29 November 2012
First Impressions of Indonesia
As traveling two weeks in Indonesia, I got to see the major attractions around the country. While I was visiting nine different islands, these were the first impressions I got.
Officially, there are 17,000 islands Indonesia. 8,844 of them have been named by the government of Indonesia, including major islands: Kalimantan (Borneo), Sumatra, Java and so on, and 922 of them are permanently inhabited. It’s not hard to guess Indonesia is a big chunk of ocean, including a group of islands. Like some people say, you can spend rest of your life in Indonesia and still can’t see everything.
"Belief in the one and only God."
The Indonesian Constitution guarantees freedom of religion. However, the government only recognizes six official religions (Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism) and Indonesian law requires that every Indonesian citizen hold an identity card that identifies that person with one of these six religions.
The most obvious place was Bali, well known as ‘the land of the Gods’, the home of Hindu minority in the country. 96% of Balinese believe in Hinduism. They have Hindu temples as many as the houses around the island. Balinese are the most religious in the country; they basically work to maintain the religious ceremony and the offerings. As Indonesian constitution said, "belief in the one and only God",believe what you believe.
Because of its geographic character, flying is taking a big part of the transportation system. Of course there’s a ferry for moving from one island to another, but it’s not an option for some people; either because of the motion sickness or the limited time. Because of that, the regional flight system is extremely well developed. It’s easy, simple and ordinary.
As we were traveling to Borneo, Java and Bali, I needed to ask how to say ‘thank you’ each time. Sometimes it’s ‘Terima Kasih’, ‘Bartonuen ge’ or something else. Bahasa Indonesia (literally means language of Indonesia) is the official language of the country, but regional language is spoken more often depending where you go, for example Javanese in Java, and Balinese in Bali. It was fun for me to catch up the different languages in each island. Only ‘thank you’ of course.
Religion is one of the most major factors to decide the lifestyle. Because of their several strong religions, Indonesia is highly multicultural. Food, clothing, architecture, custom and even the language; everything is rapidly changing as you move around the country. The kind of life style is different based on their belief, and also the outfit differs a lot. It was interesting to observe the differences. It makes the country more interesting for the travelers.