Indonesia is an incredibly exciting nation. Made up of 17,000 tiny islands, it is a country of huge variety, incorporating all sorts of ideas and nationalities into it’s own culture. As a stop of point for Dutch colonialist of the Dutch India Trading company, Indonesia is now home to people of Indian and Chinese heritage as well as Malay and Indonesian people. These cultures have combined in the most amazing ways with religion, architecture and food at the forefront of this magnificent multiculturalism.
In recent years, Indonesia has become a hotspot for tourists as it can provide so much variety. It has long been a destination for backpackers, though, who have travelled across the archipelago taking in its breathtaking scenery. You might prefer to split your trip up though and there are lots of destinations that are well worth the trip for a couple of weeks of sunshine and wonder.
If you have never been to Indonesia before, then here are three places that could certainly warrant a place on any travel bucket list this year.
The City Break: Jakarta
Jakarta is an amazing city. With 9 million people living here and a further 2 million coming into the city for work each day, the population exceeds that of Singapore! The city is sprawled across a large area and is better considered a large region of conjoined villages, rather than a single metropolis.
As Jakarta is something of a gateway for travellers visiting the rest of Indonesia, it is very popular with backpackers. However, if you are staying in Jakarta for a longer period of time, you have a wide choice of hotels and hostels to choose from you could also consider reneting an apartment for your stay if you plan a longer trip and a site like here could point you in the right direction.
The sudden growth of the city didn’t leave much time for any particular public transport to be arranged across the city so it remains a sort of organised chaos. However, getting about on a bajaj is a great way to get to wherever you’re going as well as see plenty of sights. They might to be the most comfortable rides, but these bright orange cousins of the tuk-tuk are certainly going to make you grin as you bounce along!
With a population taking in cultural influences from India, China and Europe, the food in Jakarta is a unique blend that packs in the flavour and doesn’t go light on the chilli! You could select any of the amazing restaurants in Jakarta but if you really want to experience authentic flavours, the street vendors are definitely the place to go. This is where the food really comes to life.
Bali is the most likely location that springs to mind when you talk about going on holiday to Indonesia. It is an incredibly popular tourist destination with white beaches, spa resorts and a fantastic culture to enjoy as well. Kuta is probably the most popular resort with its white beaches and luxurious hotels.
Kuta is ideal for watersports like surfing and SCUBA diving though the best sites are on the east of the island at Padang Bai where you can go muck diving. Here, after a short boat trip, there are all sorts of dive routes that, if you’re lucky, will hopefully present you with blue octopi and pygmy seahorses.
If you are looking for a cultural trip, a visit to the very centre of the island will inevitably take you to the Goa Gajah, otherwise known as the Elephant Cave. Here Balinese mythology meets Hindu and Buddhist elements to create a truly unique place. There are a few ideas for what the 11th century cave was used for including as a shrine and even as a hermitage. You’ll have to go and see what you think…
You may not be able to stay on the island nature reserve of Komodo but if you are visiting Indonesia and you are interested in nature, then this island will be quite a treat for you. Famed, of course, for the terrifying komodo dragon, the island is also unbelievably beautiful and worth the trip just for the beaches and the calm, quiet waters.
In fact, Komodo is home of one of only 7 pink beaches in the world. The coral on Pink Beach is in excellent condition with thousands of species of fish to look at too. This is ideal for SCUBA divers as well as snorkelers as many of the fish can be found in shallower waters around the reef. Manta Point is another excellent spot for diving and snorkelling and is popular with manta rays as well as turtles, eagle rays and cuttlefish.
You can take a boat from Labuan Bajo, which you can fly to from Jakarta or Denpasar. Alternatively, you could go on a live-in boat trip, returning to the safety of your boat each night after diving or touring the island. There are specialist tour guides who take you around the reserve and there are even opportunities to get relatively close to the dragons who live wild on the island. Don’t get too close though, the Komodo dragon has a venomous bite that gradually poisons it’s victims to death.
Indonesia is such a fascinating place that you could easily come here on holiday for years to come and see something completely different each time. These three ideas are just a taste of what this amazing nation can give you with its diverse range of features. An urban getaway in Jakarta could just be the start of your trip, spending a relaxing week in Bali could be punctuated with the thrill of a boat trip to Komodo, from there back to Jakarta to tell your stories before you fly home once more. And that’s only taking 3 of the 17,000 islands. There’s still plenty to come back for next year…
Please note, this is a guest post.