Volcanic landscapes, azure waters of the Indian Ocean, serene beaches, luxurious flora, and fauna – it’s impossible to list all the natural beauties of Indonesia. You can explore this country endlessly, but we still tried to identify the 10 most significant places, visiting which will leave the most vivid emotions.
1. Immerse yourself in the atmosphere of Jakarta
The heart of Jakarta and the country’s main square is Medan Merdeka. In the centre stands a grand monument of independence. Climb to the observation deck and inspect the city from a 132-meter height. Walk along the alleys, which fan out from the monument, and go on an excursion to the National Museum of Indonesia.
When you reach Chinatown, visit Jing-Yuan Temple, where Buddhists have been practising rituals for 200 years, and in a pharmacy next door you can buy Chinese medicine and take a cup of real Chinese tea.
And be sure to visit the “Beautiful Indonesia in Miniature” theme park – the whole country is represented on 150 hectares. Rent a catamaran and go for a walk on the lake, which on a reduced scale reproduces the Indonesian archipelago with all the islands.
2. Take a picture of a dragon
After boarding the plane at Denpasar Airport, take a short air trip to Labuan Bajo, on Flores Island. From here you can easily get to Komodo Island by yacht or boat. The path runs along the tropical sea among many tiny islands.
Passengers arrive at the entrance to Loh Liang Park – the habitat of giant Komodo lizards. On average, their length reaches 3 meters, and weight – 80 kg, which is an absolute record among modern lizards.
On the territory of Komodo adventure and ecological tours are held. Embark on an organized tour accompanied by an experienced ranger. Be sure to take the camera to capture the incredibly rich fauna of the island with the Komodo dragons at the head. These reptiles are distinguished by their aggressiveness and are capable of hunting even humans during droughts. During the hunt, the monitor lizards stun small animals with a tail blow, while the large ones first bite, infecting with poison, waiting for the prey to die from the poison, and only then begin to eat. In the park, the monitor lizards are well fed, so they are quite friendly here and do not mind photoshoots with tourists.
3. Visit the ancient temples
The greatest historical monuments adorn the island of Java. Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple in the world, is dedicated to the Mahayana – “The Great Chariot”. Built-in the 9th century, it perfectly preserved the multi-tiered architecture and 504 Buddha statues. Assess the grandeur of the structure and rise to the platform levels, symbolizing the world of desires, the world of forms and the world of amorphism, which reflect the views of Buddhists about the universe.
No less impressive is the Hindu complex of the X century Prambanan, dedicated to Trimurti – the three main gods in Hinduism. Consider the stone bas-reliefs with images of God Shiva and other mythical heroes of the Ramayana epic.
4. Climb to the crater of the volcano
During the last 20 years, the Bromo volcano has been in a state of constant activity. A convenient road leads to the summit from the village of Chemoro Lavang, which makes the volcano one of the most accessible for tourists. A view of a million – a crater, spewing smoke and steam, and, of course, the surrounding landscapes. During the high seismic activity, access to Bromo is closed.
5. Take a geothermal bath
Toba, the largest lake in Indonesia, is located on Sumatra near the Great Sumatra Rift. Water fills the caldera formed after the strongest eruption. Today, Toba and all the surrounding areas are a tourist centre with a developed infrastructure. Take a boat and get to the island of Samosir – geothermal springs are surrounded by sulfurous terraces along its western shore. Immerse yourself in hot mineral water with a unique composition.
6. Watch the orangutans
Tanjung Puting Park is home to a huge population of orangutans. It is located on the island of Kalimantan (also known as Borneo) and covers an area of over 4 thousand hectares – predominantly the jungle and mangrove forests through which hiking trails are laid.
Orangutans live in their natural environment, they are not afraid and let people walk a few meters away. Choose the most attractive family to come closer and see their habits in detail. Do not forget to take photos!
Other primates live near orangutans: noses (endemics of Kalimantan), macaques, gibbons. Leopards, Malay bears, crocodiles, pythons, hornbills and many other representatives of exotic animals are also found here. The contemplation of the wild nature combines with an informative excursion to the gold mines, where you will learn how the locals mine the precious metal.
7. Try charcoal coffee
The Indonesian city of Yogyakarta is perhaps the only place in the world where you can get your coffee with a piece of red-hot coal. Here it is called “Kopi Joss” and was invented back in the 1960s when the local cafe owner tried to cope with his restless stomach.
To make Kopi Joss, you can buy the best coffee beans on Amazon from Indonesia, which are grown specifically for this coffee and add charcoal when cooking. However, it is best done in Yogyakarta.
Today it is mainly entertainment for tourists, but it is argued that this coffee can help with bloating, nausea, heartburn or diarrhoea.
Local students visiting cafes analyzed Kopi Joss and found that it has a lower caffeine content than regular coffee because coal absorbs it. And also neutralizes the acidity of coffee, which makes it easier for the stomach. Many claims that it has the same taste as regular coffee, while others say that it has a delicate taste of caramel since hot coal burns sugar added to coffee.
8. Look deep into the ocean
The picturesque Raja Ampat archipelago is located in the province of West Papua and includes more than 1,500 islands and coral reefs. This region is characterized by the richest diversity of marine organisms in the world, thanks in part to its location between the Pacific and Indian oceans. Here you can learn traditional Papuan fishing techniques and go fishing. On a sailing boat, go to the islands of Salavati, Misool, Waigeo, Batanta, Kofiau, admire the tumultuous waterfalls and caves, dive to the coral thickets and sunken ships.
9. Visit Toraja
Sulawesi is a large island surrounded by tropical seas, attracting lovers of exotic from around the world. Flying up on a plane, pay attention to its unusual outlines: from a height it looks like an orchid – from the centre, like petals, narrow and long peninsulas depart. Here you will find corners of virgin nature and friendly indigenous people. Go to the edge of the Toraja to see magnificent ceremonial rituals, cave burials, and admire wooden houses with fiercely raised roofs standing on stilts. To get acquainted with the heritage of the colonial period, go to the capital Makassar, where you can see the fort Rotterdam and the tombs of the Govans kings.
After exploring the local architecture and customs, it’s time to go for a walk in the jungle to the waterfalls and mountain lakes. Along the way, do not miss the ancient rock paintings. During your stay on the island, you will meet with the rarest representatives of island fauna.
10. Discover Terra Incognita
The territory of Lorentz Park stretches for thousands of kilometres – it is the largest protected area in the Asia-Pacific region. Embark on a journey through uncharted places that are not even on the map. More recently, in the local jungle, researchers discovered a previously unknown species of kangaroo. Perhaps you will discover a new species of bird or mammal.
Lorentz National Park is difficult for tourists because of its remoteness – it is located in the east of the island of New Guinea. But when you get here, you will see stunningly beautiful mountain peaks, alpine meadows, dense mangroves, tropical forests with luxurious ferns, waterfalls and glaciers, many strange birds and animals, and you can even watch the food of a predator plant.
In order not to get lost, travel in a group accompanied by a guide. Some tours include visits to Aboriginal tribes who retain primitive manners and customs. In such a colourful company, you will feel like a pioneer, like Hendrik Lorentz himself, after whom the park is named.