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INDONESIA - THE GUIDE

 

ABOUT INDONESIA
Geography
Volcanoes
People
Population
Government
Economy
Climate
Transportation
Communication
Languages

FACTS FOR TRAVELLERS

TRAVEL INFORMATION
Jakarta
Pelabuhan Ratu
Yogyakarta
Surabaya

 

ABOUT INDONESIA


Population: 225 million
Capital: Jakarta
Major languages: Indonesian, 300 regional languages
Major religion: Islam
Life expectancy: 63 years (men), 66 years (women)
Monetary unit: 1 rupiah (Rp) = 100 sen
Main exports: Oil and gas, plywood, textiles, rubber, palm oil
Average annual income: US $570
Internet domain: .id
International dialling code: +62

Geography <back to the top>

Indonesia is an archipelago of 13,667 islands (there is a new not official number of 17,508) from which are 6,000 inhabited and with that it is the largest archipelago in the world. The archipelago is located between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean in Southeastern Asia and stretches from 6°08' north latitude to 11°15' south latitude, and from 94°45' to 141°05' east longitude. The total land area covers 1,919,440 sq km which is only a quarter of the 7.9 million sq km sea area.
In total there are 2,602 km of land boundaries, 1,782 km with Malaysia and 820 km with Papua New Guinea. Because Indonesia is an archipelago there is 54,716 km of coastline.

The five main islands are; Sumatra which is 473,606 sq km in size, Java with the smaller Madura measures 132,107 sq km, Kalimantan, which compromises 2/3 of the total island Borneo measures 539,460 sq km, Sulawesi 189,216 sq km and Irian Jaya, which is about half of the world's second largest island New Guinea, and measures 421,981 sq km. The terrain is mostly coastal lowlands. Because Indonesia is located in the obduction zone of some major tectonic plates, the area is volcanic very active. The islands Sumatra, Java and Kalimantan lie on the Sunda shelf located on the Eurasian plate. Irian Jaya (actually New Guinea) and the Aru islands lie on the Sahul shelf on the Indian plate. The sea depth in both these areas does not exceed 250 meters. Between these two shelves are the islands of Nusa Tenggara, Maluku and Sulawesi located. Here the sea reaches depths of 5,000 meters.
We can see that the major islands Sumatra, Java and Bali and the smaller eastern islands (Nusa Tenggara) all have a similar mountain range with also still active volcanoes.These are the results of and tectonic obduction zone. Several mountain peaks reach over 3,000 m while Peak Jaya or Gunung Carstenz on Irian Jaya measures 5,030 m and is constant snowcapped.


Indonesia has a lot of natural resources like petroleum, tin, natural gas, nickel, timber, bauxite, copper, fertile soils, coal, gold, silver and fish. From all the land use in Indonesia 10% is used as arable land, 7% for permanent crops and 7% meadows and pastures. Forests and woodlands claim 62% of the country and 14% is for other use. In 1989 75,500 sq km of the land was irrigated.


The natural hazards in Indonesia are occasional floods, severe droughts (like in eastern Lombok and Sumbawa), tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.

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Volcanoes <back to the top>

The country counts over 400 volcanoes from which are more then 100 still active. Several mountains reaching over 3,000 meters as shown in the table.


Mountains over 3,000 m Sumatra m. Java m. Sulawesi m. Irian Jaya m.
Mt.Leuser 3,404 Mt.Pangrago 3,019 Mt.Sonjol 3,000 Mt.Jaya 5,030
Mt.Kerinci 3,800 Mt.Ceremai 3,078 Mt.Waukara 3,127 Mt.Antares 4,170
Mt.Dempo 3,159 Mt.Slamet 3,418 Mt.Gandadiwati 3,074 Mt.Madala 4,700
Mt.Kemiri 3,314 Mt.Sundoro 3,136 Mt.Rantemario 3,440 Mt.Yamin 4,595
Mt.Sumbing 3,371 Mt.Baleasa 3,016 Mt.Trikora 4,730
Bali m. Mt.Lawu 3,265 Mt.Leonard-Darwin 4,234
Mt.Agung 3,142 Mt.Welirang 3,156 Mt.Angemuk 3,962
Mt.Arjuna 3,339 Mt.Godma 3,154
Lombok m. Mt.Semeru 3,676 Mt.Yaramaniapuka 3,370
Mt.Rinjani 3,726 Mt.Argopuro 3,088
Mt.Raung 3,332
Mt.Merbabu 3,142

As said there are about 100 still active volcanoes in the country. Most of the eruptions are minor ones but some eruption threat the land and the population. The two most well known eruption are the one of the Krakatau, west of Java, and the Tambora on Sumbawa.


The Krakatau is located in the strait between Sumatra and Java and was know as a nautical landmark for maritime traffic. Since 1680 the volcano was dormant but from May to early August 1883 ships reported moderate activity. By 26 August the explosions became more violent. But the 'big bang' came on 27 August 10 am. The explosion was so heavy that a police chief on Rodriguez, more than 4600 km to the southwest, reported 'booming of heavy guns from eastward'. Krakatau sent up an ash column to 80km high and 18 cubic km of rock was thrown into the air. An area of 150 sq km was covered by darkness for two days and ash fell even on Singapore 840 km to the north. For two years long the ash in the atmosphere caused spectacular sunsets all over the world. But far more destructive were the waves triggered by the collapse of the Krakatau's cone into its empty belly. Giant tsunamis of more then 40 m high reached the coasts of Java and Sumatra and there were 165 villages destroyed while 35,000 people get killed. Coastal villages like Merak and Anyer on Java were completely fade away. The waves even reached the English Channel 36 hours later.
The original Krakatau were three islands, pulau Sertung, pulau Lang or Rakata Kecil and the volcano island pulau Rakata. From pulau Rakata which had three mountains, the Perbunan, the Danan and Rakata, 75% disappeared. Now only remains the mountain Rakata which is about 300 m high while the northern side looks like it is cut of with a knife. The two other islands Sertung and Rakata kecil almost have their original shape. The area was a great subject for scientific studies. After the eruption there was not found a single plant on the island. But now more then 100 years later it seems the flora was never disturbed. But the islands are still bereft from fauna except for some birds and snakes.
In 1928 there was a first message of a new island rising from the sea on the spot where first the crater of the Perbuhan was located. Since then the island with the name Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatau) is grown to a height of 150m above sea level and still has volcanic activity.


The other major eruption was the Tambora on Sumbawa. According to the 'Guiness of world records' this was the biggest volcanic eruption of mankind. The volcano was already active for a several years but on 5 April 1815 the big explosion came. 36 cubic km of rock was blown away. For the next 20 days the volcano was very active. The greatest magnitude was between 10 and 12 April. In this time in total 100 cubic km of debris was blown into the sky and a big part of Sumbawa was covered under 5 cm of ash. Ash from the Tambora was found over an area of 2.5 million sq km. Rocks as big as a fist were catapulted 40 km away and from the nearly 4,000 m high Tambora left only the 2,851 m we still can see today. Two states Sangar and Pekat which were on the slopes of the Tambora were fade away and directly 10,000 people were killed. Another 60,000 people, two-third of the Sumbawa population, were killed by starvation, disease or fled of the land in the next year after the eruption. Agricultural land was wrecked and most of the crops and livestocks were destroyed. People even sold their children for 3 kg of rise to survive. Some people moved two the higher land because this was less effected by the results of the eruption. By the middle of the 19th century immigrants from other island were brought to Sumbawa to help repopulate the island. That's why we still can see the population of Sumbawa is a mix of different Indonesian ethnic divisions. But the consequences of the eruption were still perceptible many years later. In 1945 a Dutch geologist reported he still found areas covered by 50 cm of debris.


From the active volcanoes the table below shows the most recent eruptions.


Recent major volcanic eruptions Sumatra Java Sulawesi Maluku
Dempo 1973/1974 Bromo 1972 Lokon 1978/79/91 Dukono 1978
Merapi 1978 Merapi 1972/76/95 Siau-Karengetang 1978/1979 Gamala-Kie-Besi 1987
Sorik-Merapi 1989 Raung 1978 Colo 1983 Banda-Api 1988
Kerinci 1990 Semeru 1978/1979 Soputan 1989
Krakatau 1978/1979 Butak-Petarangan 1979
Paluweh-Rokatenda 1978 Nusa-Tenggara
Galungung 1982 Lewotobi-laki-laki 1990
Slamet 1988
Kelud 1990


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People <back to the top>

The people of Indonesia are a mix of the native people and the people who came there in the Neolithic Period (3000-2000 BC). These people came from the Asia mainland. Now Indonesia is the fifth most populated country in the world.
The nationality of the inhabitants of Indonesia is known as Indonesian(s) since 17 August 1945 when Indonesia got its independence.
On the 17th birthday people reach their suffrage age while universal and married persons are regardless of age.

Indonesia is an Islamic country where 88% of the religious is Muslim. 5% is Protestant, 3% Roman Catholic, 2% Hindu, 1% Buddhist and 1% has a different religion. The official language is Bahassa Indonesia (a modified form of of Malay). At school all students learn English and on the street a lot of people speak a little bit English. Still some people (mostly older people) speak Dutch. Further there are a lot of local languages. From the total population 83.8% can read and write.


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Population <back to the top>

In July 2001 the population of Indonesia was 228,437,870. 30.26% had the age between 0 and 14 years, 65.11% were between 15 and 64 years old and 4.63% were 65 years or older. The population growth rate in 2001 was 1.6%. Even Indonesia is a large country with more then 200 million people it gives an average population density of about 100 inhabitants /sq km.
The birth rate is declining drasticly now and is 22.26 per 1,000 people (2001) while the death rate is 6.3 per 1,000 people(2001). The death rate is slowly going down due to improved health service and a rising living standard. The same considerates for the infant mortality rate which is 40.9 death per 1,000 live birth (2001).

The average live expectancy at birth is 68.27 years from which the male will get 65.9 years old and the female 70.75 years old. Average every woman will give birth to 2.58 children (2001).


There are a lot of ethnic divisions in Indonesia mostly split up by the separated islands but due to migration projects the ethnic groups are found al over the nation. From the total population 45% is Javanese, 14% is Sundanese, 7.5% is Madurese, 7.5% is coastal Malays and 26% belongs to an other ethnic group.

The labor force consists of 99 million people from which 45% has an agriculture occupation, 16% works in industry and 39% has a service job. Many people, particular in the major cities, are unemployed. To these people are also counted the people with unregistered jobs.


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Government <back to the top>

The names of Indonesia are as follows;
The conventional long form is Republic if Indonesia
The conventional short form is Indonesia
The local long form is Republik Indonesia
The local short form is Indonesia
The Former names are Netherlands East Indies or Dutch East Indies

Indonesia is a republic with as capital Jakarta. The country is split up in 24 provinces (propinsi-propinsi) which are Bali, Bengkulu, Irian Jaya, Jambi, Jawa Barat, Jawa Tengah, Jawah Timur, Kalimantan Barat, Kalimantan Selatan, Kalimantan Tengah, Kalimantan Timur, Riau, Sulawesi Selatan, Sulawesi Tengah, Sulawesi Tenggara, Sulawesi Utara, Sumatra Barat, Sumatra Selatan, Sumatra Utara and Timor Timur. There are two special regions (daerah-daerah istimewa) Aceh and Yogyakarta and there is one special capital city district (daerah khusus ibukota) which is named Jakarta Raya.


Indonesia got its independence on 17 August 1945 and on 27 December 1949 Indonesia became legally independent from The Netherlands. Therefore 17 August now is the national holiday.


There is now only one international dispute. The sovereignty over Timor Timur (East Timor Province) disputed width Portugal is handed over to an independent government in 2002. There are two small islands in dispute with Malaysia.



Megawati Sukarnoputri, President of Indonesia Since July 23, 2001 Indonesia has a new president, Megawati Sukarnoputri . Megawati is the daughter of the former president Sukarno. The vice president is Hamzah HAZ and is elected with about 60% of the votes.
Megawati is a modern woman, who believes in her country and the people.
She said the Cabinet would have representation from all of Indonesia's three parties, the armed forces and other groups.

Still a heavy task remains for Megawati to get the trust of the nation and to create a stable economic situation after a turbulent time between 1998 and 2001. Slowly the economy gets more stable again and the people begin to trust the government.


Former President Gen. Soeharto was the president of the republic Indonesia since 27 March 1968 until 21 May 1998. At the elections of 10 March 1998 Soeharto was chosen as president for the seventh time. He said it would be his last term and he would step down at the next elections of 2005. But the people of Indonesia were not satisfied also due to the economic crisis in their country .On April 16, 1998 thousands of students hold campus protests, calling Soeharto the "cause of all disasters". On May 12, 1998 the situation escalated when six students were shot and killed during clashes with police in Jakarta, the first students to die in three-months of peaceful demonstrations.
Under the pressure of national as well as international leaders, President Soeharto resigned May 21 1998 at 9 a.m. LT (0200 GMT), bringing 32 years of authoritarian rule to a sudden and dramatic end.
"I believe that it has become extremely difficult for me to continue the leadership of this country and to cultivate the development of our country," Soeharto said, announcing what he termed his "withdrawal" from the presidency in an address to the nation.
Vice President Bucharuddin Jusuf Habibie was immediately sworn in as president of the fourth most-populous country in the world. Soeharto said Habibie would not be a caretaker but would finish the rest of his presidential term, which lasts until 2003.

Soeharto, former president of Indonesia

The house of representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat or DPR) has 500 seats from which 400 are elected members and 100 are appointed military representatives. There are three political parties. The biggest is GOLKAR which has 68% of the seats. PPP has 17% of the seats and PDI 15%. Elections are held every five years (the last ones on 8 June 1992) to elect the president and the vice president and, theoretically, to determine the national policy.


The legal system is based on Roman-Dutch laws, substantially modified by new concepts and new criminal procedures codes.


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The National Flag, Coat of arms and National Anthem
The Indonesian flag contents two horizontal bands. One red at the top and white at the bottom. It is a similar flag to the flag of Monaco which is shorter, and also similar to the flag of Poland which has white at the top and red at the bottom.

The coat of arms of Indonesia is based on the Pancasila (the five principals) expounded by Soekarno in 1945. The Indonesian state is based on this five principals which you can find back in the coat of arms.


Faith in one supreme God. The faith in God (or Allah, Vishnu, Buddha etc.) is symbolised by the star.


Civilized Humanity. Symbolised by the chain which represents the unbroken unity of humankind.


Nationalism. Symbolised by the head of a buffalo.


Democracy. Symbolised by the banyantree.


Social Justice. Symbolised by the sprays of rice which means that in a prosperous society there is food and cloths for everyone.

The national anthem of Indonesia is 'Indonesia Raya' . To hear a sample click the play button next here.


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Economy <back to the top>

Indonesia has a intricated economy with interest of the government and also a lot of private enterprises. Although Indonesia has many natural resources, the country remains rather poor, also caused by the rapidly increasing population. The GDP was U$654 billion in 2000. The average GDP growth in 2000 was 4.8% which is quite impressive but not sufficient to slash the underemployment and absorb the 2.3 million people who enter the labor force every year. The agriculture is an important sector in Indonesia. 45 % of the labor force is working in this sector which is accounting for 21% of the GDP. Still remains an underemployment rate of 20% (3%official).

Once Indonesia was the largest rice importer in the world but now the country is almost self-sufficient, due to several transmigration projects of the government. Many plantation crops like rubber, cocoa, cotton and palm-oil are being used for export and job generation. Other major agriculture products are cassava, peanuts, tea, coffee, copra, poultry, beef, pork and eggs.


The industrial output is accounting for 42% of the GDP and is mainly based on the natural resources like crude oil, natural gas, timber and metals. The industrial production growth rate is 8.4% annually Foreign investment has boosted this industrial output the last years. Large American companies, like Freeport mining, on Irian Jaya employs a lot of people and produces a lot of ore, both for export as well as for the Indonesian market. On the other hand there is a lot of international and local critic on the interference of these large projects in Indonesia. Mainly the economy is based on the export of non oil products and the government is promoting the export to improve to economy. In 1996 the export accounts U$64.7 billion. The most important customer for the Indonesian market remains Japan (21%), followed by the US (14%) and Singapore (10%). Also for the imports Japan is the most important partner (12%) followed by the US (12%) and Singapore(10%).


After the rapid money growth in 1989-1990 Jakarta forced the private sector to go to foreign banks for investment financing. But still the real interest rates remain above 10% and the offshore debt growth. Therefore Jakarta prompted to limit the foreign borrowing in 1991. This policy lead to an annual GDP growth of 5%.
The national budget is U$ 26 billion.
The national currency is the Indonesian Rupiah which is divided into 100 sen, but the sen is no longer used.
The exchange rate is about 10,000 Rp per 1U$ on 1 January 2001. This was 1,843 Rupiah per U$ in 1990.


Indonesia has an electricity capacity of 73,167,000 kWh and a production of 78.674 billion kWh. Many houses still don't have a connection for electricity and most of the roads are completely dark at night.


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Climate <back to the top>

Because Indonesia is situated around the equator the climate is characterized by two seasons. The climate is tropical, hot and humid and is more moderate in the highlands. Temperatures are almost constant the whole year although there is a 'warm' and 'cold' season which in general means the temperatures at night can drop more in the 'cold-season' then in the 'warm-season'. This effect is the most noticeable in the 'deep-south' of Indonesia about 10° below the equator.
In the coastal areas the average temperature is about 28°C but these temperatures drops dramatically in the highlands. In the highlands of Irian Jaya temperatures at night can drop till about 7°C while at daytime the temperature is about 22°C . Also on the mountain tops the temperatures can drop till around 0°C.

The two seasons are commonly known as the wet and the dry season. The wet season mostly means it will rain from noon till in the evening but in some areas it will rain only more often then normal, very heavy showers for about two hours and then it can be dry for an hour again. Most parts of Indonesia will have its wet season between October and April. But some parts like the Maluku islands will have a wet season between March and August. At this time it can rain all day in the Malukus.
The dry season doesn't mean it will be dry for half a year or so. It is very well possible there will be a tropical shower in the afternoon. The average precipitation for Indonesia is 150mm a month.


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Transportation <back to the top>

Transportation in Indonesia is conform the 'Asian way'. Busses and trains are always full but run frequently (special busses).
Because of the size of the country the best way to travel large distances is by air. There is a variety of airlines and a bizarre collection of aircraft but most parts of the country can be reached by air. In total the country counts 453 airports. 95 of them have paved runways between 914 and 3,047 m, while 37 of them have paved runways under 914 m, and 317 airports still have unpaved runways between 914 and 1,524 m.
The major airlines are the national pride Garuda, which also has many international connection, Merpati, Mandala and Boraq. Beside these airlines a lot of uncommon places often can be reached by private airlines.

In Indonesia you can almost go everywhere by bus. Because busses aren't to expensive many people use them for local as well as for interlocal transportation. Many companies run services between islands. One of the longest journeys can be made by bus from Medan on Sumatra till Den Pasar on Bali which is over 3,000 km and will take about five or six days. There is about 342,700 km highway in Indonesia although most parts don't look like a western highway and in some parts of the country the highway is just big enough for a bus or a truck. Traffic from the opposite direction has a problem if they meet.


Indonesia still has 6,458 km of railroad. 5,961 km of it is the standard 1.067 m gauge from which 101 km is electrified and double track. 497 km is 0.75 m gauge and 78 km is 0.6 m gauge. All railroads are found on Sumatra and Java and constructed when Indonesia was under Dutch control. About twenty-five years ago it was possible to travel long distances on Sumatra by train but now there is only left a small part of railroad at the west coast of Sumatra near Padang. The best connections can be found on Java where the tracks connect Jakarta with the east coast. There is a northern route as well as a southern route.


Indonesia counts a lot of ports. The major ones are Jakarta, Cilacap, Cirebon, Kupang, Palembang, Semarang, Surabaya and Udjungpandang. Several ferries connecting the islands and are used for human as well as cargo transportation. On the main islands the inland waterways are also used for transportation. In total Indonesia has 21,579 km of inland waterways. The Indonesian merchant marine consists of 609 ships but there are many unregistered private ships.


For the local transport there are many kinds available. One of it is the bemo also known as mikrolet, opelets or colts. This kind of transportation was originally made from a pickup truck with two rows of seats on the back but now they have been replaced by small mini busses.
Taxis can be found in all major cities. Not all taxies are metered jet which means there have to be bargained about the price but the metered taxis are becoming more common now.
In many cities the bajaj still can be found. It is a three-wheeled vehicle with a small motorbike engine and the driver sits in the front. There is place for two passengers in the back.
The becak is a well known way of transportation. It is a three-wheeled cycle-rickshaw. The driver sits in the back and the two passengers in the front. This differences from the versions found in India where the driver sits in the front or the Filipino version where the driver sits at the site.
Also still found is the dokar, a small horse-drawn cart with place for maximum four people. The bigger version, mostly equipped with four wheels and carrying up to six people, is found on Java and called andong or delman.
In parts of the country, where the roads are very bad and often unpaved, trucks are used as a public way of transport.


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Communication <back to the top>

Indonesia has a fast growing telephone network . Public telephones are still hard to find but in most cities a telephone office can be found where local and international calls can be made. Indonesia has a government-run telecommunication system with there own offices but there is also a private company running many telecommunication services.
Home-country-direct telephones are also found near the telephone offices. At these offices it is also possible to send faxes, telex, telegraphs. Some connections are made by a HF net but most telephone connections over long distances will use one of Indonesias communication satellites.

Indonesia also offers a GSM-network for cellular telephones. There are several operators and most of the major islans now is covered although some whitespots occure in the covered areas.


Post offices are found almost in every city or town and are mostly well equipped. On the main islands sending mail will take about three or four days but in other parts it can take longer depending on flight schedules or boats visiting the islands.


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Languages <back to the top>

There are official 583 languages and dialects spoken in Indonesia. Most of the languages belong to the different ethnic groups in the archipelago. Javanese is the most spoken with 42% followed by the Sundanese with 15%. Other local languages are Acehnese, Batak, Sasak, Tetum, Dayak, Minahasa, Toraja, Buginese, Halmahera, Ambonese, Ceramese, Malay, Madurese, Minangkabau, Balinese Chinese and several Irianese languages. All these languages on their turn have their own dialects. On the island of Alor alone there are about 70 dialects and on Sulawesi 62 languages were identified. Still to be explored is Irian Jaya where till now more then 300 languages were found. Some languages are spoken only by two people and are as good as died out. Several scientists are now searching for unknown languages in order to registrate them and trying to get anything of it on paper.

Bahassa Indonesia or Indonesian is the official national language now. Originally it was the Malay language spoken on the Riau islands near Sumatra. The language was introduced in 1927 first as a political tool with the cry 'One Nation, One Country, One Language', but now spoken in most parts of the country. Every part of Indonesia uses its own dialects or variations on the language like the Sundanese speak it in a singing way while the Javanese speak it very monotonously. In some parts of the country like on Irian Jaya the people speak an old form of the language taught them by the missionaries but because of their isolation they couldn't communicate with other people from the nation to update their vocabulary. But after all, all forms are intelligible to each other.
The language is still developing and many foreign words are integrated in the language also due to the long history of contacts with other cultures. Many words are Portugese, Sanskrit, Dutch or today even English. A new phenomenon is the development of Bahassa Prokem. It is a dialect used by the rebellious young generation and mostly used in Jakarta since 1980. The dialect is not intelligible to the older generation. Because Prokem is not used yet to write political papers or novels the dialect is not forbidden yet by the government.


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To get the most valuable information on this page the following sources were consulted to evaluate our own databases; Indonesia 1997 An Official Handbook, The World Factbook 2001, Lonely Planet Travel Survival Kit of Indonesia, Bill Dalton's Indonesia Handbook, Nelles Maps, Periplus Editions.


FACTS FOR TRAVELLERS


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When to go
The best time to visit Indonesia is in the dry season between April and October. But it is possible to visit the country the whole year. In the wet season there will be more rain specially in the afternoon. A exception to this rule is the Maluku archipelago where the wet season is between April and October and in this part of the country it can rain all day long. If you like to know more about the climate jump to the Country Facts page.

An other thing to decide when to go is the presence of other tourists. Australians will mostly visit Indonesia in January and February while European tourists plan their holidays between June and August. Also around Christmas is a very busy time while many Indonesian migrants turn home and foreign tourist take their Christmas holidays to go to Indonesia.

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What to take
The best is to take as little as possible. Because of the climate and provisions of the country it is not easy to take your 20 kg suitcase with you if you are planning to travel around. Many of the thing you can buy in your own country you can also buy in Indonesia. In all larger towns are shopping centers and all villages have at least a small shop where you can buy necessary things like soap, shampoo, washing powder and so on.

The best cloths to take are cotton ones. If you really want to save space you only have to take two sets of cloths. One to use and one you can wash and dry, and remember dark colored cloths hide the dirt better. It is easy to buy some extra cloths in Indonesia and if you don't need them any more you can give or throw them away, which is always better than take your whole wardrobe with you. Only shoes are difficult to find in big sizes. If you plan to do some real trekking it is worth to invest in good shoes. Some tracks are good to walk but you also can find yourself back in the mud or on sharp volcanic rocks. If you decide to go to higher places or to the inland of Irian Jaya it is advisable to take also some warm cloths because temperatures drop dramatically at night at higher altitude.
Don't forget that you are in an Islamic country where not all people are used to very short t-shirts and shorts so take at least a shirt with longer sleeves and a short which will reach till your knees or even longer. Also at night or if you are going into the forest or jungle it is advisable to use long sleeves and trousers because of the mosquitos and snakes.

If you are planning to do longer trekking in uncommon touristic areas it is a good habit to take your own first aid kit. For the information on what to put in it see the part Medical Information, Predeparture Planning. Be sure you take a good sunscreen lotion with UV protection and a good pair of sunglasses.
Also good to take are some small things which can make live easier like; a can opener, a towel, an international diving license if you are planning to drive yourself, copies of your important documents, a small knife, some paper and a pen, some passport photos, scotch tape, a small alarm clock, a piece of rope and a torch.
If you want to do some real jungle trekking you can also need a water bottle, a compass, maps, instant food for one day, a burner and a small pan.
Remember these are only some hints and it depends on what you want to do on your trip. A tent or sleeping back is not really necessary unless you plan to stay on higher altitudes, but in many places you can also rent a tent and sleeping back.


The last part is how take this all with you. A medium size backpack without a frame is the most easy. Be sure you take one with a good quality because in Indonesia it is normal that all luggage will be transported on top of the busses and the don't ask you if you have any chinaware in it. Also very easy is a 'one day size' backpack so you don't have to carry everything on every trip you make and you can take with you only what you need.


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Visa and other documents
For many nations it is not necessary to have a visa to enter Indonesia if you enter the country at one of the airports or seaports.
These countries are;
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, The Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden,Switzerland, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the USA and Venezuela.

The gateways for entering are (A=airport S=seaport);
Bali: Den Pasar - Ngurah Rai [A] ,Benoa [S]
Irian Jaya: Biak - Frans Kaisiepo [A]
Java: Jakarta - Sukarno Hatta [A], Tanjung Priok [S], Surabaya - Juanda [A]
Kalimantan: Balikpapan - Sepinggan [A], Pontianak - Soepadio [A]
Maluku: Ambon - Pattimura [A] Pelabuhan Ambon [S]
Riau (East Sumatra): Pulau Batam - Batu Besar {A], Batu Ampon [S]
Sulawesi: Manado - Sam Ratulangi [A], Bitung [S]
Sumatra: Medan - Polonia [A], Belawan [S], Pekanbaru - Simpang Tiga [A], Padang - Tabing [A]
Timor: Kupang - El Tari [A]


If you are from one of the countries above you will get a two month visa stamped into your passport which can not be extended. Beware of this two month limit. If you enter Indonesia on 15 July for example you have to leave the country at last on 14 September and NOT on 15 September. Every year again people make this mistake and the show up on the airport with an overstayed visa. You will be send directly to the immigration office to explain this and we know there were even people sent to jail for one or to days so the immigration officials could clear up the case. Only in some cases this 60 days limit can be extended. But only if you have a good reason for it like a plane flight which is cancelled or illness. In any case, if this happens, go to the immigration office before your visa is expired.
To enter Indonesia your passport has to be at least valid for six months after the day you leave Indonesia and you need an ongoing ticket. If you show up with a one-way ticket immigration will force you to buy an ongoing ticket on the airport which is always more expensive then buy it at your own travel agency. If you don't know from where to leave Indonesia, buy a ticket from Medan to Singapore for example and try to change it with the ticket you need as soon as you know more. If you can't change the ticket the loss of money in this case will be small.
If you go to Indonesia for other purpose then tourism or you are not from the above listed nations, it is possible to get another visa like a business visa, a visa for family visit, or a visitor's visa for research for example. All these kind of visa are valid thirty days and can be extended in Indonesia. To extend these visa you can go to one of the immigration offices with your passport, two photographs and an Indonesian sponsor. Take notice that it can take some days before your visa will be extended and beware not to get ripped off because the price for this service is a standard one.
To get more information about visa contact the local embassy or consulate in your country.


Beside of your passport it is a good habit on every journey to make copies of it and keep those separated from your passport. Losing your passport in Indonesia means big trouble because you'll have to make at least a trip to your embassy in Jakarta which can be a long trip if you are in Irian Jaya for example.
We advise to make also copies of traveller cheques, health insurance, driver's license, credit cards and bills of photo and video equipment. In case of loss it can help you at the police station and later on to get anything replaced.


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Money and customs
The national currency in Indonesia is the Rupiah. It is not allowed to take in or out the country more than 50,000 rp. Most of the money is paper money in bank notes of 100rp, 500rp, 1,000rp, 5,000rp, 10,000rp, 50,000rp and 100,000rp. The coins which still can be found are 5rp, 10rp, 25rp, 50rp and 100rp. Be sure you always have some small notes or coins because in most parts of Indonesia they don't always have change for your 50,000rp or 100,000rp note.
Changing money is not to difficult. In all big cities banks can be found where you can change almost all currencies. The best traveller cheques to take are the American Express (AMEXCO), they can be changed in almost every bank. In many tourist areas you can also find money changers. It is worth to look around first what to get for your money because the rates can vary. If you need to change large amounts of money ask first if it is possible. Some banks or money changers do not have enough cash to pay you.
Credit cards are not wide accepted yet. You can use them only in the big hotels and exclusive restaurants in the cities.
If changing money it is mostly not necessary to change a lot with U$100 or U$200 you can travel a few days. If you have to pay large bills like from hotels or car rentals it is the best to change the money before you have to pay. This makes it more difficult to be robbed. See also the section Danger and Theft on this page.
It is normal in Indonesia to bargain about what you want to buy but many tourist shops now have fixed prices. Take the bargaining serious because the people are use to this kind of selling and buying and if you're not interested just say it and don't start bargaining and at the end say know. Starting to bargain means you are interested and you want to make a deal.

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Health and Medical care
Traveling in tropical countries always brings higher risks because bacteria can grow fast with this climate. Therefore it is necessary to prepare yourself well before you take off. Ask your doctor for the 'Yellow Booklet', the International Certificate of Vaccination, which records all your vaccinations. If you take any medicines with you ask your doctor to make a prescription so you wont get into trouble with the customs.

Because it is important to know something about health and diseases if you travel to the tropics this topic is separated into three sections.

Predeparture planning
How to keep healthy in Indonesia
Diseases


We try to keep this page updated but sometimes medical advises change quick. To get the most updated information about health and tropical diseases jump to www.cdc.gov


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Danger and Theft
Theft in Indonesia is small although there are pickpockets. Foreign tourist are sometimes a great object with lots of cash in their pockets. That's why it is recommended to take traveler cheques instead of cash money. The best places to take your valuables are money belts or pouches with a strap looped around your neck. In case you take any valuables in your pocket be sure you can close this pocket. This makes the change as small as possible that pickpocket can rip you off.
It is a good idea to have some small money (U$100 or as much as a ticket to Jakarta will cost from the furthest place you go) left, in a secret pocket in you backpack for example, together with a set of copies of your other valuables. In case you are ripped off you always have some cash to make telephone calls or go to Jakarta or Bali for new documents and cash.

As mentioned before it is a good idea to make copies of all your valuables (flight tickets, passport, traveller cheques, credit cards, bills of your camera and so on). It is wise to keep sets of copies on some different places for example one set in your backpack and one set in another pocket but never together with your valuables itself. Also leave one copie at home so in case you are totally ripped off you always can make a collect call home and ask them to send the copies to you. In case of theft you have to go to the police to report theft and ask them for a letter of reported theft/loss. In this case the copies you made can help you. When your ticket is stolen you can go, with the copy you made, to an office of the airline company and report that your ticket is lost. You mostly have to pay some money to get a refund. The worst which can happen is when you loose your passport. Also report this to the police and ask for the letter of reported theft/loss because you need this letter on the embassy or consulate. Then you have to go to the embassy or consulate of your country which is mostly located in Jakarta or Bali (find out the addresses before you go to Indonesia) where you will get a replacement.

Another danger in Indonesia is drugs although you are mostly the one who is the danger. Drugs is strictly forbidden in Indonesia and at the moment the police appears against drug very strict. If you are catched you can count on 20 years of prison and the prisons in Indonesia are not what they are in the west so you are warned.
Mostly on Bali is a wide spread trade in all kinds of drugs now. Especially at night dealers on the street will approach you and ask you to buy. Before it were mostly magic mushrooms and marihuana which you could buy but nowadays you can buy anything you can imagine although the quality is sometimes poor and every year again western tourist end their holidays, in the best case, in the hospital while they afterwards can explain their action to the police or court.

Other dangers come from mother nature. Snakes, insects and crocodiles can be a danger to you. From all 2,500 species of snakes only 250 are poisonous and about 10% of them are able to kill people. But still you can not take any risk with snakes. There are several poisonous snakes in Indonesia from which the cobra (ular sendok) is the most famous. Sea and water snakes are all poisonous and you can recognize them by their flat tail.
If you are eye to eye with a snake there is only one solution, do NOT move. Snakes are almost blind and only rely on their smell and heat detection. As long as you do not move a snake can not detect you by its heat sensing organs and will not attack you. Mostly they will move on and if they are about 2m away from you it is save to move again.
Most people are bitten by a snake because they step on them. That's also why you have to use good shoes and trousers so the change to get bitten is minimized. If you are bitten the best is to stay calm and bind a towel around the nearest limb which will slow down the poison. Never close a whole bodypart with a strap because this will stop also the blood circulation. Then the best is to kill the snake or at least try to remember how it looked like so a doctor will be able to give you the right antivenin. Now it is time to find medical help as quick as possible but do not panic, note that only 3% of the people bitten by a snake die of it and snakebites are rare.

Wasps and bees are more dangerous to human then snakes because they are more aggressive. Wasp or bee stings can kill people, mostly if you get about 80 stings but for some people 1 sting can be fatal. Especially people who are allergic to wasp or bee stings have to take care and it is recommended to put some antihistamine and epinephrine into your first aid kit. Normally wasps and bees will not attack people as long as they are not stirred up. But if they attack they will be with all of them and the best you can do is run like hell.

Crocodiles (buaya) only live in the swampy jungle of Irian Jaya and as long as you do not disturb one you do not have to be afraid. Their are every year one or two cases of people who were attacked by a crocodile but mostly it is their own fault. If you are swimming in the swampy waters you can ask for trouble.


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Accommodation
In Indonesia there is a wide variety of accommodation available from staying at local peoples houses till five stars western hotels. The prices will also vary from about 20,000 rp for a homestay till over 1,500,000 rp for a first class hotel in Jakarta. In tourist centers like Bali, Yogyakarta, and some parts of Sumatra you have the largest choice to stay while in the jungle of Irian Jaya you mostly have to stay at the police station or at the local people.
About the western higher class hotels doesn't have to be much explained. They are comfortable and you have all luxury you can expect. Of course also the prices are first class.
Their is a wide range of mid class and bottom end hotels. They sometimes offer hot water which is depending on the place. In the touristic areas you can find hot water while in the outer areas you only have your own mandi. Mandi means bath or bathing and is a typical way to wash yourself. The kamar mandi or bathroom contains a big tank filled with water and next to it you can find a plastic kind of saucepan. The Indonesian way of bathing is to take the water with the saucepan and pour it over yourself. The water tank is not meant to sit in because you pollute the water and mostly the water is refreshed only one time a day or sometimes less. Also the mid class hotels at the bottom end and homestays have this way of bathing and mostly the kamar mandi is a shared one.
Toilets (kamar kecil) can vary from the western toilets till just a hole in the ground. The traditional Indonesian toilet is a hole in the ground with places on both sides to put your feet and then you have to squat and aim. Indonesians also do not use toilet paper. The use their left hand and the sauce pan known from the mandi to splash a lot of water around. (That's also why it is not polite to give an Indonesian something with your left hand). So buy toilet paper yourself but if you use toilet paper be sure you flush the toiler regular because the plumbing system is not calculated for toilet paper and is easy plugged. Now more and more Indonesian toilets are replaced with the western toilets.

The more basic the hotel the more contact you will have with the local people. Basic hotels are often noisy with people talking and making music, radios with the volume high and from the other side the television with the volume high but you will get used to this. The hotels are divided into different categories depending on the price although the government is forcing all these homestays, penginapan and losmen to change their names to hotel. But still you can find the old names or the people changed the name in flower hotel (melati) for the basic hotels or star hotel (bintang) for the better hotels each divided into five classes.


Very basic are also the 'homestays', which means people do let some rooms of their house for tourists. Often it is also possible to share meals with the people. It is a little bit similar with staying at the local people but when you stay at local people the contact is more close while the homestays are more used to tourists and the let you go your own way.
Losmen and penginapan are very basic hotels. The most basic is the penginapan which offers only a small room with a bed. The losmen mostly has some more luxury but still is basic mostly with a shared mandi.
More comfort will give the wisma. A wisma is a mostly family runned guesthouses with a very good service. In many cases you will have your own toilet and mandi and in touristic areas often there is a western shower.


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Food and drinks
In Indonesia there is a wide variety of food and drinks available which depends on the region where you are. Padang in western Sumatra is famous about its Padang-food, which is very spicy, while the food in the middle and east of Java is more sweet. In the eastern provinces and Irian Jaya is a lack of variety and the food is always similar cooked with not so much spices. Most important is the rice in Indonesia (except for Irian Jaya where the people also eat sweet potatoes as main food) which is combined with meat and vegetables. Some vegetables are spicy and hot from chilli and others are just spicy. The meat is mostly from cow or chicken, because most parts of Indonesia are Muslim and do not eat pork meat, and can be grilled or cooked with spices.
Indonesians mostly eat fresh fruit as a desert and drink tea (teh) with sugar especially when the food is spicy this is a very good thirst quencher.
Also very common are several kinds of soup. Many Indonesians eat these soups as a snack many times with krupuk (a fried dough of shrimps or fish and cassava).
The Indonesians eat many snacks which you can buy everywhere on the streets at the small stalls (kaki lima). Popular are pisang goreng (fried bananas), bakmi (rice flour noodles in soup or fried), sate (grilled meat on a skewer served with peanut sauce or soya sauce), peanuts in palm sugar, cooked peanuts, coconut cookies, bakso (meatball soup), lemper (sticky rice), lumpia (fried pancakes with vegetables and meat), sop (clear soup) and soto (a meat and vegetable broth with rice).
Other popular Indonesian dishes are;
Cap cai (originally a Chinese dish of fried vegetables).
Gado-gado (various cooked or steamed vegetables served with peanut sauce).
Martabak (a kind of pancake made of eggs, meat and vegetables. There is a sweet and normal version).
Mie goreng (fried noodles served with vegetables or meat).
Nasi campur (steamed rice with some vegetables and meat).
Nasi goreng (fried rice with some vegetables and meat. A very popular dish in Indonesia).
Nasi goreng istemewa (nasi goreng special - similar to nasi goreng but served with a fried egg).
Nasi rames (rice with vegetables, meat and a fried egg),
Opor ayam (chicken cooked in coconut milk usually served with white rice (nasi putih).


There are many drinks available in Indonesia. Not only the western soft drinks but also the fruit juices and several kinds of beer and stronger alcoholic drinks.
Water is available in bottles of different sizes and the most common brand is Aqua. If you want to order water you just ask for aqua and you will get a bottle of water. The water from the water tap or a well is called air, air minum and is mostly not healthy to drink.
There are many kinds of fruit juices available in Indonesia and they are fresh made. The only thing you have to check is if they do not use water from the tap or a well but boiled water or water from a bottle. Further the tea in Indonesia is very common you can get plain tea (teh tawar, teh pahit), tea with sugar (Teh gula) or ice tea (teh es). Some years ago an Indonesian businessman had the idea to sell tea with sugar in a bottle. Now you can find this product on every street corner called Teh Botol which is delicious when you are thirsty and you drink it cold.
Specific Indonesian alcoholic drinks are arak (distilled rice wine), brem (rice wine) and tuak (made from the sap from a palm tree). Arak is also used to mix with some soft drinks like 7-up and Sprite.
Beer is also widely available in Indonesia. Well known is Bintang (brewed by Heineken from the Netherlands), Anker and San Miguel. Bottles are available in sizes from 33cc till 1 liter. But watch out in this climate, if you are tired and it is hot a cold beer tastes great with your diner but if you get up afterwards you will notice there is something happened with the gravity.


If you want to know more about the medical side of food and drinks in Indonesia jump to "How to keep healthy in Indonesia"
on this site.


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Film, Photo and Video
Indonesia is a real photogenic country with lots of different cultures and people. You can shoot photographs here the whole day long and because film and developing is not to expensive it is worth taking a lot of pictures.
When you have to take film or videotapes to the airport beware of the X-ray equipment. Ask the officials if the can inspect your bag with the film or tapes apart because X-rays can damage the film although we never had any problems with the normal and low speed films.
If you want to photograph the local people then you have to do it in a discrete way because some people are shy or don't want to be put on film, so always ask the people. Some people want to be paid for taken a photograph of them. Especially in Irian Jaya the people expect to be paid after you took a picture. But in Irian Jaya the people do not want to be paid only for the money but also because they like the red color of the 100rp notes and they accept only 100rp. So if you plan to go to the jungle of Irian Jaya be sure you have enough 100rp notes with you.
But most people don't mind if you take a photo and especially younger people will ask you to send them a copy and they will give you a piece of paper with their address.

Because the sun is very bright between 10 am and 2 pm it is wise to shoot before or after this time. Always check out from which side the sun comes so you can take the photo with the sun behind you or next to you. Taking a lens hood will reduce the reflections in the lens and a polarizing filter will help to reduce haze and makes the sky blue again. Beware of sharp shadows because with the bright sun the shadow is really sharp and an object which is half in the sun half in the shadow will not be well exposed. If you can not get a balanced lightening you have to expose only on the dark parts or only on the light parts or use a 'fill-in' flash.
If you want to take pictures of the sunset you have to expose on the sky without the sun and with these exposure rating you can take the sunset. Bright colors look extra bright if the sun comes from behind you but beware of the fact that when the sun comes exactly from behind you you will not see any shadow and there is no depth inside the photo.
Taking photographs from a moving train or bus is not easy because the roads are not so smooth in Indonesia so you need a very fast shutter speed. Before you step into a bus or taxi take a look at the windows because many windows are from colored glass which is sometimes not noticeable from inside anymore but your pictures will get the same colored haze.


Film is easy to get in Indonesia in many brands and cheap to buy. The only problem to buy is slide film and black and white film. If you are going eastward the prices will get up and sometimes the expire date is not valid anymore so buy your film in the western part of Indonesia.
Developing is also cheap and will mostly take about one hour or even less. But check out the photographs they printed for others because sometimes they do not always clean the machines and then the quality is not to good. Slide film will be send to Singapore and, when send from Java, it will take about four to seven days before you will get it back. Also black and white film will be send overseas but we have no experience with it.
Film for film cameras is not available anymore in Indonesia and if you want to make movies you have to take all film with you. Also developing is not possible or it will be send overseas and it is not sure when and if you will get it back.
Tapes for video cameras is available in Indonesia in the cities and touristic areas and they sell VHS as well as Video-8 tapes. Taking videos can be real fun especially if you can play them on the tv-set in the guesthouse or at the local people. The whole family and neighborhood will sit down to laugh about the experiences of those western strangers.
In Irian Jaya video can cause a real shock. We did make recordings from some Dani people in the jungle and the were very curious about our 'magic eye' so we decided to show them the recording true the eyepiece of the camera. The first Dani man almost got a heart attack when he saw himself inside that little box and our guide had to calm him down and explain the meaning of it to him. Then we smoked a cigaret and everything was alright again.


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Time, Business hours and Holidays
Time zones of Indonesia. If it is 12 noon in London it means it will be 7pm in Jakarta, 8pm in Udjung Pandang and 9pm in Jayapura.
Because Indonesia is around the equator days and nights do have the same length. Sunrise will be between 5.30 and 6.00 am and sunset will be between 5.30 and 6.00 pm depending on the place where you are in a time zone.

Most government offices are open six days a week from Monday to Thursday 8 am to 3 pm, Friday from 8 am to 11.30 pm and Saturday from 8 am to 2 pm. The privat offices mostly run from 8 am to 4 pm and sometimes on Saturday morning.
Banks and post offices are open from Monday to Friday 8 am to 2 pm and Saturday from 8 am to 11 pm or 12 pm. The private money changers and banks in hotels are mostly open till in the evening.
Shops are open from 8 am to 9 pm but some shops close between 12 am and 2 pm. The bigger shopping centers are mostly open between 8.30 am to 8 pm and sometimes also on Sunday.

Like in many countries Sunday is the public holiday but many shops and sometimes also airline offices are open in the morning.
The national holiday is 17 August which is the Independence Day (Proklamasi Kemerdekaan). Indonesia got its independence on 17 August 1945 and on 27 December 1949 Indonesia became legally independent from The Netherlands but 17 August is still the day of national celebrations.
Kartini Day is another national holiday and is celebrated on 21 April. Raden Ajeng Kartini was a girl born on 21 April 1879 as a daughter of the regent of Jepara in Java and she was the first emancipated and nationalist woman. She started to write letters to her Dutch friends in which she expressed her feelings about the restrictions of the adat system and the Islamic customs. The letters are collected and published and are now real modern classics. Raden Kartini died in childbirth at the age of 24. On Kartini day all women use their regional dressing and like on mothers day the mothers are not allowed to work and the fathers and children have to do the work.
Another typical Indonesian holiday is Bersih Desa what literal means cleaning the villages. Bersih Desa is celebrated at the time of the rice harvest but is now only celebrated in small villages. People are cleaning the houses and streets and fences are whitewashed. In this way the people remove the evil spirits from the villages.
Of course also Christmas and New Year are national holidays.

Typical Muslim holidays are Ramadan or Bulan Puasa. It is the traditional Muslim fasting from sunrise to sunset. The Ramadan falls in the ninth month of the Muslim or Javanese calendar. The Muslim people do not eat and drink this month at day. They get up at 3 am, eat and then begin there day with praying. At the first day of the 10th month of the Muslim calender, that's when you can see the crescent of the new moon with the naked eye, Ramadan ends and it is time for Hari Raya or Idul Fitri in Arabic. Idul Fitri is celebrated like Christmas. At 7 am all people move to the center of the village where an open-air-service starts with verses from the Koran and praying after that the celebrations starts for the next two days. People dress in new clothes and the woman use with clothes like a nuns. All people visit and revisit their neighbors bringing them presents and special prepared food. Every visitor gets a cup of fresh tea and cake or cookies.
Alquran is mainly celebrated on Sumatra and Java and is a sacrificial ceremony corresponding to the Arabian event.
Idul Adha is the Muslim day of sacrifice and is held on the 10th day of the 11th month of the Muslim calendar. In this time a lot of Muslim also go to Mecca.
The birthday of Mohammed is called Maulid Nabi Mohammed or Hari Natal and is celebrated on the 12th day of the new year of the Muslim calendar.
The celebration of the ascension of the Prophet is called Miraj Nabi Mohammed.


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Post, Telecommunication and Electricity
Postal services (kantor pos) can be found everywhere in Indonesia. It is not to difficult to send the regular mail from Indonesia which can be done by air mail or by sea mail. By sea mail you can send up to 10 kg. When sending letters or postcard it is also possible to send them by express mail (kilat) or as registered mail (surat tercatat) although you mostly have to show what you send when you want to register it so it is wise not to close your post yet. Depending on the place where you post your mail it can take from 4 days up to 2 weeks before your post arrives in Europe or America.
Post stamps can be bought also in shops where you buy postcards but beware of the fact that they sometimes sell stamps which are cancelled or stamps with a higher rate.
For incoming mail it is possible to use the poste restante service at the post offices of the bigger cities. Make sure people put in the left upper corner 'Poste Restante' and underline the name of the receiver. Also members of American Express (AMEXCO) have the possibility to use post restante at the offices of AMEXCO.
When sending books, medicines or other valuables you have to count on it that halve of these mail is ripped of or replaced with something else.

Telecommunication by telephone can still be very frustrating in Indonesia although slowly it is getting better. Lines are busy, telephone exchanges overloaded and the fares are high. Near bus stations, airports and in the center of towns you mostly can find pay phones although they are mostly out of order. With the pay phones it is only possible to make local calls.
For intercity calls and international calls you have to go to the telephone office (Kantor Telepon dan Telegrap) which can be found in all bigger cities. There are the government runned Perumtel as well as several private telephone companies (Warpostal) who give possibilities to make phone calls, send telexes and faxes. You have to report to where you want to call and as soon as there is a line available the will drop you in a telephone box where you can make your call. At the modern stations you can dial yourself while at the older station an operator will make the call for you.
For collect calls you also have to go to the telephone office where are now also 'home country direct' telephones available, or you can find them at the airports. You simply have to push the button from the country you want to call to and you will get the operator in that country.
Because the rates for international telephone calls are high some countries offer the possibility to get a special credit card. You have to handle the same as with collect calls. Just call the operator in your own country and ask for this service. You will have to give your card number and a protection code. The charge of the call will then be added to your own telephone bill at home. Also calls to other countries are possible with this service. This is useful when the telephone rates in your country are much lower then in Indonesia. For example a call from Indonesia to Singapore and Malaysia will cost about U$1.50 per minute, to Hong Kong, Thailand and the Philipinas U$2 per minute. To Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, India and the USA it will cost you about U$2.5 per minute, Canada and the UK will cost about U$3 per minute while Western Europe, Alaska, South America and Africa will cost about U$3.5 per minute.

Electricity is standardize to 220 Volts, 50 cycles in Indonesia although in some places still 110 Volts is supplied. So first check out the voltage that is used before you plug in your equipment. The sockets that are used are similar with the European standard with two round prongs and no earth pin.
The power distribution is pretty reliable in the major areas but still there are blackouts. In the rural areas electricity sometimes is supplied from a local diesel generator. Blackouts are common in these areas because the generator has to be serviced, is running out of fuel or just fails to work. In these areas electricity is sometimes only available during night time. Therefore it is wise to take a battery torch with you if you go out at night in these areas. If the electricity drops out it is very dark on the streets and there are many holes in the street from the sewer where you can easily break your legs if you fall in.

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Entertainment
First of all there are many places where you can watch the traditional Indonesian entertainment like the wayang play and dancing. Some places are set up for tourism but it is also possible to be a guest at one of the traditional events. The best is to ask the local people what are the possibilities in the area where you are.
If you prefer to go to the cinema you wont find any problem. In every town, even the small ones you can find a cinema. In the major cities you can find modern cinemas with the latest movies but in the rural areas the quality of the cinemas can be really bad with unsharp pictures and unsynchronized sound although it is an experience to watch for half an hour or so.
In the major cities you can also find discos. Some discos are located inside the five star hotels but there are also a lot of private discos. The cover charge is mostly not to high but the drinks can be expensive especially in the western discos.

 

FACTS FOR EXPATS


<back to the top>


Take the taxi to move around (very unexpensive) : take 'offical' taxis like BLUE BIRD
Appartment : around ---
Electricity : around ---
Water and gaz : ---
Internet 56k : around ---
Bills payment : ---
Bank account : ---
DON'T drink water tap, buy mineral water
Foreigner : 'Bule'
Advice when you buy : bargain systematically, try what you buy and check the guaranty
English rarely spoken, better learn a few words of Bahasa Indonesia

 

TRAVELLING INFORMATION <back to the top>
JAKARTA


<back to the top>

Philippe 03/07/1998 - 07/07/1998 (Jakarta)
Philippe 26/03/1999 - 31/03/1999 (Jakarta + Pelabuhan Ratu)
Philippe 06/08/1999 - 15/08/1999 (Jakarta + Yogyakarta)
Philippe 28/06/2000 - 03/07/2000 (Jakarta)

Thank you to Sisi for her kind contribution.

Where stay ?

Jakarta offers a lot of accommodation. For low prices the area of Jalan Jaksa is famous. But on the other hand you can find many luxury hotels around Jalan Thamrin, the business center of Jakarta. In this list the hotels and guesthouses we know are split up by area and luxury.
Most of the mid price and high price hotels can be booked from the airport Soekarno Hatta at the hotel-booking counter or at travel agents all around the town. Most times you can get 20% of the price if you ask.

Jalan Jaksa
Jalan Jaksa is right in the center of Jakarta behind Jalan Thamrin only 10 minutes walking from Gambir station and Merdeka square.
Wisma Delima
Wisma Delima was the first guesthouse at Jalan Jaksa no 5. It is a popular place an can be very crowded with backpackers. Prices go from 20,000 rp for a single room to 50,000 rp for a double. The people are friendly and helpful with giving you information about the city.

Kresna Homestay
Kresna Homestay at Jalan Jaksa / Gang 1 no 175 has rooms for 50,000 rp. Everything is a little bit small here but it is a good place to stay.

Bintang Kejora
You can find Bintang Kejora at Kebon Sirih Barat Dalam no 52. The street is running half way from Jalan Jaksa to the west in the direction of Jalan Thamrin. It is a very clean place where they offer rooms from 60,000 rp up to 120,000 rp.

Nick's Corner You can find Nick's corner at Jalan Jaksa no 27. It is a new and very clean place. Breakfast is included. Prices for a dorm bed are 30,000 rp up to 250,000 rp for a double room with a bathroom attached. All rooms are air conditioned.

Cemara Hotel
At the south end of Jalan Jaksa is Jalan Wahid Hasyim running to Jalan Thamrin. At the crossing with Jalan Kebon Sirih Timur an Jalan Cemara you can stay at Cemara Hotel. It is a good and clean hotel with a very good service prices run from U$ 60 to U$ 75.

Other Mid range Hotels
Marcopolo Hotel
At Jalan Teuku Cik Ditiro no 19, A little bit eastwards of Jalan Thamrin, is the Marcopolo Hotel (tel 325409). All rooms have air conditioning, TV, a bathroom and hot water. There is a swimming pool and a small restaurant. Maybe this is one of the best mid range hotels in town for its price (550,000 rp). A real surprise is the breakfast/buffet for 15,000 rp. Lots of food, bread and drinks all for the same price as much as you can eat.

Kartika Plaza
Kartika Plaza at Jalan Thamrin (tel 321008) also has a beautiful swimming pool and a large breakfast/buffet in the morning. Rooms are air conditioned and equipped with a bathroom. The prices are U$95 for a double room up to U$200. Only it is a lot of times fully booked by business people.

International Class Hotels
Hotel Indonesia
Hotel Indonesia (tel 3140008), at Jalan Thamrin near the Welcome Statue, was the first international hotel in Indonesia dating from 1960s. Like in all international hotels shops and banks are included now in the main hall downstairs. Rooms cost U$130 up to U$160 while a suite can be used from U$300 up to U$800.

President Hotel
The President Hotel (tel 2301122) can be found at Jalan Thamrin 59. It is a little bit older hotel but the room and service is good. Rooms cost U$130 to U$215 and suites U$400 to U$480.

Borobodur Inter-Continental Jakarta
Borobodur Inter-Continental Jakarta (tel 3804444) located at Jalan Lapangan Banteng Selatan is one of the Borobudur hotels which can be found in all big Indonesian cities. Rooms cost U$190 to U$200 and a suite U$310 to U$750.

Mandarin Oriental
Mandarin Oriental (tel 3141307) at Jalan Thamrin has nice rooms and a good service. The prices for a room are U$180 to U$235 and the suites go from U$480 up to U$1500.

Hilton
The Hilton Hotel (tel 5703600) at Jalan Gatot Subroto has rooms from U$180 up to U$240 and suites from U$310 to U$2000.

Grand Hyatt Jakarta
The Grand Hyatt Jakarta (tel 3901234) was build in the beginning of the 1990s at Jalan Thamrin in opposite of Hotel Indonesia. For sure this is the best hotel in the capital but also the most expensive with rooms from U$265 to U$295 and a suite from U$530 to U$5000.

Where to eat ?

Pondok Laguna (Sea Food Rest).
Jl, Batu Tulis Raya No. 45-47
Ph: 345-9991

Sari Bundo (Padangnese Rest.)
Jl. Ir. H. Juanda No. 27
Ph: 386-5055

Ayam Goreng Remaja
Jl. Hayam Wuruk No. 103 A
Ph: 629-2478

Angke Restaurant (Chinese Food)
Jl. K.H. Zainul Arifin Kompleks Ketapang Indah
Blok B1/1
Ph. 634-3030

Saturday night buffet of the SHANGRI LA HOTEL : 90,000 Roupiahs.

Restaurants can be found everywhere in Jakarta and it is impossible to list them all. So the list below is only a small selection from restaurants which were tried out by our team.
There are many warung and kaki lima in Jakarta. The main places can be found near Merdeka square, Jalan Wahid Hasyim (west from Jalan Thamrin) and Jalan Kendal. But every district in Jakarta has its own evening market with a lot of food stables and warungs.
Also in the area of Jalan Jaksa can be found many small restaurants, some serve good food, some look hot and dirty. But remember for all place is a rule. If there are many tourists the food is good, if it is empty you risk your life.

Romance Bar & Restaurant
A nice place to get your diner is Romance Bar & Restaurant at Jalan Jaksa no 40. The atmosphere is nice and the food is reasonable and not to expensive.

Senayan Satay House
If you prefer a good sate try the Senayan Satay House at the corner with Jalan Jaksa and Jalan Kebon Sirih. It is not the cheapest place in the Jalan Jaksa area but the have very good food.

Natrabu
Natrabu is a Padang food restaurant and is located at Jalan Sabang 29A. It is sometimes full with western tourists brought there by the similar named Natrabu travel agent. It it not the cheapest Padang restaurant but for about 10,000 rp you get a table full and some entertainment from the waiters who are able to bring all the dishes (about 20) in one time to your table.

McDonalds
Maybe you are desperately seeking for a hamburger. Well since some years McDonalds opened its first fast food restaurant at Jalan Thamrin on the ground floor of the Sarinah shopping mall.
Nicks Corner Cafe
Located at Jalan Jaksa Nicks Corner Cafe has good food for a reasonable price.

Cahaya Kota
At Jalan Wahid Hasyim no 9 you can find one of the finest Chinese-Indonesia restaurants in town. For about 60,000 rp you can get an excellent meal.

Club Noordwijk Club Noordwijk at Jalan Ir. H. Juanda no 54 serves a very good colonial Dutch rijsttafel.

Where to buy ?

BLOK M PASARAYA
What to buy: clothes, ...

KEMANG
What to buy: a whole street that sells arty furniture and handicrafts. Great !

Nightlife ?

The bar of the GRAND HYATT HOTEL
Great live music bands.

CRS Bar
Great live music bands also, 70s style.

CINNA BAR

PAPRIKA
Bar with good wine and cocktails

TAMAN RIA SENAYAN
Big complex of cafes with restaurants and live music

KAMPUNG TENDA SEMANGGI
This is an open air area right in the middleof the city, where there are small semi-permanent restaurants (good food, too)
and in the center usually there would be music shows

(recommended by Sisi)

HARD ROCK CAFE

BATS (Shangril La)
Cool disco, good music band, crowded during week ends.

TANAMUR
For those old expats who like.

FASHION CAFE
Nice looking place, but music too loud.


What to see ?

If you want to travel around in Jakarta you can take a taxi, bajaj or bus. Taxis are metered and cost 3,600 rp for the first km and 2,000 rp for each additional km. Reliable are the bluebird taxis, and another big company is President taxis. The yellow taxis from President are old and sometimes even a real cannonball, better are the new red/yellow ones.
The bajaj is the small orange auto-rikshaw which can be found in many parts of the center. The can drive you fast across town especially in the rush hours.
Busses are crowded and hot but they stop everywhere along their route.

Sunda Kelapa
Sunda Kelapa is the old harbor of Jakarta where you can find the wooden Macassar schooners (pinisi). They are used for transporting timber and other goods to and from Kalimantan and Sulawesi. To enter the dock you have to pay 1,000 rp and if you are lucky you can enter a ship for which you have to cross the 8 meters long and 40 cm width gangway so don't fall off.
Nearby you can find the pasar ikan where in the early morning the fish is sold. The smell of fish is terrible but it is worth to see.

Kota (Old Batavia)
Near Sunda Kelapa is the old colonial area known as Old Batavia but now called Kota. Here still a lot of buildings from the old Dutch colonial time remain. Most of them are now restored and have become museums. It is possible to visit all museums and small streets of this area in one morning.

Glodok
Glodok is the Chinatown of Jakarta. The Dutch banned the Chinese outside the city walls after the massacre of the Chinese in 1740 in which 5,000 Chinese where killed. The narrow streets are filled with Chinese food vendors and small shops. Near the Petak fish market south of Jalan Pancoran you will find the Dharma Jaya Temple which was build in 1650 and one of the major temples for the Chinese.

Museums
There many several museums in Jakarta some of them are listed below here;
National Museum
The National Museum is also called Museum Pusat and is located at Jalan Merdeka Barat 12 on the west side of Merdeka square. The museum has one of the best collections of Indonesia and also a rare collection of Chinese ceramic from about 2000 years ago. The goldroom shows a large collection of golden ornaments. The museum is opened from 8.30 to 14.30 (Tuesday - Thursday and Sunday), on Saturday to 13.30 and on Friday to 11.00. The entrance costs 1,000 rp and except for the goldroom you may take photographs for 4,000 rp.

Jakarta History Museum
Also known as the Old Batavia Museum or Museum Kota is located on the south side of Fatahillah Square right behind Stasiun Kota. The building was once the city hall of Batavia and now there is a large collection of furniture, photographs and architecture from the Dutch colonial time to see. The museum is open Tuesday - Friday and Sunday from 9.00 to 16.00 and Saturday from 9.00 to 13.00. The entrance costs 600 rp.

Museum Bahari
Museum Bahari is the Maritime museum and is located near the entrance of Sunda Kelapa. The building is an old colonial warehouse built in 1645 and now it exhibits a large collection of boats and ships from all over Indonesia. Also the collection of photographs is very nice. The museum is opened from Tuesday to Thursday from 9.00 to 15.30, from 9.00 to 15.00 on Friday and Sunday and from 9.00 to 12.00 on Saturday while the entrance costs 600 rp (400 rp on Sunday).

Wayang Museum
This museum is also located at Fatahillah Square and was originally built to serve as the 'Museum of old Batavia' but the collections were moved to the Jakarta History Museum in 1975 and the museum was turned into a wayang museum. The collection covers puppets from Indonesia, Thailand, China, Malaysia, Cambodia and India and is a must for wayang lovers. The best is to visit the museum on a Sunday morning or a Tuesday morning. Opening times are Tuesday to Thursday and Sunday from 9.00 to 15.00, Friday from 9.00 to 11.00 and on Saturday from 9.00 to 13.00 and the entrance costs 600 rp.

National Monument (Monas)
This 132 meters high monument is standing in the center of Medan Merdeka (Freedom Square). The square itself formed into a military parade ground in 1809 and all headquarters of the Dutch were build around it. In 1961 Soekarno instructed to build a national monument but it took until 1975 before Soeharto could open the monument. The whole monument is constructed of Italian marble and the flame on the to is gilded with 35 kg of gold leaf. In the base of the monument is the National History museum which tells the story of the independence struggle in 48 dioramas. A lift can bring you up to the top of the monument where you have a fantastic view over Jakarta. Don't go on Sundays because it is very crowded and it sometimes takes up to 2 hours in a queue before you can go up. The National monument is open from Monday to Friday 8.30 to 17.00 and on Saturday and Sunday until 19.00. The admission is 2,000 rp for the museum only and 8,000 rp for the museum and a return ticket to the top.
Taman Mini Indonesia
About 18 km from the center of Jakarta, near Kampung Rambutan is Taman Mini Indonesia which covers whole Indonesia in one park. From all 27 provinces the is a full scale traditional house and it gives you a good idea of the variety of cultures in Indonesia especially if you have no plans for going into the interior of Indonesia.
A cable car can take you around a lake in which the islands of Indonesia on scale can be seen. The park also has some theaters, restaurants and museums. The to the park entrance costs you 8,000 rp which is a good value for all you get. The park is open from 8.00 to 17.00 every day and the houses and museums from 9.00 to 16.00. On Sundays there are cultural performances in the houses.
The best to get there is to take a taxi which costs about 50,000 rp from central Jakarta. You can also take a bus to Kampung Rambut from where you can take a minibus to the park. Because of the distance from the center it can take up to 1½ hours to get there.

 

PELABUHAN RATU


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How to go there ?

From Jakarta, we rented a 4X4 for 2 days (without driver) : 600,000 Rps.
5 hours drive on a bumpy road.

Where to stay ?

OCEAN QUEEN RESORT
Cisolok, Pelabuhan Ratu
Tel: 0266-432567(hotel site), 0816-98-6200, 021-7660359
Fax: 021-759-02259
Low season rate, weekly rate : USD30 to USD50 (sea side) for a 4 rooms bungalow
Owned and managed by an English man.
Long beach of black sand, no tourists at all when we went there.
Cannot swim there, underwaves quite dangerous.

Philippe, Serge, Christophe (Last visit 28/03/1999)

What to do?

Just spend a quite week end.

 

YOGYAKARTA


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Philippe (Last visit 08/08/1999 to 13/08/1999) by car from Jakarta.
Very beautiful sightseeing between Jakarta and Yogyakarta

Where to stay ?

PURI ARTHA HOTEL
Jalan Cendrawasih 36, Yogyakarta,
Tel: 0274-563288, Fax: 0274-562765
www.puriartha.co.id
email: puriarta@idola.net.id
Philippe, Serge, Raymond

What to do?

Day 1 :
Bird market (Pasar Burung)
Water Castle
Malioboro Street

Day 2 :
Borobudur Temple
Muntilan market

Day 3 :
Kraton Temple
Imogeri Temple
Parantretis Temple
Baron beach
Kukup cliff (take a coffee at the restaurant)
Ramayana show/ballet in the evening (at Prambanan Temple)

Day 4 :
Dieng Plateau (3h30 by car to go there) :
hot water sources and tea plantations

Day 5 :
Prembanan Temple

Where to eat ?

LEGIAN GARDEN RESTAURANT
Jalan Perwakilan, No 9 Lantai Atas (1st floor), Yogyakarta

 

DIENG PLATEAU

Just go there for 1 day.
Tea plantation, geysers. Bring a sweat shirt, a bit cold.

 

SURABAYA

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Philippe (Last visit 11/02/2002 to 18/02/2002)
Nothing much to see in town.
Rarely seen such a friendly people (at least towards bule) (especially if you can speak a bit Bahasa)

Where to stay ?

It seems that hotels 'walk-in' is cheaper than Internet Booking !

GARDEN PALACE HOTEL
Promotion rate, Standard Room: 250,000 Rp /night including 21% tax and breakfast
www.gardenhotel.co.id
Ok, though a bit old and noisy.
You can book a trip to Mount Bromo there.

Bamboo Denn
Like in Malang also here in Surabaya is a Bamboo Denn. Bamboo Denn is located at Jalan Ketabang Kali no 6A and has beds in a dorm for 12,000 rp. Small rooms run from 20,000 to 35,000 rp.
The place is often full, especially in the tourist season because in Bamboo Denn also live students. The students always try to get you into an English discussion.
Hotel Gubeng
Another cheap place is Hotel Gubeng at Jalan Sumatra no 18. The rooms, running from 80,000 to 100,000 rp, have nothing special to offer but the hotel is very close to the Gubeng station.

Hotel Santoso
At Jalan Embong Kenongo no 40 you can find Hotel Santoso which has some rooms facing a garden for about 80,000 rp. The rooms are clean and there is a shared bathroom.

Hotel Remaja
Also at Jalan Embong Kenongo on no 12 is the Hotel Remaja which offers nice air-con rooms with television and a bathroom for 240,000 rp up to 300,000 rp.

Wisma Marwarani
Run by a Chinese family you can find Wisma Marwarani at Jalan Embong Kenongo no 73. This very friendly and helpful people offer you a nice clean room with air-con, television and a bathroom for 220,000 rp

Hotel Majapahit
If you prefer the colonial style then you can stay at Hotel Majapahit at Jalan Tunjungan no 65. This hotel was build in 1910 by the Dutch as Hotel Oranje. It has just finished major renovations and is now a very nice place to stay. No price available yet.

Garden Palace Hotel
A nice place to stay is the Garden Palace Hotel with spacious rooms with bathroom, television, air-con and so on. The prices run from 800,000 rp. There is also a good restaurant and a 24-hour coffee shop

Hotel Natour Simpang
Simpang means crossroad and that's where you can find Hotel Natour Simpang at Jalan Pemuda no 1-3. The rooms are average for U$90. The rooms on the two highest floors are noisy because of the elevator machines on the top of the building. The hotel also offers a swimming pool.

Hyatt Regency Surabaya
One of the finest hotels is the Hyatt Regency at Jalan Basuki Rachmat no 124-128. There is everything you can expect from an international business hotel. A swimming pool, restaurants, bars and a business center.

Where to eat ?

Pasar Kayoon
At Jalan Kayoon you can find the Pasar Kayoon where you can find many stables and warungs offering good food for a cheap price. Especially at night this is a nice place to walk around and to eat something.

Pasar Genteng
Another market with a lot of warungs can be found at Jalan Genteng Besar. Also here you can find many warungs and stables.

Plaza Surabaya
Plaza Surabaya is one of the shopping malls of Surabaya. On the ground floor you can find many different kind of restaurants including a McDonalds. Also on the 2nd and 4th floor you can find some food stables.

Tanjungan Plaza
Another big shopping mall is Tanjungan Plaza. Also here you can find many restaurants in all kind of price ranges. And of course you can find McDonalds also here.
If you like ice cream try Mon Cheri on the fourth floor. The ice cream is not cheap but the quality is great.

Chez Rose
At Jalan Pang. Sudirman no 12 you can eat at Chez Rose which offers home made bread, European, Chinese and Japanese food for a reasonable price.

Titra Indah Garden
Titra Indah Garden at Jalan Mayjen Sungkono no 47A has many Indonesian dishes.

Kiet Wan Kie
If you like Chinese food try Kiet Wan Kie at Jalan Kembang Jepun no 51. This air-con restaurant offers good Chinese food in a pleasant area.

Cafe Venezia
At Jalan Ambegan no 16 you can eat at Cafe Venezia which is located in a very nice old villa. The prices are not to high so don't be discouraged by the scenery. You can get European, Japanese as well as Korean food.

Where to buy ?

TUNJUGAN SHOPPING CENTER
The biggest and most interesting shopping mall in town.

What to do?

Mount Bromo trip (Volcano)
I booked a trip (car + driver + guide) at Garden Palace Hotel (460,000Rp) and a jeep there to go to the volcano (125,000Rp)
Departure at midnight, 2h40 drive to a village, then take a jeep there, 1h drive.
Arrived at 03:00am to see the sunrise (unfortunately too cloudy).
Stopped at the Sand Sea.
Climbed Bromo Volcano (still active)
Back to Surabaya at 9:00am.

Nightlife ?

TAVERN'S BAR (Hyatt)
Lousy and too loud music band with the same songs every nights.

KOWLOON DISCO
Techno, loud, huge and very dark.

Club Deluxe (recommended by the doorman of Hyatt)
Well, actually not a disco ...

DESPERADOS (Shangri La)
Bar with quite a good music band.
The equivalent of the Tanamour for Surabaya. Full of old expats of course.

COLORS
Very interesting bar, 100% local (I was the only Bule), with a very good local music band. Unfortunately too crowded.

SAMMY'S (Westin)
Disco, crowded, no real interest.

What to see ?

Surabaya has not so much touristic attractions to offer. The city is mainly a commercial center and a hot and busy place. Most tourists stay here as transit to go on to other islands or to eastern Java.

Surabaya Zoo
They say the Surabaya Zoo is the largest in southeast Asia. The animals do not differ much from the species in any other zoo but it is true that the park itself is large with a lot of space. Most animals however don't have that space. There is a nice collection of fishes in the aquarium hall. In front of it there is a terrarium with snakes which are once a week fed with other snakes. If you don't have time to visit the island Komodo to see the Komodo dragons, use your change, you can see them here.
The Surabaya Zoo is located near the Joyoboyo bus station and is opened from 07.00 till 17.00. The entry costs 4,000 rp and if you want to visit the aquarium you have to pay 1000 rp.


Tanjung Perak
Tanjung Perak is the harbor area of Surabaya. Along the 2 km long wharf of Kalimas harbor, you can find the large wooden schooners which sail to Kalimantan and Sulawesi. It isn't so busy with tourists here as Sunda Kelapa in Jakarta but it is worth visiting.
To go there you can take a bus heading Tanjung Perak from Jalan Jen. Basuki Rachmat.


Mesjid Ampel
North of the center you can find the Mesjid Ampel. It is a popular religious place and most sacred mosque for the Muslims the vicinity of Surabaya. Sunan Ampel who was one of the people who brought the Islam to Java is buried here in 1481. The mosque can be found at Jalan Ampel Suci near Semut Station.


Tretes
If you are tired of the busy Surabaya you can go to the hill resort Tretes. There is not much to do, except a trip to the waterfalls in the neighborhood, but the climate is cool and there is a beautiful surrounding area. To get there take a bus from the center of town to Pandaan and from there a you can take a minibus to Tretes. The whole trip costs about 6,000 rp.

Bromo
Information about the Bromo is placed on the page Eastern Java.
If you want to visit the Bromo it is the best to go to Probolinggo at daytime which takes about 2 hours by bus (12,000 rp). From here you can go up as shown in the Bromo section. It is also possible to go by an organized tour from Surabaya. Many organizations organize tours the Bromo which is a good alternative.

BALI


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Very touristic, but very cantik.

Where to stay ?

KETUT'S PLACE
Ubud
Very cute guesthouses, where you stay with Ketut's family.

Where to go ?

Just rent a jeep and a driver (who will stay with you, avoiding other people from disturbing you too much when you visit).

 

INDONESIAN FOOD & RECIPES

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On this page you can find recipes for Indonesian food. All recipes are used by Wiwik and from Indonesian origin. From time to time we will add a new recipe so you can have an Indonesian meal at home.

Nasi Goreng
Nasi goreng means fried rice (nasi=rice, goreng=fried) and can easily be prepared. It is mostly made from cooked rice which is left from a day before so you don't have to eat old rice but can make a fresh meal of it.

Necessaries (for 4 persons) :

4 portions of white cooked rice.
8 shallots.
3 clove garlic.
3 red chili pepper.
2 spring onions.
4 eggs.
2 sausages.
1 table spoon Kecap Asin (salt soya sauce).
butter.
salt, pepper and v-tsin.
Preparation
First make an omelet with the four eggs and a little bit salt. Optional you can add some verbs. Fry the omelet in a frying pan with a little bit butter. After finishing this job you cut the omelet in small slices and put it apart for later.


Now start to make the verbs for the nasi goreng. Cut the shallots, garlic, red chilli pepper and spring onions till small parts and put them together. Put a wajang (a large frying pan) on a high fire and melt some butter. If the butter starts to get brown add the sliced shallots, garlic, red chilli pepper and spring onions and fry them for about two minutes. After about one minute reduce the fire otherwise the verbs will burn.
Now you can cut the sausages and add them to the frying verbs together with the sliced omelet. Directly after this add the rice, the kecap asin, and a little bit salt, pepper and v-tsin (to taste). Mix this all and let it get hot on a medium fire for about 10 minutes while stirring it regular.
Put the nasi goreng in a dish or on plates and garnish with fresh tomato and cucumber.
Enjoy your nasi goreng.

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Semur Daging
Semur daging means a dish of stewed cow meat (daging = cow). It is easily to prepare and is served with cooked white rice.

Necessaries (for 4 persons) :

1 kg cow meat
3 cm ginger carrot
6 cloves of garlic
10 shallots
3 tomatoes
5 spoons kecap manis (sweet soya sauce)
2 spoons maggi
3 cm kayu manis (sweet wood)
4 cloves
½ a teaspoon nutmeg
butter
white pepper
salt
sugar
3 cups of water
Preparation
First cut the meat in small pieces (1x5x7cm). Also cut two cloves of garlic and the ginger and put them together with some salt and pepper to taste. Put these spices in a mortar or a food-processor and mix them until it becomes a paste. Then add the meat and let it stand for about ten minutes.
In the mean time cut the rest of the garlic together with the shallots, heat the butter in a large cooking pan and fry the garlic and shallots. Now add the meat, the water and the rest of the verbs. at last cut the tomatoes and also add them. Cook this all on a low fire until the meat is well done. The semur will taste better if you prepare it a day before.
Serve the Semur Daging with white rice and a fresh salad of tomatoes and cucumber.


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Rendang
Like semur daging, rendang is a dish of stewed cow meat only a little bit more spicy which is served with white rice. It is easy to prepair but only cost some time to stew.

Necessaries (for 4 persons) :

1 kg cow meat
400 ml coconut milk
10 shallots
5 kemiri nuts (nuts from the candlenut tree)
5 cloves of garlic
1 cm kunjit (turmeric)
1 cm ginger carrot
1 red chilli pepper
1 cm laos carrot
1 stick serai (citronella grass)
5 lemon leaves

Preparation
Put the shallots, the garlic, the kunjit, the kemiri, the ginger and the red chili pepper in a mortar or a food-processor and mix them until it becomes a paste. For a better taste you can crush the laos carrot and the serai a little bit but do not let them fall apart.
Now cut the meat in small pieces and put it in a cooking pan together with the coconut milk. Put the cooking pan on a medium fire and also add the mixture of verbs, the crushed laos and serai, and the lemon leaves. Cook this all until the meat is well done while you stir regular. After the meat is well done close the cooking pan, put the fire low and let it stew for about four hours.
Serve the rendang with white rice and a fresh salad of tomatoes and cucumber.


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Opor
Opor is a typical Javanese dish with chicken. It has a soft taste and is not to spicy.

Necessaries (for 4 persons) :


1 Chicken
4 Shallots
3 gloves of garlic
5 kemiri nuts (nuts from the candlenut tree)
1 tea spoon ketumbar (coriander seed)
¼ tea spoon jinten (cumin seed)
2 cm fresh koenjit (turmeric)
1 cm fresh ginger carrot
4 laurel leafs
1 stick serai (citronella grass)
500 ml coconut milk
4 tablespoon baking oil
salt and pepper to taste
Preparation
First cut the chicken into 4 or 6 six pieces.Then put the shallots, garlic, kemiri, ketumbar, jinten and the koenjit in a mortar or a food-processor and mix them until it becomes a paste. Put a wajang or large frying pan on a medium fire, put the baking oil in it and fry the verbs for a few minutes. If the verbs are brown you can add the laurel leafs, serai and the ginger. Then add the chicken with half a liter of water and cook it for about 10 minutes. Now it is time to add the coconut milk and let it all cook for about half an hour. Now the chicken has to be well done. The opor will taste much better if you prepare it a day before but keep it together with gravy.

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Ayam Asam Manis
Ayam asam manis is a chicken dish prepared in two parts, the chicken and a sweet but hot sauce. It is served with plain white rice.

Necessaries (for 4 persons) :

For the Chicken; For the sauce;
1 kg chicken fillet
75 gram flour
25 gram maizena (corn flower)
50 cc water
white pepper and salt
baking oil
100 gram onions
100 gram cleaned shrimps
2 spring onions
2 table spoons chili sauce
2 table spoons tomato sauce or pureé
250 cc water
2 teaspoons sugar
3 table spoons baking oil

Preparation
The chicken;
Cut the chicken fillet into pieces and put salt and white pepper over it. For a better taste it is recommended to let the chicken stand now for about 30 minutes.
The flour and the maizena can be mixed now together with the water until it becomes a smooth paste (not to thick). Mix the chicken with this paste of flour so it is well covered. Now heat some baking oil in a wadjang or large frying pan on a medium fire and fry the chicken until it becomes brown and it is well done. Don't put to much chicken in the oil in one time because then it will stick together while the meaning is that you keep the pieces of chicken separated so they get a crispy layer.

The sauce;
Heat the oil in a wadjang or frying pan and fry the onions. If the onions start to get brown add the shrimps and the spring onions and fry them also a little bit. Now it is time to add the water, the chili sauce and the tomato sauce and let the whole mixture heat up for a few minutes.
Before you start your diner with ayam asam manis put the sauce over the chicken and serve it with plain rice. Enjoy your diner.

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Pangsit
Pangsit is a small crispy Indonesian snack with some meat loaf inside.It is one of the easiest snacks to make.

Necessaries :

½ kg meat loaf
½ onion
2 spring onions
spring roll pastry
salt and pepper to taste
white of egg
Preparation
Cut the onions and spring onions and mix it with the meat loaf. At some salt and pepper to taste. Spring roll pastry can be bought at a local Chinese or Indonesian shop and mostly is packed with 40 thin sheets of 20 at 20 cm or so. Cut those sheets into four pieces of 10 at 10 cm (So one sheet can be used for four pangsit snacks). Now put 1 teaspoon of the mixed meat loaf in the middle of the sheet and roll up this sheet like a thick cigaret. The two empty ends of this roll you fold up and create some kind of bow of it sticking together with a little bit white of egg.
To prepare these little snacks just fry it for two minutes in 180°C baking oil. You can keep unfried pangsit in the freezer at -18°C for about one month.

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Pisang Goreng

Pisang Goreng or Fried Banana is a typical Asian snack which can be served as a snack but also as a side dish.

Necessaries :

bananas (pisang tanduk or pisang ambon)
flour
sugar
instead of flour and sugar Kobe for fruit
water
Preparation
Mix the flour with the water until it becomes a smooth porridge and then ad some sugar to taste. If you use the Kobe then the sugar is already added.
Now peel off the skin from the bananas and cut the bananas into halves. Heat some baking oil in a wajang or baking pan until 180°C. Take a piece of banana and immerse it into the flour porridge. Then fry this banana in the oil for about two minutes.

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