Indonesia is quite basically an enthralling collection of some 18,000 islands. It is the worlds largest archipelago and shares borders with everyone from Malaysia and Papua New Guinea to India and the Philippines. The country is filled with diverse cultures, peoples, animals and customs as well as wonderful food and intriguing art. There is just so much to do there – and here are our top picks of the best.
The Beaches (especially Bali!) – There are few places on earth that enjoy such a stunning collection of beaches. From Kuta beach to Menjangan Island – Balis beaches are quite simply perfect. All around – from island to island – white sand beaches blend beautifully into opaque cerulean blue waters – and many beaches remain quiet and easily explorable. The beaches here arent just for sun-seekers though, theres plenty of diving opportunities to pursue too. For the diving we suggest Menjangan Island, which has a vibrant collection of reefs and underwater life, while Nusa Du Beach on the other hand is tranquil and calming – romantic and wonderful – perfect for couples, lovers and singles in alike. A safe option for those wanting a traditional beach experience is the pristine Sanur Beach in Bali.
The Worlds Largest Buddhist Temple – Evidence suggests Borobudur was constructed in the 9th century and abandoned some 500 years later. The temple didnt truly become known outside of Indonesia until 1814, when Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, who was the British ruler of Java, was advised of its location by native Indonesians. Borobudur has since been preserved through several restorations, the latest of which were undertaken by UNESCO, after it was declared a World Heritage Site. It is astonishingly beautiful and well known as the most magnificent piece of classical architecture in the country. Look out for the bell-shaped stupas that adorn the upper platform of the temple – they are incredibly photogenic especially when framed with one of the Buddhas that sit close by.
Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park – Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park islocated in East Java and is home to several incredible, and very high,peaks – including Mt. Semeru and Mt. Bromo. We love to simply watch the sun rise in magnificent fashion over the peaks here. If youre more adventurous you may want to ascend one of the mountains, though, at elevations of more than 12,000 ft (Mt. Semeru) – temperatures tend to hang at the lower end of the spectrum – so be sure to take appropriate clothes.
Yogyakarta – Yogyakarta is the capital of the Yogyakarta special region in the seismically active part of Java. The city is well known as the centre of classical Javanese arts including traditional dance, poetry and puppetry – Yogya is one of the best places to view all of this and more. It is one of the oldest cities in Indonesia and as such has a great collection of heritage buildings and monuments, all sitting quite poetically side by side with an intriguing collection of Dutch colonial architecture. If youd like to see ancient architecture in the city then head towards Kotagede, which remains to this day a prime example of ancient Javanese architecture and city structure. Its also a hub for local silver handicrafts – so be sure to take a look at a workshop or two. Theres a nice selection of Museums, Galleries and temples too – so be sure to spare a few days or more if you really ant to see it all.
Indonesian Cuisine – Indonesian cuisine is one of the most diverse of all Asian cuisines – with popular dishes such as Nasi Goreng, gado-gado, sate and soto taking centre stage. To easily differentiate the different cuisines – remember that Sumatran cuisine has influences from Middle Eastern and Indian dishes, while Javanese cuisine has a hint of Chinese influence. There are even some Dutch influences in Indonesian food -most notably in dishes like roti bakar (grilled bread) and bistik jawa (Javanese beef steak). If you ever have the opportunity to attend a feast then look out for the colourful cone shaped piles of Tumpeng rice which is usually surrounded by a vast assortment of dishes like fried prawns and chicken, beef in sweet soy sauce and mashed potato fritters.
If youre ready to book your holiday to Indonesia, whether you want to explore the sheer beauty of Prambanans antique Hindu temples, the beaches of Bali, the natural wonders offered in Indonesian Borneo or the intensely pretty topography of East Java, then youll find that we have a great collection of offers available
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