March / April 2011



1,919,440 km²
(46.2x the Netherlands)


UTC +7 to UTC +9


Indonesian, Javanese and about 170 other Papua languages

Highest point

Puncak Jaya - 4,884 m


The colors of the flag of Indonesia, also called Sang Merah Putih, are derived from the flag of the 13th century Majapahit kingdom (nine red and nine white stripes). The flag has been in use since August 17, 1945, the day the government of Indonesia considers as independence day. Many inhabitants of the archipelago see red and white as sacred colors, being the color of the sugar palm (red) and that of rice (white). Sugar and rice are the main ingredients of Indonesian cuisine.


Jakarta has a wet season from December to April with a peak in January. In Bali, most precipitation is from November to March. The table below shows the average temperature.


Temp. (°C) Jan Apr Jul Okt
max 30 32 32 33
min 24 24 23 24


Temp. (°C) Jan Apr Jul Okt
max 33 34 30 33
min 24 25 23 23

The Indonesian rupiah was introduced as new national currency on November 2, 1949. The word rupiah is derived from the Sanskrit rupya which means silver. Tea pickers are depicted on the banknote.



The Borobudur is the largest Buddhist shrine in the world and was built between 750 and 850 by the Sailendra dynasty. The stupa measures 123 by 123 meters at the base and is 35 meters high. The temple is called a munument nowadays because of a bomb attack. It has 9 floors, the top three are circular and the bottom six are squared. The bottom four galleries contain 1,460 panels 2 meters wide with bass reliefs with narratives and 1,212 panels with decorations. On the top floors there are 72 stupas around a central stupa representing Nirvana. When you are able to touch a buddha within the small stupas you'll receive eternal happiness (according to local superstition).

Ubud in Bali is an ideal starting point for visiting the Area. Nearby is a large artists' village with beautiful souvenirs. Ubud itself has enough entertainment for a few days but it is crowded by tourists.

Prambanan is the largest Hindu temple complex in Indonesia. The temples are built around 850. There are three main temples in the central part . The middle one, dedicated to Shiva, is 47 meters high. The temples on either side are dedicated to Vishnu and Brahma. In front of it are three smaller temples with the mounts of the three gods. On a slightly lower square around it are the ruins of 224 small shrines. They must have been about 14 meters in height. Only a few of these have been rebuilt. The best view of these temples is when you leave the terrain.

The journey to the Ijen volcano takes quite a long time and is quite bumpy due to the cracked asphalt. A 3 km long path leads up to the edge of the crater. It's a steep descent over a rocky path into the crater where you have to move aside for the workers who carry baskets filled with sulfur. The crater lake is at a height of 2,368 meters in the 20 km wide caldera of the Ijen volcano. The lake measures 960 by 600 meters and 200 meters deep. There's a sulfur extraction next to the lake. The sulfur vapor is led down through tubes where it precipitates in liquid form. The color is bright red. The sulfur turns yellow after solidification. After solidification, pieces are being cut out and put in two baskets, connected with a sturdy piece of bamboo. The total weight is between 70 to 100 kilos. The worker lifts the construction on his shoulder and has to climb 200 meters to the edge and then 3 kilometer down the path. The load is being weighed at an intermediate station. There are 300 men who carry the heavy weight twice a day. The vapors can pull over the slope at the top and make breathing difficult.

The Tengger caldera was formed about 45,000 years ago by a an explosion similar to that of the Krakatau between Java and Sumatra. The volcano must have been about 4,500 meters high. The caldera is 10 km wide and overlaps the older Ngadisari caldera. The walls are 200 to 600 meters high. The bottom of the caldera is also known as the sand sea. The caldera contains five stratovolcanoes including the Bromo. Leave very early for the viewpoint overlooking the Bromo volcano, Semeru volcano and the Tengger Mountains. Stay an evening in one of the hotels in the village of Ngadisari on the edge of the caldera. This is certainly more fun than just going up and down in the morning the view.