The Republic of Indonesia, the largest island country in the world, is located in Southeast Asia. It consists of thousands of islands of the Malay Archipelago (Indonesian: Kepulauan Melayu). Some of them are large, whilst the others are so tiny that they have no name. The islands are surrounded by the Indian and the Pacific Ocean.
The mountainous landscape makes the Archipelago very attractive, there are over 150 active volcanoes in the country. The coastal and oceanic waters are crystal clear and the underwater world is diverse.
Sulawesi Island is a real attraction for enthusiastic divers. The depths of the local seas, however, are home to many interesting sights, no matter which dive site you choose.
The local waters are a home for several thousands species of fish, there are also sharks, octopuses and whales. They are also a resting place for ancient shipwrecks.
The popular diving regions in Indonesia include the Bunaken National Marine Park, the volcanic Weh Island (Indonesian: Pulau Weh), the Raja Ampat Bay full of local sea dwellers and Komodo Island (Indonesian: Pulau Komodo) with its incredible legends about dragons and unexplored underwater cities. Explore the wonderful coral reefs near Sulawesi Island. You can visit Tulamben and take a photo of yourself with the wreck of a warship in the background. And near Gili Tepekong Island you should try swimming with the sharks.
There are dive shops everywhere: in Kandy, Amed, on the Gili Islands, on the Sulawesi coast. Here you can dive off the shore or off boats. Many dive shops provide spots for wreck diving. The most popular is the wreck of the American ship, Liberty.
Spring is the best time for a stay in Indonesia, especially April. Winter rains give way to heat with the average temperature being about +30 °C. In Bandung or Padang it is rather cool at night — about +19 °C.
Summer is the dry season in Indonesia. The average rainfall in summer is about 20 mm. The air temperature is at +30 °C, the water temperature is +28 °C. It is the opportune time for diving.
In September the air humidity rises but the temperature is still comfortable: about +30 °C in daytime and at least +25 °C at night. The only issue here is low tide. It is more frequent in Autumn.
Winter is the wet season in Indonesia, it lasts from November to February and the humidity is especially high, reaching 90%. However, it usually rains at night and during the day the temperature stays between +30 and +33 °C.
The best dive sites are around Sulawesi in Lembeh Strait. Here is where you can see local sea life, take a photo of underwater sheer walls and try wreck diving. Experienced divers recommend exploring several dive sites: Batu Angus, Mawali wreck and Kungkungan Bay.
Religion has a strong influence on the society in Indonesia, so the crime rate is rather low. The most common crime is stealing things on the beach. Other safety recommendations are typical for coastal areas: keep your valuables in a safe, do not exchange currency with individuals, drink only bottled water.
Unfortunately, healthcare is poorly developed, however, insurance can be useful. The hepatitis vaccination is mandatory everywhere. Dengue fever is widespread.
Sharks that live near Indonesian coasts are harmless. The same is not so true about other local deepwater dwellers. Beware of moray eels, which attack people, and poisonous sea snakes — their bites can be lethal.
Rendang is beef stewed in hot sauce with lots of spices. Sweet martabak is a local kind of pancake with different fillings.
Try the most expensive coffee in the world — kopi luwak. It comes from palm civets' love of coffee beans. These animals feast on coffee pulp and later the seeds that are not digested in their stomachs are collected with other fecal matter, washed, dried in the sun and used to produce a drink with a special mild taste.
The remarkable alcohol beverages are 15% strength palm wine called Tuak, light rice wine called Brem and 40% strength Arak made by distilling Tuak.
Tap water is unsafe to drink. Buy bottled water: it is cheap and safe.