Indonesia is like a necklace of scattered pearls – 17,500 islands dispersed over 10,000km along the equator, between the Malay Peninsula, Indochina and Australia. Only 6,000 of those islands are inhabited. Some of them are tiny, others are huge, but all are tropically beautiful, with mountains and volcanoes shrouded in mist, vast uncharted jungles and rainforests, thousands of miles of black volcanic or sugary-white beaches, great offshore coral reefs with millions of rainbow-coloured fishes, brilliantly plumed birds and wildlife free in its natural habitat.
The largest islands are Sumatra, the Indonesian part of Borneo, called Kalimantan, Sulawesi, New Guinea and Java. The most popular island is Bali. The population is an impressive 222 million, made up of 300 ethnic groups, the most numerous being the Javanese – which is why the Indonesian motto is ‘unity in diversity’.
The climate is typically tropical, with rainy monsoon summers and dry winters. The diversity of the islands puts Indonesia at the world’s second highest level of biodiversity, with a mix of Asian and Australasian species in the forests that cover 60 per cent of the land, and the marine habitats over 80,000km of coastline, with tropical seas, sand dunes, mangroves and coral reefs… all right there waiting for you to explore them.