One of the most beautiful of the countries in South-East Asia and right on Australia’s doorstep is spectacular Indonesia. Now officially called the Republic of Indonesia, the Indonesian archipelago is made up of over 17,000 islands that sprawl across the western corner of South-East Asia.
Indonesia’s capital city of Jakarta, located on the island of Java is the twelfth largest city in the world, home to over 9.5 million people. A bustling metropolis of business and Indonesia's political centre, Jakarta is rarely viewed as a tourist destination, with tourism largely focused on the popular islands of Bali, Lombok and parts of Sumatra.
Bali in particular is popular with tourists for its beautiful beaches, luxury resorts and extensive markets. Parts of Bali, Sumatra and Southern Java are popular destinations for their excellent surf breaks and the archipelago is said to have some of the best scuba diving spots on earth, with over 3,500 species of marine life and genera of coral in its surrounding waters.
A richly diverse environment of tropical forests, sky scraping volcanoes, golden beaches and tropical waters support an ecosystem that makes Indonesia second only to Brazil in biodiversity. With forest covering roughly 60% of the country, Indonesia is home to a distinct array of endemic flora and fauna, including the endangered Sumatran Orangutan and the magnificent Sumatran Tiger.
Indonesians are as diverse as the islands that make up their archipelago home, with great distinctions between the many peoples. Over 300 ethnicities exist across its 2.5 million people, and myriad cultural identities, influenced by its long history of Dutch colonization and as a major trade region for India and China since the seventh century, make Indonesia a complex mixture of religions and cultures.
Imposing Buddha at Borobudur Temple
Mick Elmore, Lonely Planet
Young girls in temple procession on the way to Ubud
Gregory Adams, Lonely Planet
Regal Pura (temple) Ulun Danu Bratan reflected in the lake near Candikuning
Richard I'Anson, Lonely Planet
Aptly-named Turquoise Lake and Green Lake in volcanic craters, Kelimutu
Tony Wheeler, Lonely Planet
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