The numbers astound even as they boggle: 17,000 islands (or is it 20,000?), 8000 inhabited (or is it 11,000?), 300 languages spoken (or is it 400?); the list goes on.
The world’s fourth most populace country - 240 million and counting - is a sultry kaleidoscope that runs along the equator for 5000km. It may well be the last great adventure on Earth. From the western tip of Sumatra to the eastern edge of Papua is a nation that defies homogenisation. A land of so many cultures, peoples, animals, customs, plants, features, artworks and foods that it is like 100 countries melded into one (or is it 200?).
And we’re talking differences that aren’t just about an accent or a preference for goat over pork, we are talking about people who are as radically different from each other as if they came from different continents. No man may be an island but here every island is a unique blend of the men, women and children who live upon it. Over time deep and rich cultures have evolved, from the mysteries of the spiritual Balinese to the utterly non-Western belief system of the Asmat people of Papua.
Venturing through the islands of Indonesia you’ll see a land as diverse and unusual as those living upon it. Look at Sulawesi on a map, say what you think, and you’ll save yourself the cost of an ink blot test at a shrink. Or view Sumatra from the air and be humbled by a legion of nearly 100 volcanoes marching off into the distance, several capable of blowing at any time.
Dramatic sights are the norm. There’s the sublime: an orangutan lounging in a tree; the artful: a Balinese dancer executing precise moves that make a robot seem loose-limbed; the idyllic: a deserted stretch of blinding white sand on Sumbawa set off by azure water and virescent jungled hills; the astonishing: the mobs in a cool and glitzy Jakarta mall on a Sunday; the humbling: a woman bent double with a load of firewood on Sumatra; the solemn: the quiet magnificence of Borobudur.
Ready to go?
These tours & activities make it easy:
- Travel from Java to Bali on a 15 day adventure
- Explore beautiful Bali
- Witness stunning volcanoes and fearsome Komodo dragons
- Take a Bali reef cruise
Last updated: Jan 10, 2013
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