Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Gateway To Sulawesi

Indonesia is the larges archipelago on earth, dipping and rising across the equator for nearly 5000km are the islands of Indonesia one of the most evocative countries in the world.
The archipelago contains about 18.000 tropical islands. The five main islands are: Java, Sulawesi, Kalimantan, Sumatra and Papua. Other popular islands are: Nusa Tenggara (where the endangered Komodo dragons Varanus komodoensis are living), Bali, Lombok and the Moluccas.

Every Indonesian island is different and almost unique from each other. Almost every island has breathtaking mountains, magnificent rice fields, giant (active) volcanoes, tropical rainforest and bounty islands with pearl white beaches.

Flora & Fauna

Indonesia has a fantastic Flora & Fauna with a unique ecosystem. We can find the beautiful wild Orang-utans, Asian Elephant on Sumatra and Kalimantan, Panthers, Rhino’s and Tigers on Java and Sumatra. But also the extreme large Komodo dragon on the islands of Nusa Tenggara and worlds largest Reticulated pythons in Central Sulawesi. Animals like Kangaroo’s and Sea crocodiles from Papua. The Flora and Fauna from East Indonesia (starts from Sulawesi) are similar to the Flora and Fauna of Australia.
*We would like to protect our Flora and Fauna, so our Emerald Indonesia tours & travel doesn’t like cooperate with them who affect the Indonesian nature. We would like to ask our guests never to buy products or souvenirs which made from animals or endangers species of trees or flowers. Don’t forget that it is most of the time illegal to bring it abroad. And please do not take photo’s pose with animals like monkeys (or other primates) or reptiles. So you don’t support them who take those animals away from their natural habitat and use them for an unfair business. So we do not support tourism against the nature.

Cultures and Population
The island of Kalimantan (former Borneo) is shared with Malaysia. Indonesia is located between South East Asia’s mainland, the Indian Ocean, The Pacific Ocean and Australia.
With more then 231 million people, it’s world’s 4th most populous nation.
There are around 300 ethnic groups with more then 365 different kinds of languages and dialects. Bahasa Indonesia is the national spoken language and it is grounded on Bahasa Malays. Every group has its own tradition and culture and they all working hard for a good future and strong nation.

Like many countries have four seasons, dos Indonesia has only two seasons. Indonesia has the wet season most of the time from October till April and the dry season from May till September. Even during the wet season is it warm, but cold for the locals, you can see them often with winter coats and long sleeves against the cold. The Indonesian highlands can be cool during the rain season, but that’s make a tour comfortable and pleasant. Places near the costal are hotter then places in the midland and highlands. The average temperature in Indonesia is between 27˚ and 34˚ and in the highlands around 25˚. The highlands can be cold during the nights and the hot places have a fresh cool breeze during the night, that’s typical for the tropics. Sometimes it’s raining only a couple of minutes during the raining season, but sometimes it will take hours.

In tropic countries like Indonesia is it good to wear light and loose clothes made from linen or cotton, these materials is easy to wash and it dry fast.
A trouser and a shirt with long sleeves are good to ware during the evening against mosquitoes and you can use it when you visit a mosque, church or a funeral. Don’t forget to respect the local culture when you visit a ceremony or religious place, please accept the local dress code. A couple of strong and easy going walking shoes or sandals for a tour or a walk on a rough underground like rocks and wet mud. Flip flaps or slippers are nice during your stay at the accommodation or when you visit the beach with water. A cap or hat can protect you for sunstroke and use a good sun blocker even when the sun is not that strong! Bring a raincoat or poncho with you during the wet season.

The most recommended vaccines for travelers are: Diphtheria & Tetanus, Polio, Hepatitis A or (A+B), Typhoid. Please check if you need some vaccines when you just arrived from infected areas, maybe you need a valid International certificate of vaccinations before you can enter Indonesia. We advice you to contact you local Municipal Health Service for a good medical advice about vaccines, Malaria Medication (South Sulawesi is Malaria free) and other medical requirements before your travel to Indonesia. Please beware with swimming in Central Sulawesi, because you can get Bilharzias (or Schistosomiasis), this disease is transmitted by minute freshwater worms. This worms living in lakes and rivers in Africa and sometimes Central Sulawesi, but infection in Central Sulawesi is very rare.
Do not drink water or milk from small street shops on the sidewalk and do not use ice from the street as well. It’s safe to drink boiled water (air putih) in the mid and high class restaurants and hotels. It’s safe also to eat an ice cream in this restaurants or hotels. They all use western standard. Drink a Coca Cola light or eat some bananas when you have diarrhoea and when you have to travel, this can stop it for awhile. But keep drinking (water or tea) with some sugar and salt. Contact a doctor when the diarrhoea keeps on. Please bring a medicine passport when you travel with special medicine on doctor’s receipt in which you need during your stay in Indonesia.

Electricity and voltage
The mains voltage is most of the time 220volt / 50Hz (sometimes 220volt); it is always good to bring an adaptor with you to Indonesia. The sockets are the same as in Europe with two round prongs.
Visa & Documents:
Every visitor to Indonesia needs a valid passport which is valid at least for six months following your date of arrival. You will get a disembarkation card when you pas the immigration when you arrival in Indonesia, keep it because you have to give it back to the immigration when you leave the country. There are different kinds of visa for visit Indonesia, most of the time the visitor need a tourist visa, just to visit Indonesia for a holiday. It depends on your nationality, but most of the visas are valid for 30 or 60 days. You need a special visa when you want to visit Papua (Irian Jaya). But please contact the nearest Indonesian Embassy or Indonesian consulate before you travel to Indonesia.

The local currency in Indonesia is the Rupiah (Rp). Traveller checks from major US companies are more accepted, checks like American Express, Citicorp or Bank of America. The Euro, US, Australian, Canada dollar, Japan Yen and the British pond are very good accepted in Indonesia and you can change them at moneychangers, banks or mid and high class hotels. Credit cards as MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Dinners and Bankcard are the best accepted credit card and you can pay with it at the most hotels, shopping malls in major tourist areas. Almost every Indonesian bank has ATM facilities to take cash bankcard with Maestro, Cirrus and Plus.

Airport and ferry tax
International and domestic departures are charged by airport tax and also for domestic and international ferries.

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