Today (November 5, 2018): Top 10 best things to see & do in Indonesia.
From beach and wildlife-focused escapes to journeys into the spiritual, cultural and adventure-fuelled unknown, Indonesia never fails to inspire. This magnificent Southeast Asian country comprises more than 17,000 islands scattered in the Pacific Ocean, with a landscape dominated by lush rainforests, steaming volcanoes and idyllic beaches. The sheer range of experiences that you can have in Indonesia is spellbinding and will live on as sweet memories long after your holiday in the island country. Here are 10 reasons why Indonesia should be your next holiday destination.
There is more information below the slideshow. Think I missed one? Share your favorite attraction in Indonesia in the comments section, or take my poll below!
Kalimantan is the Indonesian portion of the island of Borneo, comprising 73% of the island’s land mass (the other parts belong to Brunei and Malaysia). Kalimantan spells great adventures into its vast and legendary jungles, with an abundance of fascinating wildlife, magnificent natural landscape, enchanting well preserved traditional cultures, and a whole lot more amazing experiences. Within this pristine paradise something extraordinary always lies around the next bend, from the exotic primates deep in the thick jungles, the mysterious Dayak villages who retain age-old traditions and way of life, to pure boating thrills along its countless rivers. Not only inland, the splendors of Kalimantan also lie in its seas which are filled with countless amazing creatures, perfect for those who enjoy diving, snorkeling, and underwater photography.
Located not far from the Buddhist Borobodur temple (more on that below), Prambanan is a magnificent spectacle and an icon of Indonesia’s cultural heritage. Built in the 9th century , the biggest temple is dedicated to Shiva (the destroyer) and the two smaller ones – which sit on its right and left – are dedicated to Brahma (the creator) and Wisnhu (the sustainer). The tallest temple of Prambanan is a staggering 47 m (154 ft) high. Its towering peak is visible from far away and rises high above the ruins of the other temples. After hundreds of years of neglect, the Prambanan temple was rediscovered by CA Lons, a Dutchman, in 1733. Since then, this temple has been revitalized and today, it is widely regarded as the most beautiful and graceful Hindu temple in Indonesia. As a unique cultural and architectural marvel, Prambanan was declared a World Heritage site in 1991 by UNESCO.
With its height of 3,726 m (12224 ft), Mount Rinjani is the second highest volcano in Indonesia, looming over the lush landscape of the relatively small island of Lombok. The lower slopes of the mountain are quite heavily forested, while the landscape becomes barren and rugged with volcanic rock above the tree line. On the top of the volcano is an enormous caldera, which is filled partially by the crater lake known as Segara Anak or Anak Laut (Child of the Sea). The views of the crater lake are quite breath-taking from the caldera rim, especially ay the sunrise. Mount Rinjani is popular for trekking and the 3-day strenuous journey to the summit represents an epic travel experience (albeit not for novice hikers) . Rinjani’s recent earthquake (summer 2018) is a constant reminder of the powerful forces rumbling just beneath the surface of the earth.
One of the most biodiverse regions in the world, the jungle of Gunung Leuser National Park in Sumatra houses 130 mammal species, including the very rarely seen Sumatran tiger, rhino and elephant. The main reason that tourists flock to this corner of the world is that Gunung Leuser National Park is one of the last places on earth where you can see the critically endangered orangutans in the wild. Regarded as one of the most intelligent primates, these gentle beasts use a variety of sophisticated tools and have been extensively studied for their learning abilities. The small riverside town of Bukit Lawang, the usual point of start of all our tours, is considered one of the best gateways unto experiencing the many marvels of the Gunung Leuser National Park, and there’s something for everyone, ranging from half-day jungle excursions to see the ‘man of the jungle’ to multi-day trekking deep into the jungle’s heart.
Located between Java and Lombok, the Indonesian island of Bali – often called the Island of the Gods – is a world-acclaimed island paradise for a reason, although its popularity among tourists has taken its toll in certain areas. The varied volcanic landscape of rugged coastlines, sandy beaches, and verdant rice terraces provides a picturesque backdrop to Bali’s colourful, deeply spiritual and unique culture. There are innumerable temples, historical sites, and spots of natural beauty spread across Bali’s eight regencies. And you won’t have to compromise on comfort while exploring the island since Bali’s five-star resorts rank amongst the most exclusive in the world, with most of them located in Nusa Dua, Seminyak and Ubud. Ubud’s hotels cater to those who prefer spas and cultural pursuits, while surfing and other beach activities can be found at the sophisticated beachfront communities of Nusa Dua and Seminyak.
The remote Wayag Island is located in the West Waigeo area of the Raja Ampat Islands, northwest of the large island of Papua. The island is known for its beautiful atolls and amazing underwater life, covering a total area of 155,000 hectares, about 383,013.3 acres. Here, you find pristine beaches with unique Karst islands that look like mushrooms sprouting out from the sea. Along these beaches, you can see fairy tale tropical panoramas, more captivating than Leonardo DiCaprio’s getaway in the movie “The Beach”. The crystal clear waters around Wayag Island appear like unreal windows to various types of flora and fauna that live underwater and are popular among divers. Liveaboards are the best choice to explore the island, especially for travelers with a love for adventure and romance.
Aman is the world’s most exclusive hotel brand, and some of the first Aman resorts were built in Indonesia, offering the discerning traveler the option to explore Indonesia’s extraordinary natural, spiritual and cultural diversity at no less than five highly recommended Aman destinations. With Aman, you can venture through water temples and cascading rice paddies, dive into vibrant coral reefs, experience the Buddhist sanctuary of Borobudu, or set sail to the Komodo Islands and Raja Ampat. These are Aman’s five properties in Indonesia (and when you book a combined journey, you often get a discount or free perks such as complimentary transfers):
- Amanjiwo: a superb hotel located in the cultural heartland of Java near the world-famous temple complex of Borobodur.
- Amankila: a secluded seaside resort on Beali’s eastern coast, overlooking the Lombok Strait.
- Amandari: a rainforest sanctuary near the village of Ubud in Bali’s cooler mountain area.
- Aman Villas at Nusa Dua: a peaceful retreats located on Bali’s southernmost peninsula
- Amanwana: a tented camp on the serene nature reserve of Moyo Island.
Located in central Java, Borobodur is the world’s largest Buddhist temple and a UNESCO world heritage site. The temple consists of nine stacked platforms, six square and three circular, topped by a central dome and 72 Buddha statues, each seated inside a perforated stupa. Built in the 9th century during the reign of the Syailendra dynasty, the temple’s design in Gupta architecture reflects India’s influence on the region, yet there are enough indigenous scenes and elements incorporated to make Borobudur uniquely Indonesian. Set in the heart of the verdant Kedu Plain, the backdrop of mighty active volcanoes only enhances the sense of awe and drama. As well as being the single most popular tourist attraction in Indonesia, Borobudur remains an important place of worship and pilgrimage.
Komodo National Park – one of the world’s greatest natural treasures – is located in the center of the Indonesian archipelago, between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores. Established in 1980, initially the main purpose of the park was to conserve the unique Komodo dragon and its habitat (more than 5000 dragons call this park their home). In 1986, the park was declared a World Heritage Site and a Man and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, both indications of the park’s biological importance. As well as being home to the Komodo dragon, the park provides refuge for many other notable terrestrial species such as the orange-footed scrub fowl, an endemic rat, and the Timor deer. Although the dragons are the main attraction, the natural spectacle of Komodo National Park goes beyond those dangerous lizards, with magnificent beaches, crystal clear water, great hiking, and colored corals.
With a height of 2329 m (7641 ft), Mount Bromo is relatively small when measured against other volcanoes in Indonesia, but the mountain does not disappoint with its spectacular views and dramatic landscapes. Still one of the world’s most active volcanos, Mount Bromo is easily recognized as the entire top has been blown off and the crater inside constantly belches white sulphurous smoke. Bromo sits majestically inside the massive Tengger caldera (a volcanic crater with a diameter of approximately 6 mi or 10 km) and is surrounded by a vast mass of fine volcanic sand. The overall effect is unsettlingly unearthly, and this breathtaking and ethereal landscape has been swooned by many travelers, who mostly hike up or drive to nearby Mount Penanjakan in time to catch the sunrise over Mount Bromo.