Indonesia is the biggest archipelago in the world with more than 17,500 tropical islands of varying sizes located between Australia and Asia occupied by over 200 different ethnical groups of very old traditions and cultures unique to every island. The culture is best appreciated through the arts and food that the locals lovingly share with their visitors; but this culture is evolving with modernization in the form of malls, resorts, golf courses and restaurants being developed and opening up.
The island’s rich arts scene is another top draw, and if relaxation is your top priority, the shopping in Bali and spa treatments are fabulous – and affordable. Spirituality adds yet another layer to the country’s allure, others prefer to remain in silence taking in the overwhelming sight of so many islands with crystal clear water that softly brushes over the white sandy beaches. The Hindu and Buddhist temples of this island nation were painstakingly crafted and the lush, rolling countryside and the towering volcano above the mountains are waiting to be explored.
Climate & Weather
Close to the equator, Indonesia is located south of the typhoon belt, which affects the Philippines, Hong Kong, China and Taiwan and north of the cyclone belt, which affects Australia. Indonesia has an almost entirely tropical climate, generally hot and humid, with the coastal plains averaging 28°C (83°F) , the inland and mountain areas averaging 26°C (79°F), and the higher mountain regions, 23°C (73°F). Indonesia’s relative humidity is quite high, and ranges between 70 and 90 percent. The dry season in Indonesia spans from May to September and this is the most popular time to visit Indonesia. Wet season is between October & April, with rainfall occurring in short, heavy bursts. In Bali the hottest month is May with an average temperature of 28°C (82°F) and the coldest is January at 26°C (79°F) with the most daily sunshine hours at 9 in April. The wettest month is January with an average of 90mm of rain.
Visa & Immigration
Nationals of 169 countries can enter and exit Indonesian Territory through 124 Immigration Checkpoints in airports, seaports and land borders. The short stay visa free facility for tourists is valid for 30 days, non-extendable and cannot be transferred into any other type of of stay permit. The visa exemption facility can be used for tourism, family visit, social visit, art and cultural, government duty, to deliver a speech or attend a seminar, international exhibition, meetings with head office or representative office in Indonesia, or transit. 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 of onward or return passage. Click here for more details on visa and immigration to Indonesia.
A once Hindu nation now has about 78 percent of its population practicing Islamic religion with other 5 official religions and there is a high respect for religious duty in the country. Time is officially allocated to individuals to practice their religion of choice even when at work; thus, the Christians in offices are given break at Christmas while the Muslims, Hindus, and others worked, the Muslims were also treated the same way during Ramadan and even though the Hindus have quite a demanding religious calendar their needs are accommodated completely.
The National Parks in Sumatra, the Borobudur Temple complex in Java, the Toraja in Sulawesi, the rice fields in Bali are among the highlights of this tropical archipelago of steep, jungle-covered islands full of medieval temples, spectacular world heritage sites, hidden lagoons, glittering white-sandy beaches and luminous turquoise waters throw in pristine coral reefs inhabited by clouds of tie-dyed fish.
Jakarta and Java Island
Jakarta, the country’s capital is located on the northwest of the island of Java. Jakarta is the country’s economic, cultural and political centre and the most populous city not only in Indonesia but in Southeast Asia as a whole. It hides some of the most impressive ancient structures in the world such as the country’s top museums, the greatest diversity of restaurants and tens of shopping malls that rival anything in Bangkok. The 9th century Central Java’s Borobudur temple is the largest Buddhist temple in the world. Rising high above the breathtakingly green rice fields, this monumental structure has survived many disasters and ultimately make Indonesia’s other temples look pedestrian. Ornately carved pyramid with its fortified walls surrounds the bottom of the five stories worth of statues which ascends to the top of the temple and the central dome is crowned by fascinating 72 Buddha statues.
Bali, popularly called the island of God defies explanation as its attractions compete with one another for the visitor’s attention. The only surviving fragment of a once-mighty Hindu empire is full of amazing beaches and countless incredible surf spots that rival those of California, Hawaii, and Australia. Surfers come for the legendary Uluwatu and Padang Padang swells among others, hikers can trek up the rugged volcanic peaks and misty waterfalls, cyclists alike bike through lush landscapes bristling with rice terraces and traditional villages. The country’s Hindu largest, most important and holiest temple of Pura Besakih sits 3,300 feet (1000 meters) on slopes of massive Mount Agung in the eastern part of the Bali. The Kintamani volcano on Mount Batur is also a popular sightseeing destination in Bali’s central highlands. The magnificent view of Kintamani volcano on Mount Batur and Caldera Lake is surrounded by the charming Mount Batur range. Behold the grandeur of the majestic temples and sacred Hindu ceremonies with the intoxicating redolence of incense and clove oil fill the thick tropical air alongside petal-strewn offerings smolder on busy sidewalks, and traditional gamelan music jangles against the buzz of mopeds.
The country is home to the largest lizard on the Earth, the unique and wonderful “Komodo dragon” which weighs between 154 -365 pounds and about 6.5-10 feet long. This makes it the most diverse living library for world’s coral reef and underwater biota. The island’s Komodo National Park has one of the world’s richest marine environments housing around 75 percent of the world’s species according to Nature Conservancy and Conservation International. It consists of over 260 species of corals, 70 different species of sponges, crustaceans, 500 types of mollusks, thousand species of fishes and marine mammals including manta ray, sharks, dugongs, whales, dolphins as well as marine reptiles. Correspondingly, the ultimate tropical paradise Raja Ampat has over 200 diving sites, largely pristine coral reef systems and staggering marine diversity of remarkable scenery which is nestled in the heart of the Coral Triangle housing more than 10 times the number of hard coral species found in the Caribbean.