Business Travel in Indonesia

A Hot Tip about Climate, Time Difference in Indonesia

Posted on: 3 Mar 2010

Business Customs

The best time for an initial business trip is September through June, as school holidays and vacation time in the summer months can impact the availability of many business people. Visitors should check the local holiday schedule before traveling to Indonesia, and in particular should try to avoid the Muslim fasting month of Ramadhan, during which appointments are often difficult to schedule. The normal business attire is a lightweight business suit or white shirt, tie and slacks for men, and a business suit or dress for women.


Indonesia is a very diverse country, with more than 300 different ethnic groups. Some Indonesians are traditional in culture, others may be considerably "Westernized." Many Indonesians do not conduct business transactions or make decisions in the same direct fashion Americans do, so U.S. business people should be prepared to spend a good deal of time with clients before getting down to the business transaction. Traditional Javanese culture emphasizes harmony and the word "no" is rarely used. This can make it difficult for a Westerner to ascertain exactly how a business proposal is being received. Patience and the development of personal relations is the key. Because Indonesians do business with "friends," people who they know, developing a rapport is crucial. While quality and price are important, they are often secondary to the personal interaction of the business partners.


During business meetings, tea or coffee is almost always served and should be accepted. It should not be consumed until the host invites you to do so, which may not occur until the end of the meeting. Generally speaking, it is best to use the right hand in receiving or eating. Although hand shaking is a common practice, avoid hearty handshakes and other physical contact. Do not show the soles of your shoes when seated.


A publication that may be of use to business executives is "The Guide for Business Representatives," available for sale by contacting: Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, Tel: (202) 512-1800, fax: (202) 512-2250. Business travelers to Indonesia seeking appointments with U.S. Embassy-Jakarta officials should contact the U.S. Commercial Service in advance. The U.S. Commercial Service can be reached by telephone at (62-21) 526-2850, fax at (62-21) 526-2855


Visa Requirements

U.S. citizens traveling to Indonesia are required to have a valid visa. Visas can be obtained by applying at the Indonesian Embassy in Washington or at their Consulates in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Visas on arrival (30-day visa) are available at the airport in Jakarta, Surabaya, Medan, Denpasar and several other large cities for a fee of $25. All travelers to Indonesia must have a passport valid for at least six months from the date of arrival in Indonesia as well as an onward/return ticket. Indonesian authorities regularly deny entry to Americans who arrive with less than six months validity on their passports. Travelers are strongly urged to check with their airline and with the Indonesian Embassy or the Directorate General of Immigration at the following links, as requirements can change on short notice.



Telephone services vary between areas in Jakarta. They depend largely on the local telephone exchange's capacity to handle traffic. Phone service is good along the main business thoroughfares and the newer residential areas, which are served by fiber optic trunk lines. In the older residential areas, service is less reliable. Extra phone lines can be costly, and obtaining them can be time consuming. International direct dial (IDD) lines are available and will allow connection to an AT&T operator, but rates are considerably higher than calling from the United States.


Cell phones are widely used throughout Indonesia. Cellular services could easily be obtained as there are eleven operators offering GMS or CDMA technologies. Out of the total carriers, three GSM carriers - Telkomsel, Indosat, and XL - provide solid coverage across the country. The good thing about using cell service in Indonesia is that the service can easily be subscribed and cheap compared to U.S. standards. It is also worth noting that pre-paid SIM cards are easily purchased at many stores and kiosks. The use of BlackBerry has been growing significantly. However, BlackBerry service is only available to post-paid users.


Coming into 2009, Indonesia has an estimated 25 million internet users. Broadband internet services are very much in their infancy. Problems with inferior telecommunications infrastructure will continue to impede internet growth. A number of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) operate in Indonesia. The following are some of the largest and most established ISPs in Indonesia:

AT&T Global

PT. Sistelindo Mitralintas

Landmark Center I, 19th Floor

Jl. Jend. Sudirman Kav.1

Jakarta 12910

Tel: (62-21) 528-99300

Fax: (62-21) 522-3432

Contact: Mr. Sumilan B. Atmoredjo, President Director



PT. Cyberindo Aditama

Gd. Manggala Wanabakti IV, 6th Floor

Jl. Jendral Gatot Subroto, Senayan

Jakarta Selatan 10270

Tel: (62-21) 579-94500

Fax: 62-21) 574-2481

Contact: Mr. Dani Sumarsono, President Director



PT. Rahajasa Media Internet

Plaza 89, 4th Floor, Suite 407

Jl. H.R. Rasuna Said Kav. X-7/6

Jakarta 12950

Tel: (62-21) 252-6363

Fax: (62-21) 252-0668

Contact: Mr. Roy Rahajasa Yamin, Director



PT. Aplikanusa Lintasarta

Menara Thamrin, 11th Floor, 12th Floor, 18th Floor & 19th Floor.

Jl. M.H. Thamrin Kav.3

Jakarta 10250

Tel: (62-21) 230-2345

Fax: (62-21) 315-8870

Contact: Mrs. Noor SDK Devi, President Director



PT. Centrin Online Tbk

Jl. Braga No. 76

Bandung 40111

Tel: (62-22) 422-0818

Fax: (62-22) 422-0821

Contact: Mr. Ismail Hirawan, President Director


Pacific Link

PT. Jasa Jejaring Wasantara

Plaza Great River, 14th Fl.

Jl. HR. Rasuna Said Blok X-2 No.1

Jakarta 12950

Tel: (62-21) 526-2627

Fax: (62-21) 526-2625

Contact: Mr. Wahyoe Prawoto, President Director



Airlines flying into Jakarta include Garuda (the national airline), Qantas/British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, KLM, and a number of other regional carriers. Connections can be made to all major airlines, including U.S. carriers, in Singapore or Hong Kong. No U.S. airlines currently fly into Jakarta. Internal flights are readily available, but connections not involving Jakarta are often problematic. There is an extensive rail network, but it is generally not appropriate for business travel. Extreme caution must be taken when traveling by car, as conditions are crowded and dangerous. Taxis in Jakarta are plentiful, but you should only use call taxi services available at your hotel: Silver Bird and Blue Bird are the most reliable and safest taxi services. Golden Bird cars and drivers can be hired by the day, but cost around $100 per day.



The national language of Bahasa Indonesia is spoken all over Indonesia, in addition to local languages. English is widely spoken and understood in Jakarta by most business people, although much less so in other cities. Most of the better hotels have English-speaking staff, as do the shopping centers that cater to expatriates. International telephone operators also speak English. The level of English can vary. Indonesian firms hoping to conduct business with foreigners generally try to employ some English speakers.



Short-term visitors to Indonesia are advised to be up-to-date on their Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Typhoid vaccinations, in addition to all routine childhood immunizations before arrival. The hepatitis vaccination series takes six months to complete. Those considering travel outside the major cities (Jakarta, Surabaya, Medan, southern Bali, etc.) should take anti-malaria medication; mefloquine or doxycycline are considered adequate prevention measures against malaria. Physicians in the United States should be able to answer questions pertaining to immunizations and other health concerns.


Air pollution in the larger cities causes a number of common respiratory ailments to both visitors and long-term residents. Dehydration as a result of intestinal illnesses can be a serious, even life-threatening, condition if not treated. Persons suffering from severe diarrhea may obtain an oral re-hydration solution from a local pharmacy. If vomiting makes it impossible to adequately re-hydrate, visit a clinic immediately.


Avian Influenza – Indonesia has experienced several outbreaks of Avian Influenza (AI). Economic hardship and ignorance of modern disease control methods have combined to make Indonesia’s AI control efforts somewhat ineffective. At least 62 human deaths from AI have occurred in Indonesia, but all were among people having close contact with AI infected foul. Americans who travel to Indonesia should obtain up to date health information before departing the U.S. The websites of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization have up to date information on outbreaks of contagious and tropical diseases. Americans considering travel to Indonesia should read the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Avian Influenza dated February 29, 2008 and consult with their personal physicians concerning avian flu.


There are a few modern, well-equipped clinics and hospitals in Jakarta that are considered adequate for minor illnesses, but expatriates generally prefer to fly to Singapore or their home countries for treatment of serious illnesses and/or operations. An adequate pre-hospital emergency system, similar to the "911" system in the U.S., does not exist in any Indonesian cities. Many local hospitals operate their own ambulances, with no common standards. Response time can be prolonged. In the event of illness or emergency, the following clinics and hospitals are among those frequented by expatriates in Jakarta:



SOS Medika Klinik, Cipete

(International SOS)

Jl. Puri Sakti No. 10, Cipete,

Jakarta Selatan, 12410.

Tel: 750-5980

Fax: 750-6002, 750-6003


SOS Medika Klinik, Kuningan

(International SOS)

Setia Budi Building II, Ground Floor

Jl. H.R. Rasuna Said Kav. 62, Kuningan,

Jakarta Selatan, 12920.

Tel: 525-5367

Fax: 520-7524


Medikaloka Health Care

Graha Irama Building

Mezzanine 1st and 2nd Floor

Jl H.R. Rasuna Said, Block X-1, Kav. 1-2

Jakarta 12950

Tel: 526-1118

Fax: 526-1119, 526-1438


Global Doctor International Medical Centre

Jl. Patimura No. 15

Kebayoran Baru

Jakarta Selatan

Tel: 723-1121

Fax: 725-0955



R.S. Pondok Indah

Jl. Metro Duta Kav. UE

Pondok Indah, Jakarta Selatan

Tel: 765-7525, 769-2252

Fax: 750-2324

Emergency : 750-2322

Note: This hospital has a 24-hour emergency room, its own ambulance service, and a large clinic.


Pusat Jantung Nasional Harapan Kita (National Cardiac Center)

Jl. Letjen S. Parman Kav. 87

Jakarta Barat

Tel: 568-4085

Fax: 568-4130


Note: Hospital dedicated to heart problems. The Center has an intensive care area, and a 24 hour emergency room for cardiac care. This is the place to go for a suspected heart attack.


R.S. Cipto Mangunkusumo (Central Hospital)

Jl. Diponegoro 71

Jakarta Pusat

Fax : 314-8991

Emergency : 314-4029, 390-5839


Note: A government hospital with a good intensive care unit. Cardiologist on duty 24 hours/day. For emergency cardiac care, go to the cardiac emergency unit, not to the regular emergency room.


R.S. MMC Kuningan

Jl H.R. Rasuna Said Kav. C-21

Kuningan, Jakarta Selatan

Tel: 520-3435 thru 3450

Fax: 520-3417

Emergency: 527-3473


Note: This hospital has a 24-hour emergency room and its own ambulance service, and a large clinic.


R.S. Medistra


Jl. Jend. Gatot Subroto Kav. 59

Jakarta Selatan

Tel: 521-0200

Fax: 521-0184


Note: This hospital has a 24-hour emergency room and its own ambulance service, and a large clinic.


R.S. Pantai Indah Kapuk

Jl. Pantai Indah Utara 3

Pantai Indah Kapuk

Jakarta 14460

Tel: 588 0911

Fax: 588 0910

Note: New, very clean and well-operated private hospital in North Jakarta (near Pluit) with 24-hour emergency services.


Food: Exercise reasonable care in food preparation at home and menu selection while eating out because of questionable sanitation practices. Imported meats, vegetables, and packaged foods are readily available from most stores in the Carrefour, Giant, Hypermart and Hero grocery stores chain (locations throughout Jakarta), at all Sogo department stores, at Kem Chicks in the Kemang district and Ranch Market grocery stores.


Drinking tap water anywhere in Indonesia is not advised. Use commercial bottled water from your hotel or purchase from a supermarket. "Aqua" is one of the more common brands used by expatriates. Avoid buying bottled water from street vendors if possible.


Short-term visitors to Indonesia are well advised to eat only in hotels and restaurants that cater to up-scale visitors. Caution, however, should also be exercised in such "5-star" establishments. Do not eat from street stalls. Avoid raw, unpeeled fruits and uncooked vegetables, food that is prepared in advance and then left to stand, raw or undercooked meats, seafood, and shellfish in questionable eating venues.


Local Time, Business Hours, and Holidays

Indonesia has three time zones:

Eastern Indonesian time is 11 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (12 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time).


Central Indonesia (Java and Jakarta) time is 12 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (13 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time).


Western Indonesian time is 13 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (14 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time).


Business hours are generally:



0900 -1700 Monday - Friday (note Friday prayers at 1200-1300)


0730 – 1600 Monday – Friday



0900 – 1500 Monday – Friday



1000 – 2200 Monday – Sunday


Temporary Entry of Materials and Personal Belongings

The GOI encourages foreign investors who export to locate their operations in bonded or export processing zones (EPZ). There are a number of EPZs in Indonesia, the most well known being Batam Island, located 20 kilometers south of Singapore. Indonesia also has several bonded zones or areas that are designated as entry ports for export destined production (EPTE). Companies are encouraged to locate in bonded zones or industrial estates whenever possible. Other free trade zones include a facility near Tanjung Priok, Jakarta's main port, and a bonded warehouse in Cakung, also near Jakarta.


There is a duty drawback facility (BAPEKSTA) for exports located outside the zones. Foreign and domestic investors wishing to establish projects in a bonded area must apply to the Capital Investment Coordinating Board. Expatriates relocating to Indonesia should seek the advice of a qualified international relocation firm. Indonesia is a “Right Hand Drive” country and only vehicles with right hand steering wheels can be imported, even for personal use.




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