Facts for visitors: Helpful information for business and leisure visitors

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ETIQUETTE: A handshake is usually the first introduction in a business setting and is used as a greeting and farewell. It is recommended to address men as pak (equivalent to Mr) and women as ibu(equivalent to Mrs).

Visitors should also make an effort to use the right hand when giving money and objects to others. Visitors are expected to show respect towards religion, culture, and local values.

HEALTH: Stomach problems and dehydration are common health issues affecting visitors in Indonesia. If the worst happens, make sure that you drink lots of bottled water. It is also worth using this water for cleaning your teeth – avoid tap water whenever possible. High-quality health care is available in many hospitals in Jakarta. However, in remote regions and rural areas, finding a good health care service can become a problem. When visiting rural areas, visitors should carry mosquito repellent to protect themselves from mosquitoes carrying malaria or the dengue virus.

FOOD & ALCOHOL: Across the archipelago the main staple is nasi (rice), served up in many forms. Mi or mie (noodles) come in second position in the popularity contest. Nasi goreng and mie goreng are the most famous dishes in Indonesian cuisine. A pack of mie at the supermarket costs under Rp1000 ($0.10), or Rp15,000 ($1.55) in a restaurant.

Soto(soup) and curry are also common.

Although Islam is the religion for the majority of Indonesians, alcohol is widely available in most areas, especially in upscale restaurants and bars. Public displays of drunkenness, however, are strongly frowned upon in the larger cities, and are likely to make you a victim of crime or get you arrested by police. Do not drink and drive. The legal age to drink is 18.

CURRENCY: The Rupiah is the local currency. As of early November 2012, $1 was equal to roughly Rp9615. ATMs can be used to withdraw cash using internationally accepted cards. The machines can be found throughout the country, but are particularly easy to locate in big cities. It is advisable to bring dollars since they are generally accepted in all banks and moneychangers.

TIPPING: Hotels add a 10% service charge to the bill on top of the 10% tax. Some restaurants add a 5-15% service charge. If a service charge is not applied, it is advisable to add 10-15% to the bill. For taxis and other services, tipping is appreciated and it is common to round up the taxi fares to the nearest Rp10,000 ($1.04). Car-hire drivers may receive a larger tip.

VISA: Since January 2010, citizens from 63 countries and one region are eligible to apply for a visa on arrival (VOA) at certain airports and seaports. The VOA is for leisure travellers only and allows visitors to stay in Indonesia for up to 30 days, with a maximum of one extension for a maximum of 30 extra days at a local immigration office when accompanied by a passport. A 30-day VOA costs $25, and the visa extension costs Rp250,000 ($25). There are 20 airports, 18 seaports and 1 land/border crossing which facilitate VOA. A one-year business visa can be issued for people with work authorisation and permission from the Ministry of Manpower. This must be obtained by the employer.

TRANSPORT: Due to the size of the archipelago and a poor highway network, flying is the primary means of getting around the country. There are 20 international airports, with a number of domestic airlines offering frequent flights at affordable prices. People drive on the left side of the road. An international driving licence is required to rent or drive a car. Traffic in big cities, especially in Jakarta, can be very heavy during weekdays, so if you see yourself trapped in a traffic jam, consider getting an ojek (motorcycle taxi), which usually shuttle short distances down alleys and roads but will also do longer trips for an agreed price.

TOURISM: With more than 17,000 islands, Indonesia offers a wide range of touristic destinations, many of which have not been exploited yet. Bali, with more than 2.7m tourists arriving through its main international airport in 2011, is the most well-known island in the country. However, many other less touristic islands offer great locations to enjoy the beach and the sun, like Lombok or the Gili Islands, which lie to the west of Bali.


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