If you’re planning on travelling to a new country for a new experience, Indonesia may not be your first choice, but it’s in fact a hidden gem that not many people realise until they see it for themselves. It’s an extremely big place, but this only makes it better because there are more areas to discover – a lot more.
You can expect to see a lot of English speaking people in Indonesia as it’s a very popular place for tourists to visit, even being nicknamed ‘Wonderful Indonesia’ because of this. It offers the biggest tropical forests, along with pristine beaches with stunning sites to dive, surf and snorkel in the vast ocean. As well as scenic hikes around active volcanoes. And that’s all without mentioning the amazing wildlife that surrounds you.
Because it is such a large size, there are many different cultures that exist in the area, as well as a vast amount of myths, including stories of the Balinese spiritual Komodo Dragon. One reason why Indonesia has so many myths that are still talked about in today’s society is because the country is very much off the radar. Other than Bali, maps don’t tend to give you much information on the area, so there aren’t many new developments in the geographical area, which means there are a lot of local tribes that are still able to exist today without being taken over and westernised. This also means that backpackers are able to enjoy the thrill of exploring the unbeaten tracks in true style.
Indonesia is an incredible place with so much history and beauty. Here are some interesting facts to enlighten you a little more.
- Indonesia comes from the Latin word ‘Indus’, which means Indian, and the word ‘Nesos’, which is Greek meaning Island.
- Indonesia is the largest country in the world that is solely made up of various islands. It has 17,508 of them, and only 6,000 of them are inhabited.
- Indonesia has 238 million residents, making it the fourth most populous nation in the world, so if you’re looking to meet people and have an interesting social life, that’s the place to be.
- Indonesia has over 400 active volcanoes that could erupt at any moment, and there are at least 3 earthquakes that happen every day. Here’s more information on https://www.universetoday.com about how volcanoes work.
- The local residents most commonly speak Bahasa, but believe it or not, the country recognizes over 700 different languages.
- Some people call coffee java, and this term comes from the fact that the coffee beans are grown on the island Java, which resides in Indonesia.
- The Japanese invaded and overtook the country during the World War II from 1942 to 1945.
- Indonesia has 3 out of the top 10 largest islands in the whole world. These are Sumatra, Borneo, and Papua/New Guinea.
- Nutmeg is native to the Banda Islands, and because of this, Indonesia is one of the world’s largest producers of the product.
- Houses are very cheap to buy in Indonesia, especially considering what they offer. You can see an array of properties on sites like http://rumahdijual.com/bekasi/perumahan-murah and see what your money can buy you in cities like Bekasi.
- The local residents of Indonesia are very superstitious people, so much so that they believe that when women are startled by a loud noise, it’s actually Latah which makes you jump and then shout out bad language or even fall to the ground. It is supposed to be the soul that is escaping the body after a sudden fright.
- When we usually think of red sauce, we call it ketchup. This actually originates from the Indonesian word ‘kecap’ which is their own sweet soy sauce.
- Indonesians don’t speak openly about sex and intimacy as we might. In fact, male and female sexual organs are both called ‘kemaluan’, which is a Bahasa term that means shame and embarrassment.
- A place in Indonesia called Jakarta (find more info on http://www.indonesia.travel/index.php/en/destination/area/jakarta), is the most popular centre in the world, but with no metro train station, it holds some of the worst traffic jams you could ever imagine.
- Indonesian men greater aspire to have success with women than anything else. They have a term ‘jago’ which translates to rooster, and they look up to men that have had reputations with women like Presidents Bill Clinton and John F. Kennedy.
- Indonesian society is very accepting of gender expression. It is very common to see men that dress up as women walk around in public, and no one will think twice. The term they use for this is ‘banci’.
- Indonesians don’t kiss the way we do. Instead, they call it ‘cium’ which means ‘to sniff’. Their way of greeting each other is by sniffing the other person’s cheeks. In other villages, they rub noses as a way of showing their affection with family and close friends, but it can also be used on a more intimate level too.
- On the Islands of Borneo and Sumatra, it is said that the adult male orangutans are eight times stronger than any human being. These monkeys are incredibly intelligent as explained on http://www.orangutanencounter.com/history.php.
- Pepper was found in around 600 BC. Black pepper is actually created by picking unripened fruit and sitting them out to dry in the sun. While white pepper is left on the vine until it is ready to fall off naturally.
- Komodo dragons are only able to be seen in the wild amongst their pure habitat in Indonesia. This is the only country that you’ll be able to see them like that, unless you visit a zoo or animal sanctuary.
- The Rafflesia arnoldii is the world’s largest flower, and it can only be found in Indonesia. It is known for its famous smell which isn’t a very pleasant one at all. While the Amorphophallus titanum is the world’s most tallest flower.
- Palm oil is made in Indonesia, and this is a very popular oil that is sold in most supermarkets and drugstores around the world. It’s an ingredient that resides in almost everything from soap, lotions, makeup and even peanut butter.
- There are only six religions that are accepted in Indonesia – Islam, Buddhism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Confucianism, and Protestantism. It is the law that every citizen must follow one of these, regardless of whether they are religious or not. And two people are not allowed to marry unless they both share the same religion.
- The world’s largest volcanic lake is situated on the Sumatra island in the same place the super volcano erupted around 69,000 to 77,000 years ago.
- A lot of people consider frogs legs to be a French delicacy, but Indonesia actually supplies France with their export, as well as a few other countries in Europe.
- Hinduism only really resides on the island of Bali as it is said that royalty began a fascination with it, and so many others followed too. One superstition from this religion is that a baby must not put their feet on the ground until the first six months of their life has passed. This is so the devil cannot enter the child.
- Most of the population in Bali have their teeth filed down because they believe that the top six teeth are where the six bad traits are held – jealousy, greed, anger, desire, drunkenness, and confusion. By filing them down, it is supposed to rid these things away.
- It is said that Indonesian girls aged from 12 to 16 are to be imprisoned and forbidden to leave the walls of the family house. This is because they are said to be at the hormonal stage of their lives where they are more likely to run into trouble.
- Feathers such as the stunning Bird of Paradise were often used in Papua to create traditional dresses that became very popular – so much so that the bird almost became extinct. Because of this, the trade of the bird’s feathers became illegal in Indonesia in the year 2000.
- Hobbits are said to have existed in Indonesia when archaeologists found a skeleton of what looked to be of a 3 year old boy, while the bone structure and the worn down teeth were that of an adult.
- When the Krakatoa volcano erupted in Indonesia, is was said that the sky was full of so much ash that it turned the sky dark for days, and the global temperatures went down by 12 degrees for a good few years.
- The orang pendek (also known as short man), is a myth in which a very small man exists and has feet that face backwards all so that it can’t be tracked when walking through the forests.
So now you have an idea of the kind of places, cultures, stories and images that you’re going to experience, all that’s left to do now is pack your bag and get the next flight there. Who knows, you may even end up staying.