With over 17000 islands, over 300 ethnic groups, and its unique location geographically and geologically, Indonesia offers a lot of various activities for travelers who visit the country. As written in Britannica Encyclopedia, Indonesian archipelago is one of the most unusual areas in the world: covering a major juncture of earth’s tectonic plates, spans two faunal realms. It has also become a nexus of the people and cultures from Oceania and mainland Asia. With these natural gifts, there are lots of things once could experience in Indonesia, ticking out your bucket list one-by-one.
1. Immerse Yourself in History & Culture
Indonesia is home to more than 300 ethnic groups speaking more than 700 languages. It houses renowned temples like Borobudur and Prambanan, two beautiful ancient wonders in proximity of Yogyakarta City. It also has countless mosques, including Istiqlal Mosque, the largest in Southeast Asia. You will be amazed with the remains of ancient kingdoms scattered all over the country. You can also be a part in safeguarding its intangible heritage by experiencing batik painting or watching Wayang (Shadow Puppet).
2. Enjoy Natural Sceneries above the Clouds: Conquer Indonesian Mountains
With over 17000 islands, it is common to think that Indonesia is about beaches and sea. But more than that, it has just as many mountains. Due to its location which encompasses juncture of tectonic plates, it has around 130 volcanoes, approximately accounting to 13% of world volcanoes. These volcanoes, with some situated within a large volcanic lake or with craters that spurt blue fire, provide stunning views for travelers. One of the most famous mountains is Mount Bromo (2329 m). Travelers from around the world come here to view the sunrise and to enjoy the amazing landscape. Experienced hikers may opt to hike higher mountains like Mount Semeru (3676m), the tallest mountain in Java, or Mount Rinjani (3726m) in Lombok, or Mount Batur (1717m) and Mount Agung (3031m) in Bali.
3. Treat Your Tastebuds with Amazing Cuisines
Indonesia is also about mouth-watering food. Indonesian food is amongst the most vibrant and colorful cuisines in the world, with full of intense flavor. With fresh herbs and multitude of spices, Indonesian cuisine is so tasty and exciting to eat. Rendang, one of the renowned dishes, was voted in CNN Travel as the most delicious food in the world. Indonesia has also various types of Satay, with Satay Padang and Satay Madura as the most popular. You should also try Bakso (meatball soup), one of Obama’s favorites during his childhood. Nasi Padang, a steamed rice accompanied by more than a dozen dishes, is also something you should not miss. Other popular dishes include Gado Gado, Empek-Empek, Siomay, Gudeg, Rawon and many others.
4. Explore the Wonderful Nature & Wildlife
Indonesia is famous with its wonderful nature. From deep rainforests to blue seas, there is so much to explore and experience. Bali & Lombok are famous with its beaches. You can also opt to do island hopping and snorkeling in the sea around Gili Islands, Labuan Bajo, or Raja Ampat. Known for its marine biodiversity, you may want to explore the famous dive spots around Wakatobi Islands or Togian Islands. Not only that, trek in natural rainforest in search of Orangutans can be fascinating for some. You can also explore the largest crater lake in the world, Lake Toba in North Sumatra, or watch Komodo Dragons in the Komodo Island.
5. Shop till You Drop
Last but not the least is shopping! From the renown brands in the shiny malls of Jakarta, or the local bistros in many fashion outlets in Bandung, to the local traditional products in the traditional market, Indonesia is undeniably one of the best shopping places in Asia. With affordable prices, you can shop till you drop anywhere!
By Muhammad Fathi Rayyan, ASEAN Correspondent from Indonesia