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About Indonesia
The floating emerald islands of the Indonesian archipelago have for centuries lured everyone from missionaries to pirates, mining companies and backpackers to their sandalwood and spice breezes, their Bali Hai lifestyle and their magnificent beaches, mountains and volcanoes.

However, the myth of paradise is often marred by deep racial divides, religious warring, high-handed autocracy, government corruption, economic mismanagment and natural disasters. The latest rounds of violence have made Indonesia a problematic destination for Western travellers.

Refreshingly though, much of the country remains barely touched by mass tourism. Despite great improvements in communications and transport connections, Indonesia's thousands of islands and multitude of cultures still offer adventure that is hard to find in the developed world. And despite the hammering Bali tourism has taken due to the tragic 2002 bombing of the Sari nightclub, all of Indonesia's remarkable sights remain to be explored and enjoyed.

Time Zone: GMT/UTC +7 (Sumatra, Java and West & Central Kalimantan), GMT/UTC +8 (Bali, Nusa Tenggara, South & East Kalimantan and Sulawesi), GMT/UTC +9 (Papua and Maluku)

Dialling Code: 62

Facts for the Traveler Visas:
Visa regulations have been in a state of flux since 2002, with changes being made in response to political imperatives and then reversed when pressure is brought to bear by tourism interests. Nationals of 21 countries, including Australia, the US and some European countries, are able to obtain a visa on arrival in Indonesia. Visas on arrival can only be obtained at designated international airports and seaports and Indonesia requires at least 6 months validity remaining on passports for visitors entering the country.

When to Go

Though travel in the wet season is possible in most parts of Indonesia, it can be a deterrent to some activities and travel on mud-clogged roads in less developed areas is difficult. In general, the best time to visit is in the dry season between May and October. Before concerns of about terrorism became so pervasive the Christmas holiday period brought a wave of migratory Australians, with an even bigger tourist wave during the European summer holidays. The main Indonesian holiday period is the end of
Ramadan, when resorts can be full and prices are increased.

Indonesia Attractions Bali
Bali is so picturesque that you could be fooled into thinking it was a painted backdrop: rice paddies trip down hillsides like giant steps, volcanoes soar through the clouds, the forests are lush and tropical, and the beaches are lapped by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. The 2002 Kuta bombing marred Bali's tropical loveland image, and for a time the island, heavily dependent on tourism, fell into decline. These days it's undergoing a cautious revival with travellers reimmersing themselves in the sublime beach and village life and the aura of the magnificent temples.

Java
The most developed island in the Indonesian archipelago, Java exhibits all the characteristics of an Asian society experiencing rapid transition: great wealth and equal squalor; beautiful open country and filthy cities; tranquil rural scenes and streets choked with traffic. The Hindu-Buddhist empires reached their zenith on Java, producing architectural wonders such as Borobudur and Prambanan. Islam, following on after this, absorbed rather than erased local cultures, leaving Java with a mish-mash of historic influences and religions.

Lombok
Less developed than Bali, Lombok has better beaches, a bigger volcano and a greater variety of landscapes. Thanks to low key tourism, many Lombokians are less blasé about tourists than the neighbouring Balinese so you should have no trouble finding your very own private paradise.

Sumatra
Sumatra is as tropical as it gets. With its Amazon-like rivers moving sluggishly through canopies of natural rainforests, muddy mangrove estuaries, steamy interiors, brilliantly gaudy flora and weird and wonderful fauna, Sumatra is a place and a half for a boat trip. Despite its wealth of natural resources, Sumatra is struggling with a failing economy. The northern province of Aceh is at the epicentre of separatist violence and the area has been hit by devastating earthquakes

Flores
The villages of Nggela, Wolojita and Jopu on the island of Flores are renowned for their beautiful ikat sarongs and shawls. The traditional whaling village of Lamalera on Lembata, east of Flores, is a fascinating place to poke around the boatsheds and watch whaling crafts. Kelimutu's tri-coloured lakes are Nusa Tenggara's most fantastic attraction. The waters in the three volcanic craters have a curious habit of changing colour. Local legend has it that the souls of the dead go to the lakes. Which colour lake you go to depends on your conduct during your life.

Irian Jaya
Papua is one of the world's last wilderness areas. The Papuans live in some of the most rugged terrain on earth - from snowcapped mountains to mangrove swamps - in a region that offers fantastic jungle scenery, equatorial glaciers, abundant bird and animal life and great trekking opportunities.

Kalimantan
If you're expecting to see half-naked, heavily tatooed Dayaks striding down the streets of Balikpapan or Pontianak, you'll be disappointed. Your first impressions of Kalimantan, which occupies the southern two-thirds of the island of Borneo, are likely to be of oil refineries and timber mills.

Komodo & Rinca

These two small islands sandwiched between Flores and Sumbawa in eastern Nusa Tenggara are famous for their four-legged inhabitants - the ponderous Komodo dragons. The lizards can be quite fierce, and range from 20g (0.7oz) pipsqueaks to 130kg (287lb) monsters

Maluku
The thousand islands of Maluku (formerly the Moluccas) were the fabled spice islands of history, which attracted Indian, Chinese, Arab and later European traders, who came in search of the cloves, nutmeg and mace that grew here and nowhere else.

Sulawesi

Most travellers head to the beautiful rugged hill country of Tana Toraja in central and southern Sulawesi, and the small town of Rantepao pulls in many of them. The Toraja have become the focus of tourist attention thanks to their elaborate ceremonies, burial sites and traditional houses
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