AN ISLAND COUNTRY
Indonesia holds so much cultural richness in its territory that people can visit all other places in the world and still not have seen enough if they haven't been there. Follow us to the biggest island land that has ever existed
Words: Emily Georgieva
Photography: Radoslav Bali, Hobi Industri, Oliver Sjostrom
22 November 2019
There are more than 300 spoken languages within the borders of Indonesia. This magical country is the fourth more populated region in the world. It gives birth to volcanoes, beaches and rain forests. It is truly magnificent how a land with its 1,904,569 square km of land is the home of over 17 000 islands of which just under half are realistically inhabited.
Indonesia is very much a touristy destination, but there still exist locations within in that are hidden and only known by the locals. Nature explorers will appreciate the mountain of Mount Semeru in Oro Oro Ombo. It is one of the rarely visited places within the island country, even though it represents its soul. The island land's geographical situation is ideal for the region to protects numerous rain forests and animal species. Being situated along trading routes between Far East, South Asia and the Middle East, Indonesia is strongly influenced by diverse spectrum of cultures. From a religious aspect, the land contains as many belief systems as the people, who have moved there over century-long periods of time have brought with them. Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Islam and Christianity - this land is rich in its diversity and very adaptive to changes. Indonesia welcomes differences as it has become the home of so many people, who identify themselves through a mixture of varied cultures, customs, believes and ideologies.
Approximately, there are 261 million people inhabiting Indonesia. You can imagine the cultural clash and richness that tangle together in this place. Food, music and traditions are celebrated alongside each other and influence one another. Many people from the Middle East, Myanmar and Australians are reported to have moved to Indonesia without indenting to ever go back to their homelands. In the eastern part of Bintan, there are currently more Singaporean than Indonesian who live there.
From Bali to the Gili islands, tourists take a boat to experience a trip up the rich waters of Indonesia. There is a lot to be see. Each island is its small, own world. But, as the saying goes, travelling is not just about reaching the desired destination, it is also about the journey of getting there. And Indonesia effortlessly sustains a breath taking scenery to enjoy the journey. Travelling through the country is so special because of the diversity of the route. With each region reached, there is more to be seen, more to be explored. Indonesia changes within itself and it is no wonder why it is known for its freedom of spirit.
Back in 1945, on August the 17th, Indonesia was proclaimed as independent. Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta were the world leaders, who made this progress happen. They became the first Indonesian president and vice-president.
Among the island landscape, Java, Borneo, New Guinea and Sumatra are the largest and some of the most visited islands in Indonesia. Of course, we won't forget to mention Bali and Sumatra. Being there means exploring Indonesia for what it really is. Although both destinations are treated very much in a tourist manner, the locals influence is strongly sensible as everything hold a very tropical charm.
In the village of Bukit Lawang, elephants can be seen bathing in front of people. The friendly giants are not afraid of human attention. They even allow people to stroke their nails and tusks. Java welcomes with its 12 national parks, volcanoes and temples that can be explored. Java is also the home of the world biggest Buddhist temple - the Borobudur.
Indonesia treasures the locals' traditions and customs as much as it welcomes travellers to explore. They can witness some coming-of-age ceremonies in some rare parts of the island land and see how people celebrate their origins and traditions, passed on to them through their precursors. Much like other places in the world, the topicality and mystery of Indonesia attracts people to plan their backpacking adventures in search for experiencing piece, tranquillity and spirituality that the temples have to offer.
Regardless of wanting to live in harmony with nature, hike the tallest mountain (Puncak Jaya, 4 884 m), look for inner peace in some of the numerous temples or live a life by the beach in the comfort of the islands' beauty, Indonesia has it all. It is a world where many can find what they are looking for.
If you want to read more about Indonesians spirituality and customs, you can read NOMADSofORIGIN's The Time of the Dead article about Indonesians beliefs regarding what comes after death.
NOMADSofORIGIN is an independent annual publication with a focus on sustainable travelling and global cultural values. Each issue features interviews, engaging articles and photo guides, which take our nomadic readers through different destinations and introduce them to local people's perspectives.
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