Indonesia Travel Guide
As the world's largest archipelago state, the entire Indonesian archipelago contains more than 17,000 islands, 6000 of which are inhabited. Stretching over 3000 miles (4828km), Indonesia comprises six main islands, namely Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi and Bali, plus 30 smaller archipelagos containing more than 300 largely extinct volcanoes due to their geographical location on a volcanic belt. Lying between the mainland of South-East Asia and Australia in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, the landscape of the composite parts of Indonesia varies from island to island. From spectacular high mountain ranges and plateaux to coastal lowlands and alluvial belts, Indonesia is diverse and beautiful. Two thirds of Indonesia consists of forests, woodland and mangrove swamp and the islands support a wide variety of flora and fauna. Indonesia boasts the world's largest flowers - Rafflesia arnoldii - and the islands teem with exotic life such as elephants, leopards, tigers and orang-utans whilst sea turtles occupy the surrounding warm waters.
Indonesia is a complex and colourful blend of cultures that vary from island to island and town to town. The capital however is Jakarta on Java. Still retaining much of the Dutch and British influences left over from the city’s colonial period, Jakarta is crammed with beautiful colonial-style buildings and the ‘old quarter’ has recently been restored to it’s former glory. With a wealth of culture including the famed Central Museum and the largest mosque in the world - the Istiqlal Mosque, not to mention the wonderful Javanese gamelan to experience, the city is an unmissable destination. As with Java, many of the islands such as Irian Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Sumatra have national parks, and other parks protect special areas such as Komodo, home to the fascinating but dangerous Komodo dragon. The islands have endless interesting places to visit, from the Buddhist stone pyramid at Borobudur on Java to the coloured volcanic lakes of Keli Mutu on Nusa Tenggara. With a wonderfully diverse melange of ethnic groups, this equatorial archipelago is a fascinating place to visit and the best time to go is from April to October.
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