Meet the gods in Bali
A mandatory for anyone traveling to Indonesia, this small island has even upstaged Indonesia’s popularity as a tourist destination. But you may still want to read this: Top things you need to know about Bali if it’s your first time. Some of the must-visit places in Bali include its world-famous beaches, Tanah Lot, Ubud, Bedugul, and the countless luxurious hotels and amazing bars with to-die-for views.
Kalimantan’s jungle rumble
Although one of the biggest, Borneo is actually the least visited island in Indonesia, which makes it a great pick if you’re looking for an off the beaten track adventure. Highlights of Borneo include river travel along the Sungai Mahakam, the Orangutan Rehabilitation centers at Tanjung Harapan, and Camp Leakey within the Tanjung Puting National Park. For arranged tours, check out www.wowborneo.com.
The cultural center Yogyakarta
The second most popular destination after Bali, Yogyakarta is the cultural and spiritual hub for Javanese people. It is also where tourists would usually base their stay when visiting Borobudur, which is actually located in Magelang. We recommend staying at some of Java’s best hotels and spas in Yogyakarta city and have a tour around to visit attractions such as the Sultan’s Palace or Keraton, Taman Sari (Water Castle), Beringharjo Market to bring home some fine Batik items, Prambanan and Borobudur Temple, and the Ullen Sentalu Museum near the Merapi Mountain–which have been frequently heralded as the best museum in Indonesia. Here’s our quick cheat sheet if you’d like to see: Best Things To Do in Jogjakarta.
Magnificent Sumba, Nusa Tenggara
The terrain on Sumba is quite different to its neighboring islands; undulating hills replace the typical volcanic terrain in Indonesia with many areas in the North and East of the island resembling dry savannahs, whilst central highlands are covered in native alang alang grass and the mountains in the South extend down into lush tropical vegetation. The World Wildlife Fund categorized Sumba as a deciduous forest ecoregion for its special flora and fauna. Sumba’s isolation has helped preserve one of Indonesia’s most fascinating cultures, particularly in its more remote western half, which is home to about two-thirds of the island’s 400,000 people. Come here for the pristine beaches, the national park, its well-preserved traditional villages, and its beautiful Ikat weaving.
The Charming Surabaya
Surabaya, is the capital of Jawa Timur (East Java), located on northeastern Java island and along the edge of the Madura Strait and the second-largest city in Indonesia. Travelers come here mainly for business and as a stop-over to continue to other East Java cities but the city is actually home to many historic destinations for its central role in Indonesia’s fight to independence. Over the last 3 years especially, under the leadership of first directly-elected Mayor Tri ‘Risma’ Rismaharini, the city has received massive makeover and upgrades.
Tangkuban Perahu, Indonesia’s Active Volcano, Bandung
Explore Indonesia’s ring of fire with a visit to one of the nation’s active volcanoes and favorite tourist spots, Tangkuban Perahu. Located 30km in the outskirts of Bandung city – towards a highland village known as Lembang –Tangkuban Perahu, a large crater shaped like an “overturned boat”, is currently the only active crater in Indonesia that you can drive up to its very rim. Tangkuban Perahu’s eruption played a crucial role in the formation and fertilities of Bandung’s Parahyangan Highlands, giving the city its scenic natural wonder from large valleys and cliffs to the waterfalls, lake and lush landscape. The volcano offers many adventures for visitors to see and explore, from hiking down into the crater, strolling through the forest slopes, or simply basking in the surreal panoramic views and cool air, which makes Tangkuban Perahu a perfect stop for a half-day trip.
As a diverse country with many cultures and several religions, Indonesia is also filled with abundant cultural events, ceremonies, and festivals. Some that most looking forward to are:
Cap Go Meh, West Kalimantan
This Chinese-based tourism event is one of the mainstays in bringing foreign tourists to West Kalimantan. Recorded in 2017 as many as 26 Ambassadors from various countries came to see the Cap Go Meh festival. This event is held regularly every year, exactly the 15th day after the celebration of the Chinese New Year. Hundreds of tatung/loya parade around the city with extreme attractions along with a group of drummers to drive away evil spirits. The annual Cap Go Meh Festival is centered in the city of Singkawang.
Yadnya Kasada Bromo, East Java
Yadnya Kasada and Bromo Exotica are Tengger tribal ceremonies every tenth month of the traditional calendar. It is held on the slopes and craters of Mount Bromo located in Pendopo Desa Ngadisari, Pura Poten, Lautan Pasir. This event is held as gratitude and an early time celebration. This traditional ceremony that lasted hundreds of years is now enriched with collaborative responses from artists from various cities.
Jember Fashion Carnaval (JFC)
Jember Fashion Carnaval (JFC) is the continent’s answer to the world’s festivals, such as the Rio Carnaval, Noting Hill, and Venice. Fashion Extravaganza, which is displayed over more than three kilometers, made the city of calm Jember in East Java to be included in the world carnival city map. The event lasts four days with children’s categories, various customs exhibitions, and fashion conventions. Pioneered by Dynand Fariz, an artist and educator who inspired the emergence of carnival waves in various cities of Indonesia.
Festival Budaya Lembah Baliem, Papua
Baliem Valley Cultural Festival initially a war event between Dani, Lani, and Yali tribes as a symbol of fertility and well-being. A festival that is an arena for inter-tribal forces and has taken place down the field, but it is certainly safe to enjoy.
More exciting festivals, go to this link.
Dos and don’ts (by ExpatHolidays):
- Women should dress conservatively. Avoid tight-fitting clothes.
- Remember it is hot, so cotton or at least light clothing is best.
- Food is often taken from a shared dish in the middle. It is not considered rude if you serve yourself.
- Bear in mind delays are common to all forms of transport, caused by weather, mechanical failure, or simply not enough passengers turning up.
- Be aware of pickpockets on ferries, buses or other large gatherings
- Get good insurance! If you get seriously ill, you will probably need to travel to Singapore for treatment and the cost of this is extremely high.
- Avoid getting sick by observing how your food is prepared/cooked.
- NEVER drink cheap alcohol. It’s probably fake. Not properly distilled alcohol contains methanol, and small amounts can kill you. Drink bottled alcohol, Wine, or Beer.
- Drink bottled water. It’s not recommended to drink from the tap in Indonesia.
- Blue Bird taxis are the safest and most recommended taxi company to use in Indonesia
- Prepare for squat toilets and don’t forget the tissues.