Indonesia Fast Facts


Population: 258,316,051

Capital City: Jakarta

Climate: Tropical; hot, humid; more moderate in highlands

Time Zone: GMT+7 - GMT+9

Language: Bahasa Indonesia

Country Code: 62

Coastline: 33,999 miles

The Ideal Island-Hopping Destination

Stretching across the equator for more than 3,100 miles, Indonesia encompasses more than 17,000 islands, only two-thirds of which are inhabited. Five main islands and 30 smaller archipelagos are home to the majority of the population. The main islands are Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Irian Jaya, Bali, and Java, home to 60% of the country’s population.

Indonesia’s population of over 253 million makes it the world’s fourth-most populous nation, with the island of Java the most populous island in the world (141 million, 2012 est.) and one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Indonesia includes numerous related but distinct cultural and linguistic groups, many of which are ethnically Malay.

The nations’ capital, Jakarta, is the main gateway to Indonesia and is a contrast of modern Western architecture and traditional Indonesian culture. This is a country rich in art and culture. which are closely intertwined with religion and age-old traditions brought by Portuguese and Dutch colonists.

Bali is the rock star of Indonesia’s 18,307 islands, and people from all walks of life are starting to whisper about this fabled place. With its tropical, semi-humid climate, and temperature varying from landscape to landscape, there is something for everyone in Bali.

From trendy cafés to five-star restaurants to quiet coastal towns, this tourist hot-spot has it all. Of course, there’s more to Bali than just wonderful nature, beautiful beaches, great surfing, and tasty food. Its friendly locals have maintained their traditional ceremonies and laidback way of life too.

Bali is like no other destination in the world. There is a spiritual energy surrounding the island that immediately relaxes you and improves your mood. Nicknamed “the Island of the Gods”, it has a history going back 2,000 years. You’ll find a rich mix of Chinese, Indian and European cultures.

Southern Bali is split into districts and villages, and, as the island population has grown over the years, these independent districts and villages have merged into two very distinct geographical areas—southeast and southwest Bali.

The southwest of the island is full of cafés, restaurants, and stylish shopping boutiques. The southeast is quieter, older, and more exclusive. Bali’s capital, Denpasar, is farther east and inland, while Bali’s oldest upscale resort area, Sanur, is a mature beachside town with good restaurants, quiet cafés, and white-sand beaches.

Inland, the town of Ubud, and the lush region surrounding it, is the cultural heart of Bali. The weather here is cooler, and you’ll find an international community of expats savoring the best of the island’s traditions, crafts, and art.

The north of the island is dry and volcanic. This area attracts adventurous expats, and has possibly the lowest cost of living in all of Bali. There are some great marine parks in the north and good diving sites where the main activity is dolphin-watching. The south of the island, by comparison, is lush and green, has good surf, and lots of smaller islands to explore just offshore. It is also where the majority of great restaurants and stylish cafés are located.

Most of Indonesia’s territory remains unexplored, concealing a wealth of cultures and a myriad of landscapes. From the oceanic rice fields and ancient sultanates of Java to the pristine alabaster beaches of Maluku, to the jungles of Sumatra, Kalimantan, and Papua with their impish monkeys, stoic sun bears, leopards, orangutans, and remarkable marsupials, Indonesia has a lot to offer.

From the Archives of Indonesia Articles

Surfing in Indonesia: The Best Places to Visit

Surfing in Indonesia: The Best Places to Visit

Editors Choice
By |
September 18, 2019

Indonesia is a nation comprising over 18,000 islands, and is known for its array of beaches, many of which are ideal surf havens. Each year surfers from all over the world flock to the islands in search of the perfect wave and an idyllic holiday. One of the benefits of surfing in Indonesia is the amazing number of world-class surf breaks...

In Pictures: The Best of Off-the-Beaten-Track Bali

In Pictures: The Best of Off-the-Beaten-Track Bali

Most expats in Bali live in the well-known resorts of Sanur, Ubud, Seminyak, and Canggu and these spots certainly have their advantages, being close to the airport and full of life. But if you’re after a quieter pace of life with less traffic and lower prices, here are three lovely, alternative places to consider for living in Bali...

Retire in Bali

Retire in Bali

There are so many good reasons to retire in Bali. The Balinese are an enchanting people and their culture and religion is fascinating. Almost everyone speaks English, which means there’s no language barrier, making daily life that bit more relaxed. Plus, who wouldn’t want the conveniences of home, beautiful beaches, excellent shopping and delicious food for a fraction of the cost? Your money stretches farther here, so you can live a luxurious lifestyle for pennies on the dollar. You could live in a two-bedroom, two-bathroom villa with a private pool for $300 a month! That leaves plenty of money for the little frills that Bali is known for…like lavish spa treatments or a snorkeling expedition. You can even hire a maid for as little as $38 a month.