Top 10 Mind-blowing Facts About Indonesia

October 8, 2018

If you’ve only ever heard of Bali, take a step back to rethink. It’s actually a tiny island amidst a vast country known as Indonesia; home to some of the most fantastic natural wonders in the world.  But it doesn’t just stop there. Millions of people all over the world come to this country. But what makes it so fascinating?

A woman wearing a traditional Indonesian outfit and makeup

1. Indonesia has over 300 different ethnicities and even more languages and dialects

While the one language most Indonesian speaks every day is Bahasa Indonesia, the average Indonesians are often bilingual and even multilingual. And they don’t even have to learn languages of foreign countries to be a fluent polyglot. Indonesia is made up of such diverse ethnicity along with their own customs and traditions—multiple languages are merely the top of the iceberg.

Don’t get frustrated if you’ve learned Bahasa and you still couldn’t catch most of what your folks converse over at dinner and shout at each other. Chances are, they’re talking in the tongue of their specific regions. The Balinese, the Sundanese, the Sumbanese, the Jogjakartans… they all have their own languages and often times, they sound nothing like the other! So don’t feel left out, ask your local friend to teach you instead. And make sure they’re not teaching you bad words or swear words!

Komodo dragon on the beach

2. Impressive Terrestrial & Marine Biodiversity 

Indonesia’s terrestrial biodiversity is second only to Brazil’s famed Amazon forests. And even then, there are numerous species you can only find in Indonesia, endangered or otherwise. The legendary Komodo dragon in the pristineKomodo and Rinca island are among the examples. Going on a Komodo cruise is an excellent way to discover the breath-taking Indonesian nature.

Indonesia’s marine biodiversity, however, was clearly unrivaled. Home to the nutrient-rich oceans and pristine beaches, the country’s archipelagic landscape houses the most diverse marine lives the world has ever discovered. 

3. Every day, Indonesia exports 3,000 Frog Legs to France!

And who said that France is the land of frogs? And yes, the French do eat frogs. People who may not know this may wonder if it’s just a nasty myth invented by the English. The cuisine actually originated from centuries ago and the ones who sell them are usually those posh restaurants in Paris. In truth, catching frogs for commercial use has already been banned in France, so they turn to other countries to get their frog supply. Tropical Indonesia has been the biggest frog exporters to Europe and the US in recent years, reaching millions of ton exported annually.

The famous luwak eating berries from the tree

4. The most expensive coffee in the world comes from poop!

People sure are willing to spend a lot of money for something that comes out of animal waste. Although, that’s exactly what makes it so distinct from other types of coffee. The Luwak coffee is a result of fermentation through civets’ digestive system. 

Civets coffee was discovered during the time Indonesia was colonized by the Dutch. The natives weren’t able to afford coffee grown in their own lands and the Dutch prohibited them from picking their own coffee fruits. They learned that the animal musang (Luwak/civets) dropped coffee beans. So the natives sought the droppings. Who knew the “poor people’s coffee” would soon become one of the most sought-after coffees in the world? 

5. The country experiences earthquakes and vibrations every day 

Although only bigger ones make the news, earthquake is such a common occurrence here in Indonesia it may come as a huge fright to those who have just arrived here. Indonesia is the meeting point of not just two, but several tectonic plates. Having located atop several undersea plates that are rarely ever stagnant, earthquakes are always expected. But most earthquakes that happen every day in Indonesia are harmless. Stay calm and follow the instructions’ of the authorities if you happen to experience one.

A river in the middle of a jungle

6. Over 50% of the lands in Indonesia are covered by forests 

We’ve mentioned previously that Indonesian biodiversity is second only to the great Amazon forests. This, of course, is supported by wide terrestrial bodies of lands covered with forests that support such a vast and complex ecosystems. Sadly, the Indonesian forest does face its own challenges. Indonesia has lost over 70% of forests in the last decade. If you hold some fondness for the Indonesian nature, consider donating to organizations such as the Greenpeace to prevent more deforestations. 

Kelimutu lake on the crater of the mountain

7. Magical lakes that change colors? Only in Indonesia!

Magical lakes are real. They no longer are a tale told from fantasy. Visit the Kelimutu lakes of Flores and witness it for yourself. While we know many lakes across the world with unique colors, the Kelimutu lake is something else entirely. 

We did say lakes. As in, multiple. Several lakes. You won’t only get to experience one magical, color-changing lakes, but three at once. The Kelimutu lakes are mountain crater lakes, and the lakes are named after the volcano. While the science of the changing colors is quite well-known, travelers and locals alike never cease to admire the phenomenon. 

A view of mountains on the evening

8. Indonesia is one of the countries with the most volcanoes in the world 

When it comes to active volcanoes, Indonesia likely topped the list of the places where so many volcanoes throughout the country are alive and always make the news. Volcanoes are generally hazardous and worrying. This is especially true for people who live in countries where their volcanoes are no longer active. Along with active volcanoes, there are also threats of earthquakes.

But volcanoes aren’t all dangers and destructions. As an agricultural country, the Indonesian lands benefitted a lot from volcanoes. They nourish soils with essential minerals for plants. The astonishingly diverse, flourishing plantations in Indonesia may likely be attributed to its volcanoes. The existence of natural hot springs, as you may well know, is also thanks to volcanoes.

9. The second largest producer of instant noodles 

Indonesians love their instant noodles. Home to the globally-distributed instant noodle “Indomie”, some Indonesians claimed to not be able to live without it. Indeed, “mie goreng” is often a staple for the average Indonesian college students—especially those who are short on money. They’re both delicious and filling. But how about health concerns? 

The average Indonesians who are concerned about health when eating their instant noodles would just put in a fried egg, and maybe some slices of spinach if they’re lucky to have it in the fridge. If you visit Indonesia, there are huge variations of instant noodles and you would be able to choose from quite a few options.

A series of islands in Indonesia

10. Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world 

This should come as a no-surprise. Indonesia is famed as the largest archipelagic country in the world, boasting over 18,000 islands. It’s a surprisingly vast country with a mind-blowing nature and biodiversity that comes with it. Even if you spend an entire month of holiday traveling here, you wouldn’t have seen anything yet. If it’s on your bucket list, come and experience Indonesia yourself in person!