Located on the northwest coast of the world’s most populous island of Java, Jakarta is the country’s economic, cultural and political center, with a population of 10,075,310 as of 2014. The official metropolitan area, known as Jabodetabek (a name formed by combining the initial syllables of Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi), is the second largest in the world, yet the metropolis’ suburbs still continue beyond it. Its unofficial built-up (metropolitan) area covers Bogor, Tangerang, Bekasi, Karawang, Serang, Purwakarta, Sukabumi and Subang regencies (123 districts), also including Tangerang, Bekasi, Tangerang Selatan, Depok, Serang and Cilegon Municipalities, which in total were home to 30,214,303 inhabitants as of 2010 census.
Established in the fourth century as Sunda Kelapa, the city became an important trading port for the Kingdom of Sunda. As Batavia, it became the de facto capital of the Dutch East Indies. After the country’s declaration of independence in 1945, the city—then called Djakarta—retained its status as capital of Indonesia. The city is currently the seat of the ASEAN Secretariat as well as important financial institutions such as the Bank of Indonesia, the Indonesia Stock Exchange, and the corporate headquarters of numerous Indonesian companies and multinational corporations. Jakarta’s business opportunities, as well as its potential to offer a higher standard of living, attract migrants from all over Indonesia, making the city a melting pot of many communities and cultures.
Jakarta is listed as an alpha-global city in the 2012 Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network (GaWC) research. Based on the global metro monitor by the Brookings Institution, in 2014, economic growth in Jakarta ranked 34th among the world’s 200 largest cities. Jakarta has grown more rapidly than Kuala Lumpur, Beijing, and Bangkok.
The Republic of Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world comprising 13,466 large and small tropical islands fringed with white sandy beaches, many still uninhabited and a number even still unnamed. Straddling the equator, situated between the continents of Asia and Australia and between the Pacific and the Indian Oceans, it is as wide as the United States from San Francisco to New York, equaling the distance between London and Moscow. Indonesia has a total population of more than 215 million people from more than 200 ethnic groups. The national language is Bahasa Indonesia.
Among the most well-known islands are Sumatra, Java, Bali, Kalimantan (formerly Borneo), Sulawesi (formerly Celebes), the Maluku Islands (or better known as Moluccas, the original Spice Islands) and Papua. Then, there is Bali “the world’s best island resort” with its enchanting culture, beaches, dynamic dances and music. But Indonesia still has many unexplored islands with grand mountain views, green rainforests to trek through, rolling waves to surf and deep blue pristine seas to dive in where one can swim with dugongs, dolphins and large mantarays.
Because of her location, and geology, Indonesia is blessed with the most diverse landscape, from fertile rice lands on Java and Bali to the luxuriant rainforests of Sumatra, Kalimantan and Sulawesi, to the savannah grasslands of the Nusatenggara islands to snow-capped peaks of West Papua.