Bali Barat, savannah with coastal mangroves and southern uplands, prolific birdlife, monkeys, savannah with coastal mangroves and southern uplands, prolific birdlife, monkeys, deer, giant banteng cattle, spectacular coral reefs off white sand beaches.

Some of the world’s most beautiful and extensive coral reefs (with good snorkeling and scuba diving) are in Riau archipelago, at Pular and Pulau Panaitan (at Ujung Kulon National Park), Pulau Putri in the Thousand Islands (Kepulauan Seribu) off Jakarta, and others, especially in the Moluccas and off Bali.

Of special note among many bird sanctuaries are the small coastal islets of Dua, Rambut, and Bokor, all within easy reach of Jakarta. Also, the island of Sumba south of Sulawesi and west, all within easy reach of Jakarta. Also, the island of south of Sulawesi and westof Timor has 10 endemic bird species.

Climate is equatorial—hot and wet in rainy season, other times hot and dry, cooler at higher elevations. Dry seasons are best for viewing, mostly in northern hemisphere summer. Wet seasons start later in southeast but roughly are September–March in Sumatra, October–April in Java, November–May in Bali but April–August in Maluku.

Indonesia’s worst storm dropped 31 inches (802 cm) in one day, 3 inches (80 cm) in a half hour,and humidity anytime can swing from 100 percent at night to 30–55 percent at midday.

Park entry requires permission from forest authority, Direktorat Jenderal Perlindungan danKonservasi Alam (PKA) or Directorate General of Nature Conservation and Protection, with offices in major towns and branch offices in reserves. Permits necessary also for filming, video, and “related activities.” Photo equipment must be declared on entry and exit. Directorate canalso provide maps and brochures, advise on plans, and help visitors hire guides.

Tourist facilities can be limited, exceptions being on Java (Ujung Kulon) and Bali. Othershave some basic lodges with kitchen use, also guest houses with varying facilities—check ahead. Insect protection is a MUST against omnipresent stinging ants, scorpions, etc., also sun lotion, hats, long sleeves and pants, boots, and in some places, special socks for leach protection.

Beautiful coral reefs suffer from plundering for aquarium trade, using poison and even explosionst o make fishing easier and gather coral for resale. Protected animals are also targets. Ecotourists can help by resisting temptations to buy animal products such as tortoise shells, mounted butterflies, furs, bird-of-paradise feathers, corals, and beautiful seashells and by supporting local conservation efforts.

For impressive overview of country’s astounding biodiversity, visit Ragunan Zoo in Jakarta withover 4,000 birds and animals and close looks at many of the country’s rare and endemic species.

International flights to Jakarta. Inter-island flights available from there.


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