Raja AmpatTravel hints



Best time to dive in Indonesia
(Last updated April 2017)

Indonesia has equatorial tropical and humid climate all year. Seasonal differences are caused by shifting monsoonal rains. While some rain is to be expected any time of the year and doesn't greatly impact the diving experience, monsoonal rains also bring high winds which can make time spend on liveaboards less enjoyable or prevent diving activities altogether.

Bali: Diving is possible year round. Best time is May to September.
Komodo & Lombok: Best diving from April to November.
South Sulawesi: March to May and September to November are especially calm and sunny.
North Sulawesi: Best time to dive is from April through to November.
Raja Ampat: Best time to dive from liveaboards is from October through to April. Resort diving is possible year round. From May to September, only dive resort guests dive the countless reefs of Raja Ampat as liveaboards are not operating in the region. This means less crowds, which is a big plus!
Kalimantan: Best time to dive is from April to December.
Moluccas: Monsoon season is from June to August - the sea can be a bit rough. March to May and September to December have great diving conditions.

Please note that strong currents are prevalent in many dive regions, and deep water upwellings cause big thermoclines. Despite the equatorial location, the ocean can surprisingly cool in some high current areas, for example the Bali Lombok channel and around the Komodo Islands, dipping down to 20°C (68°F).
Visa & Passport requirements
Passports must be valid for 6 months from the estimated date of departure from Indonesia and should have a few blank pages left for visa stamps as you are travelling around the archipelago. For West Papua, please carry additional photocopies of main passport photo page as well as 4 passport photos for additional entry procedures.

Citizens from the following countries will be granted a FREE non-extendable and non-convertible 30-day Visa On Arrival (VOA)
Australia, USA, Canada, China, UK, most European countries such as Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Norway, Poland, Switzerland and most Asian and South American countries. Not all countries are listed here, so please check with your local Embassy or Consulate if your nationality is applicable for a free 30-day Visa On Arrival (VOA).

Entry requirement for Visa-Free Short Visits:
Passport must be valid for a minimum of 6 (six) months from the date of entry in Indonesia.
Onwards or return tickets are compulsory.
The Visa is non-extendable and cannot be converted into another type of visa.
No compulsory vaccinations.
Visitors on Visa-Free Short Visits must enter and exit from certain Airports and Seaports in Indonesia.

IMPORTANT: As regulations may change from time to time, it is advisable to check with the nearest Indonesian Embassy before your departure.
Health
A few Indonesian islands like Bali are considered malaria-free, and some coastal regions and many island resorts, particularly in North Sulawesi, pose a comparatively low risk of infection. If you are planning to visit any low lying tropical rainforest areas, then malaria protection is strongly recommend anywhere in Indonesia.

Please check with your physician or medical centre on the type of prophylactic you should use and specifically discuss any drug's compatibility with diving and possible side effects.
Malaria is transmitted by a certain type of mosquito. Avoidance of mosquito bites (e.g. by wearing long sleeved shirts and trousers at dusk and dawn) should be an important part of your risk minimisation strategy. Places with swampy grounds are more prone to harbour the disease than dry, urban areas.
There are a number of drugs on the market which reduce the risk of infection. Still, there is no known way to exclude this risk 100%. Some popular prophylactics are:
Doxycycline - sometimes in combination with Maloprin is widely prescribed by doctors in Australia.
Malarone - This drug is very effective and more expensive but so far we are not aware of any major side effects reported.
Lariam - was very popular in the 1990s. It should be avoided as it has been proven to cause severe side effects.

With all travels into tropical climate you should have an active immunisation against tetanus and a current polio protection.

Medical facilities are generally below Western standards and in many regions hospitals provide only basic facilities.

Decompression chambers are located at Bali's Sanglah General Hospital and hospitals in Jakarta and Manado. A new chamber recently opened in Waisai (Raja Ampat).

By far the greatest threat to health is sunburn. Give this your most careful attention. Always wear a sunscreen. Sunburn, seasickness, fatigue, coral cuts, fire coral burns, cuts and bruises are health hazards to be anticipated and can be avoided with common sense and care.

Medical kit suggestions
- Analgesic
- Insect repellent
- Anti-seasickness medicine
- Suntan lotion
- Sunblock cream
- Band aids (some large ones)
- Ear Drops alcohol/vinegar based. Daily use will prevent outer ear infections.
- Antibiotic ointment for coral cuts. Please your physician.
Currency
Official currency is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR).

Incidental charges can be paid by Visa, Mastercard or cash local currency with most dive resorts and liveaboards. Operators in more remote locations may only accept cash. Some permit fees may only be paid in cash. For credit card payments, service charges will apply.
Departure taxes
Airport taxes on departure are levied at every Indonesian airport. These taxes need to be paid cash in Indonesian Rupiah (IDR). The fees for domestic departures vary between IDR 11.000-40.000 per person. At international airports the departure tax is IDR 200.000 per person.

NOTE: There have been some changes in regards to departure taxes in Indonesia recently. For flight tickets issued after March 2015, all departure taxes are included in the ticket price. However, this information could not be officially confirmed yet for all carriers, so please continue to carry some Rupiah cash just in case.
Local time
The Indonesian island nation is spread out over almost 2 million square kilometers west to east right on the equator in South East Asia. Local time varies from GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) +7 in Java to GMT +9 in West Papua.
Language
The official language is Bahasa Indonesia, a blend of many island languages which is very similar to Bahasa Malaysia. English is spoken in tourist areas only.
Electricity
Electricity is the same as in most of Europe: 220/230V, 50 Hz, but there are different types of plugs in use: mostly two parallel prongs with and without earth connectors. It is adviseable to pack universal adapters. Converters aren't readily available for photographers with 110V systems, so better bring your own if you need to convert.
Certification requirements & dive gear hire
All scuba divers must carry a PADI open water equivalent certification. Most diving in Malaysia is conducted in small groups with local guides. Limited rental scuba gear is available on request.
Dive insurance
All dive operators promoted by Diversion Dive Travel adhere to high safety standards for all their equipment. However, due to their remote location, all liveaboards and most land-based dive operators in Micronesia insist that all divers present current Diver Evacuation & accident cover on arrival. For a nominal yearly membership fee, the DIVERS ALERT NETWORK (DAN) provides year-round diver evacuation and accident cover. For more details on membership and insurance options, please contact your regional DAN office.

North America: www.diversalertnetwork.org/
Europe: www.daneurope.org/
South-East Asia/Australia/Pacific: www.danasiapacific.org/
General travel insurance
In view of the heavy cancellation penalties applied to cancelled travel arrangements, Diversion Dive Travel strongly suggest you consider taking out suitable travel insurance at the time of booking. Travel insurance policies are designed to cover losses such as cancellation due to unforeseen circumstances, sudden illness or serious injury whilst abroad, and lost, stolen or damaged baggage and personal items.

Travel Insurance for Australian Residents:
www.diversiondivetravel.com.au/travelinsurance.html
Clothing suggestions
Casual & comfortable clothing including a light jacket is recommended, as evenings can get cool and liveaboards usually keep their airconditioning high in all indoor areas. Please keep sun protection in mind and be advised to respect local customs by not wearing swimsuits, short shorts, or other inappropriate clothing in towns, villages or public places.
Tipping
Tips have never been part of the culture, but tourism has changed local customs, and particularly those working in tourism have gotten used to receiving tips and being rewarded for very good service. There are no set rules, give as much as you see fit. On liveaboard vessels it is customary to give the tip to the skipper or cruise director and ask it to be distributed amongst the crew.
Safety
Indonesia is a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic society of about 80 million people. There are more than 300 different indigenous languages spoken throughout this vast archipelago, and apart from certain aspects of centralised bureaucracy based in Jakarta/Java, many islands have little else in common with each other.

While Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim nation, dive tourism operators seem to cluster in non-Muslim areas, for example in North Sulawesi, which is mostly Christian, Bali, or the very sparsely populated island regions around Eastern Indonesia or Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo).

In Bali, almost all families are Hindu, which makes their collective character, behaviour and way of life vastly different from Muslim Indonesia. The Balinese practice a unique version of Hinduism which emerged from a blend of Indian Hinduism, Buddhism and indigenous animist beliefs. Regrettably, in the past decade Bali has been the chosen target of terrorist activities imported from other islands, because most of the Indonesian tourism is centred there. This means that the densely populated southern beaches around the island capital Kuta could not be considered completely 100% safe, just like many other international holiday hot spots worldwide. However, there are no safety issues in the countryside, particularly around the very remote Northern coastline. The Balinese have always been the most peaceful, friendly and hospitable people imaginable.
Links to more information
The following information is supplied by the foreign affairs section of the relevant country or the tourism authority of the destination. Please check the links for up to date information on visa and safety requirements, embassy and consular contacts, general information:

Australian travel advisory for Indonesia
UK travel advisory for Indonesia
US travel advisory for Indonesia
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