The Republic of Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world comprising 17,504 large and small tropical islands fringed with white sandy beaches, many still uninhabited and a number even still unnamed. Straddling the equator, situated between the continents of Asia and Australia and between the Pacific and the Indian Oceans, it is as wide as the United States from San Francisco to New York, equaling the distance between London and Moscow. Indonesia has a total population of more than 215 million people from more than 200 ethnic groups. The national language is Bahasa Indonesia.
Among the most well known islands are Sumatra, Java, Bali, Kalimantan (formerly Borneo), Sulawesi (formerly Celebes), the Maluku Islands (or better known as Moluccas, the original Spice Islands) and Papua. Then, there is Bali “the world’s best island resort” with its enchanting culture, beaches, dynamic dances and music. But Indonesia still has many unexplored islands with grand mountain views, green rainforests to trek through, rolling waves to surf and deep blue pristine seas to dive in where one can swim with dugongs, dolphins and large mantarays.
Because of her location, and geology, Indonesia is blessed with the most diverse landscape, from fertile ricelands on Java and Bali to the luxuriant rainforests of Sumatra, Kalimantan and Sulawesi, to the savannah grasslands of the Nusatenggara islands to snow-capped peaks of West Papua.
Her wildlife ranges from the prehistoric giant Komodo lizard to the Orang Utan and the Java rhino, to the Sulawesi anoa dwarf buffalos, to birds with exquisite plumage like the cockatoo and the bird of paradise. This is also the habitat of the Rafflesia the world’s largest flower, wild orchids, an amazing variety of spices, and aromatic hardwood and a large variety of fruit trees. Underwater, scientists have found in North Sulawesi the prehistoric coelacanth fish, a “living fossil” fish, predating the dinosaurs living some 400 million years ago, while whales migrate yearly through these waters from the South Pole. Here are hundreds of species of colourful coral and tropical fish to admire.
Culturally, Indonesia fascinates with her rich diversity of ancient temples, music, ranging from the traditional to modern pop, dances, rituals and ways of life, changing from island to island, from region to region. Yet everywhere the visitor feels welcomed with that warm, gracious innate friendliness of the Indonesian people that is not easily forgotten.
Facilities-wise Indonesia’s hotels are second to none. In fact, many of our luxurious and unique hotels have constantly been listed as some of the best in the world, located on white sandy beaches, overlooking green river valleys, or situated in the heart of busy capital Jakarta. While Indonesia’s cities like Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, or Makassar are a hive of activities for business and leisure and a paradise for shoppers, offering upscale boutiques selling top brand names, to local goods at road-side stalls. Here gourmets can treat themselves to the many regions’ delectable spicy cuisine or dine sumptuously at international restaurants. And for sheer relaxation, Indonesia Spas are second to none to reinvigorate both body and mind.
Convention centers are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, as many top international conferences and exhibitions are held in Jakarta, Bali to Manado, ranging from the Global Climate Change Conference in Bali to the World Ocean Conference in Manado , to trade and investment exhibitions and tourism trade shows in many provincial capital cities.
Jakarta, Bali, Medan, Padang, Bandung, Solo, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, Makassar are connected by direct international flights, and many regular and low cost carriers fly passengers to Indonesia’s towns or remote locations.
IMMIGRATION & POLICE
The following information is only for your orientation. Check with the nearest Indonesian consulate as rules can change. A visa is required for most nationals to entry Indonesia. Either apply for a Tourist Visa for 60 days at the Indonesian embassy in your country or get one on the border (Visa on Arrival) for 30 days. The cost of the 30-day (only) tourist visa is US$25. The fee must be paid in cash on arrival at the airport.
The passport must be valid for at least 6 months after day of entry. A return or onward ticket and a minimum of US$ 1.000 or a valid credit card is obligatory, but seldom checked. The decision to grant permission to enter Indonesian territory is at the discretion of the immigration officers at the port of entry. Day of entry is day number one. Short overstays are fined with US$ 20 per day. Bring a letter from a hospital or the police if you overstay because of sickness or other reasons beyond your control. Photocopies of your passport are always useful in remote areas. Never hand over your passport to anyone except an appropriate immigration official or a policeman who can prove his own identity and has a probable explanation. Just show a copy in other cases. Hotels sometimes ask for the passport for their reporting. It is normally safe, but a mistake can always happen.
Visa on Arrival can be obtained upon arrival at certain airports and seaports; in Sumatra only at the airports of Medan, Pekan Baru and Padang. The closest seaports are Medan (Belawan), Sibolga, Padang, in the Riau Islands near Singapore and Dumai.
Visa-free facility is granted to the citizens of countries whose governments extend visa free facility to Indonesian nationals, i.e. Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Hongkong Special Administrative Region, Macau Special Administrative Region, Malaysia, Morocco, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Customs allow 2 liter of alcoholic drinks and 200 cigarettes.
Airport tax: International is app. Rp. 100.000. For domestic flights it is Rp. 25.000, but variations occur.
The Indonesian police force has had a bad reputation, but it is improving. From the point of view of a foreigner, the police can be of big help. In Northern Sumatra they are very concerned about tourists and their safety and seldom want to bother them. There are however things to be taken seriously, such as drugs. Drugs are forbidden. Indonesia has a death sentence for major drug crimes.
When checking in at a hotel or losmen, you have to fill in a form. The owner of the accommodation has to report all foreigners to the local police. This is a part of the bureaucracy, but also useful if a foreigner goes missing. If you stay in a private home, your host is obliged to report this to the nearest police station within 24 hours. You don't have to report in person. Many Indonesians don't know about the law, so please inform them. They can otherwise get a lot of troubles on your behalf. There is no official cost for this, but some "cigarette money" is normally given.
There is no other authority you need to report to, according to civil law. In a few areas the Military demand reports also, for example in Pulau Banyak. Bring an extra photo copy of your passport. In most villages, if you stay in a private home, it is considered a necessary politeness to report to the local village head, which is done in person. Traditional law is just as important as civil law in Indonesia. This reporting is also of good use as you will much faster be accepted and assimilated into the local community.
Always report theft or fraud to the nearest police station! There are sometimes stories amongst travelers about organized fraud in certain areas, but very seldom reported to the police. By reporting, you will help other travelers and tourists and fewer myths will occur. If you get bad treatment from a policeman, report this to a higher level and/or to the tourism office, preferably in writing.
Government offices are normally open between Monday and Friday: Mon-Thu. 07.30-14.30, Fri. –12.00. Best time to visit an office is between 08.00 and 11.00. If you dress up a bit, you get better service. Shopping centers are normally open between 10.00 and 21.00. Normal shops are open from 08.00 or 09.00 until 20.00 or 21.00. Street vendors can be found at any time.
Embassy of Austria
Jl. Diponegoro No. 44, Menteng, Jakarta Pusat 10310
Phone(62-21) 338-090, 338-101
Embassy of Australia
Jl. H.R. Rasuna Said Kav. C15-16, Kuningan, Jakarta Selatan 12940
Fax:(62-21) 522-7101, 526-1690
Embassy of Canada
World Trade Centre, 6th Floor, Jl. Jend. Sudirman, Kav. 29, Jakarta 12920
Royal Belgian Embassy
Deutsche Bank Building, 16th floor, Jl. Imam Bonjol No. 80, Menteng, Jakarta Pusat 10310
Royal Danish Embassy
Menara Rajawali, 25th Floor, Jl. Mega Kuningan Lot #5.1, Jakarta 12950,
Representation of the European Commission
Wisma Dharmala Sakti, 16th floor, Jl. Jend. Sudirman Kav. 32, Jakarta Pusat 10220, (PO Box 6454, JKPDS Jakarta)
Embassy of France
Jl. M.H. Thamrin No. 20, Menteng, Jakarta Pusat 10310
Phone:(62-21) 314-2807, 314-3338
Embassy of the Federative Republic of Germany
Jl. M.H. Thamrin No. 1, Menteng, Jakarta Pusat 10310
Embassy of the Republic of Italy
Jl. Diponegoro No. 45, Menteng, Jakarta Pusat 10310
Embassy of Malaysia
Jl. H.R. Rasuna Said Kav. X-6 No. 1-3, Kuningan, Jakarta Selatan 12950
Royal Netherlands Embassy
Jl. H.R. Rasuna Said Kav. S-3, Kuningan, Jakarta Selatan 12950, (P.O.Box 2439 JKT 10024)
New Zealand Embassy
Gedung BRI II, 23rd floor, Jl. Jend. Sudirman Kav. 44-46, Jakarta Pusat 10210
Embassy of the Republic of Singapore
Jl. H.R. Rasuna Said Kav. X-4 No. 2, Kuningan, Jakarta Selatan 12950
Phone:(62-21) 5296-1433, 520-1489
Embassy of the Kingdom of Spain
Jl. H. Agus Salim No. 61, Menteng, Jakarta Pusat 10350
Phone:(62-21) 335-0771, 335-940
Embassy of Switzerland
Jl. H.R. Rasuna Said Kav. X3-2, Kuningan, Jakarta Selatan 12950