Indonesia

IndonesiaIndonesiaIndonesia ist the largest archipelago and the fourth most populated country in the world. Consisting of five main islands and 30 smaller archipelagos, it has a total of 17.508 islands of which about 6.000 are inhabited. It stretches 5.150 km between the Australian and Asian continental mainlands and divides the Pacific and Indian Oceans at the Equator. The name Indonesia is composed of two Greek words: "Indos" which means Indian, and "Nesos" meaning islands.

The Capital of Indonesia is Jakarta. For passengers travelling to Indonesia, passports must be valid at least 6 months from date of entry into Indonesia. If valid less than 6 months - passengers will not be permitted to travel.

Getting around

The only rapid means of long-distance travel within Indonesia is the plane. Prices are low by international standards, with more or less any domestic return flight available for under US$100 even on short notice, and fares for a fraction of that if you plan ahead. The hardest part is often finding what carriers serve what route and making a reservation, as many companies have not yet discovered the joys of the Internet, much less set up online booking engines.

Another popular means of transport in Indonesia is by Boat. Indonesia is all islands and consequently ferries have long been the most popular means of inter island travel. The largest company is PELNI, which visits practically every inhabited island in Indonesia. Schedules are notional, creature comforts sparse and safety records poor. Try to scout out what, if any, safety devices are on board and consider postponing your trip if the weather looks bad.

Rail is also a popular means of transport.  PT Kereta Api runs trains across most of Java and some parts of Sumatra. The network was originally built by the Dutch, and few new lines have been built since the Independence. Double-tracking of the most congested lines have been done, though, and is still ongoing. Maintenance is spotty and derailments and crashes occur occasionally.

There are a number of health risks associated with travel to Indonesia and medical advice should be taken at least three weeks before departing. Malaria is a year round risk except in Jakarta, other large cities and the tourist resorts of Java and Bali. The dengue fever mosquito is found throughout Indonesia and visitors should be aware of a significant increase in reported cases of dengue fever throughout all the country's provinces during the rainy season. Outbreaks of chikungunya fever, also from mosquitoes, have occurred regularly in Indonesia in recent years. Visitors to Java and Sumatra are advised to ensure all polio inoculations are up to date before travel. Outbreaks of bird flu have also occurred.

What to see and do

Beach ResortBeach ResortWhen it comes to Indonesia, there are few activities that aren't available. Every imaginable water sport is conducted here, with locations for diving, snorkeling, surfing and windsurfing scattered around the archipelago. Sumatra, Kalimantan and Papua have plentiful jungle trekking options, while climbers should get a grip on the rocks of Java or Bali.

Attractions in Indonesia are amazing and give visitors endless things to do. Some of the best include viewing the volcanic sceneries in Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park on Java. The island is also home to the grungy metropolis of Jakarta and the historic Yogyakarta. Here you can find glitzy nightclubs to traditional puppet theatre. The neighbour island of Bali is an attraction in itself, luring visitors with white sands of Kuta beaches, endless surfing spots and Ubud's cultural attractions.

Sumatra offers visits to traditional towns such as Bukit Lawang and Bukittinggi and stunning landscape. The giant island of Borneo shares its jungle treks with visitors and native orang-utans alike. A lumbering ferry line connects all the island's. attractions and is an adventure itself. The best time is visit is between April and October during the dry season which also makes transport easier.

Gunung Kawi

At the bottom of a lush green valley is one of Bali's oldest, most charming and certainly largest ancient monuments. Gunung Kawi consists of 10 rock-cut candi (shrines), memorials cut out of the rock face in imitation of actual statues. They stand in 7m-high (23ft-high) sheltered niches cut into the sheer cliff face.

Kelimutu

Set in plunging craters at the summit of a volcano, the colored lakes of Kelimutu are undoubtedly the most spectacular sight in Nusa Tenggara. Astonishingly, the lakes periodically change hue - today one may be iridescent turquoise, its neighbor chocolate brown and a third lake dark green.

Lore Lindu National Park

This large and remote national park has barely been touched by tourism. It's a wonderful area for trekking, rich in exotic plant and animal life. The butterflies there can be larger than a human hand. It's also home to several indigenous tribes who wear colorful clothing for their traditional ceremonies.

Climate

Indonesia is a tropical country, and the climate is fairly even all year round. There is no such thing as an autumn or winter, the year being roughly divided into two distinct seasons, 'wet' and 'dry'.

The East Monsoon, from June to September brings dry weather while the West Monsoon, from December to March, brings rain. The transitional period between these two seasons alternates between gorgeous sun-filled days and occasional thunderstorms

Accommodation

Whether you are looking for a shack on the beach or a 5 star health resort, Indonesia accommodation covers all bases. Depending on the nature of your visit, you have the choice between vacation lodgings depending on your budget: Health Resorts, luxury 5 star hotels, hotels with business services such as broadband connection or budget accommodation to stay during a surf trip, all varieties of accommodation can be found throughout Indonesia's many islands

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