Located on the island of Bali is the small but upmarket resort of Seminyak. It’s purported to be the spa and boutique capital of the island and attracts a more affluent crowd than nearby Kuta Beach. The area has undergone rapid development over the past 10 years but has retained a certain charm and avoided high-rise construction and an influx of large chains. The area is also home to the largest gay scene in Indonesia. The country does have a concerning lack of legislation to support its LGBT citizens but you’ll feel welcomed and comfortable to be open here in the country’s most gay-friendly destination.
Indonesia’s capital is a seductive melting pot of people and cultures. It’s often disregarded by many visitors. While it’s not a destination worth visiting in itself, combined with a trip to other parts of the country, a night or two here can be an insightful and engaging experience. The old Dutch settlements are centered around Batavia. Today you’ll find many of the museums here including the National Museum and National Gallery.
3. Wild Sumatra
Sumatra is the sixth largest island in the world – and is just one of the many that make up Indonesia. That should give you an idea of just how big this country is. Sumatra is blessed with swathes of jungle and is home to the orang-utan. Many head to Bukit Lawang to catch a glimpse of this elusive animal. The majority of the island remains undeveloped and is a mecca for the intrepid traveller. Danau Toba is South East Asia’s lake and a serene place to spend a few days relaxing in the natural surroundings.
The currency used in Indonesia is the rupiah. The conversions can be a little tricky to get your head around at first. One UDS is equivalent to roughly 13,000 rupiahs and one GBP is approximately 17,000. To put this into perspective, a meal will cost you around 25,000 rupiah – around one to two dollars or pounds.
5. Active Volcanoes
Being located on the edge of several tectonic plates, it’s no surprise that most of Indonesia’s islands are volcanic. Luckily, most are closely monitored and considered safe to visit. Mount Bromo is one of the country’s most iconic mountains and one of the most accessible too. A trek through the night to catch the sunrise over the ethereal landscape is simply not to be missed. Other volcanoes on Java are Mount Merbabun and the Ijen Crater and there are plenty of other islands such a Sumatra too.
Despite being one of the smaller islands, Bali is the most renowned Indonesian destination. Ubud is famed for its spiritual dimensions as well as lush rice fields and temples a plenty. The setting of the Balinese section of Eat, Pray, Love which should give you an idea of the unparalleled beauty of this place.
7. Visa-free Entry
Most countries can visit Indonesia visa-free. You will need to obtain an entry permit upon arrival for a small fee of around $30USD but there is no need to visit an embassy before you set off on your adventure. They also charge a small departure tax so it’s worth keeping some money to hand if you want to avoid paying on card and charges incurred with this.
Indonesia is famed for its cultural and religious diversity. Over 80% of the population is Muslim, with an array of other religions making up the remaining 20%. Despite being only 2% of the population being Hindu the religion dominates the island and is visible in everything from architecture to sacred rituals – particularly in Bali.
Kalimantan is the Indonesian part of the breathtaking island of Borneo. The rainforest here is thought to be over 130 million years old and has an incredibly rich biodiversity and ecosystem. Adorned with over 420 species of birds alone, this island is also a refuge for endangered species including the Asian Elephant and the Bornean Clouded Leopard.
10. Food and drink
The diversity of food here is unrivaled anywhere in the world. It’s almost 18,000 islands all have specific, local dishes and variations on classics. As well as the more predictable curries and rice, other favourites are satay, fried noodles, and grilled fish. Vegetarianism is also commonplace here and their veggie burgers were very much ahead of the hipster curve.