Useful information : When to go, Getting around...
When to go
Even though Indonesia is invariably hot and humid, the so-called dry season, from May to October is by far the most pleasant. In May-June and September-October, you will be able to avoid the crowds and high prices. Indonesia is extremely popular with European tourists in July-August, when the temperatures are at their lowest.
The rainy season runs from November to April, during which period it rains practically every day, particularly in January and February, with the highest temperatures in February-March. In terms of tourism, the archipelago is very popular with Australians at Christmas and in January.
Religious festivals, accompanied by parades, music and dancing, are a prominent feature of Indonesia’s social calendar: Waisak in April or May at Borobudur (Java), Pekelem in October or November at Rinjani (Lombok), Kasada in November on Mount Bromo (Java), without forgetting Idul Fitri, which celebrates the end of Ramadan. The country’s independence is celebrated on August 17.
Formalities and useful addresses
No visa required for visits up to 30 days. Passport must be valid for 6 months beyond date of arrival.
Indonesia Tourism Board – www.indonesia.travel
Money and budget
Rupiahs can be exchanged in banks, exchange offices (best rates), airports, tourist sites and most hotels. Don't accept damaged bills and pick small bills.
The major tourist establishments accept Visa and MasterCard (and very rarely, American Express), with a 3% fee.
Car rental for 1 week (category B): Rps 2 000 000 (£115).
Bike rental for the day: Rps 50 000/75 000 (£3.15 /4.3).
1 Yogyakarta (Java)-Bali circuit via mount Bromo (2 days): Rps 385 000 (£22).
1 large bottle of mineral water: Rps 5 000 (£0.29).
1 fresh fruit juice: Rps 15 000 (£0.8).
1 beer: Rps 30 000 (£1.75).
Health and safety
220 V current is the norm but some places are still on 110 V. Plugs generally have 2 round pins. Power cuts are common outside the big cities so bring a flashlight.
January 1 - New year (Tahun Baru)
August 17 - Independence Day (Hari Proklamasi Kemerdekaan)
December 25 Christmas (Hari Natal).
Many religious festivals change their date from year to year: Muslim New Year, Chinese New Year, Hindu New Year, birth of the Prophet, Good Friday, end of Ramadan, Feast of the Sacrifice...
There are three official types of accommodation: 1 to 5-star hotels, melatis rated from 1 to 3-stars, and losmens.
Melati – are a category that is hard to describe, but those with 3 stars often put 4 or 5-star hotels to shame.
Losmen, pondok, wisma, penginapan, wisata – All refer to inexpensive inns and guest-houses.
Becak – These three-wheeled rickshaws remain very common (except in Bali) and are often used for short distances. They are barred from the major cities (like Jakarta) and can be found on small roads in the minor cities.
Bajaj – Very common in the major Javanese cities, they are made in India and are ideal for short trips through traffic.
Dokar, andong, bendi – Horse-drawn carriage. Suntil in use in rural areas. A pictuesque way to see the sights if you're in no hurry.