The Republic of Indonesia is the largest country in Southeast Asia in terms of land area. The country has a maximum east-to-west dimension of about 3,200 miles. The republic is a collection of islands that spans a distance up to one-eighth of the earth’s circumference along the Equator. The country is also one of the most populated in the world.
Interestingly, the most populated cities are not the largest cities in Indonesia in terms of their landmass. This means the population density is high in many of the major cities of Indonesia. The following are some of the largest Indonesian cities.
Bogor Regency — 1,153 Square Miles
With a land mass of 1,153 square miles (2,986 square km), this regency is top on the list of largest cities in Indonesia. It has a population of over five million people. The regency is located in the western part of Java Island. It is a landlocked city bordered by the Tangerang Regency north and the Sukabumi Regency south.
The Bogor Regency is one of Indonesia’s biggest tourist centers. The city draws tourists to major tourist sites like the Pangandaran national park and the Warso Durian Farm. Tamansari district, located in Bogor Regency, has three waterfalls, which are popular tourist destinations in this part of the country.
Palangkaraya — 1,102 Square Miles
Palangkaraya is one of the largest cities in Indonesia, with a landmass of 1,102 square miles (2,853 square km). The city is in the Central Kalimantan Province, on the western side of River Kahayan on Borneo Island. Palangkaraya is up to four times as large as Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia. Yet, it only had a population of 281,096 as of 2019.
Palangkaraya has large areas of the city with dense masses of trees, forests, and nature reserves. There are also several tourist attractions in the city. They include the Balanga museum, the Kahayan bridge, and the Sebangau National Park.
Dumai — 666.9 Square Miles
Dumai is a port town in Indonesia. This makes it an important center for trade and transport in the country and internationally. It is a major ferry port through which commercial goods are transported to Malaysian cities like Port Klang and Malacca. The city is also linked to other cities in Indonesia, like Batam and Bengkalis. There is a domestic airport in Dumai named Pinang Kampai Airport, which further boosts the commercial relevance of the city.
Dumai is also an oil-rich city. It covers a total land area of 666.9 square miles (1,727 square km) and has a population of 316,782 people as of 2020. Dumai is located in the Riau province of Indonesia on Sumatra Island. The area has a typical tropical rainforest climate. Although Dumai is not a popular tourist city, many tourists trying to get to other Indonesian and Malaysian cities often pass through the city.
Batam — 615.8 Square Miles
Batam is one of Indonesia’s major cities located in the Riau Islands province. The city has a land area of 615.8 square miles (1,595 square km). It is one of Indonesia’s most densely populated cities, with more than 1,196,000 residents. Administratively, the city also covers Rempang, Galang, and other smaller islands.
Batam’s location is close to some of Indonesia’s major cities. The city is just 25 km away from Johor and 20 km away from Singapore. Batam’s most famous tourist centers include the Tua Pek Kong Temple and the Barelang Bridge. Many tourists also visit Batam for kayaking, surfing, and jet skiing. Batam has a ship repair industry and is a major part of Indonesia’s oil sector.
Jayapura — 362.9 Square Miles
The city of Jayapura is the largest in the Papua province of Indonesia. It is also the province’s capital and is divided into five political districts. Jayapura, previously known as “Hollandia,” is located on Yos Sudarso Bay in the northern region of New Guinea Island, eastern Indonesia.
The city covers a land area of 362.9 square miles (940 square km) with a population of 398,478 people. Interestingly, only 30% of this city’s land mass is inhabited by people. The rest is still largely forested. The northern area has several mountain ranges, while the south comprises wetlands. Jayapura serves as both a major trade center and a seaport.
Tanjung Pinang — 313.8 Square Miles
The capital of the Riau Islands province, Tanjung Pinang, has a land area of 313.8 square miles (812.7 square km). It ranks as the second largest city in the province after Batam. The city is located along the southwest region of Bintan Island. It is a haven for seafood, offering a mix of Chinese and Indonesian delicacies.
Tanjung Pinang has a diverse ethnic population. The Malays, Sumantrans, Bugis, Banjars, and Javas make up the population of 227,663 residents in the area. There are several islands and religious sites in this region. A few that attract numerous tourists include Penyengat Island and the ruins of old Raja Ali’s palace.
Padang — 268.3 Square Miles
The city of Padang is between the famous Minangkabau hills and the Indian ocean. Padang is the capital of the west Sumatra province. It has a land area of 268.3 square miles (695 square km) and has more than a million residents. This makes it the most populous city on the west coast of Sumatra and Indonesia’s 16th most populous city. The city’s relevance as a major center of trade and commerce dates back to the precolonial era when it hosted a thriving gold and pepper market.
Because Padang is situated in a major seismic zone, the city frequently experiences tremors. However, this does not affect the city’s status as a major tourist center. Pedang offers great transportation options, connecting visitors to major tourist attractions. Some top sites include the Mentawai Islands, Kerinci Highlands, and Bukittinggi.
Jakarta — 255.4 Square Miles
Jakarta is Indonesia’s capital city, with a land area of only 255.4 square miles (661.5 square km). Interestingly, it is the most populated city in the country, with up to 10.56 million people living there! Jakarta also holds the title of the most populated city in Southeast Asia. The city is Indonesia’s center of trade, political power, and national finance.
Jakarta’s rich history dates back to the 4th century, when it was established as a major trading port for the ancient Sunda Kingdom. Today, the city’s highly diverse population includes people from different tribes and various countries, including the Javanese, Sumantras, Arabs, Indians, Europeans, and Americans. It is located in the northwest region of Java island. Jakarta is a big metropolis and is often called “the city that never sleeps.”
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- World Atlas, Available here: https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/biggest-cities-in-indonesia.html
- Statista, Available here: https://www.statista.com/statistics/319196/largest-cities-in-indonesia/
- Britannica, Available here: https://www.britannica.com/place/Indonesia