Useful Information

 Customs and Traditions.

Facts for the Visitors
The rage and variety of cultural and artistic expression in this sprawling archipelago is astounding, and it’s often advisable to know the customs and tradition when visiting places.Even total strangers often exchange greeting and pleasantries when they meet. A friendly “hello” is often appreciated –or “table” as they say in maluku and other eastern part of Indonesia. The north Sumatran (Batak) equivalent is “horas”.
“terima kasih” ,or just a plain “thank you” is understood everywhere, and is certainly appreciated as a gesture of acknowledgment when receiving any kind of favor.Indonesian expression of welcome vary greatly from place to place, and can be quite elaborate –to the point of staging welcoming dances and ceremonies-depending on the local custom prevailing and visitor ‘s perceived standing .Ceremonies, in fact ,are an important part of tradition in most part of Indonesia. Besides the casual ones such as that are held to welcome visitors, there are of course the important rituals, many of which based on the religious beliefs of people or are held to mark particular milestones In the human life cycle. To this category belong the more serious ceremonies such as the ngaben cremations of Bali, the kwangkay death rituals of east Kalimantan of the toraja, the royal r-burial rites of east nusa tenggara.

Also of a religions nature but different in mood and nature are the tabut processions of west Sumatra and Bengkulu and the sekaten fairs in Yogyakarta, both of which take place every tenth day of the month muharam, which is the first month of moselem year. The Chinese population of the west Kalimantan still faithfully observe toa peh kong and cap goh meh to celebrate the new year, while the tengger population on mountain bromo in east java their kasada offering feast, which is held once in the lunar year under full moon around the volcano’s crater.
Many of Indonesia’ s traditional dance are equally founder on either regions of tradition. Among them are the “seundati” dance of aceh, the kecak dance of Bali, the padoa dance which is regularly held in sabu, east Nusa Tenggara, and also the bamboo gila dance of northern Maluku. Old traditions obviously live on strongest among the isolated tribes, such as the baduy of southern banten in west java, the sakai of the riau islands, the toala of central Sulawesi, the anak dalam in jambi, the bali Aga (“original Balinese”) people around trunyan in Bali, the people of mentawai island in west Sumatra, the dayak of Kalimantan.

 Exploring nature

Nature has blessed Indonesia with unparallel wealth. However, certain mater must be kept in mind when visiting the country’s natural parks of reserves, which are usually equipped with adequate if bare-to- the bones visitors facilities, including accommodation or camping grounds. First and foremost, of course, there are the considerations of environmental preservation and personal safety. it is important to be well prepared and to heed the regulations prescribed by the park preserve authorities. Normally, permits for visits are required.

Among the best known parks and reserves are Ujung Kulon, on Java’s western tip, Gunung Leisure in northern Sumatr, indonesia’s biggest. More easy accessible, although smaller, are Baluran, Maru Beriri and Sukamde beach in east Java, the mount Gede – Pangrango park and the reserves and “turtle beaches” along west Java’s south coast. More distant but well worth a visit is komodo in east nusa tenggara, home of the prehistoric giant komodo lizard.

No permits are needed, however, to enjoy the many spectacular views which the Indonesian landscape offers. There are, for instance, the Anai Gorge at the rim of Bukittinggi in Wet Sumatra, Mount Bromo in East Java, the colored lakes of Kalimutu, flores, and many more.

Two sports which have of late gained many followers in Indonesia are mountaineering and spelunking, pastimes for which the country is exceedingly well sited. Volcanoes and mountains abound in Indonesia and caves of all kinds that are worth exploring can be found almost in every province. Again, good preparation and a through knowledge of the nature and hazards of the sport are essential.

For the marine sports and recreation, the seas surrounding the thousands of islands offer a wealth of opportunities. Bunaken and some of other islands in the province of north Sulawesi are world famous for the un-spoilt splendor of their coral reefs. But even as close to Jakarta as in the seribu islands group of the Jakarta Bay, wonderful reefs can be found.

Most of those sites have dive centers where trained and certified guises as well as diving and snorkeling equipment can be hired. Ask your directions from the experts.

Surfers from many parts of the word have since long known and marked the best spots for engaging in the sport in Indonesia. Among those already widely known are Kuta and Uluwatuin Bali, and Lagundri Beach on the island of Nias. Thera many more, however, as there is no shortage of beaches in this country of more that 13.000 islands.

Sights and moods may drastically change as one moves from sea and lowland plains to the alpine heights of the country’s tallest peaks. Indonesian has a plethora of sights and experiences to offer the visitor , and it is impossible to mention them all.

 The trail – of history

Although of the earlier episodes of history not much is left today asides from relics and ruins it is true to say that in a spiritual sense ancient history often continues to live among many of the peoples of this country. Old graves may be hallowed and ancient relics revered. It is wise, therefore, to refrain fro destructive or irreverent behavior when visiting such sites.

Jakarta’s National Museum offers a good comprehensive introduction into the country’s history. So does the Jakarta City museum for the Indonesian capital city. Other sites and landmarks close to tourist center such as Jakarta, Surabaya or Bukit Tinggi may lend valueable clues to the course of history in this large archipelago.

The area around the Jakarta fish market and the old Sunda Kelapa port are loaded with mementos of a tumultuous past, when European maritime trading power vied for control of the archipelago.

Old megaliths in remote place such as Sumba and Flores testify to the presence of early civilizations on those islands, while grand old traditional houses in west and north Sumatra often attest to great past.

Java’s hindu past is well recorded in the island’s many magnificient temples such as Borobudur, Prambanan, Kalasan, Mendut, Sewu and Penataran.


All travelers visiting Indonesia must be in possession of a passport, valid for at least one month from the date of arrival, as well as proof of onward passage in the form of tickets. Except for citizens of 28 centuries exempted from the requirement, tourist must have visa, which is valid for  one months.

Countries exempted from the visa requirement are : Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, the Netherlands, new Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Singapore, the republic of south Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, great Britain, the united states of America, and west Germany. The major gateways for entry and departure are the air and seaports of Bali, Jakarta, medan, manado, biak, ambon, batam, Surabaya, and pekanbaru. Visas will be required for entry through other points than those mentioned.

Delegates to officially approved conferences and meetings are also allowed free entry.

For those not exempted from the visa requirement, the document can be obtained from the Indonesian embassy or consulates in the country concerned.

Businessmen interested in visiting Indonesia, have since October 30, 1986 been given the opportunity to obtain a special business visa, valid for multiple entry for the duration of 12 months.

 Custom regulations

All visitors entering Indonesia are allowed to carry with them a number of items, such as alcoholic beverages to maximum of two liters, 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, and 100 grams of tobacco.

Personal belongings such as cameras, typewriters and radios should be officially declared upon debarkation, and must not be offered for sale.

Heavy sanctions are imposed on the unauthorized carrying into Indonesia of weapons, narcotic and explosives. Also prohibited are pornography and certain types of electronic equipment already manufactured in Indonesia, except for personal use. Also prohibited is carrying of traditional medicines from china, and printed material in Chinese.

Fruits, vegetables and pets are allowed on condition that they pass the quarantine office at the harbor or airport of entry.

Travelers checks, money changers and banks
Travelers checks has can be exchanged for cash in many places, especially in the big cities and at most big hotels, restaurants, store, shopping centers, travel bureaus, or in any other place where sign indicate that such checks are accepted.

Money changers can be found in most cities and around tourist resorts, in shopping centers, at airports and certain offices. Many banks also act as money changers.

Indonesian currency
The currency of the republic Indonesia consists of bank notes and coins in carious denominations. Notes are available in denomination of Rp. 100.000; Rp. 50.000; Rp. 20.000; Rp.10.000; Rp. 5.000; Rp.1.000; coins come in Rp. 1.000;  500;  Rp.100; Rp.50; Rp.25; denominations.  Rp.100 and Rp.50 coins are handy for making local Telephone calls from public booths. Tipping
Tipping has been known for a long time in Indonesia. The local term is persen. Traditionally, however, such tips were given only as a token of appreciation for really valuable services rendered, and on an entirely voluntary basis. In its recent development, the custom of tipping has become commercialized in the sense that it is often considered compulsory in certain places.

Even so, there is no standard rule on tipping as is practiced today. The size of the tip is usually left to the discretions of the person who gives it. For small services such as carrying baggage, however, a minimum amount of the about Rp. 5.000 is considered appropriate.

The mass media
Television broadcasts in Indonesia (TVRI and RCTI) generally start at 3.30 p.m. and last until 11:00 p.m. or until midnight on weekends RCTI star at 1:30 p.m.

The public television network TVRI and RCTI have some channels. Channel 6 for TVRI (Jakarta and surrounding), and channel 8 and for RCTI; and other channel for the rest of Indonesia.

Viewers in Jakarta can from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily watch a special program in English, consisting of news and short documents or entertainment. ( some other TV channel are TransTV/Trans7, global TV, TPI, etc ).

The government runs two radio networks, the first and also the oldest, called radio republic Indonesia, or RRI, broadcasts entertainment, education programs and news. The other broadcast various items of information for specific audiences. In addition there are mostly entertainment and advertisements and relaying RRI’s news broadcasts, around the country’s leading Indonesian language newspaper circulating on nationwide scale include the dailies kompas, suara pembaharuan, and business Indonesia.

Major provincial newspaper are waspada in medan, singgalang in padang, genta in pekanbaru, pikiran rakyat in bandung, Surabaya pos in Surabaya, and bali post in denpasar.

 Police assistance

Police are on 24- hours standby to assist travelers in difficulty. Do not hesitate to call for their assistance whenever the need arises. Police escorts can also be requested by individuals carrying large amounts of money, such as to and from banks, free charge.Special police officers are on round-the clock duty in the major tourist destination to assist visitors.
To call the police, dial the number 110 in most towns and cities throughout Indonesia, or 510-110. Braving the weather
Temperatures and humidity may vary greatly across Indonesia, depending ion the season and the prevailing geographical conditions.In the most tourist destinations in western Indonesia, the dry season lasts from around may October, and the rainy season from November to April. In between those two seasons are the transitions periods of unpredictable and shifting winds.

In Indonesia, temperatures seldom get higher than 32 Celsius, even on the lowland plains, and seldom lower than 16 C, except at very high attitudes, where it can reach below freezing point. Sea breezes blowing day and night generally bring coolness to the coastal towns.

In the mountains its usually sufficient to wear a sweater against the cold and use a blanket for sleeping during the night. Elsewhere like summer wear gives the greatest comfort. In the big hotels warm and cold water are usually available.

Laundry shops are available almost anywhere, but patience is often needed. For the visitors staying in the big hotels, laundry is obviously not a problem. Dry cleaning services are found only in the bigger towns and cities. Sport and games
Play is an important part of life among Indonesians. Facilities for sports and games are commonly found even in small towns and many villages boast at least a soccer field, badminton or a volley ball court.

Badminton and soccer are the most most popular sports among Indonesians and never fail to draw huge crowds of spectators. Instructors are usually available at the better sports centers, and shops specializing in sporting equipment can easily be found in the town and cities.


Customs vary widely from place to place, but good manners are recognized and appreciated anywhere.
In most area the greeting assalamu’alaikum (“may peace be with you”), common among Moslems, is understood. The proper answer is wa’ alaikum salam(‘and may peace be with you, too”).In some regions , displays of familiarity between persons of different sexes are frowned upon. Men and women who are neither married to each other nor family are not supposed to hold or even touch each other.In many areas, the handshake is replaced by bringing the palms of the two hands together, finger tips together, and touching just the tip of the fingers of the other person’s similarity held hands.The friendly hug, cheek to cheek, is only exchanged between women or very close friends, and only in certain areas of the country. In social intercourse, the Javanese and the Sudanese of west java choose their words carefully in order to prevent the other person from feeling slighted or insulted.

Its common throughout Indonesia to address older men or men in respected positions as Bapak (father) and women as a Ibu (mother). Young people address slightly older male peers as either kakak, abang or mas (brother), and females as kakak or mbak (sister). Bung is suitable for addressing people of the same age, while younger individuals are usually addressed as adik.

The range of the ethnic costumes in Indonesia is wide and colorful. In daily life, however, the ,modern work uniform is more and more becoming the accepted mode of dressing among people in the various professions and occupations.

The armed forces aside, there are the different uniforms worn by tax, customs, immigration, public health, and office security personnel. Not to mention Red Cross, Hotel, restaurant and department store and other employees.

On Mondays and important nation days, member of the Indonesian civil servant corps wear batik uniform, while their wives wear the uniform of the Dharma wanita organization. Civil servant generally wear safari short sleeved suits to work, complete with insignia and emblem.

Modern Indonesia designers are making good use of the very diverse ethnic textile motifs and materials available to fashion modern dress that have not only local, international appeal.

In generally, Indonesian are very casual in their daily dressing tastes and habits and, bring formal occasions, it is perfectly acceptable to wear shirt sleeves to go dining or attend shows or other regular gatherings.

 Health services

Doctors are available in almost any town or city. All one has to do when they are needed is ask at the hotel information counter or any other places one happens to be in.

Most big hotels have the clock their own doctors, who are on call around the clock. In the big cities, in addition, clinics and hospitals run by either the government by private parties offer similar services.

In city neighborhoods and district own public health centers, called puskesmas, offer basic health service and first aid at very low fees.

In many areas of Indonesia, especially in the remote regions not yet reached by the public system, the services of the traditional healer are still indispensable.

The bahasa Indonesia – the Indonesian language- is the official language of the indoensia. Based on the Malay language, it was adopted during the early decades of the nationalist movement as the language that would unify all the diverse groups and forge hem into one single nation.

The date which the historic decision was taken was October 28 1928 in all Indonesia youth conference in Jakarta, at that time still called Batavia. That event is now commemorated annually as youth pledge day.

In business and international communication, however, the English language is also widely used. English is spoken in all tourist class hotels, prestigious restaurants and at all travel bureaus as well as in government offices dealing with international businessmen and visitors.

Tour operators is in addition employ guides who also speak Japanese, French, Dutch, German, Chinese and Arabic. Shopping
For many visitors, shopping is an important part of the travel itinerary. For those who like the experience or shopping or simply browsing in an Asian market place but have in the past been discouraged by the rubbish, it will be good to know that in many town and cities market places have been extensively renovated and cleaned up.

Much visited markets in Jakarta are Pasar Ular in Tanjung priok port area, Pasar Pagi and glodok in the downtown Chinese neighborhood, and the Pasar ikan fish market in the old sunda kelapa harbor area.

In Surabaya, popular markets are pasr tunjungan, pasar turi and blauran. In medan, there is pasar Mercubuana market, and in Ujung pandang the somba opu market place. Banjarmasin and Pontianak on the island Kalimantan boast floating markets. Yogyakarta has its beringharjo market, and semarang its pasar johar.
Tough bargaining is the name of the game when shopping in market places in Indonesia.

Indonesian craftsman and artisans are highly skilled in making good use of the abundance of materials which their tropical natural environment provides.

Handcraft in a bewildering range of the shapes, colors, pattern, sizes and modern designs are on sale in the art shops and shopping centers that litter town and cities throughout the country.

Hand-woven and embroidered textiles, besides batik, are in great demand among visitor, judging by the sales which the art shops and department stores make. Statues and carved panels and objects are also much sought after as souvenirs, as are semi-precious stones and plait work.

Electricity power generation in Indonesia is mostly done by water power, steam or diesel generator, and is undertaken by the government, which runs PLN, the state electricity company,

In most big cities and in rural areas near the big cities, the voltage is 200 volts. Elsewhere it is still 110 volts. Many hotels, however, have outlets for both 220 and 110-volt appliances.

 Public transportation

There is a great variety of public transportation means available to travelers in Indonesia. Taxis naturally offer the most personalized service. However, several types of mini-buses known as oplet or microlet offer much lower fares, albeit at the cost of comfort and flexibility.

In Jakarta and other big cities, comfortable taxis, equipped with meter and air-conditioning are easy available.

For short distances, the locals prefer the cheaper bajaj, bemo, ojek, or becak. The first two types of public transport means are small, noisy, motorized three-wheeled vehicles that operate like taxis. Becak re bicycle taxis which are available all over Indonesia except Jakarta, where they are illegal.

Ojek are usually bicycle or motor-bicycles whose in addition, there are also still the old horse-driven carts known as andong, sado, and delman. It is good idea when taking one of these more exotic means of the transport to agree on the fare and the destination before taking the ride. Telecommunications
Telecommunications facilities vary in age and quality from place, but there is hardly a town in Indonesia at present that is not connected to the national telephone network. In the big cities, the telephone system employ the most up-to-date technology, and the network is comparatively extensive.

Public telephone booths are usually available near markets, in business and commercial neighborhoods and in other public places such as restaurant, hotels, stores, train and bus stations, hospitals and at airports. Roadside public telephone booths for local calls are usually activated by putting a Rp. 50 coin into the local telephone office or from privately run booths.

Telegrams. Prepaid telegrams can be sent from almost any city or town in Indonesia. Telegrams are among the cheapest fast means of communicating of long distances, as long as messages are kept short.

Telex.telex services are available in the big cities. Large companies usually have their own telex connection. Rates are determined on the basis of time rather than word count.

Telephones. Direct dialing long distance telephone services are available in most cities. In Jakarta, telephone numbers reach seven digits. In most other cities the number is five digits. For long distance calls, cities are assigned area codes, which listed in telephone\ guides.

 Important telephone numbers to remember are :
For information on:
– local telephone numbers 108
– long distance calls 106
– international calls 102
– time 103For bookings of ;
– local distance calls 100
– international calls 101
– recorded voice transmission 109

“…The expedition is exhausting, no doubt, but the sheer size and beauty be seen to be believed. This was definitely a life altering experience …”

Gerrard Neve, Rinjani 2004

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