Tired of the same old routine? Is your surfboard calling your name? We’ve got you covered.
If you love travelling and are drowning in the monotony of your day-to-day itinerary, you need a break.
If you want a change of scenery, there’s a place you have to consider.
Many believe Indonesia, The “Emerald of the Equator”, is Heaven on Earth.
There is plenty to experience: from the ever-popular Bali, the dragons of Komodo, the beautiful Raja Amput, and everything in between.
We hope this guide will give you some ideas for your next trip.
1) Four must-see Destinations, Essentials to your Adventure
You really can’t visit Indonesia without hitting these spots.
They’re all different in their own way, but they have something in common. Unforgettable experiences.
What are you looking for? Spiritual retreats? Active volcanoes? Natural wonders? The stuff of fairytales?
Hopefully, below, we’ll give you a sense of what you can expect to see in these four exciting destinations.
1. Explore Bali, Embrace the Culture
Tripadvisor ranked Bali the number one place to visit in 2021.
It isn’t hard to understand why.
Water temples, museums, nature hikes, there’s so much to do and fitting it all in one trip is tough.
If you manage to visit all these sites on your Bali trip, you’ll leave satisfied.
The Ubud Forest, A Spiritual Sanctuary
The Ubud Monkey Forest is home to over 700 long-tailed macaques. They get many visitors, so they’re used to humans. You can interact with them; they are mostly friendly but are still wild animals. Don’t be upset if they steal your sunglasses.
Goa Gajah, An Homage to Hinduism
Goa Gajah, also known as Bali’s Elephant Cave, was a sanctuary for Hindu priests. The rock carvings at the front of the cave are immaculate. You’ll enter through what looks like the mouth of a menacing creature. Come out at the other end, and you’ll find several Hindu sculptures. A site with rich history, visitors can even meditate here if they’d like.
Tegallang Rice Terrace, Green as far as the Eye can See
If you’re looking for the perfect background for your Bali trip picture, look no further. This beautiful terrace results from Bali’s centuries-old irrigation system, creating some gorgeous terraced landscapes.
Tanah Lot, An Iconic Ocean Temple
The Tanah Lot Temple is one of Bali’s most important monuments, origins in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. It’s built on a coral rock; erosion has separated it from Bali. Perched at the top is an ancient Hindu shrine dedicated to the gods of the sea. Another picturesque landmark, the waves crashing against the rock, make for a grand setting.
2. Experience Java, Discover the History
Java is a hot destination, literally, and it has over 40 active volcanoes on the island.
In all seriousness, Java is perfect for you history buffs.
Who wouldn’t want more answers about where we came from?
And yeah, if you’re into views from high peaks and an adrenaline junkie, Java will fulfil those needs.
Borobudur and Prambanan, The Epitome of Majestic
You can visit these two magnificent temples in one day because of their close proximity to Yogyakarta.
A temple 2,500 meters square, Borobudur is the largest Buddhist temple globally. None can match its stonework; the structure was built without cement or mortar. It’s a temple built by huge stones, an impressive design.
Prambanan is the largest temple representing Java’s Hindu culture. It’s still undergoing reconstruction, but that doesn’t make it any less stunning. The highest courtyard consists of several shrines, each with exquisite carvings and relics inside them.
Sangiran Early Man Site, A Peek into the Past
Want to learn more about our ancestors? Take a trip to Central Java, the Sangiran Early Man Site. Listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, the Sangiran Early Man museum holds human fossils dating back at least 1.5 million years.
Mount Bromo, Best Sunrise Ever?
Sunrise at the top of an active crater? Scary or thrilling? Probably both. Visitors in Java must take a trip to Bromo and tour the mountain. The hike is easy, and every tour starts with the famous sunrise. Then you’ll hit all the viewpoints along the crater and enjoy the unreal scenery.
Kawah Ijen Volcano, A Blue Fire Lake? Yea right
Not kidding. You’ll need a gas mask here because the Kawah Ijen volcano produces blue fire from its sulphur deposits, and sometimes these gases are toxic. The blue fire burns all day, but it can only be seen in the dark. Organise a sunrise tour to the summit and witness the streams of blue flames flowing down the slopes.
3. Feel Sumatra, Connect with Nature
It’s hard to single out one place as the most beautiful in Indonesia; it’s beautiful everywhere.
But Sumatra is really in a league of its own.
Does being at one with nature fulfil you? Do you want to feel like you’re on the set of a National Geographic documentary?
Sumatra is no joke, nature at its finest.
Rainforests of Sumatra, A Tropical Paradise
The rainforests of Sumatra host over 200 species of mammals, 580 birds, and 300 species of reptiles and amphibians. Tigers, rhinos and elephants reside in Gunung Leuser National Park. The park is one of two places where you can still see orangutans in the wild. Orangutans, the “People of the Forest”, also live in the Kalimantan rainforest in Borneo.
Lake Toba, Think Jurassic Park
Lake Toba is the largest volcanic lake in the world. Spectacular is an understatement when describing the views you’ll experience. Waterfalls, green-topped mountains, still waters. Take a boat tour and see the island’s true magnificence.
4. Behold Komodo, Marvel of Nature
Why would you come all the way to Indonesia and not witness what you thought was make-believe?
Not quite Godzilla but still king of the lizards.
Apart from the Dragons, Komodo has some surreal landscapes that you need to see for yourself.
Komodo National Park, Kingdom of the Dragon
A real-life dragon? These giant lizards can weigh over 150 pounds total grown, and they hunt the island’s deer, water buffalo and boar. If you’re hoping to see them, this is the only place on Earth where you can.
All Satalibo and Regata Hill, Don’t Miss Out on the View
Avid hikers cannot visit Komodo Island and miss these mountain peaks. Hike to the top of each and savour the views of the island. They are incredible.
2) Who’s hungry? Taste Indonesia through Four Delicious Food Types
They say the best way to experience a new culture is through your stomach.
We agree, which is why we implore you to hit the streets.
Bring your appetite. Keep an open mind. You won’t regret it.
Oh and, we hope you’re a fan of spicy food.
1. Staples, Find these on Every Corner
Nasi Goreng translates to”fried rice” and is one of Indonesia’s fundamental meals. You can find this popular dish on the streets and in restaurants, cooked in large woks. Nasi Goreng is usually accompanied with onions, garlic, chilli, egg and seasoning. Cheap and delicious, not a bad combo.
In Indonesia, “mie” means noodles. Like rice, it’s a standard in Indonesian cuisine. Depending on where you are, you could be having that place’s iteration of mie. It comes in all shapes and sizes. Boiled or fried, you’ll enjoy this quick and easy Indonesian staple.
2. Vegetarians, We’ve thought about You Too
Meat dishes are plentiful in Indonesia. Looking for a vegetarian option? Gado-Gado is the one. Crunchy beansprouts with a spicy peanut sauce. Gado-Gado is a tasty option with fresh ingredients, including tofu, tempeh, boiled potato and boiled egg.
3. Seafood, Does it get any more Fresh?
Indonesian seafood is up there with the best. It has to be, right? All that access to the ocean. It’s definitely a speciality; all different types of fish find themselves on dinner plates. Fresh out of the sea, they’re served with flavorful spices and sauces.
4. Delicacies, Prepare your Tastebuds
Now we’re packing on the calories. If you’re ready for some cheat meal deliciousness, then you’ve got to try Martabak. Butter, egg, and batter are made into a pancake aberration. Nuts, cookies or Toblerone are added, then folded in half. In the end, it looks like a gooey sponge cake with an unmistakable chocolate interior.
Want to try something out of the ordinary? Durian is Indonesia’s wildcard, a spiky fruit polarising to those who try it. The taste has been described as sweet, savoury and bitter, with a custard undertone and a butter-like consistency. It sounds absurd, but don’t knock it til’ you try it!
3) Five Events you Can’t-Miss, Nothing Like you’ve Ever Seen Before
As you can tell, Indonesia is rich in culture. You’ve enjoyed it so far, but you want to see some traditions. You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for jaw-dropping performances.
When you return home and tell the stories of your trip, these events will be first in line.
1. Nyepi Festival
A day of nothingness, activities cease, everyone stays indoors and practices complete silence. The Nyepi Festival celebrates the Saka New Year in March, known as the Day of Silence. If you’re looking to experience one of the most sacred Balinese traditions, try the Nyepi Festival.
For the people of Sumba, Pasola is the most significant event on the calendar. This event is held in February and March; it’s an acted out battle between tribes. The tribesmen ride horseback and launch spears, all clad in traditional Ikat attire. Visitors can watch this glimpse back into the history of the Sumba people.
3. Solo Batik Carnival
Held in July every year, the streets of central Java are filled with dance and colour. The Solo Batik Carnival celebrates the artistry of Indonesia. The best batik makers show off their work at this carnival, where models parade around in their clothes essential. A vibrant event.
4. Bau Nyale Fishing Festival
Every year, in February and March, hundreds of people visit Lombok to try and catch this sea-worm (Nyale). There is a legend that says a mythical Princess drowned in the waters of Lombok trying to escape an arranged marriage. It is believed women who eat the Nyale will become as beautiful as the Princess.
5. Bidar Boat Race
The Bidar Boat Race is in Palembang, South Sumatra, celebrated alongside Indonesian Independence Day. The boats are worked on all year to be ready for this race, and they can reach lengths of 20-30 feet. Around 70 racers compete in this event, and watching them on the Sungai Musi is quite the spectacle.
4) Last but certainly not least, Seven Top Spots for Beachgoers
I mean, it’s called the “Land of a Thousand Islands”.
We know some of you will come to Indonesia just for the beaches, and we don’t blame you at all. It’s got something for all types of beach lovers.
Surfers, divers, snorkelers, anyone who appreciates the shore, come on over.
We’ve compiled a list of seven spots to try out Indonesia’s most magnetic attraction.
1. Bali again, we already told you: It’s got Everything
Stretching 5km long, Kuta Beach is one of Bali’s top tourist spots. An excellent beach for surfing, swimming and sunbathing, Kuta Beach is well maintained and usually quite busy. Enjoy a light lunch at one of the nearby cafes and relax at this pristine coastline.
If you’re looking for more upscale and boujeé, Seminyak is your best bet. You’ll find high-fashion boutiques, well-established restaurants, and resorts. Of course, the beach itself is pearly white and stretches 3km. It’s also a great surfing destination. You’ll find many shops along the stretch where you can rent a surfboard.
Feeling adventurous? You can play it safe by going to the well-known Bali beaches. Or you can hunt for smaller hidden beaches and claim them for yourself. Get on a scooter and prepare to climb down some steps. You’ll find plenty of charming beaches around the island, more peaceful than its tourist hotspots.
Just 20km off the southeast shoreline of mainland Bali are the Nusa Islands, Lembongan, Penida and Ceningan. Divers and snorkelers will love the visibility in these waters. Wear some reef shoes while exploring the rocky formations and search for the many quaint, small coves and beaches.
2. Lombok, For some Slow Living
Snorkelling and diving are popular here. Go spot some sea turtles. Another popular activity on the Gili Islands is stand-up paddling. Don’t worry, it’s not hard to learn. When you do, you’ll have the freedom to roam the clear blue waters. Find the Gili Swings. All three islands have them. A picture on these is the perfect Instagram post. Your followers will despise you.
3. Jakarta, Help with Conservation Efforts
Over-water bungalows, underwater tunnels, that’s the Thousand Islands. Like many of Indonesia’s islands, snorkelling is popular here. Any sea turtle fans? There is a breeding and conservation centre you can visit. Learn more about the turtles and even guide them back into the wild. Any shark fans? Shark conservation is essential here. You can swim with families of sharks and maybe quell any phobias.
4. Borneo, It’s got the Most Peculiar Lake
Yes, that’s right, a lake filled with jellyfish but don’t worry, they’re stingless. A unique lake on Kakaban Island is home to four species of jellyfish. You can swim with them, play with them in between your palms, and they’ll bounce off your fingers, a truly unique experience.
5. Sulawesi, Sea Turtles Galore
Bunaken National Park
This location is one of the most famous diving spots worldwide. The water is warm (28 degrees Celcius throughout the year), and the visibility is clear (30 metres). Colourful coral reefs, fish aplenty, it’s perfect if you want to see turtles too. Expect to see three to four turtles while diving or snorkelling. Arrange a boat trip to find a pod of dolphins. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll spot a whale.
6. West Papua, A Marine Animal Medley
It’s a destination known worldwide for its serene beauty. About 75% of the world’s coral species can be found here. Snorkelling and diving are a must. Cliff jumping into the clear blue water is also popular here. Swim with dolphins at Manta Ridge, go deeper to see the rays.
7. Komodo, Scuba Divers Assemble
Famous for the Dragon, but there is just as much wildlife in the water. There are numerous dive sites in Komodo. So many that you’ll often feel like you’re the only one there. The current isn’t the most gentle. Hopefully, you’ll have some experience under your belt. You might come across tuna, barracuda, reef sharks, but you will definitely meet some turtles and manta rays.
Pretty Amazing, Right?
As you can tell, Indonesia is a trip you’ll probably never forget. It needs to be on your bucket list if you’re a true traveller. We couldn’t recommend it more.
I think you’d agree we’re not exaggerating when we say this trip is one of a kind.
Check your calendar, make some plans and come back to this guide.
Indonesia awaits. 😎
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