Hints for Travelers

Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 17,000 islands with a population of some 220 million people (in the year of 2002, now is probably more than that), has a land area of 2.02 million square kilometers. Lying across a region of immense volcanic activity, there are 400 known volcanoes, at least 70 of them still active. In Indonesia's most easterly province, Papua (formerly known as Irian Jaya), soaring ranges, only four degrees south of the Equator, are permanently snowcapped. It's not a fiction, it's the fact. :)

Bahasa Indonesia is the official language. Most Indonesians are bilingual, they have their own language according to their races (e.g. Sundanese, Javanese, Balinese, Padangnese, Bataknese etc), with Bahasa Indonesia as the lingua franca. English is frequently used in business, but not globally used. Some people think that all the local languages are only dialects (such as Mandarin and Cantonese in Chinese), but actually they are not. They are really different languages spoken throughout Indonesia. So do not expect that a Sundanese will understand Javanese language or Minang language. :)

The people are predominantly Muslim plus Christians, Hindus and Buddhists.


Although Indonesia is hot and humid throughout the year, the official wet seasons runs from October to April and is marked by heavy, short rainstorms after which the air is fresher. Temperatures range from 21 to 33 degrees Celsius in the lowlands. Higher altitudes enjoy cooler conditions.


On entry to Indonesia, each adult is allowed to bring in tax-free a maximum of two liters of alcoholic beverages and 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 grams of tobacco. There is no restriction on the movement of foreign currencies in and out of the country.

Airport Tax and Transport

Passengers departing on international flights have to pay an airport tax of IDR 100,000. For domestic flights, airport taxes vary from IDR 2,500 to IDR 10,000 depending on the airport. Metered taxis are available only at big cities such as Jakarta, Denpasar (Bali), Surabaya, Medan and Bandung, although sometimes they will refuse to use the meter and will only operate on a fixed-rate basis. Check with the driver before boarding. It's better to avoid taking a cab especially in Jakarta, get someone to pick you up at the airport. It's much safer.

From Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta international airport, taxi fares include a surcharge and a road toll of IDR 7,000 (comprises of 2 x IDR 2,000 of airport expressway toll, and IDR 3,000 of inner-city expressway toll). The surcharge does not apply on trips to the airport, but the road tolls still apply.

Some tips if you want to take a taxi from Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta international airport: you might want to take the black Silver Bird taxi, which is part of the Blue Bird Group which is known by its safety. The Silver Bird counter is just outside the Terminal 2D airport. After passing through customs, just walk straight out of the terminal towards the airport ring road and look for the Silver Bird counter, if I'm not mistaken it's near the DAMRI bus counter. With a surcharge of only IDR 8,000 for trips originating from the airport (excluding the IDR 7,000 toll surcharge and the actual fare shown on the meter), it's more economical than if you book the taxi from inside the terminal (just after customs) which sometimes charge you a fixed fee of IDR 160,000 to any destinations in Jakarta.

I would recommend you to avoid regular taxis at the airport's regular taxi stand for safety reasons.


Exchange facilities for the main foreign currencies are available in the major cities of Indonesia. Rupiahs (IDR) come in denominations of 100,000, 50,000, 20,000, 10,000, 5000, 1000, 500 and 100 in bank notes, and 1000, 500 and 100 in coins.


Long-distance telephone calls within Indonesia are by direct dialing. International direct dialing (IDD) is available in most of all provincial capitals and in more than 320 cities throughout the country. For the business traveler, facsimile and telex services are available in most hotels and at service outlets.


Indonesia is divided into three time zones. West Indonesia Time (Sumatra, Java, West and Central Kalimantan/Borneo) where the cities of Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, Medan, Padang, Palembang, Yogyakarta, Solo and Pontianak are located, is seven hours ahead of GMT/UTC, and is having the same time zone with Bangkok. Central Indonesia Time (Bali, South and East Kalimantan/Borneo, Sulawesi/Celebes and Nusa Tenggara), where the cities of Denpasar/Bali, Mataram/Lombok, Balikpapan, Makassar and Manado are located, is eight hours ahead of GMT/UTC, and is having the same time zone with Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Beijing and Hong Kong. East Indonesia Time (Maluku and Papua/Irian Jaya) where the cities of Ambon, Biak and Jayapura are located is nine hours ahead of GMT, and having the same time zone with Tokyo and Seoul. Daylight saving is not implemented in Indonesia.


50Hz at 220 volts, and 110 volts in the outskirts.

Office Hours

Most government offices are open from 8 am to 3 pm. On Fridays, they close at 11.30 am. On Saturdays, they are open until 2 pm or 3 pm.

Business offices open from 8 am or 9 am to 4 pm or 5 pm. Some work halfday on Saturdays. Banks open from 8 am to 3 pm on weekdays. Most of the banks are now closed on Saturdays.


Taken from Garuda, the official flight magazine, with some modifications to some obsolete information. Any corrections or feedback, please e-mail indra@sg.or.id.

Version 5.3
Last updated 8-Oct-2019 by Indra Pramana