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Indonesia Travel Guide Contents

At a glance

Indonesia, a beautiful island country considered one of the most popular in Southeast Asia. This archipelago of about 17,000 is a fascinating mosaic of cultures, religions and traditions. More than 230 million people in Indonesia are about three hundred ethnic groups who speak several hundred languages, but all have a common feature –they are genuinely friendly.

Quick facts

  • Capital: Jakarta
  • Language: Indonesian
  • Currency: Indonesian rupiah
  • Population: 258 705 000
  • Area: 1,910,931 km2

What you did not know about Indonesia:

  • Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world. In its territory, there are 17508 islands, of which over 6000 are uninhabited!
  • It has more than 300 different ethnic groups with 742 languages and dialects.
  • Indonesia is in the so-called. “Circle of Fire” – in the area of the contact of two tectonic plates, which makes the whole region extremely active tectonic and volcanic. There are 150 active volcanoes in Indonesia.
  • The country has the fourth largest population in the world, with 240 million people living in it. More than half of them – 160 million, live on one island – Java, making it the most populated island in the world.
  • The main religion is Islam, 86%

Best things to do in Indonesia

Kaleidoscope of Islands

And if you could move from island to island and admire the other views as in kaleidoscope? To see a few different landscapes diverse in their beauty, culture, charm, and history? Visit Tabanan, one of the most beautiful areas of Bali, discover the village of Sumba hills formerly known as Sandal Island, and in the small Timor-Leste region, learn about the cultural heritage and nature of one of the youngest countries in the world.

It is worth to go to less popular tourist spots, and also to see traditional villages where life goes on for years with the same rhythm, and the tribal culture of the locals is still alive. A visit to Wae Rebo on the island of Flores is certainly worth the many hours of trekking. And during the break between sightseeing, you can plan a rest on the wild beaches, admire the fabulous sunset and rice fields, in the evening take part in the show of sensual Kecak dance.

komodo national park indonesia

For adventurous travelers

One of the biggest attractions in Indonesia are about 150 volcanos. Take a jeep trip, a downhill ride to the caldera of the Tengger Volcano, and then across the Sea of Sand to the place where you can ride a horse on the edge of the Bromo Volcano. Adventure seekers will also enjoy a trip to Rinca Island, which is best to combine with trekking in search of … Komodo dragons, large species of lizard. In the vicinity of the island, you can admire the fabulous colorful and diverse underwater world, diving in the crystal clear waters near the Pink Beach.

Full of aroma Spice Islands

During a trip to Indonesia, you can go to an unforgettable Maluku, the Spice Islands. The views are breathtaking! Since the 14th it was a source of clover and nutmeg, spices highly valued for aroma and preservative ability. The central islands – Pulau Neira and Pulau Banda Besar (the great nutmeg island) – curl in picturesque crescents around a pocket-sized tropical Mt Fuji (Gunung Api, 656m).

At Maluku you will also discover beautiful tropical atolls and rich coral reef – one of the most beautiful is located on the island of Hatta. Relax on the paradise beaches – Pinu Kota and Liang – home to the most beautiful sunsets, white-sand beaches, swaying palm trees, amazing snorkeling. It really is a true tropical Paradise.

Where to go in Indonesia

Lombok, the island of Thousands of Mosques

Lombok is an Indonesian island located east of Bali. It is a quiet and not commercialized island known for its beautiful nature, sea pearls and thousand mosques. Religious Sasak Muslims proudly call Lombok an island of a thousand mosques. Is there really thousands of them on the island? No one has counted, but the fact is that large, two-level mosques of refined shapes can be found at every step even among the poorest villages in mountainous barren regions.

lombok remarkable scenery

Rich cultural heritage

The Muslim tradition of Lombok has its origins in the 16th century, when the native inhabitants, the Sasak people were converted to Islam. In the southern part of the island, you can admire the exceptionally interesting architecture of their traditional settlement. Pile-built, bonnet-rice barns known as lumbung are the pride of Sasak vernacular architecture.

Trekking and surfing

Apart from cultural richness, Lombok seems to be a magnet for active leisure lovers. The island in many respects aspires to the level of diversity offered by Bali. Due to its natural and geographical conditions, Lombok has the most to offer amateurs of surfing and mountain trekking. There is the second highest Indonesian volcano (Mount Rinjani), which rises to an altitude of 3726 meters. Although Rinjani is still far away from the Himalayan peaks, can really knock around climbing enthusiast. Within the administrative boundaries of the island is the most famous and medial mini-archipelago of three islets known as the Gili Islands.

beach on lombok indonesia

How to get to Lombok

In Lombok, there is an airport with connections to many cities in Indonesia. You can also take a ferry from Bali to Lembar port and from Sumbawa to Labuhan port Lombok.

Java, the island of volcanoes and amazing temples

If you think day by day life is meaningless, you do not understand that you can only want to have as much as you need to lead a modest life, you love to complain and hate when people smile at you for no reason – do not go to Java.

Volcanoes

Java is an island that was created entirely by volcanoes. They are the main driving and destructive force. Through Java’s entire length of more than a thousand kilometers crosses the mountain range, and more precisely the range of dozens of volcanoes. There are over 45 of them, of which 36 are still active (there are about 500 volcanoes in Indonesia!). At the foot of the most active volcano Merapi is located the legendary Borobudur Temple. Take a breathtaking sunrise overlooking the Bromo Volcano and head for trekking to Indonesia’s highest mountain, Semeru (3676 meters above sea level). Need to visit the gateway to the center of the Earth, which is undoubtedly the picturesque Ijen volcano.

view on mount bromo volcano java

Temples of Java

Incredible structures, intricate bas-reliefs and huge statues of gods give rise to respect for the civilization they were created. When it comes to the temples of Borobudur or Prambanan, it is difficult to believe that these buildings date back to the 8th and 9th centuries AD. Discovered by the Dutch in the 17th century, and restored in the early 20th century. During the preparations for the reconstruction of the Borobudur temple, more than 100 heads of statues of Buddha were stolen. They were sold to the West for private collections.
Traveling through Java, you can find many smaller temples, and actually, the altars where Shiva, his skins, children, and wives sit on the throne. You can also admire the beautiful water temples in which Indonesians perform cleansing rituals.

sunrise at borodundur in java indonesia

The batik technique

Batik is a painter’s technique, which involves applying another wax and bathing the fabric in a dye. Only uncovered areas of wax are dyed, the areas covered with wax remain unpainted. After drying, another wax pattern is applied to the fabric and re-dyed. This action is repeated many times until the desired effect is achieved. It is amazing that in this way you can “create” multicolored birds, scenes from life or complex mythological characters. Batik is most commonly used for making sarongs or wall paintings. While in Indonesia you can have look at the tedious, multicolored process of intricately embellished fabrics, which allows appreciating the work of the manufacturers.

Mystical Bali

An island where gentle climate and beautiful landscapes of rice terraces are intertwined with rich culture. Not without reason, Bali is called the island of a thousand temples. It’s the perfect place to relax, revitalize, clear your mind, and regain vitality. If you are planning a trip to Bali, find out Where to Go on Bali from out artice.

Bali is the most spiritual of the Indonesian islands. Staying on it will be a unique opportunity to meet with the Hindu priest – Astiki, who will explain the principles of the Balinese beliefs (the so-called Balinese Hinduism) and related ceremonies, and to take part in one of them. It is worthwhile to find time to visit temples, fabulous green rice terraces and a little laziness in a luxurious villa with a cup of the world’s most expensive coffee – Kopi Luwak.

taman ayun temple in bali indonesia

Traditional Balinese Dance

Dance is an integral part of Bali culture and one of the most important areas of traditional Balinese art. Any tourist who visits this Indonesian island should see this unusual and very spectacular performance with beautiful dancers in fabulously colorful robes, gracefully dancing to the rhythm of gamelan music.

Surfing in Bali

Surfing Bali is known for its excellent surfing conditions and attractive waves. Sometimes even a dozen daredevils fight with a wave at the same time. Coastal waves on the Kuta beach are suitable for beginner surfers. Here you can rent equipment (also short surfboards called “boogie boards”) and take the first surf lessons. Excellent waves are the result of the South Ocean, which merges with the Indian Ocean along the parallel. Therefore, the southern part of the island of Bali, both east and west are dotted with surfing spots.

surfing in kuta bali indonesia

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