An archipelago of over 13,500 islands, Indonesia is an exotic kaleidoscope of smouldering volcanoes, lush rainforests, glittering rice fields, golden beaches, coral-rich seas, ancient cultures and legendary hospitality. Whether you want to relax on the beach, visit ancient temples, climb volcanic peaks, encounter rare wildlife, or experience world-class diving and snorkelling, Indonesia awaits.
A land of outstanding natural beauty, Indonesia offers a range of experiences to suit everyone from beach lovers, to culture devotees and adventure addicts. The natural scenery is stunning, from Bali’s UNESCO-recognised verdant rice terraces in Bali, and the waterways that snake through the Kalimantan jungle, to its sun-soaked coastline, white-sand beaches and sweeping bays. The surfing is some of the best and both the snorkelling and diving is world-class, with top destinations found on the islands of Bali, Lombok, the Gili Islands, Flores and Sumba.
Indonesia is the only place left in the world where you can see both wild orangutans and Komodo dragons living in their natural habitat. Head to the jungles of Kalimantan on the island of Borneo or Sumatra to see wild orangutans swinging through the trees, while dragon hunters should visit the islands of Komodo and Rinca off the coast of West Flores. Remote tribal cultures also thrive in Indonesia, from the traditional villages and long houses of the Dayak in Kalimantan and the Batak of Sumatra to the Torajan people of Sulawesi, who live in traditional Tongkonan homes with huge boat-shaped roofs known for their incredible funeral ceremonies and burial sites.
The smoking volcanoes that populate most of Indonesia’s major islands are a challenge waiting to be climbed. For the moderately fit, we’d suggest ascending Mount Batur in Bali, the eerie Mount Bromo in Java, Mount Sibayak in Sumatra or Java’s Ijen Crater. The many crater lakes produced by past volcanic activity are highlights in themselves, particularly Sumatra’s Lake Toba, the largest and deepest crater lake in the world.
There is a deep religious heritage in Indonesia, evident in the many beautiful Hindu temples, Buddhist temples and Muslim mosques sprinkled across the land. Highlights include the Hindu Prambanan and Buddhist Borobudur temple complexes in Central Java and the beautiful ancient Hindu temples of Bali, particularly Pura Tanah Lot and Pura Ulun Dana, which appears to ‘float’ on the waters of Lake Beratan.
Culture lovers are spoilt for choice with the opportunity to see classical Balinese dance, Ramayana ballet and shadow puppetry in Java, listen to gamelan music and enjoy Indonesia’s many artisan crafts including intricate wood-carving, batik fabric-printing, silk-weaving and jewellery-making, all based on traditional techniques handed down through generations.
The major cities of Jakarta and Surabaya in Java, as well as Medan in Sumatra are all on the cusp of modernisation, so you’ll find glitzy shopping malls and eight-lane highways rubbing alongside tumbledown shacks, traditional street markets and the faded grandeur of old colonial relics.
For those looking for luxury and relaxation, the hotels and spas of Bali are a match for anywhere in the world, but most islands have a great range of accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets. The Indonesian hospitality is wonderful, and you’ll find a warm welcome wherever you go.
Bali is loved by honeymooners and with its idyllic beaches, stunning boutique hotels and secluded settings, it is no surprise. We’ve shortlisted a handful of our favourite properties which are perfect for a post-nuptial celebration or simply a romantic retreat.
Bali is a much-loved beach destination and thanks to long swathes of sandy beach, seriously laid-back vibes and rugged coastlines, it is easy to see why. In Bali, no beach is the same, meaning that whatever your idea of paradise may be, there is bound to be a beach that ticks all the boxes for you. With each stretch of coastline offering something different, it is often difficult to know where to start when it comes to discovering Bali’s hidden coves, forgotten bays and sugar white beaches. To help, we’ve handpicked a few of our favourite Balinese beaches, choosing where’s best and for who.