When you turn your thoughts towards travelling, Indonesia is not often one of those places that, even though it might not make the top of your bucket list, you would definitely want to go.
Indonesia, with the capital city of Jakarta, is a south east Asian country made up of 17,000 islands, volcanoes, beaches, jungles, elephants, tigers and Komodo dragons as well as a population of around 240 million – the fourth most populated country after China, India and the USA. It is situated between the Indian and Pacific oceans, bordered with Malaysia and has Papua New Guinea to it’s east with other neighbours Australia, the Phillipines, Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand as well as India. As you can probably imagine, the population and culture is very diverse. There are more than two hundred tribes and languages.
The country has three different times zones:
- Western Indonesia Time which is GMT +7 – Jakarta, Sumatra, Java, Madura, West Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan
- Central Indonesia Time which is GMT +8 – East and South Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Bali, Nusa Tenggara
- Eastern Indonesia Time which is GMT +9 – Maluku and Irian Jaya
This is the Indonesia Rupiah, also known as the IDR. IDR and US$ are the most common forms of acceptable currencies. Many of the resorts have money changing facilities but if you are travelling to some of the more remote areas it is advisable to make sure you have the correct currency upfront. Credit cards are only acceptable in the larger hotels, restaurants and shops.
Where to Stay
If you are visiting from the UK then, with the fact that there are now non-stop flights, Jakarta is probably the most obvious choice.
- Raffles is based in the commercial district of Jakarta and the adjoining arts centre is a tribute to the painter Hendra Gunawan.
- The Alila Kemang Icon is a 12-suite boutique hotel set in one of Jakarta’s most upscale and trendsetting neighbourhoods and has an infinity pool on the rooftop.
- The Novotel Tangerang is a little further afield situated 16 miles from the capital but great if you want to keep the costs down. You can see now what rates they have on offer.
- Plan your budget as well as your destination. Indonesia is a vast country and each region has it’s only rules and regulations.
- It is a good idea to decide which time of the year you want to visit. For example, if you want to venture off the beaten path on the rugged terrains then it is advisable to go during the dry season!
- Visas are probably the biggest hurdle when visiting Indonesia. They aren’t hard to get but the most common 30 day one is very short if you want to travel. You can find out more on the UK Government website.
- Your passport must be valid for at least six months from the date of your arrival
- Dress accordingly. If you are female then skimpy clothing in a public area is not advisable.
- Indonesia has several traditions and customs and it is best if you know them beforehand. For example; Taking photographs of houses of worships is allowed, however permission should be asked first whenever possible, especially if you want to take pictures of the interior.
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