Indonesia, the largest archipelago and the fifth most populous nation
in the world, has a total of 17,508 islands, of which about 6,000
are inhabited. The islands extend 3,198 miles (5,150km) and are
nestled between two continents, Asia and Australia, and two oceans,
the Indian and the Pacific.
The main islands are Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Bali,
Nusa Tenggara, Maluku and Irian Jaya. Stretching like a backbone
down the western coast of Sumatra is a line of active and extinct
volcanoes. Much of Indonesia is rain forest, woodland and mangrove
swamps. Only a fraction of the land is suitable for farming.
Situated over the equator, Indonesia tends to have a fairly uniform
climate - hot. It is equatorial, but cooler in the highlands. Temperatures
generally range from 68 to 89 degrees. Humidity ranges from 60 to
90 percent. Indonesia's "wet season" lasts from November through
April and its "dry season" from May through October, with slight
variations in its regional sub-climatic zones.