Indonesia is the fourth largest country and the largest archipelago with more than 17,500 islands in the world which is situated between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, between the continents of Asia and Australia. Its total land area is 1,905,443 square kilometers with over 80,000 kilometers of coastline. Over 245 million people live in 33 provinces spreads from Sabang in the western and Merauke in the eastern part of Indonesian archipelago which consists of five main islands: Sumatra with an area of 473,606 square km, Java with an area of 132,107 square km, Kalimantan with 539,460 square km, Sulawesi with 189,216 square km, and Papua covering an area of 421,981 square km.
The Indigenous tribes still exist in Borneo, Western Indonesia to Irian Jaya in Eastern Indonesia. The presence of their pagan ancestry can still be seen, heard and felt by those who dare to breach the tourist frontiers and much of Indonesia's allure lies in its rich cultural tapestry and untamed wilderness, its cities and resorts are also famed for world-class visitor facilities. Divers are a fast growing breed of special visitors to Indonesia's many shores.
The population policy is directed toward development of the population as human resources in order that the national development can be effective and valuable, while the quality of life is gradually improving. Meanwhile, the control of population growth is carried out through efforts to lower the birth and mortality rate, especially that of infants and children. These efforts in particular have been implemented through family planning programs which also have the purpose of improving the welfare of mother and child and at the same time create a small, happy, and prosperous family.
Like in many countries, particularly those in the developing world, the city is always the major attraction for the rural population. This is especially true where the land no longer offers an effective means to learn a living. Indonesia is no exception. Over the years, particularly after World War II, cities have grown rapidly in population, so much so that municipal governments have not been very successful in coping with the impact of urbanization. Prevalent are the pressing needs for employment, housing, transportation and other social requirements.
Bahasa Indonesia is the official language with numerous regional languages and dialects, serving as a common vehicle of communication for the various language groups. English is widely understood particularly in Jakarta, Bali and other major cities.
The climate and weather of Indonesia is characterized by two tropical seasons, which vary with the equatorial air circulation (The Walker Circulation) and the meridian air circulation (The Hardley Circulation). The displacement of the latter follows the north-south movement of the sun and its relative position form the earth, in particular from the continents of Asia and Australia, at certain periods of the year.
These factors contribute to the displacement and instensity of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) which is an equatorial trough of low pressure that produces rain. Thus, the west and east monsoons, or the rainy and dry seasons, are a prevalent feature of the tropical climate.
The climate changes every six months. Dry season (April to October) is influenced by the Australian continental air masses; while the rainy season (November to March) is the result of the Asian and Pacific Ocean air masses. The air contains vapor which precipitates and produces rain in the country. Tropical areas have rains almost the whole year through. However, the climate of Central Maluku is an exception. The rainy season is from June to September and the dry season from December to March. The transitional periods between the two seasons are April to May and October to November.