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25 Interesting Facts about Indonesia

25 Interesting Facts about Indonesia

Want to know more about Indonesia? Here are 25 Interesting Facts about Indonesia that you probably didn’t know before reading this!

To make this even more fun, I want to challenge you as well. How many of these Indonesia facts did you know before reading this? Share your result in the comment section!

Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world

There are around 225 million Muslims living in the Indonesian archipelago, making it the largest Muslim population in the world. Most people around the world probably imagine that most Muslims are living somewhere in the Arabic world. 

The Indonesian government recognizes only 6 religions and each citizen must belong to one of these, although they are not forced to practice or believe in them. Religious freedom is respected and granted for Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. 

Indonesian freedom of religion

Photo: HildaWeges Photography /

More than 50% of the country is covered by forests

Indonesia is famous for its rainforests which are teeming with wildlife and interesting plants. In fact, half of the country is covered by forests with a total area of more than 98 million hectares.

Unfortunately, deforestation is a major problem where some are done illegally whereas other forms of deforestation are made to give room to the growing population as well as agriculture. 

There are 17,504 islands in Indonesia

Indonesia is the largest island country in the world, both in terms of size and population with more than 17,504 islands. About 6000 of these are still uninhabited.

There are five major islands in the Indonesian archipelago and additionally 30 smaller groups which are inhabited. New Guinea and Sumatra are some of the largest islands in the world

Raja ampat

Photo: Shutterstock

Half of all Indonesians live on less than 2 USD per day

There is quite a gap between the poor and rich in the Indonesian society, and about half of the population are estimated to live on less than 2 US dollars per day, which is about the same as roughly 28,000 Indonesian Rupiah. 

The average wage in the country as a whole is just 280 USD.

Sambal is an integral part of Indonesian cuisine

Indonesian food is delicious and features many interesting flavors and dishes. One important ingredient in the local cuisine is the use of Sambal, which is a type of chili paste which can be made in various ways.

Each family will have their own recipe, and you’ll get Sambal to almost every meal in Indonesia. As a foreigner, you might find sambal very spicy. 


Photo: Gnndr/Shutterstock

It’s one of the most populous countries in the world

In 2019, there are about 270.63 million people living in Indonesia, which makes it one of the most populated countries in the world. More than 50% of the population lives on the island of Java. 

There are over 300 ethnic groups in the country

In the whole Indonesian archipelago, there are 300 distinct ethnic groups with their own language and culture. The largest ethnic groups are Javanese, Sundanese, Malay and Madurese.

Indonesian facts

Photo: Gudkov Andrey /

There are still uncontacted tribes living in the jungles

This is one of the most interesting facts about Indonesia and one that’s unique from other countries. Despite being a modern country, and having a modernized capital in Jakarta, experts estimate that there are still around 100 uncontacted tribes living in the rainforests. 

The majority of these isolated tribes are living on the island of New Guinea and other islands in the eastern part of the country. 

More than 700 languages are spoken across the Indonesian archipelago

The official language is known as Indonesian, or Bahasa, but due to a large number of ethnic groups, many of these also speak their own languages. Linguistics experts estimate that there are more than 700 languages spoken in Indonesia on a regular basis. 

Languages in Indonesia

Photo: onyengradar /

There are 127 active volcanoes

Indonesia is located right on the Pacific Ring of Fire which is the world’s most active area when it comes to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. 76 of the volcanoes located within the archipelago has erupted at least 1,171 times in modern history, and there’s an average of at least one eruption per year. 

Indonesians are some of the world’s shortest people on average

The Netherlands is home to the tallest people in the world, whereas you’ll find the shortest people on average in the Indonesian archipelago, which is quite ironic considering that the Dutch colonized and ruled the archipelago for many years. 

The average height is just 1.58, and after traveling around the country, I can confirm that there are many short people, like the charming old lady next to Christine.

terimah kasih

It’s the world’s largest producer of palm oil

Palm oil has gained a lot of controversy in recent years due to deforestation to make room for palm plantations. Indonesia is the largest producer and exporter of palm oil, and the numbers are growing each year. 

The demand for palm oil worldwide is increasing rapidly since it’s a very productive crop that gives large yields in a relatively short time compared to other types of oils.

Indonesia is home to the Komodo dragon

If you travel to the Komodo Islands, you’ll get the chance to see the biggest lizard in the world, the Komodo dragon. They are fearsome creatures with capabilities of killing an adult human with its venomous saliva. 

Komodo islands

Photo: Shutterstock

It’s the third most biodiverse country in the world

Only Brazil and Colombia are more biodiverse than Indonesia, which is ranked in the top 3 most biodiverse countries in the world. What makes the Indonesian flora and fauna so unique is the fact that there’s an abundance of species on land as well as in the water. 

Indonesia is home to some of the best diving sites in the world thanks to its rich marine life. 

There are 9 World Heritage Sites in Indonesia

The Indonesian archipelago is rich in both history and culture. There are 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in total, whereas the Borobodur Temple might be the most impressive one, which is also the largest Buddhist temple in the world. 

  • Borobudur Temple Compounds
  • Cultural Landscape of Bali Province
  • Komodo National Park
  • Lorentz National Park
  • Prambanan Temple Compounds
  • Sangiran Early Man Site
  • Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra
  • Ujung Kulon National Park
  • Ombilin Coal Mining Heritage of Sawahlunto

Photo: Adel Newman/Shutterstock

5 x Fun Facts about Indonesia

  • A lot of Indonesian men have a long fingernail
  • 3000 tonnes of frog legs are exported from Indonesia to France each year
  • Indonesia and Monaco have the exact same flag, only the size differs
  • Bali is an Indonesian island, although many foreigners actually think it’s an independent country
  • There are more than 75 million social media users in Indonesia
Fun facts about Indonesia

Photo: CherylRamalho /

5 x Indonesia Facts for Kids

  • The biggest flower in the world lives in the Sumatran rainforests – Rafflesia Arnoldii
  • Badminton is one of the most popular sports along with football, volleyball, and the martial art Pencak Silat
  • The Komodo dragon is the national animal of Indonesia
  • Sumatra is one of two places in the world where orangutans are living in the wild
  • The island of Java is the world’s most populated island
Indonesia Facts for kids

Photo: Mazur Travel/Shutterstock

Scary facts about Indonesia

Indonesia is perfectly safe to visit as a tourist, so don’t let these scary Indonesia facts put your trip on hold. In fact, it’s one of the nicest countries with the friendliest people that I’ve ever visited. 

  • There is a tree-dwelling cannibal tribe in West Papua
  • Almost every day sees an earthquake somewhere in the Indonesian archipelago
  • There is at least one significant volcano eruption in Indonesia every year
  • More than 5 million people live in the danger zone from eruptions
  • The traffic in Jakarta has been named as one of the worst in the whole world
  • The death penalty is still enforced
scary facts about Indonesia

Photo: Deni_Sugandi/Shutterstock

General Facts about Indonesia

Below are some general information such as total population, land area, biggest lake, highest mountain and other facts about Indonesia that might be interesting to know.

  • Total Population: 270.63 million
  • Capital: Jakarta
  • Life expectancy: 69.19 years
  • Highest Mountain: Puncak Jaya at 4,884 meters (16,024 ft)
  • Area: 1,904,569 km2 (735,358 sq mi) 
  • Largest Lake: Lake Toba
  • National Day: 17 August
  • Government: Unitary presidential constitutional republic
  • President: Joko Widodo
  • Currency: Indonesian rupiah (Rp) (IDR)
  • Official language: Indonesian (Bahasa)
  • Religion: Islam
  • Member of Nato: No
  • National song: “Indonesia Raya”
  • Time zone: UTC+7 to +9 (various)
  • Country Number/Prefix: +62
  • Country Code: ID

The Biggest Cities in Indonesia

If you’re looking for facts about Indonesia, it might also be interesting to know which are the biggest cities. Here’s a list of the top 10 biggest cities ranked after population.

PalembangSouth Tangerang

Flag of Indonesia

The Indonesian flag is red and white, similar to the Polish flag, but with the colors the other way round. 

indonesian flag

Map of Indonesia

Below, you can see the Indonesian borders and territory marked in yellow. 

Map of Indonesia

Photo: Peter Hermes Furian/Shutterstock

How many of these Indonesia facts did you already know? Leave a comment below!