Indonesia is the world's largest archipelago - a string of over 17,500 islands of which only about 6,000 are inhabited - lying between the Asian and Australian continental mainlands and between the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Java, Sumatra and Bali are the best known parts of the country and have well-developed facilities for cruise ship visitors.
Indonesia has a variety of landscapes from smoldering volcanoes, dense jungle, colorful coral reefs and fine sandy tropical beaches. Every island has its own attractions and traditions waiting to be discovered. Bali is a popular stop-over for cruise ships and you can be pampered in up-market hotels and wellness facilities or laze in sun at its magnificent beach resorts. If you are feeling more adventurous, you can visit a hill tribe in Sumbawa or dive around the reefs in the waters of the Komodo National Park - where you may also encounter the famous monitor lizard nicknamed the Komodo Dragon. The Mount Leuser National Park on Sumatra is home to a protected population of Orang-Utan. The Bunaken Marine Park on Sulawesi has outstanding dive sites teeming with coral life, fish, turtles, harmless whale-sharks and the Dugong a bottom-grazing marine mammal. Borobudur Temple is one of the country's national treasures, a huge restored Buddhist temple on a hill in central Java.
Jakarta is the economic and political heart of Indonesia, located at the western end of Java, and is a cosmopolitan and bustling city. The city has a large population of immigrants, mainly Chinese. Its architecture and culture are influenced by Dutch, Portuguese and Japanese rulers of the past, with the addition of modern high-rise office blocks and apartments for its vast population. Much of the rest of the country is still unexplored and thinly populated, including mountains, forests and uninhabited islands, making Indonesia a wonderful destination for adventure and cruising.