Top things to do in Indonesia
There is something to offer everyone in Indonesia, with things to do in all major destinations around the country. A walking tour of Jakarta is a must, and is one of the most popular things to do amongst tourists that are interested in the history of the country. In fact, Jakarta Old Town (Kota Tua Jakarta) is a UNESCO World Heritage site that spans for 1.3 kilometres. This part of the city is also known as Dutch Old Batavia (Oud Batavia), as it was established as the capital of the Dutch East Indies. Reminders of the city’s past can be seen all over this neighbourhood, though one of the finest examples is the original town hall that today houses the Jakarta History Museum. When on a Jakarta Walking Tour this, and numerous other notable sights, will be visited.
A trip to Jakarta’s Ancol Art Market is another must, particularly for those interested in handicrafts made by local artisans. This open-air market focuses on up and coming artists that display their work in the hopes of selling it. There are also plenty of workshops in the market that tourists can visit and, in most cases, see the artists at work.
Indonesian’s vibrant cultural scene also provides much for visitors to so, with tours offered that include visiting neighbourhoods or villages that specialise in dancing, painting and other handicrafts. Batiks, ikats and singkets are all textiles that Indonesia is famous for, with different styles existing on each of the various islands. A shadow puppets performance is also something that all tourists should experience, along with a traditional Balinese or Javanese dance performance. These are held nightly in most popular tourist destinations.
Visiting Indonesia’s ancient temples is perhaps one of the most popular things to do, particularly famous temples like Prambanan, Candi Plaosan, Borobudur and Muara Takus. There are also plenty of other stunning architectural sights to visit, like the traditional Torajan ancestral houses, the royal Javanese courts of Yogyakarta and the Tombs in Tana Toraja.
Nature lovers will not have a hard time keeping themselves busy in Indonesia, as it is filled with national parks, wildlife reserves and tropical rainforests. Sumatra is arguably the most popular place to explore the rainforest, while Bali’s Mount Batur is one of the best places for an early morning hike. Tour guides can be arranged to go on treks in any of the country’s national parks, including the Ujung Kulon National Park in West Java and the Lorentz National Park in Papua, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Trekking and hiking is particularly rewarding, especially to the craters of some of the dormant volcanoes, such as Toba on Sumatra. But there are many more along this archipelago, providing a fitting mountainous backdrop to treks. Even a day trip on Bali gives you a sense of these giant crater-caldera landscapes. Further west it gets quite surreal, such as the conical shapes of Ternate and Tidore, while the jungles Sulawesi contrast with the drier landscapes of Flores across the Wallace line.
Then there is the diving, and with so many tropical islands an shallow waters it really is paradise, with year-round diving in safe waters. East Indonesia is particularly rewarding and dive trips have the added benefit of cruising to remote places like Komodo island, or the Raja Ampat archipelago.
Aside from visiting Bali, a perennial favourite for many with its surfing, Ubud retreats and festivals or handicraft shopping, there are other tourist islands that get less mention. Those located near Singapore, Bintan for example, are ideal weekend escapes for some relaxing beach time with good infrastructure for the expat crowd.
Posted on 14 June 2017
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Holiday hotspot extraordinaire, the Indonesian island of Bali offers a dream destination for visitors. The island resembles Paradise Lost with beaches inlaid into a rocky coastline with emerald forest...
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