NEED TO KNOW
Language: Indonesian, English
Capital City: Jakarta
Population: 245 million
Area: 741,000 square miles
Telephone Calling Code(s): 61
Electricity: 230V, 50 Hz
Currency: As of Nov 22, 2011:
1 Indonesia Rupiahs = $0.00 US Calculate Other Amounts
A visa is required for American citizens wishing to visit Indonesia. Visas valid for three or 30 days can be applied for upon arrival at the airports in Bali and Jakarta; for other ports, inquire at the Indonesian Embassy in Washington (202-775-5200). To apply for a Visa on Arrival, you must have a passport valid for at least six months from the date of your arrival in the country, as well as an official disembarkation card (supplied by the airline). You may also be asked to prove that you have sufficient funds to pay for your stay in Indonesia. Upon disembarking, proceed first to the Visa on Arrival counter, to apply and pay the fee. A three-day visa costs $10; a 30-day visa, $25. These fees are payable in American currency, the equivalent in Indonesian currency, or by Visa or Mastercard. Once you have the visa stamped in your passport, you may clear immigration and customs. Visas on Arrival cannot be extended or converted into any other kind of visa. Indonesian immigration officials count the day you arrive as day one (thus, for example, a three-day visa is good for two nights in the country).
GOOD TO KNOW
Indonesian food, like all Asian cuisines, is based on rice (nasi) and noodles (bakmi or mie), served with a wide variety of meat and vegetable dishes. There are almost as many variations on Indonesian food as there are islands, but the basics are constant: Fried or barbecued fish and chicken, often served with a spicy chili-based sauce (sambal), and seafood curries are ubiquitous—and delicious. The degree of chili-powered fire is generally somewhat lower than in Thailand, and it can be moderated by request. Vegetables are often cooked as a Chinese-style medley in a broth, without spice (cap cay, pronounced "chop chai"), or steamed and served with a piquant peanut sauce to create a salad called gado-gado. The most popular cuisine among Indonesians is Padang, named after the city in Sumatra where it originates. Dishes are stacked in the window of the restaurant and brought to the table; the diner pays for the empty dishes at the end of the meal. People are known to become addicted to beef rendang, the incredibly rich, savory beef stew in spiced coconut milk. Balinese cuisine tends to be blander than food elsewhere in the archipelago, and it often features pork—taboo in the Muslim cookery of Java and Sumatra. The most famous Balinese dish is babi guling, spit-roasted pig, served with lawar, a raw meat salad. In recent years, the choices for fine western dining in Jakarta and Bali have multiplied enormously: see EATING.
Tipping has become common in tourist areas, so you should add an extra ten percent to the bill at better restaurants that don't include a service charge, and a few thousand rupiah in cash at those that do. In theory, Indonesia charges a VAT of ten percent to every purchase; the requirement is widely ignored, except at finer shops and hotels.
January: 1, New Year's Day August: 17, Independence Day December: 25, Christmas Day Winter: Idul Fitri; Chinese New Year; Idul Adha; Muslim New Year Spring: Nyepi (Balinese Hindu holiday); Good Friday; Easter; Muhammad's birthday; Ascension Day (Christian) Summer: Waisak (Buddhist holiday) Autumn: Al Miraj (Ascension of Muhammad).