Indonesia is a country located in Southeast Asia, situated between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, and has an area of almost 3 times the size of Texas. If you are planning on visiting one of the many islands of the world’s largest archipelago, here you’ll find some practical information for your trip.
More than 150 nationalities can enter the country without the need to apply for a visa, as long as the stay is less than 30 days. However, to visit the country for a period greater than 30, but up to 60 days, it is necessary to obtain a Visa on Arrival, which costs US$ 35 (you can pay for this at the airport in the immigration hall). The Visa on Arrival allows you to stay for 30 days but also allows you to apply for a 30-day extension at the local Immigration Office by the last day of the first 30-day period. Do not try to stay illegally longer than any authorized period, as you will be charged a fine of 1,000,000 IDR for each day overstayed; payable before you are allowed to depart from the country. Always check the latest requirements while planning your trip.
Indonesian is the official language of Indonesia, a language derived from Malay, which is spoken by the entire population, which usually speaks at least two languages – Indonesian and one of the other 700 languages and dialects of the various ethnic groups of origin.
It is possible to get along with English, but some useful phrases in Indonesian are:
Selamat pagi / selamat siang / selamat sore / selamat malam – Good morning (until 10h) / good afternoon (from 11h to 15h) / good afternoon (from 15h to 18h) / good evening/night (after 18h)
Terima kasih – Thank you
Sama sama – You’re welcome
Permisi – Excuse me
Maaf – Sorry
Apa kabar? – How are you?
Di mana…? – Where is…?
Tolong, saya mau pergi ke… – Please, I would like to go to…
Berapa harga ini? – How much is this?
Saya mau beli ini – I would like to buy this
Belok kanan / kiri – Turn right / left
Tolong, satu lagi bir – One more beer, please
Groups of islands
Indonesia’s approximately 17,000 islands are placed in 8 large groups, which you will likely hear often: Bali, Java, Sumatra, Nusa Tenggara, Kalimantan (the Borneo section that belongs to the country), Maluku, Sulawesi, and Papua.
The power source is 220 volts in all regions, so be careful when bringing 110-volt electric equipment. Sockets have two rounded-tip plugs (technically known as Type C and F) and you may need to use adapters.
The entire country has 3 different time zones and does not practice daylight saving time.
GMT +7 | covers Sumatra, Java, and the west and central regions of Kalimantan;
GMT +8 | comprises the eastern and southern regions of Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Bali and Nusa Tenggara; and
GMT +9 | includes Maluku and Papua.
The Indonesian rupiah, also known as IDR and represented as Rp, is the currency of the country. Currency exchange houses accept the major world currencies (Dollar, Euro, Pound, Singapore Dollar, etc.) and can be found, for example, within major shopping malls in Jakarta, in Seminyak and Kuta centers in Bali, and in banks and hotels in Yogyakarta. When traveling to areas with less developed tourism, always carry the local currency with you – if you do not have it when you arrive in the country, make a small exchange at the airport to cover the first expenses, until you find a currency exchange office with a better quote. (In Bali, pay attention to scams in conversion shops – when the worker delivers the bills and counts all the notes in front of you, he gives the impression that the value is right but, without you noticing, he drops some notes in an open drawer behind the counter, and you get less money than you should, so always count more than once inside the facility.)
When to Visit
The archipelago is located on the Equator, which makes the climate be especially hot and humid. The temperature varies little throughout the year and, forgetting about the four seasons, in Indonesia, there are basically two seasons: dry, which runs from April to October; and rainy, from November to March (being April and October the intermediate months, and January and February the rainiest).
Indonesia is a safe country, compared to others with the same number of people. The main crimes in the country are petty thefts. As always, be aware of your surroundings.
Drugs and Alcohol
Last but not least, if you are planning to do so, you are only allowed to bring into the country one liter of alcohol per person. Drug trafficking and consumption of drugs in Indonesia is illegal and punishable by death.
Make sure to check other posts about Indonesia: