Indonesia

With more than 17,500 islands stretched out like a bejewelled necklace between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, Indonesia is truly a place where landscapes contrast and cultures connect. From the mountainous jungles of Sumatra and Kalimantan to the bustling cities and ancient temples of Java, the idyllic shores of Lombok and the remote beauty of Sulawesi and Flores, the options for travellers in Indonesia are endless.

When to Visit

April through to November is the dry season and the best time to travel however peak travel is during July, August and the Christmas holidays.

Highlights

KOMODO The UNESCO listed Komodo National Park offers much in the way of activities, from hiking through the island’s remote villages, to water sports. As one of the world’s premier diving areas, the park has pristine reefs and a rich marine environment.

MOUNT BROMO Mount Bromo is one of the most famous of the 40 plus volcanoes that inhabit the island of Java. While it may not be one of the biggest, its spectacular views, dramatic landscapes and incredible setting more than make up for this.

BOROBUDUR Carved from 55,000 square metres of lava-rock and decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues, no trip to Indonesia in complete without a visit to this incredible structure. Avoid the crowds by visiting Borobudur in the morning to watch the spectacular sunrise.

LOMBOK & GILI ISLANDS Offering a subdued alternative, Lombok is the most popular destination in Nusa Tenaggara, a province that includes the enchanting Gili Islands. On these islands, you can trek through the jungle-clad interiors or ride horse drawn carts – the Gili Islands have no motorized vehicles.

JOGJAKARTA The list of things to do in Jogjakarta is endless; visit the many heritage buildings and monuments, museums and art galleries, spend time at the vast number of ancient temples that dot the area or wander around the markets and handicraft stores.

FLORES Flores is emerging as a must see destination. The island’s chain of volcanoes has formed a unique natural environment. Here you can dive at one of the 50 dive sites, kayak along the coast, explore mysterious caves and swim in pristine lakes and waterfalls.

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Useful Information

Shopping

If shopping is your passion, then go no further than the major metropolitan cities of Indonesia. With high end labels from around the world, many of Indonesia’s malls can rival Europe and American with their collections. The malls of Jakarta, Indonesia’s bustling capital, vary from those with high end designers to the chaotic crowds of local markets where anyone can pick up a bargain. If fashion is not your style, try shopping at a traditional market where you can test your bahasa bartering on local produce, handicrafts or antiques. Sample the tropical fruit or take in the sights of traditional bamboo furniture for sale. For those who like to browse, it will be impossible to resist the temptation to wander the streets and look at all the traditional wares on offer, from beautiful batik materials to shiny pieces of hand crafted silver jewellery. 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.

Tipping

Tipping in Indonesia is common to a certain extent. When to tip and how much to tip always depends on the quality of the service rendered. The amount you decide to tip will always depend on your satisfaction with the service. With that said, here are a few situations you may find yourself in when you travel to Indonesia.

Getting around

Indonesia has a good domestic flight network linking most of the larger towns to Jakarta. Travelling around the Indonesian islands by car is very variable, with much depending on which island you are on. Self-drive is possible but be aware that the standards of driving and road conditions, can be quite poor. Many visitors hire scooters and motorbikes but care should be taken to ensure you hire vehicles from a reputable dealer, have correct documentation and are aware of the risks - accidents are all too frequent. Helmets are compulsory. Jakarta is the only city with an established conventional bus service of any size, and it has a comprehensive network.

Language

Bahasa (official) is the main language along with 735 local languages, English and Dutch.

Customs

Greetings can be rather formal as they are meant to show respect. A handshake is the most common greeting accompanied with the word "Selamat". Many Indonesians may give a slight bow or place their hands on their heart after shaking your hand. If you are being introduced to several people, always start with the eldest or most senior person first. Titles are important in Indonesia as they signify status. If you know of any titles ensure you use them in conjunction with the name. Some Indonesians only have one name, although it is becoming more common for people to have a first name and a surname, especially in the middle class. Many Indonesians, especially those from Java, may have had an extremely long name, which was shortened into a sort of nickname for everyday conversation. There are several ethnic groups in Indonesia. Most have adopted Indonesian names over the years, while some retain the naming conventions of their ethnicity.

Health

The following information is intended as a guide only and in no way should it be used as a substitute for professional medical advice relative to a travellers individual needs and vaccination history. No guarantee is made as to its accuracy or thoroughness. For further information, please contact The Travel Doctor on (+64) 9 373 3531. Vaccination against Hepatitis A is recommended for travellers to Indonesia. Vaccination against Hepatitis B should be considered by frequent or long stay travellers. Vaccination against Typhoid should be considered particularly when travelling to areas with poor sanitation and hygiene. Travellers staying in Indonesia for extended periods or visiting certain regions may require immunisation against Rabies or Japanese Encephalitis. As Malaria and Dengue Fever occur in Indonesia, insect avoidance measures and antimalarial medication may be necessary subject to a travellers itinerary. Care with food and beverage selection is recommended. Please consult a medical practitioner or contact The Travel Doctor for your specific risk to these preventable diseases and the appropriate avoidance measures. New Zealanders travelling to Indonesia should ensure that they have adequate travel insurance to cover the length of their stay. Medications that are legal in New Zealand may be illegal in other countries. 

Electricity

Electrical Socket: European Voltage: 220-240 volts (same as New Zealand) Modem Plug: USA Source: Korjo Travel Products. Please view the Korjo adapter guide at www.korjo.com.au for further information on this matter.

Communications

Country Code for Indonesia: +62 Offical Travel Advice: Visit www.safetravel.govt.nz International Operator: 101 (from most areas). Emergency Services: Fire: 113 Ambulance: 118 Police: 110 These services may not have English speaking staff. To avoid delay it may be best to seek the assistance of a Bahasa speaker to call the emergency services

Visa's

Official travel advice regarding visas is available by calling 04 439 8000 or visiting their website www.safetravel.govt.nz

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