The name Indonesia was derived from indos nesos, meaning islands near India. The country is in fact the largest archipelago in the world with a thousand islands, 17,508 to be precise, spread in an area between the Asian continent and Australia, and between the Pacific and the Indian oceans.
The islands are inhabited by many tribes with diverse culture and languages, although there is a national language spoken throughout the country, namely Bahasa Indonesia. It is thus appropriate, that the countries motto is Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, which means Unity in Diversity.
Clear blue seas lap pristine beaches, gentle breezes carry scents of spices and flowers, and divers are entranced by the oceans riches. Inland, dramatic volcanic ranges tower above a green mantle of terraced hillsides and lush rainforest.
Bali offers an image of paradise stunning scenery, gentle sarong clad people and sunsets of legendary glory.
If you think Bali is all about rowdy beach holidays, its time to head to the hills in the beautiful interior of the island, where time moves at an entirely different rhythm to the tourist resorts of the coastline.
In recent years, dozens of spa resorts have opened in and around the inland town of Ubud.
They offer a slower and more sophisticated alternative to the usual beach holiday and are guaranteed to have you feeling fit and fantastic.
Gone are the days when a massage consisted of being prodded by an elderly lady as you lay prone on the Kuta sand.
In Ubud, you recline in the private plunge pool of a hillside villa overlooking the rice paddies. You get massaged by an expert, then drift off in a cocoon wrap that is a heady mix of mango, ginger and ylang ylang.
On peaceful Lombok, life moves at a slower pace, while bustling Jakarta exhibits Indonesians cosmopolitan, modern face.
Komodo Islands have living dinosaurs and the entrancing sea gardens of Suwalesi invite exploration.
Yet modern Indonesia have triggered troubles. The main independence movement, the Indonesian Nationalist Party, emerged in the 1920s under the leadership of Ahmed Sukarno and by 1949, finally claimed the countries sovereignty. Such sovereignty did not get off to a good start previous colonial powers had depleted much of Indonesians wealth while contributing little to its development.
However, from such a devastating tsunami also came a much needed glimmer of hope. A peace agreement with separatist rebels was reached just as 2006 dawned, resulting in the withdrawal of state security forces from the Aceh province. In return, Free Aceh Movement rebels began disarmament and vowed to abolish their armed wing. Such withdrawal effectively ended a 29 year conflict.
Indonesian extensive diversity of cultural heritage and craft products have long been admired, appreciated and studied by world communities.
Tropical climate varying from area to area. The eastern monsoon brings the driest weather June to September, while the western monsoon brings the main rains December to March. Rainstorms occur all year. Higher regions are cooler.