An island nation like no other, Indonesia’s diversity is unsurpassed. With modernity and ancient tradition entwined, and historical wonders and cutting-edge metropolises sharing a magnificent tropical backdrop. Here is our pick of the best things to do in Indonesia.
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The first, Tanjung Harapan – directly opposite the Sekonyer River Ecolodge – cares for orphaned infants and new arrivals and has a visitor information centre. By far the most famous of the three, Camp Leakey can be somewhat of a circus during high season, with visitors who are less conservation-oriented clamouring to walk down jungle paths to see the red apes in action.
From here, the road enters a land of steep terraced slopes, tall bamboo forests and high mountain peaks. Across the Sungai Sa’dan from Salubarani, there is a large boat-shaped arch, marking the entrance to Tana Toraja. The road continues through Bambapuang Valley and past the shapely Buntu Kabobong (Erotic Hills).
This huge mandala, the world’s largest Buddhist monument, was built sometime during the relatively short Sailendra dynasty between AD 778 and AD 856 – 300 years before Angkor Wat and 200 years before Notre-Dame. Yet, within little more than a century of its completion, Borobudur and the other structures in Central Java were mysteriously abandoned as the focus of Javanese royal power shifted to the east.
They are amusing up to a point, usually breached when one of them pinches keys, sunglasses, or any other shiny object, and runs off with it. This walk is best done in the cooler early morning or late afternoon. A temple in the forest, Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal, is dedicated to Durga, the goddess of death, who often takes the form of Rangda, the queen of the underworld.
Alternatively, Mount Bromo is another volcano destination in Indonesia that offers two different ways to enjoy the view. The first option is to hike from Cemara Lawang at 2-3 am to catch a spectacular sunrise at the peak's edge. The second option involves renting a jeep to Gunung Penanjakan, which is 400 meters above Gunung Bromo and approximately 3km to the west, to experience a panoramic view of the entire caldera. From there, it is a brief hike along the road to reach the summit.
Although there are dragons on two other nearby islands, in order to protect wild populations visitors are only allowed on Komodo and Rinca (pronounced rin-cha). Most visitors couple Komodo dragon-spotting with snorkelling and diving while in the park. At Pantai Merah (Red Beach), near Komodo, reefs teeming with colourful fish are very near the shoreline.
Combine several islands on this tailor-made trip to Bali, Flores & Komodo - start in Bali's cultural capital Ubud before heading to the rice fields in Sidemen. A short flight to Flores allows you to explore volcanoes and local villages before hopping on a cruise around Komodo and other islands close to Labuan Bajo. Dragons included!
For snorkellers, Pink Beach offers butterfly, parrot and triggerfish, giant clams and colourful corals at close range. The gorgeous beach is pink due to an abundance of red coral in the region.
You will find many surfing, diving and snorkelling destinations in Indonesia by reading our guide to the best beaches in Bali.
Renowned for its awesome barrel waves, Grajagan Bay, or 'G-Land' in East Java attracts some of the world's best surfers.
On this tailor-made trip to Java and Lombok, you will start your trip in Yogyakarta (also called Jogja) with its rich cultural past such as the Borobudur temple. From there continue to hike Mount Bromo and explore more of East Java in Malang and Surabaya. End your trip on the dreamy beaches of Kuta/Lombok, dubbed 'the next Bali'.
Gili Trawangan, the largest and most distant of the three islands, has two types of visitors: partygoers, who flock to the southwest side of the island and north-coast visitors who spend their days in quiet relaxation, sunbathing and diving. Gili Meno is the least developed of the three islands. Its attractions are uncrowded beaches.
Gili Air, closest to the mainland, has the largest local population and a range of dive shops that service all the needs of divers.
Dive deep into Balinese culture from Ubud and Sidemen on this tailor-made trip to Bali's Culture & Gili's beaches. Visits include rice field walks, the Gates of Heaven, water temples like Tirta Empul and Tirta Gangga as well as a traditional cooking class. Your trip ends with the beaches of Gili Air and Jimbaran.
To date, scientists have documented 26 mammals, 18 birds, 15 reptiles and over 200 plant species here, including spectral tarsiers – one of the world’s smallest primates – troops of endangered crested black macaques. Local guides are available at Batu Putih village at the entrance of the reserve.
These samplers are platefuls of steamed rice, chicken, fresh and preserved vegetables, fried egg, roasted peanuts, shredded coconut, fiery sambal sauce, and oversized crispy krupuk (fried prawn crackers). The best-known rice dish is nasi goreng, fried rice with an assortment of vegetables and chicken, prawns or meat, or a combination of all three.
Celebrate your union on this magical tailor-made Love trip to Bali. Included are couples massages at relaxing spas, a blessing ceremony by a Balinese priest, an authentic cooking class, and of course - a beautiful white sandy beach on Nusa Lembongan to relax towards the end of your trip.
In the decades that followed, undersea eruptions continued and a new peak emerged from the sea - Anak Krakatau which is itself a highly active volcano. When volcanic conditions allow, it may still be possible to land on Anak Krakatau, but since the 2018 eruption, most tours stick to nearby Rakata Island, a surviving fragment of the original, much larger Krakatau caldera. Rakata offers excellent views of the younger, active peak.
The area is particularly popular with live-aboard dive boats and cruises. Diving, of course, is the main event. Frequently encountered are manta rays, giant groupers and large schools of barracudas and jacks, as well as sharks, whales and dolphins. In the shallows are pygmy shrimp, octopus and nudibranchs.
‘Warriors’ on horseback try to unseat their opponents, and any blood spilt is believed to fertilise the soil and benefit the next harvest.
From your base on Bali's renowned beaches, you'll island-hop your way around glorious Hindu temples and heritage sites. See komodo dragons, partake in a traditional Balinese ceremony, meet with a Hindu High Priest and visit local villages: this tailor-made trip to Indonesia ticks all the tropical getaway boxes.
In the sanghyang dedari, or heavenly maidens dance, two young girls dressed in white enter a circle of 40 to 50 chanting men, the Kecak chorus. The girls dance in unison with eyes shut, then when they are finally possessed by goddesses they are clothed in glittering costumes and borne aloft on the shoulders of the men, touring the village to drive out evil.
The indigenous inhabitants are forest-dwellers, though almost all now live a settled lifestyle. As throughout the Mentawai, the only upscale accommodation at Siberut is in isolated surf resorts. Those who come to explore the interior generally stay in basic homestays arranged by their guides. The main attraction is the trek inland to visit remote villages where people live in traditional longhouses.
The Mentawai Islands are among the most attractive destinations in Indonesia. To find equally wonderful options for your holiday read our guide to unforgettable Indonesian islands.
In caves surrounding the temple dwell striped sacred snakes, discreetly left undisturbed by Balinese. Only worshippers are allowed inside the temple, but visitors get a dramatic view from the adjacent hill, especially at sunset.
Experience Bali with this stunning tailor-made trip to Bali's Beaches and Temples. Marvel at ancient temples like Tanah Lot and Pura Besakih, soak in stunning sunsets, stroll bare-footed along the best beaches in Bali and haggle at local markets – experience all of this, and much more, with this unique trip!
In the middle lies the lovely Lake Toba, a vast crater lake containing the lush Samosir island (nearly the size of Singapore). Visiting It is the best place to experience Danau Toba’s spell. Samosir is regarded as the original home of the Bataks in Sumatra.
With its golden coastline and azure waves, Indonesia is perfect for a family trip. Looking for more inspiring family holiday ideas? Find some inspiration in our guide to the best places to go with kids.
Visiting Indonesia is a truly unforgettable experience. For more inspirational travel tips check our Rough Guide books. If you travel further in Indonesia, read more about the best time to go and the best places to visit in Indonesia. For inspiration use the itineraries from our local travel experts. Also learn about getting there, getting around the country and where to stay once you are there.
If you prefer to plan and book your trip to Indonesia without any effort and hassle, use the expertise of our local travel experts to make sure your trip will be just like you dream it to be.
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