Location: Indonesia is located in Southeast Asia, along major sea lanes between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. It is made up of thousands of volcanic tropical islands fringed with white sandy beaches. The well known islands are Sumatra, Java, Bali, Kalimantan (formerly Borneo), Sulawesi (formerly Celebes), the Maluku Islands (better known as Moluccas, the original Spice Islands) and Papua. Then, there is Bali with its enchanting culture, beaches, dynamic dances and music. However, many of the Indonesian islands are still uninhabited and many are not even named. Indonesia is home to hundreds of ethnic groups speaking many different languages.
Climate: Indonesia is mostly hot and humid all through the year. Lying not far from the equator, Indonesia’s climate tends to be relatively even year-round. The country experiences two seasons — wet season and dry season. Dry season usually occurs from May to September and the rest is rainy season. Sunshine is abundant except in rainy season when the sky tends to be cloudy more often than not.
Rainfall is plentiful, particularly in west Sumatra, northwest Kalimantan, west Java, and western New Guinea. The only drier parts of Indonesia can be seen in parts of Sulawesi and some islands closer to Australia, such as Sumba and Timor.
Things to do: Indonesia is an archipelago of several thousand islands, many of which are still uninhabited. The obvious thing which you can surely do in Indonesia is enjoy numerous white sandy beaches the country has to offer. Nusa Dua and Blue Point Beach in Ungasan are two of the most popular beach destinations after Bali, which is known world over for its beaches and amazing hotels and resorts. Diving, sailing, paragliding and other water sports can also be enjoyed in Bali and many other islands.
Indonesia is an Islamic country but vast majority of population are also Christians and Hindus. This is reflected in the large number of temples, mosques and churches found in Indonesia. Some of these are a must visit place for anyone coming from outside.
Indonesia is also known for its volcanoes and jungles sheltering elephants, Komodo dragons, orangutans, dwarf buffaloes, Java Rhino and a variety of birds. Enjoy all of these.
Cuisine: Indonesian cuisine is diverse and unique, thanks to a widespread population living on 6,000 islands. Meals are generally simple, but the plentiful use of various roots, spices, grasses, and leaves adds zest to most dishes. Steamed rice is the staple diet of most of the people. Rice is also often the main ingredient for desserts and beverages. Those who cannot afford rice, or who live in a region with poor soil or low rainfall, rely mostly on soybeans.
Soy-based dishes, such as variations of tofu (tahu) and tempe, are in fact quite popular. Tempe is also regarded as a Javanese invention. Various meats such as chicken, goat, and beef are consumed commonly by Indonesians. Closeness to sea has ensured there is an abundance of seafood across the country.
Many outsiders, particularly the Europeans, find Indonesian food quite spicy. This is because of the common use of chili pepper in Indonesian food. However, most used species are coriander (which has a faint orange flavor), cumin, and ginger – all relatively mild spices.
The most common method for preparing food is frying, though grilling, simmering, steaming, and even stewing (most often with coconut milk) are also popular. The final preparation for many meals consists of adding coconut milk, an essential cooking ingredient and a thickener for many sauces.
Most Indonesians also enjoy durian, an oval, football-sized fruit, although many Westerners consider its smell to be foul and unappetizing.
Currency: Indonesian currency is called Indonesia Rupiah, and is generally represented as IDR.
Rs 1 (Indian Rupee) = IDR197.67
Visa: Indian Passport holders can get visa on arrival at Indonesian airports. Visa is valid up to 30 days, which can be extended by another 30 days from an Immigration office. You must possess a return ticket, hotel reservation, and proof of enough money for expenses till the time of stay.
However, Indian nationals can get visa from Indonesian embassy in New Delhi or its one of the consulate offices. Following documents are required:
• Original passport with a minimum validity of at least 6 months after departure from Indonesia (Copy of the Passport, 2 copies of first page on a separate sheet, one copy of last page)
• Two visa application forms back to back print, duly filled and signed in blue pen. The sign on the form should match the sing on the passport.
• Two recent coloured passport size photographs not more than six months old. [35 mm x 45 mm on white background with 80% face coverage]
• Foreign exchange worth $ 1000 endorsed on the passport per person is a must or copy of the international credit card.
• Detailed personal covering letter addressed to The Visa Officer of the Embassy or consulate you are applying at. The letter should contain the applicant’s address, travel date, single entry visa request and valid contact number.
• Return ticket with ticket number
• Hotel booking confirmation as per travel
• If employed, an original leave letter or NOC (no objection certificate) on the company’s letterhead.
Flights: There are no non-stop direct flights so far from India to Indonesia. One reaches a destination in Indonesia via Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. However, Indonesian authorities have announced recently that by 2016 end, Garuda, National carrier of Indonesia, will start direct flights to Indonesia from Mumbai and New Delhi