About: The name Indonesia has its roots in two Greek Words: “Indos” meaning Indian and “Nesos” meaning island. This is an excellent description of the archipelago, as there are an estimated 17,508 islands, some nothing more than tiny outcropping of barren rock, others as California or Spain and covered in dense tropical jungle. Approximately 6,000 of these islands are inhabited, with five main islands and 30 smaller archipelagoes serving as home to the majority of the population.Area:The main islands are Sumatra (473,606 sq.km), Kalimantan (539,460 sq.km), Sulawesi (189,216 sq.km), Irian Jaya (421,981 sq.km), and Java (132,187 sq.km).

Population:The islands and people of Indonesia constitute the fourth most populated nation in the world, with about 200 million people.

The majority is of Malay descen. The population is predominantly Moslem. Nevertheless, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism and other religions are freely practiced.

Island Descriptions

Sumatra
The green giant Sumatra is so large and has so much to offer that the island is a destination in itself, especially now that the northern province of Aceh has opened.
Here you will find the last Indonesian pieces of unspoilt rainforest, home to orang-utans and the Sumatran Elephant. Furthermore the island offers beautiful volcanoes, mountainlakes and sweeping panoramas as well as colourful people, ranging from the animist Batak to the refined Islamic Minangkabau..
Sports lovers can do treks in the rainforest or climb of the many volcanoes.
Sumatra offers a pure and raw Indonesia experience with long days on the road and sometimes simple accommodations..
And, if you want to get off the beaten track altogether, then go to Aceh. This province is, after the civil war and the tsunami, working on a sensational recovery and as a tourist you are still alone here. The island of Weh is thé place to dive and relax.
Sunda Trails knows, as one of the few, this part of Indonesia very well.

Java
To many people Java embodies the ’real’ Indonesia, from the mystical misty volcanoes to the lantern-lit night markets.
This is partly true: Java is home to the Borobudur and Prambanan temples and all other highlights of Javanese-Hindu culture. It is the beating heart of Indonesian melting-pots in cities like Bandung and Jogjakarta and its scenic landscapes seem to come out of a picture book.
But Java has another, unknown, side. Here you can walk through rice-fields to immerse in traditional kampung (village) life. There are nature reserves that few tourists visit where you can come eye to eye with sea turtles and you can hike up spectacular volcanoes.
Off the beaten track Java has so much more to offer than just it’s famous highlights.
Sunda Trails can bring you, through our extensive local network, to all these places.

Bali
The Island of the Gods Bali evokes the images of Hindu temples, rice-terraces and fabulous beaches, and it goes without saying that you will find these in abundance on this beautiful island.
Bali offers a range of refined accommodations, fantastic culinary options and a well-developed wellness industry.
But Bali has another side, unknown to many people. Did you know that you could hike through bamboo-forests and clove-plantations in the mountainous interior? Or can ride a bike past rice-fields and groups of laughing children? Wake up to the sound of crowing cocks in a restored rice-barn?
Sunda Trails knows the hidden spots on this island, the remote beaches where you are alone and those special accommodations that you cannot find in a travel guide.

Lesser Sunda Islands
The islands east of Bali (Lombok, Sumbawa, Sumba and Flores) are called the Lesser Sunda Islands, or Nusa Tenggara in Indonesian. These islands have their own unique atmosphere. Because the influence of Hinduism has always been weak here, the local traditions (adat) are determined by animism, often covered by a thin layer of Islam or Christianity.
The islands differ also scenically. Because of low rainfall they are dry and rugged and it is often hard for their inhabitants to make a living.
It takes some stamina to travel these islands. The tourist infrastructure is still in its early stages, roads are narrow and windy, and there is not much choice in restaurants and hotels. But you will find the scenery breathtaking and the people extremely friendly in this authentic part of Indonesia!

Lombok
Lombok is sometimes referred to as the little sister of Bali, but it has to be the Bali of 30 years ago! On this island no busses full of Japanese, tax-free shopping malls or row after row of souvenir stalls. Instead you will find dazzlingly white beaches, rugged landscapes and authentic villages.
The island is dominated by powerful Mount Rinjani, 3800 meter high and one of the highest mountains of Indonesia. It’s slopes offer fantastic hikes past rice-terraces and through forests, but you can also trek to the top.
Lombok is home to the Islamic Sasak people, with their own language and culture. In their villages time seems to have stood still.
Lombok has arguably the best beaches in the whole of Indonesia. Pure white beaches encircle sky-blue bays that are empty but for you.
Lombok is said to become as popular and busy as Bali but luckily that time has not come yet. Senggigi and the Gili-islands have been discovered but in most other places you will have the place to yourself.
Sunda Trails knows Lombok like no other, because this is our home. We have developed the best hikes and cycle trips, know the quaintest little hotels and have the most extensive local network that ensure you will see the real Lombok!

Sumbawa
Sumbawa is not known to many people, as they prefer to fly over it on their way to Komodo or rush through it by bus. The island they see from their windows seems uninspiring: an empty, dry landscape, with sparse vegetation and hardly populated.
But Sumbawa requires some effort. If you stay longer on the island you will notice how friendly the people are, if you pay heed to their local sensitivities, and how interesting the rugged scenery. The offshore island of Moyo offers great diving.
Sunda Trails is one of the few touroperators that offers a number of treks on Sumbawa. This way you get to see a Sumbawa that few others can. We stay at local houses so do not expect any luxury and the walks are quite hard, but in return you get an unforgettable experience!

Sumba
Because of it’s isolated position Sumba has a unique culture and scenery. This small island receives only a small number of tourists and there are not many facilities. Visitors to Sumba come to see the interesting culture, which has a strong animist heart. It is centred in the traditional villages, with their iconic houses and exquisite weaving.
Once a year the island plays host to the Pasola, a spectacular traditional festival, in which large groups of mounted men fight each other with wooden spears.
Sunda Trails makes your stay here effortless. We are one of the few who know every nook and cranny on Sumba.

Flores
Flores is, justifiably, the most popular island of the Lesser Sunda Islands. From its rugged islands off the coast, home to the mighty Komodo Dragon, to it’s three coloured mountain lakes on Mount Kelimutu, the island has so much to offer.
Flores has, in contrast to most other east-Indonesian islands, a green and luscious landscape, shaded by numerous imposing volcanoes. Fantastic panorama’s, rice-fields as far as the eye can see, a wild coast with isolated beaches and last but not least excellent diving possibilities make this island a haven for nature-lovers, not to mention it’s many traditional villages with their unique adat (customs) and weaving.
The road-system on Flores is limited and most tourists follow, perforce, the same itinerary. Because Sunda Trails has been coming to Flores for years we have an extensive network of our own local contacts that enable you to get off the beaten track. We have developed several hikes and treks that get you to places that are rarely visited. The spectacular village of Wae Rebo, for instance, can only be visited on foot. Here we stay in the last remaining traditional circular community houses.
Sunda Trails makes sure you get to see a unique side of Flores.

Alor islands
The Alor islands are the latest, most eastern islands of Nusa Tenggara. These small islands are still relatively undiscovered, but making a stir because of their untouched coral gardens, abundant marine life, friendly people and strong traditions. Because of centuries of tribal clashes and headhunting many areas are long remained isolated. This explains why the traditions are so well preserved and why Alor have more than 14 different local dialects; some dialects can only be spoken by 500 people.

Rote
Except for surfers, Rote receives a few visitors. But the tiny island off the coast of Timor has a lot to offer like, clear seas, rugged rock formations and small islands along the coast, surrounded by white beaches. Rote provides the lontarpalm on a range of everyday products, from food and drinks, hats and household supplies. The island also has many villages and traditional animist religions.

Sulawesi
Sulawesi is a spectacular island that has a lot to offer to the adventurous traveller: not only the famous Toraja-culture with it’s interesting death-cult, but also a rugged mountainous interior with clear lakes, rainforests and coasts that offer some of the best diving in the archipelago.
Travelling on Sulawesi is not for the faint-hearted. Distances are long, roads are bad and there isn’t a tourist infrastructure to speak of.
Sunda Trail’s excellent local contacts guarantee that all the practicalities of your trip are well arranged, giving you the opportunity to enjoy this adventurous and exciting island without a care.

Kalimantan
Kalimantan (the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo) is one of the largest islands in the world and it is, although disappearing at an alarming rate, still covered with large swathes of rainforest.
Travelling on Kalimantan is not without effort. Distances are huge and roads do not exist. All transports have to be made by plane or boat.
Kalimantan’s main attraction is of course the rainforest and it’s inhabitants, the tribal Dayak and many species of monkeys and apes, of which the orang-utans are the most famous.
Sunda Trails will do all the organizing for you: we arrange your boat, the plane, the jungle-guides and your stay.

Papua
Papua is the most easterly island of the archipelago and has a culture that differs completely from the other islands. The Papua culture is centuries old and a trip through the Baliem valley is in many ways a trip through prehistory. Although the modern age has certainly come to the valley, for instance in the way the Papua dress today, the essence of their animist culture is still intact.
A trip to the Dani, one of the most interesting Papua tribes, means a trek of several days, devoid of any kind of creature comfort. It will however, provide you with countless spontaneous encounters with the friendly locals and an insight in a unique culture.
Sunda Trails takes care of everything: your flights, the trek including guide and porters and all stays at local houses. All you have to do yourself is walk!

Climate

Uzbekistan’s climate is classified as continental, with hot summers and cool winters. Summer temperatures often surpass 40 °C (104 °F); winter temperatures average about -2 °C (28.4 °F), but may fall as low as -40 °C (-40.0 °F). Most of the country also is quite arid, with average annual rainfall amounting to between 100 and 200 millimeters (3.9 and 7.9 in) and occurring mostly in winter and spring. Between July and September, little precipitation falls, essentially stopping the growth of vegetation during that period.

Visa

INDONESIA

Visa On Arrival (Valid for 30 days, extendable up to 60 days)
This is visa that you can get when entering Indonesia. This costs $25 and also can be paid in euros. You need a return ticket and a valid credit card (or 1000 euros in cash) to show.
The Visa On Arrival in Indonesia since January 2010 one time renewable for another 30 days. With this visa you can stay in the country for 60 days. If you stay longer than 60 days in Indonesia, you need to advance a 60-day visa at the embassy. (This visa can be extended to 6 months, see below.)

Visa Requirements

60-days Visa
If you go to the Indonesian embassy and ask for your visa, before you leave your own country, you can stay in the country for 60 days (without intervening and renew the visa, such as the Visa On Arrival). The cost of this visa at the embassy are € 45, -. The processing time is normally one week, but this can easily go up to 2 weeks!
With this visa at the airport you avoid the often long queues in Indonesia (especially Bali) for a Visa On Arrival.
You have to renew this 60-day Visa, in Indonesia, every 30 days up half years. This is completely legal, although this information is not provided to the Indonesian embassy.
If you fly with Garuda, you can purchase the visa on the aircraft and that saves a long wait upon arrival.

For a visa, you need the following documents:
– passport that is still valid at least 6 months after arrival in Indonesia;
– a pass photo;
– clearly completed and signed visa application form;
– a copy of your flight schedule.

NOTE: For all travelers applies that your passport must be valid at least 6 months upon arrival in Indonesia. If you want to go personally to the embassy, please check whether it is open!

Drugs

Transporting and using drugs in Indonesia is illegal and strictly prohibited. If you are caught with drugs, you have to go to jail and you will get a severe punishment, often death or life imprisoment. There is no difference between personal use and distribution.

Theft

It is not often that one is robbed. Most tourists will return home safely. Most thefts are the result of carelessness or naivete. Each country has its dangers and criminals. Take a good travel insurance with worldwide coverage.

Embassy

it there are serious problems that you have caused by yourself, then the Embassy can do little. You can get a new passport and possibly a lawyer and interpreter. Furthermore, you are bound by the laws of the country.

Payment

The local currency is the Rupiah. Major world currencies, either banknotes or travellers cheques, are easily exchanged at banks and moneychangers in major tourist destinations. It is advisable to carry sufficient amounts of Rupiah when travelling to smaller towns or outer provinces. Banknotes are available in denominations of 500, 1000, 5000, 10000, 20000, 50000, 100000, while coins come in denominations of 25, 50, 100, 500 and 1000. (You’ll need to show your passport to exchange money, and make sure you count what you’re given). Major credit cards are accepted at most hotels and restaurants in main cities.

Cash

It is good to take dollars or euros in cash for emergencies. Especially if you go to a remote area or island. The dollar or euro bills are the most accepted. In Indonesia, they find it very important that the bills are not wrinkled, torn or have a faded look. These will be refused. Dollar bills may not be older than 2006.

Banks

Most banks are open on Monday till Friday between 08:00 and 15:30 / 16:00. In the Islamite areas, the banks often close on Friday between 11:00 and 13:00 due to prayers. On Saturday, the banks are closed.

Credit Card

In bigger towns there are plenty of banks with an ATM. On the door of the ATM there are many logos. This shows if your card is accepted.
A credit card is useful to pay the bigger hotels, restaurants and larger amounts. You may also pin with your credit card, but there are high transaction costs on it. It is wise to have an emergency card with you. On the Sunda Islands you can never pay with your credit card.

Currency exchange

Cash and traveler’s checks can be exchanged at the bank, but it is easier to do this in a Money Changer. You can often get a better rate than the bank. You always have to do this in a money changer who is reliable and count your money carefully, because there are tricks to deceive your circulation.

Electricity

Most hotels use 220 volts 50 cycles and two-pronged plugs. However it is not uncommon to find some hotels using 110 volts, particularly in the provinces. Check before using an appliance. Some hotels supply adaptors on request.

Bargaining

It is normal to haggle in Indonesia. In markets, streets and many shops you can bargain.
And when you are a tourist they will suddenly set the price very high. See it as a bargaining game and always stay friendly. Always try to compare everything and then make a decision. Stay at a reasonable price and realize that for someone, 5000 rupiah can make the difference in having a meal or no meal at all.

Current exchange rate

The currency in Indonesia is the Indonesian rupiah. The exchange rate of € 1, – currently amounts to around IDR. 12,000. (Click here for current rates)

Telephone and internet

Telephone
Calling from your hotelroom is often very expensive. Sometimes its cheaper to call from an Internet cafe. Another option is Skype. Many hotels and restaurants have WiFi connection. Its also possible to buy a local prepaid SIMcard for your cellphone.This makes the cost for a call to a taxi or a restaurant, much lower. Home can also achieve this local number, SMS or call, but you pay much cheaper for this.Internet
In larger cities and tourist resorts in Indonesia its not difficult to find an internet cafe. The speed of the Internet and their costs are various. More and more hotels and restaurants offer wireless Internet.If you stay one month in Indonesia and your mobile phone in simlock-free, you can also buy a local prepaid card for your phone for the Internet. This includes prepaid for one month and unlimited internet for one month.

Typical Indonesian

Indonesian food
Indonesian cuisine is versatile, but there are a number of basic ingredients. The staple however is rice, often combined with fish or meat and vegetables in with a tasty spice mix (bumbu). A meal without rice is not a meal according to the average Indonesian. Indonesian cuisine has many spicy dishes, however many are not all spicy. It is the mixture of spicy and non-spicy dishes that makes a tasty meal.Squatting
All over Indonesia people sit in a squatting position. In this posture they talk, wait, laugh, eat and work. Try it, it is not as easy as it seems!Sarong and kebaya
The sarong and kebaya is the traditional Indonesian dress. The sarong is a large piece of cloth, which is sewn together and worn as a skirt while the kebaya is a kind of blouse that women wear on special occasions. Both women and men wear sarongs and in the countryside they are still commonly seen. While dress differs from island to island in general the cloth is colourful and richly decorated. A sarong can be made of painted (batik) or woven cloth (ikat). Sarongs are not only worn as skirts they are also used as blankets and by the women to carry babies. They make nice souvenirs!Ikat
On the eastern islands of Indonesia sarongs are traditionally woven. This technique is transmitted from mother to daughter, and on these islands you can watch many women working on their looms. The process of ikat weaving is very time consuming. It consists of a weaving and dying technique where the threads on the loom are tied (‘ikat’ means ‘tying’ in Indonesian) so that they aren’t coloured during the dying process. Through this tying and dying process beautiful patterns arise, with differing complexities. The greater the time and energy consumed during the process the worthier and thus more expensive the cloth. To possess an ikat is very special. These cloths are often used as bride gifts or exchanged during local ceremonies. The patterns in the weave are full of symbolism and this differs from island to island and sometimes even between regions.Becak
Like the cidomo (or horse car) the becak is also a way of transportation in Indonesia. It is not moved by horses, like the cidomo, but by men’s power in the shape of strong male’s legs pushing a bicycle. These becaks are mostly seen in big cities like Yogyakarta and Surabaya.Kaki Lima
On every street corner in Indonesia you find several ‘kaki lima’, or ‘Five-footers’. Kaki Lima are small food stalls whose owners walk a fixed route every day to sell their wares. They sell all variations of the Indonesian menu ranging from sweets to rice meals and from ice cream to kue lapis, cakes with different layers. Every stall has its own specific sound, either a beat on a piece of wood, a yell or a bell. In this way everyone knows what dish is walking past!
Gayung and mandibak
In many places in Indonesia people wash themselves by using the mandibak: a large tiled water tank out of which water is scooped by using a gayung, a plastic scoop. You throw the water over yourself, elephant-fashion. However, many hotels do have ordinary showers nowadays.Offerings on Bali
On Bali the majority of the population are adherents of the Hindu faith. An important part of the ritual is the daily offering of flowers, rice and incense to their pantheon of gods. This is why many sanctuaries and statues of gods can be found spread over the island. A beautiful sight!Dance.

On almost all Indonesian islands people dance. Dances differ per island and per population group. They function as decoration for special occasions. Today many dances are also specially performed for tourists, and this is a special experience. Often accompanied by a gamelan orchestra and dressed in colourful clothing, the dancers make their complicated, delicate movements. Most famous are the Balinese dances, where finger movements are incredible!

Mosques
88 % of Indonesians are Muslim and across the archipelago you will see many mosques. Five times a day the call to prayer is heard throughout the country, and Friday is the national day of Prayer. However Indonesia is not a typical Islamic country, because Indonesians value their traditions strongly. Indonesian Law upholds the recognition of different beliefs across the archipelago.

Topi
Almost all Indonesian men wear a black hat, called topi. Indonesia’s first President Sukarno made this hat famous. He wore it regularly and nowadays it is common dress among (especially Muslim) men. On official occasions most men wear their topi.

Bintang
Bir Bintang, or ‘star beer’ is available all over Indonesia. The brand name is derived from the label on the bottle, which shows a red star. This amber fluid, brewed by a daughter company of Heineken, is a pleasant way to lessen your thirst!

Cidomo
A commonly used vehicle in Lombok is the horse cart, or cidomo. These carts are often brightly coloured and beautifully decorated. They are pulled by small horses and used to transport people to markets or nearby villages. The cidomo is used as public transport, which means you may share your ride with some smiling locals, but it is also possible to rent one for you and your friends or family.

Bemo
A ride in an Indonesian public transport van is a real experience. Squashed full of people, animals and trade goods, a kernet (someone who takes in the money and looks for new passengers) hanging out of the open door, this bus seems to be a danger on the road. But most drivers are experienced and know what risks are appropriate and which are not. Bemos have a fixed route. Never enter an empty bemo when you are in a hurry, it will take ages before you actually leave as bemo drivers see it as their challenge to ‘catch’ as many passengers as possible upon departure.

Traditional boats
Indonesians conquered the seas that surround their country in little boats. Many of them have buoyancy outriggers on both sides making them very stable in the water. These boats are used for fishing, but also to transport people from one place to the other.
Karbouw
Wide terraces filled with rice fields are characteristic of Indonesia’s landscape. In fact these fields are divided into a large number of small plots of land, each too small to be worked on with large machinery. A lot of work is therefore done by water buffaloes, animals,which are very precious to their owners

Vaccinations

Not every area in Indonesia is the same. Each island has its dangers and diseases. Not only the area is important, but the duration affects your vaccinations. In general, the hepatitis A vaccine, DTP and typhoid are recommended.We encourage you to go to your GP or Health Service in your region, 6 weeks before departure. Get information on the hazards / diseases and related vaccines.

Malaria and dengue
Malaria is a tropical infectious disease, which is active in several areas in Indonesia. This is caused by a malaria parasite. The parasite is transmitted through the bite of mosquitoes. There are several forms of malaria. The parasite multiplies itself, first in the liver and then in the red blood cells. Approximately 8-10 days after the sting, the first symptoms occur. Tropicana Malaria is the most dangerous form: it may, be deathly within a few days or weeks when you don’t treat it. Be alert and take preventive measures such as protecting yourself against mosquito bites and using antimalaria pills.
The malaria mosquito is most active at sunset and sunrise. Wear in these times, covering clothing, make sure you sleep in a mosquito-free room, use a mosquito net and put the air conditioning if possible.
Contact your GP or Health Service in your region for more information.

Dengue
Dengue, or Dengue fever, is active the whole year. It is transmitted by a mosquito that is recognizable by the white dots on its body. The mosquito lays its eggs in clean stagnant water. The symtoms are fever (41°C), severe headache, pain in joints and muscles and sometimes a rash that consists of bright red petechiae (small subcutaneous bleeding) that usually begins on legs and chest.
The patient should drink plenty of water and maybe extra fluids through a drip. There are no medication of vaccines against Dengue. Dengue is more commen during the rainseason. To ensure proper diagnose, there must be a blood test. Insist it with the doctor.

Travelers Diarrhea
Through contaminated food or water, travellers can reach illnesses such as hepatitis A, typhoid fever or traveller’s diarrhea. Traveller’s diarrhea occurs when three or more discharges of unformed or watery stools per day. This can be accompanied by nausea, fever and abdominal pain. It is generally mild, lasts about 3 to 4 days and often self-limiting. The risk of travellers’ diarrhea is dehydration, especially with small children and the elderly. By dehydration you should always consult a doctor.