By W. Wang
Bali is one of the most desired destination in the world and it’s so well known that some people do not even realize that Bali is just a tiny island, part of a larger country called Indonesia. Below are some facts about Indonesia that also applies to Bali.
Geography – Indonesia is an archipelago of over 17,000 islands, scatterd over a land area of some 2.02 million square kilometers. Lying across a region of immense volcanic activity, Indonesia has some 400 volcanoes, with at least 70 still active.
Population – more than 200 million people who are predominantly Muslim, minority religious groups being Christians, Hindus and Buddhists.
Climate – Although Indonesia is hot and humid throughout the year, the official wet season runs from October to August and is marked by heavy, short rainstorms after which the air is fresher. Temperatures range from 21 to 33°C in the lowlands. Higher altitudes enjoy cooler conditions.
Currency – The Indonesia Rupiah is also called IDR. Information of daily exchange rate can be found in newspapers or from the net. Some Indonesia banks provide this on their websites. IDR and US$ are the most acceptable currencies. Most tourism resorts have money changer facilities. When you are traveling to remote areas it is advisable to exchange your money and clear your check. Credit cards are only acceptable in big hotels, restaurants, shops and traveling agencies.
Time – Indonesia is divided into three time zones. Western Indonesia Time (Sumatra, Java, West and Central Kalimantan) is seven hours ahead of GMT, Central Indonesia Time (Bali, South and East Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Nusa Tenggara) is eight hours ahead, and East Indonesia Time (Maluku and Irian Jaya) is nine hours ahead.
Electricity – 50Hz at either 110 or 220 volts. So be careful with your 110-volt electronic equipment. The sockets will only fit with with two pins rounded-tip plugs (technically known as Type C, E, and F) or use adaptors. Most hotels and many restaurants in large cities provide internet connections or free WiFi.
Banking Hours – Standard banking hours are from 8 AM to 3 PM from Monday to Friday. However several banks open their branches in hotels (and some in malls) longer than office hour, a few are open on Saturdays so you might want to check first. Jakarta has a number of international banks, even though you can also exchange currencies in some hotel cashiers and official money changers.
Office Hours – Office hours start from 8 AM to 4 PM, or 9 AM to 5 PM. Lunch break occurs between 12 noon to 1 PM. Usually offices are closed on Saturdays, including government offices. Government office hours start at 8 AM and end at 4 PM.