Monday, September 18, 2017. Photo by Endi Wirawan.
LATimes.com - For travelers attending the 32nd annual Trade Expo Indonesia, the intriguing island nation offers a diverse array of activities, culture, food and fun.
Indonesia by the numbers
Located between the Pacific and Indian oceans with convenient access to Asia, Australia and points beyond, Indonesia is home to approximately 17,500 islands and 262 million people, making it the fourth most densely populated country in the world.
A thriving economy also makes Indonesia an attractive partner for trade and investment.
“Trade between the United States and Indonesia is steady, and will only get stronger,” said Antonius Budiman, Director of the Indonesian Trade Promotion Center in Los Angeles.
Why should I attend Trade Expo Indonesia?
The annual Trade Expo Indonesia (this year, Oct. 11 to 15) gives attendees an unparalleled opportunity to network with fellow visitors and learn more about how to grow their businesses in this emerging global region, while at the same time enjoying its stunning natural features and welcoming hospitality.
“Indonesia has a wide diversity of products that aren’t available anywhere else on Earth,” said Evan Gilman, Creative Director at Royal Coffee. “Knowing that Indonesia produces some of the most sought-after spices and coffee is just part of the equation. There’s also solid production and endless potential for development.”
Harry Chou, President and CEO of American Furniture Manufacture Inc., travels to Indonesia as up to 10 times a year on business and has attended the expo four times.
“My company specializes in manufacturing contract quality furniture for the hospitality industry,” Chou said. “The expo provides a venue where factories can showcase their products, and we can review their items to see if we can work together in the future.”
Things to do and see
Gilman advises first-time expo attendees to make the most of their time abroad and to expect the unexpected.
“Indonesia is at once unified and completely different everywhere you go,” he explained. “I love the variety in the local culture, hearing the different dialects and tasting the unique regional cuisine. With so many different types of food and music, it’s very difficult to get bored.”
“If you’ve never been to Indonesia, you have to visit the capital city of Jakarta; Borobudur Temple to learn about the cultural heritage; and Bali for its beautiful resorts, vast beaches and breathtaking scenery,” Chou added.
How to obtain a visitor visa
Budiman recommends expo attendees register for the conference in advance, book a hotel room at the venue and contact the Indonesian Embassy or the nearest consulate for the most up-to-date information about how to apply for a visitor visa.
“The government of Indonesia grants free visas to nationals of 174 countries, including the United States, for 30-day visits,” he said. “The only requirement is that all visitors must have a valid passport in their possession for at least six months from the date of their arrival. Attendees may contact the ITPC as well, and we will be pleased to assist in any way possible.”
Indonesian Travel Tips 101
Water enthusiasts can explore any number of diving, snorkeling, surfing and swimming possibilities across the islands. And don’t miss the opportunity to glimpse indigenous komodo dragons in their native habitat at Komodo National Park.
Seek out metered taxi services and local buses for the most reliable and affordably priced transportation.
What to eat
Traditional Indonesian cuisine focuses heavily on steamed rice, fish, vegetables and fruit, although the larger cities propose a wealth of internationally influenced dining options.
“There are so many Indonesian delicacies worth tasting,” Budiman noted. “One of the most famous is West Sumatra’s masakan Padang, available in many places throughout Indonesia.”
Speaking the language
To facilitate communication, Gilman urges visitors to get to know the language before their trips.
“Bahasa Indonesia is very easy to learn,” he said. “If you’re interested in visiting Indonesia for the long term, take a few courses to get familiarized, though there’s nothing better than simply chatting with someone on the street.”
Here are a few common words to get your started:
“Hello/Good day” — Selamat siang
“Goodbye” — Sampai jumpa
“How are you?” — Apa kabar?
“My name is...” — Nama saya...
“Please” — Tolong
“Thank you” — Terima kasih
“Excuse me” — Permisi
“Do you speak English?" — Bisa bicara bahasa Inngris?
The 32nd annual Trade Expo Indonesia runs Oct. 11 to 15, 2017, at the Indonesian Convention Exhibition in BSD City, Banten. For more information and attendance registration, visit tradexpoindonesia.com or visit the Indonesia Trade Promotion Center in LA at 3457 Wilshire Blvd., or email to email@example.com.
Think big. Think Indonesia.
—Amy Lynch for Indonesian Trade Promotion Center