The Republic of Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world comprising 17,504 large and small tropical islands fringed with white sandy beaches. Indonesia has a total population of more than 215 million people from more than 200 ethnic groups.
Among the most well known islands are Sumatra, Java, Bali, Kalimantan (formerly Borneo), Sulawesi (formerly Celebes), the Maluku Islands (or better known as Moluccas, the original Spice Islands) and Papua.
The Indonesia Rupiah is also called IDR. Information of daily exchange rate can be found in newspapers or from the net. Some Indonesia banks provide this on their websites.
IDR and US$ are the most acceptable currencies.
Most tourism resorts have money changer facilities. When you are traveling to remote areas it is advisable to exchange your money and clear your check. Credit cards are only acceptable in big hotels, restaurants, shops and traveling agencies.
Being a tropical country, Indonesia is blessed with two seasons, namely dry and rainy. Dry usually occurs from June to September and the rest is rainy season. Sunshine is abundant except in rainy season when the sky tends to be cloudy. It is advisable to visit Indonesia during dry season.
Indonesia’s climate can be hot and humid, so bringing along sunblocks and moisturizers during dry season is recommended. No need to bring umbrellas during rainy season because they are abundant and can easily be bought even in small shops. You might need extra clothing though, and you can purchase them almost anywhere.
Make sure that your visit does not coincide with holiday festivities such as Muslim holiday Eid (or Lebaran, like Indonesians are fond to say), because the traffic tends to be heavy especially in Java island. Unless you are interested in seeing the festivals up close and experiencing them, of course.
The Bunaken National Marine Park is located in the Bay of Manado, and it’s where you’ll want to go if diving or snorkeling is your thing. These deep waters offer fantastic visibility and some of the world’s most biodiverse marine life. Keep an eye out for tuna, sharks, rays, turtles, and sea snakes. Entry to the marine park is 50,000 IDR ($4 USD) per person, though children under 10 enter free.
Yogyakarta is Indonesia’s cultural hub and is a much less industrial city compared to Jakarta. There is an interesting blend of old customs with modern living here, and there is actually still a sultan. It’s a hip place filled with street art, galleries, cafes, great nightlife, and a strong arts community. Yogyakarta is also a good jumping off point for exploring Borobudur and Prambanan.