Indonesia Overview

Indonesia straddles the Equator between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. While it has land borders with Malaysia to the north as well as East Timor and Papua New Guinea to the east, it also neighbours Australia to the south, and Palau, the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, and Thailand to the north. With India to the northwest.

Indonesia is the sleeping giant of Southeast Asia. With 18,110 islands, 6,000 of them inhabited, it is the largest archipelago in the world. With almost 240 million people, Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world – after China, India and the USA – and by far the largest in Southeast Asia. Indonesia also has the largest Muslim population in the world.

Indonesia markets itself as Wonderful Indonesia, and the slogan is quite true, although not necessarily always in good ways. Indonesia’s tropical forests are the second-largest in the world after Brazil, and are being logged and cut down at the same alarming speed.

Infrastructure in much of the country remains rudimentary, and travellers off the beaten track will need some patience and flexibility.

Indonesia has an extremely diverse population. Its people belong to about 300 different ethnic groups and speak more than 250 languages. Indonesia offers something for everyone. Sumatra has an untouched wilderness and a diversity of wildlife, Java features steaming volcanoes, and Bali with its array of beaches and great diving shouldn’t be missed.


CAPITAL: Jakarta
POPULATION: 237.5 million
LANGUAGE: Indonesian, English
ELECTRIC CURRENT: 127/230V, 50Hz. To power any electrical item an international adapter or either a two or three pin plug is required.


Demonstrations could take place at short notice around the country. You should avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings of people. If you become aware of any nearby violence you should leave the area immediately. You should keep yourself informed of developments, including by regularly checking the local media, and maintain a high level of vigilance.

There have been a number of recent violent incidents in Poso, Central Sulewesi, following clashes between local militant groups and the police. These are likely to continue as the police mount further operations against these groups. You should exercise extreme vigilance and caution in the area, and follow the advice of local authorities. You should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. See Travel Insurance.

Information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK