Indonesia is the largest island nation in the world and has more than 17,000 islands which are packed with surprises. Its pristine beaches, volcanic landscapes and colorful corals make way for a great adventure! Beyond its natural beauty, Indonesia also houses a multitude of cultural and religious landmarks which stand testimony to its rich diversity.
The island of Java is home to the country’s capital Jakarta – one of Asia’s greatest metropolises with a fusion of Javanese, Malay, Chinese, Arab, Indian and European cultures. Known for its top-notch food, vibrant nightlife and coffee culture, Jakarta is Indonesia’s commercial and political hub. The city’s main attractions are Taman Mini Indonesia Indah – a 100-hectare park with traditional houses representing the provinces of the country, National Monument – a 132m tower marking Indonesia’s independence, National Museum and Merdeka Square – one of the largest squares in the world.
Java is also home to the 9th-century UNESCO certified Borobudur temple which is the world’s largest Buddhist temple and is located near the historic city of Yogyakarta.
It would be almost criminal to miss the scenic hike up the volcanic Mount Bromo in East Java, which stands 2,239 meters high. It comes under the Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park and is surrounded by fine volcanic sand, known as the ‘Sea of Sand’.
Bali is the most popular island in Indonesia and has become synonymous with Indonesia itself. Home to over 20,000 temples, Bali justifies its nickname “the island of the Gods”. Hindu temples like Uluwatu and Ulun Danu, and the former royal palace Tirtagangga are major highlights. The town of Ubud in the centre of the island is where you can experience the real Balinese culture. Here, beautiful rice terraces like Tegallalang are complemented by pristine rainforests and such places are often hubs of traditional crafts and dances which are true treats for the eyes and the soul.
Gunung Batur in northern Bali is an active volcano and offers a thrilling mountain climbing adventure. Bali offers plenty of pristine beaches with various water sports and you can find the best of them in Jimbaran, Kuta and Bukit Peninsula. Kuta and Seminyak are the best resort towns with numerous shops, vibrant nightlife and amazing cuisine. A 40-minute boat ride from Bali will land you in the beautiful Nusa Lembongan – a group of three islands, which are great for diving and snorkeling.
Divided into two regions (east and west), the island group of Nusa Tenggara is located east of Bali and features great diving and snorkeling, traditional villages, beaches, volcanic lakes, hot springs and waterfalls. Since the island group is home to various tribes, cultural and traditional diversity is prevalent. The Komodo National Park spread across multiple islands is a great hiking destination and the only place in the world to see Komodo Dragons – the world’s largest lizard. Some of Nusa Tenggara’s most popular islands are Padar, Rinca, and Lombok, along with Gilli and Flores island group.
Located north of Nusa Tenggara, Sulawesi island is known for its mountainous and thick jungle landscapes where ancient cultures exist alongside rare wildlife. You can spot its unique endemic species like the cuscus bear, maleo birds and anoa. With its uniquely painted houses with boat-shaped roofs and strange funeral rituals, Tana Toraja and its Toraja people reflect the tradition and culture of the Sulawesi island. Adding to this, the island offers outdoor activities like trekking, cycling and motorbiking. Togean Islands in central Sulawesi are known for their remote beaches and diving and Pulau Bunaken, a small isle in north Sulawesi, features exceptional coral reefs and diverse marine life.
Ten small volcanic islands make up the Banda Islands, one of the country’s best destinations. On land, you will find ancient temples, historic forts and massive volcanic peaks to hike up to and underwater, you will discover enchanting corals that have grown over lava and a rich marine life including spinner dolphins and whales.
Raja Ampat island group in Papua Islands is famed for its world-class coral reefs and diverse marine life. You will discover hidden lagoons, caves and ancient rock paintings in this archipelago of over 1500 islands. The verdant Baliem Valley is the most accessible location in Papua. Learning about the traditions of the indigenous Dani people and hiking or trekking through the mountainous landscape of the valley are memorable experiences.
It is truly challenging to cover all the amazing features of this diverse country in a few words. Blessed with an abundance of natural and cultural wealth, great outdoor adventures and underwater experiences, Indonesia is a delight to explore.
Made up of over 17,000 islands, Indonesia is the largest island nation in the world.