Travel Tips

Indonesia comprises over 18,108 tropical islands, scattered over 3,000 miles of ocean. Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago.

Indonesia’s earliest history dates back to the kingdom of Hindu Princes. In the 15th century, Islamic teachings reached the archipelago with the arrival Muslim traders.

Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world. It has the world’s largest Islamic population and Java is one of the most densely populated areas in the world.

Area: 1,919,000 sq km
Capital: Jakarta
Population: 203 million (including 300 ethnic groups)
Language: Bahasa Indonesia (official) Javanese is the most widely spoken local dialect.
English is the most common foreign language.
Religion: Muslim 88%
Buddhist, Hindu and Christian 12%
Major cities: Bandung, Surabaya, Medan and Semarang
Currency: Rupiah (Rp)
Banknotes: 500, 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 and 100,000 rupiah
Exchange facilities are rare in remote areas. The US dollar is the most convertible currency. Credit cards are only accepted at major hotels, restaurants, and travel agencies.

Transportation

Communication

Economy

Business hours

Banks

Health

Climate

Travelers Tips

Eating Out

What to Wear

Currency

Customs

Health

Passports

Visas

Taxes

Transportation

Taxi : Taxis are gauged by meter. Carry small change as taxi drivers are often unable to change large bills. The other forms of public transportation include bajaj, and bemo which seats six passengers.

Bus : fares are cheap.

Driving : Drive on the left side of the road. Chauffeured cars can be hired cheaply. Rental cars are also available in major cities.

Communication

Domestic calls from public telephones cost Rp. 100 for three minutes. Long distance calls can be made in telephone kiosks (wartel) in larger cities. Public telephones and facilities are available at government telephone offices, hotel lobbies, and malls.

Economy

Major exports: coffee, rubber, timber, tea, textiles, garments, tobacco, oil, gas, bauxite and aluminum.

Major imports: Machinery, oil product, vehicles, base metals, foodstuffs, beverages and tobacco.

Major trading partners: Singapore, Japan, US, Taiwan, and South Korea.

Business hours

Government offices are open from 8.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday, and 8.00am to 1.00pm on Saturday. On Friday there is a midday break at 11.30am

Banks

Bank Indonesia is the Central Bank. There are also many private and foreign banks. Normal banking hours are from 8.00am to 12.00noon and 1.00pm to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday and 8.00am to 11.00 am on Saturday

Health

Medical facilities are available in cities and resorts, but are poor elsewhere. Ensure all food is well cooked and drink only boiled or bottled water.

Climate

Indonesia enjoys a hot and humid tropical climate with two main seasons. The wet season lasts from November to April and the dry season from May to October. Temperature ranges from 24 to 35 degrees Celsius.

Traveler’s Tips

Handshakes are customary for both men and women on introduction or greeting. Avoid giving and receiving things with the left hand. Do not raise your voice or point with the index finger. Keeping calm in trying situations will give better results than getting mad.

Eating Out

There is a great variety of choices ranging from Indonesian cuisine to a wide range of international cuisine. Indonesian dishes are well known for bold, rich flavor and hot spices.

What to Wear

Light and cool clothes are suitable.
For formal occasions, use shirt and tie or long sleeved batik shirt.
Women are expected to dress modestly, This means not showing the armpit, and covering the upper legs until the knees.

For further information:
Director General of Tourism
Jalan Merdeka Barat No.16-19
Jakarta 10110
Tel. (62) 21- 3838 217
Fax (62) 21- 3867 589

Kamar Dagang dan Industri Indonesia
Chandra Building, 4th Floor
Jalan MH. Thamrin
Jakarta Pusat, Indonesia
Tel: (62) 21 310 7441
Fax: (62) 21 315 0241

Currency

Import and Export:
Limit to imported local currency (Indonesian Rupiah-IDR) up to IDR 5,000,000 and must be declared to customs, for amounts up to IDR 10,000,000 by filling out a form from the Central Bank.

Amounts exceeding IDR 10,000,000 require approval from the Central Bank or Internal Affairs. Approval can be obtained from the headquarters of the Central Bank in Jakarta, local branches or Indonesian representatives abroad. Violation will result in heavy fines.

Import and export of foreign currencies is unlimited.

Customs

Import: Free import by adults only

  1. Tobacco products (no limitations for diplomats): 50 cigars or 200 cigarettes or 100 grams of tobacco
  2. 1 litre of liquor
  3. a reasonable quantity of perfume
  4. personal goods up to a value of USD 250 per passenger or USD 1,000 per family

Additional information

  • Indonesia is member of the CITES (See term & definitions)
  • (video) cameras, portable radio cassette recorder, binoculars and sports equipment may be imported by tourists. They must also be taken upon departure.

Warning

  1. Passengers not entering on a tourist visa may have to pay duties for photo and film cameras unless this equipment is registered in their passport by the Indonesian customs on former occasion. Importation of electronic equipment is not permitted at all.
  2. Film pre-recorders, video tapes, video laser disc, records and computer software must be screened by censor board.

Prohibited

  1. any kind of the following goods without a licence: chinese medicines and printing, narcotics, firearms and ammunition, pornography, fresh fruit, cordless telephones.
  2. any commercial or merchandised goods as part of baggage. Infringements will be charged IDR 25,000 per item. The use of cardboard boxes as baggage is discouraged.

Crew: Same regulations apply as for passengers.

Pets

Birds (other than parrots and parakeets), cats and dogs must be accompanied by health certificate (and photocopy) issued in country of origin within 5 days prior to shipment stating that the animals are free from disease and have not been in a yellow fever infected area for a period of at least 5 days prior to shipment.

Inspection upon arrival at the airport must be be advised 5 days previous to arrival so that a veterinarian will be available at the airport

Furthermore, pets must be accompanied by:

  1. import licence, to be obtained prior to arrival from ministry of agriculture, Jalan Salemba Raya 16, 2nd floor, Jakarta, Attn. Kesehatan Hewan (Animal Health) and
  2. Copy of animal passport
  3. Copy of passport of owner
  4. Certificate from the Dept, of Agriculture, Directorate General of Farming, which may be issued by consular sections of embassies abroad/

    Cats, dogs, monkeys: additional rabies inoculation certificate showing that vaccination was effected within one year prior to departure

    Pets may enter a passengers checked baggage, in the cabin or as cargo.

Prohibited Pets

  1. Parrots and parakeets
  2. Birds, cats, dogs, monkey and other animals are strictly prohibited in the districts of Bali, West Nusa Tenggara, East Nusa Tenggara, Papua (Papua), Madura, Maluku, West Timor, West Kalimantan and smaller islands surrounding the main island of Sumatera. Failure to comply will result in the immediate destruction of the animal concerned.

Free Export

  1. 1000 gr of tobacco or 50 cigars or 200 cigarettes for persons of 21 years and older
  2. Less than 2 litres of alcoholic beverages in unopened bottles
  3. Personal goods up to a value of IDR 1,000,000

Baggage Clearance

Applicable to airports of Fenpasa Bali (Ngurah Rai-DPS), Jakarta (Soekarno-Hatta Intl CGK) or Medan (Polonia-MES) only.

Baggage must be cleared at first airport of entry of first transit.

Exempt

  1. Baggage of passengers arriving at DPS, CGK or MES and connecting with the same aircraft to DPS, CGK, or MES, in which be cleared at final destination.
  2. Baggage of passengers transiting Indonesia with a destination outside Indonesia

Health

Required, except for transit passengers not leaving the airport vaccination against: Yellow fever, If arriving within 6 days after leaving or transiting 31 countries with infected areas or countries situated in endemic areas (see general health information).

Recommended
Malaria prophylaxis. Malaria risk exists throughout the year in the whole country except in the Jakarta Municipality, big cities and the main tourist resorts of Java and Bali. P. Falciparum is highly resistant to chloroquine and resistant to sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine reported. P. Vivak resistant to chloroquine reported in Papua (Papua).

Recommended prophylaxis in risk areas C plus P in Papua: MEF

Notes:
Not required for those not leaving the airport in the islands concerned.

Passports

Passports are required, except for holders of:

  1. Emergency certificate issued by Indonesian Immigration office
  2. Laissez-passer issued by the United Nations
  3. Seaman Book or Seafarers Identity document, provided traveling on duty.
  4. Hong Kong (SAR), China Document of Identity (DI) or certificate of Identity (CI) issued to residents of Hong Kong
  5. Stateless persons holding documents stating their status issued by the country in which they reside

Validity

Passports must be valid at least 6 months after date of entry, not applicable to nationals and alien residents of Indonesia.

Special restrictions

1. The Indonesian authorities do not recognize
a. Loose-leaf seaman certificate presented by merchant seamen instead or a seaman book.
b. Passports and seaman books issued by the Government of Israel. These passengers must obtain a travel affidavit from a representation of Indonesia.

2. Passengers, other than nationals of Indonesia, who wish to travel to the Indonesian province or Papua must obtain a special permit “Surat Jalan” after arrival in Indonesia from the Dinas Intel Pam Pol MABAK in Jakarta or other regional police headquarters in Biak or Jayapura. It normally takes about 2 days to obtain such a permit . Upon arrival in Papua visitors must report to the local police office. Exempt from the special permit are holders of diplomatic passports or of a special permit issued by the Indonesian Ministry of Information (for reporters).

3. Crew, passport, general declaration and crew identification card required (see terms & definitions).

4. Military, same regulations as for passengers apply.

Taxes

Airport Tax

Is levied on air passengers as follows; if departing from:

1. Jakarta (Soekarno-Hatta) and Denpasar (Bali island) on

a. International flights: IDR 100.000,-
b. Domestic flights ;     IDR 30.000,-

2. all other airports

a. International flights;    IDR 20.000,-
b. Domestic flights;        IDR 25.900,-

10% VAT will be added to all domestic taxes

PLACE OF PAYMENT – Airport of departure

Exempt from paying the tax are:

  1. children under 2 year, provided not occupying a seat in the aircraft
  2. transit passengers in possession of through tickets and continuing their journey the same day (not applicable in Jakarta unless passengers stay within customs area/transit room)
  3. officials on duty with travel order of the directorate general of air communications
  4. official guests of the Indonesian government
  5. crew members

Fiscal Tax

IDR 1,000,000,- is levied on passengers (incl. nationals of Indonesia) of any age when leaving the country.

Place of Payment – Airport of departure in Indonesia

The following persons are exempt from fiscal tax:

1. those (incl nationals of Indonesia) who live abroad permanently and who

a. have stayed in Indonesia less than 6 months (tourists)
b. have not undertaken any business activities in Indonesia. This exemption is valid only once in any 12-month period

2. nationals of Indonesia in air/sea crews and traveling on duty
3. diplomatic or consular officials of foreign states and their dependants (provided not conducting business of profession
4. resident expatriate children under the age of 12 holding a KITAS.

Tourist Visas

Visa policy as of May 28, 2007

Tourist visas are only intended for tourists who are visiting Indonesia. The Indonesian government’s tourist visa system has three different categories:

Pay-for-visa-on-arrival (POA)

Available for citizens of 63 nations:

Algiers, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Iceland, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Laos, Latvia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Maldives, Malta, Meksiko, Monaco, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Peoples Republic of China, Qatar, Rumania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia,          South Africa,  South Korea, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America,

The cost of the 30-day (only) tourist visa is US$25/person for a 30-day visa and US$10/person for a 3-day visa.

 

Visitors from countries with visa-on-arrival facility will have to go to a special counter to have their passports stamped with the on-arrival visa before going to the immigration clearance desk. The POA visa is NOT extendable or renewable. A visa issued on arrival can be extended only in extraordinary circumstances such as natural disasters, accident, or illness.

Visa purchasing takes 15-30 minutes per applicant, depending on the number of persons applying. Payment counters, a bank counter, and a money changer have been set up to process payments.

The visa on arrival facility is only available at the following international gateways:

Airports: Medan, Pekanbaru, Padang, Jakarta, Surabaya, Bali, Manado, Halim Perdana Kusuma in Jakarta, Adisucipto in Yogyakarta, Adisumarmo in Solo, Selaparang in Mataram, Lombok, Sepinggan in Balikpapan, Kalimantan, Hasanudddin in Makasar, Sulawesi, and Eltari in Kupang, Timor.

Seaports: Batam, Tanjung Uban (Bintan), Belawan (Medan), Sibolga (Sumatra), Dumai, Teluk Bayar (Padang, Sumatra), Padang Bai (Bali), and Jayapura (Papua), Teluk Bayar in (Padang, Sumatra), Bitung, Tanjung Balaikarimun, Tanjung Mas (Semarang),
Tenau (Kupang), Pare Pare (Sulawesi), Bintang Pura (Tanjung Pinang), and
Soekarno-Hatta (Makassar, Sualwesi)

Visa-free facility

Available for citizens of 11 countries whose governments extend visa free facility to Indonesian nationals. Included in the 11 countries and administrative districts that are granted the 30-day visa-free facility are:

Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, the Philippines, Hongkong Special Administrative Region, Macau Special Administrative Region, Chile, Morocco, Peru, and Vietnam.

Visitors with the visa-free facility will be able to proceed directly to the immigration clearance counter after deplaning.

Citizens of other countries

Citizens of countries that are not on the visa on arrival or visa free lists (above) will be required to apply for a visa overseas (in their home country) before entering Indonesia. Citizens of any country wishing to stay more than 30 days must also apply for an appropriate visa (cultural visit or business) at their nearest Indonesian Embassy or Consulate before traveling to Indonesia.

Tour Agents are able to arrange express handling for groups at no additional charge by presenting the completed immigration cards, passports and applicable visa fee. Passengers who overstay their visa period for a short period of time can be processed immediately at the airport by paying US$ 20 for every day they overstayed their 30-day visa. Airlines that experience technical difficulties or delayed flights can apply for their passengers to be exempted from paying any overstay penalties.

The current tourist visa policy cuts the length of stay for tourist visas from the previous 60 days to 30 days. It is NO LONGER possible to stay in Indonesia more than 30 days on a tourist visa.

According to Indonesian regulations, arriving tourists may be asked to produce the following documents (although a return ticket is often enough):

  • Itinerary (original/copy) or a letter from travel agents, airline, steamship company, confirming the purchase of tickets into Indonesia (Note the officer may ask to see the copy of the original airplane ticket).
  • Letter of Employment, indicating the employment status of the applicant. For retirees, please submit proof of retirement income.
  • Copy of US Permanent Residence/Visa/Valid I-20 from schools/universities.
  • Copy of bank statement, indicating the current applicants available funds at least two weeks prior to the date of obtaining visa.

If you want to stay in Indonesia LONGER than 30 days, you must leave the country and re-enter on a new tourist visa. People commonly fly to Singapore or Timor for this. There is no stipulation on the time you must stay outside Indonesia, in fact, you can return the same day if you want and be issued a new visa upon your arrival in Indonesia, with the same criteria/cost as your first arrival.

Overstaying your Visa

Overstaying a tourist visa (or any visa) is a serious offense in Indonesia. You will be blacklisted (can not enter Indonesia again for a year or more) and fined US$20-30/day for every day you overstayed your visa and then deported once you have paid the fine. The maximum fine for overstaying a visa (more than 60 days) is Rp 25 million and 5 years in jail. You will be kept at the immigration quarantine (not a pleasant place!) until you have paid the fee and/or the decision has been made to deport you. Please take this seriously as this is not one of those problems that you can easily bribe your way out of.

If you inadvertently overstay … go immediately to the immigration office once you realize it and explain the circumstances. Delaying the report will only make the situation worse. There are only a few ‘legitimate’ reasons for overstay … the main one being that you were ill and in the hospital or unable to travel. Once you realize you will not be able to leave before your visa expires, ask a friend to officially report your illness in writing to the local immigration office so that you officially acknowledge that you have overstayed your legal stay limit. This will lessen the penalties. Don’t wait until the immigration catches you!

Social/Cultural Visit Visa (Sosbud)

Persons coming to Indonesia for short term stays, not as tourists and not for business, should apply for another category of visit visa … the Social/Cultural Visit Visa (Visa Kunjungan Sosial Budaya or SOSBUD) at an Indonesian consular office overseas. A letter from a sponsor in Indonesia is required to issue the visa. You should also have a copy of their ID card (KTP) to present along with the letter. This visa status is used by persons coming to study, for research, training programs or to visit family members (for example, expat college age children who want to stay longer than a tourist visa would allow). This visa is referred to with the code – 421.

The maximum stay without going out of the country for the social/culture visa holder is 180 days. The initial visa is issued for a 60-day stay and can be extended in Indonesia in the Immigration office in the area you are visiting for one month for each of four allowed extensions (2+1+1+1+1=6). The extension must be done at least 7 days before expiration, and require filling out several documents each time, supplying photographs, and paying a fee of approximately Rp 200,000 each time. It is a nuisance, but much cheaper than flying to Singapore every two months for a visa renewal, which you would have to do if you entered on a tourist or business visa. For the last two extensions (in the 180 days), they must be done at the Department of Justice (Kehakiman).

Regulations necessitate a 3-day processing for these visas in Singapore, so be sure to allow the time. There are reports that some ‘facilitating agencies’ can in fact still process visas in one working day, and that the staff in the Consular section at the Singapore embassy can refer you to these companies. Of course, the fees are significantly higher than the usual method.

Don’t forget also to get a STMD (Surat Tanda Melapor Diri) if you’re planning to be here for the full 180 days. The STMD is a resort report acknowledging your residence, which is issued by the resort police office nearest your residence. The information required is mostly from your passport and includes arrival date, departure date, etc. Their is no fee, but a small tip may help expedite the process.

After the six months has past, you have to leave the country, obtain a new visa, and the same procedure starts again. The longer you stay the more difficult it can become to have your visa extended as immigration officials may become increasingly suspicious about your activities in Indonesia. They may refuse to accept your sponsor and may ask you to leave the country almost immediatly (perhaps granting you one additional extension only).  A social-visit visa is not the best option for a longer term stay, but apart from the KITAS/KITAP, there is no other option.

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