What comes out of your mind once hearing the world of Indonesia? Do you always think most about Bali and Jakarta?
Everything that You Need to Know about Indonesia
Indonesia is known as the biggest archipelago country in the world. It has over 17,500 islands stretches between the Pacific and the Indian Oceans. It also bridges the continent of Asian and continent of Australia. This strategic position surely gives a lot of influences to Indonesia, including its culture, social and political life and also the economy.
Indonesia is also stated along the Ring of Fire, making the country’s territory hosts about 400 volcanoes. There are at least 90 of them still active. The most active ones today are Kelut and Merapi.
From the beneath of Indonesia earth, there are also numerous tectonic plates, mainly the two Eurasian Plant and Australian Plate. Added with two oceanic plates, i.e. the Philippine Sea and Pacific Plates, it is common natural disasters to happen in Indonesia, especially earthquakes.
When people of Indonesia have to get aware of the sudden earthquakes, they are also blessed with the beautiful natural landscapes. Let us say mountains, seas, rivers, and other attractive places that every traveller loves to visit.
As an archipelago country with about 17,000 islands spreading from the west to the east, Indonesia offers a lot of things to do. Some are so unique and could be relatively new to you at your every visit. Be prepared to be surprised then.
- Watch the sunrise from or over the volcanoes
There are many volcanoes in Indonesia and some of them are possible to be hiked up. Take for example Mount Bromo in Java and Mount Rinjani in Lombok. It may seem a long journey to the top, but your trip is worth it for the breathtaking view of the sunrise.
- Dive in the beautiful underwater world
As a maritime country, Indonesia hosts amazing marine life under the sea water. It is also where serious divers will love to spend their time. The two popular diving spots are Raja Ampat and Togian Islands. Even if you are just a novice diver, make sure to see yourself the huge biodiversity that Indonesia’s marine life has.
- Explore the rainforest just to see Orangutan
Orangutan is a species of protected great apes originally from Indonesia and Malaysia. They are now mostly found in the rainforests in Borneo and Sumatra. Take for example Bukit Lawang where you will find the orangutans when trekking the jungle.
- Hope one island to another by snorkelling
Snorkelling is one of the must-to-do activities you can’t miss when exploring Indonesia. There are many great spots to discover. Just choose among of 17000 islands in the archipelago country.
- Beat the challenge of powerful waves
Indonesia is the place where you can find perfect waves to surf in, whether you are a beginner or even an expert. Let us mention the famous Bali and Lombok.
- Spend on your money for shopping
Shopping is a must-thing-to-do if you want to bring some souvenirs home from your vacation. you need more than just selfie pictures, right? Fortunately, Indonesia is one of the best places for shopping in Asia. You have many choices of place to spend your money, from the big shiny malls to the traditional markets.
- Enjoy the city sightseeing on a becak
A becak or trishaw is still available in Yogyakarta and Malang. The tukang becak (becak’s driver) will take you to wander around the city or go to a nearby vacation spot by pushing the pedal from your behind. You just need to sit on the provided seat and enjoy the surrounding view in slow motion.
- See the everlasting value of history and culture
Indonesia has two famous wonders, Borobudur temple and Prambanan temple. Those ancient remains represent how two great kingdoms with two different religions, i.e. Buddhism and Hinduism. Now, the followers of those religions can live in peace with today’s majority people who are Muslims.
- Feel the life in the ancient culture
Watch how people in Tana Toraja still practising the funeral rites and see the way of those in Baliem Valley living like their ancestors.
- Swim in the famous Lake Toba
Danau Toba or Lake Toba is one of world’s largest volcanic lake. This natural wonder has clear water and reflects the mountains beautifully.
Explore the natural wonders
As a tropical country, Indonesia host abundance of charms, especially its nature.
- Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat Islands in West Papua is the home of endemic birds, beautiful wildflowers and other wildlife. Under its blue sea, there are also about 400 species of coral and 1,400 kinds of fish, making Raja Ampat as one of top diving destinations in Indonesia.
- Mount Bromo
Though it is still an active volcano, Mount Bromo is so much popular among tourists. One of the reasons for their visits is the Sea of Sand (Segara Wedi) which surrounds the Mount of Bromo and other mountains nearby. Even the sulfurous smoke is one of the gorgeous scenes hunted by photographers.
- Kelimutu Lake
The famous Kelimutu Lake has always made people curious. It is due to the natural colour-changing water of it’s their lakes, which can happen 44 times. Every time the colour changes, local people will bring offerings for the ancestral spirits.
- Labuan Cermin
Labuan Cermin is a lake with crystal clear water. That is why it is called Cermin or mirror in English where you can easily see its bottom without any equipment. Another interesting feature is its water mix, fresh near the surface but salty near the bottom. If you swim, you can find both freshwater fish and saltwater organisms in one place.
- Komodo Island
This island is where the Komodo dragons live. Besides making exploration to find that ancient giant reptile, you will also enjoy the view of hills, vegetation, coastlines and blue ocean. Hike up to the hilltop to get the best spot seeing the ocean and small islands nearby.
- Cartensz Pyramid
Cartensz pyramid is the summit of Mount Jayawijaya, listed as one of seven summits of the world that attract hikers from around the globe. It is where you will find snow in a tropical country. There is also a mysterious lake few hundred meters below the summit, named Lake Idenberg. The water can drain and fill itself. Occasionally, a mystifying black swan also appears there.
- Kelingking Beach
Clearwater, shallow depth and white sand are what Kelingking Beach has. Just found in 2003, this beach has attracted a lot of tourists, especially those who like to swim. You will also find caves around the beach to explore. still, this area is another alternative to the crowded beaches in Bali.
- Dieng Plateau
Dieng Plateau is just above the clouds. It is a beautiful tourist spot with rice fields, villages and jungle, where you won’t only find historical remains from the ruins of ancient temples, but also the fascinate culture of local people.
- Coban Sewu Waterfall
The countless water flows make it named Coban Sewu waterfall, means a thousand waterfalls. The water is clear, running through rocks and greenery, giving the effect of beautiful decoration to the concave hills behind. Does not it invite you to swim?
- Mount Rinjani
The second highest volcano in Indonesia is located in Lombok, named Mount Rinjani. From the summit, you will be able to see the beautiful Lake Segara Anaka, the exquisite blue water lake surrounded by jungles and mountains.
Kinds of Entertainment to Enjoy in Indonesia
With the large size and high population, Indonesia also experiences the rapid growth of its entertainment industry. Even the diversity itself, be it among of the people, religions, cultures or lifestyles, has already created various kinds of entertaining stuff. you can see how people entertain themselves differently from one place to another. Many of them are still traditional, while others have been seen as non-local style. There is also a well-blended mixture between the modern and traditional entertainment.
- Music and cinema
People of Indonesia has plenty of choices of regional national and international music. They are willing to spend some money to watch a live music show, regardless of the genre. Some will prefer going to a concert on weekdays, or simply just listen to the radio and watch TV, whether at home or mobile. When talking about movies, Indian and Chinese films are so much popular among of Indonesians.
For Indonesians, sports are more than just games. It is another form of entertainment that unites the whole country. It is common to see citizens gathering to watch a sports competition, like football. Indonesia also has many athletes performing in different sports branches; especially Badminton where the players have won gold medals many times. The latest news about sports is when Indonesia becomes the host of two world’s international sports events, i.e. Asian Games and Para Games 2018.
- Nightclubs and bars
If you are looking for special entertainment for youngsters, you should go to the metropolitan cities. Take for example Jakarta and Bali. You can find clubs, bars and cafes for the hangout. Sometimes, the organizers also offer outdoor parties since many clubs or bars are located close to the beaches.
- Eating out
Eating out in Indonesia can be fun as well. However, before you sit and eat whatever foods offered, you must check the prices first. Depending on the restaurant style, you may need to pay extra money on a meal for two.
Types of Public Transportation
Talking about public transportation, what comes out of your mind? Are you trying to mention the bus, train and taxi? Well, in Indonesia, there are more options for public transportation. You may get surprised with the following list.
The bus is one of the most common public transportations. It is even still divided into some categories, depending on routes and passengers. For example Inter-city bus, school bus, trans bus, metro minibus and campus bus. This in-land transportation is chosen because of its inexpensive fare. Many buses even have a wide coverage area, passing through some cities back and forth.
Another alternative of inland transportation mode is training. People usually take it for long trips between cities or provinces. But it is still mainly operated in Java. Besides taking passengers, the trains are also used to distribute goods.
Angkot is a type of city transport. It looks like a car but there is only one door on the left side of the vehicle body. Angkot is commonly seen in the cities and only has a limited coverage area. People prefer this transportation than the bus because of the more affordable tariff.
Instead of renting a motorbike, people can hail an ojek. Due to the limited space, the driver will only take one passenger to the directed direction. It is preferred because the motorcycle can pass through traffic jams and reach small streets. Today, with the rapid used of transportation application, people can find and book an ojek online.
Almost like angkot, but Bajaj only has three wheels. This type of transportation mode is commonly seen in Jakarta, Banjarmasin and Pekanbaru. The shape is unique, but Bajaj can be so noisy. People usually take this public transportation when going shopping at the market and commuting back home.
Becak or pedicab is a model of three-wheeled public transportation. There are two types of it, conventional and motorized. Unlike ojek where the driver sits in the front, the driver of becak sits on the rear seat or behind the passengers. Although it is one of traditional and nature-friendly public transportation, not all cities allowed becak drivers to operate with the reason of creating massive traffic jams.
Have you ever wished to be like Cinderella who takes a horse cart to attend the ball at the palace? Well, this such old fashion transportation type can be found in Indonesia. It is common to see Delman at a tourism spot or village street, especially in the special region of Yogyakarta.
- Ship and ferries
Indonesia is an archipelago country which so many islands spread from the west to east. When in-land transportation modes can’t take passengers from one island to another, there are still ships or ferries to cross the ocean.
- Boats and rafts
Boats and rafts are commonly used to cross the rivers. Depending on the size, a wooden boat can take about 2 to 8 people.
- Aeroplane and helicopter
For a quick trip, people will likely choose an aeroplane. There are many airports already built to accommodate this transportation mode. But to reach such remote areas like mountains, the more preferred transportation is the helicopter.
Taking a taxi for a single or small group of the passenger is popular because it can directly drive them to the wanted location. Hailing a taxi is also much easier today with the availability of online taxi application.
There are many benefits of taking public transportation, instead of driving your own vehicles. It is much more convenient because you can sit back and relax. You also do not need to think much about the best route to reach the wanted destination. Just let the driver do it for you. Importantly, you help the government to trim the traffic jam issues by going anywhere with public transportation.
Wherever you go to Indonesia, you will always find great places for shopping. There are plenty of opportunities of what and where to buy. You can go to a street vendor or enter a department store. The options are just uncountable.
- Arts and crafts
Local artistic crafts always become special attractions to tourists. There are many handmade products from leather to silver and wood. The best place to shop is the local markets and street vendors when you are able to bargain the prices. Wherever you spend the time on vacation, you can always find the markets for local arts and crafts there.
Batik is a traditional fabric of Indonesia, made by applying the wax-resist dyes to create beautiful patterns and details. Each pattern even symbolizes certain meaning. That is why Batik Indonesia being recognized not only as an art but also the craft.
- International goods
Besides the local and traditional markets, you will also able to find modern shopping centres in Indonesia, especially in metropolitan cities. There are many international retails offering a lot of the world’s famous brands. You have a plenty of choices depending on your budget range.
- Local products
There are many interesting and unique local products found in Indonesia’s markets. You can take them home. Besides the arts and crafts, there are also foodstuff and beauty products. They are quite affordable and suitable bought as souvenirs. Take for example coffee, tea, honey, packed spa products and even the uniquely tasted cigarette called rokok kretek.
Understanding Indonesian Culture
The different ethnic background that the people of Indonesia have, makes the country is rich for culture. Their foods, art performances, languages, costumes and other things are different. However, Indonesian people have learned to embrace all of them in the harmonic diversity.
Besides the local ethnics, traditional foods in Indonesia are also inspired by the surrounding countries, especially Chinese and India. There are also foods heavily influenced by Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore. A famous example is Satay, famous food in Indonesia made from grilled meat served with peanut sauce as the dressing. It was actually commonly found at the street stalls in Singapore and Thailand.
There are many traditional dances in Indonesia. Take for example Saman, Reog Ponorogo and Kecak. They come from different ethnic groups and provinces, blessing the country with so many diversities by its own origin ethnics.
Traditional music in Indonesia is also as diverse as the dances. It is not only the kind of music itself, but there are also even traditional instruments commonly used in each region. Take for example Angklung, a bamboo made an instrument from West Java, Sasando from West Timor and Gamelan from Java.
Indonesia is also rich in literature. There are many famous writers who create arts based on ethnic background or social conditions. Take for example Chairil Anwar, Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Rendra, Sapardi Djoko Darmono and Joko Pinurbo.
- Traditional costumes
You will find so many kinds of traditional clothes worn by Indonesian people, on certain occasions like weddings, funerals and festivals. But mostly, they have Batik worn for some official moments including at work or attend a wedding party.
People of Indonesia know how to enjoy their time. they have varied activities to do for recreational. Take for example bull races in Madura, cockfighting in Bali and stone jumping in Nias.
The architecture in Indonesia is unique. Not only famous temples like Borobudur and Prambanan, their traditional houses even have special characteristics which symbolize different meanings.
Sculptures are common among of the most Indonesia tribes. Some are made from wood, while others are made from stones. The shapes also usually symbolize various things from animals, people to deities.
- Historical sites
The ancient temples found in many regions of Indonesia shows how people in the past have owned high artistic skills. But still, each construction also made for certain purposes like offering prayers to the deities.
Each ethnic has their own mother tongue. But, people speak Bahasa Indonesia as their national language to communicate with others from different regions. So, almost everyone speaks bilingual languages.
Facts about the Religions
Religions have essential meaning during the daily lives of Indonesian people. Besides, exploring the natural wonders, you can also visit the religious sites, even if you are not intended to offer any worship. However, make sure you pay attention to the entrance etiquette like dressing appropriately. So, how many religions are there in Indonesia? To find out, you can take a look at the following facts:
- History and origins
Prehistoric human beings used to inhabit Indonesia before the continuous waves of immigrants enter the archipelago through different directions taking over the control or find another area to also live in. the existence of prehistoric human beings was proven by the discovery of several parts of Homo erectus (Java Man) in Sangiran, Central Java by Eugene Dubois in the 1890’s. There were found over 80 species at that place.
- The arrivals of foreign immigrants
The history of migration to Indonesia has been started since around 28,000 BC. The immigrants came mostly from the main countries of Asia such as India, China, Cambodia and Arabic. There were also many from Europe including Britain and Dutch.
Due to this massive migration from different nationals, Indonesia faced many culture shocks and got used to the acculturation. That is why today’s culture in this country is very diverse, including the religions. There are over 6 different religions in Indonesia. About 9 out of 10 of the population are being Muslims. Then, there are 5% Christian Protestant, 35 of Roman Catholic, 2% of Hindus, 1% of Buddhist and 1% of other traditional religions. All of them live in harmony.
- Islam, as the main religion in Indonesia
About 250 million people of Indonesia are Muslims making the country known as the biggest Muslim country in the world, about 13% of the total population who embraces the religion of Islam.
The arrival of Islam could not be separated from the international trade started with Arabs in the 4th century. They came from India and Persia for business as well as spread Islam across the country. The journey was started in coastal Java to Sumatra then being continued to the north of Central Java. It was proven with some kings who decided to convert to Islam, for example, the King of Demak.
- Hinduism and Buddhism
Hinduism and Buddhism came to Indonesia before Islam. Interestingly these both religions can live simultaneously each other without any real fight. Buddhism was brought by Indian travellers who arrived in Indonesia in the 1st century AC, while Hinduism started the expansion in the 4th century. Today, both Hindu and Buddhist people live in harmony. They even have several festivals held in Indonesia.
The next religion which arrived in Indonesia was Christians. It was stared with Portuguese invasion and spread Catholicism in 1511. Spaniard travellers also had a role in the conversion of Christianity in some regions, including Maluku. About 70 years later, there came Protestantism brought by Dutch when searching for spices in Indonesia. The declaration of Indonesian Independence in 1949 did not stop the travel of Christianity.
- Harmony and tolerant life among of religions
There are always fights between religions at some other countries, but not in Indonesia. Every religion respects each other and lives in harmony society. One of the former presidents, named Gus Dur, even declared the Chinese Lunar New Year just like other Muslim holidays during his presidency (1999-2001). He also took several actions to relieve tensions and make peace from the former conflicts among of religions.
World Class Healthcare facilities
There are about 1,800 hospitals in Indonesia, both public and private. Despite the number, there is always the development of quality and convenience for all patients, especially the citizens. The public medical plans are even set at no cost for those who earn the low income.
Those who have money also do not need to go abroad, because some hospitals in Indonesia have been accredited by Joint Commission International for their world-class facilities, including:
- Dr Cipto Mangunkusumo National General Hospital
Known mostly with its acronym, RSCM, this hospital is located in the central of Jakarta. Besides providing the academic health system, RSCM also provides medical facilities which are not only affordable but also high quality for all level of society. They have modern equipment with both national and international standard.
- Santosa Hospital
Located in Bandung, West Java, this hospital has a 24-hour emergency unit and provides a number of health care fore specialist or subspecialist clinics. Also collaborating with some international hospitals and institutions from Singapore and Australia, Santosa Hospital is claimed as one of the best medical services for patients all over the globe.
- Bali International Medical Center
Bali International Medical Center (BIMC) is two hospitals located in Nusa Dua and Kuta. They do not only provide international standard medical services. The paramedics also speak multi-languages, enhancing communication with the overseas tourists.
- Dr Sardjito General Hospital
This is the biggest hospital in Yogyakarta that has high-quality health care for all patients no matter their financial background is. To develop the level as a world-class medical facility, Dr Sardjito General Hospital also makes collaborations with Gadjah Mada University (UGM) and Eka Hospital Tangerang.
- Eka Hospital
Located in Tangerang and even has a presence in Pekanbaru, Eka Hospital offers quality healthcare services through the dedicated and professional staffs as well as top stranded facility and technology. Prioritizing the patient’s life and safety this hospital has the vision to be the leading provider network of healthcare in the Asia Pacific.
Travel Guide for First Time Travellers
If you wish to escape from the cold of winter, Indonesia is the right place to go. this tropical country has the lot of things to offer so you can really enjoy your vacation. whether you are a solo backpacker or intended to go in a group with friends or family, there are many holiday plans to choose from.
There are many things to see and do when visiting Indonesia. The first arrival can be confusing, so you should follow these tips to get a headache away:
- Visit places closed to Bali. If this island is your main destination, you should also take time exploring the surrounding places like Yogyakarta, Flores, Sulawesi and the famous Komodo Island.
- Find out if your country is listed among of 169 countries which are allowed to use a Free visa. It is valid for 30 days and makes sure to prepare a passport with validity for at least 6 months.
- Understand Rupiah, the Indonesian currency. The travel guides can tell you that everything in Indonesia is inexpensive. You may just feel fine to spend more in Rupiahs. However, be aware of the current exchange rate. Be sure you have enough budget for your holidays.
- Use local SIM card for more affordable communication or internet access by phone. Since there is no standard rate for a SIM card, you do not need to be hesitated to bargain the price.
- Check everything you pack before starting the trip. One of the things you should not miss is the universal charger.
- Always respect the local culture, especially things related to the religious matter, for example when you want to enter a temple in Bali. You have to dress appropriately by covering the legs and shoulders. Also be aware of the ones you offer foods or drinks too. Muslim people do not take alcohol drink, while Christians do not eat pork.
So, are you ready to pack your bag? Make sure you take time to read things about Indonesia at a glance to avoid the unexpected situations, especially on your first visit.