Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world with 18,330 islands, 6,000 of which are inhabited. To imagine the size of Indonesia, Indonesia stretches from west to east as far as the United States or Western and Eastern Europe put together, but Indonesia is an archipelago, more than two-thirds of its surface is seawater.
With more than 250 million inhabitants, Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world (after China, India and the United States) and by far the largest in Southeast Asia. The Indonesian population is not equally distributed between the 5 largest islands Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi, Kalimantan and Papua. Half of the population is located in Java. Most of the tourists come to Indonesia via Jakarta on the island of Java, Batam and Denpasar, Bali.
Indonesia also has the largest Muslim population in the world, mainly Sunnis. Indonesia is a member of the G-20 and although it has the potential to become a world leader, it is still hampered by corruption and lack of education.
Indonesia’s rainforests are the second largest in the world after Brazil and are being cleared and cleared to cultivate oil palm plantations at the same alarming rate. With the wealthy people shopping and partying in the cities and resorts, the poor people work hard and struggle to survive. After decades of economic mismanagement, 50.6% of the population still earns less than $4 a day, according to World Bank data from 2012. This is a decline of 6% in two years between 2010 and 2012.
Infrastructure in much of the country remains rudimentary and unusual travelers require patience and flexibility. Although progress has been made in expanding the toll road network, most intercity highways remain two-lane stores of varying quality, mostly filled with large buses and trucks, enthusiastically transporting goods and materials between them and on the road to reach the pole position where there is no race. It is possible that low-cost airlines have developed well due to the poor condition of the roads, with growth of up to 15% per year. So if someone changes from one location to another, this may be the case. This is especially easy to reach for big cities like Bali in Malang to visit the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park in Jakarta with many attractions for tourists to Medan to see Lake Toba and return to their home country. When you are in the city, don’t expect the roads to be good or the layout to be easy to navigate. Many of the roads in older cities are relics from Dutch times and therefore small, winding and in poor condition. In addition, the street names change every few kilometers and you need to know which area to go to if you only want to find that section of road. This is quite frustrating. Any road signs are placed perpendicular to the road they represent. The roads are even worse when you leave Java and Bali. Heavy traffic jams are a common feature, and Jakarta and Surabaya are considered particularly dangerous.
Flexibility should be a requirement everywhere in the country, as things can change very suddenly and preparation is often not a priority, although it is appreciated. If you are the type who expects everything to be set in stone, you should probably only consider trips with excellent and reliable travel agents. Otherwise, you may suffer from certain “disruptions”. Tolerance, patience and acceptance of surprises (not always good) are good qualities for anyone planning a visit.
This means that if you dare to find the good among the bad, you will find that Indonesia is one of the most exotic countries you have ever visited. Indonesia describes itself as Wonderful Indonesia and the motto is generally quite true. It is culturally diverse with over 900 tribes, languages and foods, while its charming nature, mainly outside Java, and the kindness of the people in most of the areas will keep you staying. Today, some European seniors spend months in Indonesia to avoid the winter.
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