When you start planning a trip to Indonesia, you should be aware of some key facts about the Southeast Asian paradise so you can make the most out of your travels. For one thing, Indonesia is made up of thousands of islands. So, if you want to see several islands, you will need to think about transport between the islands and time for travel. We will look at Java, Raja Ampat and Bali in more detail, as they are popular destinations. Then, we will explore the biodiversity, religion and cuisine of Indonesia so you know what to expect. Let’s dive in!
Indonesia is Made up of Many Islands
Before you head off to Indonesia, make sure you understand the law of the land. Indonesia consists of over 17,000 islands that lie between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. So, if you want to visit multiple islands, you will need to think about transport between islands and make sure to plan enough time to see everything you want to see.
Java is the country’s (and the world’s) most populous island and it is home to more than half of the total population of Indonesia. Raja Ampat and Bali are also very popular options for tourists, so let’s have a look at these three destinations.
Java is Indonesia’s most developed island. Jakarta city, located on the northwest of Java, is the largest city in Southeast Asia and Indonesia’s capital. On this island, you can experience the bustle of city life in Indonesia as well as the beauty of the rainforests, volcanoes and rivers that make up this incredible place.
The land in Java is primarily used for agricultural purposes, with rice, tea, coffee, tobacco, sugarcane and various fruits and vegetables growing in abundance. Furthermore, Java produces most of the world’s supply of quinine.
Evidence in the form of an ancient fossilized man indicates that the island of Java was occupied as long ago as 1.5 million years.
Located just off the northwest tip of the island of New Guinea, the Raja Ampat archipelago comprises around 1,500 small islands. The name Raja Ampat means “four kings”. This relates to an old Indonesian myth about four kings who once hatched from eggs and occupied the islands.
Raja Ampat is a very popular spot for tourists to visit due to its stunning, lush landscapes, wildlife and opportunities for hiking, swimming and exploring the island via yacht. Make sure to note the park fees for Raja Ampat before arriving at the island. Once you are there, you can discover the huge spectrum of marine life, swim, relax, catch a tan and learn a bit about the locals on a tour.
The Marine Park and Birdshead Seascape are two main attractions. If you are a keen snorkeler or diver, this is an unmissable opportunity to see some truly incredible underwater sights. Make sure to bring your underwater camera and prepare to have a great time.
An Indonesian island you are sure to have heard of is Bali. This gorgeous place has been made popular by tourists over recent years who visit Indonesia to party, explore the beaches, relax on romantic getaways and take the most Instagramsque pictures possible.
While in Bali, you will want to visit Ubud, which is considered to be the island’s cultural center. Make sure to visit the rice terraces that date back to the 14th century, and hike through the cliff-top villages to get a feel for this historic and gorgeous place.
You can also visit Manta Bay to see the manta rays and other incredible marine life. When exploring Bali’s natural beauty, make sure to visit the lush forests, hot springs, mountains, waterfalls, lakes and volcanoes. This island is rich in natural assets and incredible man-made structures. And there are lots of great accommodation options geared up for tourists to have the best time possible.
Indonesia is Incredibly Biodiverse
As you can tell, Indonesia is the place to be if you want to get in touch with nature. The 17,000-plus islands boast the world’s second-highest level of biodiversity. This means when you visit, you should be respectful at all times and help the locals to preserve the land and oceans. The islands of Indonesia are home to an array of incredible sea creatures, mammals, birds, insects and plants that are stunning to behold and deserving of a good, clean life.
Ethnicities and Religions in Indonesia
Now, to learn a bit about the culture and people of Indonesia. The three largest ethnic groups are the Javanese, Sundanese, and Malays, among Indonesia’s hundreds of other ethnic groups. The most prominent religion by far in Indonesia is Islam. In fact, around 87% of the population identifies as Islamic. Meanwhile, there are smaller Christian, Hindu and Buddhist populations. Just as with the nature, remember to be respectful of the ethnic groups, their customs and religions as you travel the Indonesian islands.
Indonesia’s Food and Drink
Lastly, let’s talk about what to expect in terms of food and drink. Due to the huge diversity of peoples and islands in Indonesia, the local recipes vary greatly. Although some ingredients are common across the country. As you might expect, grilled fish is a staple in Indonesia, as well as rice and various vegetables, such as yams. Grilled meats, like chicken, beef and goat, and soup dishes are also common. You should expect a lot of savory, hot and spicy dishes full of flavor.
Indonesia is a gorgeous Southeast Asian country made up of thousands of tropical islands. That being said, before you set off on your trip, you need to do some research and decide which islands you would like to visit and plan your transport. Java, Raja Ampat and Bali are popular destinations. Then, it is worth knowing a bit about the country you will be touring so you can appreciate the nature, culture and societies with which you will be coming into contact. Then, you will be ready to start packing and planning for your trip! Have a great time in Indonesia.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism