GENERAL INFO
JAVA INDONESIA,Capitol : JAKARTA
Min. Travel Cost $10-12/day,

US$1= Rp8000, June ,99

 

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!Attention !The severe devaluation of the Rupiah in 1997/8 has been stabilised for the last year largely by IMF grants. The country is politically anything but stable, the tourist industry already on its' knees as a result of highly publicised riots last summer other than Bali, the only area still attracting considerable numbers of tourists. It is important to state, however, that currently Indonesia is SAFE for tourists, isolated politically & religiously motivated internal troubles are not aimed at outsider's. The June election is critical for the country in general & the tourism industry can only start to get back on its feet if the outcome of the elections is accepted peacefully by all parties.
STOP PRESS! The unstable situation in East Timor should not necessarily deter travellers from visiting other areas in Indonesia, however it is important to be aware of the impact that the independence struggle in East Timor may have. There has been some disorder in Jakarta and there are possible implications for other regions currently under Indonesian rule striving for autonomy (Aceh in Sumatra and Irian Jaya)

Language
National Bahasa Indonesia, plus 250 local dialects.
Foreign Basic English is understood by people working in tourist areas. Some older people can speak Dutch.

TIME

 Current time:

Java, Sumatra, W part of Indonesia: GMT +7
Bali, Flores, South and East Kalimantan, Lombok, Sulawesi, Sumba, Sumbawa and Timor: GMT + 8
Aru, Irian Jaya, Kai, Moluccas and Tanimbar: GMT + 9.


Climate
22-32 C year round, Tropical climate, very humid. High areas such as Bandung are colder (average 22 C).
! Warning It can get very cold when climbing volcanoes - take appropriate clothing.
Wet November - March
Dry May-September.
High Season Lebaran-end of Ramadan, Jul-Aug, Oct. Christmas-New Year.


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Basic min. price (Rp)
Room -Jakarta/Bandung s20,000 -Yogyakarta s15,000
Restaurant-Indonesian. 5,000 -Western 8,000
Water 1.5lt - market. 2,000, -restaurant. 3,000
Coffee (instant)1500, (local)1,000, (real)3000
Big Mac -14,000 Milk Shake 4,000
Coke - Jakarta 3,000+ -Yogya 2,000+
Beer large 9000
Breakfast (local.) 4,000 Breakfast (Am.) 9,000+
Toilet paper 1,500? Tooth paste (local) 1500?
Tampons x8 6,500 (bring with you 97 info).
Fuji film (36x100) 21,000?

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Currency
The Rupiah has been relatively stable for the past 12 months but still fluctuates between 7500-8500. The elections may disturb this relative calm, although the SE Asian economies are recovering.
time of Research: $1=Rp8,000 (Jun 2 '99)
BANK/EXCHANGE
Many ATM machines in major cities. Visa card cash advance common, small commission (5000Rp) in smaller cities. Banks provide exchange service weekdays between 9-00 & 15-00 due to daily changes in exchange rate. No commission charged for traveller cheques. Moneychangers rate usually slightly higher for cash. Compare with Bank Bali which offers the most competitive exchange rates amongst the banks. Better rates given for higher denominations (50/100US$) of unmarked notes.
! Warning
Always COUNT your money. Cheating has been reported.
Rate at Airport Generally low. Change minimum.
Traveling Money : Mixed is the best option carry most of your money in T/Cs, some cash in foreign currency and bring a credit/cash card.
T/C: US$ is the standard, but checks in all major currencies are changeable. American Express & Visa are the most common. No commission on T/C in Indonesia. Bank rates are higher for T/C than cash, moneychangers generally give higher rates for cash. Rates are higher in big cities(10%),. Cash US$ is the best. Moneychangers' rates are higher for cash than T/C, they're also better for higher denominations.
Credit cards can be used in some hotels, shops, restaurants & travel agents, usually charge, about 3%.
! Warning Credit card fraud occurs, particularly in tourist areas.
! Attention Delta system ATM'S may not accept some Visa.

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Opening hours
Government offices M-Th 8-16:00, F8-11:30, Sa 8-14:00
Large stores daily 9:00-21:00
Banks M-F 8:30 - 15:00, Sat closed for exchange

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Immigration
Passport: must be valid for at least 6 months from date of entry.
Visa: At most entry points, 1 month visa is issuced. $25. (Should have an onward ticket but this rule is not strictly enforced.?)
Visa Extension: (Officially not possible. However there are a few report that it is possible to extend at the Immigration in Denpasar though ITIS has not confirmed it yet.)?
! Warning: Bribing is common practice in Indonesia. If you arrive at immigration without an onward ticket out of Indonesia, you may be asked questions leading to a request for money.
To Avoid :
1. Have return ticket.
2. If questioned about time in Indonesia & money, answer short (1 month) & lots ($500US)
3. Go through immigration when they are busy or get in a big group. Solo travelers are their main target.
4. Don't panic. If you are stopped, consider starting the bargain procedure at the counter before you are taken to the interview room. Latest report was $10US at Bali airport.


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Border Crossing
AIR/Airports
Java Jakarta/Soekarno-Hatta; Surabaya/Juandan
Solo/Adisumarmo;
Bali Denpasar/Ngurah Rai;
Sumatra Medan/Polonia; Pekanbaru/Simpang Tiga;
Padang/Tabing; Batam/Kijang;
Sulawesi Manado/Sam Ratulangi;
Timor Kupang/El Tari;
Kalimantan Balikpapan/Sepinggan, Pontianak/Soepadio;
Airport Tax (Intl.) Jakarta/Bali Airports - Rp50,000,
Popular flights:
Singapore - Jakarta from S$76 O/W
Penang (Mal) - Medan (Indon), around O/W US$60.

LAND/Frontier
From Malaysia:
Kuching,Sarawak(M) - Pontianak,Kalimantan (I)
Tawau, Sabah(M) ENunukan, E.Kalimantan
Papua New Guinea -Irian Jaya border open (Wembi-Waris) according to Jakarta immigration staff
SEA/Seaports Major entry points :
Java-/Jakarta(Tanjung Priok), Bali/Padangbai;
Sumatra -Medan/Belawan & Dumai; Batam/Sekupang, Bintan/Tanjung Pinang.

Map of popular sea routes explaining this complicated info will be available shortly. Please be patient.

Singapore to Jakarta: There are two ways,
1.Singapore - Batam - Bintan - Jakarta.
2.Singapore - Bintan - Jakarta.
see more details below
Malaysia to Sumatra(I)
Penang(Mal)-Belawan(I)
, overland transit to Medan, Departs Penang M-Sa 9-10:00, Arrives Belawan 14-17:00 Class-B, O/W RM90, R/T RM160. Embarkation fee RM6
Melaka(Mal)-Dumai(I) departs 10:00 (check in 2hrs before), arrives in Dumai at 15:00 O/W RM 80.
Singapore to Batam(I)
WTC(Sing)-Sekupang(Batam,I) every 30 min, 7:45-20:00,
O/W S$17, R/T S$28, 40min.
Singapore to Bintan(I)
Tanah Merah F.T.(S)-Tanjung Pinang(Bintan,I), Regular service - 9:15-15:00,
O/W S$49, RT S$63, 1.45h
Batam to Sumatra
Sekupang(Batam,I)-Pekanbaru(Sum,I)Regular service- 8:15-19:15,
O/W Rp40,000, 6hrs.
Sekupang(Batam,I) to Dumai(Medan,I),daily,Rp40,000,
6h.
From Batam to Bintan
1.Sekupang(Batam,I)-Tanjung Pingang(Bintan,I)
9:30, 11:00, 17:00,
Rp12,000
2.from Sekupang take share taxi to Kabil
Rp3,000+,
Then ferry to Tanjung Pinang (Bintan)
Rp8,000.
From Bintan to Sumatra
Kisang(Bintan) to Dumai(Medan),
Friday,
Ekonomi Rp30,000, Cl-4, Rp55,000, 12hrs.
From Bintan to Jakarta
1.Kisang(Bintan) to Tanjung Priok(Jak),
Sunday,
Ekonomi 85,000, Cl 4 Rp105,000, 28hrs.
2.Tanjung Pinang(Bintan) to Tanjung Priok(Jak),
Tu, Fr 8:00, Price?


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National Transport
See local transport sheet for info.
AIR (May 15, 98) the price include 10% tax
Indonesia has an extensive domestic service. Garuda, Merpati, Bouraq & Mandala airlines are the main carriers. Prices are standard. Discounts are uncommon. A 10% tax is usually included in the prices listed at Travel Agencies. Airport depart. tax differ according to airport. Check when booking flights.
Jakarta/Bali Airports Domestic tax= Rp11,000
Flight Prices from Jakarta to:
Denpasar, Bali Rp773,200 Yogyakarta Rp440,300
Medan, Sumatra Rp1114,500 Mataram, Lombok Rp855,800
U Pandung Rp1152,600 Manado Rp1,805,600
from Denpasar to
Yogyakarta Rp426,000 Bandung Rp 772,000
U Pandang Rp315,700 Manado Rp759,000
UPandaung to Manadu Rp486,200
Air pass 'Visit Indonesia Decade Pass'.
Jointly operated by Garuda/Merpati - $300 + tax for 3 flights (50$ extra if you DON'T enter Indonesia on a Garuda flight). $100 for additional sectors. (Certain transfers can be included in one flight). Valid for 60 days. Must buy ticket outside Indonesia or within 14 days of arrival at Garuda office.
It is always not worth buying because of the current currency situation. If $1=Rp10,000, not may fights are over $100. It is worth buying only when you fly very long distance.
Train
Extensive service In Java and a limited service in S Sumatra . Except for the main Jakarta-Jogya-Surabaya route, services can be slow and delays common. Basic 3rd Class - Ekonomi (no reservations) trains are very cheap and very slow, can get extremely full, 2nd class - Bisnis (business), 1st class - Eksekutiv trains are much faster, with fewer delays. Reservations recommended, often possible to bypass the ticket counter and go to the Stationmasters office to book tickets.
Bus
There is an extensive bus service throughout Indonesia. Ranging from very cheap, basic public buses to much more expensive luxury tourist buses. Delays are common and the traffic and driving on Indonesian roads can be scary. Many Travel Agencies & Hotels can book transport.
Shared Taxi
Supplements the bus services. Operate on regional, inter-city routes.
Boat
Boat Ferry services operate between the islands. Pelni Shipping Company, government-owned ferry operator provides routes throughout Indonesia. Excellent option for long-distance travel, much more comfortable & relaxing option to buses, but essential to know timetable, as some routes run infrequently. Time table available from Pelni offices, agents can also help you with specific route information

Indonesia is a country of islands. If you want to explore real Indonesia, you have to travel cross a sea. Pelni ships connect between remote islands. Traveling with these scheduled boats may be interesting. However it is hard to take them because they don't run frequently, delaying is usual, and it is very uncomfortable because of the low quality.
Traveling with "Adventure Cruise" , traditional sailing boats, may be a good option and gives you a great experience to know the real Indonesia. You also can have opportunities of diving in many spots where independent divers normally cannot reach and trekking/hiking on islands such as Komodo island which costs lots if you take normal tours. Some of this cruise tours are one way so you can come back overland avoiding taking a back track.

There are many boat owners/agents are operating in Indonesia.
The agent below is one of the largest one.
SongLine Cruises of Indonesia: Jalan Kebon Sirih Barat I #43, Jakarta Pusat, Indonesia, T 021-315-8720
USA HP 813-625-5392
info@songlinecruises.com
, http://www.songlinecruises.com/
Their budget boat starts from $40/day including 3 meal and some activities. The office is in the middle of Jl. Jaksa area



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Local Transport
See City sheet for local info.
Bus The cheapest option but bus routes are often confusing. !Be aware of pickpockets, particularly in Jakarta & Yogyakarta.
Taxi Metred and unmetred. Many drivers refuse to use meter. Sometimes meter has been tampered with. If unmetred negotiate before hand.
Microlets may be called oplets, small mini-vans, operate along fixed routes.
Bemo Converted pick-up trucks 10-12 passengers, operate along set routes.
Bajaj Orange colored, 3-wheeled scooters, operate in Jakarta. Cheaper than taxis. Must bargain before getting in.
Becak Bicycle rickshaw, operating everywhere except Jakarta. Must bargain.
Ojeks Motorbike taxis usually operate in rural areas. Must bargain.
Rental Motorbikes from 20,000-30,000/day
Bicycle from Rp5,000/day.


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Mail/Telephone
MAIL
Postage prices for postcards seems to vary according to where/who you ask.
Size was one factor given for the difference.
The prices below were taken from the GPO in Jakarta.
GPO opening hours: M-F 8-16, Sa 8-13, check locally.

Rp USA UK Australia Japan
Post Card 4,000 6,000 4,000 4,000
Letter,10g 7,500 6,000 4,000 4,000
Air parcel 0.5kg 174,000 202,000 126,000 181,000
1kg 258,000 279,000 167,000 223,000
2kg 433,000 426,000 244,000 293,000
Sea parcel 1kg 122,000 179,000 122,000 186,000
5kg 272,000 337,000 208,000 372,000
Small package to anywhere: 1kg = 15,000?, 2kg = 25,000?

Telephone
Services have improved considerably in recent years. Wartels (Telecommunication Offices) public & private, can be found everywhere, many are open 24hr. Check local city info.
Telephone rates vary according to time of day.
23.00-06.00 25% 06.00-07.00 50% 07.00-08.00 100%
08.00-18.00 125% 18.00-20.00 100% 20.00-23.00 50%
Payphones Local calls cost Rp100 (3min.). Domestic and HCD calls only.
Cardphones Usually have IDD facility. Common in big cities and tourist areas, airports. Phone cards from
40 units - Rp13,000 75 units - Rp20,000 100 units - Rp26,000, available from Wartels, some kiosks, restaurants & shops with the sign 'Sedia kartu telepon'.
IDD : International Direct Dialing: Access Code 001 or 008 + country code + area code + number.
Operator 101, Int Enq 102
IDD facilities are available at Wartels (Telecommunication Offices), many hotels and from most card-phones. Cheap rate (25% reduction) for most countries 24:00-08:00 & Sat/Sun all day.
1 min.call to USA Rp8,300
UK Rp9,400, Rest of Europe Rp10,790;
Japan Rp9,400 Australia Rp8,300
Fax 1 page USA/Canada Rp8,500
UK Rp12,700 Rest of Europe Rp12,700
Japan Rp11,700 Australia Rp10,700.
HCD Home Country Direct: 001801 + Country code
Specially equipped, HCD phones are increasing in tourist areas. You press a button for the country you wish to call and are connected with the operator from that country.
! Warning There are many different phone companies and many different systems and charges, so check around.

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Accommodation
Budget hotels/Pensions - often called Losmen - are plentiful in tourist areas throughout Java. Traveler style hostels can be found in Jakarta, Bandung & Yogykarta.
Prices vary from town to town: Jakarta - double room, shared bath from Rp20,000, Bandung Rp15,000, Yogyakarta Rp12,000.
Prices may increase during the high season and holidays - as much as triple during the end of Ramadan in beach areas popular with Indonesians such as Pangandaran. Equally, prices drop for low season & are currently on an extended low season due to the complete lack of foreign tourists. Bargaining may be possible. Breakfast and/or free tea & coffee is often included.
! Warning: Rickshaw drivers may try to take you to losmen that pay them commission.
! Warning: During Ramadan Mosques make broadcasts over loud speakers daily, early morning & food can be difficult to find during the day..


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Food
Rice (Nasi) is the basis of most Indonesian meals.
Noodle (Mie) is common in Chinese dishes.
There are many regional specialties and cuisines. More expensive international dishes are widely available in the main cities and tourist areas. MacDonalds and other Western fast food chains are becoming popular with the Indonesian middle-class.
Street hawkers and Warungs offer the cheapest local food. Check the level of hygiene first
Food Specialties:
Sate- charcoal-grilled chicken or mutton pieces usually served with peanut sauce;
Nasi goreng- fried rice;
Nasi campur- cold rice served with meat, vegetables, tofu and fermented beans;
Gado gado- salad with peanut sauce and prawn crackers;
Nasi gudeg - rice, chicken and jackfruit in coconut milk;
Cap cai - fried vegetables;
Ayam goreng- fried chicken;
Mie Bakso - noodle soup;
Rijsttafel- rice with as many as 15 different side dishes.
Deserts
Pisanggoreng banana fritters;
Bubur - sweet, black rice with coconut milk;
Es buhah & es campur crushed ice with fruits and condensed milk.
Drinks: beer, & soft drinks are available everywhere.
Kopi - Coffee, local coffee is excellent and cheap, from Rp200. More expensive nescafe and expresso is also available;
Fruit drink juices/shakes are available in every travelers-style restaurant.
Fruits
Durian: huge, smelly spiky fruit
Rambutan: similar to a lychee, has hairy,red skin.
Nanka (Jack-fruit) similar to Durian, used a lot in cooking.
Manggis (Mangosteen) round, purple fruits with soft white clusters inside - delicious.
Belimbing star fruit

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Health
No one on our staff has any medical background, what follows is just a general guide.
Health Regulations:
Yellow fever vaccinations are required for travelers arriving from infected areas.
Vaccinations: Not required in most of the peninsula. Cholera, Typhoid, Polio - if visiting rural areas.
Health Hazards:
Malaria: Carried by mosquitoes. Not a problem, though Malaria tablets are recommended if traveling in the jungle areas
Hepatitis : A Contracted through contaminated water and food, More likely in areas with poor sanitation.
Diarrhea: Contracted through contaminated water and food.
Japanese Encephalitis Carried by mosquitoes, found mainly in rural areas during rainy season.
Aids Contracted primarily through sexual intercourse and injection with contaminated needles.
Sunstroke/Dehydration The sun is extremely strong in this region. Precautions are recommended.
Rabies : Carried by dogs, monkeys, bats. DO NOT approach these animals
Drinking Water
Food
Tap Water Not drinkable. Buy mineral water or purify or boil.
Ice is generally safe because it is government regulated, but the handling ice may not be hygienic

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Customs
Visitors everywhere should try to observe local customs in order not to cause offense. Listed below are some basic Indonesian customs.
See SE Asia customs for more details.
Toilet : Squat toilets are normal. Toilet paper is not common - Locals wash with their left hand.
Left hand : Considered dirty for reason above. Always use your right hand to give/receive anything from anyone.
Tipping : Not usual except for porters and at high class hotels & restaurants Service tax often added to bill.
Dress : Visiting Mosques - women's head should be covered. Shorts, bare arms/shoulders not allowed. Shoes are usually removed before entering religious places.
Cigarette Fire : When you pass lit cigarette to someone, DON'T point to anyone with the lit end of the cigarette. Doing this is really offensive. Hold the cigarette in your palm when you pass it.

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Shopping
Department stores have fixed prices but bargaining is usual in markets and tourist shops.
Souvenirs:
Batik, Ikat, ethnic-style clothing & sarongs, puppets, masks, jewelry, woodcarving, basket ware, paintings and ceramics. Coffee is cheap and excellent.

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MEDIA English Newspapers
Indonesia Times, Jakarta Post, Indonesia Observer.

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Festivals/holidays ph = public holiday (1997)
Jan 1 ph New Year's Day: On New Year's Eve street festivals and carnivals are held. Paper trumpets are sold and can be heard blown everywhere.
Feb 7/8 Imlec Chinese New Year.
Feb 9/10 ph Idul Fitri End of Ramadan (Muslim period of fasting). Processions & festivals.
Mar 28 ph Wafat Isa Al Masih: Good Friday.
Apr 9 ph Nyepi: Balinese Saka New Year & day of silence. torch parade night before.You should stay in your hotel.
Apr 18 ph Idul Adha Moslem Day of Sacrifice.
Apr 21 Kartini Day Women wear national dress to commemorate birth of Raden Ajeng Kartini, founder of womens' rights movement
May 8 ph Muharram Moslem New Year.
May 22 ph Waisak Day Buddha's birth/death, Procession from Candi Mendut to Borobodor held.
Jul 17 ph Maulud Birth of Mohammad. Festivities start one week before.
Aug 17 ph Independence Day: Events held throughout the country.
Nov 28 ph Isra Mi'raj Nabi: Prophet Mohammad's Ascension Day.
Dec 25 ph Hari Raya Natal Christmas Day.

Marine Activities

DIVING
Indonesia has many excellent spots through out archipelago because most of them are far from the main tourist area.
Bali: Most common and popular islands. Try east part of the island. Many agents are in Kuta. They take you to various spots around Bali. Padanbai, Candidasa, Amed and Tulamben in E of Bali has many agents.
Lombok: Gili islands are very famous. But recently these 3 islands became too popular.
Flores: Best island which tourists can reach relatively easily but most of the travelers will not come to this island yet. Most of the spots are almost untouched. Agents are at Laban Bajo, west end of the island.
The rest of the Indonesia islands have excellent spots. We do not have any information at this moment.
Adventure Cruise: You may take a boat trip from islands to islands. On the way you can dive at many untouched spots. See Adventure Cruise in National Transport section above.

SURFING
Kuta Beach in Bali is very popular. Many surfer's shops. Easy to rent a board. But for surfers looking for big waves may go to Kuta Lombok on the next island from Bali. Spot X is west from Kuta.



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Other
Voltage/Plug type 220 v or 110v rounded, 2 pronged.


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@ Internet / Email @
facilities are present in all major cities, such as Jakarta, Bandung and Yogyakarta. The GPO often has the cheapest Internet, can be painfully slow though. Internet cafes in tourist areas will charge at very high rates, ask around & you should be able to find a cafE/FONT> used by locals. See relevant City Info.

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