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The following images are maps of Indonesia.

Indonesia's location in the World

West Java, the home of the Sundanese

The size of Indonesia compared to the U.S.

This map shows the enormous size of Indonesia. It stretches for over 3,000 miles between the Indian and Pacific Oceans and separates Asia from Australia.

Here you see Indonesian land mass superimposed over a map of the United States.

Most of Indonesian territory is water but its 13,000 islands constitute a considerable amount of land and its 200 million population makes it the 4th largest in the world.

Half of the population live on the island of Java which is the fairly large island shown in the middle of the map (across Texas and New Mexico). The Sundanese are on the western third of that island.


A West Java recreation map

West Java is about half the size of Virginia or approximately the size of the three southern counties of California. That makes it about 400 kilometers long and 200 kilometers wide. You can go from one end to the other in 10 hours. The roads you see on the map are most of the major roads in West Java. There are very few highways. Only small roads link the southern portion of the province to the central part. One can get across West Java from east to west on the train. But bus or car transportation is needed to go to most of West Java.

But, if one is adventurous, it is possible to find many out-of-the way recreational spots.

Of course, the coast line comes to mind immediately. West Java has a great coastline with many attractions such as fishing villages, swimming areas, and beautiful views with mountains rising out of the ocean in some spots. Swimming is done year around but mainly in a few popular places. The Anyer/Carita area on the west coast has miles of beaches. Other locations include the beaches at Pelabuhan Ratu and Pangandaran on the south shore. Near Indramayu and Jakarta on the north coast, there are also a few good beaches. One has to be careful to observe warning signs even in tourist areas because much of the shoreline is dangerous to swimmers.

Probably the most dramatic site seeing can be done on the numerous volcanoes. Tangkuban Perahu (the upside down boat) above Bandung is the most famous. But Mt. Papandayan, Mt. Ceremai, Mt. Gede and others are also impressive. The most famous to Europeans and Americans is Krakatau in the Sunda Strait. It blew sky high in the late 19th century and killed many people. Its dust circled the globe for years. Most of the volcanoes have guides and it is good to go with a guide. These areas have few inhabitants and if one was injured, he or she might not be found. Some few tigers are left in some of the jungles around the volcanoes and there are wild boar as well. Another aspect of the volcanoes is the many hot springs they produce. Most people love to relax in the hot water.

The Ujung Kulon Reserve below Carita on the west coast is the most impressive of a number of nature reserves. It is very isolated and one has to be ferried to it. Permits are required to enter most of the reserves. Sundanese cultural programs are not well developed in West Java. The few that exist are not publicized widely. There are hundreds of small local performances here and there but one has to inquire to find them. Usually, it is a serendipitous moment that brings one to the performance at the right place and right time.

Meeting the Sundanese people is the most enjoyable part of visiting West Java. They are a varied group with vast differences between rural and urban people. They are very shy and one has to be friendly in order to get them to open up. Some youth will be quite rude but most of the people you meet will respond cordially to your approach.