Official Name: Republic of Indonesia
Established: 17 August 1945 (Independence from the Netherlands)
Population: 267,670,543 (2018 estimate)
Religion: 86.7% Islam, 10.7% Christian, 1.7% Hinduism
Order of Visit: Fifty-Seventh
First Visit: 08 June 2017
Last Visit: 14 June 2017
Duration: 7 Days
Visit Highlights: Waterbom Park, Street shopping, Asoka Full Body Massage, exploring the Hindu Batuan Temple, visiting the Uluwatu Pura (temple), the stunning Blangsinga waterfall, Elephant Safari Park and Lodge, Ubud Rice Paddy Terraces, the beautiful Tanah Lot Temple, surviving Quad bike riding
Places Visited: Kuta, Ubud
Indonesia Journal Entries
History and Geography
Covering 1,904,569 square kilometres Indonesia is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania, between the Indian and Pacific oceans. It consists of more than seventeen thousand islands, including Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, and parts of Borneo (Kalimantan) and New Guinea (Papua). Indonesia shares land borders with Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and maritime borders with Australia, India, Palau, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Indonesia lies along the equator, and its climate tends to be relatively even year-round. Indonesia has two seasons—a wet season and a dry season.
Fossilised remains of Homo erectus, popularly known as the “Java Man”, suggest the Indonesian archipelago was inhabited two million to 500,000 years ago.
The Austronesian peoples, who form the majority of the modern population, migrated to Southeast Asia from what is now Taiwan arriving in the archipelago around 2,000 BC. The archipelago’s strategic sea-lane position fostered inter-island and international trade, including with Indian kingdoms and Chinese dynasties, from several centuries BC.
From the seventh century, the Srivijaya naval kingdom flourished as a result of trade and the influences of Hinduism and Buddhism. The Hindu Majapahit kingdom was founded in eastern Java in the late 13th century, and under Gajah Mada, its influence stretched over much of present-day Indonesia. This period is often referred to as a “Golden Age” in Indonesian history.
The earliest evidence of Islamised populations in the archipelago dates to the 13th century in northern Sumatra. Other parts of the archipelago gradually adopted Islam, and it was the dominant religion in Java and Sumatra by the end of the 16th century.
The first Europeans arrived in the archipelago in 1512, when Portuguese traders, led by Francisco Serrão, sought to monopolise the sources of nutmeg, cloves, and cubeb pepper in the Maluku Islands. Dutch and British traders followed. In 1602, the Dutch established the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and became the dominant European power for almost 200 years. The VOC was dissolved in 1800 following bankruptcy, and the Netherlands established the Dutch East Indies as a nationalised colony. Dutch forces were constantly engaged continuously in quelling rebellions both on and off Java.
The Japanese invasion and subsequent occupation during World War II ended Dutch rule and encouraged the previously suppressed independence movement. Two days after the surrender of Japan in August 1945, Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta, influential nationalist leaders, proclaimed Indonesian independence and were appointed president and vice-president respectively. The Netherlands attempted to re-establish their rule, and a bitter armed and diplomatic struggle ended in December 1949 when the Dutch formally recognised Indonesian independence in the face of international pressure.
What I experienced
I only visited the island of Bali which is both Hindu dominated and a major tourist destination making it very different to the rest of Indonesia so my experiences are only of a very small part of this country. Indonesia has a total population of 267m whereas Bali only makes up 4.2m people of the country. I’m aware that there are also tensions between the Central Government which prefers more Islam based laws (no alcohol for example) come to the local Balinese Government’s more liberal and tourist friendly laws.
Bali is a major destination for Australians being relatively close, with ideal topical temperatures and fairly cheap. I experience Bali on a family vacation and the resorts and Kuta in particular are well setup for tourists.
My major highlight was relaxing with family members (although Quad bike ridding was more hair raising then relaxing) but I also enjoyed time visiting Hindu temples the Uluwatu Temple at sunset along with Tanah Lot Temple being lashed by the waters being particular highlights. The countryside was also beautiful, especially around the many rice fields.
You can visit Bali just for the pools, parties and drinking but there is a lot more here if you are willing to leave Kuta and explore making this a good cultural experience as well.
Countries Visited List