About Indonesia

Indonesia is proud to boast that it is the world’s largest archipelago, containing more than 17,000 islands stretched across 5000 km of oceans, seas and islands, nestled along the Equator between Asia and the Australian continent, and not forgetting between the Pacific and Indian oceans.

Biogeographically speaking, the western regions of Indonesia (Sumatra, Kalimantan, Java and Bali) have the personality and characteristics of Asia, while the eastern part, Maluku and Papua, have the personality of Australia. In the central areas Sulawesi and Nusa Tenggara have unique characteristics which will leave you wanting more.

The diversity of ecosystems show an immense diversity of flora and fauna. Ecotourism and nature tourism are now recognised as being the way to enrich and enhance the standing of tourism and life, on the basis that these forms of tourism respect the natural heritage and local populations.

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What questions do you have?

Where is my local Embassy in Indonesia?

Please follow this link. Embassies Information

How do you get to Indonesia?

You can travel by sea, land and air.

*** By Road ***

Indonesia’s international land borders are between Kalimantan and the Malaysian state of Sarawak on the island of Borneo, West and East Timor and Papua and Papua New Guinea. There are no road links with Sabah. It is always worth checking if the borders are still open and whether a visa is required in advance to enter Indonesia by road, as the situation fluctuates.

Getting Around Indonesia on the Road :

Traffic drives on the left. Nearly half of the road network is paved. There are good road communications within Java and, to a lesser extent, on Bali and Sumatra. The other islands have poor road systems. Chauffeur-driven cars are widely available and highly recommended as the standard of driving is at times a little chaotic.

Bus: Indonesia is the land of jam karet (literally ‘rubber time’), and complicated journeys involving more than a single change should not be attempted in a day. Bus fares are relatively low; most are fixed, with a higher price for the air-conditioned buses which have more room than on the cramped regular buses. There are night buses on a number of long-distance routes; pre-booking is essential. Visitors should note that buses can be extremely crowded, and that drivers are reckless. Lorena Transport operate an extensive network of routes on Java and Sumatra.

Taxi: Widely available in cities and towns. Ojek (motorcycle taxis) are available in cities and towns and they congregate at road junctions. The driver should provide a helmet and you must agree on the fare before starting the journey.

Car hire: Available from a number of international and local companies.

Regulations: Speed limits are usually 30-40kph (19-25mph) on inner city streets, 60-70kph (37-43mph)on inter-city roads and 80-100 kph (50-62mph) on highways depending on the territory.

Documentation: An International Driving Permit is required.

Alternative transport: Rickshaws include the motorized bajaj, which seats two passengers, with the driver in front; and the becak, which is pedal-powered by a rider sitting behind two passengers. However, the latter have been banned from Jakarta city. Fares should be negotiated in advance as you don’t want any surprises come the end of your journey. Motorcycles and bicycles can be hired; for motorcycles, an International Driving Permit is recommended and a helmet should be worn. Bemos and opelets are communal minibuses; fares should be negotiated in advance.

Getting Around Towns and Cities :

Jakarta is the only city with an established conventional bus service of any size, and it has a comprehensive network. The Transjakarta has it’s own lanes and can be the most efficient way to get around. The price of a ticket is relatively low although overcrowding is commonplace on these buses. Elsewhere bemos (minibuses) are the main way to travel around within the suburbs.

*** By Rail ***

Getting Around by Rail :

The train operator throughout Indonesia is PT Kereta Api. There are three classes of travel, Eksekutif (Executive), Bisnis (Business) and Ekonomi (Economy), but first-class exists only on certain expresses.

There is some air-conditioned accommodation. Children under three travel free in economy and business without taking a seat, and pay 10% of adult fare in executive class; children aged three to ten pay half fare in economy and business and full rate in executive.Taking the train is a wonderful option if you have time it will you give you the opportunity to soak in the landscape.

In Sumatra, trains connect Belawan, Medan and Tanjung Balai/Rantau Prapat where you will find two or three that run a daily service in the north, and Palembang and Padang in the south, but are quite unreliable. An extensive rail network runs throughout Java. The modern, air-conditioned Argo Bromo Anggrek service, which is Eksekutif class only, with refreshments included, links Jakarta and Surabaya; it departs daily and nightly. There are also other express services. Between Jakarta and Bandung there is a train every one to two hours, Executive class (journey time – about 3 hours) and then twice-daily trains onto the historical seaport city of Surabaya.

*** By Sea – Ferries ***

From Singapore

The ferry ride to Batam is about 45 minutes, a one-way ticket is about USD $25. There are several ferry operators, we have used and would recommend Penguin Ferry Services as they seem to be quite reliability. Board ferries to Batam from World Trade Centre Ferry Terminal in Singapore.

From Batam, there are two main options

Belawan (port in Medan, Sumatra)
Tanjung Priok (port in Jakarta, Java)

From Malaysia

High-speed ferries run between Sumatra and Malaysia. The most popular route is Belawan (Medan) – Penang (journey time – 4 hours), operated by Langkawi Ferry. There are also services between Dumai – Maluku and Manado (Sulawesi).

*** By Air – Airlines ***

General Information

Airport Tax, Expect to pay Rp150,000 from Jakarta and Denpasar; Rp75,000 from other airports; transit passengers continuing their journey on the same day, and infants under the age of 2 are exempt.

Main Airports

Java: Jakarta (CGK) (Soekarno-Hatta) is 20km (13 miles) northwest of Jakarta city center (journey time – 45 minutes). To/from the airport: A bus goes to the city every 30 to 60 minutes. Buses leave Jakarta from Gambir railway station and from Rawamangun, Blok M and Pasar Minggu bus stations. Taxis are by far the quickest option. Try to take a reputable BlueBird or Express you can find these taxis everywhere. Facilities: Banks/bureaux de change, a post office, internet, duty-free shops, gift shops, restaurants, snack bars, car hire, left luggage and medical facilities can all be found at Jakarta International airport. Bali: Denpasar (DPS) (Ngurah Rai) is 13km (8 miles) southwest of Denpasar city center, is the main airport on Bali (journey time – 30 minutes). To/from the airport: A bus goes to the city center. Taxis are available to the city and to Kuta, Ubud, Nusa dua and Sanur. Facilities: Restaurants/bars, newsagents, bank/bureau de change, left luggage, post office, internet and car hire.

Which city is closest to the Equator?

Pontianak, in West Kalimantan.

What is Indonesia’s life expectancy?

69 years and 9 months old.

Where is Surabaya?

Surabaya is a Seaport city (pop., 1995 est.: 2,701,000), northeastern coast of Java, Indonesia.

What is the purpose of gamelan music in the Indonesian society?

To keep all the bad spirits away.

Where is Sumatra?

Sumatra is an island in Indonesia with coordinates 0°00′N, 102°00′E, right on the equator.

Indonesia lies between which two continents?

Indonesia is a nation in Southeast Asia, it is south of mainland Asia and north of Australia.

How many islands make up Indonesia?

There are approx. 17,508 islands. Indonesia is an archipelago nation, made up of approximately 18,000 islands.

What is the national currency of Indonesia?

The national currency of Indonesia is Rupiah (Rp) (IDR) e.g. One Thousand Rupiah or Rp 1000.-

What is the interesting point of Indonesia?

Indonesia is a very beautiful country. Indonesia has many Islands. The most interesting point is the tourism sites.

Who was the first elected President of Indonesia?

The first elected President of Indonesia was Ir. Soekarno with his Vice President Drs. Mohammad Hatta.

What are the colors of Indonesia’s flag?

Two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and white.

Why is August 17th 1945 an important date in Indonesian History?

August 17th is when Indonesia proclaim it’s independence from all foreign occupation.

What is the capital city of Indonesia?

Indonesia’s capital city is Jakarta.

What are the natural resources in Indonesia?

Natural resources: petroleum, tin, natural gas, nickel, timber, bauxite, copper, fertile soils, coal, gold, silver, and etc.
What topics of discussion are acceptable?

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Welcome Topics of Conversation

General Guidelines

You may be asked extremely personal questions regarding your salary, education, family life or, conversely, why you are unmarried and childless. If you don’t want to answer, remain polite but try to gracefully side step the question. In most cases, people ask these questions to determine your status–which means everything in Indonesian business culture.

To successfully hold a conversation, it’s essential for Indonesians to know if they are speaking with a person who is their superior, inferior or equal. Generally, they will feel uncomfortable until they learn your status–hence the tendency to ask very personal questions.

It is considered polite among Indonesian Chinese to offer both the positive and negative possibilities in practically every question that requires a decision. For example, rather than asking, “Would you like to go to the convention?” they are likely to ask “Do you want to go to the convention or not?”

Exercise caution when asking Indonesian Chinese a question. For example, English speakers would give a negative answer to the question “Isn’t the document available?” by responding “no.” The intended meaning is “No, the document is not available.” The Chinese interpretation is opposite. The answer would be “yes,” meaning “Yes, the document is not available.”

Typically, very little is said during meals. Indonesians generally prefer to concentrate on their food, and a silent meal should not be a cause for concern.

You may find that the subject of birth control will be openly discussed, largely because the Indonesian government has initiated a high-profile campaign to promote family planning. Nevertheless, bringing up other topics related to sex and the roles of the sexes in conversation is discouraged.

Best Time to Visit Indonesia

Welcome to Indonesia and its tropical climate. The Dry Season is traditionally June to September, and the Rainy Season makes its dramatic appearance from December to March. Yet in saying that you can find showers all year round ass the humidity builds to bursting points.

Dry Season

Dry Season

Rainy Season

Rainy Season


Average Temperature (degrees C)

Average Temperature

Average Temperature


Average Rainfall (mm)

Average Rainfall (mm)

Average Rainfall


Average Humidity (%)

Average Humidity

Average Humidity


Quick Summary

Welcome Topics of Conversation

  • The weather
  • Family
  • Travel/tourism
  • Sports
  • Food/praising the local cuisine
  • Anecdotes about your attempts to learn Bahasa Indonesia

Topics to Stay away from in Casual Conversation

  • Indonesian politics
  • Bureaucracy
  • Corruption
  • Military influence
  • Criticism of Indonesian ways
  • Commenting on Indonesian customs that you find peculiar
  • Religion
  • Personal success
  • Sex/roles of the sexes

What is life like in Indonesia?

Life in Indonesia is different from that in most western countries. This is life of an average native of Indonesia outside of the cities.


Houses are made up of thatched nipah palms which serve as roofing, bamboo poles, which serve as flooring, and lumber with serve as the walls. In Borneo, the people live in longhouses – and share it with their own clan.


Indonesians eat three meals a day, which usually consists of rice (nasi), with a wide range of vegetables and meat as side dishes. In other parts of the country, especially in Ambon and Papua, they eat sago (tapioca) and sweet potato as staple food. Satay, a sweet-spicy combination of sauces and soup, originated from Java in Indonesia.


The games Indonesians play are largely tradition in origin. In Bali, cockfighting is very popular. In Madura, it is the bull races, and in Nias, stone jumping. But the national sport is Sepak Takraw, which aims to keep a “rattan” ball in the air through a player’s feet.


In the arts, Indonesians perfected the artof shadow puppet theater, called wayang kulit. In music, kroncong is the main indigenous musical genre which uses guitars and ukuleles. Traditional music, art, and sports are all combined into Pencak Silat, a form of martial arts.


Family life in Indonesia is centered on the father, with the exception of Minangkabau, where inheritance laws and the rule of the family rests on the mother.


The vast majority of all Indonesians are of the Malay ethnic group (Similar to Asians). Those living in the eastern far-flung areas are of the Melanesian ethnic group (Similar to Pacific Islanders). There are pockets of Chinese people living in Java, Papuan people living in Papua/Irian Jaya, and people of mixed Dutch ancestry in northern Sulawesi.


88% of all Indonesians are adherents of Islam, and 9% are adherents of Christianity. The rest practice either Animism, Buddhism, or Confucianism.

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