Indonesia is the largest country in the world to consist entirely of islands (17,508 islands according to the Indonesian Naval Hydro-oceanographic office). About 6,000 of them are inhabited, and they stretch over 5,200km, from Sumatra in the north-west to Papua in the south-east, a distance greater than that from London to Moscow. It bridges two continents, Asia and Australia, and connects to two oceans, the Pacific and the Indian ocean. The country hosts hundreds of different languages, and hundreds of ethnicities.
Indonesia is well-known for its beautiful beaches and islands, with blue turquoise sea water and swaying palms. The closest islands getaway to Jakarta to visit is a group of tropical islands, called Kepulauan Seribu or The Thousand Islands. Although literally there are not as many as 1,000 islands, there are more than 100 islands that you can explore. Some of the most famous are Pulau Pari, Pulau Tidung, Pulau Pramuka, Pulau Harapan and Pulau Macan.
Mountain lovers will also find plenty to enjoy in Indonesia. The country has more active volcanoes than any other country. It contains some of the world’s most famous volcanoes, Krakatau (Krakatoa), Tambora, and Merapi.
Bahasa Indonesian is the only official language of Indonesia. English is the common second language in Indonesia.
Indonesian currency is rupiah. 1 USD worth IDR 13,950 (source: bloomberg.com, per February 4, 2019).
WEATHER & DRESS
Being a tropical country, Indonesia is blessed with two seasons, namely dry and rainy. In most regions, the dry season spans from May to September, with the rains falling between October and April. It has warm tropical temperatures averaging 28°C during the day, which is fairly constant throughout the year. Sunshine is abundant except in rainy season when the sky tends to be cloudy. The best time to visit Indonesia is during dry season.
Indonesia’s climate can be hot and humid, so bringing along sunblock is recommended. It is also advisable to wear clothes made of light fabrics during dry season.
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.
ELECTRICITY & WATER
Electric power supply is 230 volts in all regions. The standard frequency is 50 Hz.The power plugs and sockets are two pins rounded-tip plugs (technically known as Type C, E, and F).
Tap water is generally not potable in Indonesia. Bottled water is cheap and available everywhere.
INTERNET & TELEPHONE
Most hotels and many restaurants in large cities provide internet connections or free Wi-Fi.
Indonesia’s international dialling code is +(62). Mobile networks and carriers in Indonesia use 2 GSM bands, 2 UMTS bands, 4 LTE bands, and 2 CDMA bands.
Since 2018, Indonesia government has made the prepaid SIM registration a mandatory requirement. As a result, you will be required to produce your passport or Indonesian national ID at the time of buying the prepaid mobile card. Once registered, the card is ready for use immediately.
Indonesian citizens can register online with their ID number, but foreigners need to go to an official store of the provider showing their passport to get registered. You can still buy a SIM card on the street. However, if your SIM has been suddenly shut off, you can only re-activate it (and not lose the preloaded credit) by officially registering this SIM in a store of the provider.
For latest details of major prepaid SIM card providers:
The special capital region of Jakarta is the liveliest and capital city of Indonesia. People travelling by air to Jakarta may arrive from two gateways, the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (International and Domestic flights) and Halim Perdanakusumah Airport (Domestic flights). Jakarta can also be reached easily by land from neighbouring cities of Bandung and
Taxis can be hired at the airports to get into the city. There are options to take from regular taxis, online taxis (GrabCar or Go-Car) to airport buses.
Recently, Indonesian government operates airport trains connecting Soekarno-Hatta International Airport to city centre, namely SHIA Express Railink.
The best way to travel around Jakarta is by hired car, taxi (regular or online), online motorbike taxi, TransJakarta bus or by package tour (details will be posted shortly).
There are a lot of things to do and to see in Jakarta. For a comprehensive glimpse of Indonesia visit the Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, or the Beautiful Indonesia in Miniature Park,
located in East Jakarta, accessible via the toll road. The Park displays original Indonesian houses from throughout the archipelago, all with their unique architectural style. Here is also an Imax theatre, showing spectacular 3D films. Orchid lovers should not miss the Orchid Garden here.
For complete seaside recreation, Jakarta’s residents and domestic tourists’ throng to the Ancol Dreamland located on the north coast of the city. This is a sprawling resort complete with a Seaworld, a Fantasy World known as Dunia Fantasi or Dufan for short that includes boat rides into a Doll’s World. There is also a large swimming arena complete with artificial waves and waterslides, a heart-stopping roller coaster and many thrilling rides such as the torpedo. This resort also has hotels, restaurants and a convention hall.
Jakarta also has a complete Zoo filled with the rich fauna of the archipelago. Located at Ragunan, here one can admire the magnificent bird of paradise, the Komodo lizard, the Orang Utan and all types of snakes. The Zoo also has a special section for Gorillas. The Jakarta Zoo is a special family favourite on public holidays.