In this travel guide
- 1 Climate
- 2 Destinations
- 3 Short facts about Indonesia
- 4 Time zones
- 5 Brief history
- 6 Neighbours
Straddling the equator in the region where the Indian Ocean meets the Pacific Ocean, The Republic of Indonesia is one of the world’s largest island countries and its 1.9 million square kilometres of territory is spread out over more then seventeen thousand islands, of which roughly six thousand are inhabited. This South-East Asian country sports a tropical climate and is a popular tourist destination year round.
About half of Indonesia’s massive 260+ million population lives on Java, making it the world’s most populous island. Examples of other major islands in Indonesia are Sumatra, Borneo (shared with Brunei and Malaysia), Sulawesi, and New Guinea (shared with Papua New Guinea).
Over 300 different ethnic groups live in Indonesia. The majority religion is Islam, with over 85% of the population being Muslims. Roughly 10% are Christians. Hindus, Buddhists, and Confucians are also large enough groups to be noted in the statistics.
Major cities in Indonesia tend to be plagued by traffic jams and poor air quality, which isn’t surprising considering the population density. Off the beaten track, you don’t have to worry about vehicle congestions, but infrastructure and amenities will be more rudimentary.
Indonesia is located on both sides of the equator and has a tropical climate with two seasons: dry season and rainy season. It still rains now and then during the dry season, just less than during the rainy season.
In most of the country, including Java and Bali, the dry season runs from April through October.
Regardless of season, it is warmest down in the lowlands and cooler up in the mountains. Papua even have some snow-covered peaks. Other examples of places that you can travel to if you wish to get away from the hot lowlands are Tana Toraja on Sulawesi and Mount Bromo on Java.
Here are just a few examples of destinations well worth a visit in Indonesia. The list is by no means exhaustive and there are plenty of excellent spots that aren’t included.
Kerinci Seblat National Park
This protected area on Sumatra is home to animals such as elephants and tigers. It is one of the largest national parks in Indonesia, and is partly covered in tropical rainforest. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is considered one of the most important tiger reserves in the world.
Komodo National Park
Perfect place to go if you want to see impressive Komodo dragons in their natural environment.
One of the oldest cities in the country. Located in southern Sumatra.
The capital and largest city of Indonesia, located on Java. Jakarta is the country’s economic, cultural and political centre. With a population of nearly 10 million, it is the most populous city in Southeast Asia.
City located in the highlands of Java, where the climate is cooler. Many university students live here.
Good base for divers. Located at the north-eastern tip of Sulawesi. Many Christian Indonesians live here.
Loved by hikers who wish to explore and enjoy the nature of Papua.
Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park
Protected area famous for its splendid volcanic scenery.
One of the world’s largest volcanic lakes.
Excellent destination for scuba divers.
One of the world’s largest Buddhist temples.
Impressive ruins showcasing the regions Hindu heritage.
Short facts about Indonesia
Here area few short facts that can come in handy when you are planning your travels to Indonesia.
- Region: South-East Asia
- Size: Over 1.9 million square kilometres
- Population: Over 260 million according to the 2016 estimate
- Official language: Indonesian
- Regional languages: Over 700 languages are spoken regionally
- Capital: Jakarta, on the island Java (Coordinates: 6°10′30″S 106°49′40″E)
- Most populous city: Jakarta, with nearly 10 million inhabitants
- Currency: Indonesian rupiah (IDR)
- Driving side: LEFT
- Calling code: +62
- ISO 3166 code: ID
- Internet top level domain: .id
Indonesia is divided into three time zones:
|GMT +7: Western Indonesian Time (WIB)||The western part of the country, including Sumatra, Java, and west/central Kalimantan.|
|GMT +8: Central Indonesian Time (WITA)||The central part of the country, including Bali, south/east Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Nusa Tenggara.|
|GMT +9: Eastern Indonesian Time (WIT)||The eastern part of the country, including Maluku and Papua.|
Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms existed here in the second century AD. The Islamic sultanates were established in the 13th century.
The Dutch East India Company assumed control of the region in the early 17th century to further their trade, and the area was formally declared the Dutch East Indies on 1 January, 1800.
Japanese occupation occurred during World War II, with independence declared in 1945. Indonesia has been a unitary republic since 17 August, 1950.
Examples of countries located adjacent to or near Indonesia:
- Papua New Guinea
- East Timor
- The Philippines