Indonesia (formally the Republic of Indonesia) is a huge archipelago of thousands of diverse islands scattered over both sides of the Equator between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. While it has land borders with Malaysia to the north. Indonesia was nicknamed The Emerald of the Equator.
With 18,330 islands, 6,000 of them inhabited, Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world. To imagine how vast Indonesia is, Indonesia stretches from west to east as wide as the USA or Western and Eastern Europe combined, but because Indonesia is an archipelago, more than two thirds of the area is sea water.
Indonesia is home to no less than 167 active volcanoes, far more than any other country. Some of the more accessible for visitors.
Hardly surprisingly in the world’s largest archipelago, beaches are significant attractions. Aside from the obvious like Bali, there are wonderful beaches in off-the-beaten-track locations in Maluku, Nusa Tenggaraand Sulawesi.
Indonesia’s tropical forests are the second-largest in the world after Brazil. Forest areas recognised as UNESCO World Heritage Sites are Ujung Kulon National Park in West Java, and three huge parks in Sumatra, which together comprise the Tropical Rain Forest Heritage of Sumatra.
Among the most well known islands are Sumatra, Java, Bali, Kalimantan, Sulawesi , the Maluku Islands ( the original Spice Islands) and Papua. Then, there is Bali “the world’s best island resort” with its enchanting culture, beaches, dynamic dances and music. But Indonesia still has many unexplored islands with grand mountain views, green rain forests to trek through, rolling waves to surf and deep blue pristine seas to dive in where one can swim with dugongs, dolphins and large mantarays.
Because of her location, and geology, Indonesia is blessed with the most diverse landscape, from fertile ricelands on Java and Bali to the luxuriant rainforests of Sumatra, Kalimantan and Sulawesi, to the savannah grasslands of the Nusatenggara islands to snow-capped peaks of West Papua.
If you’re in a city, don’t expect the roads to be good or the layout to be easy to navigate. Many roads in older cities are left-overs from the Dutch era and, thus, are small, winding and in poor shape. Add to that the fact that street names change every few kilometres, requiring that you know which area to go to if you want to even find that length of street – it’s quite frustrating. Street signs, if there are any at all, are placed perpendicular to the street they represent. If you leave Java and Bali, the roads are even worse. Severe traffic jams are a common feature, with Jakarta and Surabaya being particularly regarded as extremely bad. if you have the courage to find the good among the bad, you will find that Indonesia is one of the most exotic countries you have ever visited. Indonesia markets itself as Wonderful Indonesia, and the slogan is often quite true. It has a diversity of culture with more than 900 tribes and languages and food, while its enchanting nature, mostly outside of Java, and the friendliness of the people in most areas will entice you to stay as long as you want.