Indonesia is an adventure into a culturally fasinating and wonderfully scenic paradise. The world’s largest archipelago stretches across the equator for more than 5,000 miles and 17,508 islands along the explosively volcanic and incredibly fertile “Ring of Fire”. Tropical Rainforests saturated with vegetation and bursting with life thrive here; eternal snow-capped mountain peaks defy the senses and contrast with exotic white-sand beaches idling in the laps of warm tropical seas; living forests of coral fringe equatorial shores together with a marvelous variety of marine life; orangutans and birds of Paradise share this environment with rare orchids and pre-historic dragons; awesome volcanoes demonstrate their power and strength over remarkably fertile, terraced landscapes; Indonesia, quite literally, provides something for everyone.
Indonesia is the most volcanic country on earth with almost 4,500 volcanoes creating an incredibly fierce and
impressive backbone to much of the archipelago. Five main island and 30 smaller archipelagoes are home to the majority of the population. The main islands in order of size are; Kalimantan, Sumatra, Papua, Sulawesi and the country’s most populated island, Java. As well as sun-drenched plains, layer upon layer of verdant paddy fields and jungles bursting with life. Indonesia is also home of snow-capped mountains and deserts of sand. “Unity in Diversity” is the national motto and nowhere else is this true than in the nation’s land and its people.
Indonesia has a largely equatorial tropical climate tempered by trade winds. There are only two seasons, the dry season between April and October, the rainy season from November to March. The rainfall varies from island to island and often area to area within the island boundaries. An average of 330 centimeters or 130 inches is found on the island of Kalimantan and 100 centimeters or 40 inches in East Nusa Tenggara. The average daily temperature in the lowlands is about 30 degrees Celcius, and is considrably lower in the mountains.
The majority (about 85%) of the population follows islam. Freedom of religion is implemented by the Indonesian Constitution, However, Which is defined in the first Principle of the State Philosophy “Pancasila”, which upholds a “Belief in One Supreme God.” There are five world religions which have formally been recognized in Indonesia, they are Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Nevertheless other, other faiths are found. especially in isolated societies which have been accepted and are called traditional faith.
INDONESIA LANGUAGES & DIALECT
There are about 583 languages and dialects spoken in the archipelago. They normally belong to the different echnic group of the population. The variety of those languages has made the Indonesian community determined on a national language at the second Indonesian Youths Congress on 28th October 1928, called “Bahasa Indonesia”. Bahasa Indonesia was the Malay language mainly spoken in the Riau Islands. In all tourist destination areas English is the number one foreign language fairly spoken and written, whereas some Dutch is still spoken and understood in the bigger city’s and French increasing in its popularity at the better hotels and restaurants.
INDONESIA FLORA & FAUNA
It was the British naturalist Afred Russel Wallace who, during his travels and discoveries across the Malay Archipelago in the last century, noted that deepest sea in the area runs like a deep channel between Bali and Lombok and then follows a line north to Kalimantan and Sulawesi. He suggested that this channel, now called the “Wallace Line”, effectively divides Indonesia into two very clear regions, both displaying significant differences in flora and fauna. This is generally true, but it is more accurate, however, to speak of Indonesia being divided into three distinct zoological and geographical zones which includes a transitional area in the central part of the archipelago.
The Western islands of the Archipelago display predominantly Asian characteristics, which have created orchids and the giant Rafflesia, (a plant which proudly a bloom over 1 meter in diameter). The land is profusely green and supports tigers, leopards, elephants, rhinos and thousands of varieties of birds and insects. As we move further east, the Central islands present a gradual shift from Asian to Australian flora and fauna.
Sulawesi for example, boasts both monkeys and marsupials, while Komodo is home to a pre-historic “dragon” found nowhere else in the world. The Eastern most islands, however, are more indicative of Australasia with bush-like shrubs and hardy plants; brilliantly colored Lorries and Cukatoos begin to replace Barbets and Thrushes and very Australian marsupials become more common place. These wonderfully diverse illustrations of life can be found in the islands of this incredible country, much of which is protected in numerous nature reserves and National parks scattered throughout the archipelago. A constant source of natural beauty and amazing discoveries help to make Indonesia a dream come true.