You can encounter orangutans on Sumatra, come up close and personal with tarsier monkeys on Sulawesi. In Bali, you can explore the Hindu culture, while on neighbouring Lombok you can hike the spectacular Mount Rinjani – a 3,726 metre volcano. Over in Kalimantan on the island of Borneo, you can head deep into the jungle, or you can marvel at the Buddhist temples of Borobudur on Java.
If watery exploits are more your thing, then head for one of Indonesia’s many beautiful beaches. You’ll also find great surf just off the coast of many of these – such as the Mentawai Islands. Snorkelling and scuba diving also merit a place on your agenda, with many of the best underwater sights still largely undiscovered by the majority of tourists.
Everywhere, you’ll be tantalised by delicious food – from sotos to satays to sambals. And that’s just scratching the surface. Make twenty trips to Indonesia and you’ll still want to return to discover more of this vast and diverse country.
Places to Visit in Indonesia
Unique Things to See and Do in Indonesia
- Climb a volcano such as Lombok’s Mount Rinjani
- Encounter orangutans in Sumatra
- Surf the world class breaks in the Mentawai Islands
- Plunge deep into the rainforests of Kalimantan
- Explore the largest Buddhist temple in the world at Borobudur
The Rich Diversity of Indonesia
The number of islands located within the republic of Indonesia appears to be a matter of some disagreement. Some put the number as high as 20,000 while others cite a more cautious 13,466. Either way, that’s a lot of islands.
They range in size, from large to small with many uninhabited and some even unnamed.
As a result, the diversity – both natural and cultural – that can be found in the destination is staggering.
Straddling the equator, Indonesia’s landscapes range from rice-fields on islands such as Java and Bali to the lush rain-forests to be found on Sumatra, Sulawesi and Kalimantan.
The wildlife too is richly varied from the beloved orangutan to the Java rhino. Here you will also find the largest flower in the world – the Rafflesia.
Underwater life is equally impressive with the waters of North Sulawesi home to the coelacanth fish – described as a “living fossil” which predates the dinosaurs.
On the cultural front, there is also much to discover. Indonesia has a total population of more than 215 million people from more than 200 ethnic groups. Each island has its own appeal with attractions ranging from ancient temples, music, art, dance and rituals.
Getting Around Indonesia
The easiest way to get around the islands that make up the Indonesian archipelago is by air. And that doesn’t have to be an expensive undertaking thanks to the number of low cost air services that operate in the region.
However, in the spirit of adventure, you may want to try and navigate your way around the destination by minibuses known as bemos, angkot or taksi depending on where you are.
There are also trains in Java and Sumatra, as well as ferries and bus services.
For shorter journeys, you may want to try a dokar – a horse-drawn cart found throughout the destination – or even a three-wheeled bicycle rickshaw called a becak.
Did you know…?
Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous nation, is 86% Muslim and, although a secular state, is the world’s largest Islamic country.
Did you ALSO know…?
The largest islands in the archipelago are Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Papua.
Best Time of Year to Travel to Indonesia
Temperatures at sea level tend to fall between 21 degrees Celsius and 33 degrees Celsius, but it can get somewhat cooler when you head to higher ground in the mountains.
For the majority of the vast country, the wet season falls on the months of November to April, with May through to October considered the dry months. However, there can be rains at any time of year in many places and the pattern is entirely turned on its head in places like North Sumatra, for example.
However, the majority of tourists tend to come between June and September or over the festive season, which can, of course, mean more crowds and higher prices.
Ready to plan your visit to Indonesia? Check out these popular guides and trips.