|Driving||U.S Driving Permit accepted|
|Currency||(IDR) Indonesian Rupiah|
|Telephones||Country Code 62, City Code Jakarta 21, Bandung 22, Surabaya 31|
Time: Indonesia spans three time zones:
Bangka, Balitung, Java, West and Central Kalimantan, Madura and Sumatra: GMT + 7 (West), GMT + 8 (Central), GMT + 9 (East).
Bali, Flores, South and East Kalimantan, Lombok, Sulawesi, Sumba, Sumbawa and Timor: GMT + 8.
Aru, Irian Jaya, Kai, Moluccas and Tanimbar: GMT + 9.
Electricity: Generally 220 volts AC, 50Hz, but 110 volts AC, 50Hz, in some rural areas.
Telephone: IDD is available to main cities. Country code: 62 (followed by 22 for Bandung, 21 for Jakarta, 61 for Medan and 31 for Surabaya). Outgoing international code: 00. Many hotel lobbies have public phones which take credit cards and phone cards. State-operated phone booths (WARTEL), which work on a pay-as-you-leave basis, can be found throughout the country. For emergencies, dial 110 (police) or 118 (ambulance for traffic accidents) or 119 (ambulance for general health) or 113 (fire department).
Climate: Tropical climate varying from area to area. The eastern monsoon brings the driest weather (June to September), while the western monsoon brings the main rains (December to March). Rainstorms occur all year. Higher regions are cooler.
Required clothing: Lightweights with rainwear. Warmer clothes are needed for cool evenings and upland areas. Smart clothes such as jackets are required for formal occasions, and it is regarded inappropriate to wear halter-neck tops and shorts anywhere other than the beach or at sports facilities.
Food & Drink: The staple diet for most Indonesians is rice (nasi), which is replaced on some islands with corn, sago, cassava and sweet potatoes. Rice dishes include nais campur, nasi uduk and rasirames. Indonesia’s spices make its local cuisine unique. Specialities include: rijstafel (a Dutch concoction consisting of a variety of meats, fish, vegetables and curries), sate (chunks of beef, fish, pork, chicken or lamb cooked on hot coals and dipped in peanut sauce). Almost every type of international cuisine is available in Jakarta, the most popular being Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese and Korean sate ajam (broiled, skewered marinated chicken), ajam ungkap (Central Java; deep-fried, marinated chicken), sate lileh (Bali; broiled, skewered fish sticks), ikan acar kuning (Jakarta; lightly marinated fried fish served in a sauce of pickled spices and palm sugar), soto (a soup dish with dumpling, chicken and vegetables), gado-gado (Java; a salad of raw and cooked vegetables with peanut and coconut milk sauce), babi guling (Bali; roast suckling pig) and opor ajam (boiled chicken in coconut milk and light spices). Indonesians like their food highly spiced and the visitor should always bear this in mind. In particular look out for the tiny, fiery hot, red and green peppers often included in salads and vegetable dishes. Seafood is excellent and features highly on menus everywhere (with salt and fresh water fish, lobsters, oysters, prawns, shrimp, squid, shark and crab all available). Coconuts, which are found everywhere, are often used for cooking. Vegetables and fresh fruit, such as bananas, papaya, pineapple and oranges, are available throughout the year; some tropical fruit such as mango, watermelon and papaya is seasonal. A feature of Jakarta are the many warungs (street stalls). Each specialises in its own dish or drink, but travellers are probably best advised not to try them without the advice of an Indonesian resident. There are restaurants in the hotels which, along with many others, serve European, Chinese and Indian food.
Indonesia is a major producer and exporter of coffee and tea, which is available on almost every street corner. Bali produces a delicious rice wine called brem while in Tana Toraja (southern Sulawesi), visitors may wish to sample a Tuak, a famously potent local brew. Local pilsner beer is also available.
Shopping: Favourite buys are batik cloth, woodcarvings and sculpture, silverwork, woven baskets and hats, bamboo articles, krises (small daggers), paintings and woven cloth. At small shops, bartering might be necessary. Shopping hours: Mon-Sun 1000-2100. Most local markets open either very early in the morning or at dusk.
Tipping: Tipping is normal and 10 per cent is customary, except where a service charge is included in the bill. Taxi fees should be rounded up to the nearest number. Small change is rarely given and visitors should carry a supply of their own.
Currency: Rupiah (Rp) = 100 sen. Notes are in denominations of Rp100,000, 50,000, 20,000, 10,000, 5000, 1000, 500 and 100. Coins are in denominations of Rp1000, 500, 100, 50 and 25.
Credit & debit cards: MasterCard, American Express and Visa are widely accepted in Jakarta and the main tourist areas. In more remote areas, it is best to carry cash in small denominations. Check with your credit or debit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services which may be available.
Travellers cheques: Limited merchant acceptance but can be easily exchanged at banks and larger hotels. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take travellers cheques in US Dollars or Pounds Sterling.
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