Indonesia General Information
Region: South East Asia
Virtually all religion in Indonesia originated on the coast and penetrated inland. The early Indonesians were animists, practising ancestor and spiritual worship. When Hindu-Buddhism came to prominence, it was laid over this spiritual base. Even when Islam became the dominant religion, what really existed is what we see today; Islam rooted in Hindu-Buddhism and Animism.
There are almost 300 languages spoken throughout Indonesia, however Bahasa Indonesian is the national language. The Balinese language is caste distinctive and is a variation of Bahasa Indonesian. English is widely spoken throughout the region but especially in Bali and Lombok where tourism has influenced the locals to learn other languages.
Area (sq. km):
1,919,440 square meters
GMT +7 hours
When To Travel
In its position across the equator, Indonesia tends to have a fairly even climate year round. There are only two seasons - wet and dry. In most parts of Indonesia the wet season falls between October and April, and the dry season between May and September. The days are mostly humid and the nights warm, although when you venture into the hills you will find it a little cooler.
A visit to Bali and Lombok can be enjoyed at any time of year. The drier months run from April to September, the rest of the year is more humid and there is more chance of short afternoon rainstorms. The more crowded tourist seasons vary as to where the tourists are coming from. The northern hemisphere travellers descend upon Bali for the months of July, August and September. The Southern Hemisphere travellers come to Bali for December, January and the Easter, June and September school holidays.
Useful Travel Facts
Taxis are cheap, safe and reliable. As you exit from Immigration at Denpasar you will see a sign for public taxis. At this booth you buy a coupon which is given to your driver. There is no bargaining - the system is straightforward. Expect to pay about IDR250,000. It takes up to one and a half hours to get to Ubud from the airport.
The international dialling code for Indonesia is +62.
If you are bringing along any plug-in appliances you should take an international adapter with you. Round two-pin plugs are the most common types in the region. Voltage is 110/220V.
The staple diet for most Indonesians is rice (nasi), which is replaced on some islands with corn, sago, cassava and sweet potatoes. Rice dishes include nais campur, nasi uduk and rasirames. Indonesia’s spices make its local cuisine unique. Indonesians like their food highly spiced and the visitor should always bear this in mind. In particular look out for the tiny, fiery hot, red and green peppers often included in salads and vegetable dishes. Seafood is excellent and features highly on menus everywhere (with salt and fresh-water fish, lobsters, oysters, prawns, shrimp, squid, shark and crab all available). Coconuts, which are found everywhere, are often used for cooking. Vegetables and fresh fruit, such as bananas, papaya, pineapple and oranges, are available throughout the year; some tropical fruits such as mango, watermelon and papaya are seasonal.
The most common form of transport in Bali and Lombok is the bemo (mini bus). Bemos have set routes and can be flagged down on most major roads and thoroughfares. Some bemo drivers charge a ‘tourist price’ so expect to pay more than the locals. Ask a local to give you an idea of the fare you should be paying. Taxis are relatively inexpensive and are everywhere! Most taxis have meters however these in practice are not used so fares sometimes need to be negotiated before you embark.
Bali is a mecca for shopping, look out for batik cloth, woodcarvings and sculpture, silverwork, woven baskets and hats, bamboo articles, krises (small daggers), paintings, sarongs and woven cloth. At small shops, bartering might be necessary.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
Australia:Yes - on arrival
Belgium: Yes - on arrival
Canada: Yes - on arrival
Germany Yes - on arrival
Ireland: Yes - on arrival
Netherlands: Yes - on arrival
New Zealand: Yes - on arrival
South Africa: Yes - on arrival
Switzerland: Yes - on arrival
United Kingdom: Yes - on arrival
USA: Yes - on arrival
Visas on arrival are valid for 30 days, cost US$35 and are available upon arrival by air in Bali, Jakarta, Medan and a few other international airports, or by ship at a limited number of Indonesian sea ports.
No extension of these visas can be made, they will be issued to arriving passengers at a counter set up prior to immigration processing. If paying in a currency other that USD you may be charged an unfavorable rate of exchange.
Entering Indonesia without any visa is now possible for nationals of the following countries and territories: Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Citizens of these countries will be issued a stay permit on arrival for 30 days free of charge, upon presentation of a passport which is valid for at least 6 months. This stay permit cannot be extended or converted into another type of visa.
Citizens of all other countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required. Citizens of countries who aren't on the visa on arrival or visa free lists are required to apply for a visa overseas before travelling to Indonesia.
Nationals of all countries planning to stay for more than 30 days in Indonesia have to apply for the appropriate visa at an overseas Indonesian consulate or embassy before their departure.
Useful Words & Phrases
Bali & Lombok Lonely Planet Bali & Lombok Lonely Planet Bali: The Ultimate Island-Leonard Lueras Balinese Worlds-Fredrick Barth Bali & Lombok-Nelles Travel Guide Monumental Bali-Bernet Kempers Discover Indonesia-Julian Davidson