Located 6° to 9° below the equator, Java enjoys a warm, tropical climate year-round. The weather is particularly pleasant from June through September. The wet season runs from November to April. Even during the heaviest rains, the sun is rarely out of sight for long.
Javanese people and their language dominate the island and village conversation. In the Western uplands, however, the Sundanese, Java’s other major indigenous ethnic group, have their own language. A third major language, Madurese, is spoken on the island of Madura, just off the northeastern coast of Java. In a country of more than 745 languages and dialects, Bahasa Indonesia is the national language, spoken by everyone. English is spoken in Java’s main tourist centres. Dutch is spoken by older Javanese.
The national currency is the rupiah, with bills ranging from 1,000 to 100,000 rupiahs. Coins range from 100 to 1,000 rupiahs. US dollars are accepted in larger tourist centres. Money changers are located throughout major tourist areas and readily change most currencies, but not always traveller’s cheques. Rupiah bills dating from 1996 or before will not be accepted by most money changers or hotels. Credit cards are accepted by hotels and establishments in most major tourist areas.
Visitors from certain countries require a tourist visa in advance, some can obtain these on arrival at any international airport in Indonesia and some visitors do not require a visa at all. The visa-on-arrival fee for citizens of eligible countries is US$35 for a 30-day visa and is extendable for another 30 days. Passports must be valid for at least six months from the arrival date and have at least four full blank pages. Guests are advised to check with their nearest Indonesian embassy or consulate prior to travel, or to contact Amanresorts’ reservations department for more information.
At each of the Amans in Indonesia, a nurse is on call 24 hours a day. In certain areas of Southeast Asia, there is a chance of contracting mosquito-borne diseases. In Indonesia, the main resort areas of Java and Bali are safe. There is, however, a risk in some rural areas. Reasonable precautions, including the use of mosquito repellent early in the morning and late in the day, will minimise the risk. You may also want to consult your doctor.
Electricity is 220 volts/50 cycles. Indonesia’s time zone is GMT + seven hours. Loose and casual clothing is advisable. In the dry season, April to November, you may need a light sweater in the evenings, especially in the hill country. Bargaining is common practice in Indonesia. Armed with good humour, guests can bring prices down considerably in local markets.