Renowned for being the largest archipelago in the world with over 18,000 islands, Indonesia is a breathtaking country perched across the long stretch of the tropical sea. This South-east Asian nation not only straddles the Equator between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean but is also home to numerous isles waiting to be explored. Known as the 4th most populous country in the planet, it is easy to get lost amidst the hazy maze of this chaotic country.
When in Indonesia, head straight to it's capital Jakarta. It is easy to misinterpret the city and have a negative impression of the metropolis owing to it's population, pollution and mind-numbing traffic. But upon closer inspection, one can find a treasure trove of artistic attractions that pays due homage to it's glorious heritage. Some of the notable highlights in this megalopolis are National Monument , National Museum, oldest church in Jakarta - Gereja Sion (Zion Church), Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMI) and so forth. Rent a bicycle and ride through the city's Dutch colonial era by heading over to the old town of Batavia and visit the various spots popular with the tourists. Jakarta is known for it's swanky and sprawling shopping complexes as well as a shimmering night life with a plethora of bars and dance clubs.
Bali is undoubtedly Indonesia's most famous holiday destination with scores of people visiting from all over the globe. This tropical paradise is not culturally delicious with rich traditions and roots but is also popular with beach-a-holics seeking a great seaside resort to relax and lounge around. With sun-drenched sand and warm emerald-green waters, Bali beaches are a breathtaking sight to behold! Party animals can drop by at Kuta, for the beach is buzzing with lively bars. Those who prefer the quiet should stop by at Nusa Dusa while Sanur is preferred for offering fantastic water-sports. Bali is also known for it's iconic and famous temple, Pura Tanah Lot, constructed on a rock formation in the sea as well as renowned for it's rice paddies particularly the luscious Jatiluwih Rice Fields.
The Gili Islands are seen as an alternative to Bali. The stunning islands offer diving and snorkelling at a turtle sanctuary. Other activities such as kayaking and yoga also makes a tourist's trip more fun and interesting. Be sure to explore the hidden gems of the relatively unknown Banda Islands. Nicknamed as Eastern Indonesia's best kept secret, the group of 10 islands are comfortably perched on the edge of the Banda Sea. One can catch glimpses of a rich aquatic life with the presence of several kinds of marine creatures such as sharks, sea turtles, whales, endemic Ambon scorpion-fish, lobsters and so forth.
Indonesia is second in biodiversity after Brazil and it's flora and fauna sports a mix of Asian and Australian species. Head over to the Tanjung Puting National Park in Kalimantan, Borneo or the Bohorok Orangutan Center in Bukit Lawang, a village in Sumatran Jungle, to view the critically endangered orangutans. Those who are adventurous can drop by at the Komodo National Park, UNESCO World Heritage Site, to gaze at the deadly and fierce Komodo Dragons. When in Bali, do stop over at the Sacred Monkey Forest, situated in the town of Ubud where one might find numerous long-tailed macaqes, a popular monkey specie commonly seen throughout Southeast Asia.
Housed near Yogyakarta, an old Javanese city, lies the ancient temple of Borobudur erected in the 8th century and designed in the shape of a traditional Buddhist mandala. Known to draw hordes of crowds since centuries, this iconic temple continues to be one of the most renowned and a culturally significant landmark in Indonesia. This Southeast nation is known for it's active volcanoes and active eruptions such as Mount Merapi, Mount Bromo and Mount Kradatau.
When it comes to shopping, look out for furniture, antiques, fashion, art, jewellery, Wayang Golek puppets, batik, old record players, wooden handicrafts, batik, brass work and so forth. Bigger cities such as Jakarta are popular for it's swanky and sprawling shopping complexes such as Plaza Indonesia, Mall of Indonesia and Plaza Senayan for urban expensive shopping as they house chic designer outlets and every famous international label imaginable.
Indonesia is known for it's delicious gourmet so don't miss out on digging into their local delicacies such as nasi goreng (Fried Rice) or nasi padang (white steamed rice served with a plethora of curries and other toppings). Fruit juices are quite popular in Indonesia. Do try the Alpukat, a refreshing and tasty drink prepared with avocados and is usually with dripping chocolate syrup.
The stay options in Indonesia are plenty with the richie-rich opting for the best luxury hotels and expensive private apartments the country can boast of as well as modest and cheap accommodations for those who are light on the pocket and budget travellers.
Indonesia experiences a tropical climate. The best time to visit this country would be from May to September when the weather is dry and temperatures are pleasant.