From Halal Explorer

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Indonesia is a huge archipelago of diverse islands scattered over both sides of the Equator between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. While it has land borders with Malaysia to the north and East Timor and Papua New Guinea to the east, its exclusive economic zone also abuts Australia to the south; Palau and the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, and Thailand to the north; and India to the northwest. With an extensive, but quickly carved out amount of green forests on all of its islands and half way between the poles, Indonesia is nicknamed The Emerald of the Equator.

An Introduction to the regions of Indonesia


The nation of Indonesia is almost unimaginably vast: More than 18,000 islands providing 108,000 km of beaches. The distance between Aceh in the west and Papua in the east is 4,702 km (2,500 mi), comparable to the distance between New York City and San Francisco. Lying on the western rim of the Ring of Fire, Indonesia has more than 400 volcanoes, of which 129 are considered active, as well as many undersea volcanoes. The island of New Guinea (on which the Indonesian province of Papua is located) is the second-largest island in the world, Borneo (about 2/3 Indonesian, with the rest belonging to Malaysia and Brunei) is the third-largest, and Sumatra is the sixth-largest.

Travellers to Indonesia tend to have Bali at the top of their mind as their reason to visit, which is a shame as there are even more breathtaking natural beauty and cultural experience elsewhere that are waiting to be explored. The vastness of the estate and the variety of islands offer significant cultural differences that are worth sensing.

Provinces, of which there are 34, are usually composed of a group of smaller islands (East & West Nusa Tenggara, Maluku), or divide up a larger island and its outlying islands into pieces (Sumatra, Kalimantan, Java, Sulawesi, Papua). The listing below follows a simpler training of putting together several provinces in one region, except with Bali, which is treated as a separate region in eHalal.

  Sumatra (incl. the Riau Islands and Bangka-Belitung)
Wild and rugged and the sixth-largest island in the world has a great natural and cultural wealth with more than 40 million inhabitants and is the habitat for many endangered species. This is where you can find Aceh, Palembang, Padang, Lampung and Medan, as well as the multi-colored Lake Toba in the land of the outspoken Toba Batak and Indonesia's gateway island, Batam.
  Kalimantan (Borneo)
The vast majority of Borneo and the world's third-largest island, forms Kalimantan (with the remainder belonging to Malaysia and Brunei). An explorer's paradise for the uncharted (but quickly disappearing) forest, mighty rivers and the indigenous Dayak tribe, and home to most of the orangutans. The cities of Pontianak, Banjarmasin, and Balikpapan are some of the fastest growing in the nation.
  Java (incl. Karimunjawa and the Thousand Islands, and Madura)
The country's heartland, big cities including the capital Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya and a lot of people (with almost 50% of the population) packed on a not-so-big island.Also features the cultural treasures of Yogyakarta, Solo, Borobudur and Prambanan.
By far the most popular tourist destination and has the most complete facilities for all kinds of tourists in Indonesia. Bali's blend of unique Hindu culture, legendary beaches, numerous religious and historical sites, spectacular highland regions and unique underwater life make it a perennial favourite amongst global travellers.
  Sulawesi (Celebes)
Strangely shaped, this island houses a diversity of societies and some spectacular scenery. This includes the Toraja culture, megalithic civilization in Lore Lindu National Park, rich flora and fauna, and world-class diving sites like Bunaken and Bitung.
  Nusa Tenggara
Also known as the Lesser Sunda Islands — literally the "Southeast Islands" — they are divided into East Nusa Tenggara and West Nusa Tenggara and contain scores of ethnic groups, languages and religions, as well as Komodo lizards and more spectacular diving. West NT contains Lombok and Sumbawa and many small islands. Lombok is the less-visited but equally interesting sister of Bali and offers several diving sites as well as historical and religious locations. East NT contains Flores, Sumba and West Timor as well as several other islands, including Komodo Island, home of the Komodo dragon, and offers the unique attraction of containing tiny kingdoms on Sumba. Traditional art in East NT, especially woven cloth, is interesting and reasonably priced, and you can find beaches that are literally covered with sand of unique colours, coral, and shells.
  Maluku (Moluccas)
The historic Spice Islands, formerly much fought over by colonial powers, are now seldom visited, but Ambon and the Banda Islands and the Kei Islands are promising destinations for marine tourism.
  Papua (Irian Jaya)
The western half of the island of New Guinea, with mountains, forests, swamps and an almost impenetrable wilderness in one of the remotest places on earth.Aside from the Gold and copper mining in the area of Freeport, this is probably one of the most pristine parts of the nation, and scientists have discovered previously unknown species here.

Other Muslim friendly Cities in Indonesia

  • Jakarta GPS -6.187,106.822 — the perennially congested capital which is also the largest city in the nation
  • Bandung GPS -6.931,107.600 — university town in the cooler highlands of Java
  • Banjarmasin GPS -3.322,114.594 — the largest city on Kalimantan
  • Jayapura GPS -2.541,140.706 — the capital of Papua and a gateway to the highlands
  • Kuta GPS -8.7156,115.1682 — with its great beaches and exciting Haram nightlife, Kuta is yet another reason for visiting Bali
  • Makassar GPS -5.134,119.412 (Ujung Pandang) — the gateway to Sulawesi and home of the regionally famous Bugis seafarers
  • Medan GPS 3.589,98.680 — the diverse main city of Sumatra and gateway to Lake Toba and the rest of the Batak land
  • Surabaya GPS -7.248,112.736 — a very active port that is the capital of East Java and the second-largest city in the nation
  • Yogyakarta GPS -7.806,110.371 — central Java's cultural hub and the access point to the mighty temples of Prambanan and Borobudur

Other Muslim Friendly Destinations in Indonesia

The following is a limited selection of some of Indonesia's top sights.

  • Baliem Valley GPS -4.0218,138.8960 — superb trekking into the lands of the Lani, Dani and Yali tribes in remote Papua
  • Borobudur GPS -7.608056,110.203889 — one of the largest Buddhist temples in the world located in Central Java province; often combined with a visit to the equally impressive Hindu ruins at nearby Prambanan
  • Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park GPS -8.0167,112.9167 — some of the scariest volcanic scenery on the planet and one of the best locations in the world to see the sunrise
  • Bunaken GPS 1.6167,124.7500 — one of the best scuba diving destinations in Indonesia, if not the world
  • Kerinci Seblat National Park GPS -2.4167,101.4833 — tigers, elephants, and monstrous rafflesia flowers in this huge expanse of forest in Sumatra
  • Komodo National Park GPS -8.54,119.48 — home of the Komodo dragon and a hugely important marine ecosystem
  • Lake Toba GPS 2.6845,98.8756 — the largest volcanic lake in the world
  • Lombok GPS -8.565,116.351 — popular island to east of Bali with the tiny laid-back Gili Islands and mighty Mount Rinjani
  • Tana Toraja GPS -2.9686,119.8991 — highland area of Southern Sulawesi famed for extraordinary funeral rites

Indonesia Halal Explorer


With 18,330 islands, 6,000 of them inhabited, Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world. To imagine how vast Indonesia is, Indonesia stretches from west to east as wide as the USA or Western and Eastern Europe combined, yet more than two thirds of the area is sea water.

With more than 260 million people, Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world — after China, India and the USA — and by far the largest in Southeast Asia. The population is not spread equally among the five biggest islands, Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi, Kalimantan and Papua; Java has half of the population. More than 50% of foreign tourists enter Indonesia through the airport of Bali, and most of the rest come in through Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport for business or as a hub to other Indonesia tourist destinations or through Batam mostly by ferry from Singapore. These three arrival sites account for about 90% of foreign arrivals.

Indonesia also has the largest Muslim population in the world, mostly Sunni. Indonesia is a member of the G-20 and although it has potential to become a world leader, it is still hampered by corruption and shortcomings in education as well as an infrastructure hampered by difficult terrain and water.

Indonesia's tropical forests are the second-largest in the world after Brazil, and are being logged and cut down to grow oil palm plantations at the same alarming speed. While the rich shop and party in the cities and resorts and the poor work hard and struggle to survive. After decades of economic mismanagement 50.6% of the population still earns less than USD8 per day according to figures compiled by the World Bank in 2012. In 2015 and the poverty rate was 5.5% and declining, due to Indonesia's stable growth at 4-6% annually since 2014 — the best growth rate among ASEAN countries. However and the births rate is still high, at almost 2% a year, after the previous government stopped the birth control program, and this has slowed the decline in poverty. However the total fertility rate ("numbers of children per woman") has fallen dramatically and sits now just above replacement at 2.1 - roughly the same as the U.S. and barely above most of Europe.

Infrastructure in much of the nation, though extensively rebuilt, remains rudimentary, and travelers off the beaten track will need some patience and flexibility. Although progress has been made in expanding the network of toll highways, most inter-city roads are still two lane affairs of variable quality, most often packed with large buses and trucks hauling goods and materials, all eagerly jockeying with each other and everything else on the road to achieve pole position where there is no race. Perhaps reflecting the bad road conditions, low cost carrier airlines developed well with growth up to 15 percent a year, so if someone flops from one site to others sites, it can be done easily mainly for big cities such as from Bali, to Malang to see Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park to Jakarta with many attractions for tourists to Medan to see Lake Toba and go back to your home country. Even if you're in a city, don't expect the roads to be good or the layout to be easy to navigate. Many roads in older cities are left-overs from the Dutch perioid and, thus, are small, winding and in poor shape. Add to that the fact that street names change every few kilometres, requiring that you know which area to go to if you want to even find that length of street - it's quite frustrating. Street signs, if there are any at all, are placed perpendicular to the street they represent. If you leave Java and Bali and the roads are even worse. Severe traffic jams are a common feature, with Greater Jakarta and Surabaya being particularly regarded as extremely bad. Fortunately and the whole TransJava Toll Road has been functionally opened in December 2018, with a length of more than kilometers 900 from Merak to Surabaya. Several segments of the Trans Sumatra Toll Road have also been functionally opened.

Flexibility should be a prerequisite anywhere in the nation as things can change very suddenly and promptness is not often a high priority despite being appreciated. If you are the kind of person who expects everything to be written in stone and then you should probably only consider tours with large, reputable travel agents; otherwise, you're bound to experience some "upsets". Tolerance, patience and acceptance of surprises (not always the good kind) are good traits for anyone planning to visit.

That said, if you have the courage to find the good among the bad, you will find that Indonesia is one of the most exotic countries you have ever visited. Indonesia markets itself as Wonderful Indonesia, and the slogan is often quite true. It has a diversity of culture with more than 900 tribes and languages and food, while its enchanting nature, mostly outside of Java, and the friendliness of the people in most areas will entice you to stay as long as you want. Today, some senior citizens from Europe stay for months in Indonesia to avoid the winter.


UTC hue4map IDN

Time in Indonesia. WIB=yellow, WITA=light green, WIT=turquoise

Indonesia stretches a long way from west to east and is thus divided into three time zones. Due to the nation's equatorial location, sunlight duration is pretty consistent throughout the year, so there is no daylight saving time.

  • UTC+7 Western Indonesian Time (WIB, Waktu Indonesia Barat): Sumatra, Java, west/central Kalimantan
  • UTC+8 Central Indonesian Time (WITA, Waktu Indonesia Tengah): Bali, South/East/North Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Nusa Tenggara
  • UTC+9 Eastern Indonesian Time (WIT, Waktu Indonesia Timur): Maluku, Papua

Study as a Muslim in Indonesia

Foreign students from many countries study various majors in certain universities in a number of cities (mainly Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta, and Denpasar). The cost of studying at Indonesian higher learning institutes is generally much lower than in the west, but you'll need to be fluent in Indonesian for many topics, and some topics also require knowledge of English (such as medicine and IT) or another language.

The Darmasiswa Program is a scholarship program funded by the government of Indonesia. It is open to all foreign students from countries with which Indonesia has diplomatic relations to study Indonesian languages, arts, music and crafts, and even some other subjects, including IT, science and photography. Participants can choose to study at any of the state universities and colleges participating in the program. There are over 50 participating locations.

For university education in English, one can consider studying at, among others, Universitas Pelita Harapan or President University. Some famous Indonesian institutes include University of Indonesia, Bandung Institute of Technology and Gajah Mada University.