The Republic of Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world comprising 13,466 large and small tropical islands fringed with white sandy beaches, many still uninhabited and a number even still unnamed. Straddling the equator, situated between the continents of Asia and Australia and between the Pacific and the Indian Oceans, it is as wide as the United States from San Francisco to New York, equaling the distance between London and Moscow. Indonesia has a total population of more than 215 million people from more than 200 ethnic groups. The national language is Bahasa Indonesia.
Among the most well known islands are Sumatra, Java, Bali, Kalimantan (formerly Borneo), Sulawesi (formerly Celebes), the Maluku Islands (or better known as Moluccas, the original Spice Islands) and Papua. Then, there is Bali “the world&rsqgesuo;s best island resort” with its enchanting culture, beaches, dynamic dances and music. But Indonesia still has many unexplored islands with grand mountain
Jakarta is a dynamic city of skyscrapers and commerce. Hotel accommodation ranges from back-packer budget to five star, and there is a lively and ever-changing restaurant and bar scene, with international cuisines as easy to find as local dishes.
Jakarta loves luxury shopping malls, and these have become the city’s most popular hang-out spots. Jakarta’s malls are packed with international and luxury retail brands and restaurants, and include coffee shops with free wi-fi, bars, supermarkets, car parks, and cinemas.
So popular are Jakarta’s shopping malls, that art galleries and exhibitions are moving into mall spaces, and many malls contain recreation and lifestyle attractions like spas, hair salons, fitness centers, swimming pools, bowling alleys, children’s rides, arcades, ice drinks, night clubs, language schools, banks, and apartment residences.
Most of Jakarta’s parks are small and tucked into residential neighborhoods. The largest public parks and green spaces are at the Monas(National Monument) and the Gelora Bung Karno sports center in central Jakarta; Taman Mini and Ragunan zoo in south Jakarta, and Ancol and the mangrove forests along the north coast. Menteng park in the city center is popular with footballers and photographers. Fatahillah Square in north Jakarta and Suropati park in central Jakarta often have cultural dance performances at the weekends.
For more expansive greenery, Jakarta has over eight golf courses.
With international connections around the world, domestic air connections to over 30 cities, a sea port, and road and rail connections across Java, Jakarta is the gateway to Indonesia.
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.
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.
Standard banking hours are from 8 AM to 3 PM from Monday to Friday. However several banks open their branches in hotels (and some in malls) longer than office hour, a few are open on Saturdays so you might want to check first. Jakarta has a number of international banks, even though you can also exchange currencies in some hotel cashiers and official money changers.
The Indonesia Rupiah is also called IDR. Information of daily exchange rate can be found in newspapers or from the net. Some Indonesia banks provide this on their websites. IDR and US$ are the most acceptable currencies. Most tourism resorts have money changer facilities. When you are traveling to remote areas it is advisable to exchange your money and clear your check. Credit cards are only acceptable in big hotels, restaurants, shops and traveling agencies.
Electric power supply is 220 volts in all regions. So be careful with your 110-volt electronic equipment. The sockets will only fit with with two pins rounded-tip plugs (technically known as Type C, E, and F) or use adaptors. Most hotels and many restaurants in large cities provide internet connections or free WiFi.
Being a tropical country, Indonesia is blessed with two seasons, namely dry and rainy. Dry usually occurs from June to September and the rest is rainy season. Sunshine is abundant except in rainy season when the sky tends to be cloudy. It is advisable to visit Indonesia during dry season.
Make sure that your visit does not coincide with holiday festivities such as Muslim holiday Eid (or Lebaran, like Indonesians are fond to say), because the traffic tends to be heavy especially in Java island. Unless you are interested in seeing the festivals up close and experiencing them, of course.
Indonesia’s climate can be hot and humid, so bringing along sunblocks and moisturizers during dry season is recommended. No need to bring umbrellas during rainy season because they are abundant and can easily be bought even in small shops. You might need extra clothing though, and you can purchase them almost anywhere.