Viktorija Panovaite
Interesting facts about Indonesia

Interesting facts about Indonesia

Before coming to Indonesia, I didn’t know much about this country. But after I started to search information, I was surprised how “rich” is Indonesia :). Even some of the facts became my travel destination. I hope these interesting facts about Indonesia will be useful for you as well:

Nature:

  • The country is 2nd after Brazil with the highest level of biodiversity in the world.
  • The Mount Tambora erupted in 1815, which is the world’s most powerful volcanic eruption. It affected the global climate to such an extent that it was called “year without summer”.
  • Indonesia has the smallest fish in the world named the Paedocypris progenetica, with a length of 7.9 mm and found in a Sumatra muddy swamp.
  • Indonesia has the world’s longest snake called the Python Reticulates, which is ~7 meters long and can be found on Sulawesi island.
  • Indonesia has the world’s smallest primate named the Tarsier Pygmy (Tarsius pumilus), also known as the Mountain Tarsier, whose length is only 10 cm. This animal looks like a monkey and lives on trees found in Sulawesi island.
  • Indonesia has the world’s largest flower called the Rafflesia Arnoldi, which has a diameter of up to 1 m during the blossom phase. Reaching 5ft high and 4ft wide, it only blooms for 3 days and for 8 hours of these 3 days, the flower gives out the rotting flesh smell. Found in Borneo and Sumatra islands.
  • Indonesia has the only living ancient dragon, Komodo, which can be found in Komodo island. Komodo dragon, the world’s largest lizard, is an endemic species of Indonesia; the creature is also the national animal of the country.
  • Javan rhinoceros is an animal that lives only in Indonesia; in any other part of the world you will not see this animal.
  • Indonesia has the largest mangrove forest in the world. The main benefit of mangroves is to prevent erosion by sea water.
  • Indonesia has the world’s largest amount of orchid biodiversity. There are about 6 000 species of orchids, ranging from the largest (Tiger Orchid or Grammatophyllum Speciosum) to the smallest (Taeniophyllum, which has no leaves). The collection also includes the Black Orchid, which is extremely rare and can only be found in Papua.
  • Indonesia has the largest number of shark species, which is approximately 150 species.
  • Indonesia is the world’s richest in term of most extensive coral reefs. It has about 18% of the total coral reefs around the world.
  • With more than 450 different bird species, Java Island is a bird watcher’s paradise.
  • Sumatra is the biggest island of Indonesia, which comes under the Greater Sunda Islands. It is also the 6th largest and the fifth highest island in the whole world.
  • If you wanted to spend one day on every single Indonesian island, you’d need more than 45 years.
  • By land mass size, Java is the world’s 13th largest island, and 5th largest Indonesian Island. It was formed mainly by volcanic eruptions and has an east-west chain of them along the island.
  • The main island Java is as big as New York State. Java is split into four provinces: East Java, Central Java, West Java, and Banten.
  • Puncak Jaya is the highest point in Indonesia, situated in the highlands of Papua.
  • At the top of the Indonesian volcano Kelimutu situated three lakes, each of which periodically changes color from turquoise to green, red and black. Such transformations are caused by volcanic gases, which react with a variety of minerals dissolved in the water, thereby changing the color of the lakes.
  • Certain fruits of Indonesia make foreigners curious. These fruits seem strange as they have no name in the foreigner’s language and they never knew it existed. The Durian fruit is one of them which is known to be the king of fruits. Salak (“snake fruit”) and Duku are some other examples of such “strange” fruits.

People:

  • Indonesian people take it easy and slow. Indonesia is near the bottom of the ranking in “speed of walk” among all the country in the world. Even though people in Jakarta are as busy as other workers in other big cities of the world, their speed when walking is notably slow. If there is Japanese/Western people who also live in Jakarta and walk among us Indonesian, you would spot them immediately, because their speed stands out.
  • The most important thing in Indonesia is not really “success” or hard-work or be of use for those around them. It’s being happy and loves their life. They don’t need big money as long as their life and their family are peaceful and easy. Maybe “take it easy and enjoy the risk” are the motto. The thing is, this attitude toward life is what makes them suffer the most. Sadly, they won’t change. They won’t put big effort but because they want their life to be easy, they have a lot of demand. And granted, it’s not being fulfilled.
  • In Java island locals can often ask you to be photographed with them. The standard phrase “Hello misterrr, photo?” Even if you the girl, they will call you the same – “Mister”. Like in their language doesn’t exist “she/he” only “dia” that’s why sometimes for Indonesians hard to remember which gender is “Mister”, which is “Miss”.
  • Rice is the main food staple in Indonesia. Indonesian at least once per day should eat rice to feel full; usually they eat rice 3 times per day.
  • Balinese are named according to their birth order. The 1st is Wayan, the 4th is Ketut and if you are the 5th, it goes back to Wayan.
  • The small Indonesian Hindu population mostly lives on the western island of Bali. Balinese Hinduism is steeped in ancient superstitions. They never let a baby’s feet touch the ground for the first six months, to prevent the devil entering the child. This means that babies are continually passed around like hot potatoes by relatives.
  • Almost everyone in Bali has their teeth filed down. They believe that the essence of the 6 vices (jealousy, anger, confusion, drunkenness, desire and greed) enters the body through the top 6 teeth, so by filing away their “demonic” ends, the vices are thwarted and entry to heaven is guaranteed.
  • Most of the time, as often in Asia, Indonesian people are not used to read map.
  • Indonesian people do not use toilet paper, but they wash oneself with water, always available in WC in Indonesia. Indonesian people use the left hand to wash themselves, while they keep the right hand to shake hands and to eat. If you cannot do without toilet paper, always keep with you a package of tissues.
  • Indonesian mostly eats with hands. Do not use your left hand, and try to use only the first three fingers (thumb, forefinger, and middle finger). Wash your hands before and after eating with the finger bowl which is put on the table. Indonesian use to eat fast and silently.

Other:

  • Name “Indonesia” was first used by the British in the mid-19th century. It comes from the Greek “nesos” (island) and Indus, the Latin name for the land beyond the Indus river, which was derived from the Sanskrit name for that river: Sindhu. Dutch colonists didn’t like “Indonesia”, preferring Dutch East Indies or Malayan Archipelago. As a result, it was adopted by the anti-colonial movement in the early 20th century.
  • The oldest hominid in the world, Pithecanthropus Erectus, is found in Indonesia. Its origin is dated way back from 1.8 million years ago.
  • Another early human being, Homo floresiensis (“Flores Man”, nicknamed “hobbit” and “Flo”) is the possible species, now extinct, in the genus Homo. The remains were discovered in 2003 on the island of Flores in Indonesia.
  • The country is so expansive in its area covered that it has 3 time zones. It is one of the countries that have not been fully explored or mapped.
  • Indonesia is a major producer of cloves and nutmeg (It’s used in cooking, as medicine and as a hallucinogen). Nutmeg is native to Indonesia’s Banda islands and ranked first in the world in terms of production.
  • Indonesia is the largest exporter of plywood, which makes up 80% of the supply to the world.
  • In the markets and in some shops there are no price tags, it is possible to bargain and make a price lower by two-three times.
  • Usually the shops, eating places doesn’t show their working hours, so one day they can open and close in one time, next day in another.
  • One of the world’s unique funeral processions takes place in a Toraja, a small town in Sulawesi island. Funeral procession will took around 7 days and cost a fortune. That’s why families usually save up their money for years before they can bury their loved ones. The dead bodies they are keeping in their house.
  • Movies in cinemas and on television, never duplicated in the local language. Movies are shown in the original with Indonesian subtitles.
  • “Nasi goreng” is Indonesian fried rice dish that is the world’s 2nd most beloved food as per a CNN poll and also known as national dish of Indonesia.
  • It is the world’s largest producer of palm oil, 40% of which is set aside for use as biofuel. It also exports 3,000 tons of frogs’ legs to France each year.
  • The green spaces are not so common in Indonesia. Some cities have the city center arranged as a park, green space for people, which is nice, but other than that, you have to search and discover your own places where you can take a rest.

The facts that you probably already know:

  • “Unity in Diversity” is the national motto of Indonesia.
  • The flag of Indonesia is similar to the flag of Monaco. Like the Indonesian flag, the flag of Monaco also has two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and white.
  • The total land area of Indonesia places it at the 15th position in the world. Flying from one end to the other, from North Sumatra to West Papua, takes over 12 hours of flying time.
  • In terms of population, Indonesia is the 4th largest country in the world (after China, India and United States) with over 253 million (2014) people.
  • About half the population of Indonesia lives on less than US $2 per day and the unemployment rate here is almost 10%.
  • With a population of 143 million, Java is the home of 57% of the Indonesian population, and is the most populous island on Earth.
  • In Indonesia there are around 300 ethnic groups.
  • The Indonesian Constitution guarantees freedom of religion but the government only recognizes 6 official religions (Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism). On the island of Java, more than 90% of the people are Muslims, on a broad continuum between abangan (more traditional) andsantri (more modernist). Some parts of south-central Java are strongly Roman Catholic and Buddhist communities exist in Java’s major cities.
  • Jakarta (capital city) with a population of more than 10 million is one of the world’s most densely populated cities.
  • Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia) is the national language of Indonesia, used in schools and other state-run enterprises, as well as in the media. However, Indonesia as over 700 indigenous languages, meaning that many Indonesians are bilingual, speaking their indigenous language at home and Indonesian at work or school.
  • Indonesia is a very diverse country in terms of culture and around 583 languages and dialects are spoken in the country.
  • During World War II, the Japanese invaded and occupied Indonesia.
  • The Dutch kept Indonesia colonized for almost 350 years, owing to the fact that many old Indonesians speak Dutch fluently. Many Indonesian words have been derived from Dutch.
  • During the colonial periods of the 17th century, the Dutch introduced the cultivation of commercial plants in Java, including sugarcane, rubber, tea and coffee. In the 19th and early 20th century, Javanese coffee gained global popularity. This is in fact why the name “Java” is commonly considered being synonymous with coffee.
  • Indonesia was formerly known as Dutch East Indies.
  • Indonesia became the member of the United Nations in the year 1950 and today it is the signatory to the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement, the Cairns group, and the WTO.
  • There are around 17,500 islands in Indonesia (out of which 6,000 of these islands are inhabited) taking up almost the same space as the United States. New Guinea, Borneo (also known as Kalimantan), and Sumatra island are on the list of the top ten largest Islands in the world.
  • There are over 150 volcanoes in Indonesia. 127 of them are active. Records at least 3 earthquakes per day.
  • Indonesia is a part of “The Ring of Fire”, the volcano group. About 75% of the volcanoes of the Ring of Fire are in Indonesia.
  • Almost 60% of the country is covered with forests.
  • Indonesia sits on both sides of the equator (the line cuts across islands Sumatra, Sulawesi and Kalimantan along with a few other small Islands in the middle of the country). Experiences tropical climate year round and its average temperature do not fluctuate much throughout the year. Average range of the temperature remains between 26-30 degrees Celsius.
  • Indonesia has a biggest Buddhist temple in the world – Borobudur, built in 9th century.
  • 2 sports that are the most popular among Indonesians are badminton and soccer. Illegal gambling of sports is on the rise in the country.
  • The Indonesian industry mainly imports chemicals, fuels, food-stuffs, and machinery and equipment’s while electrical appliances, rubber, plywood, oil and gas, and textile are the main export products here.
  • Tourism is the main industry of Indonesia. The country attracts hordes of tourists and nature lovers from all across the globe for its pristine tropical forest and culture of the people.
  • 20% of liquid natural gas in the world is produced in Indonesia and country is the largest supplier worldwide.
  • In Indonesia left-side traffic.
  • Indonesian loves spicy foods! Order a pizza or hamburger here; you will get some sambal packages.
  • The most expensive coffee in the world – Kopi Luwak is from Indonesia. Coffee beans that are eaten by civets and digested before being brewed.

Here are more 5 facts about Indonesia from indahs.com

Do you know more interesting facts? Share with us :)

Information and most of the pictures used from internet sources.

Interesting? Great! :) You might also like these:

Indonesian people lifestyle
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6 thoughts on “Interesting facts about Indonesia”

  1. Glad to read your blog, I’m Indonesian but i haven’t explore Indonesia as detailed as yours and Thanks for sharing your travel experience it’s so interesting, i can’t wait to have travel based on your advice.

  2. Hai Ria. I appreciate that u have willingness to learn indonesian culture. Btw, the fruit that is supposed to be durian in your picture is not durian, but Nangka (Jack Fruit) :). I hope that helps. Cheers!

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