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The Indonesian archipelago comprises more than 13,000 islands and shares borders with Malaysia and Papua New Guinea. Stretching like a backbone down the western coast of Sumatra is a line of active and extinct volcanoes. These continue through Java, Bali, Nusa Tenggara and then loop through the Banda Islands of Maluku to north-eastern Sulawesi. Under 10 per cent of the total land area is suitable for farming, while two-thirds consists of woodland, forests and mangrove swamp (mostly found in Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Irian Jaya).
Indonesia's rich natural environment encourages a diversity of flora and fauna. The archipelago is home to elephants, tigers, leopards and orang-utans. Sea turtles are found in the waters around Bali and the world's largest flowers - Rafflesia arnoldii - grow in Sumatra. The islands of Irian Jaya, Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Sumatra have national parks, while other parks protect special areas such as Komodo, home to the Komodo dragon. Rainforests are disappearing at an alarming rate, especially in Kalimantan where the mighty dipterocarp forests are being logged ferociously for their durable tropical hardwoods.
Draped over the equator, Indonesia tends to have a fairly uniform climate - hot. It's hot and wet during the wet season (October to April) and hot and dry during the dry season (May to September). Temperatures climb to about 31℃(88° F) in coastal regions, dropping further inland. The best time to visit Indonesia is from April to October.

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> No.28 <September 2018>