Living in Indonesia


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.

The islands are alone covers an area of land covering an area of 1.9 million square kilometers and territorial waters covering an area nearly four times the size of the mainland. 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.

Being a tropical country, Indonesia is blessed with two seasons, namely dry and rainy seasons. Dry seasons usually occurs from June to September and the rest is rainy season. Sunshine is abundant except in rainy season when the sky tends to be cloudy. It is advisable to visit Indonesia during dry season.

Make sure that your visit does not coincide with holiday festivities such as Muslim Eid holiday Eid (or Lebaran, like Indonesians are fond to say), because the traffic tends to be heavy especially in Java island. Unless you are interested in seeing the festivals up close and experiencing them, of course.

Indonesia’s climate can be hot and humid, so bringing along sunblocks and moisturizers during dry season is recommended. No need to bring umbrellas during rainy season because they are abundant and can easily be bought even in small shops. You might need extra clothing though, and you can purchase them almost anywhere.

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.

The majority of the population embraces Islam, while in Bali the Hindu religion is predominant. Whereas in areas like the Minahasa in North Sulawesi, the Toraja highlands in South Sulawesi, in the East Nusatenggara islands and in large parts of Papua, in the Batak highlands as well as on Nias island in North Sumatra, the majority are either Catholics or Protestants. On the whole the Indonesian people are religious in nature. Indonesian societies are open and remain tolerant towards one another’s religion, customs and traditions, all the while faithfully adhering to their own. The Indonesian coat of arms moreover bears the motto: Bhinneka Tunggal Ika – Unity in Diversity.

Facilities hotels in Indonesia may be regarded as the best. 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 the center of activities for business and leisure and also a paradise for shoppers, offering upscale boutiques selling top brand names, to local goods at road-side stalls. In these locations the culinary connoisseur can treat themselves with a variety of delicious regional specialties or a sumptuous meals in the international restaurant. For relaxation, the spa in Indonesia is second to none in the refresh body and mind.

Standard banking hours are from 8 AM to 3 PM from Monday to Friday. However several banks open their branches in hotels (and some in malls) longer than office hour, a few are open on Saturdays so you might want to check first. Jakarta has a number of international banks, even though you can also exchange currencies in some hotel cashiers and official money changers.

Bahasa Indonesia is the national and official language in the entire country. It is the language of official communication, taught in schools and spoken on television. Most Indonesians today speak at least two languages or more, Bahasa Indonesia and their local language, of which Indonesia counts more than 300 regional languages.

Indonesia has three time zones—Western Indonesia Time which is GMT +7 (covering Sumatra, Java, Madura, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan), Central Indonesia Time which is GMT +8 (covering East and South Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Bali, Nusa Tenggara) and the last is Eastern Indonesia Time which is GMT +9 (covering Maluku and Irian Jaya). The capital Jakarta is GMT + 7 or 16 hours ahead of US Pacific Standard Time.

Office hours start from 8 AM to 4 PM, or 9 AM to 5 PM. Lunch break occurs between 12 noon to 1 PM. Usually offices are closed on Saturdays, including government offices. Government office hours start at 8 AM and end at 4 PM.

The Indonesia Rupiah is also called IDR. Information of daily exchange rate can be found in newspapers or from the net. Some Indonesia banks provide this on their websites. IDR and US$ are the most acceptable currencies. Most tourism resorts have money changer facilities. When you are traveling to remote areas it is advisable to exchange your money and clear your check. Credit cards are only acceptable in big hotels, restaurants, shops and traveling agencies.

Electric power supply is 220 volts in all regions. So be careful with your 110-volt electronic equipment. The sockets will only fit with with two pins rounded-tip plugs (technically known as Type C, E, and F) or use adaptors. Most hotels and many restaurants in large cities provide internet connections or free WiFi.

All travelers to Indonesia must be in possession of a passport that is valid for at least six months from the date of arrival, and have proof (tickets) of onward or return passage.

The Indonesian Government extends Visa on Arrival (VoA) to nationals of 65 countries which can be obtained at designated entry airports and sea ports. Visa-on-Arrival are valid for 30 days and are extendable with another 30 days to be applied at Immigration offices in Indonesia.

Please note that starting 26 January 2010, the 7-day Visa-on-Arrival has been discontinued.

Countries extended Visa-on-Arrival facility based on the Ministry of Law and Human Rights Regulation No. 3 of 2015 are:

1. Algeria 2. Australia 3. Argentina 4. Austria 5. Bahrain 6. Belgium 7. Brazil 8. Bulgaria 9. Canada 10. Cyprus 11. Denmark 12. Egypt 13. Estonia 14. Fiji 15. Finland 16. France 17. Germany 18. Greece 19. Hungary 20. Iceland 21. India 22. Ireland 23. Italy 24. Japan 25. Kuwait 26. Latvia 27. Libya 28. Lithuania 29. Liechtenstein 30. Luxemburg 31. Malta 32. Maldives 33. Monaco 34. Mexico 35. New Zealand 36. Netherlands 37. Norway 38. Oman 39. Panama 40. The People’s Republic of China 41. Poland 42. Portugal 43. Qatar 44. Rumania 45. Russia 46. South Africa 47. South Korea 48. Switzerland 49. Saudi Arabia 50. Spain 51. Suriname 52. Sweden 53. Slovakia 54. Slovenia 55. Taiwan 56. Tunisia 57. The United Arab Emirates 58. The United Kingdom 59. The United States of America 60. Timor Leste 61. Croatia 62. Belarus 63. Andorra 64. Czech Republic 65. Turkey

Airports:

  1. Sultan Iskandar Muda in Banda Aceh, Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam
  2. Sultan Syarif Kasim II in Pekanbaru, Riau
  3. Hang Nadim in Batam
  4. Minangkabau in Padang, West Sumatera
  5. Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II in Palembang, South Sumatera
  6. Soekarno – Hatta in Jakarta
  7. Halim Perdana Kusuma in Jakarta
  8. Husein Sastranegara in Bandung, West Java
  9. Adi Sucipto in Yogyakarta
  10. Ahmad Yani in Semarang, Central Java
  11. Adi Sumarmo in Surakarta, Central Java
  12. Juanda in Surabaya, East Java
  13. Supadio in Pontianak, West Kalimantan
  14. Sepinggan in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan
  15. Sam Ratulangi in Manado, North Sulawesi
  16. Hasanuddin in Makassar, South Sulawesi
  17. Ngurah Rai in Bali
  18. El Tari in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara
  19. Kuala Namu in Medan, North Sumatera
  20. Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara

Seaports:

  1. Sekupang, Citra Tritunas (Harbour Bay), Nongsa, Marina Teluk Senimba, and Batam Centre in Batam
  2. Bandar Bintan Telani Lagoi and Bandar Sri Udana Lobam in Tanjung Uban, Riau Islands
  3. Sri Bintan Pura in Tanjung Pinang, Riau Islands
  4. Tanjung Balai Karimun in Riau Islands
  5. Belawan in North Sumatera
  6. Sibolga in North Sumatera
  7. Yos Sudarso in Dumai, Riau
  8. Teluk Bayur in Padang, West Sumatera
  9. Tanjung Priok in Jakarta
  10. Tanjung Mas in Semarang, Central Java

11. Padang Bai in Karangasem, Bali

12. Benoa in Badung, Bali

13. Bitung in North Sulawesi

14. Soekarno-Hatta in Makassar, South Sulawesi

15. Pare-Pare in South Sulawesi

16. Maumere in East Nusa Tenggara

17. Tenau in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara

18. Jayapura in Papua

19. Sabang in Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam

Free Tourist short stay visas for 30 days are extended to tourists from 12 countries, namely from Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and Hong Kong SAR, Macao SAR, Chile, Equador, Morocco and Peru.

Visitors from other countries must apply for visa at Indonesia Embassies or Consulates in their home country. In addition, the visa cannot be replaced with any other immigration letters. The visa shall then be administered by Visa Officer in the presence of the applicant concerned.

You may find information on Indonesia embassies and consulates contact details at the Ministry of Foreign Affair website on the following direct link:Ministry of Foreign Affairs Republic Of Indonesia

For further information on applying for visa to Indonesia, you may browse our FAQs.

Free entry visa is also provided to delegates registered in a conference that is officially convened. In addition, tourist visa can be obtained from every Indonesian Embassy or Consulate. You can visit Indonesia through certain means and gates, by air via Jakarta, Bali, Medan, Manado, Biak, Ambon, Surabaya and Batam; by sea via Semarang, Jakarta, Bali, Pontianak, Balikpapan, Tanjung Pinang and Kupang. Maximum stay in Indonesia is two months.

Most hotels add a 10% service charge to the bill on top of the 10% tax. In restaurants where service charge is not added, a tip of 5 to 10% on the bill will be appropriate depending on the service and type of establishment.

Maximum items allowed by customs when you visit Indonesia:

  • 1 liter of alcoholic beverages
  • 200 cigarettes OR 50 cigars OR 100 grams of tobacco
  • Reasonable amount of perfume per adult, meaning if you arrive drenched in perfume the customs probably will not mind you carrying loads of bottles.
  • Cameras, video cameras, portable radios, cassette recorders, binoculars and sport equipments are admitted provided they are taken out on departure. They must be declared to Customs.

You are prohibited to carry:

  • Firearms
  • Narcotics drugs
  • Pornography materials
  • Chinese printing and medicines
  • Transceivers and cordless telephone
  • Films, pre-recorded video tapes, laser discs, VCDs, DVDs must be screened by Censor Board.
  • Import or export of foreign currencies and travelers’ checks are allowed. However, the import and export of Indonesia currency, exceeding 100 million Rupiah is prohibited.
  • Further information on customs and taxes in Indonesia, log into www.beacukai.go.id