14 Fun Facts About Indonesia For Curious Backpackers

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Indonesia is a paradise full of serene landscapes and fascinating inhabitants. Moreover, it is a perfect blend of culture and nature that will make your jaw drop with awe. 

If you plan to visit Indonesia, then here are some of the weirdly interesting facts to let you know more about this country’s culture, traditions, and people.

1. Only 6,000 Out of 17,508 Islands in Indonesia are Inhabited by People

Indonesia is the king of all archipelagoes, with a humongous land area of 1,904,569 sq. km. and 17,508 islands. 

Among these islands, only 6,000 of them are inhabited by people, 8,844 islands are named, and only 922 islands are permanent. 

2. The World’s Largest Young Population is in Indonesia

In a country of 165 million, Indonesia has the highest density of people below the age of 30 years. 

You won’t spot many elderly adults in the country, as only 8% of people in Indonesia are above the age of 60.

3. Indonesia is Home to More than 700 Dialects of their Official Language

Bahasa is the official language of Indonesia but there are more than 700 dialects of it spoken across the country. 

The Papua Province in Indonesia alone boasts more than 270 dialects. Moreover, Indonesia is also considered the largest Muslim-majority country worldwide, with 12.7% of the world’s Muslim population. 

Some dialects are Sundanese, Banjar, Balinese, Madurese, Banjarese, Betawi, Javanese, and others. 

4. Monaco Shares the Same Flag as Indonesia

Indonesia’s flag is quite simple, with red on the top layer and white at the bottom. If you look at Monaco‘s flag, you will find it completely identical to Indonesia’s flag, with Indonesia’s flag being slightly wider than Monaco’s flag. Additionally, Poland’s flag is exactly the reverse of Indonesia’s flag. 

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graphic of 3 very similar flags from Indonesia, Monaco and Poland

5. Indonesian Government Recognizes Six Religions

One of the most interesting facts about Indonesia is that the government recognizes six different religions in the country. They are Islam, Protestantism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Catholicism, and Buddhism. 

Every country’s citizens are bound to subscribe to one of these six religions, regardless of their actual beliefs.

6. People with Different Religions Cannot Marry One Another

The Indonesian government doesn’t permit the marriage of two people of different religions. One must convert and adopt the other’s religion to make their marriage legal. 

7. Bali, an Indonesian Island Rich With Ancient Superstitions

A small Indonesian-Hindu population lives on the island of Bali. It is believed that Balinese Hinduism is rich in ancient superstitions. 

One of those superstitions is that a baby’s feet should not touch the ground until he/she is six months of age. It is followed by a belief to prevent the devil from entering the infant’s body. 

Another belief here in Bali is that the six vices (confusion, jealousy, desire, drunkenness, greed, and anger) enter the human body through the top six teeth. Therefore, they file those teeth down, intending to eliminate the demonic ends and be free of these vices. 

8. Indonesia Gives This World a Color-Changing Lake

This phenomenon occurs in Kelimutu volcano, which seems like a proper fairytale; gazing at it will brighten your senses. 

When you climb up to this volcano, you will notice that the water in the lake keeps on constantly changing colors. The scientific explanation is that volcanic gasses react with the water in that lake. 

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9. Indonesia is the Third Largest Country with the Highest Number of Volcanoes in the World

Indonesia exists alongside the Pacific Ring of Fire, an active earthquake belt with several volcanoes that run from Chile to Southeast Asia. 

As of now, 139 volcanoes have been spotted across various islands, out of which 79 of them are active volcanoes. Indonesia has also witnessed two of the most devastating volcanic eruptions in world history. 

10. The World’s Largest Flower is Found in Indonesia

The world’s largest flower, Rafflesia Arnoldi, is found in Indonesia. Its aroma will help you navigate your way to locate this flower. Rafflesia is known for its pungent or unpleasant smell, for which people even call it a ‘corpse flower’. 

Rafflesia Arnoldi next to log

It grows up to 3 feet and weighs around 10kg. They bloom only once a year, but no one knows when or why and will stay bloomed for just 2 to 7 days.

Consider yourself lucky if you get to see it. 

11. The First Team that Qualified for FIFA World Cup in South East Asia was Indonesia

An Indonesian team, remembered by the name Dutch East Indies, qualified for the FIFA World Cup in 1938. But, eventually, they lost with a score of 6-0 against Hungary.

12. Indonesia Holds the Guinness Book of World Records for Making the Largest Packet of Noodles

Indonesians are fond of noodles and have gone too far with their love for them. 

In 2005, an Indonesian company, Indomie, broke the Guinness Book of World Records in the category of “The Largest Packet of Instant Noodles”. The overall weight of this packet of noodles was 665kgs. 

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13. In Bali, You Will Find Many Citizens Sharing the Same First Name

You already know that the people of Bali believe in superstitions in their culture. It is because Indonesian children are ritually named as per their birth order.

  • The first child of the family will be named Waya, Gede, or Putu. 
  • The second child of the family will be named Kadek, Nengah, or Made
  • The third child of the family will be named Komang or Nyoman
  • The fourth child of the family will be named Ketut

The fifth child of the family will again be given the name Waya, Gede, or Putu, the same as the first child’s name. 

All of these names are unisex, while sometimes Balinese people add a suffix of ‘I’ or ‘Ni’ to the names to indicate male or female, respectively. 

14. Indonesia Has the Tallest Island Peak In The World

Puncak Jaya is considered the tallest peak of Mount Jayawijaya. It is located in Papua Province. 

Graphic showing the seven summits in the world

The height of the tallest peak is 4884 meters above sea level.

Joshua Smith

Joshua has visited 10 countries and has another 110 to go! He plans to sail around the world over 5 years, and then spend the next 5 years driving around the world in a 4×4. He prefers to explore the more remote places without the tourists, and yet, doesn’t mind the ritzy feel of business class at 10,000 feet either.

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