About Indonesia

Indonesia officially the Republic of Indonesia (Indonesian: Republic Indonesia is a unitary sovereign state and transcontinental country located mainly in Southeast Asia with some territories in Oceania. Situated between the Indian and Pacific oceans, it is the world's largest island country, with more than seventeen thousand islands. At 1,904,569 square kilometers (735,358 square miles), Indonesia is the world's 14th-largest country in terms of land area and world's 7th-largest country in terms of combined sea and land area. It has an estimated population of over 260 million people and is the world's fourth most populous country, the most populous Austronesian nation, as well as the most populous Muslim-majority country. The world's most populous island, Java, contains more than half of the country's population.

Indonesia's republican form of government includes an elected legislature and president. Indonesia has 34 provinces, of which five have Special Administrative status. Its capital and country's most populous city is Jakarta, which is also the most populous city in Southeast Asia. The country shares land borders with Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and the eastern part of Malaysia. Other neighboring countries include Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines, Australia, Palau, and the Indian territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Despite its large population and densely populated regions, Indonesia has vast areas of wilderness that support the world's second highest level of biodiversity. The country has abundant natural resources like oil and natural gas, tin, copper and gold. Agriculture mainly produces rice, palm oil, tea, coffee, cacao, medicinal plants, spices and rubber. Indonesia's major trading partners are Japan, United States, China and the surrounding countries of Singapore, Malaysia and Australia.

Capital Jakarta
Largest city Jakarta
Official language and national language Indonesian
Area 1,904,569 km2 (735,358 sq mi)
Total Water (%) 4.85
Population 263.51 Million
Currency Indonesian rupiah (Rp) (IDR)
Time zone Various (UTC+7 to +9)

The Do’s and Don’ts of Traveling to Indonesia

We’re pleased you’ve found this post about Do’s and Don’ts, and it’s become very popular. We see a lot of people coming from many different countries who are completely unaware of culturally-appropriate behavior, the acceptable way to behave in Bali and Indonesia.
In this brief post, we’re going to talk about proper behavior when visiting another country, specifically Indonesia and its island of Bali. If you pay attention to local etiquette, how the locals act and what they consider to be acceptable behavior, you will have a much better and safer time here, and your presence here will be much more appreciated than someone who doesn’t care for the local culture. The Balinese are very protective of their culture, and although they are tolerant of tourists, this only goes up to a certain point. The rest of Indonesia is much less tolerant of tourists, and behavior that is considered out-of-line can be met with a variety of responses, not many of them positive.

DO’s

• If you wear a top that covers your shoulders, like a blouse or t-shirt, and if female, a bra under your shirt, then locals will really appreciate not feeling offended by your lack of adequate coverage, and you won’t get a sunburn.

• If you wish to go around in swimming clothes, be sure they are well covered by regular clothing. Swimming clothes are perfect for the beach, and if you plan to go to town, be sure to change first.

• Accepting free alcoholic drinks from anyone, anywhere, of any kind has led to alcohol poisoning and severe internal injuries and possibly death. You can google for more information about methyl alcohol poisoning in Indonesia.

• Drinking into the evening with people of the opposite sex that you do not know may get you into a situation that you wish you did not have to experience. Leave the situation as early as possible.

• Driving around without a helmet on is a good way to get a fine, or be sent to the hospital with a serious head injury, or worse, never seeing the trip back home again. Despite what you may see around you, a helmet is legally required.

• If you are female, driving home alone after 10pm invites unwanted sexual advances, robberies or worse. It is much safer to travel with a friend or as a group. Don’t assume men will respect your boundaries.

• Crossing the road and expecting vehicles to stop like they do in your home country might get you injured.

• Putting your feet up on a chair and showing everyone the bottoms of your dirty feet is one of the most disrespectful, and disgusting things you could do anywhere in the country.

• Giving anything with your left hand is considered the same as sharing fecal matter, as most people do not use toilet paper but instead use water to clean their backside. If you must give anything with your left hand, apologize first.

• Honking if you are waiting in traffic behind a religious procession is a good way to get all the people around you very upset with you.

• Responding to aggression or interfering in a fight is a good way to have a bottle broken over your head, or your head broken by a bottle. Stay out of it, get away.

• Practicing humility, being humble, and getting away from a bad situation is a good way to keep yourself safe and uninjured.

• Do listen to your intuition and get out of a situation which could go bad.

• Do learn to say at least “thank you” in bahasa Indonesia. Terima kasih!

DON’T

• DON'T enter a temple menstruating – also if you have an open wound you shouldn’t enter.

• DON'T haggle too hard or for the fun of it - Be polite. 5000 rupiah probably won’t make much of a difference to you, but it might do to the seller

• DON'T touch people’s heads – That goes for kids too, even if they are really cute. The head is considered the most sacred part of the human body.

• DON'T drink tap water - It does not taste good and will almost certainly give you stomach problems.

• DON'T hand over something with your left hand – It is considered impolite. Using both hands is still ok.

• DON'T hold the horn down – Being aggressive in the traffic is frowned upon everywhere, even more so in Bali.

• DON'T point with your index finger - That is considered offensive. Use the entire hand if you want to point out something.

• DON'T empty your plate – Leave a little food as an offering to the gods and to let the host know you had enough to eat.

• DON'T do drugs! - Indonesian drug laws are extremely strict.

• DON'T touch or point at someone with your feet – It is considered very offensive.

Demographics

According to the 2010 national census, the population of Indonesia is 237.6 million, with high population growth at 1.9%. 58% of the population lives in Java, the world's most populous island. In 1961, the first post-colonial census gave a total population of 97 million.

Indonesia currently possess a relatively young population, with a median age of 28.2 years (2011 estimate).

The population is expected to grow to around 269 million by 2020 and 321 million by 2050. An additional 8 million Indonesian live overseas, comprising one of the world's largest diasporas. Most of them settled in Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Netherlands, United States, and Australia.

Largest cities or towns

1. Jakarta 2. Surabaya
3. Bandung 4. Bekasi
5. Medan 6. Tangerang
7. Depok 8. Semarang
9. Palembang 10. Makassar

Languages

More than 700 regional languages are spoken in Indonesia's numerous islands. Some belong to the Austronesia language family, while many Papuan languages are spoken in Western New Guinea. The official language is Indonesian (also known as Bahasa Indonesia), a variant of Malay, which was used in the archipelago. It borrows heavily from local languages such as Javanese, Sundanese, Minangkabau, etc. Indonesian is primarily used in commerce, administration, education and the media, but most Indonesians speak other languages, such as Javanese, as their first language.

Indonesian is based on the prestige dialect of Malay, which for centuries had been the lingua franca of the archipelago. It is also the official language of Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei. The Minangkabau language is a variety of Malay language and modern Malay that these school teachers and authors helped to create has been known as Balai Pustaka Malay, the basis of the future of Indonesian language. Indonesian is universally taught in schools and consequently is spoken by nearly every Indonesian. It is the language of business, politics, national media, education, and academia.

Indonesian was promoted by Indonesian nationalists in the 1920s, and declared the official language under the name Bahasa Indonesia in the proclamation of independence in 1945. Most Indonesians speak at least one of several hundred local languages and dialects, often as their first language. In comparison, Papua has over 270 indigenous Papuan and Austronesian languages, in a region of about 2.7 million people. Javanese is the most widely spoken local language, as it is the language of the largest ethnic group.

Religion

• 87.2% Islam

• 9.9% Christianity
    o 7.0% Protestantism
    o 2.9% Roman Catholicism

• 1.7% Hinduism

• 0.7% Buddhism

• 0.2% Confucianism

• 0.3 %others

Culture

Indonesia is a rich country with more than 300 ethnic groups. Each of them has its own art, architecture and housing, cuisine, traditional dress, festivals, music, dance, tradition, ritual, myths, philosophy of life, even language. The cultural identities developed over centuries, and influenced by Indian, Arabic, Chinese, and European sources, resulting in many cultural practices being strongly influenced by a multitude of religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Islam and Christianity. The result is a complex and unique cultural mixture that different from the original indigenous cultures. The fusion of Islam with Hindu in Javanese Abangan belief, the fusion of Hinduism, Buddhism and animism in Buddha, and the fusion of Hinduism and animism in Kaharingan.

Traditional Javanese and Balinese dances, for example, contain aspects of Hindu culture and mythology, as do wayang kulit (shadow puppet) performances. Traditional carpentry, masonry, stone and woodwork techniques and decorations are also thrived in Indonesian vernacular architecture, with numbers of traditional houses' styles has been developed. The traditional houses and settlements of the several hundred ethnic groups of Indonesia are extremely varied and all have their own specific history. The Indonesian film industry's popularity peaked in the 1980s and dominated cinemas in Indonesia, although it declined significantly in the early 1990s. Between 2000 and 2005, the number of Indonesian films released each year has steadily increased. As of 2015, Indonesia holds 8 items of UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage, which include wayang puppet theatre, kris, batik, education and training on making Indonesian batik, angklung, saman dance, noken, and the three genres of traditional Balinese dance. Batik which natives to Indonesia also were recognized by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity on October 2009.

Festivals

Most of the festivals are followed by special ceremonies and they are mostly related to the religions of the people of Indonesia, but there are also some national festivals celebrated by all of the people regardless of their religious beliefs.

Below, we will describe some of the most important and most popular but also the most important celebrations in the calendar of Indonesia. Maybe it is not a bad idea to organize your trip to this beautiful country while having in mind its greatest traditional, religious and cultural events since you will certainly enjoy participating in their celebration.

Every August, the 17th, the streets around the country are covered with garlands and Indonesian flags to commemorate the anniversary of the country’s independence. Through various parades, the archipelago recalls the time when the country’s first president, General Sukarno, declared a new state formed by former Dutch colonial territories in Southeast Asia in the year of 1945. During this time, numerous public institutions, especially public schools, organize adequate performances.

Lombok is definitely the hot spot of the country in the period of the Bau Nyale Fishing Festival which is usually held in February or March. A large number of people come from all over the country gathers to have a look at the first nyale (worm-like fish) caught during this really popular fishing event. The caught fish is immediately prepared – it is roasted in the leaves of banana.

At the same time, there is another festival in the same area. Native local people from the Sasak ethnic group gather to a ceremony that shows respect to a mythical princess who killed herself by drowning in order not to avoid political marriage.

This Indonesian festival that is usually held at the beginning of May and lasting three days is one of the greatest music festivals of Indonesia and one of the most important and most popular jazz festivals not only in the country but in the entire Asian continent. During these three days, Jakarta becomes a real music paradise that gathers some of the most popular and most quality musicians from all over the planet.
In order to preserve the cultural heritage of Asmat tribe from Papua, this festival that is recognized and listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites is an important event for the culture of the entire country. During this festival, you can explore the art of woodcarving and get some impressive insights related to this spiritual artistic expression that will guide you through the history of the people of this interesting tribe. If you visit this amazing event, you will also be able to enjoy original dances, traditional musical performances and also participate in the auction of the woodcarvings and other artistic works.

This festival is a must visit Indonesian festival for all of the people who are lovers of soul, hip-hop, R&B and rap sounds. It is an international event that doesn’t only gather some of the most popular musicians from Indonesia but also a wide variety of artists in mentioned genres from all over the world. The ratings of Java Soul Nation Festival are really high and interest for this manifestation has been increasing that much that it won the JJK Awards in the year of 2012 for Best Music Festival.

Non-profit and non-government charity organization named Balinale Film Festival was established in the year of 2007 and since then it represents an internationally accepted and popular event held in Kuta that provides chances for moviemakers from Indonesia to present their works to the wider auditorium. However, this Festival does not only have the promotional character, but it is also an important educational event in the area of movies since it has organized numerous free workshops, presentations, lectures, and seminars. Many of them were held by winners of other important film festivals, such as Oscar, Emmy, Cannes and BAFTA.

Climate

Lying along the equator, Indonesia's climate tends to be relatively even year-round. Indonesia has two seasons—a wet season and a dry season—with no extremes of summer or winter. For most of Indonesia, the dry season falls between April and October with the wet season between November and March. Indonesia's climate is almost entirely tropical, dominated by the Tropical rainforest climate found in every major island of Indonesia, followed by the Tropical monsoon climate that predominantly lies along Java's coastal north, Sulawesi's coastal south and east, and Bali, and finally the tropical Savanna climate, found in isolated locations of Central Java, lowland East Java, coastal southern Papua and smaller islands to the east of Lombok. However, cooler climate types do exist in mountainous regions of Indonesia 1,300 to 1,500 meters (4,300 to 4,900 feet) above sea level. The oceanic climate (Köppen Cfb) prevail in highland areas with fairly uniform precipitation year-round, adjacent to rainforest climates, while the subtropical highland climate (Köppen Cwb) exist in highland areas with a more pronounced dry season, adjacent to tropical monsoon and savanna climates.

Rinca, Lesser Sunda Islands. The islands closest to Australia, including Nusa Tenggara and the eastern tip of Java tend to be dry.

Some regions, such as Kalimantan and Sumatra, experience only slight differences in rainfall and temperature between the seasons, whereas others, such as Nusa Tenggara, experience far more pronounced differences with droughts in the dry season, and floods in the wet. Rainfall in Indonesia is plentiful, particularly in West Sumatra, West Kalimantan, West Java, and Papua. Parts of Sulawesi and some islands closer to Australia, such as Sumba is drier. The almost uniformly warm waters that make up 81% of Indonesia's area ensure that temperatures on land remain fairly constant. The coastal plains averaging 28 °C (82.4 °F), the inland and mountain areas averaging 26 °C (78.8 °F), and the higher mountain regions, 23 °C (73.4 °F). The area's relative humidity ranges between 70 and 90%.

Winds are moderate and generally predictable, with monsoons usually blowing in from the south and east in June through October and from the northwest in November through March. Typhoons and large scale storms pose little hazard to mariners in Indonesia waters; the major danger comes from swift currents in channels, such as the Lombok and Sape straits.

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