Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world, stretching 3,200 miles from east to west. It is located in Southeast Asia, neighboring the countries of Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, and Australia. The country is divided into 4 groups: The Greater Sundas composed of Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan and Sulawesi, The Lesser Sundas consisting of the smaller islands from Bali eastward to Timor, Maluku composed of all the islands between Irian Jaya and Sulawesi, and Irian Jaya in the extreme eastern part of the country.
Air transport from the US to Indonesia is very accessible. The three main gateways are Soekkarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta, Polonia Airport in Medan, and Ngurah Rai Airport in Bali. Several airlines service these airports. There are also privately owned airlines which offer chartered flights. The flight from Los Angeles to Denpasar (Bali) is approximately 22 hours, and from New York it is 27 hours. Depending on where your final destination in Indonesia is, the flight can be longer.
Indonesia is divided into three time zones: Western Indonesia Time (Sumatra, Java, west and central Kalimantan) is seven hours ahead of GMT and 16 hours ahead of US Pacific Standard time. Central Indonesia Time (Bali, south and east Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Nusa Tenggara) is eight hours ahead of GMT. East Indonesia time (Maluki, Irian Jaya) is nine hours ahead of GMT.
Bahasa Indonesia is the national language. English is widely spoken for business and travel. In the bigger cities, Dutch is also spoken. French is gaining in popularity.
Indonesia makes up one corner of the Coral Triangle and contains 20% of the world’s coral reefs! It’s no wonder that these waters are virtual epicentres of biodiversity. With 600 species of coral and over 3000 fish species, you’ll quickly start checking items off your “must see” list. Whether you’re exploring muck diving at its best in Lembeh Strait, the incredible diversity of Bunaken National Park, or the rich seas of Raja Ampat, you’ll quickly realize why the waters of Indonesia are so scientifically important. Combine different dive areas into one trip, and you’ll be in for the underwater adventure of your life!
Indonesia is a tropical country. June through September is the dry season, and December through March is the rainy season. A period of mixed sunshine and thunderstorms marks the transition between dry and rainy seasons. Temperature ranges between 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit. Visitors are advised to wear light clothing. Cotton and linen are the most comfortable. “Batik” is the local fabric for men’s shirts and women’s dresses. These items can be purchased quite easily.