60 Interesting Facts About Indonesia

Last updated on September 8th, 2017

Indonesia, officially the Republic of Indonesia, is a country in Southeast Asia. Indonesia is made up of a vast archipelago consisting of several thousand islands. With these 60 interesting facts about Indonesia, let’s learn more about its history, economy, geography, people and culture.

Indonesia’s history and geography

#1. “Srivijaya” is considered the first of the known Indonesian kingdoms, lasting until about 1400 A.D.

#2. The Portuguese arrived in Indonesia in the early 16th century, mainly for spices. Due to huge demand for spices in Europe at the time, profits could be made selling them. Hence, the Portuguese seized the Moluccas, the chief spice-producing region.

#3. The Portuguese, however, lost their dominance over the region to the Dutch.

#4. Indonesia is: the world’s largest archipelago, the world’s third-most-populous democracy and the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation.

#5. More than 50% of the country is covered by forests.

#6. Did you know that Indonesia has more volcanoes than any other country in the world? Yes, that is true. The country outranks even Japan and the United States in the tally. The country also leads the world in terms of total number of active volcanoes.

Map of Indonesia

Interesting things that are only in Indonesia

#7. The Javan rhino is an Indonesian native animal that cannot be seen anywhere else in the world. An estimated 50 or fewer of these animals are in existence today.

#8. Have you ever heard of Komodo dragons? This amazing animal, which can be seen in Indonesia, can eat humans. Do not worry; they are protected, as they can be seen only in the country’s national parks of Komodo Island. The dragon is named after the island. Take note that it is the world’s largest lizard.

Komodo dragon, Indonesia
Interesting facts about Indonesia: Komodo dragon. Image credit – Linh Vien Thai

#9. Are you interested in seeing lakes that change colors? You may have to climb a volcano. There are three lakes at the top of an Indonesian volcano—Kelimutu—that change colors from turquoise to green, red and black. No-no, there isn’t a miracle behind this color change. The phenomenon happens when volcanic gases react with minerals dissolved in the water.

#10. Flower lovers, pay attention here. Indonesia, is home to the world’s largest flower—Rafflesia Arnoldi. The flower can grow up to a weight of 7 kg, and its petals can be 2.5 cm thick and 0.5 m long. Amazed or not?

The world’s largest flower—Rafflesia Arnoldi, Indonesia.
The world’s largest flower—Rafflesia Arnoldi, Indonesia. Image credit – Ettore Balocchi.

#11. There are 504 statues of Buddha in Borobudur temple, which is the world’s largest Buddhist temple, in Indonesia. The temple is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

#12. There were more than 2000 sex-workers in “Dolly” — the largest red-light district in Southeast Asia. However, it was shut down by the government in 2014.

#13. Looking for gold? You may be surprised to learn that Indonesia is also home to the world’s largest Gold mine — The Grasberg Mine. The mine is also the world’s third-largest copper mine. A workforce of 19,000 to 20,000 people operates the mine.

#14. Ever smelled a flower from a distance of half a mile? You have a chance to do so if you visit Indonesia. The country has the most odorous flower on Earth, Amorphophallus titanium, available on Sumatra Island. The flower, also known as “the devil’s tongue,” can grow up to an average height of two meters.

#15. Mt. Tambora, one of the tallest peaks in the Indonesian archipelago, is the most explosive volcano in history. The largest eruption recorded from this volcano, which happened in 1815, was heard 1930 km away at Sumatra Island. The eruption took the lives of more than 70,000 people.

#16. As per Volcanodiscovery.com, there are 147 volcanoes in Indonesia.

#17. Indonesia’s flag is similar to that of Monaco; however, the size of the flags differs.

#18. Kids, note that the Singaporean national anthem was composed by an Indonesian. It was composed by Zubair Said in 1958.

Related: Interesting facts about Singapore

Some facts about Jakarta

#19. Jakarta, though a populous city, is devoid of any high-speed railway system, which is very strange. Some development is needed! The city also suffers from heavy traffic jams and congestion.

#20. The Indonesia archipelago consists of more than 17,500 islands, a large number (approximately – 6000) of which are inhabited. The majority of the islands are yet to be named.

#21. The country’s inhabitants use more than 700 languages across its span.

#22. Indonesia has three time zones, while France has twelve (the maximum for any country).

#23. The Garuda (mythical bird) is the national bird of Indonesia.

#24. Indonesia has the largest economy in Southeast Asia.

#25. Almost 17% of the population of Indonesia uses the internet.

#26. Indonesia is home to the world’s thirteenth-largest island – Java. The island is home to a population of more 140 million people. And it contains more than half of the country’s population.

#27. Java is the world’s most populous island.

#28. “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika” (“Unity in Diversity” literally, “many, yet one”) is Indonesia’s national motto.

#29. Indonesia is the world’s second-largest bio diverse nation.

#30. The term “Indonesia” was first used by the British anthropologist J. R. Logan in 1850.

#31. Homo erectus, also known as the Java Man, inhabited the Indonesian archipelago between 1.5 million years and 35,000 years ago.

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