Travel Guide Indonesia
A paradise for marine biodiversity, breathtaking natural scenery, tropical natural wonders plus cultural and historical treasures: you'll find it all in Indonesia. The distant country in Southeast Asia, made up of thousands of volcanic islands, is home to biodiversity hotspots both on land and underwater. Indonesia is known for its jungles, home to elephants, orangutans and tigers. It is also home to the most biodiverse marine habitat - the Coral Triangle. Impressive temples and traditional puppet theatre, in the more densely populated regions, round off the cultural attractions. Find out more about this fascinating country in Southeast Asia in our Travel Guide Indonesia.
Our trips to Indonesia:
Highlights in Indonesia
Geography of Indonesia
Indonesia is the largest archipelago country in the world. The state extends over a land area of around 1.9 million km² and territorial waters covering approximately 3.3 million km². The national territory has an east-west extension of 5,120 km and a north-south extension of 1,760 km.
The country is spread over more than 17,500 islands. Several of these islands, such as New Guinea, Borneo, Kalimantan (Borneo) and Sumatra, are among the largest islands in the world. The waters of Indonesia are characterised by many narrow straits, shallow side seas, sea basins and waterways.
Located on both sides of the equator, Indonesia is located between the Malay Peninsula, the Philippines and Australia. Indonesia is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean to the east and the Indian Ocean to the west. The majority of Indonesia belongs to the Asian continent. However, one small part, the part of Indonesia on the island of New Guinea, belongs to the Australian continent.
Originally, the modern island region as we know it today was connected to the Asian mainland. First after the ice age, the archipelago was formed. Indonesia is located at the borders of two continental plates (tectonic plates): The Eurasian plates and the Australian plates.
In Indonesia, the Pacific Ring of Fire (a volcanic belt that is responsible for 90% of the world's earthquakes) and the Alpine Mountain Belt (which was formed during the last global mountain-building phase in the Earth's history) meet. As a result, Indonesia is strongly volcanic and highly mountainous. Natural phenomena such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis still occur today.
Especially in Java, the fertile soils are used for agriculture. Due to the tropical climate, this utilization can be intensified.
Travel Tips and Trivia for Indonesia
Climate on Indonesia
Due to its geographical location on both sides of the equator, Indonesia has a distinctly tropical climate.
Borneo, Sumatra, West Java, Papua, the Moluccas and Sulawesi have an ever-humid tropical climate. There are no seasons as commonly known in Europe. Consistent daytime temperatures are characteristic here. The average daytime temperature is always between 25 °C and 27 °C throughout the year. In addition, there is a humidity of 95 %, which is also called tropical sultriness. The annual rainfall is between 2000 mm and 4000 mm.
The climate on Java, the Lesser Sunda Islands and the Aru Islands is characterised by two monsoon seasons. The dry season (called winter monsoon) is from June to September, the wet season from October to April. During the wet phases, there can be up to 50 mm of rainfall per day. This often leads to flooding. These areas also have consistently high daytime temperatures, but these can drop significantly overnight. This means that the temperature can fluctuate by up to 12 °C within 24 hours.
Due to the varying altitudes, there are regional differences. In the mountains above 5,000 m in New Guinea, there are even snowfalls.
Flora and Fauna of Indonesia
The megadiverse country is a biodiversity hotspot. Probably the best-known endemic animal group is the orangutan (pongo). A primate genus of the great apes with reddish-brown fur and a physique strongly adapted to the tree-dwelling way of life. All three species, the Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus), the Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) and the Tapanuli orangutan (Pongo tapanuliensis) are critically endangered. The orangutans' habitats are mainly destroyed by logging, the establishment of agricultural land and palm oil production. Other endemic species in Indonesia face the same threats. Only a few Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) and Java panther (Panthera pardus melas) individuals are left in the wild.
In Sumatra and Borneo, elephants occur in their natural habitat.
There are more than 1,500 different bird species in Indonesia. Exceptional species found in bird parks in the archipelago include birds-of-paradise, toucans, hornbills and cockatoos.
Indonesia has the largest rainforest areas in the world. Many rare plants such as orchids or rafflesias grow here. In the mountains, conifers grow, while the coasts are flanked by mangrove forests in many places.
Between the islands in Indonesia runs the so-called Wallace Line, named after its discoverer, the natural scientist Alfred Russel Wallace. It is the biogeographical dividing line that marks the transition zone between Asian and Australian fauna.
Indonesia also has a lot to offer in the marine world. Seahorses, puffer fish, rays, sharks, dolphins, eels, octopus, sea snails, sea snakes, sea turtles, crabs, starfish and corals present Indonesia's stunning underwater world.