Flavourful archipelago with harmony between
nature and cosmopolis.
A 17,000-island strong transcontinental archipelago sprawled across 5,000 km, Indonesia is home to the fourth largest population in the world. The archipelago, however, is much more than these numbers. It is a melting pot of culture whose various peoples are as different from each other as though from different continents. This kaleidoscope is also manifest in its geography where wetlands and volcanoes coexist with snow-capped peaks. Go beyond backpacking in Bali or exploring the capital city of Jakarta as #DSSCRecommends seven reasons to visit this magnificent island nation for the experience of a lifetime.
The Stupas of Borobudur, Java
Despite being the most populous island in the world, Java has plenty of places to escape to. Yogyakarta in Java is home to the fascinating complex of Prambanan, a contemporary Hindu site, and the largest Buddhist temple in the world, Borobudur, which has survived since the 9th century. The three-tiered pyramidal structure consists of five concentric squares, topped with 72 intricate lattice stupas that surround one monumental stupa. Also known as the Garden of Java, Borobudur has survived deadly volcanic eruptions and catastrophic earthquakes to look as calmly as ever over the brilliantly green rice fields.
Wakatobi: A Haven for Divers
Wakatobi stands for the four unforgettable islands of Wangi-Wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia, and Binongko. This marine national park is located in the Asia-Pacific World Coral Triangle, and hosts 942 species of fish and 750 species of coral. With such magnificently abundant undersea splendour, it is no wonder that Wakatobi is a haven for divers. However, the wonders do not only lie below the surface. You can rent a boat at Wangi-Wangi and hit the seas to watch playful dolphins whilst fishing for tuna. Pajam Village, on the island of Kaledupa, is the oldest in the region, and is known for its tradition of hand-woven textiles. All the islands are populated with dive resorts that provide easy access to the best diving locations.
Chase Waves in Lombok
Approximately 35 km east of Bali is its laidback cousin, Lombok, with more wide-open spaces and much less traffic. With Bali being the mainstay of mass tourism, Lombok offers isolated, dreamy beaches such as Setangi, Mawun, and Selong Belanak, as well as magnificent natural vistas from the cliffs of Tanjung Ringgit. It was surfing that first sowed the seeds for Lombok’s tourism. From Bangko Bangko (Desert Point) in the west to Ekas in the east, its various bays provide a great avenue for wave-chasing. Treks to its mountainous interior, especially to the second-highest volcano in the country, Gungun Rinjani, are quite popular, whilst some visitors prefer the cool foothills of Tetebatu and Sapit where waterfalls abound. Another way to explore this quiet island’s vicinity is through guided fishing tours. Whether on a traditional outrigger boat or a modern sport-fishing outfit, visitors can expect deep-sea fishing for tuna, trevally, wahoo, mackerel, and sailfish.
Gili Islands: Party and Peace in One Place
The Gili Islands are a group of three isles located off the northwestern shore of Lombok. Amidst a turquoise sea fringed by white sand and palm trees, these islands had until recently enjoyed anonymity. One of these, Gili Trawangan (Gili T) is fast emerging as a cosmopolitan space replete with a thriving party scene and upscale restaurants, villa resorts, eco lodges, and spa resorts on its southern shore, while the islands to the north and west still retain their serenity. Gili Meno is the ultimate destination to escape city life with its beautiful, unpopulated beaches, and a local village ban on late night parties. Gili Air combines the best of the other two; it’s lively party scene goes quiet by 10 or 11 PM. Furthermore, the locals’ efforts have ensured that no motorbike or car enters the area disrupt its serenity; the only local transportation options are bicycles and horse-drawn carts.
Raja Ampat, the Islands of Four Kings
The 1500-plus islands of Raja Ampat in Papua, the easternmost part of Indonesia, are steep and verdant with dense foliage. They also feature pearly white beaches, hidden lagoons, spooky caves, and lucid turquoise waters. The region’s name comes from a local myth about a woman who finds seven eggs, out of which four hatch and become kings of the biggest islands in the region. Its unadulterated beauty notwithstanding, the region’s primary draw is the gobsmackingly diverse marine habitat it has fostered: silver manta rays, vividly coloured mantis shrimp, pygmy seahorses, and humpback whales make scuba diving on a visit here mandatory.
Lorentz National Park
South East Asia’s biggest national park, Lorentz, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located on the island of Papua. It has the tallest mountain between the Himalayas and the Andes, Puncak Jaya, which also happens to be the world’s highest island peak. It is home to diverse ecosystems — mangroves, rainforests, alpine tundra, and one of the only three glaciers in a predominantly tropical geography. Its complex geology is home to 123 mammalian species and over 630 species of birds. As a large region of the park remains uncharted, scientists believe you have a good chance of discovering one during your adventures here.
The Chic Flower City of Bandung
The high altitude and cooler climes of Bandung make it a popular weekend destination for Jakartans. It is the third largest city in Indonesia, and has earned the sobriquet of Flower City due to its abundance of greenhouses, local floral businesses, and lush mountainous backdrop. Known for its assemblage of fashionable boutiques and factory outlets, Bandung is a popular shopping destination. Further adding to its aesthetic are the numerous Art Deco buildings that one can’t help but marvel at.
May–September is when you can enjoy the best weather in Indonesia. Since we have planned your trip, all you gotta do is book your tickets!
Featured Image Courtesy: travelzom.com