Travel Destinations / Indonesia
Indonesia consists of more than 17,000 islands with make it the world’s largest archipelago. The country also boasts rich cultural diversity, beautiful beaches, unrivalled natural landscapes, idyllic year-round island climate and of course, excellent value for money.
Bali is arguably the most popular Indonesian destination and with thousands of travelers visiting the tiny island annually, it is a premier island holiday destination. Bali boasts lovely sandy beaches, beautiful green landscapes and a tropical climate. Alternatively, for those looking to avoid crowds, without sacrificing the spectacular Indonesian beaches, Lombok is the perfect alternative.
Sumatra is also worth visiting as it offers beautiful views of Lake Toba, the Orangutan nature reserve of Bukhit Lawang, the world’s largest volcanic lake and of course Pulau Nias, the internationally renowned surfing spot.
The capital city of Indonesia is Jakarta, which is located on the island Java. Jakarta has a bustling and very energetic city center, perfect for a day or two of exploring and experiencing the local culture. The jungles of Kalimantan, in the north of Java, are one of the least unexplored areas in the world, it always l. Tourists are very enthusiastic when they come back from their encounters with local people and the amazing flora and fauna.
Indonesia has a wide range of traditions and local customs; therefore it is difficult to define a prevailing culture that is common to everyone in the country. There are more than 245 million people living in Indonesia and there are over 300 diverse cultures and even more languages.
One of the first things you will find out is that Indonesian people are very polite and friendly. Harmony is one of the cornerstone of Indonesian society and people will do their very best to avoid any problems or conflicts.
Indonesia offers a wide variety of choices for shopping, because of the country’s tradition of arts and crafts. If you go shopping in the local markets, workshops or small outlets, you can find some amazing bargains. The best woven and printed fabrics are on the small islands of Nusa Tenggara or Bali, but they can also be found elsewhere, it might just take a little more effort.
Original and affordable souvenirs are the colorful carved masks in Bali. Other popular souvenirs from Bali and Java are the decorative puppets from wood or leather. Indonesia is also a great place to buy silver jewellery.
Because there are many Western clothing factories in Indonesia, there are also many factory outlets and shops in Java and Bali, which offer a great variety of clothes and shoes at affordable prices.
VAT of 10% is charged on most goods and a special sales tax of up to 35% is levied on many luxury items. Most shops are usually open all week, even on Sundays.
Currency: Indonesian Rupiah (IRD). IDR1 = 100 sen
Notes: IDR50000, 20000, 10000, 5000, 1000, 500 and 100
Coins: IDR1000, 500, 100, 50 and 25
Credit cards: For most of the areas in Indonesia you need cash for all transactions, but larger companies in Jakarta and Bali will accept major credit cards.
Indonesia has a tropical climate with two major monsoon seasons. The first is from June to September, and this monsoon brings dry weather. The second is from December to March and brings the rain, making April to November the best time to visit these enchanting islands.
Best time to visit
The Indonesian climate is reasonably consistent throughout the year, and because of its location in relation to the equator, the region only has two seasons, the dry and the wet. Most of Indonesia experiences the wet season from October to April, and the dry between May and September.
The wet season doesn’t make travelling impossible, but travelers are generally advised to visit Indonesia during the dry season. It’s important to note that the main local holiday time is at the end of Ramadan, Christmas and mid-June to mid-July. These periods also see increased prices across most of the Indonesian islands, so planning a trip around avoiding these specific times will not only help you avoid crowds, but will save you some money as well.