Indonesian archipelago

With 18,110 islands, 6,000 of them inhabited, Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world. About 240 million people live in this fourth most populous country in the world — after China, India and the USA — and by far the largest country in Southeast Asia. Indonesia also has the largest Muslim population in the world. Indonesia’s population is on course to overtake the US and become the third largest before 2044. In the decade that ended in 2010, population growth remained high at 1.49% each year but there is substantial Muslim opposition to boosting family planning.

Indonesia markets itself as Wonderful Indonesia, and the slogan is quite true, although not necessarily always in good ways. Indonesia’s tropical forests are the second-largest in the world after Brazil, and are being logged and cut down at the same alarming speed. While the rich shop and party in Jakarta and Bali. After decades of economic mismanagement 50.6% of the population still earns less than USD2/day according to figures compiled by the World bank in 2009. This had come down by 6% in the 2 years between 2007 and 2009.

Infrastructure in much of the country remains rudimentary, and travellers off the beaten track will need some patience and flexibility.

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