Located in Southeast Asia, Indonesia is the world's biggest archipelago republic. It stretches 3,200 miles between the Australian and Asian continentals, the approximate distance from Florida to Alaska. Indonesia is a unique marine biodiversity that are as mind-boggling as its cultural, traditional and ethnic diversity.
Officially made up of 17,508 islands, Indonesia archipelago has one of the highest biodiversity in the world. It has 28,000 flora species ranging from tiny rare orchids to giant Rafflesia flower, and 3,500 species of animals, including the endangered giant Komodo Lizard, the horned Javan Rhinoceros and Sumatrans tigers. There are 500 volcanoes to climb.
Flora & Fauna
Indonesia's natural ecosystems range from palm-fried beaches to vast jungles, from mangrove swamp land to snow-capped mountain peaks. Its tropical forest provide a habitat for thousands of animals and plant species, and its seas and coral reefs are teeming with marine life. Tropical forests cover 75 percent of the land, or more than 350 million acres. Most plant species are native of the equatorial rain forest, with its immense variety such as Rafflesia, the world's largest flower and parasitic bloom. Due to its spawling size and unique geographical location, Indonesia is one of the most biological significant places on earth, with an animal life unmatched anywhere in the world.
Indonesia's population of over 210 million makes it the fourth most populous country in the world. Indonesia's multi-ethnicity gives birth to a rich cultural heritage, with each group preserving unique traditions, customs, religions and cuisines. The Indonesian constitution allows freedom of religion. More than 480 ethnic groups keep alive over 583 local languages.
Arts and culture
Indonesia is a multicultural country. The true spirit of the Indonesian culture is well depicted in arts and crafts, music, dance, architecture, and cuisine, which have been shaped around its hundreds of ethnic groups, each with cultural differences that have shifted over the centuries. Intertwined with religion and age-old traditions from time of early migrants, the art and culture of Indonesia is rich in itself with western thoughts brought by portuguese traders and Dutch colonists.
Throughout Indonesia, traditions and customs are preserved through the many festivals, rituals, traditional dances and music that celebrate different stages in the peoples' lives. Indonesia batik, the wayang shadow puppet theater, sasando and angklung bamboo music are some of the original cultural heritage that have been designated as UNESCO's Masterpiece of oral and intangible heritage of humanity. In many parts of the archipelago, people still live their traditional way of life in accordance with centuries old traditions. These living cultures can be found in Toraja, South Sulawesi, Baduy in West Jaya, the people of Tenganan and Trunyan villages in Bali, and the Dani, Asmat and Korowai in Papua.
Indonesian dishes is characteristically spicy and a variety of hot chili peppers and coconut oil/milk are widely used. Rice is the most important part of a meal for the majority of the people. Each region has its own specialties. Island of Sumatra is well known for their rich spicy dishes. Padang in west Sumatra is famous for their unique way of serving food.