Indonesia Travel Guide

Population:  253 million

Capital City:  Jakarta (10.187 million)

People: Javanese, Sundanese, Matay, Madurese, Batak, Minankabau,
Bantenese, Banjarese, Balinese and others.

Language: Bahasa Indonesia, English, Dutch, Javanese, and other local dialects

Currency: Indonesian rupiah (IDR)

Time Zone: Western Indonesia Time +7Hrs. Central Indonesia Time +8 Hrs.
East Indonesia Time +9 Hrs

International Dialing Code: +62

General Information

Passport and visa
Passport should be valid for six months from the date of entry into Indonesia.

52 countries are eligible for a Visa on arrival in Indonesia’s international airports and many seaports, for duration of up to 30 days. There is also a transit visa available for 7 days. Please note that visa extensions are not available but a 60 day visa can be applied for at Indonesian embassies, outside of the country.

For further information and a list of nationalities exempt eligible for visa on arrival, please check here. Nationals not referred in the list are advised to check with their nearest embassy for more detailed visa information and associated costs.

Indonesian money is Rupiah (IDR). Notes are in denominations of IDR 100.000, 50.000, 20.000, 10.000, 5.000, 2.000, 1.000. Coins are in denominations of IDR 1.000, 500 and 100.
USD 1,00 = IDR 12.000,00  EURO 1,00 = IDR 14.900,00 (December 2014, subject to change)
Currency exchange is available at major banks, airports and some hotels. Be aware that you will need to show your passport when you exchange money. The easiest foreign currencies to exchange are USD and EUR. Notes will need to be undamaged and later than 2010. Cash withdrawals can be easily made with widespread ATMs. However, English instruction may not be displayed in some local ATMs so you can seek the support from our local guide. It may not be widely possible to exchange unused IDR back into foreign currency so we suggest you exchange it in the international airport exchange desks. 

Phones & Internet service
Telephone connection is available throughout Indonesia, the strength of signal and reception may differ in rural areas. Sim cards are also available for purchase all over Indonesia, for guest that would prefer not to purchase a new sim card are recommended to contact their local network provider to set up roaming services.

Internet / Wifi connection is available in most hotels, restaurants, cafes and villas. Normally companies will promote whether or not they provide the service for guests

Traffic & Transportation
Road in some islands such as Java, Bali and Sumatra are well maintained with good road network. Taxis are available in various areas; however, you only expect to see metered taxis in major tourist areas and main cities.
Becak is one of the interesting ways of getting around the city for sightseeing which seats maximum of 2 passengers at cheap price. Fares should be negotiated in advance. Other great alternative transportation mode is Bajaj which can only be found in Jakarta. Less common than Bajaj is Bemo which usually operates on fixed routes at fixed fairs.

Ojeks (Motorcycle taxis) is not safe and under no circumstances is this sanctioned or recommended by Buffalo Tours.  Please note that this form of transport is not usually covered by insurance. Please check the fine print of your travel insurance policy to be sure of your cover.

An easy and safe way to get around Indonesia is by Taxi ‘Blue Bird’ Taxis are highly recommended as each car is fixed with meters so you will be charged accordingly.Horse drawn carriages (dokar) is another method, only available in some parts of Indonesia.  

Indonesia’s climate remains fairly stable even through the year. Rather than four seasons, Indonesia has wet and dry season. The dry season falls between June and September as affected by the eastern monsoon, suggesting you to travel in this time of the year. The western monsoon brings heavy rain during December and March so you are highly recommended to bring an umbrella with you. Indonesia experiences hot weather and high humidity from 70% to 90% with average temperature from 23°C (73°F) to 28°C (82°F).

Electricity provided in Indonesian is 220V or 50Hz, plugs used are Type F (CEE 7/4 "Schuko"). Adapters are available in some hotels, but upon request and availability. 

Health and well-being
The quality of local healthcare system in Indonesia can be poor especially in remote areas. Some tests are considered less reliable. Higher standard medical care can be costly so make sure you have accessible funds to cover the cost of medical treatment. You are strongly recommended to consult your doctor or country’s travel clinic for up-to-date information and advice regarding appropriate inoculations.

It is notable that the majority of beaches around Indonesia isn’t protected by life guards; please make sure you are a confident swimmer before diving into unpatrolled waters. Day beds are available for hire and will set you back approximately Rp. 50,000 / hour prices may vary depending on location. 

No inoculations are required for visiting Indonesia. However, it is advisable to visit doctor and update on routine vaccinations against possible diseases. Some immunizations are highly recommended including Hepatitis A and Typhoid since there is a risk of contaminated water and food in Indonesia. There are many domestic and wild animals throughout Indonesia, especially Bali so you should avoid direct contact with pet, monkey and other animals to reduce the risk of Rabies.

Travel insurance (recommended)
Buffalo Tours does everything possible to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. However, travel inevitably involves some unavoidable risk. Travel insurance is a cost effective way of protecting yourself and your equipment should any problems occur such as cancelled trips, delays, medical emergencies, baggage loss or damage. Please also make sure your travel insurance covers all activities planned on your trip so you can enjoy peace of mind during your journey.

Culture & Customs

Etiquette and cultural differences
Experiencing different cultures is one of the joys of travelling, and it is important that these differences are respected. Knowing a few important customs of Indonesian people will help make your visit more enjoyable:

• Point with your index finger
• Use your left hand to touch and give since it is considered for hygienic purposes.
• Touch people’s head
• Interrupt any religious processions

• Dress conservatively to show respect to religious customs. No bare shoulders and shorts. You may be required to wear a sarong around your waist when entering temple 
• Remove your shoes when entering a house
• Bend slightly when you meet or greet elderly people

Food and drink
The main ingredient in Indonesian dishes is rice which serves either plain or fried with spices. The most popular dish that you should try is Nasi Goreng which is fried rice with spicy flavor. Fresh sea food is usually featured with rice in many Indonesian dishes. The option varies from shrimp, shellfish, scallops, crab, squid, and oyster. Besides Nasi, there are various options including:

• Soto (soup, flavored with chicken or beef)
• Rendang (buffalo coconut curry)
• Sate (chunks of beef, fish, pork, chicken or lamb cooked on hot coals and dipped in peanut sauce)
• Bakso (meatballs)
• Gado-gado (vegetable salad with peanut and coconut milk sauce)

It is not advisable to drink tap water in Indonesia, but bottled mineral water is safe and available everywhere. Ice cubes in drinks is generally OK in good standard hotels and restaurants but it is best to avoid it on street stalls or in country areas.

Public holidays
New Year Day: January 1
Muhammad’s birthday: 12th day of the Islamic month of Rabi' al-awwal
Chinese New Year: 1st day of the 1st lunar month
Nyepi -Balinese Hindu New Year: 1st day of the Caka New Year
Good Friday: April 3
Labour Day: May 1
Ascension Day: 40th day of Easter
Isra Mi’raj: 27th day of Rajab, the 7th month in the Islamic calendar.
Waisak day: 8th of the 4th lunar month
Hari Raya Puasa (Eid al-Fitr): the 1st day of the 10th Islamic month  
Hari Raya Haji (Eid al-Adha): the 10th day of the last Islamic month
Indonesia Independence Day: August 17
Idul Adha: 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the 12th and final Islamic month
Awal Muharram: the beginning of Islamic New Year
Christmas day: December 25

Helpful tips

Tipping is not common in Indonesia. As it is a personal matter, travelers are encouraged to tip any amount they feel is appropriate. For your convenience, we have included a suggested tipping guide below:

• Guides: $5 per day, per person (depending on group size and performance)
• Drivers: $3 per day, per person (depending on group size and performance)
• Restaurants: In luxurious restaurants, you may find that the tip is already included in the bill. In local restaurants, tips are not expected
• Taxi drivers: Tipping is not mandatory but you always can round up to the nearest Rp
• Bellhops: $1-$2 per bag

Price guide
• Bottled water (1.5l): 5,000 Rp
• Beer: 10,000 Rp -15,000 Rp (from a convenience store), 20.000 Rp – 50,000 Rp (from a bar)
• Soft drinks (0.33l): from 5,000 Rp
• Coffee: 15,000 Rp – 30,000 Rp
• Street food: from 5,000 Rp
• Restaurant: 15,000 Rp – 50,000 Rp
• Sim card: 50,000 Rp

Pre-departure checklist
• Travel documents: passport, visa (if required), travel insurance
• Photocopy of main passport pages, visa (if required)
• All relevant tickets
• Foreign currency (US$) and/or ATM card
• Money belt and small padlocks
• Medication
• First aid kit
• Small daypack (for day and overnight trips)
• Wind and waterproof jacket
• Umbrella
• Comfortable and sturdy walking shoes
• Sunscreen, lip balm, sunhat and sunglasses
• Electrical adapter plug
• Insect repellent
• Refillable water bottle

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