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Click on the colored areas of the
map to access a travelogue. The colors indicate different regions of
Indonesia -- scroll down for explanation and introduction for each location. (Original
map comes from the CIA
is a sprawling island nation, consisting of thousands of islands stretched over
an area far larger than the United States. Each island is a nation unto
itself, or even multiple nations, populated by diverse peoples with rich
histories and deep traditions. Over three hundred different languages are
spoken, and the traditional architecture and dress are extremely colorful and
decorative. It is also a melting pot for the world's major
religions. Though best known as the world's most populous Muslim nation,
it has very significant minority Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist
populations. Ancient Hindu and Buddhist temples dot the entire landscape
of the nation, and the people's tolerance of religious diversity have permitted
various communities to flourish in pockets across the nation (most notably the
Hindu-dominated tourist haven of Bali).
There are five major islands or parts of islands that comprise
the bulk of Indonesia's land. Java is the best known of them, and is the
home of Jakarta, the country's capital (Java, however, is culturally
into west, central, and east). Sumatra, the largest island, is in the
west. Kalimantan in the center is the southern two-thirds of the island of
Borneo, famous for its jungles. The oddly-shaped island of Sulawesi is
further east, and the oil-rich province of Irian Jaya that makes up the western
half of New Guinea.
Although I have traveled to Indonesia several times (primarily
western Java and the island of Bali), I am aware that there are many questions
concerning the safely of travelers to the country based on recent events.
I can state as fact that some parts of the country will periodically be placed
off-limits or in a restricted status, and normally such information is posted at
immigration booths upon entry. If you do have questions about going to
Indonesia, your best bet is to contact your embassy to Indonesia or your
ministry of foreign affairs.
coloring of the locations on the map above indicate different locations in
Indonesia, as shown below.
JAKARTA (5-Chapter Travelogue). The city of Jakarta
is a sprawling metropolis, where modern high-rise
buildings tower over shanty villages, where rice paddies are grown
alongside the main access road to the airport, and where the city's
largest Catholic cathedral sits across the street from the country's
grandest mosque, the Istiqlal. Westerners are most likely to visit
Jakarta for business, and the largest
international business district is in the Golden Triangle
in the center (national monument "Monas" pictured above).
The Taman Mini II is the country's showcase,
a cultural museum where the architectures and cuisines are on
display. Ancol (below) is the local
playground, with amusement parks and outdoor concert halls. The
final chapter covers a piece on Sights and Sounds,
especially written for potential ex-pats to get a hint of what living in
Indonesia is like.
BALI (15-Chapter Travelogue). Bali
is one of the great island destinations in the world, and among the best
known in Asia. The Balinese are fervently Hindu, with
a strong foundation in the arts -- music, dance, woodworking, painting,
and jewelry -- and are wonderfully friendly people. From the many
temples to the volcanic landscape to the white sandy beaches, Bali's
beauty is unparalleled. The travelogues offered here are the
composite of two visits I took to Bali in 2002-2003, including such
as the temples of Besakih (pictured above), the
monkey forest and high cliffs of Uluwatu
(pictured below), the artistic heart of Bali at Ubud,
the beachside restaurants of Jimbaran, and the
prime tourist haven in Kuta. But there's
much, much more -- lakes, bat temples, excursions to neighboring islands,
old Dutch plantations, etc. etc. etc.!
JAVA (7-Chapter Travelogue). The island of
Java is the most densely populated island in the country, with three very
Currently, the travelogues in this chapter focus on West and Central Java
and the sultinate province of Yogyakarta. West Java is represented with the
popular destinations of Bogor, Puncak,
and the Javanese 1000 Islands
(pictured above). Central Java province has mountain passes and rice
fields as far as the eye can see, as shown in a photo
gallery here. Meanwhile, Yogyakarta and the southern part of Central Java has the majority of the island's
popular religious sites including the Buddhist temples of Borobudur
(pictured below), the Hindi temple complex of Candi Prambanan in
Yogyakarta itself, and Sendang Sono, known as the Lourdes of
SE Asia, a
major pilgrimage site for Asian Catholics.
Stories and Features:
Art and music is deeply rooted in Balinese culture and religion. There
is no greater evidence of this than their beautiful and symbolic
dances, mostly based on stories of Hindu origin that tell of heroes,
heroines, war, and magic.
The Kecak Dance is a prime example, telling the story of the warrior Rama
and his quest to reclaim his kidnapped love Sita. The dance is performed routinely on
Bali island, and some towns have regular performances (such as in
Batubulan, where I watched it). This is a wonderful way to spend an
evening on Bali!
||Kuta Bombing Site.
I had the chance to revisit Kuta three months after the
terrorist bombing of 12 October 2002. It was interesting to see how
the island of Bali had changed, and how it remained the same, during that
time. It was also noteworthy to see how the tourist industry has
worked to overcome concerns about security and safety in order to bring
the tourists back.
Also available: Order of
Catholic Mass - Bahasa Indonesia. This is a
special service provided for Catholics traveling to Indonesia who would like
to experience Mass with the locals. This unofficial translation is
freely available (many thanks to my friend Veronica Siwi
for helping me put this together, and Father Han for reviewing the
Links. The below links connect you to
external sites in a new window. All links are official sites sanctioned by
the national, state, or local governments unless otherwise indicated.
While some home pages are in English, others will open to the Bahasa Indonesia-language home page which will usually offer
an icon or link to an English-language section (normally limited content).
The most common icon used is that of an American or UK flag. If an English
language link is not available, click on links named "Tourisme".
This is for the tourism page, which should have English content. Links updated
5 January 2006.
Regional and City Links: