Indonesia - Provinces & Cities
Destination Indonesia, the largest archipelago in the world is situated in Maritime Southeast Asia, between the Indian Ocean (to the south) and the South China Sea (Pacific Ocean, in north). It is bordered by Malaysia (on Borneo), Papua New Guinea (on the island of New Guinea), Timor-Leste (East Timor) on the island of Timor. Indonesia shares maritime borders with Australia, India, Palau, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.The country consists of a number of islands between, 13,000 and more than 17,000, depending on what you define as an island. Largest islands are Sumatra, Java (with more than half of the country’s population), Borneo (known as “Kalimantan” in Indonesia), Sulawesi, and New Guinea. Most of the larger islands are mountainous, with peaks ranging between 3,000 and 3,800 m.
Indonesia markets itself as Wonderful Indonesia as their Indonesia Tourism project slogan, 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. While the rich shop and party in Jakarta and Bali, decades of economic mismanagement have left much of the population living on less than USD2/day. However, the country is developing rapidly and the World Bank poverty figures have decreased fourfold in the past decade. Infrastructure in much of the country remains rudimentary, and travelers off the beaten track will need some patience and flexibility.
Indonesia was formerly known as the Dutch East Indies (or Netherlands East Indies). Although Indonesia did not become the country’s official name until the time of independence, the name was used as early as 1884 by a German geographer; it is thought to derive from the Greek indos, meaning “India,” and nesos, meaning “island.” After a period of occupation by the Japanese (1942–45) during World War II, Indonesia declared its independence from the Netherlands in 1945. Its struggle for independence, however, continued until 1949, when the Dutch officially recognized Indonesian sovereignty. It was not until the United Nations (UN) acknowledged the western segment of New Guinea as part of Indonesia in 1969 that the country took on its present form. The former Portuguese territory of East Timor (Timor-Leste) was incorporated into Indonesia in 1976. Following a UN-organized referendum in 1999, however, East Timor declared its independence and became fully sovereign in 2002.