Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world comprising more than 17000 large and small tropical islands fringed with white sandy beaches, many still uninhabited and a number of them still unnamed. Straddling the equator, situated between the continents of Asia and Australia and between the Pacific and the Indian Oceans, it has a population of more than 215 million people from more than 200 ethnic groups. The national language is Bahasa Indonesia. Among the most well known islands are Sumatra, Java, Bali, Kalimantan (formerly Borneo), Sulawesi (formerly Celebes), the Maluku Islands (or better known as Moluccas, the original Spice Islands) and Papua.

Then, there is Bali “the world’s best island resort” with its enchanting culture, beaches, dynamic dances and music. But Indonesia still has many unexplored islands with grand mountain views, green rainforests to trek through, rolling waves to surf and deep blue seas to dive in where one can swim with dugongs, dolphins and large manta rays.

Every visitor here feels welcomed with that warm, gracious innate friendliness of the Indonesian people that is not easily forgotten.

Indonesia has a tropical climate which varies from area to area. The eastern monsoon brings the driest weather (June to September), while the western monsoon brings the main rains (December to March). Rainstorms can occur all year. Indonesia experiences very warm, sometimes humid weather throughout the year, especially along the coastal areas. Higher regions are cooler.


Blessed with a tropical climate and around 17,000 islands, Indonesia is a nation with the second largest biodiversity in the world. The flora of Indonesia reflects an intermingling of Asian, Australian and the native species. This is due to the geography of Indonesia, located between two continents. The archipelago consists of a variety of regions from the tropical rain forests of the northern lowlands and the seasonal forests of the southern lowlands through the hill and mountain vegetation, to subalpine shrub vegetation. Having the second longest shoreline in the world, Indonesia also has many regions of swamps and coastal vegetation. Combined together, these all give rise to a huge vegetation biodiversity. There are about 28,000 species of flowering plants in Indonesia, consisting 2500 different kinds of orchids, 6000 traditional medicinal plants used as Jamu, 122 species of bamboo, over 350 species of rattan and 400 species of Dipterocarpus, including ebony, sandalwood and teakwood. Indonesia is also home to some unusual species such as carnivorous plants. One exceptional species is known as Rafflesia arnoldi, named after Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles and Dr. Arnold, who discovered the flower in the depths of Bengkulu, southwest Sumatra. This parasitic plant has a large flower, does not produce leaves and grow on a certain liana on the rain forest floor. Another unusual plant is Amorphophallus titanum from Sumatra. Numerous species of insect trapping pitcher plants (Nepenthes spp.) can also be found in Borneo, Sumatra, and other islands of the Indonesian archipelago.


The fauna of Indonesia is characterized by high levels of biodiversity and endemicity due to its distribution over a vast tropical archipelago. Indonesia divides into two ecological regions; western Indonesia which is more influenced by Asian fauna, and the east which is more influenced by Australasian species. The Wallace Line, around which lies the Wallacea transitional region, notionally divides the two regions. There is diverse range of ecosystems, including beaches, sand dunes, estuaries, mangroves, coral reefs, sea grass beds, coastal mudflats, tidal flats, algal beds, and small island ecosystems. Environmental issues due to Indonesia's rapid industrialization process and high population growth have seen lower priority given to preserving ecosystems.

Issues include illegal logging, with resulting deforestation, and a high level of urbanization, air pollution, garbage management and waste water services also contributing to the forest deterioration.

Pre-historical era

Fossils and the remains of tools show that the Indonesian archipelago was inhabited by Homo erectus, popularly known as "Java Man", between 1.5 million years ago and as recently as 35,000 years ago. Homo sapiens reached the region by around 45,000 years ago. In 2011 evidence was uncovered in neighboring East Timor showing that 42,000 years ago these early settlers were catching and consuming large numbers of big deep sea fish such as tuna, and that they had the technology needed to make ocean crossings to reach Australia and other islands.

Austronesia people, who form the majority of the modern population, migrated to South East Asia from Taiwan. They arrived in Indonesia around 2000 BCE, and as they spread through the archipelago, pushed the indigenous Melanesian peoples to the far eastern regions. Ideal agricultural conditions, and the mastering of wet-field rice cultivation as early as the 8th century BCE, allowed villages, towns, and small kingdoms to flourish by the 1st century CE. Indonesia's strategic sea-lane position fostered inter-island and international trade, including links with Indian kingdoms and China, which were established several centuries BCE. Trade has since fundamentally shaped Indonesian history.

Hinduism and Buddhism kingdoms era

Expansion of Srivijayan Empire started in Palembang in 7th century, expanding throughout Sumatra, Malay Peninsula, Java, Cambodia, and receded as Dharmasraya in the 13th century.

Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhism arrived in Indonesia in the 4th and 5th century, as trade with India intensified under the southern Indian Pallava dynasty. This is evidenced in the Kutai, Tarumanagara, and Kantoli kingdoms of the period. From the 7th century, the powerful Srivijaya naval kingdom flourished as a result of trade and the influences of Hinduism and Buddhism that were imported with it. Between the 8th and 10th centuries, the agricultural Buddhist Sailendra and Hindu Mataram dynasties thrived and declined in inland Java, leaving grand religious monuments such as Sailendra's Borobudur and Mataram's Prambanan. The Hindu Majapahit kingdom was founded in eastern Java in the late 13th century, and under Gajah Mada, its influence stretched over much of Indonesia.

Islamic era and European colonization

Although Muslim traders first travelled through Southeast Asia early in the Islamic era, the earliest evidence of Islamized populations in Indonesia dates to the 13th century in northern Sumatra. Other Indonesian areas gradually adopted Islam, and it was the dominant religion in Java and Sumatra by the end of the 16th century. For the most part, Islam overlaid and mixed with existing cultural and religious influences, which shaped the predominant form of Islam in Indonesia, particularly in Java. The first regular contact between Europeans and the people of Indonesia began in 1512, when Portuguese traders, led by Francisco Serrão, sought to monopolize the sources of nutmeg, cloves, and cubeb pepper in Maluku. Dutch and British traders followed. In 1602 the Dutch established the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and became the dominant European power. Following bankruptcy, the VOC was formally dissolved in 1800, and the government of the Netherlands established the Dutch East Indies as a nationalized colony.

World War II and post-independence

For most of the colonial period, Dutch control over the archipelago was tenuous outside of coastal strongholds; only in the early 20th century did Dutch dominance extend to what was to become Indonesia's present boundaries. Japanese occupation during the Second World War ended Dutch rule and encouraged the previously suppressed Indonesian independence movement. A later UN report stated that four million people died in Indonesia as a result of the Japanese occupation. Two days after the surrender of Japan in August 1945, Sukarno, an influential nationalist leader, declared independence and was appointed President. The Netherlands tried to re-establish their rule, and the resulting conflict ended in December 1949, when in the face of international pressure, the Dutch formally recognized Indonesian independence with the exception of the Dutch territory of West New Guinea, which was incorporated into Indonesia following the 1962 New York Agreement, and the UN-mandated Act of Free Choice of 1969 which was questionable and has resulted in a longtime independence movement.

New Order and Reformation era

Sukarno moved Indonesia from democracy towards authoritarianism, and maintained his power base by balancing the opposing forces of the military and the Partai Komunis Indonesia (Communist Party of Indonesia). An attempted coup on 30 September 1965 was countered by the army, who led a violent anti-communist purge, during which the PKI was blamed for the coup and effectively destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of people are estimated to have been killed. The head of the military, General Suharto, outmaneuvered the politically weakened Sukarno and was formally appointed president in March 1968. His New Order administration was supported by the US government, and encouraged foreign direct investment in Indonesia, which was a major factor in the subsequent three decades of substantial economic growth. However, the authoritarian "New Order" was widely accused of corruption and suppression of political opposition.

Indonesia was the country hardest hit by the late 1990s Asian financial crisis. This led to popular protest against the New Order which led to Suharto's resignation in May 1998. In 1999, East Timor voted to secede from Indonesia, after a twenty-five-year military occupation that was marked by international condemnation of repression of the East Timorese. Since Suharto's resignation, a strengthening of democratic processes has included a regional autonomy program, and the first direct presidential election in 2004. Political and economic instability, social unrest, corruption, and terrorism slowed progress; however, in the last five years the economy has performed strongly. Although relations among different religious and ethnic groups are largely harmonious, sectarian discontent and violence have persisted. A political settlement to an armed separatist conflict in Aceh was achieved in 2005. Joko Widodo was elected as President in 2014 Indonesian presidential election.

  • Capital
  • Currency
    Indonesian Rupiah (IDR)
  • Area
    1,904,569 km2 (15th) 735,358 sq mi
  • Islands
    More than 17500
  • Population
    255,461,700 (2015)
  • Density
    124.66/km2 (84th) 322.87/sq mi
  • Ethnic groups
    Sumatran, Javanese, Balinese, Baliaga, Madurese
  • Religion
    Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism
  • Languages
    Bahasa Indonesia
  • International Airport
    Jakarta - Soekarno Hatta International Airport Bali - Ngurah Rai International Airport Medan - Kualanamu International Airport Surabaya - Juanda International Airport Batam - Hang Nadim International Airport
  • Time Zone
    Various (UTC+7 - +9) Jakarta +7, Bali - +8 etc.
  • Dailing code
  • Places to Visit
    Jakarta, Bali, Lombok, Bandung, Yogyakarta, Puncak, Komodo Islands, Medan, Surabaya & much more
  • Electricity:
    220 Volts (Universal adaptor comes in handy)
20 Interesting Indonesian Facts
  • Indonesia is huge. Composed of 17,508 islands covering approximately 1,919,440 square kilometers, it takes over 12 hours of flying time to get from one end of the country (say, Northern Sumatra) to the other end (West Papua Guinea). Thanks to its geographical span, the country covers three time zones.
  • Of its 17,508 islands, only around 6,000 are inhabited by people.
  • “Indonesia” was first used by the British in the mid-19th century. The word comes from the Greek word nesos, which means ‘island’, and the Latin name Indus which means land beyond the Indus river.
  • Dutch colonists preferred to call Indonesia the Dutch East Indies or the Malayan Archipelago and so the name was adopted by the anti-colonial movement in the early 20th century.
  • Indonesia is home to staggeringly different flora and fauna, making it the country with the second highest level of biodiversity in the world (Brazil is #1).
    • Some of the flora and fauna are truly rare, such as the Sumatran tiger, the Javan rhinoceros, and the Rafflesia – the world’s largest flower.
    • Some animals – like the Komodo dragon – are endemic only to Indonesia. In fact, Indonesia is the only place in the world to see a Komodo dragon in the wild. And Sumatra is the only place outside of Borneo to see orangutans in the wild.
  • Indonesia is very rich in natural resources – its oil reserves alone make it the only South East Asian member of Nato and it is the world’s largest producer of palm oil. But despite being one of the G20 group of leading economies, roughly half of Indonesia’s population lives on less than $2 USD a day.
  • Indonesia is extremely culturally diverse. In fact, there are over 300 ethnic groups in Indonesia, each with their own customs, traditions, and dialects.
  • 8. Although Bahasa Indonesia is the national language of Indonesia, there are over 700 indigenous languages. Most Indonesians speak their indigenous language as their mother tongue and Bahasa Indonesia for school and careers, making most Indonesians bilingual.
    • Bahasa Indonesia is strikingly similar to Bahasa Malay, which is no surprise since Bahasa Indonesia is a variant of Malay developed in the 1920s by nationalists and adopted as the official language of Indonesia after independence.
  • Indonesia is strict when it comes to…religion. The government only recognizes six religions – Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Protestantism, Catholicism, and Confucianism – and every citizen must officially subscribe to one of those religions, regardless of what he or she may actually believe. Two individuals with different religions are not allowed to marry, unless one of them converts.
  • Did you know that Indonesia is home to 12.7% of the world’s Muslim population? That also makes Indonesia the world’s largest Muslim country, with over 87% of the country’s population identifying themselves as Muslim.
  • Indonesia has a massive population of over 238 million people, making it the fourth most populous country in the world – right after China, India and the USA. The island of Java, with over 140 million people, is the most populous island in the world.
  • Indonesia exports 3,000 tons of frogs’ legs to France each year. Bet you didn’t know that.
  • Yet another strange Indonesian export involves the Asian palm civet and coffee berries.
    • To be more specific, these small, cat-sized mammals are fed coffee berries. After they defecate, their feces is collected, washed, and used to make Kopi Luwak. If that sounds gross to you, you should try it – the action of the civet’s stomach enzymes gives the coffee an unrivaled richness of flavor without any of the usual bitterness. As a result, Kopi Luwak is the world’s most expensive beverage, costing around $1,000 per pound.
  • The equator cuts straight across Sumatra, Sulawesi, Kalimantan as well as a few other small islands that make up the middle part of Indonesia. If you have the chance to visit, do! – It’s fun, albeit overdone, photo-taking op.
  • Indonesia is one of the most geographically and geologically interesting countries in the world. The islands of Indonesia are stretched out between the Australian and Pacific tectonic plate, making Indonesia one of the most changing geological areas in the world. Every day, the country experiences three vibrations and at least one earthquake.
    • Indonesia has a fiery side, too. The country is situated on the Pacific Ring of Fire and is home to around 150 volcanoes. They’re mostly not a threat – and make great tourist attractions – but the country does experience around one volcanic eruption per year. Occasionally, the eruption is a big deal – case in point, the Mount Tambora eruption of 1815 on the island of Sumbawa was and still is the largest observed volcanic eruption in recorded history.
    • Speaking of volcanoes, Indonesia is home to the world’s largest volcanic lake. Lake Toba is situated in Sumatra is the site of a massive super-volcanic eruption that is estimated to have occurred around 69,000 to 77,000 years ago. It marks the largest known explosive eruption on Earth in the last 25 million years.
    • To make things even more interesting, a new island has formed in the center of Lake Toba, called Pulau Samosir. It now serves as the cultural center of the Batak tribe – former headhunters who are now mostly Christian.
  • Speaking of headhunters, the Indonesian side of Timor is known to be home to the last-remaining headhunting villages.
  • Indonesia is a country rich with myriad cultural influences from outsiders. This is apparent in the language, which has absorbed many loanwords from Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian, Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese and various other Austronesia languages.
    • The borrowing goes both ways in some cases – some English words you take for granted have their origins in Malay-Indonesian roots. One great example is the phrase ‘run amok.’
    • Amok originated from the Indonesian word mengamuk which roughly translates to “to make a furious and desperate charge,” but comes from deeper spiritual beliefs. Amok was believed to be caused by hantu belian, an evil tiger spirit that entered one’s body and caused one to do heinous acts. As a result of this belief, those in Indonesian culture tolerated and dealt with the consequences of the act with no ill will towards the doer of the act.
  • Indonesia was a regional superpower before it was colonized by the Dutch. The Sri Vijaya and Majapahit Empires spanned the entire Indonesian archipelago, even including the present-day Malaysia and even the southern islands of the Philippines.
  • Speaking of colonialism, Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, was known as Batavia during the Dutch colonial period.
    • Jakarta is now known as a major global city, but it still has no high-speed railway system. Its population of over 10 million people relies on private cars and bus ways to traffic around the city – resulting in some of the worst traffic jams known to man
  • While the majority of Indonesia’s population is Muslim, the small Indonesian Hindu population mostly lives on the island of beautiful Bali. On the beautiful island, you’ll be able to catch a performance of the Wayang Kulit, or shadow puppets, as well as beautiful dance performances and Hindu-influenced sculpture.

With over 13,000 islands, Indonesia has something unique to offer for all sorts of visitors. From the cool white sands and raucous volcanoes of Bali, to the vibrant capital city of Jakarta, to the untouched lands of Sumatra, you can always find something different here. Indonesia is home to a vast array of indigenous animals too (including the Komodo dragon). With extremely inexpensive local food and reasonably-priced accommodation, it’s no wonder Indonesia is a popular destination with so many travelers.

Dress Code

In business circles, wearing a suit is the norm for both men and women. For formal occasions, either a suit or a long-sleeved, good quality, batik shirt are recommended for men, whilst evening or cocktail dresses are suitable for women. As Indonesia is primarily a Muslim country, modesty in dress is advised; remember to cover up if you intend visiting a mosque.

Local Customs

Indonesia has a high Muslim populace and it is important to understand and respect the local beliefs. Scanty clothing is not advisable in public places in accordance with the local customs. Shorts are not allowed in mosques and women should have their arms and head covered.


Most government offices are open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Commercial offices and businesses are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. for Saturdays. Hours for businesses and commercial offices are staggered.

Important Dos and Don'ts
  • Calling people by crooking your finger is considered impolite.
  • Patting someone on the head is not done among adults and should even be avoided with children.
  • Climbing over monuments or places of worship is considered highly disrespectful. (In Bali, waist sashes should be worn when visiting temples.
  • Take off your shoes when entering a mosque or temple
  • Take off your sunglasses inside someone's house, unless you have an eye disease.
  • Use your right hand when receiving something from or giving something to someone. Talking with one's hands on one's hips is considered impolite
Money matters

The rupiah is the basic unit of money. Foreign currency, in bank notes and traveler’s checks is best exchanged at major banks or authorized money changers. Change money only at reputable looking locations, at authorized money changers or at banks only. Use your own calculators mostly, as the ones used in some places can be “a little inaccurate” deliberately. Most important; always count your money before you leave the place. When changing large amounts of money, please check each note carefully as there are a number of (noticeably) fake bills in circulation. Traveler’s cheques are accepted at all major hotels and large shops; some smaller shops will also accept them. Passport number is required. Do not forget to take passport (or a photocopy of your ID), while exchanging money. Those bringing foreign currency to Indonesia should note that many banks and moneychangers refuse to accept foreign bank notes that are soiled, torn or generally poor condition.


There have been a few cases of handbags being snatched after one has cashed money at banks or money changers. Put your money away in your “bum-bag” or hold onto your handbag tightly. If you rent a car (must be with insurance), beware of motorbikes, as there are too many on the road. When you park the car, always remember to remove all your properties. Crime is on the increase and can spoil your holiday. Be careful with your belongings at all times. Cases of handbag snatching have been reported, so leave important documents in your hotel safe (carry photocopies). Do not forget to look and listen while you cross the road. Cars may stops, motorbikes may not!

Credit cards and charge cards

Many hotels, shops large and small accept plastic money, with the provision that an additional 3% is added onto your bill (Depending on shop policy). However, when traveling to the country side, take rupiah with you. Keep small change handy when riding in public transports or buying drinks at warung.


Make sure you either have personal insurance or travel insurance that will cover in any accidents.


Do not drug! It can carry the death penalty, and there are enough foreigners residing in Indonesia courtesy of the Government prison service.


Do not swim outside designated swimming areas on the beach, current/undertows can be very strong. Swim between the red and yellow flags. Don’t swim too far out. Do not leave your belongings unattended on the beach.


International health certificates of vaccination against smallpox, cholera, and yellow fever are required only from travelers comprising from infected areas. Typhoid and paratyphoid vaccinations are optional but still advisable. Drink only distilled or mineral water, or water that has been boiled and eat a lot of fresh fruit – do your body a favor. Don’t worry too much about ice, it’s a government quality controlled in established bars and restaurants. Most people traveling through Bali get the infamous 'Bali Belly' at some time or other. Taking and Imodium will stop you up. At the first time of discomfort (diarrhea and cramping), drink strong, hot tea and avoid all fruits and spicy foods. Taking charcoal tablets will help alleviate the cramping.


Indonesian telecommunications are of a high standards and generally available. Hotels offer international direct dialing, facsimile and, often, Internet connections.


Major hotels and some restaurants include a 10% service charge in your bill. When this is the case, no additional gratuity is required or expected.


Tap water is generally NOT potable in Indonesia. Bottled drinks including a wide range of bottled mineral waters are readily available.

What to bring?

So, you’re traveling to Indonesia? Lucky you! There is so much to see and do here! You’re probably a little overwhelmed about where to even begin. Here are some hints:

Starting in Bali is a safe bet. Bali is like “Indonesia Light” – very “Western” and friendly. Just a few of Bali’s incredible offerings :
  • cheap, accessible accommodation
  • all kinds of Western and Indonesian food
  • spas galaore
  • night life
  • beach life
  • shopping
  • yoga retreats
  • It’s all here!

And almost everyone who works in tourism in Bali speaks English. So if you’re an English-speaking newbie to Indonesia, spend your first stint in Bali.

Starting in Bali, you need to bring only the bare necessities & the same can be utilized all over Indonesia.

Essentials :
  • swimsuit and cover-up
  • camera with extra battery and memory card (can buy converter for charger here)
  • 1 pair of flip flops or sandals
  • one more substantial pair of shoes
  • one pair of shoes you would wear to a decent dinner
  • Clothing for covering up (please! cover up when not at the beach!)
  • a couple of t-shirts, tank tops, shorts and/ or skirts, dresses
  • one lightweight long-sleeved top that goes with everything else
  • One “nice” lightweight outfit suitable for a temple, ceremony, wedding, etc. – you never know when you might be invited!
  • bank card and credit card (call banks ahead of time and alert them to your approximate itinerary)
  • travel documents
  • international driver’s license if you have it and intend to drive a motorbike or car
  • an inexpensive unlocked cell phone – one with Wi-Fi and internet capabilities is great, but not necessary (can also be bought fairly cheap here)
  • prescription drugs and copies of your prescriptions
  • Imodium
  • a good toothbrush and dental floss (difficult to find)
  • a sturdy day bag (waterproof helps) with many compartments and secure zippers
  • cards with your contact info (esp Face book and email)
  • sturdy hair brush if you need it. I have broken 2 here; replacing them is not easy
  • Prescription glasses and a copy of your most recent prescription.
  • E-Reader or Kindle. Great for managing heaps of books you don’t want to lug around with you. Some also have currency converters – very helpful.
  • Some kind of small writing journal and a couple of good pens. Great for recording thoughts, tips, not’s about trips, email addresses – all kinds of info you will want to remember.
  • Travel and/ or health insurance – your call. I’ve never been able to use mine.

All travelers to Indonesia must be in possession of a Passport that is valid for at least six (6) months from the date of arrival, and have proof (tickets) of onward or return passage.

Free Tourist Visa

By Presidential Decree of 104 of 2015, Indonesia now provides special Short Stay Visa free facilities for tourists who are nationals of a total 75 countries who wish to travel to Indonesia.

And, including the 15 countries and Special Regions who already have reciprocal Visa Free Agreements with Indonesia, this brings the total to 90 countries whose nationals may be extended Visa Free Entry.

Tourist Visa Free Facilities are valid for 30 days, are non-extendable and cannot be transferred into any other type of visa.

The Visa Free facility can be used for the following purposes: government duties, education, social-cultural purposes, tourism, business, family visits and on transit

The following are the Countries extended Visa Free Facilities according to Presidential Decree No. 104 of 2015 :
  • 1. Afrika Selatan - (South Africa)
  • 2. Aljazair – (Algeria)
  • 3. Amerika Serikat – (United States of America)
  • 4. Angola
  • 5. Argentina
  • 6. Austria
  • 7. Azerbaijan
  • 8. Bahrain, - (Bahrein)
  • 9. Belanda – (The Netherlands)
  • 10. Belarusia – (Belarus)
  • 11. Belgia – (Belgium)
  • 12. Bulgaria
  • 13. Ceko – (Czechoslovakia)
  • 14. Denmark
  • 15. Dominika – (Dominican Republic)
  • 16. Estonia
  • 17. Fiji
  • 18. Finlandia - (Finland
  • 19. Ghana
  • 20. Hongaria – (Hungary)
  • 21. India
  • 22. Inggris - (The United Kingdom – UK)
  • 23. Irlandia – (Ireland)
  • 24. Islandia - (Iceland)
  • 25. Italia – (Italy)
  • 26. Jepang – (Japan)
  • 27. Jerman – (Germany)
  • 28. Kanada – (Canada)
  • 29. Kazakhstan
  • 30. Kirgiztan
  • 31. Kroasia – (Croatia)
  • 32. Korea Selatan – (South Korea)
  • 33. Kuwait – (Kuweit)
  • 34. Latvia
  • 35. Lebanon
  • 36. Liechtenstein
  • 37. Lithuania
  • 38. Luxemburg
  • 39. Maladewa – (The Maldives)
  • 40. Malta
  • 41. Meksiko – (Mexico)
  • 42. Mesir – (Egypt)
  • 43. Monako – (Monaco)
  • 44. Norwegia – (Norway)
  • 45. Oman
  • 46. Panama
  • 47. Papua New Guinea
  • 48. Perancis – (France)
  • 49. Polandia – (Poland)
  • 50. Portugal
  • 51. Qatar
  • 52. Republik Rakyat Tiongkok - (China)
  • 53. Rumania -
  • 54. Rusia – (Russia)
  • 55. San Marino
  • 56. Saudi Arabia
  • 57. Selandia Baru –( New Zealand)
  • 58. Seychelles
  • 59. Siprus – (Cyprus)
  • 60. Slovakia
  • 61. Slovenia
  • 62. Spanyol – (Spain)
  • 63. Suriname
  • 64. Swedia – (Sweden)
  • 65. Swiss – (Switzerland)
  • 66. Taiwan
  • 67. Tanzania
  • 68. Timor Leste
  • 69. Tunisia
  • 70. Turki – (Turkey)
  • 71. Uni Emirat Arab - (United Arab Emirates)
  • 72. Vatikan – (The Vatican)
  • 73. Venezuela
  • 74. Yordania – (Jordania)
  • 75. Yunani – (Greece)

While the 15 countries and Special Administrative Regions with whom Indonesia has reciprocal agreements, and have already earlier been extended the facility are :

  • 1. Malaysia
  • 2. Singapura – (Singapore)
  • 3. Brunei Darussalam
  • 4. Filipina – (The Philippines)
  • 5. Kamboja – (Cambodia)
  • 6. Laos
  • 7. Myanmar
  • 8. Vietnam
  • 13. Peru
  • 14. Ekuador – (Equador)
  • 9. Hong Kong SAR (Special Administrative Region)
  • 10. Macau SAR (Special Administrative Region)
  • 11. Chili – (Chile)
  • 12. Maroko – (Morocco)

Nationals of the 75 countries wishing to visit Indonesia for tourist purposes should, however, please note:

That Entry can be made only through 14 Immigration Checkpoints (TPI) in 5 designated Airports and 9 designated Seaports as follows :
International Airports :
  • 1. Soekarno-Hatta, Jakarta
  • 2. Juanda, Surabaya
  • 3. Ngurah Rai, Bali
  • 4. Kuala Namu, Medan
  • 5. Hang Nadim, Batam

Seaports :
  • 1. Sri Bintan Pura, Tanjung Pinang
  • 2. Sekupang, Batam
  • 3. Batam Center, Batam
  • 4. Nongsa Terminal Bahari, Batam
  • 5. Marina Teluk Senimba, Batam
  • 6. Citra Tri Tunas (Harbour Bay), Batam
  • 7. Bandar Bintan Telani Lagoi, Tanjung Uban, Bintan
  • 8. Bandar Sri Udana Lobam, Tanjung Uban, Bintan
  • 9. Tanjung Balai Karimun, Tanjung Uban, Bintan

Exit can be made only through 50 Immigration Checkpoints in 19 International Airports, 29 Seaports, and 2 Land borders as follows :

Interational Airports :
  • 1. Soekarno-Hatta, Jakarta
  • 2. Juanda, Surabaya
  • 3. Ngurah Rai, Bali
  • 4. Kuala Namu, Medan
  • 5. Hang Nadim, Batam
  • 6. Husein Sastranegara, Bandung
  • 7. Sepinggan, Balikpapan
  • 8. Sultan Iskandar Muda, Aceh
  • 9. Adisucipto, Yogyakarta
  • 10. Eltari, Kupang
  • 11. Sam Ratulangi, Manado
  • 12. Minangkabau, Padang
  • 13. Sultan Syarif Kasim II, Pekanbaru
  • 14. Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin, Palembang
  • 15. Adisumarmo, Surakarta
  • 16. Ahmad Yani, Semarang
  • 17. Halim Perdana Kusuma, Jakarta
  • 18. Sultan Hasanuddin, Makassar
  • 19. Polonia, Medan

Seaports :
  • 1. Sekupang, Batam
  • 2. Batam Center, Batam
  • 3. Nongsa Terminal Bahari, Batam
  • 4. Marina Teluk Senimba, Batam
  • 5. Citra Tri Tunas (Harbour Bay), Batam
  • 6. Sri Bintan Pura, Tanjung Pinang, Bintan
  • 7. Bandar Bintan Telani Lagoi, Tanjung Uban, Bintan
  • 8. Bandar Sri Udana Lobam, Tanjung Uban, Bintan
  • 9. Tanjung Balai Karimun, Tanjung Uban, Bintan
  • 10. Pulau Baai, Bengkulu
  • 11. Dumai, Riau
  • 12. Yos Sudarso, Cirebon
  • 13. Teluk Nibung, Tanjung Balai Asahan
  • 14. Bandar Sri Setia Raya, Bengkalis
  • 15. Belawan, Belawan, North Sumatra
  • 16. Benoa, Bali
  • 17. Kuala Langsa, Langsa, Aceh
  • 18. Jayapura, Papua
  • 19. Soekarno-Hatta, Makassar
  • 20. Tunonanta, Nunukan, North Kalimantan
  • 21. Malundung, Tarakan, North Kalimantan
  • 22. Padang Bai, Bali
  • 23. Sibolga, Sibolga, North Sumatra
  • 24. Siak Sri Indrapura, Siak, Riau
  • 25. Teluk Bayur, Padang, West Sumatra
  • 26. Tanjung Lontar, Tenau, Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara
  • 27. Tanjung Mas, Semarang
  • 28. Tanjung Priok, Jakarta
  • 29. Pelabuhan Samudra Bitung, Bitung, North Sumatra

Land Borders :
  • 1. Mota’ain, Attambua, East Nusa Tenggara
  • 2. Entikong, Entikong, West Kalimantan

For details and enquiries please contact the Indonesian Embassy in your home country.

Visa-on-Arrival :

The Indonesian Government extends Visa on Arrival (VoA) to nationals of 61 countries which can be obtained at designated entry airports and sea ports. Visa-on-Arrival are valid for 30 days and are extendable with another 30 days to be applied at Immigration offices in Indonesia. Visas cost US$35

Please note that starting 26 January 2010, the 7-day Visa-on-Arrival has been discontinued.

Exception to this is the Special Economic Zone in the Riau Islands province, where the 7-day Visa on Arrival (VoA) can still be obtained at the seaports on the islands of Batam, Bintan - including Tanjung Pinang and Bandar Bentan Telani - and Karimun. The 7-Day VoA Visa fee is US$ 15.

Countries extended Visa-on-Arrival facility are :
  • 1. Algiers
  • 2. Australia
  • 3.Argentina
  • 4. Austria
  • 5. Bahrain
  • 6. Belgium
  • 7. Brazil
  • 8. Bulgaria
  • 9. Canada
  • 10. Cyprus
  • 11. Denmark
  • 12. Egypt
  • 13. Estonia
  • 14.Fiji
  • 15. Finland
  • 16.France
  • 17. Germany
  • 18.Greece
  • 19.Hungary
  • 20.Iceland
  • 21.India
  • 22.Iran
  • 23. Ireland
  • 24.Italy
  • 25. Japan
  • 26.Kuwait
  • 27. Laos PDR
  • 28.Latvia
  • 29.Libya
  • 30. Lithuania
  • 31.Liechtenstein
  • 32. Luxemburg
  • 33. Malta
  • 34. Maldives
  • 35.Monaco
  • 36. Mexico
  • 37. New Zealand
  • 38. the Netherlands
  • 39. Norway
  • 40. Oman
  • 41. Panama
  • 42. The People’s Republic of China
  • 43.Poland
  • 44. Portugal
  • 45.Qatar
  • 46.Rumania
  • 47.Russia
  • 48.South Africa
  • 49.South Korea
  • 50.Switzerland
  • 51.Saudi Arabia
  • 52.Spain
  • 53.Suriname
  • 54.Sweden
  • 55.Slovakia
  • 56.Slovenia
  • 57.Taiwan
  • 58. Tunisia.
  • 59.the United Arab Emirates
  • 60. the United Kingdom
  • 61. The United States of America.
Entry Ports Where Visa-on-Arrival are Issued are :
International Airports :

At Batam: Sekupang, Batuampar, Nongsa, Marina, and Teluk Senimba; on Bintan island : Sri Bintan Pura in Tanjung Pinang, Bandar Bintan Telani Lagoi; Tanjung Balai Karimun, and Bandar Sri Udana Labon in the Riau archipelago; Belawan port and Sibolga in North Sumatra, Yos Sudarso Tanjung Perak in Surabaya; Teluk Bayur in Padang; Tanjung Priok harbor at Jakarta; Padang Bai and Benoa ports in Bali; the port of Jayapura; Bitung; Tanjung Mas in Semarang, Central Java; Tenua and Maumere in East Nusa Tenggara, Pare-Pare and Soekarno Hatta port in South Sulawesi.

Authorized Seaports are :

At Batam: Sekupang, Batuampar, Nongsa, Marina, and Teluk Senimba; on Bintan island : Sri Bintan Pura in Tanjung Pinang, Bandar Bintan Telani Lagoi; Tanjung Balai Karimun, and Bandar Sri Udana Labon in the Riau archipelago; Belawan port and Sibolga in North Sumatra, Yos Sudarso Tanjung Perak in Surabaya; Teluk Bayur in Padang; Tanjung Priok harbor at Jakarta; Padang Bai and Benoa ports in Bali; the port of Jayapura; Bitung; Tanjung Mas in Semarang, Central Java; Tenua and Maumere in East Nusa Tenggara, Pare-Pare and Soekarno Hatta port in South Sulawesi.

VISA Application at Indonesia Embassies or Consulates

Visitors from other countries must apply for visa at Indonesia Embassies or Consulates in their home country. In addition, visas cannot be replaced with any other immigration letters. The visa shall then be administered by the Visa Officer in the presence of the applicant concerned.

You may find information on Indonesia embassies and consulates contact details at the Ministry of Foreign Affair website on the following direct link :

For further information on applying for visa to Indonesia, you may browse our FAQs.

Free entry visa is also provided to delegates registered in a conference that is officially convened. In addition, tourist visa can be obtained from every Indonesian Embassy or Consulate. You can visit Indonesia through certain means and gates, by air via Jakarta, Bali, Medan, Manado, Biak, Ambon, Surabaya and Batam; by sea via Semarang, Jakarta, Bali, Pontianak, Balikpapan, Tanjung Pinang and Kupang. Maximum stay in Indonesia is two months.

Airport Tax

An airport tax of Rp150,000 is levied by airports on departing passengers on international flights and Rp.40,000 for those on domestic routes. Most airlines today incorporate airport tax into their total tickets cost on purchase. Do make sure that this is already included.


Most hotels add a 10% service charge to the bill on top of the 10% tax. In restaurants where service charge is not added, a tip of 5 to 10% on the bill will be appropriate depending on the service and type of establishment.

Maximum items allowed by customs when you visit Indonesia :
  • 1 liter of alcoholic beverages
  • 200 cigarettes OR 50 cigars OR 100 grams of tobacco
  • Reasonable amount of perfume per adult, meaning if you arrive drenched in perfume the customs probably will not mind you carrying loads of bottles.
  • Cameras, video cameras, portable radios, cassette recorders, binoculars and sport equipments are admitted provided they are taken out on departure. They must be declared to Customs.
You are prohibited to carry :
  • Firearms
  • Narcotics drugs
  • Pornography materials
  • Chinese printing and medicines
  • Transceivers and cordless telephone
  • Films, pre-recorded video tapes, laser discs, VCDs, DVDs must be screened by Censor Board.

Import or export of foreign currencies and travelers’ checks are allowed. However, the import and export of Indonesia currency, exceeding 100 million Rupiah is prohibited.

Further information on customs and taxes in Indonesia, log into

Where Is Indonesia?

Indonesia is the largest archipelago and the fourth most populous country in the world. Consisting of five main islands (Sumatra, Jawa, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Papua) with 33 provinces, 30 smaller archipelagos, it has a total of 17,508 islands of which about 6,000 are inhabited. The Republic of Indonesia is located in Southeast Asia and stretches 5,150 km between the Australian and Asian continental mainland and divides the Pacific and Indian Oceans at the Equator. The name Indonesia is composed of two Greek words: “Indos” which means Indian and “nesos” meaning islands. The capital city of Indonesia is Jakarta. The country shares land borders with Papua New Guinea, East Timor and Malaysia. Other neighboring countries include Singapore, the Philippines, Australia, and the Indian territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

What’s The Climate Like?

Indonesia climate is distinctly tropical. The east monsoon from June to September brings dry weather while the west monsoon from December to March is moisture-laden Indonesia In General bringing rain. The transitional period between these two are interposed by occasional rain showers, but even in the midst of the west monsoon season, temperatures range from 21 degrees C (70 F) to 33 degrees C. (90 F) except at higher altitudes which are much cooler. Heaviest rainfalls are recorded in December and January. Humidity is between 60-100 %.

Language and Dialects?

There are more 583 languages and dialects spoken in the archipelago. They normally belong to the 350 different ethnic groups of the population. Bahasa Indonesia is the national language, written in Roman script and based on European orthography. In all tourist destination areas English is the number one foreign languages fairly spoken and written.

Food and Dining?

The staple food of most of Indonesia is “nasi” (rice). On some of the island in eastern Indonesia, staple food traditionally ranged from corn, sago, cassava to sweet potatoes. Fish features prominently in the diet as fresh, salted, dried, smoked or a paste. Coconut is found everywhere and besides being produced for cooking oil, its milk - the juice from the white meat - is an ingredient for many dishes. Spices and hot chili Peppers are the essence of most cooking, and in some areas they are used generously such as in West Sumatra and North Sulawesi. Each province or area has its own cuisine, which vary in the method of cooking and ingredients. The Javanese cuisine is probably more palatable to the general taste and consists of vegetables, soybeans, beef, chicken and other varieties.

The Sumatrans generally eat more beef compared to the other regions. West Sumatra particularly is known for its Padang restaurants found nationwide. Beside the hot and spicy food, these restaurants are known for their unique style of service. Further to the east, seafood features on the daily diet, either grilled or made into curries. In Bali, Papua and the highlands of North Sumatra and North Sulawesi pork dishes are specialties. Pork is usually served in Chinese restaurants or non-moslem regions. There is a wide variety of tropical and sub-tropical fruits and vegetables all year round. Coffee and tea plantations are plentiful, growing on several islands, and served everywhere from fine restaurants to small village stalls. There are several breweries which produce local beer. Bali produces “brem” which is a rice wine, whereas Toraja has its “tuak” which is also known in North Sumatra. Most common nationwide are “sate” (skewered grilled meat), “gado-gado” (vegetable salad with a peanut sauce), “nasi goreng” (fried rice served at anytime) and “bakmi goreng” (fried noodles).

Should I go alone, or on a tour?

If you are even thinking about this, you should probably go on your own. Most areas visited by package tours go to places that are easily accessible to independent travelers, prices are low, the people friendly, and if you really want to meet other travelers, there are plenty of places to find them. The only two cases where tours can be worth taking are if you either want a simple beach holiday in Bali, in which case a flight + hotel deal can be cheaper than booking them separately, or if you go on some adventure tour to remote parts of Papua or Kalimantan that could be too hard to do on your own, at least if it's your first visit to the country.

Which are the most interesting islands/regions to visit?

This really depends on your interests! Java and Bali have the most impressive temples and "high" art. Sumatra, Sulawesi and Nusa Tenggara have the most impressive traditional village architecture. Java, Sumatra and Kalimantan have the best wildlife. Maluku, Sulawesi and Nusa Tenggara have the best, accessible beaches and coral reefs. Papua, Maluku and Kalimantan receive the fewest visitors. Java and Bali have the best hotels, shopping and nightlife.

Where are the best dive-spots?

In general, Indonesia's coral reefs get richer the further east you go, with the Raja Ampat Islands having been nominated as the global centre of marine biodiversity. Diving possibilities are somewhat limited by availability of facilities though. So a list of the best places where you can actually dive would include (in alphabetical order only!) Alor in East Nusa Tenggara, Banda in Maluku, Bunaken in North Sulawesi, Labuhanbajo in East Nusa Tenggara, Raja Ampat in Western Papua, Sanglaki in East Kalimantan and Wakatobi in Southeast Sulawesi.

Where are the best beaches?

Well, this is a tricky one!
Many people, find their own favourite spots they'd rather keep secret. The pick of these would be the Kei Islands in Maluku, a region which has many other candidates, too. Closer to Jakarta, stunning beaches can be found on and around the island of Belitung. Some of the most unspoilt beaches with stunning reefs just off-shore are in the Raja Ampat Islands in Papua. Sangalaki in East Kalimantan is another remote gem, as are the remote Natuna Islands, curiously located between peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak. None of these has a wealth of places to stay though, so those looking for beaches with more comforts and a livelier travelers’ scene could check out the Gili Islands and Kuta in Lombok, the Labuhanbajo area of Flores, the Karimunjawa Islands of Central Java, various beaches and islands around North Sulawesi, the Togean Islands of Central Sulawesi... and the list could go on.
Finding your own "secret" favorite should not be hard in East Indonesia!

What is a decent budget for Indonesia?

As usual this largely depends on how you travel, where you stay and eat. But in Indonesia, another factor is how widely you travel within this vast country. Trying to cover a lot of ground within the confines of a 30 or 60 day visa would mean having to take a couple of internal flights, adding to the cost. Visiting far-flung Papua, Maluku or Kalimantan would also require a higher daily budget. Basically, at the bottom end of the scale, really budget-conscious backpackers happy to travel by bus between say Sumatra, Java and Bali, eating at cheap warungs (footstalls) and staying in the cheapest accommodation available could get by on as little as US $15-20/day. Couples or friends travelling together might spend a bit less than solo travelers, as they can share the costs of rooms and private transport. Start adding extras like eating at tourist-oriented places, staying at nicer places, going out at night or doing activities like diving, and costs will start increasing steeply. In places like Bali or Java the sky is pretty much the upper limit, though on the other hand in many remote areas you will simply not find much to spend on!

How long time do I need to see the country?

A lifetime is not enough to "see it all" - seriously! But there is no point in trying to see everything on a short trip. Before deciding on where you want to go, do sit down with a map, comparing the size of Indonesia to that of other countries in the region, like Thailand or Vietnam. You will quickly realize that this country is as big as several others put together, and is in fact best treated accordingly. While you could see some "highlights" of each of Indonesia's main regions in as little as a week (in each), and thus cover the country in 2 months or so by flying all over, a more sensible idea is to pick only one, or at most a few regions, and see them better.

In my experience, one month is about enough to see all the main attractions of a single region like Sumatra or Sulawesi, with two months allowing you to get off the beaten track in each as well. Add that up, and you could spend a year or more covering just the main attractions of the country easily! If you don't have that much time, don't worry - but do pick your priorities!

What if I visit during Ramadan?

Life still goes on during the month of fasting. You will find that many places to eat stay closed during the day, but others remain open. In any case, you could plan to spend this period in Hindu Bali or in one of Indonesia's Christian regions like North Sumatra, North Sulawesi, East Nusa Tenggara, South Maluku or Papua, where there would be even less effect of Ramadan to be felt.

I have heard that flying is unsafe... and so are boats?!?

To keep things in perspective, remember that Indonesia is made up by thousands of islands, which means that on any given day there will be hundreds or thousands of flights and boats transporting passengers between them. Given those numbers, and the fact that this is still a developing nation after all, it is not all that surprising that the odd disaster strikes every now and then, but realistically, your chances of being the victim of a plane-crash or a ferry-sinking in Indonesia are probably no higher than experiencing a traffic accident elsewhere in the World.

How easy is it to get around without speaking Indonesian?

Depends on where you go. In touristy areas like Bali's resorts, no problem at all. You can also get around pretty easily between the main attractions of every region. Off the beaten track, you can still find some people who speak English in major cities, but would be unlikely to find any out in the villages. Carrying a phrasebook if planning to travel off the beaten track, and starting to learn as many of the key words and phrases as you can as soon as possible. It is easier than you might think!

With all the news of logging, can I still find beautiful nature?

Indonesia is simply HUGE, with much of it very remote as well. So while logging, both legal and illegal is definitely a problem here (like in much of the tropics), there are still huge areas of pristine nature left. You may have to know where to look to find them, but if you make just a little effort, it is not hard at all. Much of East Indonesia is still very pristine and beautiful by any definition.

Which are the best places to see wildlife?

Note that the best places to see wildlife are not necessarily the largest and remotest conservation areas in deepest-darkest Borneo or Papua! In fact, most people are surprised to hear that Java's national parks are perhaps the country's most rewarding in this respect.