulsory, to tip tour guides and drivers at the end of the tour. Hotels and station porters should also be tipped.

All visitors to Indonesia must possess passport that valid for at least six months with proof on word passage, either return or through ticket.

Visas are required except for the nation of Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom (Great Britain), United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Venezuela,  Yugoslavia and Taiwanese holding MFA / M Passport.

The visa requirement is also waived for other nationals from friendly countries, attending a conference which has received official approval. Free entry visa id for maximum of 2 months and is not extendable.

International certificates of valid small pox, cholera and yellow fever vaccinations are required only from travelers coming from infected areas.

Customs allow on entry a maximum of one litter of alcoholic beverages, 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 grams of tobacco and reasonable amount of perfume per adult. Cameras, camcorder, binoculars, and sport equipment are admitted provided they are taken out on departure. They must be declared to customs, prohibited are firearms, narcotics, drugs, pornography, Chinese printing and medicines, transceivers and cordless telephone. Films, video, tape and laser disc must be screened by censor board.


Airport Tax
An Airport Tax is levied by the airport authority for travelers on International routes and domestic routes.

There are metered taxi and online taxi (car & motorbike) in major cities, commuter line train in Jakarta and its surrounding cities, train that traverse on Java and part of Sumatera, city bus, intercity bus, airplane, online cab, and traditional transportation. The fare is quite cheap but much expensive if we travel by airplane. Garuda Indonesia, as Indonesian’s flag-carrier, has extensive flight network that flies to over 40 domestic and 36 international destinations. Garuda Indonesia has also daily services.

Long distance call within Indonesia is by direct call. International Direct Dial (IDD) system is being expanded and is available in major cities and at most hotels. Long distance, IDD and facsimile service area also available at the telecommunication offices and hotels.

Most houses and hotels use 220 volts and 50 cycles and a two pronged plug. It is advisable to check before using an appliance.


Indonesian basic food is steamed, boiled or fried rice. Some accompanying dishes can be spicy since it is usually mixed with red  or green chili or hot spices, so it is advisable to ask before ordering. There are also a lot of restaurants specializing in European, Japanese, Chinese cuisine in almost all big cities.


All the big cities always have shopping centers, supermarket, malls and department store where prices are fixed. Open daily from 09.00 am to 10.00 pm seven days a week.

Indonesian are known for their politeness. Handshaking is customary both for men and women on introduction and greeting and smiling is a national characteristic. Use of the left hand to give or receive is taboo, also crooking you finger to call someone is considered impolite. Pork forbidden for Moslems as well as Beef for the Balinese Hindus, but they are available at some restaurants.

4 thoughts on “Your Guide to Indonesia

  1. Everything is very open with a very clear explanation.
    It was really informative. Your site is very useful. Thank you for sharing!

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