Not many realise this but with some 13 000 islands, Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world made up of these volcanic islands.
It’s also pretty densely populated, being the fourth biggest county by population after China, India and the US.
Its people are rich in culture and heritage and the country is also largely Muslim, with hundreds of ethnic groups speaking many different languages. However it’s official language is Indonesian.
The country is split into 34 provinces, with Bali, Jakarta and Lomok being exceptionally popular. The country is well-known for its komodo dragons, gorgeous beaches and pristine diving opportunities as well as orangutans and tigers. The city of Yogyakarta is where you will find traditional gamelan music and the bespoke art of puppetry.
SEE: Indonesian escapes to suit your budget
Here's a quick guide to some of the need-to-know information if you're planning a visit:
Capital: Jakarta - Formerly Batavia and located on the north-west island of Java, bordering the Java Sea. This is Indonesia’s largest city. Java is the fourth largest island in Indonesia and home to an estimated half of the county’s population
To the west you will find Bali, an island and province of Indonesia. The province also includes a few smaller neighbouring islands Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan, and Nusa Ceningan.
Population: 249.9 million (2013)
Head of state: President Joko Widodo
Official language: Indonesian
Area: 1.905 million km²
Currency: R1 equals 1033 Indonesian Rupiah
Climate: Expect your typical tropical climate, like Durban but more on steroids. The country is split by the equator, with a very-high humidity.
Time zones: The country can be divided into the following three time zones
GMT +7: Western Indonesian Time: Sumatra, Java, west/central Kalimantan
GMT +8: Central Indonesian Time: Bali, south/east Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Nusa Tenggara
GMT +9: Eastern Indonesian Time: Maluku, Papua
When to go: There are largely two seasons; the dry season (April to October), and the monsoon season, (November to March). June to September is the peak tourist season but as with any destination it is not necessarily the best time to go as the low seasons bring their own rewards.
Food to try: Rice dishes such as Nasi Padang, Soy-based vegetarian cuisine, satay as well as sambals and matarbak.
SEE: Indonesian #FoodPorn: The culinary debauchery of sweet Martabak
Getting there: There are no direct flights to any of the countries airports South Africans can either travel via Hong Kong using carries Ethiopian, Air China, Qatar, Emirates and Cathay pacific - to then connect to Jakarta.
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Visa: South African nationals qualify for Short Stay 30-day free visa on arrival
Indonesian Highlights :
It is better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times - Asian Passwords
- Indonesian #FoodPorn: The culinary debauchery of sweet Martabak
- Untapped Indonesia:Lapping up the raw beauty of Raja Ampat
- Hello: Halo. (HAH-lo) or informal: He. (Hey)
- Goodbye: Selamat tinggal. (S'LAH-maht TING-gahl) Informal - Dadah. (DaH-DaH)
- How are you?: Apa kabar? (AH-pah KAH-bar?)
- What is your name?: Namamu siapa? (NAH-mah-moo see-AH-pah?)
- My name is ______ . Nama saya ______ . (NAH-mah sahy-yah _____ .)
- Thank you: terima kasih. (TREE-mah KAH-see)
- Please: Silakan. (suh-LAH-kann)
- Yes: Ya. (EEYAH)
- No: Tidak. (TEE-dah/), Tak (TAH/) (short, hard vowel, cut off before "k")
- Where is the toilet?: Di mana kamar kecil? (Dee MAH-nah kam-AR ke-CH-ill?)
- How much (does this cost)?: (harga) ini berapa? (HARR-guh EE-nee buh-ROPP-uh)
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