With so many islands to choose from and hundreds of languages to decipher, there's a lot to know about Indonesia. To make things cruisy - as they should be on holiday - we've made a note of the basic information to help you along the way. For more insider info about Indonesia, read on.
Australian passport holders may be granted a 30-day visa on arrival for a fee of US$25 (this is not available to foreigners entering Indonesia through the land border between East Timor and Indonesian West Timor or to foreigners entering Indonesian West Papua). Some airlines flying from Australia to Jakarta and Bali may offer a visa processing service onboard the flight. As always, make sure your passport has at least 6 months’ validity from your planned date of return to Australia. Please be aware that this information is only a guideline. For up-to-the-minute visa information, contact your local Embassy or Consulate of Indonesia.
The Indonesian Rupiah is the currency of Indonesia. The exchange rate between the Australian Dollar and the Indonesian Rupiah changes constantly, so keep an eye on the exchange rate and purchase your cash when the rate is at its best. For safe spending while overseas, consider using a credit or debit card.
Eating and drinking like a king happens on a daily basis in Indonesia. With taste sensations that are as cheap as chips, you can swap your budget mee goreng for fresh nasi goreng. Travelling across Indonesia will present many different regional dishes but you can bet on getting real deal satay chicken – the national dish of Java. Bite into Indonesia's more atypical delicacies such as fried insects, chicken feet and the pungent durian fruit (though note it’s prohibited on public transport and hotels in most places). Indonesia’s signature spices of garlic, ginger, cumin and coriander feature heavily in delicious curries – be sure to try the popular rendang curry, a dry beef stew that boasts a taste and texture that will blow your mind. Bakso is a meatball and noodle soup very popular among students in Indonesia – and apparently US President Obama, who once tried it on a visit to Jakarta. For an authentic experience, grab a plastic stool near any sidewalk bakso stand and slurp away.
While it may be home to the largest Muslim population in the world, Indonesia still manages to put a party on every night, albeit one predominantly targeted at tourists and expats. In Jakarta, you can take your pick from hundreds of bars and clubs, with many of them piled into the Central Business District. Bali, of course, is the other prime nightlife area of Indonesia, best experienced at the bars and clubs that line Kuta beach and the Seminyak district. For a more traditional Balinese style of party, watch the cultural dancers and dine on local food at one of the venues in Ubud. A country made up of hundreds of islands means the party doesn’t stop outside the major cities – world-class DJs are often found spinning tunes at offshore venues on idyllic islands. Nightlife, of course, doesn’t have to involve getting tanked - the Indonesians are renowned for their spectacular traditional song and dance performances so lay off the booze one night and get some fascinating Indo culture instead – karaoke joints and bowling alleys are popular hangouts in the cities.