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Country Profile

Indonesia, officially the Republic of Indonesia, is a unitary sovereign state and transcontinental country located mainly in Southeast Asia with some territories in Oceania. Situated between the Indian and Pacific oceans, it is the world's largest island country, with more than seventeen thousand islands. Indonesia is the world's 14th-largest country in terms of land area and world's 7th-largest country in terms of combined sea and land area. Its capital and country's most populous city is Jakarta. Despite its large population and densely populated regions, Indonesia has vast areas of wilderness that support the world's second highest level of biodiversity. The country has abundant natural resources like oil and natural gas, tin, copper and gold. Agriculture mainly produces rice, palm oil, tea, coffee, cacao, medicinal plants, spices and rubber.

Puncak Jaya in Papua is Indonesia's highest peak, and Lake Toba in Sumatra its largest lake. Indonesia's largest rivers are in Kalimantan, and include the Mahakam and Barito. Indonesia's location on the edges of the Pacific, Eurasian, and Australian tectonic plates makes it the site of numerous volcanoes (at least 150 active volcanoes) and frequent earthquakes. However, volcanic ash is a major contributor to the high agricultural fertility that has historically sustained the high population densities of Java and Bali.

Lying along the equator, Indonesia's climate tends to be relatively even year-round. Indonesia has two seasons—a wet season and a dry season—with no extremes of summer or winter. For most of Indonesia, the dry season falls between April and October with the wet season between November and March. Indonesia's climate is almost entirely tropical, dominated by the Tropical rainforest climate found in every major island of Indonesia, followed by the Tropical monsoon climate and finally the tropical Savanna climate. Winds are moderate and generally predictable, with monsoons usually blowing in from the south and east in June through October and from the northwest in November through March. Typhoons and large scale storms pose little hazard to mariners in Indonesia waters; the major danger comes from swift currents in channels, such as the Lombok and Sape straits.

National Demographic

Indonesia is a very ethnically and linguistically diverse country, with around 300 distinct native ethnic groups, and 742 different languages and dialects. Most Indonesians are descended from Austronesian-speaking peoples whose languages can be traced to Proto-Austronesian. Another major grouping is the Melanesians, who inhabit eastern Indonesia. The largest ethnic groups are the Javanese, who comprise 42% of the population, and are politically and culturally dominant. The Sundanese, ethnic Malays, and Madurese are the largest non-Javanese groups. Chinese Indonesians are an influential ethnic minority comprising 3–4% of the population.

The official language is Indonesian (also known as Bahasa Indonesia) a variant of Malay, which was used in the archipelago. Indonesian is primarily used in commerce, administration, education and the media, but most Indonesians speak other languages, such as Javanese, as their first language. Indonesian is based on the prestige dialect of Malay, that of the Johor-Riau Sultanate, which for centuries had been the lingua franca of the archipelago. Indonesian is universally taught in schools and consequently is spoken by nearly every Indonesian.

While religious freedom is stipulated in the Indonesian constitution,  the government officially recognizes only six religions: Islam, Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim majority country with the majority being Sunni Muslims then the Shias and Ahmadis.


Despite sharp competition, slowing profit margins and a saturating voice and SMS services market, Indonesia’s telecommunications industry still has lucrative prospects as there is still room for growth in data services, value-added services and still relatively low smartphone penetration (as well as low Internet penetration).  At the end of 2013, only 28% of the Indonesian population had Internet access, while smartphone penetration stood at 23% in the urban areas of Indonesia. Therefore, Indonesian telecommunication providers have increasingly shifted their focus to data services, for example the development of 4G long term evolution.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian government is also eager to develop the country’s broadband network in an effort to enhance Indonesia’s infrastructure. The government created the ‘Indonesia Broadband Plan’ (Rencana Pita Lebar Indonesia) through which it aims to provide broadband Internet to 30% of the total Indonesian population by 2019. Other targets set in this plan include raising the ratio of Indonesian households connected to broadband (20 Mbps) to 71% by 2019, and fixed broadband (1 Gbps) penetration in buildings to 100%. Meanwhile, mobile broadband penetration is targeted to be raised to 100% as well.

English Literacy

In relation to English fluency, based on the English Proficiency Index of an international English language institution, English First, Indonesia remains positioned below its neighboring countries; namely, Singapore, Malaysia, and even Vietnam. Even though, in this data, the English proficiency of Indonesians falls within the category of ‘moderate’ or intermediate. The lack and the uneven distribution of English proficiency in Indonesia, especially between major cities and rural or remote areas, have several vital implications for the country.

Indonesian sees English as a foreign language so none of them actually use English in daily conversation. However, due to the establishment of English schools and parents are realizing the importance of English, many Indonesian are capable to converse in Basic English and understand Basic English. While if you go to university, especially the good ones, most of the students speak English.

School System

Education in Indonesia falls under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and Culture (Kementerian Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan or Kemdikbud) and the Ministry of Religious Affairs (Kementerian Agama or Kemenag). In Indonesia, all citizens must undertake twelve years of compulsory education which consists of six years at elementary level and three in secondary level. Islamic schools are under the responsibility of the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

Schools in Indonesia are run either by the government (negeri) or private sectors (swasta). Some private schools refer to themselves as "national plus schools" which means that their curriculum to exceeds requirements set by the Ministry of Education, especially with the use of English as medium of instruction or having an international-based curriculum instead of the national one. In Indonesia there are approximately 170,000 primary schools, 40,000 junior-secondary schools and 26,000 high schools. 84 percent of these schools are under the Ministry of National Education (MoNE) and the remaining 16 percent under the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA). Private schools only comprise 7% of the total schools number.

Higher Education

The higher education institution is categorized into two types: public and private. Both are supervised by the Ministry of National Education. There are four types of higher education institution: universities, institutes, academies, and polytechnics.

Private universities are generally operated by foundations. Unlike state universities, private institutions have budgets that are almost entirely tuition-driven. A onetime registration fee (which can be quite high) is determined at the time of entry.  Universities with a religious affiliation may receive donations or grants from religious organizations.  The government provides only limited scholarship support for students wishing to attend private universities.

Medical Education

They begin medical school directly after high school. However, some schools are open for students who already have an undergraduate degree; this is usually the case for foreign graduates.

The first 3 – 3.5 years are pre-clinical years. Using the new block system, they learn basic anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and immunology for the first year, then system-based approach for the remaining pre-clinical years. The actual division of the organ systems (musculoskeletal, cardiology, pulmonology, gastroenterology, genitourinary, endocrinology, neurology, obstetrics and gynecology, dermatology and venereology, tropical medicine, hemato-oncology, and emergency medicine) depends on each school.

Students who have completed the first 3.5 years are considered graduates already, and are granted the title “Sarjana Kedokteran” (Bachelor of Medicine). They can quit (studying) at this time and start working non-clinical jobs.

The last 1 to 1.5 years are clinical/clerkship years. They do 9 minor rotations and 5 major ones. They differ by duration: minors last 4-5 weeks, majors last for 10-12 weeks. Minor Rotations: Neurology, radiology, psychiatry, ophthalmology, ENT, oral medicine, dermato-venereology, anesthesiology (including critical care), and forensic medicine. Major Rotations: Surgery (including emergency medicine), internal medicine, obs/gyn, pediatrics, and public health. Upon completing the clerkship, board exam and have taken our Hippocratic Oath, they then graduate as Medical Doctors.

The Dentistry Profession

Oftentimes, the most prominent names in the dental field that offer excellent services usually have centres or clinics operating in the country’s biggest and busiest cities. Unless you’re fine with traveling all the way just to see your dentist, you can opt to take advantage of a business trip or vacation to places like Surabaya, Bali and Jakarta.

The number of registered and active dentists in Indonesia is small compared with the workforce of other health fields. In 2003, there existed 301,215 health professionals working in the various regions; only 7,324 (2.4%) were dentists, 607 (0.2%) were specialist dentists and 5,796 (1.9%) were dental nurses. The dentist-population ratio (per 100,000 people) was 3.4, meaning that on average; every 100,000 people are served by only 3 to 4 dentists. The ratio of specialist dentists is 0.3 and the ratio of dental nurses is 2.7. The highest ratio of dentists is in Jakarta (8.9), the capital of Indonesia, and the lowest ratio of dentists is in Lampung (1.8).

Getting There for Dental Care

Indonesia is well connected to the rest of the world by numerous airlines. Many international flights, especially those to Bali, stop first in Singapore due to runway restrictions at Bali. The principal gateways for entry to Indonesia are Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (CGK) and Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) (which is sometimes shown as Denpasar International Airport or I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in schedules). Both are in the midst of expansion and projects. Other airports with international links – albeit limited – include Balikpapan, Medan, Surabaya, Lombok and Manado.

There are four possible land crossings into Indonesia. Regular buses between Pontianak (Kalimantan) and Kuching (Sarawak, eastern Malaysia) pass through the border post at Entikong. You can get a visa on arrival on this route. A crossing is possible between Lubok Antu, Sarawak and Badau, West Kalimantan provided you have a visa in advance. The border crossing between West and East Timor (Timor-Leste) is open. Get a Timor-Leste visa in Kupang; a visa is required when travelling from East to West Timor. The road from Jayapura or Sentani in Indonesia to Vanimo in Papua New Guinea can be crossed, depending on the current political situation. A visa is required if travelling into Indonesia.

There is currently no sea travel between the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. But Major cruise lines often run cruise ships between Bali and Australia. There are also regular ferry services between Dili in Timor-Leste and Oecussi (including a new fast ferry), which borders West Timor. If crossing into Indonesia from here you will need to have organized your visa already in Dili. Regular and comfortable high-speed ferries run the two-hour journey between Melaka (Malaysia) and Dumai (Sumatra). Similar ferries travel between Penang (Malaysia) and Belawan (Sumatra), taking about five hours. From Johor Bahru in southern Malaysia, daily ferries run to Pulau Bintan in Sumatra's Riau Islands. Ferries connect Tarakan and Nunukan in East Kalimantan with Tawau in Sabah. For these routes you'll need a visa in advance. From Batam speedboats travel to Tanjung Buton with minibus connections to Pekanbaru on the Sumatran mainland. Otherwise, Pelni ships pass through Batam to and from Belawan (the port for Medan) and Jakarta. Boats also travel between Pulau Bintan and Singapore. Service includes Bintan Resort Ferries.

Visitor Highlights

The Indonesian archipelago is a collection of islands that holds untold treasures in its diversity of cultures, landscapes, and cities. With nearly 13,500 islands under its jurisdiction, Indonesia offers an adventure for everyone, from exploring ancient temples and hiking active volcanoes to diving in largely untouched waters. You can wander the busy streets of Jakarta, or take a step back in time with a visit to the remote villages of Tana Toraja; indulge in the bliss of Bali, or come face to face with the volatile Anak Krakatau. Whatever you choose, the experience is sure to be one filled with awe and appreciation for a country as steeped in history and natural beauty as this one.

Indonesia’s tourist sites include attractions from historical to natural to cultural. For historical tourist attractions you will find ancient temples and grand mosque. For natural tourist attractions you will find from breathtaking volcanoes to serene crater lake to Komodo Dragons and Orangutans to amazing underwater diving experience. On cultural tourist attractions, there are ancient funeral rites and tribal villages.