Summary: Colonized by the Dutch in the 17th century and briefly occupied by Japan during the second World War before UN mediation helped to bring independence, Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelagic country made of 17,508 islands, of which around 6,000 are inhabited. Indonesia straddles the equator between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and the majority of the islands are low rising although the larger islands rise higher and are mountainous. Indonesia is working to address the need for internal reform to strengthen the financial sector, legitimize the judicial system and provide support against corruption to help bring confidence and global economic growth.
Time Zone: UTC + 7
Languages: Bahasa Indonesia, English, Dutch, Javanese, local dialects
Power: 230 V, 50 Hz with 127 V in outlying areas
Currency: Indonesian Rupiah
- Currently 1 IDR = 0.0001 USD $
Climate: Indonesia is mostly tropical, hot and humid while more moderate in the highlands.
- Currently 88º, var t
Indonesia stock exchange says may raise trading upside limit - Reuters via Yahoo! Malaysia News - 2 hours, 46 minutes ago
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Indonesia raises alert of volcano as it spews lava - Reuters via Yahoo! News - Jun 07 7:35 AM
| Jakarta: Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, sits on the island of Java and is considered the center of the archipelago by its people. Although the streets are crowded, the shopping will be good, with crafts brought in from some of the more outlying islands, and the National Museum gives a lot of insight into Indonesia’s culture and background.|
| Bali: Bali is still a tropical paradise with lush forests backing against warm beaches with many resorts. Nearby are hills are jungle and volcano hikes, most notably Mount Batur, reachable by both organized tours and rented car, and through to Ubud, the most popular village in the center of the island that is known for its traditional dances and Pengosekan, a short walk to the south known for its local artists and craftspeople willing to show their trades. The island of Lombok just to the east of Bali offers much of the same with Mount Rinjani near its middle, and excellent beaches of its own, plus fewer tourists.|
| Java: The island of Java is probably known best for its beaches and resorts on the north and south coasts of the island, however, in addition to treks to the volcanic crater Mount Bromo and the cultural center of Yogyakarta, there are some architectural gold mines nearby. Two of the most notable sites are Prambanan, a large temple complex built in the east-central part of the island in the middle of the 9th century to honor the Hindu gods Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma, and Borobudur, a massive and mysterious monument to Buddha in the southeastern part of the island which dates to the 8th century.|
| Sumatra: Sumatra is a tourist gold mine, as it has not been heavily developed and offers secrets any visitor would love. Treks along rivers through rainforests past nearby orangutan reserves for the eco-tourist, world-class surfing, scuba diving and snorkeling for the water-loving, and tribes of natives having some of the most unique and unspoiled cultures for the anthropologist in you.|
Friendly: Locals enjoy the company of tourists, so don't be surprised if you get a friendly greeting and questions. Although most speak English, learning a few phrases of Bahasa Indonesia may help as much as a friendly wave back.
Security: Non-violent crime does make the occasional appearance, so be aware of your surroundings. Avoid the border with East Timor and the Irian Jaya region where possible.
Local Customs: Some of the customs to keep in mind: use your right hand when interacting with locals, as the left is considered unclean, and note that business hours may be inconsistent during Ramadan. Bargain with locals except when a price is marked, avoid taking pictures of the military, show respect by removing your shoes before entering mosques or house, and women should dress more conservatively outside resorts. Locals are very welcoming and forgiving.
When To Visit: The dry season runs from May to October making for the easiest travel through the back country, and the most popular seasons for travel are during the Christmas season for Australians, summer for Europeans, and Ramadan for local Indonesians.
Food: With an Asian influence, the Indonesian meals are based on rice with and spicy or peanut based sauces common with meats and vegetables, including nasi goreng, fried rice, sate or gado-gado, skewered meat or bean sprouts and vegetables both cooked in a peanut sauce, seafood, and fresh fruits like mango, guava and star fruit are all popular.
Phrases: Yes = ya, no = no, please = sampai jumpa, thank you = silahkan, hello/good bye = terima kasih.
Tipping: Tipping is becoming more common in the tourist areas, so follow standard tipping rules for another 10% on your bill for good service.
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