Fact file: Indonesia

Did you know?
The name Indonesia is derived from "indos nesos", meaning islands near India.
Official language is Bahasa Indonesia. There are also 583 dialects, and English is spoken in main areas by those who have business with English-speakers.
None required for UK citizens for a stay of up to 60 days. You will be given a 60-day tourist pass stamp in your passport. You need a ticket out of the country to get this pass and it cannot be extended. Your passport must have at least six months validity upon arrival in Indonesia.
Getting there
The capital Jakarta is served by many airlines, as is Bali. Flights have been cut back since the terrorist bombing in October 2002.
Flying time from London
Sixteen hours
Getting around
There are several domestic airlines in Indonesia with extensive routes throughout the archipelago. Rail travel is restricted to Java and Sumatra and services vary from cheap and slow to expensive and comfortable. The once-luxurious bus service is suffering badly due to the current economic problems and standards are falling, but roads are excellent. Local transport needs are served by incredibly cheap minibuses, rickshaws (auto and bicycle) and horse-drawn carts. If you have enough time you can island-hop by ferry all the way from Sumatra to Timor.
Prices vary but as a guide: litre of petrol 10p; moderate restaurant meal with wine £4; roll of film £2-£3; bottle of beer £1; a 12-mile taxi ride from airport to city centre, about £3.
The Indonesian climate is characterised by two tropical seasons: the dry season (June-September) and the rainy season (December-March). Average temperature is 21-33C (70-91F). There is little temperature variation between the two seasons so the best time to go is between May-October when it is drier.
Time difference
Western Indonesia Standard Time is seven hours ahead of GMT and covers Sumatra, Java, and West and Central Kalimantan. Central Indonesia Standard Time is eight hours ahead of GMT and covers East and South Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Bali, West and East Nusa Tenggara and East Timor. Eastern Indonesia Standard Time is nine hours ahead of GMT, covering Maluku and Irian Jaya.
International dialling code from the UK
00 62
220V, 50Hz AC, but a few places are still wired to 110 V so check before plugging in foreign appliances, for which you will need an adapter.
Opening hours
Government offices open 7am-3pm, but mornings are best. Post offices have the same hours but big city post offices often have extended hours and open at weekends. Telkom offices are open 24hrs for phone calls. Private business opens Mon-Fri 8am-4pm or 9am-5pm with a lunch break. Banks open Mon-Fri between 8am and 3-4pm. Shops open 8am-9pm. Sunday is a public holiday.
Health - Before you go
No immunisations are required to enter Indonesia, but it is recommended that your polio and tetanus immunity is up to date, and that you get hepatitis A and typhoid vaccinations. Malaria is present in some regions - you will need to get anti-malarials if you are travelling to an infected area. The UK has no reciprocal health agreements with Indonesia, so make sure you have adequate travel insurance before going.
Health - When you are there
Travellers in Indonesia are susceptible to stomach upsets from contaminated food and water - take care. Every pharmacy ("apotik" in Indonesian) should have an English-language copy of the Index of Medical Specialities. Use it to check that you are buying the same drug that you buy at home. Rabies is a risk, with dogs and monkeys the main carriers. Wash any bites or licks thoroughly with soapy water, and seek medical attention if in any doubt. Public hospitals are open during the day with private clinics in the evening from 6pm; consultations are cheap but drugs are costly. Be aware there has been considerable damage to the underlying health care in the west and north coasts of the Aceh province on the island of Sumatra following last December's tidal waves. Those in affected areas are advised to purchase bottled water, as local water sources may be contaminated.
Even before the terrorist bombings in Bali, there was unrest in various regions of Indonesia. Before travelling, check with the Foreign Office on 020 7238 4503/4 (http://www.fco.gov.uk/travel) as to the current dangers. The situation in East Timor is tense as separatist guerrillas continue to be active. Indonesia is not a place for photographing or filming military and police installations. Nor is it a destination where you should get involved with local politics - if you do, make sure you understand the risks and the penalties. Violent crime is rare but thieves and bag-snatchers are common, particularly in crowds. Keep away from drugs as the penalties, even for 'soft' drugs, are severe. On the nature front, always check for crocodiles before swimming in rivers - ask local people for advice. Tourists should avoid travel to the west and north coasts of the province of Aceh on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia following last December's tidal waves which caused severe damage.
Police - Tel 110; fire brigade - Tel 113; ambulance - Tel 118. British Embassy, Jl Thamrin 75, Jakarta. Tel: 330904.
Indonesians are extremely tactile: people will touch you and each other all the time, but only if you are of the same gender. Expect to be stared at - it is just curiosity and won't do you any harm.
Indonesia is not on the Passports for Pets Scheme, so keep your pets at home, otherwise it's a long stay in quarantine on their return.
Not the norm in restaurants but taxi drivers, porters and guides will expect something.
Tourist office
Indonesian Embassy, 38 Grosvenor Sq. London W1K 2HW. Tel: 020 7499 7661, extension 5949.


+44 (0) 203 696 2870

Mon – Fri 8:30am – 5:30pm

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