What do Indonesia and Taiwan have in common?

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Find out what surprising similarities there are between Indonesia and Taiwan

Indonesia is a country that is situated in Southeast Asia and shares land borders with Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, and East Timor-Leste. Taiwan, officially the Republic of China, is situated in East Asia and has a population of 23 million people, whereas Indonesia has over 267 million inhabitants. The closest countries to Taiwan are China, Japan, and the Philippines. Indonesia is about 53 times bigger than Taiwan, so judging by their overall looks, you might consider these two countries to be fairly different. So what do these Asian countries have in common?

Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world and consists of five major islands and about 30 smaller ones. In total, there are over 17 000 islands in Indonesia, of which only about 6 000 are inhabited. The island of Taiwan, historically known as Formosa, makes up 99% of the country and was formed approximately 4 to 5 million years ago.

Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world, with over 17,000 islands. Picture by Nick Fewings

tropical climates and evergreen forests

Despite the fact that these two Asian countries are completely different sizes and situated in different areas of Asia, both countries possess a similar climate and landscape. Indonesia and Taiwan both have a highly mountainous landscape and the highest mountain in Indonesia reaches the altitude of over four thousand metres. Many of these mountains are actually active volcanoes. Almost two-thirds of Taiwan is covered by mountains with highest peaks of close to four thousand metres. Most of the mountains are also heavily forested. There are 13 active volcanoes in Taiwan and 127 in Indonesia.

Mount Agung is an active volcano in Bali and its highest point is close to three thousand metres. Picture by Mauro-Fabio Cilurzo

Taiwan and Indonesia both have tropical climates and evergreen rainforests and jungles. Taiwan’s climate is considered to be subtropical, expect for the very southern part of the island which is tropical. One of the centers of Indonesia is Bali, a paradise on earth and so calledLand of the Gods, which is the main tourist destination in Indonesia and attracts millions and millions of visitors each year. Bali is filled with beautiful beaches and picturesque rice fields.

There are beautiful paradise-like destinations in Taiwan as well such as Green Island where people go take a break from the hectic city life in Taipei. On the island you can for example go diving, take a dip in Taiwan’s one and only saltwater hot spring or even go hiking across the island on an ancient trail. One place worth mentioning is also the Taroko National Park and especially the Zhuilu Old Road with breathtaking views of nature and streams falling down the mountains. Taroko National Park is only one of the nine national parks in Taiwan.

 Add Zhuilu Old Road to your bucket list in Taiwan. Picture by Levi Wedge

You might also be interested in: What is it like to live and study in Taipei, Taiwan?

Perfect surfing spots

Indonesia, and especially Bali, is famous for its white sand beaches and epic surfing spots. Popular spots in Indonesia are the Balangan, Balian and Berawa beaches. Even though Taiwan may not have the same kind or reputation compared to Indonesia when it comes to surfing, it has been gaining more attention in the recent years and has become one of the hottest new surfing destinations.

One of the best and most accessible surfing spot in Taiwan is at Fulong Beach which is located in New Taipei City which is a part of the Taipei metropolitan area. Other destinations great for surfing are for example Waiao Beach in Yilan which is around one and a half hours away from Taipei and Jialeshui in Pingtung which is one of the most popular surfing spots in the south. There are also several awesome beaches for surfing in Taitung which is located in the Southeast coast of Taiwan. The waters remain fairly warm throughout the year so it is perfect for surfing all year around.

 Surfing in Taiwan is underrated. Picture by Chang Hsien

Comparing expenses

Indonesia and Taiwan might both be considered a fairly expensive destinations when it comes to Asia but compared to European countries, the prices still remain low. Indonesia has slowly been getting more expensive due to growing tourism. Food, transport and accommodation can still be inexpensive if you make smart choices and do your research. Taiwan is definitely more inexpensive than for example Hong Kong, Japan or South Korea but compared to Indonesia for example, the prices remain fairly similar.

You might also be interested in: How expensive is it to live in Bali?

studying in bali and taipei

Universities in Bali and Taipei are highly international and give you a chance to meet people from all around the world as well as build your network for the future career. The International Program offered by Udayana and Warmadewa Universities help you gain international experience but also boost your career and learn about the local life and culture. The Shih Chien University in Taipei is recognized as one of the pioneer universities in English Taught Programs (ETP) in Taiwan and welcomes students from all around the world.

You might also be interested in: Alumni Elina and Miika – “Without the exchange in Bali, we would never have met”

The universities in Taiwan and Indonesia work as a meeting place for all different cultures. Picture by LinkedIn

Did you know that via Asia Exchange, you can also do two semesters abroad and even combine studying in both of these amazing countries? Read more about it here.

Watch an interview about living and studying in Bali during the COVID-19 era.


The Indonesian and Taiwanese locals are both extremely friendly and helpful with the biggest smile on their faces. The Indonesian are proud of their history and culture and are passionate about sharing it with others.

Taiwan has been selected as one of the friendliest countries in the world. The locals love to make new friends and it is not uncommon for them to approach tourists just to have a chat. The Taiwanese are also very proud of their island.

A local fisherman crossing the lake Batur in Indonesia. Picture by Christoffer Zackrisson

Are you interested in studying in Asia? Take a look at our available study programs in Bali and Taipei.

Asia Exchange is a Finnish company providing study abroad opportunities inAsia Pacific for students from all around the world. Want to get travel tipsand new blog posts straight to your inbox? Subscribe to ourmonthly newsletter!If you have any questions about studyingabroad, feel free tocontact us!We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

This article was written by our communications intern, Sofia!