Once you have a valid passport for more than six months, visitors from most countries can enter Indonesia for a period of up to 60 days. To ensure you have the right entry requirements before entering, contact your nearest Indonesian embassy prior to travelling there.
The official unit of currency is the Indonesian Rupiah (Rp). Notes come in denominations of Rp100, Rp500, Rp1000, Rp5000, Rp10,000, Rp20,000, Rp50,000 and Rp100,000. Coins which are used are Rp25, Rp50, Rp100, Rp500 and Rp1000.
Bahasa Indonesia is the official language although it has approximately 583 different dialects spoken. English is also widely understood, particularly in touristy areas.
There are two seasons in Indonesia – the dry and the wet. The dry season lasts from June-October and the wet season lasts from November to March. The months in between have scattered showers. And as the country is just under the equator, it is hot 12 months of the year.
Pharmacies and hospitals can be found in the main cities and bigger towns. Any towns which are visited a lot by backpackers and travellers will have somewhere to get any medical ailments you need.
It is advised that you take out travel insurance before gaoing. You can now purchase travel insurance designed for backpackers on Hostelindonesia.com. Click here for further details.
Indonesia is divided between three time zones:
- Western Indonesia Standard Time which is 7 hours ahead of GMT and covers Sumatra, Java, along with Western and Central Kalimantan
- Central Indonesia Standard Time which is 8 hours ahead of GMT and covers East and South Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Bali, Nusa Tenggara and East Timor
- Eastern Indonesia Standard Time which is 9 hours ahead of GMT and includes Maluku and Irian Jaya
Business/shopping hours are between (on average) 8am-4pm Monday-Friday and from 8am-12pm on Saturdays.
Banks open from 8am-12pm Monday-Friday and from 8am-11am on Saturdays.
Major cities and larger towns will have tourist offices to cater for the large amount of visitors they get. Different companies run these offices, but they all give the same information regarding places of interest to visit and how to get to them. They should have somebody speaking English there also.
The rate of Value Added Tax in Indonesia is 10% on goods and some services. There may also be a sales tax imposed of between 20%-35% but this is usually imposed only on some luxury items.
Specially designated offices for changing money (bureau du changes) are open until the evening. You can also change money in banks but they don’t stay open as late.
Making international calls can be done from older public telephones using coins and newer ones which accept pre-paid call cards. In more remote areas you have a better chance of finding public telephones in hotels and tourist offices.
When dialling overseas from within Indonesia dial the international access code, then the country code for wherever you are calling, the area code (dropping the 0) and the local number.
Indonesia’s international access code if dialling into the country is +62.
Post offices stay open from 8am-2pm Monday-Thursday, 8am-11am on Fridays and 8am-12.30pm on Saturdays. Positing letters and post cards overseas from within Indonesia takes between 7-14 days.
Tipping isn’t part of Indonesian culture but is expected for some services.
In Indonesia they are New Years Day (1st January), Hindu (Nyepi) New Year (March/April), Good Friday/Easter Sunday (March/April), Muslim New Year/Day of Sacrifice (May), Waisak Day (May), Ascension Day (May), Muslim New Year (June), Mohammed’s Birthday (July), Independence Day (17th August), Ascension Day of Mohammed (December) and Christmas Day (25th December).
It is good to take note of what the public holidays are before travelling as most shops/businesses/banks etc close on these days.