Introduction To Indonesia

Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago of more than 13,000 islands, is one of south east Asia's most diverse treasures. It's remarkable and varied landscape contains innumerable contrasts; from idyllic white sand beaches to fiery volcanoes, and from rugged barren landscapes to dense jungle inhabited by exotic animals.

The Indonesian people themselves are as varied as the landscapes they inhabit. Indonesia is the world's largest Islamic country with 90% of the country's 235m population practicing Muslims, but there are also many other religious influences present in the country including Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity. Culture is correspondingly varied and over 350 languages are spoken throughout the archipelago. While in Jakarta businessmen may be haggling over deals, the Baliem tribe in Papua will be decorating their hair with cassowary feathers and coating themselves in pig fat to keep warm. With a culture and people so rich and diverse, Indonesia is one of south east Asia's most attractive destinations.

Despite the varied culture, the one thing the people do have in common is their friendliness. Indonesians are amongst the friendliest in south east Asia, which is in itself one of the most sociable areas in the world. Wherever you travel in the country you will more than likely be greeted by a chorus of 'Hello Mister's from the local population. Indonesians have no inhibitions when it comes to starting conversations with strangers and you will frequently find yourself in passing conversations with numerous locals. The people are so sociable that it may take some getting used to.

These aspects of Indonesian life may seem a little hard to believe on first arrival into the country. The two main international airport cities of Jakarta in Java and Kuta in Bali, are far removed from the highlights of the country. Jakarta is a huge, rather unpleasant city with traffic jams, shopping malls and skyscrapers; Kuta is a hedonistic beach resort with high rise luxury hotels and thousands of tourists. Unfortunately these areas may serve as a rather negative introduction to the archipelago which is wholly unrepresentative of the country. Once out of these areas, visitors will discover the cultural and scenic beauty of the country.

With the richness of landscape and culture that Indonesia possesses, it is somewhat surprising that it is not a more popular tourist destination. There is potential for activities that cater to every conceivable taste. In Java alone, you can climb the numerous volcanoes (active and dormant) that span the island, spend some time admiring the impressive flora and faunae in the islands remote national parks, see the sunrise over Borobodur, the world's largest and most impressive Buddhist temple, or find your own deserted island paradise in the Karimunjawa national park. Bali and Lombok have numerous excellent surf sights, spectacular rice paddy landscapes, large beaches, idyllic islands and the ability to indulge in the richness of the country's food and culture. The warm and wet equatorial climate enhances the natural attractions of the country. Tropical rain keeps the country looking fertile and lush while the temperature of around 28?C/82?F makes the country pleasantly warm to travel around in or to laze on the beach in. Despite this, tourism in much of Indonesia is extremely limited and it is very possible to go for days without seeing another western face.

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' planning to move to indonesia next year in from the USA and do i get a job in indonesia?
' sody ouch
hello i just have a question i am currently in new zealand on holiday but am heading to bali on tuesday and want to rent a car i have a full irish licence but cant get a internatinal liccence in new zealand unless i get a nz licence first but i dont have time just wondering if i can get a licence in bali so i can drive without geting in trouble with the police
' jason
Fabulous. I've read every page and they are all so informative, which will help a great deal in my decision as to whether to go and teach English and live there. Thanks you so much for giving me a good all round view of the culture/life and people.
' Sandra
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