PHONE AND INTERNET
The coverage for mobile phones is rather good in Indonesia,
however some remote areas are still without coverage. Prepaid phone
numbers are easily available and cost less then 1 US$. It is
recommended if you bring your mobile phone. The provider Telkomsel
has the best coverage. Two of their brand names are Kartu As and
Simpati, Indosat has also a good coverage. Two of their brand names
are Mentari and IM3. Internet café’s are available in major towns,
for example in Sabang.
International dialing codes:
Indonesia: +62, Singapore: +65, Penang: +60-04, Kuala Lumpur: +60-03
Arranging your money can sometimes be a bit of a hassle if you
travel away from the beaten track. The most convenient alternative
is ATM (Automatic Teller Machine) that accepts International credit
cards and/or Cirrus cards. Bank notes do not come in high
denominations and if they would, you would have difficulties in
using them. They come in denominations between Rp. 1.000 and Rp.
100.000 (app. 0.10 - 10 US$).
Many areas have no moneychangers. However, many tourist oriented
accommodations accept US$, but give a bad rate. (They will get the
problem of changing them at the bank.) It can also be difficult to
change foreign banknotes that are soiled and looking old. Even holes
from staples can be enough for a bank to refuse to change your bank
notes. Banks often give a lower rate for lower denominations of
foreign currencies. Less common currencies are very difficult to
change, even in big cities. US$, Euros, Singapore $ and Malaysian
Ringit are the most common foreign currencies in Sumatra. Beware; in
many areas banks don’t change money after 12.00.
Tipping is not customary in Indonesia, but does occur, mostly in
"better" restaurants. Rounding off to an even sum is normally
enough. Taxis don’t expect a tip, except from newly arrived
foreigners. Price is normally negotiated anyway. One polite way of
giving some money in situations when you want to do it, but are
afraid to embarrass the receiver, is to hand over some notes in a
handshake. At home in a family one can give money to the children as
a way of avoiding embarrassment.
Indonesia has three time zones. Western Indonesia Standard Time
is 7 hrs ahead of GMT and covers Sumatra, Java, and the western half
of Kalimantan (Borneo). Sumatra is one hour behind Singapore and
Malaysia. The eastern half of Borneo, Sulawesi, and the islands from
Bali to Timor are one hour ahead of North Sumatra, Maluku and Irian
Jaya are two hours ahead.
Power supply is 220 volts. Power failures are common and the
power supply often fluctuates. Electrical contacts are the same as
for Continental Europe. Singapore and Malaysia have the British
system. In many rural villages, electricity is still only partly or
totally unavailable. Most common in rural villages is electricity
from either evening to midnight or evening to morning.