Difference between revisions of "Indonesia"

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(Indonesia is not an Islamic country)
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Most Indonesia adhere Islam, but alcohol is widely available.  Public displays of drunkenness, however, are strongly frowned upon (and are likely to make you a victim of crime).
Islam is the religion of the majority of Indonesians (other recognized religions being Hinduisn, Christianity, Catholicism (sic) and Budism), but alcohol is widely available in most areas, especially in upscale restraunts and bars.  Public displays of drunkenness, however, are strongly frowned upon (and are likely to make you a victim of crime).

Revision as of 17:32, 5 May 2004

Quick Facts
CurrencyIndonesian rupiah (IDR)
Areatotal: 1,919,440 sq km
water: 93,000 sq km
land: 1,826,440 sq km
Population231,328,092 (July 2002 est.)
LanguageBahasa Indonesia (official, modified form of Malay), English, Dutch, local dialects, the most widely spoken of which is Javanese
ReligionMuslim 88%, Protestant 5%, Roman Catholic 3%, Hindu 2%, Buddhist 1%, other 1% (1998)

Indonesia is an archipelago nation of 17,000 islands (6,000 inhabited) in Southeast Asia that straddles the Equator between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. While it has land borders with Malaysia to the west as well as East Timor and Papua New Guinea to the east, it also has Australia, to the south and the Philippines to the north.


  • Bali -- the tourist center of Indonesia until recently, but still picturesquely beautiful
  • Java -- the country's heartland, big cities and a lot of people packed on a not-so-big island
  • Kalimantan -- uncharted jungles, mighty rivers, home of the orangutan, a paradise for the adventurer
  • The Moluccas -- the historic Spice Islands, largely unexplored and almost unknown to the outside world
  • Nusa Tenggara -- Lombok to West Timor, containing scores of ethnic groups, languages and religions
  • Papua -- mountains, forests, swamps, an almost impenetrable wilderness in one of the remotest places on earth
  • Sulawesi -- strangely shaped, this island houses a diversity of societies and some spectacular scenery
  • Sumatra -- wild and rugged, the 6th largest island in the world has a great natural wealth


Jakarta is the capital city, and a very odd juxtaposition of Western-influenced skyscrapers standing tall right next to shanty towns and homeless people. There is plenty to do in Jakarta, from the towering Monas monument to cosmopolitan shopping at Plaza Senayan. If you're the clubbing type, there are many nightclubs to choose from. Bring a friend if you decide to brave the seedier joints (though they tend to have the best djs).

Other destinations

Bali is a popular tourist destination, with surfing being the number one attraction. Though the night-club bombing of 2002 has slowed the Bali tourist industry to a crawl.

Map of Indonesia


Upon arrival and disembarking of the plane, one immediately notices the sudden rush of warm, wet air. Indonesia is a hot place. It has no spring, summer, fall, or winter. It has two seasons: rainy and dry. Both are hot.

There are exceptions. In the mountains (Bogor, Bandung in Java), the temperature is quite cool and pleasant, and many people wear jackets.

Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world, though most are of a moderate leaning.

The Indonesian people, like any people, can be either friendly or rude to foreigners. 99% of the time, though, they are incredibly friendly to foreigners. They seem to go out of their way to make foreigners feel welcome.


The world's largest archipelago, Indonesia achieved independence from the Netherlands in 1949. Current issues include: alleviating widespread poverty, implementing IMF-mandated reforms of the banking sector, effecting a transition to a popularly-elected government after four decades of authoritarianism, addressing charges of cronyism and corruption, holding the military and police accountable for human rights violations, and resolving growing separatist pressures in Aceh and Irian Jaya.

On 30 August 1999 a provincial referendum for independence was overwhelmingly approved by the people of Timor Timur. Concurrence followed by Indonesia's national legislature, and the name East Timor was provisionally adopted. On 20 May 2002, East Timor was internationally recognized as an independent state.

Get in

Starting in February 2004 most nationalities now require a visa, issued on arrival at major entry points at a cost of US$10 for 3 days, US$25 for 10 days. Exact change in dollars is recommended as corrupt immigration officers may absorb the difference as a tip and/or offer very poor exchange rates. Obtaining a visa in advance for the same price is also possible and will allow you to skip some lines on entry.

By plane

Travel to Indonesia from America costs around 1000 bucks or so. Most flights stop in Taipei before arriving in Jakarta. The main international airports are Soekarno-Hatta Airport (CGK) at Cengkareng, Jakarta and Denpasar (DPS) on Bali.

By boat

Get around

There isn't a public transit system in Jakarta, so the main way of getting around town (if you don't own a car) is in a taxi or bus (actually, don't take the buses. the pickpockets love buses. stick to taxis). However if you want to visit other parts of the country, 10 bucks on a train can just about take you from one end of Java to the other.


Many Indonesians speak English, though the Indonesian language isn't hard to learn. A.M. Almatsier's The Easy Way to Master the Indonesian Language, a 200 page small paperback is an excellent starting point. It can be found in any Indonesian bookstore for less than 3 dollars.


Speaking of cheap stuff, Indonesia's currency is in pretty poor shape. 1 US dollar is equal to about 8000Rp. This will buy you a decent meal at many restaurants, maybe 3 miles in a taxi (take any bluebird or post-2000 make cars), 2 packs of cigarettes, 3 bottled waters, and maybe a bicycle. Just kidding. But seriously, US dollars convert quite well over there. Even if you flip burgers for a living, go to Indonesia, and you'll live like a king.


Indonesian food can be spicy, but very delicious. Don't leave without sampling "sayur asem" soup, the grilled corn of Bandung, the many fish dishes, chicken satay, or the traditional "nasi kuning" yellow rice. If you have a stomach of steel, try the street-side "warungs" of fried rice, noodles, porridge and other adventures. But if your stomach isn't well-armored, it'd be best to stick to the more sanitary establishments.


Islam is the religion of the majority of Indonesians (other recognized religions being Hinduisn, Christianity, Catholicism (sic) and Budism), but alcohol is widely available in most areas, especially in upscale restraunts and bars. Public displays of drunkenness, however, are strongly frowned upon (and are likely to make you a victim of crime).




Stay safe


Petty crime like pickpocketing is common in Indonesia. Guard your belongings carefully and consider carrying a money clip instead of a wallet. However, thanks to gun control laws violent crime is rare.


Indonesia is one of the world's most corrupt countries. Officials may ask for bribes, tips or "gifts" to supplement their meager salaries; pretending you do not understand may work.

Civil strife and terrorism

Indonesia has a number of provinces where separatist movements have resorted to armed struggles, notably Aceh, West Papua and the Maluku (Molucca) islands. The Indonesian military have also been known to employ violent measures to control or disperse protesting crowds. Some terrorist bombings have also taken place. While most tourist destinations are safe, some other places are not. Since the Bali bombing in 2002, the Indonesian police have accepted assistance from Australia and the American FBI in strenghening their anti-terrorism and internal security measures. However, tourists should remain aware of their surroundings and unusual or unexpected situations.

Stay healthy

The local Indonesian healthcare system is not up to western standards. While a short term stay in an Indonesian hospital or medical centre for simple health problems is probably no different to a western facility, serious and critical medical emergencies will stretch the system to the limit. Travel health insurance that includes medical transport back to a home country is highly recommended.

In more remote regions of the country malaria prophylaxis is strongly recommended.



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Geographic coordinates 
5 00 S, 120 00 E
54,716 km
Maritime claims 
measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
tropical; hot, humid; more moderate in highlands
mostly coastal lowlands; larger islands have interior mountains
Elevation extremes 
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Puncak Jaya 5,030 m
Natural resources 
petroleum, tin, natural gas, nickel, timber, bauxite, copper, fertile soils, coal, gold, silver
Land use 
arable land: 9.9%
permanent crops: 7.2%
other: 82.9% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land 
48,150 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards 
occasional floods, severe droughts, tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes, forest fires
Environment - current issues 
deforestation; water pollution from industrial wastes, sewage; air pollution in urban areas; smoke and haze from forest fires
Environment - international agreements 
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Marine Life Conservation


231,328,092 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure 
0-14 years: NA
15-64 years: NA
65 years and over: NA
Population growth rate 
1.54% (2002 est.)
Birth rate 
21.87 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate 
6.28 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate 
-0.21 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio 
at birth: NA
under 15 years: NA
15-64 years: NA
65 years and over: NA
total population: NA
Infant mortality rate 
39.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth 
total population: 68.63 years
female: 71.13 years (2002 est.)
male: 66.24 years
Total fertility rate 
2.54 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 
0.05% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 
52,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths 
3,100 (1999 est.)
noun: Indonesian(s)
adjective: Indonesian
Ethnic groups 
Javanese 45%, Sundanese 14%, Madurese 7.5%, coastal Malays 7.5%, other 26%
Muslim 88%, Protestant 5%, Roman Catholic 3%, Hindu 2%, Buddhist 1%, other 1% (1998)
Bahasa Indonesia (official, modified form of Malay), English, Dutch, local dialects, the most widely spoken of which is Javanese
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 83.8%
male: 89.6%
female: 78% (1995 est.)


Country name 
conventional long form: Republic of Indonesia
conventional short form: Indonesia
local long form: Republik Indonesia
former: Netherlands East Indies; Dutch East Indies
local short form: Indonesia
Government type 
Administrative divisions 
27 provinces (propinsi-propinsi, singular - propinsi), 2 special regions* (daerah-daerah istimewa, singular - daerah istimewa), and 1 special capital city district** (daerah khusus ibukota); Aceh*, Bali, Banten, Bengkulu, Gorontalo, Jakarta Raya**, Jambi, Jawa Barat, Jawa Tengah, Jawa Timur, Kalimantan Barat, Kalimantan Selatan, Kalimantan Tengah, Kalimantan Timur, Kepulauan Bangka Belitung, Lampung, Maluku, Maluku Utara, Nusa Tenggara Barat, Nusa Tenggara Timur, Papua, Riau, Sulawesi Selatan, Sulawesi Tengah, Sulawesi Tenggara, Sulawesi Utara, Sumatera Barat, Sumatera Selatan, Sumatera Utara, Yogyakarta*; note - with the implementation of decentralization on 1 January 2001, the 357 districts (regencies) have become the key administrative units responsible for providing most government services
note: following the 30 August 1999 provincial referendum for independence which was overwhelmingly approved by the people of Timor Timur and the October 1999 concurrence of Indonesia's national legislature, the name East Timor was adopted as a provisional name for the political entity formerly known as Propinsi Timor Timur; East Timor gained its formal independence on 20 May 2002
17 August 1945 (proclaimed independence; on 27 December 1949, Indonesia became legally independent from the Netherlands)
National holiday 
Independence Day, 17 August (1945)
August 1945, abrogated by Federal Constitution of 1949 and Provisional Constitution of 1950, restored 5 July 1959
Legal system 
based on Roman-Dutch law, substantially modified by indigenous concepts and by new criminal procedures code; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
17 years of age; universal and married persons regardless of age
Executive branch 
chief of state: President MEGAWATI Sukarnoputri (since 23 July 2001) and Vice President Hamzah HAZ (since 26 July 2001); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President MEGAWATI Sukarnoputri (since 23 July 2001) and Vice President Hamzah HAZ (since 26 July 2001); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections: president and vice president elected separately by the People's Consultative Assembly or MPR for five-year terms; selection of president last held 23 July 2001); selection of vice president last held 26 July 2001; next election to be held NA 2004; in accordance with constitutional changes, the election of the president and vice president will be by direct vote of the citizenry
note: the People's Consultative Assembly (Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat or MPR) includes the House of Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat or DPR) plus 195 indirectly selected members; it meets every five years to elect the president and vice president and to approve broad outlines of national policy and also has yearly meetings to consider constitutional and legislative changes; constitutional amendments adopted in 2001 and 2002 provide for the MPR to be restructured in 2004 and to consist entirely of popularly-elected members who will be in the DPR and the new House of Regional Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Daerah or DPD); the MPR will no longer formulate national policy
election results: MEGAWATI Sukarnoputri elected president, receiving 591 votes in favor (91 abstentions); Hamzah HAZ elected vice president, receiving 340 votes in favor (237 against)
Legislative branch 
unicameral House of Representatives or Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat (DPR) (500 seats; 462 elected by popular vote, 38 are appointed military representatives; members serve five-year terms)
election results: percent of vote by party - PDI-P 37.4%, Golkar 20.9%, PKB 17.4%, PPP 10.7%, PAN 7.3%, PBB 1.8%, other 4.5%; seats by party - PDI-P 154, Golkar 120, PPP 58, PKB 51, PAN 35, PBB 14, other 30; note - subsequent to the election, there has been a change in the distribution of seats; the new distribution is: PDI-P 153, Golkar 120, PPP 58, PKB 51, PAN 35, PBB 13, other 32
elections: last held 7 June 1999 (next to be held NA 2004)
Judicial branch 
Supreme Court or Mahkamah Agung (justices appointed by the president from a list of candidates approved by the legislature); note - the Supreme Court is preparing to assume administrative responsibility for the federal court system, previously run by the executive
Political parties and leaders 
Crescent Moon and Star Party or PBB [Yusril Ihza MAHENDRA, chairman]; Federation of Functional Groups or Golkar [Akbar TANDJUNG, general chairman]; Indonesia Democracy Party-Struggle or PDI-P [MEGAWATI Sukarnoputri, chairperson]; National Awakening Party or PKB [Alwi SHIHAB, chairman]; National Mandate Party or PAN [Amien RAIS, chairman]; United Development Party or PPP (federation of former Islamic parties) [Hamzah HAZ, chairman]
Political pressure groups and leaders 
International organization participation 
Diplomatic representation in the US 
chief of mission: Ambassador SOEMADI Brotodiningrat
chancery: 2020 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco
FAX: [1] (202) 775-5365
telephone: [1] (202) 775-5200
Diplomatic representation from the US 
chief of mission: Ambassador Ralph L. BOYCE
embassy: Jalan Medan Merdeka Selatan 4-5, Jakarta 10110
mailing address: Unit 8129, Box 1, APO AP 96520
telephone: [62] (21) 3435-9000
FAX: [62] (21) 385-7189
consulate(s) general: Surabaya
Flag description 
two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and white; similar to the flag of Monaco, which is shorter; also similar to the flag of Poland, which is white (top) and red


Economy - overview 
Indonesia, a vast polyglot nation, faces severe economic development problems, stemming from secessionist movements and the low level of security in the regions, the lack of reliable legal recourse in contract disputes, corruption, weaknesses in the banking system, and strained relations with the IMF. Investor confidence will remain low and few new jobs will be created under these circumstances. In November 2001, Indonesia agreed with the IMF on a series of economic reforms in 2002, thus enabling further IMF disbursements. Keys to future growth remain internal reform, the build-up of the confidence of international donors and investors, and a strong comeback in the global economy.
purchasing power parity - $687 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 
3.3% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita 
purchasing power parity - $3,000 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector 
agriculture: 17%
industry: 41%
services: 42% (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line 
27% (1999)
Household income or consumption by percentage share 
lowest 10%: 4%
highest 10%: 27% (1999)
Distribution of family income - Gini index 
32 (1999)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 
11.5% (2001 est.)
Labor force 
99 million (1999)
Labor force - by occupation 
agriculture 45%, industry 16%, services 39% (1999 est.)
Unemployment rate 
8% (2001 est.)
revenues: $26 billion
expenditures: $30 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)
petroleum and natural gas; textiles, apparel, and footwear; mining, cement, chemical fertilizers, plywood; rubber; food; tourism
Industrial production growth rate 
3.5% (2001 est.)
Electricity - production 
92.575 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source 
fossil fuel: 81%
hydro: 14%
other: 5% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption 
86.095 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports 
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports 
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products 
rice, cassava (tapioca), peanuts, rubber, cocoa, coffee, palm oil, copra; poultry, beef, pork, eggs
$56.5 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities 
oil and gas, electrical appliances, plywood, textiles, rubber
Exports - partners 
Japan 23.4%, US 13.8%, Singapore 10.7%, South Korea 7%, China 4.5%, Malaysia 3.2% (2000 est.)
$38.1 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities 
machinery and equipment; chemicals, fuels, foodstuffs
Imports - partners 
Japan 16.3%, Singapore 11.4%, US 10.2%, South Korea 6.3%, China 6.1%, Australia 5.1% (2000 est.)
Debt - external 
$135 billion (2001 est.)
Economic aid - recipient 
$43 billion from IMF program and other official external financing (1997-2000)
Indonesian rupiah (IDR)
Currency code 
Exchange rates 
Indonesian rupiahs per US dollar - 10,377.3 (January 2002), 10,260.9 (2001), 8,421.8 (2000), 7,855.2 (1999), 10,013.6 (1998), 2,909.4 (1997)
Fiscal year 
calendar year; note - previously was 1 April - 31 March, but starting with 2001, has been changed to calendar year


Telephones - main lines in use 
5,588,310 (1998)
Telephones - mobile cellular 
1.07 million (1998)
Telephone system 
general assessment: domestic service fair, international service good
domestic: interisland microwave system and HF radio police net; domestic satellite communications system
international: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 1 Pacific Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations 
AM 678, FM 43, shortwave 82 (1998)
31.5 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations 
41 (1999)
13.75 million (1997)
Internet country code 
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 
24 (2000)
Internet users 
4.4 million (2002)


total: 6,458 km
narrow gauge: 5,961 km 1.067-m gauge (101 km electrified; 101 km double-track); 497 km 0.750-m gauge (2001)
total: 342,700 km
paved: 158,670 km
unpaved: 184,030 km (1997)
21,579 km total
note: Sumatra 5,471 km, Java and Madura 820 km, Kalimantan 10,460 km, Sulawesi (Celebes) 241 km, Irian Jaya 4,587 km
crude oil 2,505 km; petroleum products 456 km; natural gas 1,703 km (1989)
Ports and harbors 
Cilacap, Cirebon, Jakarta, Kupang, Makassar, Palembang, Semarang, Surabaya
Merchant marine 
total: 668 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 2,969,281 GRT/4,043,526 DWT
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Greece 1, Hong Kong 2, India 1, Japan 2, Malaysia 1, Monaco 3, Panama 1, Philippines 1, Singapore 11, South Korea 1, Switzerland 1, UK 2, US 1 (2002 est.)
ships by type: bulk 41, cargo 392, chemical tanker 12, container 32, liquefied gas 3, livestock carrier 1, passenger 8, passenger/cargo 14, petroleum tanker 126, refrigerated cargo 1, roll on/roll off 15, short-sea passenger 8, specialized tanker 9, vehicle carrier 6
490 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways 
total: 153 156
over 3,047 m: 4 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 12 13
914 to 1,523 m: 48 48
under 914 m: 43 45 (2002)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 46 46
Airports - with unpaved runways 
total: 478 339
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 27
under 914 m: 3 309 (2002)
9 (2002)


Military branches 
Army, Navy (including marines and naval air arm), Air Force
Military manpower - military age 
18 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability 
males age 15-49: 65,013,184 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service 
males age 15-49: 37,942,329 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually 
males: 2,263,706 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure 
$1 billion (FY98/99)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 
1.3% (FY98/99)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international 
Sipadan and Ligitan islands dispute with Malaysia remains with the ICJ for arbitration since 1998; East Timor-Indonesia Boundary Committee meets to survey and delimit land boundary; Indonesia seeks resolution of East Timor refugees in Indonesia; Australia-East Timor-Indonesia are working to resolve maritime boundary and sharing of seabed resources in "Timor Gap"
Illicit drugs 
illicit producer of cannabis largely for domestic use; possible growing role as transshipment point for Golden Triangle heroin