Indonesia is a beautiful country with lovely beaches, amazing cuisines, beautiful islands and unique flora and fauna. It sprawls across the Bay of Jakarta, which consists of thousands of islands, big and small. The archipelago is located between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.
Although Indonesia has over 17,000 islands, only 6,000 perhaps are inhabited. The five main islands are Borneo, Java, Papua, Sumatra and Celebes.
Home to some of the oldest civilizations of the world, the country is full of history and relics of ancient societies. Its cultural diversity is so vivid and even amidst its modernity, you will be immersed in a sea of traditions, languages, fashions, customs and beliefs. You will find skyscrapers just around the corner from ancient temples —a mix of the old and new that makes Indonesia an interesting country to visit.
Indonesian art and culture is a blend of religion and age-old traditions; it’s a fusion of cultural aspects from the Middle East, China, European and Asian countries. The official language spoken is Indonesian or ‘Bahasa Indonesian’, but there are more than 300 ethnic groups speaking 750 languages and other dialects.
Indonesian food is said to be as diverse and rich as its culture; whether it’s street snacks or restaurant food, there’s a lifetime of deliciousness to taste and savor. With well-connected bus and train networks, it is said to be one of the easiest and cheapest places to travel. People are very friendly and there’s a sense of optimism about them that refuses to be dampened. The country is technology friendly and fast, reliable Wi-Fi is available almost everywhere.
The beaches are something to write home about—the season never seems to end and you can live in a state of “perpetual summer”. Scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming, surfing- you can experience it all almost around the year. The cities are equally delightful, exciting and fast-moving with cities like Jakarta, Bandung taking the lead.
Indonesia has its life night-spots too and the island of Bali has long been seen as a world-class destination for nightlife. About three decades ago, it was considered as a haven for hippies and surfers but its close proximity to South-east Asia and Australia has made it a place for partying late into the night. Clubs and discos remain open till late, sometimes even till sunrise. Kuta, to the south of Bali is said to be the epicenter of drugs, with Seminyak following suit. In fact drugs are available quite openly in the back streets of Kuta, day or night. This in spite of the fact that the law is very strict about drug trafficking.
The country has about 129 volcanoes that encircle the stretch of Indonesia—that’s why they are called Indonesia ring of Fire. Some volcanoes are active, some very active and some dormant. Together they present a formidable and stunning formation and Bali has about 15 volcanoes. Their impact on Bali’s beaches are evident in the color—some of the beaches in the east and west of Bali are quite dark in color with some of them being even completely black, while the ones in the northern area are ash gray in color.
Thus, from the western tip of Sumatra to the eastern edge of Papua, there is diversity of culture, diversity in the kind of animals that exist, difference in customs, variety in plants and of course in cuisine. A visit to Indonesia is a must for anyone that likes variety in life.