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"With its incredible natural beauty and crushing social problems, Southern Asia offers a unique mix of paradise and hell."

Generally portrayed as that chain of islands, roughly a dozen large and a gazillion smaller ones, between the Far East and the Land Down Under, Indonesia is a country that works as a more exotic version of India because not too much is known about it in the English/US-centered part of the world; as it was a Dutch colony until 1945 it's way better known in the Netherlands. Want a story with modern day cannibals? Exotic rites with components of magic? Delicious, but mouth- and ass-burning cuisine? Set it in Indonesia. Sea monsters, modern day pirates, volcanoes, and more can all be found in this tropical island chain. One thing is for certain — the area is lousy with tigers and treasure. Oh, and Komodo dragons.


Expect half of the local wildlife to inexplicably be African or South American in origin, and to encounter cannibals and cargo cults.

A subtrope of Tropical Island Adventure. Compare Holiday in Cambodia, which is a little further north and skipping Singapore, Brunei and Malaysia, Welcome to the Caribbean, Mon!, for the general portrayal of the West Indies, and Hula and Luaus, for the general portrayal of another famous tropical island chain in the Pacific.



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     Comic Books  

  • The Tintin story Flight 714 takes place in "Sondonesia". No cannibals or tigers, but there is a jungle island featuring an active volcano, mysterious ruins, and Komodo dragons.

  • In the Discworld, the islands of Sumtrinote  are the canonical equivalent of Indonesia. A.A. Pessimal speculated that these were colonised by people from Sto Kerrig during their period of colonial expansion.


  • Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid is set in Borneo, but apparently missed the fact that anacondas live in South America. Borneo has its own big constrictor snakes, but they're pythons, not anacondas.
  • The Lost World of Skull Island in King Kong is said to be somewhere in the East Indies, riffing on the then-recent discovery of the Komodo dragon (the island of Komodo is in Indonesia). On the other hand, the native islanders are played by black actors and Kong himself looks more like a gorilla than an orangutan, so a lot of tropes and stereotypes from other "jungle" regions are in effect here too.
    • Kong: Skull Island might be the first movie to put the titular island in a more specifically south-east Asian environment, casting ethnically-appropriate actors as the native Iwi people and tying the outsider characters to World War II's Pacific Theatre and The Vietnam War. It was also shot mostly in Vietnam, and has a lot of the iconography of a 'Nam movie like Apocalypse Now or Platoon.
  • Kontrabando has the Real Life Sulu, an island in the far south of the Philippines and near to Borneo, and actually shows local Sulu nobility (possibly even royalty), and some of their traditionally Malay-based Islamic culture.
  • Generally averted in the many Indonesian martial arts/action movies that came out in the wake of The Raid - including The Raid 2: Berandal, The Night Comes for Us, and Headshot - where Indonesia, and especially its capital of Jakarta, are depicted as modern nations with modern cities and modern problems, including crime, poverty, and corruption. Aside from the fact that they showcase the Indonesian martial art of pencak silat, these movies could have been set in any country and they'd work just as well. The Raid is also notable for showing its hero to be a Muslim, as most Indonesians are.
    • The Raid's predecessor, Merantau, has a little bit more of this trope, however, as the hero is an outsider to Jakarta, being from a more rural area of western Sumatra, brought to the big city by the traditional Minangkabau practice of merantau (when a young man leaves his home town to gain experience of the outside world as a rite of passage). The villains of the movie run a human trafficking ring - a common trope in Holiday in Cambodia-type stories - although in a twist on western fears of the east, the human traffickers are Americans, and the only white characters in an otherwise all-Indonesian cast. The director, Gareth Huw Evans, is a Welshman who had recently moved to Indonesia when he made the movie, and was fascinated with its culture.
  • The Year of Living Dangerously is about Western reporters covering the 1965 civil war in Indonesia (also: Film).



  • The Swiss Family Robinson is the ur-example of this.
  • The original Dream Park book's role playing game subplot is set in this version of this setting.
  • Several of Willard Price's Adventure novels are set in this area.
  • In the Discworld, the islands of Sumtrinote  are the equivalent of Indonesia.
  • Max Havelaar by Multatuli (ps. of Eduard Douwes Dekker) and De Stille Kracht (The Silent Force) by Louis Couperus are two of the better-known Dutch literary works set in what was then called Dutch East India. Max Havelaar has been made into a film; De Stille Kracht into a TV-series.
  • The Laguna Copperplate Inscription, a nonfictional document detailing a royal debt-relief grant, was issued by the Kingdom of Tondo—a precolonial kingdom set in the would-be Philippines, but several centuries before Spanish colonisation. The gold-bejewelled, animist/Indianised cultures that existed at the time the document was issued bore a strong resemblance to their counterparts in the modern-day Indonesia.

     Live Action TV  

  • The Filipino series Amaya counts, as it largely focuses on the precolonial kingdoms and societies that inhabited the Philippine archipelago prior to Spanish rule; in precolonial times the pre-Filipino cultures shared many traits with the larger kingdoms in the Indonesian islands.
  • Indio is set slightly later than Amaya, involving the same native Philippine societies now adjusting to early Spanish colonial rule, but a bit before their wholesale cultural and religious transformation into an Asian Latin Land.


  • The Sultan of Sulu is set in the southern Philippines at the turn of the 20th century, but Sulu partly counts, as it had largely escaped the 300+ years of Spanish rule that drastically changed culture in the rest of the country, and as a result had remained a Muslim kingdom up to that point, resembling its counterparts in modern-day Malaysia and Indonesia much more than it did the rest of the Catholic Philippines (which, in turn, is more a combination of this, Latin Land, and Holiday in Cambodia).

     Video Games  

     Web Original  

     Western Animation  

  • A short arc at the beginning of S3 of Archer has Archer get kidnapped by Ruthless Modern Pirates speaking an Indonesian-sounding language (and their bearded, nerdy white interpreter), and taking him back to their fort, where he then becomes pirate king, while his coworkers try to extract him.
  • The third episode overall of Carmen Sandiego takes Carmen and her two thief friends to Java in Indonesia, where they foil a VILE plot to contaminate local rice supplies and corner local markets with their own rice exports. Naturally, being a franchise founded on geographical education, it's more accurate than other examples on this list, and features the local tradition of Wayang shadow puppetry.