Going beyond its famous Bali and breathtaking volcanos, Indonesia owns another interesting item in its arsenal—Its flag! The facts behind the Flag of Indonesia and its history hold many stories; it is one of the symbols of the Indonesian country that must be respected.
Based on history, the red and white flag has been flying for hundreds of years in the country. However, it was a long journey for the Indonesian Flag to become the one we know today. Going through several ups and downs, the red and white flag of Indonesia, just like the country, is worthy of a close-up.
Before bringing the country’s must-visit attractions to the spotlight, let’s find out more about the Indonesian flag. What is the meaning behind the flag, when was it first issued, and what do its colours symbolize? Let’s find out!
History of the Flag of Indonesia
The red and white colours on the flag have actually been used since royal times. The first kingdom to use the flag was the Majapahit empire (from the 13th to the 16th century), which made the red and white flag its symbol of empire.
It is believed that the empire used these two colours because of how sacred they were to the Indonesian people. The red is said to be representing the sugar coming from palm trees, and the white represents rice. The two ingredients are irreplaceable in the daily life of Indonesians, which is why the Majapahit empire chose to use them.
Moving forward in history, after enduring two invasions, one by the Netherlands and the other by Japan, following World War II and Indonesia’s independence, the red and white Indonesian flag began to be used as the national flag. The flag was first hoisted in Indonesia on 17 August 1945 during the nation’s independence proclamation.
Interesting Facts about the Flag of Indonesia
1. The Flag of Indonesia has different names
Did you know? The Indonesian flag has three different names: the Bendera Merah-Putih (Red-and-White Flag), the Sang Dwiwarna (the bicolour), and Sang Saka Merah-Putih (lofty bicolour Red and White), which is the official name of the flag.
2. It originated from Austronesian Mythology
Some argue that the origin of the red and white colours found on the flag of Indonesia comes from Austronesian mythology, where Mother Earth is red, and Father Sky is white.
3. The current Flag is inspired by the colours of the Majapahit Royal Panji
It turns out that many ancient kingdoms in Indonesia used the red and white colour. The choice of red and white colours is said to be inspired by the colours of the Majapahit Kingdom banner, which has nine red and white stripes arranged horizontally.
4. The first Flag was sewn by Sukarno’s wife, Mrs Fatmawati
The first flag that was hoisted on 17 August 1945 for the first time was actually sewn by Mrs Fatmawati, Sukarno’s wife. Sukarno was the first president of Indonesia.
5. There are various meanings behind the Flag of Indonesia
The colour red in the flag means courage, and white means purity. If you dig deeper, it turns out that the red and white colour also has a philosophical meaning; red represents the physical human body, whereas white symbolises spiritual life. Together, both colours stand for a complete human being.
6. Indonesia is not the only country that uses the Red-and-White Flag
Indonesia is not the only nation that uses red and white colours for its flag. The most similar flag to the Indonesian one is the flag of Monaco. The difference is in the ratio between length and width. The Indonesian flag has a width and length ratio of 2:3, while the Monaco flag has a ratio of 4:5. The flag of Monaco looks squarer, with a darker shade of red colour.
Meanwhile, Singapore‘s flag is also almost the same as Indonesia’s, with the addition of the moon and five stars on the upper left side. Poland also uses the same colours, similar to Monaco. The only difference is that colours are reversed, with white on top and red on the bottom.
7. The Flag of Indonesia Raising Ceremony
Every year, part of the celebration of Indonesian Independence Day is the ceremony of raising the flag along with playing the national anthem.
Top Attractions in Indonesia
Aside from Indonesia’s simple yet interesting flag, the country has so much more to offer its visitors. So, if travelling is a hobby of yours, and you are thinking of visiting Indonesia, then you will undoubtedly love the following famous tourist attractions in Indonesia.
Coming up is a list of recommended Indonesian tourist attractions that you don’t want to miss!
Lake Toba – North Sumatra
You must be familiar with the name Lake Toba. This destination is one of Indonesia’s worldwide tourist attractions that you should not miss.
Despite the legendary origins of the lake, scientists say that Lake Toba is the largest volcanic lake in the world — the result of a massive eruption that occurred around 74,000 years ago.
This tourist spot offers beautiful natural scenery. A boat ride to Samosir Island and a visit to a traditional village while witnessing Stone Age relics can make for an unforgettable trip.
Wakatobi – Southeast Sulawesi
The next famous tourist destination in Indonesia is Wakatobi. Did you know that Wakatobi stands for the four islands in southeast Sulawesi? It refers to Wangi-wangi, Tomia, Ktaledupa, and Binongko.
While in the area, pay an unforgettable visit to the Wakatobi National Park! The park is a collection of Indonesia’s natural treasures that you won’t find anywhere else. If you make it there, diving is an essential part of the trip; the biodiversity is really abundant.
To finish up your visit, Wakatobi offers unique and delicious culinary tours. Make sure you choose the right month to visit, as Wakatobi’s holiday season can get very crowded with tourists.
Nusa Penida – Bali
One of Indonesia’s most beautiful tourist attractions, located in Bali, is Nusa Penida. This is a small island located on the southeast side of the Island of the Gods in Klungkung Regency.
If you love scuba diving and snorkelling, this is the island for you to visit. Compared to the other islands, Nusa Penida has developed more slowly. Therefore, the island tends to be quieter as well, which is a plus for travellers who enjoy the beauty of tranquillity.
Tana Toraja – South Sulawesi
Moving on to South Sulawesi, Tana Toraja is a popular, magical, hidden paradise. Aside from being Indonesia’s natural attractions that mesmerise the senses, this place has a unique culture.
Even today, the people of Toraja still perform various unique religious rituals that originated from their ancestors, even though many have converted to Christianity. The locals still believe that all the rituals they perform symbolise their gratitude towards nature.
So, if you are interested in nature and culture tourism, then Tana Toraja should be on your list of places to visit in Indonesia.
Borobudur Temple – Central Java
There are several Indonesian tourist attractions that are recognised by UNESCO today, and Borobudur Temple is one of them. This super magnificent temple is believed to have been built during the Shailendra Dynasty. Despite the centuries that have passed, this temple still stands strong even though it has gone through several restorations.
More than anything else, it would be a shame to miss Borobudur Temple during your holiday to Central Java. After all, this temple is the largest Buddhist temple and one of the largest temples in the world.
Komodo National Park – East Nusa Tenggara
Another destination that UNESCO has recognised as a World Heritage Natural Site is Komodo National Park. As the name suggests, you can find Komodo dragons running around in the park.
The national park itself consists of several small islands. These islands also offer a variety of marine beauty other than Komodo dragons, such as coral reefs, dolphins, green turtles, whales, sharks, and also stingrays.
Visiting Komodo Island would not be complete without enjoying trekking and other climbing activities. This recreation spot is indeed the best choice to enjoy the beauty of rare animals.
Mount Bromo – East Java
Mount Bromo will always be a popular destination in Indonesia with its incomparable panorama. Even though this mountain is still active, it does not reduce its visitors’ euphoria.
Not only is the scenery beautiful, but you can also enjoy what you see in Bromo while riding a horse. As the home of the Tengger tribe, if you’re lucky, you’ll also have the chance to take part in their ceremonies.
More than that, Mount Bromo will remain one of the few places in Indonesia that you should at least visit once in your lifetime.
Ora Beach – Central Maluku
Speaking of little-known Indonesian attractions, Ora Beach seems to be one of them. This beautiful beach in Maluku holds a lot of beauty under the sea and beautiful scenery above it.
The characteristic of this beach is its turquoise water. The atmosphere around is very calm, making your experience visiting this beach even more unforgettable.
In fact, because of its beauty, Ora Beach is touted as Indonesia’s Maldives. If you visit here, don’t forget to enjoy staying at a beach resort.
Jomblang Cave – Gunung Kidul Jogja
If you are looking for Jogja tourist destinations that are famous among foreign tourists but have yet to be visited by many locals, then Jomblang Cave is the answer.
This place is suitable for those who like extreme holidays because you must first explore the vertical cave to reach it. Of course, there are ropes and complete gear to help you get into the cave.
There are several depths you can choose from, which of course, have different routes as well. Afterwards, a guide will accompany you to the mouth of the cave.
The most interesting thing about Jomblang Cave is that the light from above looks like light from heaven! Located in Gunung Kidul, the route is relatively easy to reach, but it would be best if you reserved extra energy to conquer the road into the cave.
Ijen Crater – East Java
Ijen Crater is the ideal tourist destination for any nature enthusiast. The beauty you’ll find here won’t be found anywhere else, and we can guarantee that.
One of the things that makes this mountain interesting and unique is the blue fire on its surface. The crater itself is very popular for taking pictures. So, if you want to get an exciting hiking experience in Indonesia with a super beautiful panoramic view, then the Ijen Crater in Banyuwangi is not to be missed.
Ngarai Sianok- West Sumatra
Ngarai Sianok is one of the best Indonesian top attractions located in Bukittinggi. The place is a beautiful valley that features incomparably beautiful scenery.
The main attraction is the breathtaking landscape that goes as far as the eye can see. To add to its magic, Ngarai Sianok is home to many flora and fauna.
This place is actually quite popular among the local community because there is a jogging track and also a place for other sports. So, if you’re looking for a unique place to exercise, you might as well head here to enjoy the beautiful natural scenery of West Sumatra.
Kelimutu – East Nusa Tenggara
The popularity of the multi-coloured lakes in Kelimutu may have already spread worldwide. However, you can still call this lake a hidden paradise in Indonesia.
Apart from the lake water having different colours, this place is also surrounded by volcanoes, making this natural wonder unbeatable when it comes to the views it offers.
The lake, located in Ende, Flores, actually also shows a mixture of western and eastern cultures. After you’re done taking some breathtaking pictures for your feed, get a glimpse of Indonesian history —more of folklore— to understand why the lake water has a changing colour.
Goa Gong – East Java
Maybe you’ve only heard of Pacitan because of its beautiful beaches. However, this district has other tourist attractions that are no less fun to visit, and one of them is Goa Gong.
The uniqueness of Goa Gong lies in the stalactites and stalagmites inside. The place is filled with colourful lights, giving the cave a reputation for being the most beautiful in Southeast Asia.
The story behind the naming of the cave is quite interesting. It is said that when the wall is hit, it makes an echoing “gong” sound. There is probably a lot to learn when you visit the cave. So, if you are looking for a recreational spot in Pacitan for your family, then Goa Gong is one destination that you should not miss.
Tamansari – Yogyakarta
Tamansari is usually included in the list of must-visit tourist attractions in Indonesia when in Yogyakarta, and rightfully so. This place was once made for various purposes, but what exists now is only part of the building.
In the past, apart from being a bathing place for the royal family, this place was also used for rest, meditation, and hiding for officials. That’s why the most popular tourist attraction is the bathing pool.
According to the story, the Sultan used to look for a wife in this bathing place. The Sultan would throw a rose, and whoever caught it would become his wife or concubine.
If you are looking for a magical photo spot, Tamansari is the place to be.
Ratu Boko Temple – Yogyakarta
If you are looking for the most beautiful tourist attractions in Indonesia, then Ratu Boko Temple should make it to the top of your list. The panoramic view you can get while in the temple complex is guaranteed to make you come back here one more time —it’s hauntingly beautiful.
When the Syailendra Dynasty was in power, this place was no longer used. Apart from its interesting history, this place is a favourite spot for tourists to take photos, especially when the sun sets.
Prambanan Temple – Yogyakarta
Who doesn’t know the legend of Roro Jonggrang? World Heritage-listed Prambanan, located on Central Java and Yogyakarta border, is popular worldwide, especially among Southeast Asians. It is always crowded every holiday season.
The temple is locally known as Roro Jonggrang from the legend ‘slender virgin.’ It is said that Bandung Bondowoso, with the help of spirits, built this temple —one thousand temples, to be exact— before sunrise to prove his love for Roro Jonggrang. The slender virgin didn’t want to marry him as he was the one who killed her father in battle, so she asked her people to help her and set the temples on fire from the east.
Disappointingly, the prince only built nine hundred and ninety-nine temples. The spirits, mistaking the fire for dawn, turned on prince Bandung before building the last temple, so he failed his task. When he discovered the princess’ deception, the prince got furious and turned her into stone, making the final temple —the most beautiful of the one thousand temples.
This temple holds many stories and legends but is also a place of worship for Hindus, the largest in Indonesia. This is the ideal destination if you want to get into Indonesian folklore.
Pink Beach – West Nusa Tenggara
If you’re travelling to East Nusa Tenggara, you should certainly make time to stop by Pink Beach. This beach gets its name from the colour of the sand, which tends to be a beautiful shade of pink.
There are currently only a few beaches in the world with pink sand, one of which is on Komodo Island. The colour comes from white sand mixed with red coral.
Because the sea water is very clear, you can dive and snorkel comfortably. Even the underwater scenery is unmatched, making this beach a true hidden gem from above and under.
Kaco Lake – Jambi
Lake Kaco is a beautiful sparkling lake located in the Kerinci Seblat National Park. Since it’s located in the middle of the forest, you’ll have to walk under lush trees and over rocky paths for about two hours before you arrive at the location.
The lake has clear blue water, and you can even see the roots of the trees from above with the naked eye. If you’re there during the first moon, you’ll see the reflection of a beautiful, shimmering light.
Kayu Aro – Kerinci Jambi
Kayu Aro is a little-known Indonesian tourist destination located at the foot of Kerinci. This place is truly a vast tea plantation.
Reaching this place is not easy, but upon arrival, you will be spoilt for choice with unrivalled scenic beauty.
Banda Neira – Maluku
It is no exaggeration to say that Banda Neira, located in eastern Indonesia, has the right to be called a piece of paradise. This small attraction in the Banda Islands is a tropical island with cool forests.
If you’re exhausted from travelling, this island provides a beautiful stretch of sand to relax and unwind on, and the sea view is one of the most beautiful sceneries you will experience in the country. Being one of the main marine tourist attractions in Indonesia, Banda Neira is abundant in aquatic life, especially coral reefs.
So, if you’re a beach enthusiast interested in marine life, Banda Neira should be on your holiday list.
Labuan Bajo – West Manggarai, East Nusa Tenggara
Eastern Indonesia is indeed home to many charming destinations, and one of them is Labuan Bajo. Although it is a village, this place is part of the popular destinations that are prioritised for development by the country.
Derawan Island – East Kalimantan
If you want to visit a tourist spot that provides many natural attractions, Derawan Island is the answer. Besides the beautiful scenery, there is also a freshwater lake with lots of jellyfish, where you can swim.
If you go to Derawan, make sure you also have a culinary tour—it will be a finger-licking unforgettable memory!
Bias Tugel Beach – Bali
Bali‘s most famous tourist attraction is sure to be one of its more well-known beaches. Yet, many beaches are still not widely discovered or popular, even among the locals—Bias Tugel Beach is one of them.
The beach is located near Padang Bai harbour, in Karangasem Regency. The waves on this beach can rise at any time, so if you want to swim, make sure the conditions are safe. But more than that, Bias Tugel is a beautiful beach that is relatively quiet, so it is suitable for those of you who are looking for tranquillity.
Indonesia has many beautiful attractions, predominated by natural wonders. You can also explore its neighbouring countries, from Australia and Palau to India, Vietnam, and Thailand. You will definitely have the perfect holiday in any of these incredible destinations.
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