Indonesia is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania between the Indian and Pacific oceans. It consists of 17,504 islands. Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world.
Over 270 million people live in Indonesia. It is the world’s fourth-most populous country.
Indonesia’s early history begins from 2500BC to 1500BC with a wave of light brown-skinned Austronesian immigrants, thought to have originated in Taiwan. This group of people, skilled in open-ocean maritime travel are believed to have quickly replaced the first people on the islands.
Dozens of kingdoms and civilizations flourished and faded in different parts of the archipelago since at least the 7th century when Srivijaya and later Majapahit traded with entities from mainland China and the Indian subcontinent. Hindu and Buddhist, Kingdoms flourished. Also, the Sunni traders and Sufi scholars brought Islam, while Christianity was spread by European missionaries. And the Portuguese, the French, and also the British ruled Indonesia at some point. The Dutch were the foremost colonial power for much of their 350-year presence in the archipelago.
Indonesia consists of hundreds of distinct native ethnic and linguistic groups. The concept of an “Indonesian” remains artificial and the country’s citizens divide themselves along with a vast slew of ethnicities, clans, tribes, and even castes. On a purely numerical scale, the largest ethnic groups are the Javanese (45%) This leaves 55% for a bewildering patchwork of other ethnic groups.
Cultural heritage is observed at the ancient Borobudur in Central Java, the world’s largest Buddhist monument, and nearby Prambanan temples is a remarkable Hindu monuments. The Islamic heritage is prominent in Sumatra, where some remaining sultanate palaces can be seen. Other cultural sites in Indonesian history include the colonial heritage of the Dutch East Indies in Jakarta and Semarang and the royal palaces of Pagaruyung, Ubud, and Yogyakarta.
Indonesia has vast wilderness areas supporting one of the world’s highest levels of biodiversity. Beaches are significant attractions and are endless. Indonesia is home to no less than 167 active volcanoes, which is far more than any other country. Indonesia has nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Komodo National Park with Komodo dragons that are only seen in Indonesia.
Nature and culture are prime attractions of Indonesian tourism. The former can boast a unique combination of a vast archipelago with a tropical climate, a long stretch of beaches, and a rich cultural heritage reflecting cultural history and ethnic diversity.
Indonesian food is an umbrella term covering a vast variety of regional cuisines found across the islands. The predominant flavorings the Javanese favor are peanuts, chilies, and sugar. The main staple is rice (nasi), served in many forms. The nasi goreng, the fried rice with an egg on top is well known and noodles (mi or mie) come in second in the popularity contest. Try the kuetiaw flat rice noodles fried up with soy sauce. Fresh fruit is available yearly such as mango, papaya, banana, starfruit, and guava.And there are many more exotic options you’re unlikely to see outside Indonesia.
Indonesians are coffee drinkers. The country boasts one of the largest varieties of coffee beans worldwide. And not to mention the infamous kopi luwak, coffee made from beans that have been eaten, partially digested, and excreted by the palm civet (Luwak) is an exotic delicacy in the country. Many travelers have tried the drink and were impressed.
Indonesia markets itself as “Wonderful Indonesia” as its tourism slogan. And it is quite true. Let’s cruise among the Indonesia archipelago.