Mini Guide to Indonesia

Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world with just over 17,000 islands. It has a population of roughly 261 million people, though over half lives on the island of Java.

The nation has a long trading history with other Asian countries and has also been invaded by the Dutch and English Empires. Indonesia is therefore a melting pot of cultures with the largest Muslim population in the world, but also with strong influences from Hinduism and Buddhism, particularly in Bali. It’s also a nature lover’s paradise, with plenty of fauna, volcanoes, beaches, and diving sites.

Transport

Most international travelers arrive at Soekarno-Hatta (Tangerang) or Ngurah Rai (Denpasar) international airports, but it’s also possible to arrive by boat from Singapore or Malaysia. The fastest way to move around is flying with the low-cost carriers, but there’s also a well-established network of ferries between islands.

If you’re exploring the islands of Java or Sumatra, you can also travel by train or bus, which are well maintained and comfortable.

holgs / Getty Images

Language

Although more than 700 languages and dialects are spoken in the country, Indonesian (locally known as Bahasa Indonesian) is the official one. It has developed throughout the years and has been influenced by Dutch, Sanskrit, and Arabic, among other languages. It’s somewhat similar to Malay and speakers from both languages generally understand each other. English is widely spoken in Bali, but across the country, mainly students and hospitality staff can speak a decent level of English.

[resp]

Jessie Casson / Getty Images

Main Cities and Islands

Jakarta

Jakarta is the capital of Indonesia and is located in the northwest of Java, the world’s most populous island. It’s a massive megalopolis that is currently struggling with pollution, inequality, and housing as the urban area keeps growing.

Although many travelers leave the city as soon as possible, there are still some gems worth visiting such as the Presidential Palace and Monas, a famous 132-meter national monument.

Abdul Azis / Getty Images

PAGE 1 OF 6
SHARE ON

Advertisement

10 Interesting New Year’s Traditions from Around the World

In the Gregorian calendar, which is the most widely-used calendar system in the world, the start of the New Year is celebrated on January 1. In North America, bottles of champagne are popped, kisses are exchanged, and everyone sings and makes noise to celebrate the arrival of the New Year. Some traditions that we take part in are unique to our culture, even if it seems like everyone does them. In other parts of the globe, the celebration of the New Year looks quite different — some cultures even celebrate it on a completely separate day.

Weirdest American Holiday Traditions

The holiday season is here and businesses across the United States are going all-out to make sure that their decorations are better than the year before. The majority of Americans get so excited about holidays that it’s easy to forget how many traditions are strangely unique to the American culture. Actually, there are a large number of uniquely American holiday traditions that seem strange to those who didn’t grow up here. Let’s explore some of the weirdest American holiday traditions that are out there today.

The World in Liquor

When you go out for a night, how many options for liquor does your home base bar have on offer? Sure, they’ve probably got some standard gins, vodkas, rums, whiskies, and tequilas—but probably not much of anything else. If you’re traveling, one of the best ways to start to get to know the local culture is to indulge in a popular local drink.