Indonesia is the largest archipelago country in the world. The total area of the dry land of the Republic of Indonesia is 2,027,087 square kilometres. The area of the sea is four times larger than the dry land area. Indonesia consists of five main islands and about thirty smaller archipelagoes; the total number of the islands is about 17,OOO, about 6,000 of them are inhabited. The islands are situated around the equator within the distance of about 3,200 miles (5,120 kilometres). The archipelago is situated between two oceans – the Indian Ocean and the Pacific and at the same it connects two continents – Asia and Australia.
Population : + 202 million people.
Indonesia is also the country with the greatest number of volcanoes in the world. There are about 400 of them. Most of them are dormant or extinct. The highest mountains are Puncak Jaya on Irian Jaya (16,000 feet or 5,200 metres) and the volcano of Kerinci on West Sumatra (12,461 feet or 3,950 metres). The most famous volcano is probably Krakatau. In 1883 its eruption emitted ash, tremors and influx waves around the globe.
Indonesia is a country of plains flooded with sunshine, high volcanoes, green rice fields and dark forests. The vegetation of savannah type exists on the east islands where the climate is drier.
Indonesian climate is apparently tropical. The east monsoon brings dry weather from June till September while the west monsoon brings rainfall from December till March. In the transitional period there are occasional showers. But even in the middle of the west monsoonal period the temperatures range between 21°C (70°F) and 33°C (90°F) with the exception of higher geographical latitudes where the weather is much cooler. The greatest amounts of rainfall are recorded in December and January. The moisture ranges between 60% and 100%.
The Indonesian archipelago includes 3 time zones.
The standard time of West Indonesia is World Time according to the meridian in Greenwich plus 7 hours. This time is valid for the islands of Sumatra, Java-Madura, West and Central Kalimantan, Central Indonesia – East and South Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Bali and Nusa Tenggara plus 8 hours.
The standard time for East Indonesia – Maluku and Irian Jaya is World Time according to the meridian in Greenwich plus 9 hours.
Most of the population (about 85%) are Moslems. However, the Indonesian constitution acknowledges religious freedom as specified in the first Principle of “Pancasila”, the state philosophy which is “the belief in one supreme Good”. Churches, Hindu and Buddhist temples, as well as Moslem mosques can be found all over the country.
LANGUAGES AND DIALECTS
On the archipelago there are about 583 languages and dialects. They mostly belong to various ethnic groups of population. Among the diverse local languages there are Acehian, Batakian, Sundanese, Javanese, Sasakian, Tetumese, Dayakian, Manahasian, Torayese, Bugisian, Halmaharian, Ambonese, Ceramese and several Irianese languages. Within these languages there are dialects which contribute to the language diversity of the territory. Bahasa Indonesia is the national language which is related to Malaysian. It is written in Roman characters and is based upon European orthography. In all touristic areas we can meet rather good written and spoken English which is the number one world language. Besides that in big cities you can also make yourselves understood in Dutch. You can also communicate in French in better hotels and restaurants.
International certificates on pox and cholera are not required with the exception of travellers arriving from areas hit by the infection.
Customs regulations for entering the country allow the maximum of 2 litres of alcoholic drinks, 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 grams of tobacco and reasonable amount of perfume per person.
Cars, photographical devices, typewriters and recorders must go through the customs at the time of entering the country and must be reexported. It is banned to export television and radio sets, narcotics, weapons, printed matters published in Chinese and Chinese medicaments. Special agreement must be applied for in case of exporting combined transmitting and receiving radio sets.
All films and video cassettes must be censored by the Council of Film Censorship. Fresh fruit, plants and animals must have quarantine permission. There are no restrictions on import or export of foreign exchange, nevertherless the export or import of Indonesian exchange exceeding 50,000 Rp is forbidden.
With regards to the climate mostly informal clothes are worn. Long trousers and a shirt are accepted as men°s clothes. A jacket and a tie are required on official visits or on more formal occasions. Long sleeves, batik and hand-woven shirts are acceptable for evening events. Dresses, blouses and long trousers are suitable for ladies. Shorts, upper parts of bathing costumes and short T-shirts should be worn only on sports events or on the beaches. Because of wet climate clothes of light materials are recommended. For travels to places of higher elevation a light sweater is recommended. Picture: Manufacture of batik
The money unit is the Indonesian Rupiah (international symbol Rp). The bank notes are emitted in the values of Rp 50,000, Rp 20,000, Rp 10,000, Rp 5,000, Rp 1,000, Rp 500, Rp 100.
Opening hours in banks are from 8.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. from Monday till Friday. Some banks are opened on Saturdays from 8.00 a.m. to 11.00 a.m.. You can also exchange money at the cash-desks in hotels and at authorized exchange officers. Exchange rates are published in newspapers every day. In Jakarta there are several international banks and in main touristic areas there are banks with the possibility of various money exchange. On travels to more distant places it is recommended to exchange money and traveller’s cheques before. Money automats provide 24 hours service in most big cities.
CREDIT CARDS AND TRAVELLER’S CHEQUES
Most credit cards are accepted. Traveller’s cheques in most foreign exchanges can be exchanged in any commercial bank.
Visas for Czech nationals are required for entering the territory of the Republic of Indonesia.
The visas can be obtained at:
the Indonesian Embassy, Nad Buïánkami II/7, Praha 5
tel.: (00420)(02) 57214388-90, Fax. (00420)(02) 57212105
during office hoursf: Monday – Friday, 08.00 a.m. – 04.00 p.m..
In the biggiest cities there are shopping complexes, supermarkets and department stores with fixed prices. Opening hours in department stores and supermarkets in big cities are usually from 9.00 a.m. to 9.00 p.m., with shorter opening hours on Sunday. Bargaining is a custom in small shops and on market halls. The art of bargaining consists at first in lowering the required price to its half, at second in going upwards and at last reaching a compromise.
Electricity supply is usually 220 volts/50 cycles in big cities, but in some areas 110 volts are used. Normal outputs are plugs with two oval forks. It is recommended to check the appliance before its use.
Indonesian cuisine is very varied. It prepares dishes of various tastes. The manner of serving is different on every island and in every region.
The main agricultural plant is rice, with the exception of some dry areas where maize and sago are consumed in various ways of preparation. Among the most well-known regional cuisines rank the Javanese and West Sumateran ones. The former is rather sweet and spicy, the latter is strongly peppered. To standard dishes popular all over the country belong nasi goreng, roasted rice and sate, grilled meat on a skewer with soya sauce or peanut sauce.
Plentiful Chinese restaurants can be found in big cities, but also in small towns. In big cities you can easily find restaurants offering excellent European, Japanese, Korean and other dishes.
ART AND HANDICRAFT
The rich Indonesian cultural heritage provides favourable background for the growth of equally rich tradition of arts and handicraft. The Indonesian artistic forms which are recently known are mostly derived from folklore and religious rites but many other forms were also developed into a high degree of refinement on the courts of kings and dukes. The famous dance dramas and shadow plays of Java and Bali are based upon the epical compositions of Hindu mythology of Ramayana and Mahabarata which, however, include a considerable influence of local tradition.
FLORA AND FAUNA
It was the British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace who discovered during his exploratory travels across the Malaysian Archipelago in the 19th century that the deepest sea in this area stretches along in the form of a deep channel between Bali and Lombok and it further continues northward to Kalimantan and Sulawesi.
He remarked that this channel, which is nowadays called “Wallace’s Line” apparetly divides Indonesia into two regions which both show significant differences in florae and faunae. This is generally true, but nevertheless it is more exact to speak about the division of Indonesia into three significant zoological and geographic zones which include the transitional area in the central part of the archipelago.
The western islands of the archipelago show first of all Asian features which have formed thick green jungles, rare and fragile orchids and the giant Rafflesia (a plant forming its proud bloom with the diameter of more than one meter!)
The country has abundant green areas and offers food for tigers, leopards, elephants, rhinoceroses and thousands kinds of birds and insects. As we are moving further eastward, the central islands represent gradual transition from Asian florae and faunae to Australian ones.
For example Sulawesi can mention its monkeys and marsupials while Komodo is the home of the prehistoric “dragon” which cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
The most eastern islands resemble Australia with its shrubs similar to bushes and with its typical resistant plants.
Instead of wonderfully coloured loras and cacadu parrots the tropical birds of barbet type, thrushes and the typical Australian marsupials begin to appear. On the islands of this beautiful country we can find life in its diverse shapes. Many of them are protected in numerous conservation areas and national parks which are scattered all over the archipelago.
The permanent source of natural beauty and marvellous discoveries help to change your dreams about Indonesia into reality.