With more than 17,500 islands stretching the same distance as New York to San Francisco, Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago; and with a population that will soon exceed the USA, currently at 250 million people, it’s also by far the largest country in Southeast Asia. Its sheer size presents a wide range of differing regions with a very diverse and unique flora and fauna – and sublime geography from the popular paradise of Bali to the spectacular floral isle of Sulawesi and rugged grandeur of Sumatra.
An equatorial country, lying across a region of immense volcanic activity, Indonesia has some 400 volcanoes, with at least 70 that are still active. The country shares land borders with Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, East Timor and Papua New Guinea, and maritime borders with Singapore, the Philippines and Australia. It is a land of so many cultures, ethnic groups, customs, fauna and flora that it is like 100 separate countries united under one flag. The main islands are Java, Sumatra, Bali, Lombok, Kalimantan (Borneo), Sulawesi (Celebes), Papua, Flores, Timor and Seram.
Outside the highly urbanized cities, conservation is taken seriously and many rare and endangered species find a home in these areas. Visitors to the country’s giant national parks and reserves will be enthralled by the sight of tigers, elephants, komodo dragons and countless amazing plants, all in their natural habitats.
Those yearning for a culinary encounter will be dazzled by the array of distinctive rice and noodle dishes, curries, soups, grills and superbly sweet fruit. Beach lovers are enamored by the almost endless choice of beaches that go far beyond just Bali, along with Indonesia’s truly magnificent world class dive sites.