|Indonesia, comprised of over 17,000 islands, is the fourth most populous country on earth and has the largest Muslim population of any country. Its historical importance as a rich source of exotic spices and other valuable trade goods meant Indonesia was subject to many different cultural influences from around the world, including Hindu, Buddhist, and Islamic rulers over the centuries. During the age of European colonialism, the Netherlands ruled Indonesia for over 300 years. Indonesia finally gained its independence after World War Two. Its diverse cultural past has lead to a large number of distinct ethnic, religious, and linguistic groups in the country, which has made its post-colonial democratic republic rather rocky at times.|
Indonesia is located in the equatorial region of Southeast Asia. Despite its high population density, Indonesia is second to only Colombia in terms of biodiversity. Indonesia shares borders with Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, East Timor, Singapore, and the Philippines.
Indonesia has a population of over 230 million people comprised of over 300 different ethnic groups who claim over 700 different languages and dialects. The largest ethnic grouping is the Javanese, which makes up over 42 percent of the population. Ethnic Chinese, although comprising less than one percent of the population, have significant economic influence in Indonesia. Indonesian has been the official language of the country since 1945. It's not a naturally developing language, but was rather constructed of a mixture of the many languages spoken on the Indonesian islands. It most closely resembles Malay, the official language of Malaysia and Singapore. In addition to the official language, most Indonesians also speak a second language related to their ethnic, cultural, or religious identity. Because of the Netherlands historical influence on Indonesia, many older Indonesians also speak a certain amount of Dutch.
Indonesia has a number of very popular tourist destinations and Expedia can assist you select the best destination for your journey. The tropical island of Bali is popular with Australians and New Zealanders for its beaches. Bali also boasts the Neka Museum, which is dedicated to the art and culture of the Balinese people. The 1100 year old temple complex of Borobudur on the island of Java is the largest Buddhist shrine in South East Asia. It is rivaled by the Prambanan Temple Complex, a Hindu place of worship also on the island of Java which dates from around the same time period.
Indonesian cuisine is a heavily spiced regional mix of Chinese, European, Middle Eastern and Indian influences with a strong emphasis on rice as the main staple food. Fish and chicken are the main protein sources.