The waters of Indonesia are at the epicenter of marine biodiversity with more than 2,000 species such as this pigmy seahorse

An Island Nation in a Sea of Life

The waters of Indonesia are at the epicenter of marine biodiversity, and the numbers are impressive: a 2,500-mile swath of islands and coral reefs home to more than 2,000 species of fish, 500-plus varieties of hard and soft coral and thousands of enigmatic invertebrates. From the weird and wonderful critters in Lembeh Strait to the graceful mantas and coral spires of Komodo and the dramatic walls of Wakatobi, the diving in Indonesia is some of the best in the world. Few places on the planet are as varied, and as packed with interesting and unusual marine life such as wunderpus, mimic octopus, flamboyant cuttlefish, pygmy seahorses, harlequin shrimp and ornate ghost pipefish.

Highlights

  • Best for: All divers, with some areas also offering world-class snorkeling for non-diving companions
  • Best season to visit: Year round
  • Weather: Indonesia has a tropical climate with two seasons, wet and dry. Most regions, the dry season spans from May - Sep, with rain from Oct - Apr. Indonesia straddles the Equator. Areas near the coast remain in the 80s during the day

Things to Do

Indonesia Information

About Diving in Indonesia

With more than 17,500 islands spread across 3,200 miles of ocean, Indonesia is not a destination that can be summed up in a few sentences. Underwater landscapes vary from region to region, ranging from prolific coral reefs and steep-sided pinnacles to sediment-covered bays best suited to macro/muck diving. Within the expanse are areas nurturing the highest number of fish and coral species on the planet, as well as some of the sport's most celebrated diving destinations, including Raja Ampat, Wakatobi, the Lembeh Straits and Komodo. Water temperatures across most of the archipelago range from the high 70s to mid 80s, with areas to the south being a few degrees cooler.

Diving in Indonesia Tips

In locations like Lembeh, where muck diving is the big feature, good buoyancy skills are important, and you must keep your fins away from the bottom as this will quickly stir up the sediment dropping your visibility. A reef or muck stick will help you stabilize when moving in for a closer look. Currents in most of the region are generated by tidal changes and can range from mild to strong. They seldom last for more than few hours, and may reverse at some sites. Diving at slack tide is easier, but reef colors and fish activity are best when water is moving.

Best Places to Dive in Indonesia

Northern Sulawesi is Indonesia’s muck diving capital, with Lembeh the reigning king for weird and wonderful critters. Southern Sulawesi is about reefs, with Wakatobi offering some of the most pristine and dramatic coral walls and reefs in Indonesia. Komodo offers fish-covered pinnacles, mantas and Komodo dragons, while Raja Ampat and Cenderawasih Bay have the greatest number of coral and fish species on earth. At sites like Batu Bolong and GPS Point pinnacles are swarmed by schools of dogtooth tuna and barracuda. Roma at Wakatobi combines fish life with enigmatic turbinaria coral formations, while the nearby House Reef is one of the best places in the world to find crocodile fish, leaf scorpionfish, ghost and Halimeda pipefish. Mandarinfish performs intricate mating rituals in the shallow bays of Buton Island. Hiding in unremarkable mud bottoms at sites like Hairball are special finds such as frogfish, snake eels, devilfish and flamboyant cuttlefish. At the other end of the spectrum, Manta Ridge provides encounters with rays, and whale sharks gather at Cenderawasih Bay.

What to Pack for Diving in Indonesia

A skin suit to 3mm wetsuit is generally adequate, but divers who get chilly might want to pack an extra layer for sites around Komodo, or for muck dives where long bottom times and inactivity can bring down core temperatures.  Indonesian remains a somewhat conservative culture, so women should choose skirts that go below the knees when on land tours or visiting villages.

Specials

Dive

Alami Alor Dive Resort

ALOR, INDONESIA - 7 NIGHT DIVE PACKAGE includes 7 night waterfront bungalow accommodations, 5 days of 2-tank morning boat dives, 5 days of 1-tank afternoon or night dives, unlimited house reef dives, marine park fees, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, free WiFi in guest lounge, hotel tax and service charges. Valid 3/19/17-12/10/17.
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From $1,645 per person double diver

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Arenui

INDONESIA LIVEABOARD - SPACE IS LIMITED - 11 NIGHT LABUANBAJO BIMA ITINERARY includes 11 nights twin/double cabin accommodations, up to 4 dives per day, all meals, snacks and water, tea and soft drinks, welcome massage, roundtrip airport transfers and taxes. Departures on the Lanuanbajo Bima Itinerary on 8/9/17.
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From $6,490 per person double occupancy

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Dive into Lembeh

LEMBEH STRAIT, NORTH SULAWESI, INDONESIA - 7-NIGHT DIVE PACKAGE includes 7 nights sea-view bungalow accommodations, 6 days of 3-tank boat dives, unlimited house reef diving during shop hours, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, coffee, tea and water, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges. Valid through 12/31/17.
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From $1,510 per person double diver

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Gangga Island Resort

GANGGA ISLAND, NORTH SULAWESI, INDONESIA - 1 FREE NIGHT includes 7 nights accommodations, 5 days of 3-tank boat dives, free Nitrox, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, hotel tax and service charges. Valid through 3/31/17 & 10/1/17-10/31/17.
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From $2,112 per person double diver

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Siladen Resort & Spa

BUNAKEN NATIONAL MARINE PARK , NORTH SULAWESI, INDONESIA - 7 NIGHT DIVE PACKAGE includes 7 nights gardenview accommodations, 15 boat dives, welcome drink, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, complimentary 30 minute massage, 1 intro to diving lesson in resort pool, complimentary roundtrip airport transfers when arriving on Silk Air, hotel tax and service charges. Valid 5/1/17-7/31/17 & 9/1/17-4/30/18.
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From $1,716 per person double diver

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Indo Aggressor

INDONESIA LIVEABOARD - KOMODO ITINERARY - 25% OFF - LIMITED AVAILABILITY - CALL FOR SPACE includes 10 night twin cabin accommodations, up to 4 dives per day including night dives, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, snacks and beverages including beer or wine with dinner and transfers. Save 25% on departures leaving on 5/13/17 & 8/5/17.
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From $3,188 per person double diver

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Kungkungan Bay Resort

LEMBEH STRAIT, NORTH SULAWESI, INDONESIA - 7 NIGHT DIVE PACKAGE includes 7 nights beachfront cottage accommodations, 6 days of 3-tank boat dives, unlimited house reef diving during shop hours, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, free WiFi, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges. Valid through 12/31/17.
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From $1,860 per person double diver

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Packages

Dive

Raja Ampat Dive Lodge

DIVE PACKAGE 7 nights in a Deluxe air conditioned room, all meals, Sorong airport transfers on Fridays,12 boat dives . Packages also available for 14 and 21 nights stays.
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From $1995 per person double occupancy

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Alami Alor Dive Resort

ALOR - 7 NIGHT DIVE PACKAGE includes 7 night waterfront bungalow accommodations, 5 days of 2-tank morning boat dives, 5 days of 1-tank afternoon or night dives, unlimited house reef dives, marine park fees, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, free WiFi in guest lounge, hotel tax and service charges.
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From $1,645 per person double diver

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Dive into Lembeh

LEMBEH STRAIT, NORTH SULAWESI - 7-NIGHT DIVE PACKAGE includes 7 nights sea-view bungalow accommodations, 6 days of 3-tank boat dives, unlimited house reef diving during shop hours, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, coffee, tea and water, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges. Valid through 12/31/17.
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From $1,510 per person double diver

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Kungkungan Bay Resort

LEMBEH STRAIT, NORTH SULAWESI - 7 NIGHT DIVE PACKAGE includes 7 nights beachfront cottage accommodations, 6 days of 3-tank boat dives, unlimited house reef diving during shop hours, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, free WiFi, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges. Valid through 12/31/17.
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From $1,860 per person double diver

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Lembeh Resort

LEMBEH STRAIT, NORTH SULAWESI - DIVE PACKAGE includes 7 nights, 17 boat dives, 3 meals daily and airport transfers. Additional packages also available.
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From $1,797 per person double diver

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Minahasa Lagoon Dive and Tours Club

DIVE PACKAGE includes 7 nights gardenview accommodations, 6 days 2-tank diving with Eco Divers, welcome cocktail, 3 meals daily, airport transfers, and government taxes.
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From $1,246 per person double diver

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Resorts

Dive

Parigata Resort and Spa

This oasis is located in the Balinese coastal village of Sanur, offering spacious, well-appointed rooms amid tropical gardens surrounding a waterfall pool. A private beach club is nearby. Breakfast is included and the restaurant serves continental and Indonesian specialties.
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Raja Ampat Dive Lodge

Mere minutes from Manta aggregation sites and the fish-filled dives, this intimate resort is the perfect place to experience the most bio-diverse reefs in the world. Fronted by a white sand beach and backed by the ever-verdant Papuan rainforest, Raja Ampat Dive Lodge is surrounded by natural beauty with spectacular diving. The 20 duplex rooms have en suite bathrooms and wooden interiors cooled by individual AC units. Raja Ampat Dive Lodge offers land-based, liveaboard and combination vacations.
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Alami Alor Dive Resort

ALOR - Alami Alor Dive Resort is a dive and stay resort in Alor, Indonesia. Alor is home to many world class scuba dive sites including coral reefs full of colourful macro life, big fish sites where there is a chance to encounter passing pelagic and larger reef fish, and muck diving sites with an assortment of bizarre critters including the infamous rhinopias. The resort’s house reef entertains muck diving enthusiasts and we can count over 40 additional diverse dive sites within a 30-minute radius by speedboat. Underwater photographers can enjoy the best of both worlds with sites suited for macro shots of rare critters to those with exceptional wide-angle seascapes.
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Dive into Lembeh

LEMBEH STRAIT, NORTH SULAWESI - Hairball Dive Resort gets its name from one of Lembeh Strait's most renowned muck dive sites, "Hairball" which serves as the resort's house reef. Lembeh Strait is a true photographer's paradise, and the owners and staff of Dive Into Lembeh @ Hairball Dive Resort have created this small intimate resort with the photographer in mind.
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Gangga Island Resort

GANGGA ISLAND, NORTH SULAWESI - An unparalleled scuba diving experience is waiting for you at Gangga. Gangga offers sensational diving where you can get up close and personal with diverse and remarkable sea life from both the Indian and the Pacific Oceans. The resort is an ideal starting point for the diving sites of Bangka Island, Bunaken National Marine Park and Lembeh Strait, making it a favorite destination for underwater photographers.
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Siladen Resort & Spa

BUNAKEN NATIONAL MARINE PARK, NORTH SULAWESI - Located in the heart of the world-renowned Bunaken National Marine Park, on a lush tropical island, this boutique resort offers 16 elegantly furnished villas, a full service PADI diving center, special camera area for photographers, gourmet restaurant, traditional spa, gift shop, lounge bar, large salt water swimming pool and a long stretch of white coral beach.
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Wakatobi Dive Resort

BANDA SEA, SOUTH SULAWESI - Reached via private air charter from Bali, this award-winning resort provides access to incredible dive sites including unlimited shore diving on a spectacular house reef. Indulge in massages, relax on the beach, and savor fantastic, fresh meals. Air-conditioned bungalows are either set in tropical gardens or beachside with fans, minibar, and internet access. Suites with private chef/butler are also available.
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Kungkungan Bay Resort

LEMBEH STRAIT, NORTH SULAWESI - Scuba diving in Indonesia is the dive trip of a lifetime. The Lembeh Strait is renowned as being the planet’s epicenter of marine biodiversity. Home to rare species such as the pygmy seahorse, mimic octopus, ornate ghost pipefish, hairy frogfish and more, the exceptional year-round conditions provide a variety of diving experiences from muck dives on black volcanic sand to colorful reefs and historic wrecks.
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Lembeh Resort

LEMBEH STRAIT, NORTH SULAWESI - Lembeh Strait is the mecca of critter diving, with more than 40 dive sites showcasing the biodiversity that Indonesia is famous for. The resort offers 14 spacious ocean view cottages with perfect views and spectacular sunsets over North Sulawesi’s highest volcano or 6 garden view rooms nestled in beautifully manicured indigenous gardens. In addition to modern room amenities, spa treatments and WiFi are available.
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Minahasa Lagoon Dive and Tours Club

MANADO, NORTH SULAWESI - Explore Bunaken Marine Park from an idyllic coastal location between a rainforest and a stunning house reef that is a photographers dream. On-site diving is provided by one of North Sulawesi's top dive operators, Eco Divers. Custom built boats are traditional in design, but offer modern conveniences such as sundecks, WC and shaded salon. The guest-to-guide ratio is only 4 to 1 and with a maximum of just 8 guests per boat.
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Liveaboards

Dive

Raja Ampat Aggressor

RAJA AMPAT - If you haven’t experienced the diving in Raja Ampat, now is the time to jump on board the newest boat in the Aggressor Fleet, the Raja Ampat Aggressor. Raja Ampat or ‘Four Kings’, is the name given to these islands and comes from a local myth. Located in the heart of The Coral Triangle, Raja Ampat is known to have the richest coral reef ecosystem in the world. The four main areas offering itineraries are: Raja Ampat, Cenderawasih Bay, Banda Sea and Triton Bay.
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Arenui

The Arenui dive liveaboard is a magnificent Phinisi, a classic Indonesian wooden sailing vessel, set to explore the majestic underwater world of the Indonesian archipelago. This popular liveaboard offers a wide variety of itineraries including Raja Ampat and Komodo, but has very limited availability, so cannot be booked online. Please contact us for available dates and rates.
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Dive Damai

Dive Damai’s two liveaboards, the Damai I and Damai II, have set a new standard in liveaboard diving. The vessels were purpose-designed for divers with elegant lines, luxurious interiors and spectacular outdoor lounging areas. Itineraries throughout Raja Ampat, Komodo, and the Banda Sea. These trips sell out quickly contact us to confirm current availability on select departures or any additional itineraries, dates and rates.
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Dewi Nusantara

The Dewi Nusantara was purposely designed to be totally independent for long periods at sea while offering unparalleled comfort. The Dewi offers eight spacious air-conditioned ensuite staterooms that can be adapted to either twin or double use plus an expansive master suite. Click below for more information on 11-night Raja Ampat departures out of Sorong from September to December 2016. See separate listing to save $800 on Komodo/Alor/Wakatobi departures from June-August 2016. These trips sell out quickly so contact us to confirm current availability.
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Indo Siren

This handcrafted ironwood and teak liveaboard can accommodate 16 passengers in eight spacious air-conditioned, ensuite cabins with personal audio-visual entertainment systems. A variety of itineraries are available including Raja Ampat (November-May) and Komodo (June-October). Click below for more information on the Indo Siren's 10-night Raja Ampat departures. See separate listing for 10-night Komodo departures. These trips sell out quickly so contact us to confirm current availability.
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From €4,200 (approx. US$4,850) per person double occupancy

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Dive

Indo Aggressor

The beautiful Indo Aggressor crafted 124-foot sailing schooner offering two unique 7-night itineraries including the epic diving in Komodo National Park, named one of the Seven New Wonders of the World and home to more than 1,000 species of fish, 20 species of reef-building coral and 70 species of sponges. Both itineraries also include a trek to view the world’s largest land reptile, the Komodo dragon. Contact us for additional information on 10-night itineraries which venture west to the pristine waters of the Alor archipelago, or east to Sumbawa and the magical island of Bali.
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From $3,050 per person double occupancy

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Dive

Pelagian Dive Yacht

This renowned 115’ luxury yacht offers unsurpassed service, comforts, and amenities while cruising the world’s most pristine reefs and exotic muck diving sites. Amenities include camera facilities, comfortable lounge areas, and spacious cabins. Exceptional service is provided by an experienced and highly skilled crew. Pelagian offers effortless combinations with Wakatobi Dive Resort, starting with as little as 5+5 night stays.
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From $3,375 per person double occupancy

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Diving in Indonesia

Straddling the Equator and stretching more than 3,200 miles from east to west, Indonesia is a country of more than 17,500 islands. From this vast array of coastlines, a select number of areas have emerged as favorites among divers. This area, east of Malaysia and west of Papua New Guinea, is at the epicenter of our planet's marine biodiversity. From the weird and wonderful critters in Lembeh Strait to the graceful mantas and incredible coral gardens of Komodo, the diving in Indonesia is some of the best in the world. Few places on the planet are as varied and give you the opportunity to see more diverse underwater flora and fauna including more than 2,000 species of fish, from car-sized whale sharks to pygmy seahorses smaller than a grain of rice. There are reef slopes, drop offs, plateaus, caves, wrecks and muck diving sites. Northern Sulawesi is Indonesia’s muck diving capital, with Lembeh the reigning king for weird and wonderful critters. If you are looking for subjects like the endemic Banggai cardinalfish to the amazing mimic octopus and wunderpus this is the place to find them. And the cast of critters does not end there, Lembeh also features lacy scorpionfish, flamboyant cuttlefish, harlequin shrimp, as well as some of the wildest species of nudibranchs known to man. In Southern Sulawesi, the focus shifts to reefs, with the Wakatobi region offering some of the finest coral formations in the Indonesia. Here, vertical escarpments that begin their drop mere feet from the surface straight down hundreds of feet into the depths. To the east, off the tip of West Papua, the tip of the islands of Raja Ampat offer stunning topside profiles and near-pristine reefs that harbor the world's greatest number of fish species in one location. Divers often tally more than 200 species on a single dive. Some liveaboard itineraries also venture into Triton Bay, which is known for extensive soft coral coverage, vast forests of black coral, big schools of fish, epaulette sharks, pilot whales and more. Recently, divers have also discovered Cenderawasih Bay, where whale sharks congregate. Indonesia's other prime liveaboard destination is the Komodo region, where divers can choose between calm reefs and coral-covered pinnacles that attract large schools of fish, with a good chance of mantas and sharks, plus land visits to see Komodo dragons. Other liveaboard itineraries may take in remote sites in the Banda Islands, known for dense fish populations and pelagic sightings, and Alor for macro life and benthic diversity. Because most Indonesian dive trips begin and end at Bali, many travelers add a few days to their itinerary to explore the reefs and walls around the island. A favorite dive is the USS Liberty Wreck, which has the distinction of being the only ship in the world sunk by a lava flow.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements

U.S. citizens require a valid passport to enter Indonesia. The passport must be valid for 6 months beyond the date of entry into the country. Two blank pages are required for the endorsement page stamp upon entry, which is a full-page stamp. This stamp acts as your visa which is valid for a 30-day stay for tourists. There is no charge for the stamp. There is a departure tax of 200,000 IDR approximately $16 U.S. which is paid at the airport upon departure.

Immunizations

There are no immunizations required by the Indonesian government. Please, check with your doctor or visit the website of the Center for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov for a listing of immunizations recommended for travel to Indonesia.

Culture and Customs

Indonesia is a nation of islands, and of blended cultures. Centuries of maritime trade have spread influences of Indian and the Far East, but individual island groups have also developed their own traditions and languages. The region is home to more that 300 distinct native ethnic groups, and 742 different languages and dialects. One trait that is common to all of these disparate communities is a tradition of hospitality and acceptance for travelers. The attentive service lavished on guests of resorts and liveaboards is not an affectation, but an integral element of a national psyche that take pride in playing the welcoming host. Equally apparent is a sense of tolerance, which allows the traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Islam and Christianity to co-exist. Indonesia is also a land of contrasts. Jakarta's steel and glass towers soar to heights of more than 1,000 feet in one of the most modern commercial centers in the region. A thousand miles away, islanders living in traditional villages still observe local traditions of ancestor worship and animism such as Kebatinan. And then there is the food. Indonesian cuisines are among the most vibrant and flavorful in the world, mixing intense spices and subtle overtones that draw from the culinary traditions of India, Holland, the Middle East, China, southeast Asia, Polynesia and Melanesia. Equally savory is the lively street food scene, where the rich aromas of bakso or gila fill the air.

Electricity, Phone and Internet Access

Electrical current is 230 volts, 50 Hz. The standard outlet is a two pin round socket. If your appliance is not labeled 100-240 Volt, 50-60 Hz input, you may need a step down transformer as well.

Check with your cell phone provider for international plans which may include text, data and voice. WiFi is available at most hotels, restaurants and cafes. The internet speed is slower, so in some cases, streaming and large file transfers might not be an option.

Water Quality

Tap water in Indonesia is largely not safe for drinking. Sealed bottled water is advisable and available for purchase.

Language & Currency

The official language is Indonesian Bahasa. English is widely understood and tourist resorts. There are over 300 languages spoken in Indonesia, with most Indonesians being bilingual in their local dialect as well as Bahasa Indonesia. Many Indonesians are multi lingual, also speaking English, Chinese and Japanese.

The currency is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) or recognized locally as Rp. Money may be exchanged at money changer offices which usually offer the best rate, with banks offering the next best rate and exchanging at hotels is often not the best rate. Money changers prefer newer undamaged bills and may refuse damaged currency. ATMs are available and credit cards are accepted at most resorts. Traveler's checks are not recommended.

Time

Indonesia spans three time zones. Western Indonesia Time called Waktu Indonesia Time (WIB) including Java, Jakarta and Sumatra are 7 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (+7 GMT). Central Indonesian Time or Waktu Indonesia Tengah (WITA) including Bali, Sulawesi and Lombok are 8 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (+8 GMT). Eastern Indonesian Time or Waktu Indonesia Timur (WIT) including Irian Jaya is 9 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (+ GMT). Indonesia does not observe daylight savings time.

Location, Size and Population

The Republic of Indonesia is a nation of islands in southeast Asia that lies between the Indian and Pacific Ocean. The name Indonesia is derived from the Greek words “indus” (India) and “nesos” (islands) and is the world's largest archipelagic nation with over 18,000 islands. It is bordered by the nations of Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and Malaysia and encompasses over 735,000 sq miles.

Approx. 260 Million people (2016).