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Indonesia

INDONESIA TRAVEL GUIDE

Indonesia lies along the equator in the area between the Indian- and Pacific Oceans north of Australia. Comprising of 18 110 islands, 6 000 of them inhabited, Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world. Situated on the western rim of the Ring of Fire, Indonesia has more than 400 volcanoes, of which 130 are considered active, as well as many more undersea volcanoes.

 

With so many islands, each one more beautiful than the other, Indonesia is a whole lot more than just the popular island of Bali. We have only scratched the surface, but urge you to try and visit at least one other island to start to experience the diversity that Indonesia has to offer. We spent a month visiting the islands of Java, Bali, Gili-Air, and Gili-T over May / June 2016 and another month revisiting Bali, Gili Islands, and this time Lombok over August / September 2019 and we will definitely be back for more!

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  • Currency: Indonesian Rupiah (IDR). Current conversion rate here.

  • Electricity: 230V AC electricity. Power outlets are both round two-prong sockets (type C and type F). Be sure to carry a universal travel adaptor so you can still use all your electronic devices. If you are from a country with 110V as a standard be aware that you will need a voltage converter.

  • Safety: Most parts of Indonesia are very safe to travel in. Indonesia is susceptible to many forms of natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, floods and tsunamis. Petty crime such as pickpocketing and bag snatching is a common issue, especially in public crowded places like bus and train stations, so keep your belongings close. Always make use of official taxi services such as Blue Bird rather than hailing a taxi from the street as there are many tax-related scams, where taxi drivers drive off before you get a chance to take your luggage. In areas where the party scene is big, drink spiking is a common problem. Political events such as elections are often times of violent and messy demonstrations that you should avoid. We would suggest checking out World Nomads or SafetyWing, for travel insurance as they have the best coverage for active travellers.

  • Language: The official language of Indonesia is Indonesian, which is spoken in the vast majority of the country. With more than 700 living languages spoken across Indonesia, English is also widely spoken, particularly in the more touristy areas. Even though English is less common in some more remote areas, it’s easy enough to get by in most of Indonesia.

RELATED POSTS:

How To Travel Around LOMBOK

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BEST TIME TO VISIT INDONESIA

Straddling the Equator, Indonesia is a warm-weather destination. Although there are theoretically two seasons, namely the rainy season and the dry season, the dry season is far from dry, it just rains a little less! The air is pretty much always warm and humid. For most of the country (including Java and Bali), the dry season is April / May to September / October, while the wet season is October / November to March / April.

 

The best months for diving off the coast of Bali, Lombok, or the Komodo National Park are April to September, and you should try to avoid the rough seas particularly in January & February.

 

In the highlands, temperatures will, of course, be cooler, and the mountain peaks of Papua (some above 5 000m altitudes) can even be snow-covered. If you plan to climb one of Indonesia's many volcanoes, such as Mt Bromo on Java, Mt Rinjani in Lombok, or Tana Toraja in Sulawesi, then the dry season is recommended, and also remember to bring a jacket as temperatures are much cooler.

 

May to September is thus usually the best time to visit Indonesia for mostly dry and sunny days. There are some regional exceptions:

  • Java - The dry season from May to September to climb the mountains of Bromo or Ijen.
  • Bali - The dry season from April to September, but try to avoid the busiest tourist months of April, July, and August.
  • Nusa Tenggara, Lombok, Flores, Komodo National Park, Sumba - The dry season from April to September to climb Mt Rinjani or dive off the coast of Lombok, Gili Islands and the Komodo National Park.
  • Sumatra - Sumatra is a fairly large island, so weather conditions vary across the island. Medan and North Sumatra are more tropical and the heaviest rainfall is typically from October to January. Palembang and South Sumatra experience drier weather from April to October and rain from November to March.
  • Sulawesi - Sulawesi experiences slightly different weather patterns depending on where you are on the island. In Toraja and the southern part of the island monsoon rains typically falls from November to April. Manado and the northern regions experience rainfall all year round, with the driest months from July to October.
  • Kalimantan - The southern regions of Kalimantan are generally the driest and the rainforest-covered interior area is significantly wetter. The dry season is from June to September, with August and September being the driest. Light rains typically fall from March to May, with heavier rains from November to January. Orangutans can be spotted in the Tanjung Puting National Park throughout the year, although during the rainy season they do seek shelter and thus tend to be more elusive.
  • West Papua & Raja Ampat - West Papua and the islands of Raja Ampat can be visited year-round; there isn’t really an off-season. Rainy season across the islands of Raja Ampat differs from the rest of Indonesia. There is a higher chance of rainfall and strong winds from June to September, which is not ideal for boat journeys or diving. The wettest months in the Baliem Valley are May and June, however, brief heavy downpours can be expected year-round.
  • The Moluccas - Weather conditions across the central Molucca islands of Ambon and Seram differ from the rest of Indonesia. Best visited from October to May, these islands experience rainfall from June to September. Weather patterns across the southern Molucca islands of Kei, Aru, and Tanimbar, and the northern islands of Ternate, Tidore, and Halmahera are similar to the majority of Indonesia. These islands are best visited from May to September.
Best Time To Go

INDONESIA WEATHER SYNOPSIS

Indonesia’s climate is largely hot and humid, with rainfall occurring mostly in low-lying areas and mountainous regions experiencing cooler temperatures. The cities of Jakarta, Ujung Padang, Medan, Padang, and Balikpapan have an average minimum temperature of 22.8°C and a high of 30.2°C. Humidity in Jakarta varies between 61% to 95% and average rainfall amounts to 218.4 millimetres (mm) per month. The “wet” season occurs between November and April, leaving May through October typically dry. Indonesia experiences drier conditions during El Nino events and wetter conditions during La Nina events.

Indonesia

SEASONS AT A GLANCE

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BEST TIME FOR

SNOW SPORT IN INDONESIA

While Indonesia is predominantly a tropical country, it does offer a unique opportunity for snow sports at the Cartenz Pyramid in Papua. 


This area is home to the Carstensz Glacier, where snow can be found at the highest mountain peaks. Although it's not a traditional destination for snow sports, this rare occurrence of snow in a tropical region provides a special experience for enthusiasts looking to ski or snowboard in an unusual and exotic location.

HIKING & CYCLING IN INDONESIA

Indonesia offers a plethora of hiking experiences, from the misty Tumpak Sewu Waterfalls in East Java to the iconic Mount Rinjani in Lombok. Adventurers can traverse through diverse landscapes, including untouched rainforests, volcanic terrains, and picturesque rice paddies. 


For those seeking a challenge, the ascent of Raya Hill presents the most elevation gain, promising breathtaking views as a reward for the strenuous climb. 


With trails suitable for casual walks to multi-day treks, Indonesia's hiking trails cater to all levels of outdoor enthusiasts. Indonesia's dry season is from roughly from April to October, but always be prepared for some rain!

BEACH OPTIONS IN INDONESIA

Indonesia is an idyllic beach destination and it's always hot enough for the beach. Just note that from November to April can be very wet! You will enjoy much better beach weather from May to September. 


Among the top picks of incredible beaches is Pantai Jelenga in Sumbawa, known for its world-class surf breaks and tranquil waters ideal for kayaking and paddle boarding. Bali's Suluban Beach is another gem, perfect for those looking to combine natural beauty with cultural experiences, such as the nearby Pura Luhur Ulu Watu temple. For a more unusual beach experience, Pink Beach in Komodo stands out with its distinctive pink sands, offering a picturesque setting especially at dawn or dusk. 


With over 17,500 islands, Indonesia's beaches cater to every preference, from serene white sands to vibrant coral reefs and lively seaside parties. Exploring these beaches is a journey through diverse landscapes and cultures, each with its own story to tell.

SURFING IN INDONESIA

While you can enjoy excellent surf somewhere in Indonesia all year round, the best time for consistent swell is the dry months from April to October. 


Indonesia is renowned for its excellent surfing opportunities, with Bali often hailed as a surfer's paradise. The country's vast coastline offers a variety of waves suitable for all levels, from beginners to advanced surfers. 


Places like Kuta Beach in Bali and the Mentawai Islands are famous for their consistent waves and beautiful scenery. Surf schools and camps are abundant, providing lessons and guidance for those looking to improve their skills or catch their first wave. 


With its warm waters and tropical climate, Indonesia remains a top destination for surf enthusiasts around the globe.

KITESURF IN INDONESIA

Indonesia is a renowned destination for kitesurfing enthusiasts, offering a variety of spots across its vast archipelago. 


Places like Jeneponto in South Sulawesi are celebrated for their strong and consistent trade winds, ideal for kitesurfing from April to October. Bali, with its famous spots like Sanur and Nusa Dua, provides excellent conditions for both beginners and advanced riders due to its consistent winds and flat-water conditions. 


Moreover, the Ombak Resort at Ekas offers not only kitesurfing opportunities but also luxurious accommodations and other activities for a well-rounded vacation experience.

BEST TIME FOR

While Indonesia is predominantly a tropical country, it does offer a unique opportunity for snow sports at the Cartenz Pyramid in Papua. 


This area is home to the Carstensz Glacier, where snow can be found at the highest mountain peaks. Although it's not a traditional destination for snow sports, this rare occurrence of snow in a tropical region provides a special experience for enthusiasts looking to ski or snowboard in an unusual and exotic location.

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TRAVEL SAFETY IN INDONESIA

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HEALTH RISKS IN INDONESIA

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Yellow fever - The yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America. The virus is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no medicine to treat or cure an infection. To prevent getting sick from yellow fever, use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and get vaccinated.

Zika Virus - Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.

Malaria - Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented.

Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.

INDONESIA TRAVEL COSTS

The cost of traveling to Indonesia can vary widely depending on factors such as your travel style, accommodation preferences, activities you plan to do, duration of stay, and the time of year you visit. Here are some general expenses you might encounter:

  • Flights: The cost of flights can vary greatly depending on where you're flying from, the time of booking, and the airline you choose.

  • Accommodation: Indonesia offers a wide range of accommodation options, from budget hostels to luxury resorts. Prices can vary significantly depending on the location and level of comfort you desire.

  • Food: Indonesian cuisine is diverse and relatively affordable, especially if you stick to local eateries and street food stalls. Dining at high-end restaurants or touristy areas might be more expensive.

  • Transportation: Getting around Indonesia can involve various modes of transportation, including taxis, buses, trains, and domestic flights. Costs will vary depending on the distance traveled and your chosen mode of transport.

  • Activities: Indonesia is known for its stunning beaches, cultural attractions, and outdoor adventures like hiking and diving. The cost of activities will depend on what you choose to do and whether you opt for guided tours or independent exploration.

  • Visa fees: Depending on your nationality, you may need to pay for a visa to enter Indonesia. Visa fees can vary.

  • Miscellaneous expenses: This includes things like souvenirs, travel insurance, entrance fees to attractions, and any additional expenses you might incur during your trip.

It's difficult to provide an exact cost without more specific information about your travel plans, but Indonesia can be relatively affordable compared to some other destinations. It's always a good idea to research and budget accordingly before your trip.


SAMPLE BUDGET FOR TRAVELING INDONESIA

Here's a sample budget for a two-week trip to Indonesia for one person. This budget assumes mid-range accommodation, local transportation, a mix of dining options, and some sightseeing activities. Keep in mind that actual costs can vary depending on your preferences and travel style.


Flights: $800 - $1,200 (round trip from major cities in the US or Europe)

Accommodation: $20 - $50 per night x 14 nights = $280 - $700

Food: $10 - $20 per day x 14 days = $140 - $280

Transportation: Domestic flights (if traveling between islands): $100 - $200 (depends on the distance); Local transportation (e.g., taxis, buses, trains): $5 - $10 per day x 14 days = $70 - $140

Activities:Entrance fees to attractions and tours: $100 - $200; Additional activities (e.g., diving, snorkeling, hiking): $200 - $300

Visa fees:Visa on Arrival (for eligible nationalities): $35 (valid for 30 days); Visa Extension (if needed): $35 (for an additional 30 days)

Miscellaneous:Souvenirs and miscellaneous expenses: $100 - $200; Travel insurance: $50 - $100 (depending on coverage)

Total estimated budget range: $1,775 - $3,165


Keep in mind that this is just a rough estimate, and actual costs can vary widely depending on factors such as your travel style, specific destinations within Indonesia, and any additional activities or purchases you make. It's always a good idea to research prices and create a detailed budget based on your individual preferences and needs. Additionally, consider adding a buffer for unexpected expenses or emergencies.


If you want to get an idea of how much we spend travelling see our Budget Report section.

Cost & Spending

INDONESIA TRAVEL TIPS

  • Respect Local Customs and Culture: Indonesia is a diverse country with various cultures and traditions. Be respectful of local customs, dress modestly, and learn a few basic phrases in Bahasa Indonesia to show appreciation for the local culture.

  • Pack Appropriately: Indonesia has a tropical climate with high temperatures and humidity. Pack lightweight, breathable clothing, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, and a reusable water bottle. Don't forget essentials like a hat, sunglasses, and comfortable walking shoes.

  • Stay Hydrated: With the hot and humid weather, it's essential to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of bottled water and consider carrying oral rehydration salts if you plan to be active outdoors.

  • Watch Out for Scams: Like any tourist destination, Indonesia has its share of scams. Be cautious of overly friendly strangers, unauthorized tour guides, and inflated prices. Always negotiate prices before purchasing goods or services.

  • Health and Safety Precautions: Take necessary health precautions such as getting vaccinated before traveling and carrying any required medications. Be cautious of street food hygiene and drink bottled water. Also, be mindful of your belongings in crowded areas to avoid theft.

  • Transportation: Indonesia's transportation options vary from region to region. Consider using reputable transportation services and be prepared for traffic congestion, especially in major cities like Jakarta and Bali. For inter-island travel, domestic flights are often the quickest option.

  • Explore Beyond Tourist Hotspots: While Bali is a popular destination, Indonesia has much more to offer. Consider exploring lesser-known islands like Lombok, Komodo, or Raja Ampat for a more authentic experience.

  • Bargain with Vendors: Bargaining is a common practice in Indonesia, especially in markets and street stalls. Don't be afraid to negotiate prices, but do so respectfully. A good rule of thumb is to start with half of the quoted price and work your way up from there.

  • Respect Nature: Indonesia is home to diverse ecosystems and stunning natural attractions. Practice responsible tourism by respecting wildlife, refraining from littering, and following designated trails when hiking.

  • Connect with Locals: One of the best ways to experience Indonesia is by connecting with locals. Whether through homestays, cultural experiences, or simply striking up a conversation, interacting with locals can offer valuable insights into the country's culture and way of life.

By following these tips, you can have a safe, enjoyable, and culturally enriching experience while traveling in Indonesia.


HOW TO GET AROUND INDONESIA

We have a number of blog posts on getting around Indonesia at the top of this page or else available here.


Here are some common modes of local transport you can expect to find in different parts of the country:

  • Bemos and Angkot: These are minivans or minibusses commonly used for short-distance travel within cities and towns. Bemos are more common in Java, while Angkot (short for "Angkutan Kota") are prevalent in cities like Bandung and Jakarta. They operate on set routes and pick up passengers along the way.

  • Ojek: Ojeks are motorcycle taxis popular for short trips within cities. They're convenient for navigating through traffic, especially in congested urban areas. You can find ojeks waiting at street corners or hail them through ride-hailing apps like Gojek or Grab.

  • Taxis: Metered taxis are available in major cities like Jakarta, Bali, and Surabaya. Blue Bird Group is a reputable taxi company known for its reliability and use of meters. Always make sure the meter is turned on at the beginning of your ride to avoid disputes over fares.

  • Ride-Hailing Apps: Ride-hailing services like Gojek and Grab are widely used in Indonesia. In addition to motorcycle taxis (ojeks), they offer car rides, food delivery, and other services. These apps are convenient for getting around cities and even for intercity travel in some areas.

  • Becak and Dokar: Becaks are pedal-powered trishaws commonly found in cities and towns across Indonesia, while dokars are similar but pulled by horses. They're mainly used for short trips within local neighborhoods or tourist areas. Negotiate the fare before starting your journey.

  • Buses: Public buses are available for longer journeys between cities and towns. They vary in comfort and quality, with options ranging from basic economy buses to more luxurious coach services. Some popular routes have air-conditioned buses with reserved seating, while others may be more crowded and less comfortable.

  • Bajaj: Bajajs are three-wheeled vehicles similar to auto-rickshaws found in India. They're mainly found in Jakarta and are used for short trips within the city. Negotiate the fare before boarding, as they usually don't have meters.

  • Ferries and Boats: Indonesia is an archipelago, so ferries and boats are essential for traveling between islands. Depending on the distance, you can choose from public ferries, fast boats, or private boat charters.

These are just a few of the many local transportation options available in Indonesia. The availability and quality of transport can vary depending on the region, so it's a good idea to research your options before traveling.


We advise checking bus, boat and train schedules ahead of time using BookAway or 12Go website. Skyscanner.com or Kiwi.com are handy tools for finding great flight deals.

Travel Tips

SIGHTS & HIGHLIGHTS OF INDONESIA

Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world and offers everything from relaxing on white-sand beaches, scuba diving in crystal clear warm waters, or surfing the waves to climbing and peering into active volcanoes, or just experiencing the diverse cultures and traditions across the many islands and regions. Indonesia is a fantastic destination for both the old and young, the adventurous and the culture seeking.


SUGGESTED ITINERARY FOR VISITING INDONESIA

Exploring Indonesia for the first time is an exhilarating experience! With its diverse landscapes, rich culture, and warm hospitality, there's so much to see and do. Here's a suggested itinerary for a 1, 2, and 3-week trip:


1-WEEK ITINERARY FOR INDONESIA:

Day 1-2: Jakarta

  • Explore Jakarta's historical sites like the National Monument (Monas) and the Old Town (Kota Tua).

  • Visit museums such as the National Museum or the Jakarta History Museum.

  • Enjoy local cuisine at street food stalls or dine at traditional Indonesian restaurants.

Day 3-5: Yogyakarta

  • Visit the majestic Borobudur Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

  • Explore the ancient Hindu temple complex of Prambanan.

  • Take a tour of the Sultan's Palace (Kraton) and learn about Javanese culture.

  • Wander around Malioboro Street for shopping and local snacks.

Day 6-7: Bali

  • Fly to Bali and spend your remaining days relaxing on its beautiful beaches.

  • Visit cultural landmarks like Uluwatu Temple or Tanah Lot Temple.

  • Enjoy water sports like surfing or snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters.

  • Experience Bali's vibrant nightlife in areas like Seminyak or Kuta.

2-WEEK ITINERARY FOR INDONESIA:

Follow the 1-week itinerary, then add:

Day 8-10: Ubud, Bali

  • Explore the cultural heart of Bali in Ubud.

  • Visit the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary.

  • Take a cooking class to learn traditional Balinese cuisine.

  • Discover nearby attractions like Tegalalang Rice Terraces and Tirta Empul Temple.

Day 11-12: Gili Islands

  • Take a boat from Bali to the Gili Islands.

  • Relax on the pristine beaches and enjoy snorkeling or diving in the turquoise waters.

  • Experience the laid-back island vibes and vibrant nightlife.

3-WEEK ITINERARY FOR INDONESIA:

Follow the 2-week itinerary, then add:

Day 13-15: Komodo National Park

  • Fly to Labuan Bajo and embark on a boat tour to Komodo National Park.

  • Encounter Komodo dragons, the world's largest lizards, in their natural habitat.

  • Snorkel or dive in the park's pristine waters teeming with marine life.

  • Enjoy breathtaking sunsets from viewpoints like Padar Island.

Day 16-18: Raja Ampat

  • Fly to Sorong and take a boat to Raja Ampat, a paradise for divers and nature lovers.

  • Explore the rich underwater biodiversity through diving or snorkeling.

  • Visit picturesque islands and hidden lagoons.

  • Experience local culture by interacting with the friendly Papuan people.

Day 19-21: Lombok and the Surrounding Islands

  • Take a short flight from Bali to Lombok.

  • Explore Lombok's beautiful beaches, like Tanjung Aan and Kuta Beach.

  • Visit the traditional Sasak villages and learn about their unique culture.

  • Take a boat trip to nearby islands like the Gili Islands or Sumbawa for more beach relaxation and adventure activities.

Highlights
What To See & Do
Travel Map

REGIONAL HIGHLIGHTS OF INDONESIA

SUMATRA

Sumatra is known for its strong cultural identity, with major ethnics such as Batak, Malay, and Minang, and minor ones such as Mentawai and Kubu. Be sure to visit Kerinci Seblat National Park to see wild tigers and elephants as well as the monstrous rafflesia flowers. Lake Toba is the largest volcanic lake in the world and well worth seeing.

 

KALIMANTAN

Kalimantan is a paradise for the adventurer, filled with uncharted jungles, mighty rivers, and the home of the orangutan.

 

JAVA

Greatly underestimated, Java is a fantastic island to visit and has some incredible cultural treasures. It is worth visiting the contrasting cities of Jakarta and Yogyakarta. Not to be missed are Borobudur which is one of the largest Buddhist temples in the world and the equally impressive Hindu ruins of Prambanan. Although not as easy to reach, Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park contains some of the scariest volcanic scenery on the planet and claims to be one of the best locations in the world to see the sunrise! One-day Bromo sunrise tours from Surabaya are easy to book but if you have more time a 3-day tour taking in both Ijen and Bromo might provide for a more relaxed experience.


We went DIY to see Bromo - read about our experience at Mount Bromo here and make up your own mind. Yet another jewel of nature, Ijen Crater in East Java, with its famous blue sulfur flames is well worth the midnight wake-up and steep hike - but it is probably easier to do with as part of a group.


BALI

By far the most popular tourist destination in Indonesia, Bali's blend of culture, exquisite beaches, spectacular highland regions, and colourful underwater life make it an all-round favourite travel destination 


SULAWESI

Sulawesi is home to a number of diverse societies, such as the Toraja culture, as well as spectacular scenery, rich flora and fauna, and of course its incredible world-class diving sites.

 

NUSA TENGARA

Nusa Tenggara is home to many different ethnic groups, languages, and religions. The well known Komodo National Park is the home of the Komodo dragon and a protected marine ecosystem which offers spectacular diving.

 

MALUKU

The historic Spice Islands, still fought over in recent times, remain largely unexplored and almost unknown to the outside world.

 

PAPUA

The western side of the island of New Guinea is covered with mountains, forests, swamps, and is an almost impenetrable wilderness and one of the most remote places on earth. Unlike the rest of Indonesia, visiting Papua requires considerable planning, a lot of money, and a tolerance for extremely challenging conditions! If you happen to possess all of the above, then Baliem Valley has superb trekking into the lands of the Lani, Dani, and Yali tribes. Lorentz National Park is the single largest national park anywhere in Southeast Asia and has a permanent glacier.

 

LOMBOK

Lombok is a popular island region just to the east of Bali and includes the tiny laidback Gili Islands which many people visit directly from Bali. The island of Lombok itself is known for the mighty Mount Rinjani which also offers a fantastic, but not to be underestimated, 3-day, 2-night hike to the Senaru Crater Rim.


SUMATRA

Sumatra is known for its strong cultural identity, with major ethnics such as Batak, Malay, and Minang, and minor ones such as Mentawai and Kubu. Be sure to visit Kerinci Seblat National Park to see wild tigers and elephants as well as the monstrous rafflesia flowers. Lake Toba is the largest volcanic lake in the world and well worth seeing.


KALIMANTAN

Kalimantan is a paradise for the adventurer, filled with uncharted jungles, mighty rivers, and the home of the orangutan.


JAVA

Greatly underestimated, Java is a fantastic island to visit and has some incredible cultural treasures. It is worth visiting the contrasting cities of Jakarta and Yogyakarta. Not to be missed are Borobudur which is one of the largest Buddhist temples in the world and the equally impressive Hindu ruins of Prambanan. Although not as easy to reach, Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park contains some of the scariest volcanic scenery on the planet and claims to be one of the best locations in the world to see the sunrise! One-day Bromo sunrise tours from Surabaya are easy to book but if you have more time a 3-day tour taking in both Ijen and Bromo might provide for a more relaxed experience.


We went DIY to see Bromo - read about our experience at Mount Bromo here and make up your own mind. Yet another jewel of nature, Ijen Crater in East Java, with its famous blue sulfur flames is well worth the midnight wake-up and steep hike - but it is probably easier to do with as part of a group.


BALI

By far the most popular tourist destination in Indonesia, Bali's blend of culture, exquisite beaches, spectacular highland regions, and colourful underwater life make it an all-round favourite travel destination 


SULAWESI

Sulawesi is home to a number of diverse societies, such as the Toraja culture, as well as spectacular scenery, rich flora and fauna, and of course its incredible world-class diving sites.

NUSA TENGARA

Nusa Tenggara is home to many different ethnic groups, languages, and religions. The well-known Komodo National Park is the home of the Komodo dragon and a protected marine ecosystem which offers spectacular diving.


MALUKU

The historic Spice Islands, still fought over in recent times, remain largely unexplored and almost unknown to the outside world.


PAPUA

The western side of the island of New Guinea is covered with mountains, forests, swamps, and is an almost impenetrable wilderness and one of the most remote places on earth. Unlike the rest of Indonesia, visiting Papua requires considerable planning, a lot of money, and a tolerance for extremely challenging conditions! If you happen to possess all of the above, then Baliem Valley has superb trekking into the lands of the Lani, Dani, and Yali tribes. Lorentz National Park is the single largest national park anywhere in Southeast Asia and has a permanent glacier.


LOMBOK

Lombok is a popular island region just to the east of Bali and includes the tiny laidback Gili Islands which many people visit directly from Bali. The island of Lombok itself is known for the mighty Mount Rinjani which also offers a fantastic, but not to be underestimated, 3-day, 2-night hike to the Senaru Crater Rim.

Indonesia
What To Eat

WHAT TO EAT IN INDONESIA

WHAT TO EAT IN INDONESIA

The 6 000 inhabited islands making up Indonesia offer such a vast variety of regional dishes that the "Indonesian cuisine" is more an umbrella term than anything specific. Javanese cuisine consists of an array of simply seasoned dishes, with predominant flavourings of peanuts, chillies and sugar. Due to the majority of Indonesians being Muslim, most of its dishes are considered Halal, with a few exceptions and pork products predominantly only found in Bali. Vegetarians are also better catered for than in most other countries.


Keep an eye out for the following must-try foods:

  • Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice) - Essentially just wok stir-fried rice with a host of salty seasonings, this simple hot and freshly cooked popular street food is both cheap and delicious. Be sure to ask for “Nasi Goreng Special” if you want a fried egg added to the dish!

  • Balinese Babi Guling (Roast Suckling Pig) - Bali, with its mostly Hindu population, has a unique variety of pork dishes. Babi Guling is flavoured with herbs and spices like ginger, garlic, shallots, and chillies. The pig is roasted until crispy and you’ll have to set out eat this dish before it sells out!

  • Sate Ayam (Chicken Satay) - The meat is marinated in sweet kecap manis soy sauce, before being grilled on an extremely hot charcoal fire. This means that the meat cooks quickly, leaving it juicy but also giving it a smoky flavour.

  • Sate Padang (Padang Satay) - Originally from Padang, on the west coast of Sumatra, Sate Padang skewers consist of a mix of meat, including beef, beef tongue, and offal. The meat is marinated in a mixture of spices before being grilled over flaming hot charcoal. The skewers are then served over sliced up compressed rice cake (ketupat) and covered in a thick brown sauce and sprinkled with crispy shallots.

  • Ikan Bakar (Grilled Fish) - Typically the fish is butterfly cut and rubbed in a sambal marinade before being grilled quickly over a very hot charcoal fire. This leaves the fish incredibly tasty and tender and it is usually served with either kecap manis or a variety of different sambal chilli sauces and rice.

  • Bebek Goreng (Fried Duck) - This deep-fried duck is the equivalent of well known deep-fried chicken. They are often very small, can be a little greasy and salty but are also rich in flavour. Served with rice, a few raw herbs like lemon basil and some sambal chilli sauce.

  • Bakso (Indonesian Meatballs) - A very popular street food dish, the minced meat is mixed with some tapioca starch which gives them their serious bouncy texture. Bakso will either be served with noodles and soup or dry with soup on the side.

  • Nasi Uduk (Coconut Rice) - Known as nasi lemak in Malaysia, this fragrant and slightly sweet rice is cooked with coconut milk and cardamom. Popular for breakfast, it is often eaten with omelette and fried chicken.

  • Nasi Campur (Mixed Rice) - Nasi campur literally just means mixed rice, and in Jakarta, it refers to rice with a variety of Chinese meats like char siu, pork belly, roast chicken, or egg, all served with a sweet tangy sauce.

  • Bubur Ayam (Chicken Congee) - Chicken congee, or rice porridge, is one of the very common street food dishes in Indonesia. The rice is cooked so it’s thick and hearty and while it can be prepared with an assortment of toppings, chicken is one of the most popular.

  • Beef Rendang - Rendang is a dish that originates in the western part of Sumatra from the Minangkabau people. There are two main variations of rendang, the supposed original version that’s quite dry with all the spices coated onto the meat, and the other that has more of a curry gravy sauce. Redang makes use of spices like cinnamon, star anise, cardamom, and dry chillies, garlic, shallots are the essential ingredient is desiccated coconut, which gives the rendang curry a grainy texture.

  • Mie Goreng (Fried Noodles) - Indonesian Mie Goreng is usually prepared with yellow noodles, stir-fried in a hot wok with plenty of oil, garlic, egg, and a combination of extra ingredients that can include cabbage, tomatoes, kailan, onions, and any choice of meat. Also a very popular street food dish.

  • Gorengan (Deep Fried Snacks) - Gorengan refers to street food stalls that serve all kinds of deep-fried snacks. This can include Pisang Goreng (deep-fried bananas), fried stuffed tofu, bakwan (veggie batter fritters), fried cassava, fried breadfruit, and many more. Our favourite is Pisang Goreng.

  • Martabak Manis (Sweet Pancakes) - These sweet waffle-like pancakes are smothered in butter, sugar, peanuts, chocolate, or a variety of other fillings of choice. Simply delicious!

  • Durian (King of Fruits) - Considered the King of Fruits in Indonesia, you'll find an abundance of fresh durian, as well as many different durian treats, like durian cake, durian ice cream, and durian, flavoured shaved ice.

LGBTQ IN INDONESIA

Indonesia

WHERE TO STAY IN INDONESIA

From $4 hostels to $100 hotels, Indonesia has a huge variety of accommodation options. Bali has the best variety, as tourism is at its highest here. Competition can be fierce and if your dates are flexible and you can stay for a longer period there are plenty of bargains to be had. During May / June 2016 we spent 4 weeks in Java, Bali and the Gili Islands and ended up spending an average of only $26 per night for some really lovely places, all private double en-suite and mostly with a swimming pool.

For a first-time visit to Indonesia, choosing the right area or region to stay in depends on your interests, whether you're seeking cultural experiences, natural wonders, or beach relaxation. Here are some recommendations along with accommodation options in different price ranges:


WHERE TO STAY IN BALI:

Bali is one of Indonesia's most popular tourist destinations, known for its stunning beaches, lush rice terraces, and vibrant culture, offering a diverse range of experiences. Explore attractions like Ubud Monkey Forest, Tanah Lot Temple, and Uluwatu Cliff.

  • Budget: Ibis Styles Bali Legian: Situated in Legian, Ibis Styles Bali Legian provides affordable accommodations with colorful and stylish designs. Guests can enjoy amenities such as a swimming pool, rooftop bar, and complimentary breakfast.

  • Mid-range: Grand Inna Kuta: Located on Kuta Beach, Grand Inna Kuta provides mid-range accommodations with direct beach access. Guests appreciate its spacious rooms, beautiful gardens, and multiple swimming pools.

  • Luxury: The St. Regis Bali Resort: situated in Nusa Dua, The St. Regis Bali Resort offers luxurious accommodations with breathtaking ocean views. Guests can stay in opulent suites, enjoy personalized butler service, relax at the resort's private beach, and dine at the award-winning restaurants.


Tip: Consider visiting Bali during the shoulder seasons (April to June and September to November) for better rates on accommodations and fewer crowds.


WHERE TO STAY IN YOGYAKARTA:

Yogyakarta is the cultural heart of Java, known for its rich history, ancient temples, and traditional arts, offering insights into Indonesian heritage.

Explore attractions like Borobudur Temple, Prambanan Temple, and the Sultan's Palace.

  • Budget: Adhisthana Hotel Yogyakarta: Adhisthana Hotel Yogyakarta offers budget-friendly accommodations with a traditional Javanese ambiance. Guests appreciate its central location, comfortable rooms, and friendly staff.

  • Mid-range: Gallery Prawirotaman Hotel: Gallery Prawirotaman Hotel offers mid-range accommodations in the Prawirotaman area, known for its vibrant atmosphere and artsy vibe. Guests appreciate its stylish rooms, tranquil courtyard, and rooftop swimming pool.

  • Luxury: The Phoenix Hotel Yogyakarta - MGallery Collection: The Phoenix Hotel Yogyakarta offers luxurious accommodations in a historic colonial building. Guests can stay in elegant rooms and suites, relax at the hotel's swimming pool and spa, and dine at the award-winning restaurant.


Tip: Consider purchasing combination tickets for multiple attractions in Yogyakarta for better value and hire a local guide for insightful tours of temples and cultural sites.


WHERE TO STAY IN THE KOMODO NATIONAL PARK:

Komodo National Park, located in Indonesia, is a remote and stunning destination known for its unique wildlife and pristine landscapes. As such, accommodation options within the park itself are limited. However, nearby towns and islands offer a range of options to suit various budgets and preferences. Here are some suggestions:

  • Budget: Labuan Bajo, the gateway town to Komodo National Park, offers several budget-friendly accommodations such as guesthouses, hostels, and homestays. Examples include Gardena Hotel, Bajo Nature Backpackers, and La Boheme Bajo.

  • Mid-range: Consider places like Luwansa Beach Resort, Jayakarta Suites Komodo-Flores, or Plataran Komodo Beach Resort.

  • Luxury: For luxury experiences, there are upscale resorts and hotels in Labuan Bajo. Some notable options include Ayana Komodo Resort, Komodo Resort & Diving Club, and Plataran Komodo Resort & Spa.


Tip: Book boat tours and activities in Komodo National Park in advance and consider visiting during the dry season (April to October) for better weather and optimal diving conditions.


For hassle-free bookings, use platforms like Booking.com for competitive rates or Holiday Swap for unique homes worldwide. Ensure to book in advance, especially during peak seasons, and align your preferences with nearby activities such as surfing, snorkeling, or cultural exploration.



Where To Stay

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