The archipelago of Indonesia is very diverse, whether of history, ethnicity or culture. Historically ruled by Hindu and Muslim kingdoms (some of which still exist at a regional level), later under Dutch colonial rule, today’s Indonesia is a blend of Indonesian, Dutch and Chinese influences.
You’ll never get bored in Indonesia—each island, each city, each village is unique. From Muslim Sumatra, to cosmopolitan Java, to Hindu Bali, to the Catholic and Protestant regions of the east, Indonesia is home to over 260 million people of diverse ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds.
The ecosystem is diverse, too. With orienteering you can explore hills and jungles, cities and villages. The vast nation of islands has a vibrant orienteering community, with federation chapters all over the country.
What's up in Indonesia?
- The places easiest to explore are those on Java, as the capital Jakarta is on this island. Cities include Yogyakarta (ruled by a sultan) and Surabaya.
- The Buddhist temple of Borobudur is also on Java.
- Bali, an island to the east of Java, is a world famous destination. Ubud is famous for its literary and artistic culture, and is visited even more than the city of Denpasar.
- Sumatra (island in northwest) has the major city of Palembang in the south. In the north is the deep conservative Muslim region of Aceh. Jungle exploration is a good activity on Sumatra.
- Many other islands are worthy of visit too, where you can discover different cultures and heritage sites.
- Wayang puppet dance (Java)
- Watch a dance performance. Each region has their own distinctive style.
- Listen to gamelan ensemble music. Again, each region has their own distinctive style and composition rules.
- Diving, surfing
Nasi goreng (fried rice) is the omnipresent dish in Indonesia, but there are a lot more.
Different islands have different cuisines.
Try the kaki lima (five feet) roadside stalls, which offer inexpensive meals of rice, noodles and congee.
Coffee (kopi) is a common drink, which is usually served with much added sugar (similar to kopi-o in Malaysia).
- Each region has their own oleh-oleh (souvenirs) of choice, so keep looking!
Virtual and guided tours on Metrunner
Good to know
- Jakarta (CGK) is the largest airport in Indonesia.
- Denpasar (DPS) is the main airport for Bali.
- Cities all over Indonesia have airports, as aviation is indispensable to the internal communication of the country.
- In Jakarta: MRT (metro), commuter rail, bus rapid transit
- In all cities: minivan (angkot)
- Ride-hailing: Grab, Go-jek
- Java, intercity: railways
- Intercity elsewhere: bus
- Between islands: Pelni (public long distance ferry system), domestic flights
- Rent your own motorcycle
Indonesian language (bahasa Indonesia) is the variant of the Malay language that is standardised for Indonesia. The language in Indonesia now only has limited intelligibility with the language in Malaysia due to different colonial histories (Dutch vs. British).
Each region has their own language, e.g. Javanese, Balinese, etc.
- Face is very important, preserving harmony is better than winning an argument.
- Eating with your hand is common, except in higher-class restaurants.
- Don’t use your left hand for any task—it’s considered unclean.
- Dress modestly
- There are six official religions (Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Catholic, Protestant, Confucianism)
- Do you know? Indonesia has the most scouts in the world (21 million). Scouting is part of the school curriculum.
- Electric plug: C/F (European) sockets. Power supply is 220V/50Hz
- Currency: Indonesian rupiah (IDR), written as Rp