The largest country in South-east Asia, Indonesia has, in the past, lagged behind its neighbors, Thailand and Malaysia, in attracting foreign visitors, especially due to the inferior tourism infrastructure that Indonesia possessed at the time. But, in the past decade, Indonesia has made great progress and caught up with its neighbors, with the number of visitors peaking at around 10 million in 2014. The country is one of the biggest in the world in terms of population (approx. 250 million people) – it’s also the world’s largest Muslim country and impresses mainly through its natural beauty, mix of cultures and ancient, as well as colonial heritage. Let’s check it out!
The most visited area of Indonesia is the island of Bali. Situated in the southern part of the archipelago, it is home to a large part of Indonesia’s Hindu minority. The beaches and nature are the main reasons why foreigners travel to Bali – the island is home to numerous 4 or 5-star all-inclusive resorts that are pretty close to what we imagine about Heaven. Hindu temples are among the most visited places here, with Pura Taman Ayun and Tirtha Empul as the trademark religious settlements. A hike through the numerous rice pads guarding the sides of the highest peak, Mount Agung, can be really relaxing – at least until you meet one of the local monkeys that is likely to steal your food and your camera away.
Two hours away by plane and you’ll find yourself on the island of Java, one of Indonesia’s largest. Here, the single most visited monument is the temple of Borobudur, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that impresses both by its size and age – it was built in the 9th century and it’s still standing! Mount Bromo, located in East Java, is probably one of the most spectacular volcanoes in the world – behind surrounded by a desert of volcanic rock named “the Sea of Sand” – it would make a great set-up for movies like Lord of the Rings or Mad Max.
is the third stop on your tour of Indonesia. Hit by a powerful tsunami more than ten years ago, the island has managed to recover and rebuild its infrastructure, welcoming more and more visitors every year. The place is riddled with volcanoes (some of the most active in the world), traditional villages, temples and large urban areas. Fauna and flora are extremely diverse, Sumatra being home to rare animals and flowers such as the Sumatran Tiger and the Rafflesia Arnoldii (the largest and most stinky flower in the world).
Enjoy your travels in South-east Asia!