Where Is Indonesia?

Several years ago when I was a graduate student in USA, many of my new classmates asked me: Where is Indonesia? Now I have the chance to tell many more people about Indonesia.

Indonesia is in South East Asia, lies right in the equator. The neighboring countries are Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and Australia.

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It is an archipelago, consisting of more than 17,000 islands. It covers the area of 1.9 million square km. The distance between Sabang in the west and Merauke in the east is 5,236 km. The big islands are: Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Java and Papua. Although Java is a smaller island, about two thirds of Indonesian live in this island.

Presently, the population of Indonesia is approximately 234 million people, the fourth largest in the world after China, India and United States. Most of Indonesians are Moslems, hence, Indonesia is the largest Moslem country in the world.

The capital city of Indonesia is Jakarta. It is also the business center. This combination has made it a very busy metropolitan. Jakarta lies in the northern part of Sunda, while Sunda is in the western side of Java island.

The business and trade can be traced back to centuries ago. Many traders from India, Arab, Persia, Greek and China reported a rich country in the east. They bought incense, benzoin (Dryobalanops aromatica) and spices such as nut meg, cloves, cubeb pepper from Indonesia. On the other hand, Indonesian vessels sailed as far as Africa to do some trades there.

Indonesia is not only rich with natural resources such as crude oil, natural gas, tin, copper, gold and coal, as well as commodities, such as palm oil, rubber and spices but it also plays an important role in the world trade. The Malacca straits between Sumatra island in Indonesia and Malaysia connects Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean, similar to canals in Panama and Suez. This strait also connects three of the most populous countries: China, India and Indonesia. Now you can imagine how busy is this strait.

I hope this brief information of where is Indonesia will be a starting point for you to travel Indonesia as well as exploring Sunda.

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