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Indonesia

By Dmitry Petrounin Dmitry Petrounin Section editor Profile
Indonesia, the tropical paradise full of surprises. Consisting of 17,500 islands of varying sizes, Indonesia is home to stunning beaches, adrenaline-fuelled activities, the largest Buddhist temples in the world, and friendly natives. Whether you're rounding up some travels, or looking for an interesting family holiday, Indonesia will never disappoint.

Before leaving

The terrain changes with every jump you make across the tiny islands that make up Indonesia, making it remarkably unique for every visitor. Whether you're deep sea diving at Raja Ampat, exploring the buzzing capital city of Jakarta, or even climbing the volcanic mountain ranges at Sumatra, there will be a friendly and fun atmosphere wherever you find yourself. The people and the surroundings are essential to your overall experience in Indonesia, the rich cultural blend of such a populated place is enough to want to pack up your life at home and find your own way to fit in.

Sun Worshipping

Indonesia is an exceptionally popular destination for travellers of all kinds. Its beaches, however, are one of the main reasons it has become so frequently visited in the past few years. The combination of stunning white sands stretching as far as the eye can see and the clearest of water can only be described as paradise. Bali and Gili Trawangan are particular hot-spots for not only the carefree travelling types, but also for romantic getaways. Perfect weather and the occasional boat trip can make for a heavenly holiday.

Ecotourism in Bloom

Indigenous communities in Sumatra's national parks have launched ecotourism initiatives to avoid resorting to the palm oil industry. By staying in one of the pure conservation areas, you can not only sleep easy knowing that you're helping to ensure the protection of many endangered species and the development of the Indonesian economy, but you can also be guaranteed to tire yourself out through many adventure activities in the jungle-like terrain. Whether it be visiting the orangutans in their natural habitat, or kayaking along one of the many challenging rivers, you'll be sure to see the Indonesian land in all its luscious glory.

Crazy Kuta

Kuta, situated on the island of Bali, is renowned for being the party capital of Indonesia, as the stomping ground for nearby Australians. Nightclubs and energetic bars fill the central streets, along with shops selling souvenirs and alternative fashion items. Although Kuta may not be the most beautiful part of Bali, if there is enough time during your trip to party on down it is definitely worth checking out for a few days with friends. If you're experiencing Bali's stimulating surfing scene that keeps the Australians coming back year after year, you will definitely want to be part of the party atmosphere that seems to come with it, or them!

Cup of Java

As Indonesia is one of the world's largest coffee producers; there will be no danger of finding yourself with a bad cup. Coffee lovers from all over the globe come to see first-hand the production of delicious, rich Indonesian coffee at the coffee farms located all over the archipelago.

Visit the Buddha in Borobudur

Java Island is home to Borobudur, a 9th century Buddhist temple, which has been hailed as one of the largest and most complete ensembles of Buddhist relics in the world. As an impressive UNESCO World Heritage site it is definitely worth making the effort to visit. It is often very busy during the day so it is recommended to set your alarm and head there to see the sunrise. Not only will you experience the serenity of the temple at its peak by avoiding the hustle and bustle, but you will feel enriched and experience Bali's authentically spiritual side. Along with beautiful Buddhist temples, there are plenty of museums and art galleries to be found in Ubud. Street art and unique shops selling artefacts and trinkets are also very popular if you want to take some of Indonesia's charm home with you.

Our Editorial team's advice

It's difficult to explore Indonesia to its full potential without giving yourself enough time. With so much to see and a constant sense of exploration, it is important to have at least 10 days there. Even if it's just beaches you're looking to lounge on, having flown so far to see the beautiful islands you may as well use the distance as an excuse to stay as long as possible!

There is no bad time to visit Indonesia. It has almost an entirely tropical climate, as it is split by the equator. Despite the temperature averaging at a warm 28°C throughout the year, there is a period from September until January which is known to be the 'wet season'. However, weather reports often show that the weather varies according to whether you're in the northern area of the nation or the south. There is no need to revolve your trip around the fear of cloudy skies though, as even if it is bad weather it usually never lasts more than a few hours a day. Another good reason for travelling at this time is there will be fewer tourists during monsoon season. If you do not plan on going too far off the beaten track, weather should not affect your plans.

Anti-malaria medicine is recommended if you are travelling to some of the southern islands as mosquitoes can be rife during the rainy season.

Indonesian visas are normally only issued on arrival and are not very expensive. It is important to be mindful of when they run out, because usually they cannot be extended or converted.

Following a terrorist attack in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, the Foreign Commonwealth Office has advised all British nationals take caution when travelling to the areas of Aceh, Central Sulawesi Province (especially Palu, Poso and Tentena), Maluku Province (especially Ambon), Papua and West Papua Province due to potential for violence or violent conflict. You should also be particularly vigilent during holiday periods, such as Easter, Balinese New Year (March 9, 2016) and Independence Day (August 17).

The Foreign Office warned on 26th February of the potential of another terrorist attack in Indonesia and the need for visitors to exercise a high degree of caution. Although not having changed its overall level of travel advice, it says that terrorist groups continue to plan attacks and have the capacity and intent to carry out these attacks at anytime and anywhere in the country.

Reviewed hotels

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Our journalists' reviews for you 89 hotels Indonesia . Take a look at our hotels, their facilities or their value-for-money score according to your departure dates so that we can find the best offer to suit you Indonesia . Book a hotel Indonesia it's never been so simple !

Reviewed Hotels

Traditions

Indonesia is home to a very diverse population; therefore many dialects are spoken across the islands and different religions practised. Ubud and other areas are well known for their healing ceremonies, which are a huge part of Indonesia's spiritual heritage and now a large tourist industry. With herbal remedies and full-body scrubs the Indonesian spas will leave you feeling good as new. Many people are also very intrigued by the dramatic, traditional dances called barong that are performed outside temples or in communal areas. They are beautiful to watch and draw people in from all around the world.

Music is also a huge part of Indonesian heritage, with orchestras playing for religious ceremonies and other events on a regular basis. The instruments themselves are made out of bronze and bamboo, which creates a unique and magical sound.

What to see

The beaches , Kuta and the west coast , Indonesia
The beaches
Sculpture , Indonesia
Sculpture
Religion and rites , Indonesia
Religion and rites
Indonesia : Explore

Food

You will come across food of every kind in Indonesia, considering their proximity to so many different countries and the perfect tropical climate. They have been influenced by the spicy curries of India, delicate rice recipes from China, and the richness of Spanish gastronomy too. Their meat feasts are infused with delicious spices and laid upon a bed of rice with fresh vegetables. Their fruits are exotic and as colourful. Their noodles have been perfectly thinned so they are light and drenched in many different flavours.

However, the famous Indonesian national dish of nasi goring, made from a base of stir fried rice and egg with meat, chilli and local vegetables, is a delicious change from chip culture. You will feel as though you must try it while you're there, and then could quite possibly never order another dish again! They even end on a sweet- what could be better news? Martabak is another famous Indonesian delicacy, made of crispy pancakes that can be sweet or savoury. Oozing with chocolate or other fillings, the sweet martabak is a perfect treat to end the day on.

You will not be reaching for the snacks as you will be so impressed by each meal of the day, and particularly by the bargains you can find at the street markets!

Souvenirs

Handmade arts and crafts are plentiful in Indonesia, giving you a wide choice for presents and souvenirs. Religious artwork is easily found due to its tribal markings, you'll often find these in religious areas like Java and Bali, where there is both Buddhist and Hindu influence. For any textile lovers, we would recommend bringing back some batik (painted fabric) and for those who can afford it, Songket, gold-embroidered silk. Wicker baskets are also very common, as well as wooden sculptures and pearls (either sold individually or as part of a piece of jewellery). Prices aren't often fixed in Indonesia, so it's worth bartering, to get the best price for your keepsakes.