Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Marine tourism has taken-off in Indonesia in a big way, with the establishment of protected Marine Parks,
professional dive centers, certified dive masters and guides, and some of the most colorful, breathtaking sea gardens anywhere in the world. Magnificent coral reefs, alive with color and set in turquoise seas, support myriad types of fish and other marine life in these warm tropical waters. Some of the underwater drop-offs are awesome and downward visibility can be as far as 30 meters in some areas. A journey into this extraordinarily vibrant underwater world is guaranted to be an unforgettable experience for both snorkellers and scuba divers alike and one that you will want to repeat time and time again.

Indonesian arts and crafts are powerful and wonderul expressions of life, born out of an extraordinarily rich
cultural heritage. Many traditional works of art have been developed in the courts of former kingdoms such as those centered in Java and Bali, forming a integral part of religious ceremonies. The famous “Wayang” theaters from Java and Bali, for example, originate from ancient Hindu mythology and feature portions of the Ramayana and Mahabharata epics adapted to suit local conditions and age-old tradions. Mesmerizing performances can be seen in most places righ across the archipelago and are usually well-attended events.

Rigid discipline and artistry are the hallmarks of dances from Java and Bali, but those of Sumatra, Maluku and most of the other islands (one exception is the Gending Sriwijaya of South Sumatra) are characterized by a more flexible gracefulness and charm, a distinction which is further accentuated by an entirely different, non-gamelan, musical accompaniment. Artistic traditions are actively being preserved in Indonesia in the many art and dance schools which flourish not only in the courts but also in modern, government-run or supervised art academies. The search is continually being conducted for new expressions, better adapted to modern times but still based on old traditions, creating truly dynamic and powerful cultural foundations for the future.

Aromatic spices and a variety of hot chili peppers are the essence of most Indonesian dishes, Rice is an important part of the national diet for most of the archipelago, but in the eastern islands corn, sago, cassava and sweet potatoes are more common. The enormous wealth of the surroundings seas and oceans, as well as fresh water fisheries, provides an abundance of sea food which can be traditionally served in a number of exciting ways, including baked in banana leaves. An extensive assortment of tropical and sub-tropical fruit and vegetables can also be found year-round to tantalize your taste buds.

An extensive transportation network provides access to all but the most secluded of places in Indonesia. Flying is by far the most convenient way of hopping across the archipelago with a choice of flghts from airports in all provincial and district capitals. Garuda Indonesia is the national flag carrier and the most well known Indonesia airline, serving international as well as major domestic trunk routes. Merpati Nusantara has taken over many of Garuda’s domestic routes and now flies to more than 125 destinations all over the country. Other airlines include Bourau which serves major domestic routes as well as international ones to Singapore.

Lion Air, Batavia, Adam Air, Bouraq Air Lines, Garuda Air Ways and Mandala Airlines are also domestic carriers and they complete the archipelago’s comprehensive airline network. Although flying can be quick and convenient it doesn’t really provide some opportunities as traveling overland to experience and feel the quintessential spirit of Indonesia. Trains are available throughout Java and in parts of Sumatra and are invariably enjoyable ways to experience the essence of the country. Comfortable, airconditioned trains are available, particularly on those services that connect Central and East Java with the capital city of Jakarta, including the Bima Trains (via Yogyakarta and Surakarta), the Argo Bromo Anggrek (via Semarang to Surabaya) and teh Parahyangan services (from Jakarta to Bandung).

Local trains are also available but are generally non air-conditioned. Buses are a convenient and relatively cheap way to travel across the fascinating country. Nearly all inter-city buses are fully airconditioned and very comfortable often only stopping for food and fuel. Cars and taxis can be hired of course, and provide perfect opportunities to get off the beaten track and explore independently. An enormous variety of public transport can be found in the towns and cities and as a result a lot of people usually do a lot of traveling! PELNI, the state-owned shipping company now has 30 modern ships, serving all main ports in this archipelago of over 17,508 islands. Regular ferries make island hopping easy and also provide some unique opportunities to experience the beauty of these tropical islands.

Indonesia has always been a seafaring nation and proudly boasts of the last remaining commercial sailing fleet the world. More than 3,000 traditional tallmasted sailing ships, reminiscent of an earlier time, still trade between the islands. The historic port of Sunda Kelapa in Jakarta is home to a large number of these traditional wooden crafts and is alive with color and activity all year round. Definitely worth a visit!

All travelers to Indonesia must be in possession of passport valid for at least six months from date of arrival and have proof (tickets) of onward or return passage. The Government of Indonesia has issued a new regulation concerning the application of visas for foreign nationals to enter Indonesia. Free tourist visas are granted for a period of 30 days to nationals of Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, Philippines, Hong Kong Special Administration Region (SAR), Macao SAR, Chile, Morocco, Peru and Vietnam. In conjunction with the new visa policy, The Government of the Republic of Indonesia has issued new regulation with respect to visa-on-arrival (VOA) facilities.

VOA facilities are valid for the citizens of the countries like Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Czech Republic, China, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Laos, Latvia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Maldives, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, New Zeland, Norway, Oman, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan Territory, Tunisia, The Netherlands, United Arab Emirate, United Kingdom, United States.

There are 14 Airports and 22 seaports across Indonesia that has the VOA facilities. Tourist visas for thirty days can be obtained from any Indonesian embassies or consulates. Two photographs are required and a small fee is charged. For further information please log in to site of Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia.


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