Unforgettable Indonesia is the quintessence of exotic: the pristine nature of Bali and the black sand beaches of Sumatra, the palaces of Java and the rainforests of Kalimantan. It offers active and beach holidays, surfing and excursions. It attracts adventurers, romantics, honeymooners, young travelers and fans of parties, surfers, divers and foodies.
This land offers some of the last great adventures on earth. Sitting in the open door of a train whizzing across Java, gazing out at an empty sea while on a ship bound for the Kei Islands, hanging on to the back of a scooter on Flores, rounding the corner of an ancient West Timor village or simply trekking through the lush wilderness.
Destination Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world. Indonesia maintains land borders with Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and the island of Timor. The country also shares maritime borders with Australia, India, Palau, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The world’s fourth most populous country is like 100 countries melded into one: a kaleidoscope of a nation that sprawls along the equator for 5000km. Indonesia is a land of so many cultures, peoples, animals, customs, plants, sights, art and foods that it defies homogenization.
The country consists of five major islands and about 30 smaller groups. There are a total number of 17,508 islands, of which about 6000 are inhabited. The largest islands are Sumatra, Java (with more than half of the country’s population), Borneo (known as “Kalimantan” in Indonesia), Sulawesi, and New Guinea. Most of the larger islands are mountainous, with peaks ranging between 3,000 and 3,800 m. The combined area of the archipelago, 1,904,569 km², is slightly smaller than Mexico or larger than five times the size of Germany.
The entire country lies in the southwestern arm of the “Ring of Fire,” an extensive arc-shaped zone of prevalent volcanic activity, ocean trenches, fault lines, and plate movements that roughly parallels the coasts of the Pacific Ocean. The islands of Indonesia are prone to earthquakes and even tsunamis. The island nation ranks third among countries with the most volcanoes, behind the US and Russia.
The multi-ethnic country has a population of more than 271 million people. It is by far the most populous island nation in the world. There are more than 1,300 recognized ethnic groups in Indonesia. The six largest ethnic groups are Javanese (40%), Sundanese (16%), Batak (4%), Sulawesi (3%), Madurese (3%) and Betawi (3%).
The capital and largest city is Jakarta on the island of Java (pop. 10 million); other major cities are Bandung, Medan, Surabaya. The official language is Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia). The main religion is Islam; almost nine-tenths of the Indonesian population are Muslims, the majority are Sunnis.