Indonesia straddles the Equator between theIndian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.
The country is the sleeping giant of Southeast Asia.
With18,110 islands, 6,000 of them inhabited, it is the largest archipelago in the world.
Withalmost 240 million people, Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world,and by far the largest in Southeast Asia.
Indonesia also has the largest Muslim populationin the world.
The Indonesian archipelago has become an importanttrade region since at least the 7th century.
Local rulers gradually absorbed foreign cultural,religious and political models from the early centuries, and Hindu and Buddhist kingdomsflourished.
Indonesian history has been influenced by foreign powers drawn to its natural resources.
Muslim traders brought Islam, and European powers brought Christianity and fought oneanother to monopolize trade in the Spice Islands of Maluku during the Age of Discovery.
Followingthree and a half centuries of Dutch colonialism, Indonesia secured its independence after WorldWar II.
Both nature and culture are major componentsof Indonesian tourism.
The beaches in Bali, diving sites in Bunaken, Mount Rinjani inLombok and various national parks in Sumatra are just a few examples of popular scenicdestinations.
These natural attractions are complemented by a rich cultural heritage thatreflects Indonesia's dynamic history and ethnic diversity.
The ancient Prambanan and Borobudurtemples, Yogyakarta, and of course Bali, with its many Hindu festivities, are some of thepopular destinations for cultural tourism.
Indonesia markets itself as Wonderful Indonesia,and the slogan is quite true, although not necessarily always in good ways.
Indonesia'stropical forests are the second-largest in the world after Brazil, and are being loggedand cut down at the same alarming speed.
While the rich shop and party in Jakarta and Bali,the poor work hard and struggle to do more than survive.