15 Awesome Facts about Indonesia That You Need To Know
1. It is the largest archipelago in the world
Indonesia is made up of over 17,000 islands making it the largest archipelago in the world. If you were to fly from one end of Indonesia to the other, it would take you roughly 12 hours. That is pretty crazy!
Each island offers something unique and different, and you should do a bit of research before you go. You can choose to relax on the beaches of Bali, climb up volcanoes in Java or trek through the rainforest in Sumatra to find the elusive orangutan. Whatever your travel style, we can guarantee that you will find something to your liking.
On our 12 day Bali tour you will get to visit beautiful waterfalls, relax on Bali’s famous beaches and witness stunning scenery. If you are after a bit of adventure and believe Indonesia is for you, then we would love to show you around!
2. It is home to a huge dragons (okay, they are technically lizards)
Indonesia is home to the Komodo dragon, which is part of the monitor lizard family. It is the largest species of lizard in the world, growing up to 3m long (around 10ft) and weighing up to 135kg (which is about 300 pounds).
You can find them on Komodo Island (if the name didn’t already give it away) and some of the neighbouring islands. They have a venomous bite which they use to kill their prey, and they have even been known to attack humans, so keep your distance if you do see one!
3. Indonesia has the third highest number of volcanoes in the world
Indonesia is located along the famous Pacific ring of fire, which is an active belt of earthquakes and volcanoes running from Chile to Southeast Asia. Indonesia has the highest number of volcanoes in the world, with a whopping 139 dotted throughout the different islands. 79 of those volcanoes are currently active.
When it comes to volcanic eruptions, Indonesia has two of the most devastating eruptions in history. One of these was the eruption of Tambora in 1815 which had that much effect on the climate, it caused Europe to go without a summer during the year of 1816. The other was the disastrous eruption of Krakatau in 1833. Due to the size of the eruption, it was followed by two severe tsunami’s. In total, the disaster killed around 30,000-40,000 people. Due to the amount of volcanoes located within Indonesia and the population density, many local people still live in dangerous proximity to volcanoes.
4. It has nine world heritage sites for you to visit
Indonesia has nine world heritage sites in total for you to visit. These are:
- Borobudur temple compounds
- Prambanan temple compounds
- The tropical rainforest heritage of Sumatra
- Komodo National Park
- Lorentz National Park
- Ujung Kulon National Park
- Ombilin coal mining heritage of Sawahlunto
- Sangiran early man site
- The cultural landscape of Bali Province: the Subak system as a manifestation of the Tri Hita Karana philosophy
Each of these world heritage sites are unique and have something very special to offer. If you are able to visit a few during your trip, then make sure you do!
5. Indonesia is home to the world’s largest flower
The world’s largest flower is found within Indonesia, and it’s called the Rafflesia. Quite often you will smell it before you see it, as it’s famous for its pungent smell. It is truly an unpleasant odour which has led to its nickname of the ‘corpse flower’.
They bloom once every year, and no one really seems to know when or why. They then only stay in bloom for a couple of days or at the very maximum – a week, so you are very lucky if you get to see one. They are red in colour, can grow up to 3 feet, and weigh up to 10kg.
6. There are a lot of languages found across the whole of Indonesia
The amount of languages spoken across Indonesia is inordinate. Bahasa Indonesia is the official language of the country, but there are more than 700 other languages and dialects spoken throughout the Indonesian archipelago. Just in the Papua province, there are around 270 different dialects.
7. It is a biodiversity hotspot
Indonesia is a biodiversity hotspot, and is home to many exotic, and quite often endangered wildlife.
If you are looking to see large mammals, then your best bet would be to head to Sumatra. Some of the many animals that can be found here include the Sumatran orangutan, Sumatran tiger, Sumatran rhinoceros, elephants, gibbons and macaques.
Although Indonesia only makes up 1% of the Earth’s land mass, the rainforests located here are home to 17% of the world’s bird species, 12% of mammal species and 10% of the entire world’s plant species. This is pretty incredible, and if you are a nature lover, then this is another reason to add Indonesia to the bucket list!
8. The largest volcanic lake in the world is located here
Lake Toba is found on the island of Sumatra and is the largest volcanic lake in the world. It occupies the caldera of a supervolcano, and the magma chamber located underneath the lake is even bigger than Yellowstone.
The super eruption of Toba happened around 75,000 years ago and was so large it caused a global volcanic winter of up to 10 years. Through research, it has been suggested that the Toba super eruption ranked as an 8/8 on the volcanic explosivity index, which makes it the largest volcanic eruption within the last 25 million years. It is considered to be one of the largest super volcanic eruptions in the whole of earth’s history.
There is an island located in the middle of the lake called Samosir Island, which you can get to by ferry. You can stay on the island and even have a swim in the lake. How cool is that?
9. Indonesia has the second largest coastline in the world
Due to the amount of islands located within the country, Indonesia has the second largest coastline in the world (Canada has the first largest).
At 54,716km the length of Indonesia’s coastline is pretty impressive, and stunning of course. With palm tree lined beaches, beautiful coral reefs and crystal clear water; the coastline here won’t be forgotten by anyone who is lucky enough to visit these tropical islands.
10. This island country is home to the Orangutan
Aside from Malaysian Borneo, the other places to see orangutans in the world are Sumatra and the Indonesian side of Borneo. There are three types of orangutan in total; the Bornean orangutan, Sumatran orangutan and the Tapanuli orangutan. Lucky for you if you are travelling through Indonesia, you have the opportunity to see all three!
When it comes to visiting Indonesian Borneo, the best national parks to visit include Tanjung Puting National Park, Kutai National Park and Gunung Palung National Park. All of these national parks are located within the Indonesian part of Borneo, and are a great place to spot orangutans! Over three quarters of the world’s orangutan population live in the forests of Indonesian Borneo, making it a very important habitat for these incredible creatures.
If you want to see the other two types of orangutan you will need to visit the island of Sumatra. Gunung Leuser National Park is your best bet if you want to see the Sumatran orangutan, as there are plenty of different trails but you will need to hire a guide to take you. The Tapanuli orangutan can only be found in the South Tapanuli region of Sumatra, in a very small territory south of Lake Toba.
11. Indonesia has the same flag as Monaco
This is a slightly crazy one, and confusing if you don’t know your flags. Indonesia actually has the same flag as Monaco. Yes, you heard us right. Both flags are split into two horizontal sections, with red at the top and white at the bottom. The only difference between the flags is that Indonesia’s flag is slightly wider and they use a different shade of red.
12. Some of the coffee beans are extracted from animal poop
Indonesia is home to the Asian palm civet which is a cat-like mammal. Aside from being incredibly cute, they have another purpose in this country, and it’s one you might find pretty strange!
The local people feed coffee berries to these civets, and then collect their poop afterwards. The coffee beans are extracted, making the famous Kopi Luwak coffee beans. These are the most expensive coffee beans in the world, and are very popular.
13. It has the world’s largest gold mine
Indonesia is home to the largest gold mine in the world. The Grasberg mine in West Papua has the biggest gold reserve in the world, and the second biggest copper reserve. There has been competition for the title with other mines in South Africa and Papua New Guinea claiming to be the largest, but for now it is widely accepted that Grasberg is the largest.
Employing over 19,000 people and covering 11,000 hectares of land, this mine is a monster of a site and one of huge importance to the country and the people of Indonesia.
14. They had the first team to qualify for the Fifa World Cup in Southeast Asia
This is one of our most random facts about Indonesia; it is one for the football lovers out there. The first team to qualify for the FIFA World Cup from Southeast Asia were called the Dutch East Indies. They were located in Indonesia and only had players that were of Dutch ancestry. They played France in the year 1938, and although the club is now known as the Indonesia national team, they have not been in a world cup since.
15. Indonesia has the largest ‘young’ population in the world
Indonesia has the largest ‘young population’ in the world. This country has 165 million people under the age of 30, and only 8% of the Indonesian population is aged over 60 years. That is crazy!
Indonesia is a diverse country full of wonder, incredible wildlife and genuine people. We hope these facts have given you a glimpse into this magical country, and inspired you to book a future trip. We believe that everyone should travel to Indonesia at least once in their life, to see what this country has to offer. If you aren’t sure, why not join us here at One Life Adventures. We can show you the highlights of Bali on our 12 day tour, and you won’t have to worry about the minor details. Only the having fun part!
Do you have any cool and quirky facts about Indonesia? If you do, make sure to put them in the comment section so we can all have a read of them!
Feeling inspired about your next adventure? Check out our other trips and use the code ONELIFE15 at checkout to get an enormous 15% off all our trips, for a limited time only! (June 2021)
Written By: Abbie Bevan
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