WHERE IS INDONESIA?
Indonesia is the largest archipelago and the fourth most populous country in the world. Consisting of five main islands (Sumatra, Jawa, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Papua) with 33 provinces, 30 smaller archipelagos, it has a total of 17,508 islands of which about 6,000 are inhabited. The Republic of Indonesia is located in Southeast Asia and stretches 5,150 km between the Australian and Asian continental mainland and divides the Pacific and Indian Oceans at the Equator. The name Indonesia is composed of two Greek words: “Indos” which means Indian and “nesos” meaning islands. The capital city of Indonesia is Jakarta. The country shares land borders with Papua New Guinea, East Timor and Malaysia. Other neighboring countries include Singapore, the Philippines, Australia, and the Indian territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
WHAT’S THE CLIMATE LIKE?
Indonesia climate is distinctly tropical. The east monsoon from June to September brings dry weather while the west monsoon from December to March is moisture-laden Indonesia In General bringing rain. The transitional period between these two are interposed by occasional rainshowers, but even in the midst of the west monsoon season, temperatures range from 21 degrees C (70 F) to 33 degrees C. (90 F) except at higher altitudes which are much cooler. Heaviest rainfalls are recorded in December and January. Humidity is between 60-100 %.
LANGUAGE AND DIALECTS
There are more 583 languages and dialects spoken in the archipelago. There normally belong to the 350 different ethnic groups of the population. Bahasa Indonesia is the national language, written in Roman script and based on European orthography. In all tourist destination areas English is the number one foreign languages fairly spoken and written.
FOOD AND DINING
The staple food of most of Indonesia is “nasi” (rice). On some of the island in eastern Indonesia, staple food traditionally ranged from corn, sago, cassava to sweet potatoes. Fish features prominently in the diet as fresh, salted, dried, smoked or a paste. Coconut is found everywhere and besides being produced for cooking oil, its milk – the juice from the white meat – is an ingredient for many dishes. Spices and hot chili Peppers are the essence of most cooking, and in some areas they are used generously such as in West Sumatra and North Sulawesi. Each province or area has its own cuisine, which vary in the method of cooking and ingredients. The Javanese cuisine is probably more palatable to the general taste and consists of vegetables, soybeans, beef, chicken and other varieties.
The Sumatrans generally eat more beef compared to the other regions. West Sumatra particularly is known for its Padang restaurants found nationwide. Beside the hot and spicy food, these restaurants are known for their unique style of service. Further to the east, seafood features on the daily diet, either grilled or made into curries. In Bali, Papua and the highlands of North Sumatra and North Sulawesi pork dishes are specialities. Pork is ussually served in Chinese restaurants or non-moslem regions. There is a wide variety of tropical and sub-tropical fruits and vegetables all year round. Coffee and tea plantations are plentiful, growing on several islands, and served everywhere from fine restaurants to small village stalls. There are several breweries which produce local beer. Bali produces “brem” which is a rice wine, whereas Toraja has its “tuak” which is also known in North Sumatra. Most common nationwide are “sate” (skewered grilled meat), “gado-gado” (vegetable salad with a peanut sauce), “nasi goreng” (fried rice served at anytime) and “bakmi goreng” (fried noodles).
In some areas in eastern Indonesia, their staple food is corn, sago, cassava and sweet potatoes. The fish is usually processed by marinated, dried, smoked, made pasta or eaten raw. Coconut can be found everywhere and is also used as a coconut oil for frying, coconut milk is used for cooking. Spices and chili is the most important spice in cooking and in some areas is much spice seasoning such key in West Sumatra and North Sulawesi. Each province or region has distinctive food each weave and different ingredients.
CULTURE AND RELIGION
Various kinds of different cultures and traditions around the country is also expressed in the many events and interesting, well-known religious event or events held throughout the year. (See Calendar of Events). You can see the Dharma Hindu religious ceremony gala held continuously in Bali, governments procession during Sekaten in Yogyakarta, as well as Tabot Festival in Bengkulu. Sumatra, to commemorate the death of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Hassan and Hussein. Vesak Buddhist ceremony is held every year around Borobudur, like the Toa Peh Kong Chinese festival in Manado. While Hari Raya’s death was held in Toraja, both of them held on the island of Sulawesi, and Kasada ceremony held each year end at Mount Bromo, East Java, to appease the souls of ancestors and the gods.
ARTS AND CRAFTS
Indonesia is rich in arts and crafts. In the field of textiles, Sumatra produces woven sarongs best gold and silver, which are known as songket. Women in South Sulawesi make colorful woven silk, while Bali, Flores and Timor produces some of the best textiles from natural fibers using intricate motifs. In wooden crafts, artisans Bali produce beautiful sculptures, as well as the Asmat tribe in Papua, both traditional and modern. Craftsmen in Central Java to produce a smooth, carved furniture while shipbuilders from Bugis in South Sulawesi continues to build sailboats.
Staying in over 13 466 islands, the Indonesian nation now consists of more than 200 million people, covering more than 200 ethnic. After independence in 1945, the intermingling of different ethnic and cultural marriages have made the population has a greater closeness. Overall basically Indonesian people are very religious. Pancasila as the state philosophy of Indonesia to bring the community to have an attitude of tolerance toward any religion, customs and traditions. It was reinforced by the slogan “Unity in Diversity” which means “Although different but still one nevertheless.”
Indonesia has a diverse wealth of terrestrial and marine animal species. It was influenced by the fertile soil of volcanic lava and minerals contained in the ground and in the sea especially mild climate in Indonesia took place throughout the year. Flora and fauna Indonesia is divided by an imaginary line called the Wallace Line. This line extends between Bali and Lombok, continue north between Borneo and Sulawesi. In the western part of the Wallace Line, its flora and fauna from Asia, while in the eastern part of the line, gathering flora and fauna are similar to those in Australia.
"Photos are copyrighted by their owners."