Encounter the Komodo Dragon
Komodo dragons are an ancient species that can only be found on five islands, all of which lie in the southeast of Indonesia. The Komodo National Park comprises four islands: Komodo, Rinca, Gili Montang, and Gili Dasami. The fifth island on which you can find the creature is Flores. Komodo dragons live and roam freely in their natural habitat on these islands, presenting tourists with a distinctive wildlife experience. As the world’s largest lizards, Komodo dragons can weigh up to 90 kg and measure more than two meters. On these islands, tourists can also enjoy exquisite landscapes, untouched forests, hills, and expansive coastlines.
Visit the World’s Biggest Buddhist Temple
The Borobudur Temple in Central Java is the world’s largest Buddhist temple, added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 1991, and included as one of the seven wonders of the world until 2007. The enormous 8th century temple complex is packed with religious, cultural, and historical beauty, and is one of the most-visited attractions in Indonesia. Borobudur has thousands of sculptures depicting the life story of the Buddha.
Also worth mentioning is the nearby Prambanan Temple in Yogyakarta, one of the biggest Hindu temples in Southeast Asia, with impressive collections of towers and sculptures.
Lake Toba is the largest volcanic lake in the world. The lake’s supervolcanic eruption that occurred 70,000 years ago was the largest known explosive eruption on Earth in the last 25 million years. According to the Toba catastrophe theory, it killed most humans living at that time.
There’s an activity for everyone in Indonesia. Catch the surf breaks at Bali’s most popular surfing spots or rent a board and start learning to ride the waves. Jump from the cliffs and slide down a natural waterslide, or enjoy intricate artificial slides and other activities at the Waterbom. Descend into the sea inside a submarine, dive by yourself or experience walking on the seabed. You name it, Indonesia has it.
Matching Indonesia’s natural wonders are its ever-growing choice of awesome accommodations. From luxury resorts to affordable hostels, developers go all-out to create outstanding, well-equipped and enjoyable places to stay. Private villas can even be rented at unbelievably affordable prices. Many resorts and hotels have splendid swimming pools or event private pools, most of which are attractions in themselves.
Bandung Hot Spring of Ciater
Bandung’s crisp mountain air provides a perfect atmosphere to dip in a hot water pool, observe the beautiful surrounding jungles, be idle for a while, and just enjoy yourself. Ciater area is graced with hot springs gushing from Mount Tangkuban Perahu that are believed to have healing power, or at least a super-relaxing force. Tourists can opt to submerge in a luxe resort pool, an affordable public bath, or anything in between.
Blue Fire of Ijen
A hike through Mount Ijen will not only reward visitors with a breathtaking nature view and cool breeze but also with rare blue sulfur flames blazing at its caldera. Local and international tourists have hiked this mountain for a sight of the otherworldly phenomenon and were not disappointed. Visitors can also bring back souvenirs sold by miners on the mountain, adorable statues carved from sulfur.
Indonesia is located in the ‘Pacific rim of fire’, one of the most active volcanic areas on the planet, and volcanoes in Indonesia are among the most active in the area. In terms of quantity, Indonesia alone has around 13% of the world’s volcanoes! For adventurous nature lovers, this means plenty of opportunities for volcano safaris throughout the archipelago. Some of the most popular to climb are Mount Rinjani in Lombok, Mount Ijen in East Java, Mount Batur in Bali, and Mount Bromo in East Java. Active volcanoes are fascinating to climb because of the amazing crater views like those at Mount Ijen, where blazing blue flames can be observed at night.
Dive into the Coral Triangle
In the eastern part of Indonesia lies the heart of the Coral Triangle, one of the planet’s biggest marine biodiversity centers. Also dubbed as the “Amazon of the seas”, the vast area holds more than 75% of the world’s coral species and more than 2,000 species of fish. For ocean adventurers, this is an amazing spot in which to experience a varied marine ecosystem, and there are many ways to enjoy this vibrant marine life: diving, snorkeling, swimming, or chilling at beach resorts. Raja Ampat in Papua in particular is one of the richest spots of the Coral Triangle.
The unending list of stunning Bali beaches is probably the most obvious reason to visit this tropical paradise in the Indonesian archipelago. Each beach has its own charm, from soft white sand and limestone cliffs to extreme water sports and diving. From the mainstream Kuta and luxurious Nusa Dua neighborhoods to hidden, remote beaches away from the crowds, there’s a beach for everyone, every need and every mood.
Every Kind of Natural Beauty
Beyond big cities, stunning beaches, volcanos, and magical temples, Indonesia has virtually every kind of natural beauty. Glorious mountainous areas with lush greenery, scenic lakes, gorgeous waterfalls, iconic rice fields, flower gardens, gushing sacred rivers and secret canyons all make up the country’s landscape.
Jakarta Shopping Scene
Bali has its share of fabulous art market, boutiques and traditional marketplace, but Jakarta still dominates in terms of mega shopping malls and the modern shopping scene . There are over a hundred malls packed closely together in this urban jungle, making it one of Southeast Asia’s shopper’s paradise. Shoppers can find both local and international brands, authentic handcrafted goods and luxury items. Even better, once a year, the city hosts a huge discount event, the Jakarta Great Sale, where prices are slashed up to 70%.
A highland area near Bogor, Puncak attracts weekly crowds from Jakarta. Every weekend and public holiday, this vast natural reserve is packed with urban people, who stay in the hundreds of villas in the area. The main highlight of Puncak is the expansive tea plantation with calm views. Puncak also has fun activities for everyone, from jungle safari, horse riding and parasailing to shopping and relaxing.
Weather in Indonesia can be split into two seasons – wet and dry – with warm tropical temperatures averaging 28°C during the day, throughout the year. In most regions, the dry season spans from May to September, with the rains falling between October and April.
Generally speaking, the best time of year to visit Indonesia is between May and September when the days are dry and sunny. However, during wet season temperatures remain high and rainfall comes in the form of intense tropical downpours that tend to last for a couple of hours and needn’t spoil your trip.
In some regions the difference between the two seasons is not extreme: Bali and Kalimantan, for example, are relatively unaffected by the season change, but the contrast typically grows as you travel further east into the Nusa Tenggara region (to the islands of Lombok, Flores and beyond) where there is a greater chance of flooding during the wet season and droughts in the dry.
Foreign nationals from countries that are included in the 169 Visa-Free Country List are entitled to visa exemption and may enter Indonesia from 124 immigration checkpoints and are granted a 30-day stay that cannot be extended. Mandatory requirements include passport with minimum 6 months validity and return / through tickets.
GMT+ 7 and No Daylight Saving Time. Most Public Offices and Schools start from 0700 until 1500 while malls and shopping centers open from 1000.
Languages spoken are Indonesia, Local Languages, and English. Most people in Indonesia do not speak well English except in tourist cities of Bali and Yogyakarta as well as in the capital, Jakarta.
Currency and Payment
Indonesia’s currency is Rupiah (Rp. or IDR) with conversion rate varies from IDR13000-IDR15000 per USD. For your reference, price of BigMac is around IDR40000 – IDR70000. Visa and MasterCard cards are widely accepted in all malls and shopping centers. Currency exchange shops are also easy to find.
Here are some do’s and don’ts in Indonesia:
Places of worship – Be respectful. Remove shoes and dress modestly when visiting mosques; wear a sash and sarong at Bali temples.
Body language – Use both hands when handing somebody something. Don’t display affection in public or talk with your hands on your hips.
Clothing – Avoid showing a lot of skin, although many local men wear shorts. Don’t go topless if you’re a woman (even in Bali).
Photography – Before taking photos of someone, ask – or mime – for approval.
Conflict – Indonesians don’t like conflict. For this reason saving face, and not being caustic towards others, is important for travelers to remember.
Embarrassment – People in Indonesia embarrass easily, and it’s considered very rude to deliberately embarrass someone. This might include raising your voice, or making accusations.
Private Problems – Problems should be solved in private, not on the streets, and ego-based or emotional outbursts are inappropriate.