Read our pocket guide to Indonesia
Indonesia: A pocket guide
The archipelago of Indonesia encompasses 17,000 islands, and though fewer than half of them are inhabited, it is the world’s fourth most populated country, with a total population of almost 246 million. Some 300 languages are spoken here, and as you travel from Sumatra to Papua you encounter a colorful mix of cultures, ethnicities, foods, customs, and religions, with 10,000 temples in just a small region of Bali alone. Favorite sights include Balinese dancers performing their moves with deliberate precision, and the two million stone blocks of Borobudur cascading into the forest. There are various ways to travel around the islands. Speed over land by train, briefly capturing the exotic sights and smells of Java and beyond; opt for an open-water expedition in a ferry bound for Kalimantan; or embrace your inner teenager and hop on the back of a moped to explore Indonesia’s next big thing, the island of Flores. Travel by air for the best views, island hopping while kissing the clouds. Sumatra is particularly poignant when viewed from the skies, as 100 volcanoes sit majestically in military fashion, one after the other threatening to billow a plume of smoke and lava at any given time. However you travel, be sure to venture into the wilderness, where you might see an orangutan hanging lazily from the forest canopy.