Indonesia

Flag of IndonesiaGeneral

Indonesia is located in Asia and consists officially of 17508 islands, but just over 6000 of them are really inhabited. Indonesia is home to approximately 250 million people. With 1.9 million km2 is one of the larger countries in the world. The country is predominantly Muslim (85%), but it varies by island. The currency is the Rupiah (€ 1 in 2015 is about 12800 IDR). It is a republic and its capital is Jakarta (Java). The islands are inhabited since time immemorial. The cultural development began as 2500 BC, but there are also remnants of older civilizations found. The first Europeans arrived here only in 1512 (Portuguese traders) and since then there has been a lot of trade between Europe and Indonesia.

Other countries such as Portugal, the Netherlands and Japan have long occupied the country. Only in 1945 it became independent, but the Netherlands acknowledged that not until 27 December 1949. This is therefore regarded as official independence

We visited Bali and Papua, but especially for diving. Indonesia has not only a rich cultural background, but also in terms of nature it’s very interesting. As often the nature is threatened, not only on land but also underwater. In the seas around Indonesia is a lot of pollution with plastic, which in certain currents / wind can be seen well, because then there are kilometers long strips of pollution visible. If the plastic sinks, it can literally suffocate the coral animal. Fortunately, more and more initiatives are taken to protect also the marine life. Indonesia is not only rich in coral, but also a large variety of fish and micro life like nudibranchs.



Bali

Bali is a medium-sized island located between Java and Lombok. The area is 5780 km2 (roughly 140 by 80 km, but the island a bit pear shaped). There are approximately 4.2 million people who are mainly Hindu. The center of the country consists of a mountain range with the highest point of the volcano Gunung Agung with 3142 meters. The island lies 8 ° south of the equator.

The cultural development began in 2500 BC when people from China settled here. Over the years a high culture developed, there were even various kingdoms. Initially, Buddhism was the most important religions, but from the 11th century it became more Hinduism. Until today, there is still a strong culture in Bali, despite tourism. This also means that there are separate island holidays like silence day on 21 March. Although the first Europeans arrived already in 1512 in Bali (Portuguese), a real colonization was only started in the 19th century (from 1864 by the Dutch).

The capital is Denpasar, with 850000 inhabitants, is the largest town on the island. This is where the international flights arrive. The city is chaotic and somewhat polluted by many mopeds that drive there.

Bali is surrounded by sea and it is estimated there are 500 coral reefs. The most beautiful are located in the northwest and to the north and east. Most tourists go east to dive, but Menjangan Island in the northwest is increasingly discovered as a prime location for diving. The reefs are not only rich in a wide variety of corals, but also the marine life of rare variety.

Bali is the island with a great tourist attraction and therefore relatively rich. Due to tourism many people speak English.



Papua / Raja Ampat

One of the most eastern islands of Indonesia and should actually be referred to as New Guinea. The island is divided into 2 parts. West Papua (Iriyan Jaya) is part of Indonesia. The eastern part of the island (Papua New Guinea) is an independent country.

The island is mostly natural. We flew to Sorong, which is in the northwest of West Papua. We did not trekked around on the island, but went to an archipelago located northwest of Papua. The archipelago consists of 612 islands officially, but if everything is counted that is above the water, there are more than 1,500 locations. The archipelago consists of 4 main islands (Misool, Salawati, Batanta and Waigeo, also known as the four kings). It covers a total area of 40000 km2, is larger than the Netherlands and much larger than Bali. However, most of it is water.

We stayed at Birie Island, which is part of the Batanta archipelago. On the islands live small groups of people, there are no major cities or airports. The islands are therefore only accessible by boat. The islands lie along the equator, hence the term 'equator diving’.

The largest part of Raja Ampat is a nature reserve. Underwater there is a great diversity. Some sources indicate that 75% of all fish species in the world can be found here, for coral this would be even more than 90%. That is probably why it’s known as Divers Heaven.

There will be more and more resorts where you can stay, but actually that's not a good development. The enormous biodiversity does require careful regulation. In order to dive there one must make a contribution of € 10 per day or buy a year penny of € 70.















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