Things to see in Indonesia

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Indonesia Attractions

When it comes to attractions, Indonesia is as varied as its 17,000 islands, and visitors will be swamped with an endless list of things to see and do. There are cultural, historical, religious and natural attractions aplenty, and as such it may be wise to select one or two islands to explore in order to avoid suffering from a sightseeing overload.

A popular place to tackle first is Java, a touristic favourite not least because of the incredible volcanic scenery in its Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park. The island is also home to the grungy metropolis of Jakarta and the historic Yogyakarta. On Java, travellers can find anything from glitzy nightclubs to ancient ruins to traditional puppet theatre. If the laid-back aesthetic of "Eat Pray Love" is what you are after, head straight to Bali. This hugely popular island has been luring in visitors for years thanks to its white sandy beaches, endless surfing spots and inland cultural attractions.

For a wider range of natural attractions, one can get lost on the mammoth island of Sumatra, which offers visitors traditional towns, such as Bukit Lawang and Bukittinggi, and stunning landscapes. Bigger yet is Borneo, which shares its jungle treks with visitors and native orangutans alike and is a delight to explore.

A lumbering ferry line connects all the main islands and attractions and is an adventure itself. The best time is visit is between May and September, during the dry season, which also makes transport easier.


Prambanan Temple Complex

Prambanan Temple Complex

Rivalling the Buddhist monument of Borobudur, this magnificent Hindu temple is the largest in Java and arguably the most beautiful in Indonesia. Prambanan was built in the 9th century, possibly to compete with the splendour of Borobudur, or to celebrate the return to power...  see full details



Borobudur

Borobudur

One of the greatest Buddhist monuments in South East Asia, Borobudur was built in the 8th century and stands on top of a hill surrounded by volcanoes and overlooking green fields. It is an immense, multi-tiered structure with the Great Stupa (bell-shaped monument) at...  see full details



Tanah Lot

Tanah Lot

Meaning 'land in the middle of the sea', Tanah Lot is an exquisite sea temple built atop a rock formation off the island of Bali. A very popular tourist spot and a great location for photographs, Tanah Lot sits on a rocky island,...  see full details



Sunset over Mount Bromo

Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park

The Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park encloses spectacular volcanic landscapes and one of the most impressive natural sights in Indonesia. The ancient Tengger crater in its midst stretches for six miles (10km) and within its sheer volcanic walls are three peaks; Batok, Kursi and the smoking...  see full details



Fishing boats in Ampenan

Ampenan

Ampenan-Mataram-Cakranegara-Sweta, or more simply referred to as Ampenan, is a vibrant district located on Indonesia's lush Lombok Island. The sprawling metropolis is comprised of four towns, the boundaries of which are indistinguishable to the casual visitor, and is host to a population of around...  see full details



Mount Batur

Gunung Batur Volcano

The still-active Gunung Batur volcano is known as Bali's second holiest mountain and symbolises the female element of the island. The male element is symbolized in Gunung Agung, a neighbouring smaller volcano. The walk up Mount Batur is not easy, but the views are...  see full details



Pura Besakih

Pura Besakih

Locally known as the Mother Temple of Bali, Pura Besakih is located on the slopes of Mount Agung and is the biggest and holiest of all Balinese temples. Dating back to the 14th century, the three main temples are dedicated to Shiva, Brahma...  see full details



Pura Kehen

Pura Kehen

One of the most valued temples in Bali, Pura Kehen is a garden temple located in the town of Bangli in East Bali and can be traced back to the 11th century. Founded by Sri Brahma Kemuti Ketu, Pura Kehen is the second...  see full details



Stone Carving

Batubulan

The small village of Batubulan is marked by stone figures of gods and demons on the side of the road. Known mostly for its stone carvings, Batubulan is a popular centre for cultural tourism and attracts travellers looking for a unique souvenir to...  see full details



Gunung Sibayak

Berastagi

A great place to stop off for travellers en route to the holiday resort of Lake Toba, the town of Berestagi is famed not only for its passion fruit, but also for the two active volcanoes on its doorstep: Gunung Sibayak and Gunung...  see full details



Gili Trawangan

Gili Islands

Situated a few miles off the northwest coast of Lombok, the three Gili Islands - Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air - were 'discovered' by backpackers in the 80s and until recently remained a laid-back haven for budget travellers in search of...  see full details



Lake Toba

Lake Toba

The holiday paradise of Lake Toba, sparkling like a precious stone, is embedded in the northern highlands of Sumatra and is surrounded by steep and fertile mountains. Filling in a giant volcanic crater, it is the largest lake in South East Asia, with depths...  see full details