Travel To Indonesia

The world’s fourth most populace country – 240 million and counting is a sultry kaleidoscope that runs along the equator for 5000km. It may well be the last great adventure on Earth. From the western tip of Sumatra to the eastern edge of Papua is a nation that defies homogenisation. A land of so many cultures, peoples, animals, customs, plants, features, artworks and foods that it is like 100 countries melded into one. There may be those 300 spoken languages but virtually everybody can speak one language: Bahasa Indonesia, a tongue that helps unify this sprawling, chaotic collection of peoples with a past that’s had more drama than a picnic on Krakatau in say, 1883. Destructive colonialism, revolution, mass slaughter, ethnic warfare, dictatorship and more have been part of daily life in Indonesia in just the past 100 years. That’s one of the reasons why the national elections of 2009 are so remarkable: they were unremarkable.

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When to go
Indonesia is big, cheap, rough and effortless. It’s everything to everyone, a choose-your-own-adventure travel destination. With little more than a passport, sunscreen and a day’s notice, urban-fatigue victims arrive dazed at Denpasar to recover in comfortable Balinese resorts. With a bit of planning and preparation, explorers can put packs to their backs and lose themselves for two months – needing just time, energy and a keen sense of adventure as companions. In most parts of Indonesia, the wet season falls between October and April (low season), and the dry season between May and September (high season). Rain tends to come in sudden tropical downpours, but it can also rain nonstop for days. Though travel in the wet season is not usually a major problem in most parts of Indonesia, mud-clogged back roads can be a deterrent (or landslides on Java). The December to February rains can make travel more difficult in Nusa Tenggara, Kalimantan and Papua. The rains shift in Sumatra, peaking from October to January in the north, and from January to February in the south. In contrast, parts of the Moluccas literally shine in January.
It’s also good to be aware of holidays elsewhere if visiting Bali. School holidays and Christmas bring hordes of fun-seekers from Australia, for example, booking up rooms by the thousands. Europeans travel in July and August to a swath of islands, but usually not in numbers to make for anything more than enjoyable sunset drinking companions.

Cost & Money
Accommodation is usually the greatest expense of Indonesian travel, followed by special activities like tours, treks, dives and the like. But three square warung (simple eatery) meals can cost you as little as US$3 (about 10,000Rp or less per meal), but even if you dine in decent local restaurants, you still won’t spend much more than US$10 per day (around 30,000 Rp per meal) on food. Simply put, the more you live like a local, the less you will spend. If you confine yourself to Sumatra, Java and Nusa Tenggara, a shoestring traveller can spend as little as US$20 per day. A midrange budget starts at about US$50 per day, which will get you an air-conditioned hotel room, an occasional tour and car hire. Midrange accommodation is more expensive in Balinese resorts, so budget for at least US$70 per day there. Top-end travellers will end up spending anything above US$100 a day, although there are few places on earth where that amount can get such good value.
Accommodation prices in Maluku and Papua can be twice as high as in tourist towns, and transport costs on Kalimantan are relatively high.Transport expenses also increase once you get into the outer provinces. In Bali, Sumatra, Java and Nusa Tenggara there’s very little need to take to the air, but in Papua you often have no choice but to fly. Flying is more expensive than other forms of transport, though still cheap in dollar terms as new budget airlines are offering stiff competition.

Internet Resources
The following sites are all good for giving you a feel for current events in Indonesia; some go further and explore the ever-evolving culture of the country.

Antara ( This is the site for the official Indonesian news agency; it has a
searchable database.

Inside Indonesia ( Excellent website with news and thoughtful

Indonesia Traveling ( Fantastic site with detailed information
about Indonesia’s parks, nature reserves and the critters you might encounter. Also has links to
charter sailing boats and much more.

Jakarta Globe ( The top-notch new national English-language

Jakarta Post ( Indonesia’s original English-language daily; good
cultural coverage. ( Share knowledge and experiences with other
travellers about islands that have been Lonely Planet favourites from the start.

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