Indonesia — Overview
Of the 18,000 islands under the Indonesian flag, only 6,000 are actually inhabited. This provides tourists with an exhaustive list of places to explore that are truly ‘off the beaten path’. However, this doesn’t mean travelers must be adventurous to enjoy a vacation to Indonesia, but it wouldn’t be off the mark to suggest that Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s most dynamic holiday destination.
Indonesia’s stunning natural beauty is as diverse as the people that call the archipelago home. One of the most tectonically active nations on Earth, the area boasts a huge list of volcanoes to discover on dozens of different islands. Indonesia is also characterized by its abundance of coral cays and reefs, thick pockets of jungle, unique wildlife species and gorgeous beaches. Jungle trekking, scuba diving tours, boat cruises and hiking are just some activities visitors will come across in Indonesia.
The cities and towns of Indonesia are also worth visiting. Whether tourists want to explore the ‘choppy’ history of the country in the capital of Jakarta or shop for traditional handicrafts in Yogyakarta, there is something for everyone. For a more relaxed holiday experience, revelers should check out the thriving coastal communities of Bali to get their Eat, Pray, Love on at Kuta Beach and Legian Beach. The shopping, night life and relaxation in these areas are unmatched in Indonesia, and quite possibly the world.
Accommodation in Indonesia ranges from high-end and expensive five-star resorts, to extremely basic backpacker lodges. Some of the cheaper places do not meet the basic requirements of regular Western standards, such as private bathrooms or even running water so do your research before booking to avoid disappointment. On the other side of the spectrum, in places like Jakarta, Surabaya and Bali, some of Asia’s most extravagant hotels can be found. Massage parlors and spas are a dime a dozen, and restaurants have a huge range of international cuisine for travelers. Nevertheless, Indonesian food in itself is so diverse that tourists are unlikely to get to experience everything.
Finding transportation to get around Indonesia is easy, but not always convenient. Domestic flights are reasonably cheap, but don’t have the best safety record. Nevertheless, Garuda Air and Lion Air have started to develop a new carrier fleet, which is improving air networks. Inter-island ferry services are commonly used by locals and visitors, but can be overcrowded. In addition, rough seas during the rainy season are common. Despite some hassle, travelers won’t have any trouble finding ways to get from one island to the next.
Buses are the main method of transportation between cities, although taxis can travel from one city to the next if they are in close proximity to each other. If car rental is selected, it would be better for tourists to rent a driver, too. Java and Sumatra boast rail services, which have been renovated in some areas since the Dutch constructed the network way back in the colonial era.
- Hike to the top of Tengger caldera
- Explore the collections and dioramas of Indonesia’s history in the Monas (National Monument) in Jakarta
- Surf the breaks off Bali’s southern coastline
- Shop for traditional artifacts and crafts in Yogyakarta and Ubud
- Witness the beauty of Indonesia’s oldest Buddhist site, Borobudur
- Relax in one of Bali’s esteemed spas
- See the most famous volcano in the world, Krakatoa
- Discover rare wildlife in Kerinci Seblat National Park