Indonesia is the 4th most populated country in the world with more than 250.000.000 people --- There are 316 ethnic groups which speak 670 dialects in Indonesia --- There are 17.508 islands in Indonesia, which is the largest Archipelago in the world and only 6.000 of them have a name with only 1.000 are inhabited --- If you could spend only 1 day on each island of Indonesia, you would need 48 years to see all of them? (Transportation between islands not counted) --- Indonesia has the longest coastline in the world, with 100.000 kms long --- Indonesia is probably the last country in the world, which has still unexplored territories, and is not completly mapped? (specially around Irian Jaya) --- There are about 400 volcanoes in Indonesia, and 150 out of them are active, which represents 75% of all active volcano on the planet


Travelling to Jakarta - Jakarta Wonder No. 4

The Thousand Islands Paradise
Text and Photos by Teguh Sudarisman

There are only a handful of world capitals that have on their doorsteps islands with lovely white sand beaches that can be reached in minutes or just a few hours. Jakarta is lucky to be among this elite group of world cities; and it has not just two or three, or even five islands, but over 105!

The Thousand Islands (Kepulauan Seribu in Indonesian) are called that because they seem so numerous, and they are indeed difficult to count, unless you're in a helicopter at low tide. It's a paradise waiting to be enjoyed, but few people ever visit. Yet there's plenty to do; you can go sailing and looking for dolphins, take photos like a model, sunbathe, enjoy spectacular sunrises and sunsets, go snorkeling, diving, or bird watching, see the ruins of an old Dutch fortress, or simply observe the daily life of the 15,600 local residents on several of the islands.

But again, most people have never set foot on the islands, and some are even destroying them by dumping factory waste into the sea, which is killing off the coral reefs and the fish in the waters of the Thousand Islands.

Those who have been to the islands have probably only visited a few of the islands, since it's such a huge area. The island nearest the mainland of Jakarta, Pulau Bidadari, can be reached in just 20 minutes by speedboat from the dock at Ancol Marina. But the furthest, Pulau Sabira, 126 km north of Jakarta, is over two hours away by speedboat, and much longer if you take a wooden ship from Muara Angke harbor.

There are so many islands that it's hard just to remember their names. When we hear someone say "from Pulau Rambut, see the preserve of the brahminy kite," or "at Pulau Peteloran, see sea turtles, monitor lizards, and monkeys" (all this is in the Thousand Islands), we tend to react, "Are there really kites and monkeys out there?" or even "Are there really islands with those names?"

Several of the islands –Sepa, Bidadari, Ayer, Kulkul Kotok, Pelangi, and Pantara – have accommodation and attractive holiday facilities: everything from swimming pools, restaurants, bars and discos to snorkeling and diving equipment rental and sports and rides such as flying fox, banana boat, jet skiing, big marble, and marine walks.

The government is reportedly planning to extend the airstrip on Pulau Panjang, and this should be finished in March 2009. But long before then, the Thousand Islands await your arrival.

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