Indonesia – home to incredible natural surroundings and residents that are culturally and spiritually fascinating. This captivating country of over 17,000 islands has a substantial potential for adventure. It’s a geological wonderland!
Take the Equator, add hundreds of volcanoes at the gathering point of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and you end up with a very inspiring and exotic destination. Here are 62 interesting facts about Indonesia that’ll grab your attention, and show you the sheer range of experiences the country offers…
- Indonesia is an archipelago consisting of 17,508 islands in Southeast Asia.
- Despite containing such a vast number of islands, only 6,000 or so are inhabited! It also happens to be the largest archipelago in the world by both area and population!
- Indonesia has a strategic location across major sea lanes connecting East Asia, South Asia, and Oceania.
- Indonesia is an archipelago situated across the Equator covering a distance equivalent to one-eighth of Earth’s circumference.
- It is bordered by Malaysia to the north, Papua New Guinea to the east and Timor-Leste to the south.
- To experience the incredible scenery and wildlife that Indonesia has to offer, head for the coordinates of 6.1750° S, 106.8283° E.
- The terrain here consists mostly of coastal lowlands, whilst some of the larger islands have interior mountains.
- There are more than 400 active volcanoes in Indonesia!
- The total land area of Indonesia is 742,308 square miles (1,922,570 square kilometres)…
- …that’s almost 8 times the size of the UK!
- Indonesia’s islands are spread across such a vast area that it actually covers three time zones!
- Indonesia’s population was 267.7 million in 2018.
- …that’s around 4 times the UK population.
- That makes it the 4th most populated country in the world, after China, India and the United States!
- Residents here are known as Indonesians.
- The capital is Jakarta; it covers an area of 286 square miles (740 square kilometres) and had a population of 10,323,000 in 2015.
- Indonesians enjoy a tropical climate with hot and humid weather.
- Indonesia boasts many endemic species of wildlife, including the Komodo Dragon, which on average grow up to an outstanding 10 feet in length and 14 stone in weight!
- Indonesia has the second-longest coastline in the world after Canada, with a length of over 54,000km.
- Situated near Puncak Jaya, the Grasberg mine is the biggest gold mine and the third biggest copper mine in the world.
- Lake Toba in Indonesia is the largest volcanic lake in the world. The lake’s supervolcanic eruption that occurred 70,000 years ago was the greatest known explosive eruption on Earth in the last 25 million years.
- The 2nd, 3rd, and 6th biggest Islands in the world are all parts of Indonesia. Guinea is the 2nd largest, Borneo is the 3rd and the island of Sumatra is the 6th biggest and is located entirely in Indonesia.
- In the Papua Province of Indonesia, Puncak Jaya is the tallest peak of Mount Jayawijaya, standing 4,884 metres above sea level.
- Indonesia is the hottest spot on the Ring of Fire, with roughly 130 active volcanoes, and around four small earthquakes daily.
- Many Indonesians live dangerously close to active volcanoes, as a result of population density.
- The country was previously known as the Dutch East Indies.
- Even though Indonesia didn’t become the country’s official name until the time of independence, the name was used as early as 1884 by a German geographer.
- It’s believed that the name Indonesia originates from the Greek indos, meaning “India,” and nesos, meaning “island.”
- Indonesia declared its independence from the Netherlands in 1945, after a period of occupation by the Japanese during World War II.
- Indonesia’s fight for independence continued until 1949 when the Dutch formally recognized Indonesian sovereignty.
- The country took on its present form when the United Nations (UN) recognized the western part of New Guinea as part of Indonesia in 1969.
- The 1883 eruption of Krakatoa in the Indonesian province of Lampung was one of the deadliest and most destructive volcanic events with 36,417 deaths.
- One of the largest stadiums in the world is Jakarta’s Gelora Bung Karno Stadium completed in 1962 to host the Asian Games.
- Embezzling between $15 and $35 billion USD, the former Indonesian President Suharto is known as the most corrupt leader of all time.
- In 1938, Indonesia was the first Asian team to participate in the FIFA World Cup, under the name Dutch East Indies.
- In July 1976, after first launching “Palapa”, Indonesia became the first developing country to operate a domestic satellite system.
- US President Barack Obama briefly lived in Indonesia in the late 1960’s.
- Indonesian Rupiah is the official currency here.
- In 2005, Indonesia gained a Guinness World Record for the largest packet of instant noodles, weighing an incredible 664.94kg!
- The average life span here is 71.51 years (2018).
- Indonesia has the largest “young” population in the world with 165 million people under the age of 30, whereas only 8% of the population is aged over 60 years.
- Marco Polo was apparently the first European to visit Indonesia in 1292!
- Indonesia has the biggest Muslim population in the world.
- The largest Buddhist temple in the world and decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues is the Borobudur temple. It stands in Central Java.
- Indonesia still enforces the death penalty, by firing squad.
- Indonesia was once home to the biggest red-light area in Southeast Asia, “Dolly”, housing up to 2,000 sex workers in one unified location. Dolly was shut down in June 2014.
- Indonesia and Monaco have the same flag but Indonesia’s is slightly wider.
- Indonesia is home to over 300 different native languages and dialects, just the Papua Province alone, boasts over 270 spoken dialects.
- Bahasa Indonesia is the official language of Indonesia.
- Written with the Latin alphabet, Bahasa Indonesia is rich with vocabulary from many other languages like Sanskrit, Arabic, Portuguese, Dutch, and Chinese.
- Jakarta is the 6th most populous province in Indonesia with a population of 10.56 million in 2019.
- Jakarta is home to 3.94% of Indonesia’s population, and it’s the densest Indonesia’s province.
- Indonesia grows rice, tapioca, peanuts and rubber; they also rear poultry.
- Its industry includes petroleum, natural gas, apparel, textiles, mining, footwear, chemical fertilisers and cement.
- The main exports consist of oil, gas, plywood, electrical appliances, textiles and rubber.
- The world’s most expensive coffee is exported by Indonesia. Kopi Luwak are coffee beans that have been partly ingested by the Asian Palm Civet before being defecated and sold on for around £200 per 100 grams!
- The world’s largest flower, which only grows on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia is Rafflesia Arnoldi, weighing up to 7 kg (15 pounds).
- Amorphophallus titanum, also known as the “devil’s tongue” is the most scented flower on Earth found in Indonesia, and can grow to an average height of two meters. When it blooms, it discharges a scent resembling rotten meat, which can be smelled from half a mile away. The Italian botanist and explorer Dr. Oroardo Beccari originally discovered the flower in 1878 in the rainforest of central Sumatra Island.
- One of the longest snakes ever found was discovered in Sulawesi, Indonesia in 1912. The snake had a length of 10 meters, according to the Guinness World Records.
- Indonesia is one of the 17 countries which are considered “megadiverse”, possessing a vast number of different animal species, many found nowhere else.
- According to the website aviation-safety.net, there have been at least 45 air accidents on Indonesian soil that resulted in fatalities, since 2001.
- In December 2004, the highest number of deaths was recorded as a result of a natural disaster. The tsunami primarily affected Aceh, Indonesia, and the total death toll was assessed at 230,000 people.