With a rich and diverse culture and predominantly Hindu the island of Bali lies only 3.2km east of Java and stretches for approximately 153km towards the island of Lombok. The island’s interior is dominated by hills and volcanoes with the highest Mt. Agung (3000m). Due to the island’s volcanic nature and geographical position, Bali is very green and fertile while its coastline is surrounded by coral reefs and many beautiful beaches. Beaches on the south coast tend to have white or golden sand but can be busy. Overseas visitors seem to congregate between Kuta and Seminiak, where you will find all the action and of course some surf and nightlife. In contrast beaches on the north coast consist of black volcanic sand which attract less people and generally feel tranquil and peaceful. It seems that here you can still find the old Balinese traditions the typical ways of living.
On the east cost of Bali, Amed is the perfect place for a relaxed break by the sea. Here Bali’s central mountains roll sharply in to a long coastal strip surrounded by pristine reefs and stunning scenery. Amed’s beautiful volcanic beaches are lined by traditional outrigger fishing boats. There is some good diving as well, especially in Jemeluk Bay both in the deep and shallow water; here there is gentle slope out from shore but suddenly stops and drops off dramatically to depths of 40m and more. Corals here are healthy and fish life in abundance.
Towards the middle of the island on the foothills of the volcanoes lies Bali’s cultural capital Ubud. A visit to Ubud is a highlight to any visit of Bali as here you will find all that is traditional about Bali. There is always something going on in Ubud and you will often find the traffic blocked by a colourful ceremony or procession of some sort. Besides the temples and palaces Ubud’s offers the visitor many alternative activities; there are many art galleries, museums, quirky shops and lots of restaurants. There are lots of things to do and see in Bali and there are many different types of holidays to be had. It is not difficult to avoid the crowds and at ‘See Asia Differently’ we know how.
Area Highlights: Beaches, Trekking, Dolphins, Waterfalls, Diving, Culture
Area Activities: Ubud Cycling Tour, Dolphin Watching, Elephant Safari Park, Fish BBQ with your guide, Kayaking River Adventure, Menjangan Island Boat & Snorkelling Trip, Panas Banjar Hot Springs, Waterfalls & Rice Fields Walk, Whitewater Rafting
The round shaped island of Lombok lies eastwards next to Bali and sits just before the island of Sumbawa. Lombok is predominately inhabited by the Sasak people and topographically dominated by the centrally located Gunung Rinjani, the second highest volcano in Indonesia (3.726m). It is well worth the hike to its mighty summit which comes complete with hot springs and a dazzling crater lake.
Beautiful white sand beaches dot the island’s coastline which is outlined by lush and forested background. Lombok’s underdeveloped south coastline and nature are simply exquisite and it comes with impressive headlands, breath taking turquoise bays and excellent surfing. Just off Lombok’s west coast you will find the three tiny Gili islands. These extremely laid back islands are framed by white fine sands, crystal clear waters and colourful reefs and are perfect for few relaxing days. The Gilis are well connected by speed-boats with Lombok and Bali and are well worth exploring.
Area Highlights: Beaches, Gili Islands, Trekking Mt. Rinjani, Artisans
Area Activities: Artisans Tour, Climbing Mount Rinjani, Selong Hidden Beach
Flores and Komodo
Going further east from Bali and Lombok, just after the island of Sumbawa and you will find Flores and Komodo. The island is also located in the volcanic zone that extends from Sumatra across to the Banda Sea. Flores Island It is the biggest island in Nusa Tenggara measuring 380km long and 260km to 270km wide with the narrowest point stretching between Maumere on the north coast and the Sikka village in the south.
As a result of a turbulent volcanic history the island’s dramatic landscape is mostly mountainous with peaks reaching up to 2400m. The island also boasts to have 14 currently active volcanos. There are 5 main airports in Flores, including Ende, Maumere and Labuan Bajo and there is the Flores highway which runs across the island for 550km and connects Maumere with Labuan Bajo. The sea’s surrounding Flores contains some of the richest marine life and coral reefs in the world.
Komodo Island is part of the Lesser Sunda chain of islands that forms part of the Komodo National Park and is easily reached by boat from Labuan Bajo. The island is not only famous for the world’s largest living monitor lizard, the Komodo Dragon but also for its unique fauna and marine life. Besides Komodo Island the dragons can be found at and some of the smaller surrounding islands, as well as part of western Flores. In the national park buffalo, civets, cockatoo and macaques can also be seen.
Area Highlights: Beaches, Crater Lakes, Spider-web Rice Paddies, Komodo Dragons, Sailing at Komodo National Park
Area Activities: Kelimutu Crater Lake, Komodo Dragon Spotting, Sunset over Labuan Bajo Bay, Labuan Bajo Local Fish Supper, Snorkelling & Island Hopping Trips, Scuba Diving
Jakarta is one of Southeast Asia’s biggest cities and is the capital of Indonesia. The city is home to over 9 million people with this number even growing by around 2 million daily as commuters come to the city to work. Jakarta is not the easiest city to navigate and it is highly recommended to have a good guide with you to show you the most important sites. As back in the day the city was formed from a cluster of villages that grew together; so it is common to drive along a new high way straight into confusing narrow streets. Jakarta has been described by some as the Indonesian city that never sleeps and when you visit you can see why; bustling night life and the buzz the city creates during a normal working day.
Area Highlights: National Monument, Grand Istiqlal Mosque, Shopping, Waterfront, Museums, Vihara Dharma Bhakti
Area Activities: Jakarta City Tour
With a Sultan and a population of about 1.5milion Yogyakarta (pronounced as Jogjajakarta or Jogja for short) is Java’s cultural capital. This is where old traditional ways coexist with Indonesian modern ways of life. Some of Indonesia’s best art is found here as well as traditional or contemporary batik which is also produced here. Without doubt Jogja is one of the most visited city in Java as there is plenty to do and see, with the city offering an excellent base to explore the Dieng Plateau and the nearby temples of Prambanan and Borobudur. Within the city you can visit Kraton, the cultural and political quarter of Jogja with the Sultans palace at its centre, built between 1755 and 1756. This is one of the finest architectural examples of a typical Javanese palace. Kraton was built within walls and nowadays, a large part of it is used as a museum.
Area Highlights: Borobudur & Prambanan Temples, Prambanan Ballet, Wonderful Day Tours,
Area Highlights: Borobudur Temple Discovery, Prambanan Temple Discovery, Ramayana Ballet at the Prambanan Temple, Climbing & Tubing Adventure, Hidden Beaches Tour, Sunrise Temple Bike Tour, Jogja City Tour
The royal city of Surakarta (known also as Solo) is no doubt the least westernised city in central Java. In this conservative city filed with backstreets, markets, an elegant old quarter and palace is an excellent place to see traditional performing arts as well as offering a good base to explore the temples of Borobudur and Prambanan. Solo is justly famous for its textiles and is home of the largest batik market in Java. The city is also the base for other traditional crafts and it is often said if you are looking for a special antique oddity that Surakarta is your best bet of finding something affordable but authentic.
Area Highlights: Antique Treasures, Batik Crafts
Area Highlights: Surakarta City Tour
The picturesque and historical city of Malang is located between Mount Semeru, (the highest mountain on Java) and Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park to the east. Leafy boulevards and Malang’s cooler climate attracted the Dutch colonists of 17th century and you can still see the evidence around the city today. There is a relaxed and laid back feel to Malang and it is a good base to explore Mt Bromo and its surroundings. Besides the city with its various markets there are some Hindu temples such as Singosati, while 60km south of town will take you to the excellent beaches of Balekambang and Sempu island which is the most beautiful island in east Java.
Area Highlights: Bromo National Park, Gateway to Mount Ijen
Area Highlights: Mount Bromo Sunrise Trekking, Mount Bromo 4×4 Jeep Sunrise Adventure, Mount Ijen (Blue Fire) Walk
Sumatra is located in western Indonesia and is the largest island in Indonesia. The Indian Ocean and Andaman Sea borders with the northwest and southwest sides of Sumatra and off shore are the island chain of Simeulue, Nias and Mentawai. Towards the northeast side and by the narrow ‘Strait of Malacca’ is Sumatra’s biggest city, Medan. In the southeast the narrow Sunda Strait separates Sumatra from Java. Several active volcanoes in the Bukit Barisan Mountains, form the backbone of the island while the northeast part of the island is outlying with swamps and mangroves. The equator crosses the island at its centre on West Sumatra and the climate here is tropical, hot and humid. Sumatra has a huge range of plant and animal species in its tropical rainforest, however in the last few years many species have become endangered such as the Sumatran Ground-cuckoo, the Sumatran tiger, the Sumatran elephant, rhinoceros and orangutans.
Area Highlights: Beaches, Wildlife, Toba Lake, Butik Lawang (Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre)
The island of Sulawesi, formerly known as Celebes is the world’s eleventh largest island and is situated between Borneo and the Maluku Islands. Sulawesi is formed by four peninsulas with three gulfs separating these peninsulas; while to the west the Makassar Strait separates the island from Borneo. Sulawesi’s interior consists of impenetrable mountains with dense jungles and interesting wildlife such as the rare nocturnal tarsiers and beautiful colourful hornbills. Off the coast of Central Sulawesi lie the Togian islands which are inhabited by sea gypsies. These islands formed by volcanic activity are covered by rainforests and surrounded by incredible coral reef formations. Part of the Togian islands are now National Park and an excellent place for snorkelling or diving. About 300km north of Sulawesi’s capital Makassar (or Ujung Pandang), is Rantepao home of the Toraja ethnic group with their elaborate funeral ceremonies in which buffaloes and pigs are sacrificed. The surrounding area of Rantepao is also very beautiful and offers excellent hiking possibilities.
Area Highlights: Beaches, Wildlife, Diving at Togian Islands, Rantepao, Toraja Ethnic Group, Funeral Season
Kalimantan stretches south of Malaysian Borneo and Brunei, it occupies almost 70% of Borneo Island. Mostly covered by thick jungle and with very few roads, this is not an easy place to get around. Water here is the most reliable method of transport and rivers have taken the place of highways. There is nothing to say about the major cities of Kalimantan and there is no reason why one should hung around here. Pontianak, Palangkaraya and Samarinda are only notable as gate ways into the jungles and the interior. Once you have left these provincial centres you will be totally rewarded by nature. Traveling by boat on the busy rivers it is an interesting ways to see Borneo and get to glimpse Into Dayaks life and traditions, while at Kalimantan’s national parks and primordial forests, you can find all about the Orangutans and have some close encounters with many of Borneo’s heavenly creatures.
Area Highlights: Tanjung Puting National Park, Travel by Boat on Borneo’s Rivers, Wildlife
Irian Jaya is the Indonesian other half of Papua New Guinea, the world’s second largest island. Welcome to the land of exceptional natural beauty with impenetrable tropical primordial jungles, 5000m high snow-capped mountains, beautiful scenic beaches, powerful rivers, emerald lakes, pristine reefs, marine life and an incredible population. Irian Jaya is one of Indonesia’s least populous provinces consisting of Javanese immigrants and indigenous people from some extraordinary and most diverse and most isolated tribes communicating in well over 200 different languages. Here people still hunt for food and totally depended on nature. With lack of roads and poor infrastructure this is not an easy place to travel and it does not come cheap either. But this is one of the most amazing islands our planet has to offer and has to be seen to be believed. (perhaps an earthly Avatar)
Area Highlights: Lake Sentani, Kasuarina Cape, Indigenous People
Flores and Komodo
Flores and Komodo
Towns & Cities in Indonesia
Indonesia has no shortage of captivating destination to visit on your holiday. Refer to our Towns & cities guide to plan the perfect trip.