Fascinating Indonesia

Indonesian Fisherman

Indonesia is the world’s biggest archipelago (group of islands), of which there are 17,508.  It is situated in South East Asia and is a very diverse nation stretching from the island of New Guinea in the East to the Andaman Islands in the West. Indonesia has a population of 230 million, making it the world’s fourth most populous country, and it is also the country with the largest Muslim population, although many other religions are well represented also.  The country is a Republic, and the Head of State is a President.

The Capital of Indonesia is Jakarta, a city of nearly nine million people and no apparent environmental regulations.  The air in Jakarta is just shocking.  when you take a deep breath you can feel the benzene burn its way down your throat. The traffic is chaotic, but the people are quite friendly.  Sadly, Jakarta has suffered from some terrorist activity over the past few years, with indiscriminate bomb attacks on western hotels and embassies.  From a tourist’s point of view, Jakarta is okay to use as a transit hub, but it just doesn’t seem to have too many must-see attractions.  Of course, if you vehemently disagree, or have discovered worthwhile attractions there, leave a comment and talk them up.  If we avoided places just because they had bad air or violent killings no one would ever visit Los Angeles, but travel is about experiences so I don’t regret having experienced Jakarta’s fetid air, I just have no great desire to visit soon.

Jakarta is located on the island of Java, which is home to 130 million people.  With an area of just 139,000 square kilometres, it means that Java has a population density of about 926 people to the square kilometre, so that everywhere you go, you will encounter crowds. Java is a long mountainous island which has more than its fair share of active volcanoes, about 38 in all, some of which are breathtakingly beautiful.  Other major islands in Indonesia are Sumatra, Kalimantan (part of the island of Borneo), Sulawesi, West Papua, Timor, Ambon and my personal favourite Bali, and there are still thousands of lesser islands, meaning there is still plenty of scope to find that as-yet-undiscovered perfect beach.
The beaches and the culture are the two main reasons why people visit Indonesia.  It is a country with many attractions, most of which are little known internationally.  The official language of Indonesia is Bahasa Indonesia, and it is very similar to the language spoke in Malaysia. Indonesian is a phonetic language, and not too hard to learn.  If you are contemplating visiting the Indonesia outside of Bali, then it would be wise to learn some Indonesian phrases.  The currency is the Rupiah, 1 US dollar should buy about 9,000 Rp., but, or course, the US dollar has fluctuated recently so that rate may change.

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