Indonesia is made up of over 336 separate ethnic groups whose cultural identities have been influenced by outsiders who have invaded, colonized, traded, or visited this vast archipelago. Over the centuries, Chinese, Indian, Malay, Arabs, Portuguese, Dutch, British, Japanese and Americans have all had a part in the cultural jigsaw puzzle that makes up Indonesia today. Although Islam is the dominant religion (Indonesia has the largest number of Muslims in the world), Buddhism, Christianity, and Hinduism are also practiced, some groups mixing elements of animism and different faiths into one.

Literally hundreds of distinct languages are spoken all over the country, but most people are conversant in the country's official language, Bahasa Indonesia, to overcome cross-culture language barriers that could easily occur in the neighboring village! As a tribute to Indonesia's rich cultural tapestry, Indonesia's national symbol, the mythical Garuda bird, grasps a fitting ribbon of words: "Bhinneka Tunggal Ika", meaning "Unite in Diversity."
Indonesia is fascinating in its ethnographic diversity. The Negrito descendants, with their dark skin and wooly hair, who now occupy parts of Irian Jaya and the far eastern islands of Indonesia, may have been the first migrants to Indonesia about 30,000 years ago. The next infusion of migrants are thought to be Proto-Malay whose fairer-skinned, straight-haired characteristics are manifested in Trojans of Slaws, the Dayaks of Borneo and the Batiks of Sumatra. The second infusion of Deutero-Malay mainly settled in Java and Sumatra and brought with them elements of the Bronze Age civilization of Indochina. With the help of significant physical barriers such as seas, rivers, mountains and volcanoes, different sets of customs and beliefs evolved separately within various groups and much of this is maintained and respected to this day by all.

The large majority of the 3,000,000 people of Bali practice a unique religion called Agama Hindu Dharma. Their religion is deep-rooted in spirituality, which is manifested in their culture as an essential part of daily life. Unlike Hinduism in India, the Balinese have elements of Buddhism, Hinduism, Javanese and indigenous beliefs mixed into their religion. At one time, many people in Java and Sumatra practiced this form of Hinduism until Islam was introduced in the 15th century. Rather than converting, many of the courtiers, artists, musicians and craftsmen fled to Bali as a safe haven for their ideals and talents.
Even with the large influx of tourists to Bali, the strong religion and the culture of the Balinese endures, and adapts ever so slightly with the changing times. Everyday, beautiful offerings of flowers, rice, sugar and incense are placed, not only in each person's home and place of work, but also in their automobiles and at traffic intersections! Prayers are offered to the high spirits that dwell in the mountains, as well as to the low and sometimes evil spirits that dwell in the sea. The Balinese are highly aware of balance, harmony, and forces of good and evil. Even in their traditional dances, violent power struggles of the wicked and the pure often take place though usually with a happy ending. One of the more impressive characteristics of the Balinese is the artistic skill so many of them possess and seemingly take for granted. Creation of intricate offerings and elaborate decorations for temple ceremonies is simply a matter of religious obligation. The island is full of woodcarvers, painters, dancers, and musicians, much to the delight of the thousands who visit this beautiful island from all over the world.

When the Dutch came to colonize Indonesia, Bali became embroiled in the struggle against the colonists. It was not until 1906, after terrible massacres in which entire Balinese royal families fought to the bitter end, choosing death rather than captivity, that Bali was forcibly brought under Dutch control. During the years of Dutch rule, the administration did not try to change local tradition or cultural and religious practices. With independence, Bali became a province of the Republic of Indonesia.

With the notable exception of the city of Denpasar, the lifestyle of the people of Bali is agricultural and slow-moving, even idyllic. Where the landscape is not given to impenetrable jungles or high volcanic mountains, it is carved as if by giant hands into tier after tier of rice paddies. The tiny villages are composed of brick houses with the obligatory Hindu temple, piled high with offerings. Bali is called the island of one thousand temples, but that is certainly an understatement. The lives of the entire population of 3,000,000 islanders are focused on Hinduism; its rites and festivals are the backbone of Bali's cultural and social life.

From the very earliest time of the Hindu religion, the site of Tampaksiring, a holy spring which is the source of the Pekerison River, has been sacred to the Balinese. The ritual bathing place, the temples and the beauty of the area bring a continuous stream of islanders as well as visitors. Pools for ritual purification constitute a vital part of the religion and are to be found throughout the island.

The predominant ethnic group of Lombok is the agrarian Sesak people although the island also supports a population of about 85,000 Balinese on the western side. The larger towns of Ampenan and Mataram are also populated by a handful of relatively prosperous Chinese and Arab merchants. Many Sasak people practice their own version of Islam called the "Wetu Telu", which literally means "[to pray] three times a day" and includes strong elements of animism. Gunung Rinjani is sacred to both the Sasak and the Balinese of Lombok. Both groups make full-moon ascents up the slopes to bathe in the volcanic hot springs, pay homage to spirits, and toss offerings into the crater lake of Danau Segara Anak.
Lombok has long been one of Indonesia's poorest islands, but is beginning to reap some rewards from growing tourism since the early 1990's. The majority of villages remain untouched by the influence of visitors and most people are still involved in the day-to-day tasks of farming rice, tobacco, soybeans, corn and peanuts. A few villages scattered through the island are known for high-quality pottery and hand weavings. Produced by the women of the villages who create these objects for everyday use in their homes.

Sumbawa is divided into two main regions; Sumbawa Besar, where inhabitants mainly speak the Sasak language, and Bima, which has a language similar to that of Flores and Alor. Islam is predominant and is evident in places such as Sape, where women cover their heads and parts of their face with their colorful cotton sarongs. Most people are farmers but their land is very arid and requires the arduous task of hand-watering in the dry season. The barren terraces that line the country-side during the dry season suddenly flourish into green rice paddies during the rainy season as farmers rush to cultivate their fields. The inhabitants of the coastal regions, some of whom are originally Makassarese and Bugis from Sulawesi, are involved in fishing activities, coconut plantations, fish farming, and sea salt production.

The people of Moyo mainly speak the language of Bima and are originally from Sumbawa or South Sulawesi. Many are involved in copra farming on this low-rising island although a secluded luxury resort employs a number of locals on a causal basis. Although most of Moyo is considered a nature reserve, the island is a favorite hunting ground for Indonesian high officials and "friends of the government" for wild boar, banteng and deer, which live in the scrubby low-land forests. Huge colonies of flying foxes with a wing span of over a meter, also occupy this island. Some nestle peacefully in between the coastal villages as well as on the neighboring island of Satonda.

Komodo National Park
The islands of Komodo National Park have some of the lowest human population densities in Indonesia, due to the low carrying capacity of the island. A few villages exist on Rinca and only one on Komodo. The people are a mixture of settlers from Sumbawa, Sulawesi and the seafaring Bajo people. Agriculture, with the exception of coconut trees, is virtually impossible on the island, due to the shortage of water most of the year. Most people are involved exclusively in fishing for squid. During new moon nights, bright kerosene lamps are attached onto their spidery wooden outriggers to attract these phototropic animals into lowered nets.

Conduct During Your Expedition to Indonesia
A few basic rules of conduct may be helpful in making your visit to Indonesia more comfortable for you and your Indonesian hosts. The locals will appreciate your sensitivity to the following customs.
Indonesians, as most Eastern cultures, are accustomed to modest clothing. Avoid wearing anything too tight, too short or overly revealing.
Use your right hand in giving or receiving any items, including money. In Indonesia, the left-hand is considered dirty and if extended to another person, this may be perceived as an insult.
Pointing with your index finger or beckoning people towards you is extremely impolite. Instead, point with your thumb or summon people with a up and down waiving motion of the hand.
Do not touch adults or children on the head (especially in Bali) nor point to anything with your foot as both these gestures will be taken with great offense.
Please do not hand out gifts, money or candy to individual villages. A more appropriate show of support or gratitude would be to give a collective donation of money, pens, pencils, etc., to the village school or take Polaroid snapshots of groups of people to give away.

Nice article i`ve found from That is a little sample indonesian tribe, there is more different tribes in Indonesia. It makes different art and culture between one tribe to another. Each tribe have unique kind of art and culture, that difference it from another. It ones of suggested place for vacation, Indonesia have many beautifull places such as beach, culture territory, and you can buy some indonesian`s style handycraft. You wouldnt dissapointed to visited it. So be there and we will accept all of you with wide arm and smile.