indonesia

Capital: Jakarta

Language: Bahasa Indonesian

Temperature: from 20°C to 32°C

Best time of year to visit: May to October

Currency: Rupiah (Currency: IRD)

Exchange rate: 1 IRD =0.0005 RMB

Plug converter: Standard European plug with two round pins. 230 volts AC, 50Hz.

Country code: + 62

Flight: Major Chinese cities Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou have direct flight to Jakarta and Denpasar

Highlights

Indonesia is located in the tropics, the climate is mild, with two seasons: rainy and dry. The islands are surrounded by the South China Sea with beautiful sandy beaches. Further inland, there are tropical rainforests, rice paddies and whole country mountain ranges, complete with volcanic peaks that soar above 5000 meters.

Nature

World’s largest country comprised solely of islands: 17,508 total with 6,000 inhabited. It comprises five main islands: Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Sulawesi, and New Guinea. Four of the islands are shared with other nations: Borneo is shared with Malaysia and Brunei, Sebatik, located off the eastern coast of Kalimantan, shared with Malaysia, Timor is shared with East Timor, and the newly divided provinces of Papua and West Papua share the island of New Guinea with Papua New Guinea. Because part of New Guinea is Indonesian territory, the country can be said to straddle two continents, Asia and Oceania.

History

Indonesia is shaped by its geographic position, its natural resources, a series of human migrations and contacts, wars and conquests, as well as by trade, economics and politics.

From the 7th to 13th century, Hindu and Buddhist influences stretched over much of Indonesia. The earliest evidence of Islam in Indonesia dates to the 13th century in northern Sumatra; other Indonesian areas gradually adopted Islam which became the dominant religion in Java and Sumatra by the end of the 16th century to present.

Europeans arrived in Indonesia from the 16th century seeking to monopolise the trade in agricultural and natural resources, with the Dutch becoming the dominant European power.The Japanese invasion during WWII ended Dutch rule, and encouraged the previously suppressed Indonesian independence movement. Two days after the surrender of Japan in August 1945, Indonesia declared independence.

Culture

Indonesia’s cultural practices are strongly influenced by a multitude of religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Islam and Christianity.

87% Muslim making it the world’s largest Islam practicing country (12.7% of world’s Muslim population). Bali is the only majority practicing Hindu island in Indonesia.

Food

Most meals, including breakfast, are based around rice in Indonesia. Literally meaning "fried rice", nasi goreng is considered the national dish and can be found everywhere from street carts to restaurants. It is stir-fried rice spiced with sweet soy sauce, chilli, eggs, chicken, prawns or salted dried fish.

Sambals, a chili-based condiment, is a mainstay of the Indonesian cuisine.

Two foods adored by Indonesians are tempeh, fermented soybeans, and deep fried prawn crackers, which are eaten at the start of a meal.

Indonesia is the home of sate, meat skewers dipped in peanut sauce; one of the country's most popular dishes.

Desserts are a must in Indonesia, especially cendol which features shaved ice, tropical fruit, coconut milk and pandan flavored jelly.

Shopping

Indonesia is paradise for anyone who likes handicrafts and a bargain. Silver is very good value in Ubud. Wooden and stone sculptures depicting Balinese scenes are popular to bring home. Massage oils, soaps and other bath products are good souvenirs.

By the beach, one can get sarongs, surf gear and flip flops.

For food lover, buy shrimp crackers, indonesian coffee, chili sauce, dried fruits, chocolate and pre-package mee-goreng.

What to Pack

In general, due to hot weather, it is recommended to bring loose, natural fabrics clothes all year round, but warmer clothing is recommended when going to the highland region. Also bring sun screen, a hat and sun glasses. Beach and swimming wear, flip-flops or sandals are certainly a must when going to beach.