“Bhinneka tunggal ika”, the national motto of Indonesia, translates as “many yet one”, and is an acutely representative statement to define both the diversity and cohesive national pride of Indonesian people.
Indonesia’s long struggle for independence from colonialism is a significant contributing factor to the cohesive national identity of Indonesian people who, historically, have maintained entirely distinct cultures, languages and ways of life. The same nationalist movement that expunged the colonial rulers also led to the establishment of Bahasa Indonesia as the country’s first national language in 1945. This shared language allowed Indonesians to identify and communicate with one another in a way that wasn’t possible previously and, consequently, nurtured the national identity that Indonesians all share today. Yet still, as a testament to the bewildering diversity of cultures in Indonesia, there are still more than 700 languages spoken throughout the archipelago. One of the most thrilling things about travel in Indonesia is the sometimes bewildering feeling of having gone from one country to another while hopping to various islands. As a travel destination and an experience, there’s no place on earth quite like Indonesia.
As regular travelers around the region, we’ve made quite a few faux pas on foreign shores. And we’re not counting the times that the kids have stuck chopsticks up their nostrils either. So we thought it was high time we shared that you don’t have to make any.
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