Indonesia is the world's largest archipelago, comprising of five main islands and a multitude of smaller archipelagos, with about 17,000 islands strung across the equator.
A rich history of kingdoms, conquests, colonialism, trade and natural disasters has bequeathed it with an exhilarating kaleidoscope of cultures and traditions, people, languages and religions, aspirations and problems, and the dramatic scenery of changing landscapes.
Full country name: Republic of Indonesia
Area: 1,922,570 million sq Km
Population: 245,5 million
Capital: Jakarta (population: 13,2 million)
Languages: Bahasa Indonesia ( plus 583 dialecte), English
GPD per capital: US$3,700
Number of aeroports: 668
Number of mobile phones in use: 30 million
Number of island: 17,508
Religion: There is a Muslim majority of approximately 90%, with Christian, Hindu (mainly in Bali) and Buddhist minorities.
Time: GMT + 7 (West) in Sumatra, Java and Western Borneo; GMT + 8 (Central) in Sulawesi, Lesser Sunda Islands, Bali and Eastern Borneo; GMT + 9 (East) in Papua and Maluku.
Telephone: Country code: 62 (followed by 22 for Bandung, 361 for Bali, 21 for Jakarta, 61 for Medan and 31 for Surabaya)
Visas: Citizens of most countries can stay 60 days without a visa.
Health risks: Dengue fever, giardiasis, hepatitis, Japanese encephalitis, malaria, paratyphoid, rabies, typhoid
Time: There are three time zones: Sumatra, Java and West & Central Kalimantan are seven hours ahead of UTC; Bali, Nusa Tenggara, South & East Kalimantan and Sulawesi are eight hours ahead of UTC; and Irian Jaya and Maluku are nine hours ahead of UTC
Electricity: 220V, 50 Hz
Weights & measures: Metric
When to go
Though travel in the wet season is not usually a major problem in most parts of Indonesia, mud-clogged back roads can be a deterrent. The best time to visit is in the dry season. The ‘wet’ starts to descend in October and varies in intensity across the archipelago.
The December to February rains can make travel prohibitive in Nusa Tenggara, when rough seas either cancel (or sink) ferries, and roads on Flores are washed out. Parts of Papua are also inaccessible.
The rains shift in Sumatra, peaking from October to January in the north, and from January to February in the south. But seasonal change makes little difference in Bali, and in Kalimantan higher water levels from December to February improve access to rivers and small .
The main Indonesian holiday periods are the end of Ramadan, when domestic tourists fill resorts and prices escalate; Christmas; and mid-June to mid-July, when graduating high-school students take off by the busload to various tourist attractions, mainly in Java and Bali.
The Indonesian archipelago is one of the world’s top surfing destinations. The best time to surf is from April to September with the best waves generally found on islands facing south and southwest, including Bali, Flores, Java, Lombok, Sumatra, Sumba and Sumbawa.
The island of Sumatra is perhaps the best location. Gunung Padang, near the island’s capital, Padang, is a small black basalt cliff reached via a river-paddling trip followed by a trek through rainforest. Further inland, Bukittinggi offers challenging cliffs overlooking rice paddies.
Attractions - Bali
Set in the hills north of Denpasar, Ubud is the cultural center of Bali and the major attractions of the town and its surrounding villages are the art museums and galleries, notably the Neka Museum, containing a huge collection of traditional and modern Balinese paintings. An enormous variety of Balinese art and crafts line the streets and crowd the market place of Ubud, and frequent performances of traditional dance and music, and restaurants offering some of the best food on the island, compel visitors to stay much longer than intended.