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A work permit is required to work in Indo­nesia. These are very difficult to procure and should be arranged by your employer.

Official government policy is to hire Indo­nesians wherever possible. In the past, travellers had been able to pick up work as English teachers, for around 50,000Rp to 60,000Rp per hour, which used to be reasonable money but now hardly seems worth it. Apart from expatriates employed by foreign companies, most foreigners working in Indonesia are involved in the export business.

There are excellent opportunities for aspiring volunteers in Indonesia. The tragedy of the 2004 tsunami has left a legacy of need in many areas, particularly Aceh.

The following agencies are also useful for long-term paid or volunteer work:

Australian Volunteers International (03-9279 1788; www.ozvol.org.au) Places qualified Australian residents on one- to two-year contracts.

Earthwatch (1-800-776 0188; www.earthwatch.org) Headquartered in the US; Places paying volunteers in short-term environmental projects around the globe.

Global Volunteers (800-487 1074; www.globalvolunteers.org; 375 East Little Canada Rd, St Paul, MN 55117-1627 USA) Coordinates teams of volunteers on short-term humanitarian and economic development projects.

Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi/Friends of the Earth Indonesia; 021-791 9363, 021-794 1672; www.eng.walhi.or.id) Leading forum of nongovernment and community-based groups in Indonesia. Provides volunteer opportunities with grassroots groups.

United Nations Volunteers (228-815 2000; www.unv.org; Postfach 260 111 D-53153 Bonn, Germany) Places volunteers with qualifications and experience in a range of fields.

Volunteer Service Abroad (04-472 5759; www.vsa.org.nz) Organises professional contracts for New Zealanders.

Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) Canada (1-888 876 2911; www.vsocanada.org); Netherlands (030 23 20 620; www.vso.nl); UK (020-8780 7200; www.vso.org.uk) Places qualified and experienced volunteers for up to two years.

Business hours

Government office hours are variable, but are generally 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday (with a break for Friday prayers from 11.30am to 1.30pm), and 8am to noon on Saturday. Go in the morning if you want to get anything done.

Private business offices have staggered hours: 8am to 4pm or 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, with a lunch break in the middle of the day. Many offices are also open until noon on Saturday.

Banks are usually open from 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday, although they can close as early as 2.30pm. In some places banks open on Saturday until around 11am. Banks in many areas also close during Friday afternoon prayers. The foreign-exchange hours may be more limited and some banks close their foreign-exchange counter at 1pm.

Shops open at around 9am or 10am. Smaller shops may close at 5pm, but in the big cities and in Bali, shopping complexes, supermarkets and department stores stay open until 9pm. Sunday is a public holiday but some shops and airline offices open for at least part of the day.

Restaurants generally open from between 7am and 10am in the morning and remain open until 11pm, or whenever business dries up.

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