Coined the “The Emerald of the Equator” because of its lush jungles, colourful wildlife, idyllic white beaches, incredible volcanic backdrops, Indonesia is a treasure chest for travellers. Whether you’re a sunworshipper, an adventurist or keen nature lover, Skyscanner Australia has found 7 top destinations in this beautiful country to satisfy your explorer desires.
Bintan – recently lauded as “The New Bali” for its pristine, white beaches, natural beauty and plush resorts. It’s a golfer’s paradise, with a selection of golfing courses to satisfy the avid player. When you’re not stretching out on the beach or practising your swing, the island has some mesmerizing historic sites, such as the Banyan Tree Temple, the Santa Maria Cave and the Raja Haji Fisabilliah Momument.
Photo credit: Tim Donnelly
Yogyakarta and Malang
Located in Central Java, in the Kedu Valley, Borobudur offers one of the most breathtaking ancient monuments in the world – the Borobudur Temple, which is a staggering 123m x 123m in size. This UNESCO World Heritage site was built during the Syailendra Dynasty in the 8th and 9th centuries and lay undiscovered for centuries, covered by volcanic ash and jungle growth. Volcanoes dramatically shadow the background to create some awe-inspiring photographs. To get around Borobudur, the locals recommend walking or, if you want to explore nearby villages, you can rent bicycles from your hotel.
If you want to take it easy, Malang, situated south of Surubaya, in East Java has a more temperate clime and moves at a more leisurely pace than the Javenese capital, Surabaya. Some call it the ‘Paris of East Java’, as it has a number of cultural sites, grand historic buildings and universities, with students milling about alongside laid-back locals. Just beyond the city, you’ll discover Hindu temples, rolling mountains and scenic views. If you have time to explore, Malang is a great starting point for those looking to travel around East Java
Photo credit: Yann Pinczon du Sel
Bali and Lombok
Bali needs no introduction. It is the most popular destination in Indonesia and for good reason. The ‘Island of the Gods’ is drenched in natural beauty, from stretches of rice paddy fields, intricately designed temples and spectacular sunsets, it does not disappoint. There’s an abundance of cafes and restaurants serving mouth-watering food to fill the bellies. When you’re not kicking back watching the sunset at Pura Tanah Lot (one of Bali’s most sacred temples) or chowing down on some of the local delights, you can get adventurous and white water raft down the Ayung River or visit Monkey Forest where you’ll encounter some of Bali’s local residents. If that sounds a little too strenuous for you, there’s plenty of relaxing spa resorts to revitalise the body and mind.
Situated next to Bali, Lombok has a slightly more rustic feel than its glamourous neighbour. Travellers are attracted to its cascading waterfalls, sun-drenched beaches, tropical island living and high-quality service. Whilst other islands have modernised, Lombok has remained relatively untouched. For the active ones amongst us, there are plenty of fun activities – from hiking up Mount Rinjani, scuba diving, surfing, rock climbing or snorkelling. Or, if that doesn’t whet your appetite, you can just sit back and enjoy a beer, have a siesta on the soft, white sandy beaches or lay back and indulge in a beachside massage.
Flores and Komodo National Park
If you are at one with nature and wildlife then you must visit the The Komodo National Park in Flores. Located in the Lesser Sunda Islands between East Nusa Tenggara and West Nusa Tenggara, this UNESCO World Heritage was voted one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature and for good reason. It is home to over 5,000 Komodo Dragons and also maintains one of the world’s richest marine environments. Keen divers can sign up for guided diving tours and experience some of the best diving around. If you don’t have your PADI, fret not, you can also enjoy snorkel tours or grab one of the boats that run through the national park. Don’t miss the volcanic islands, coral cays, colorful fishing villages and quaint villages with pale pink sand.
Photo credit: Michael Schwab