Indonesia is the 4th most populous country in the world and is made up of over 17,000 islands; however, often when people think of Indonesia, all that comes to mind is Bali. Although Bali is awesome in its own right, Indonesia as a whole is a great place to visit and has much to offer. Here are our nine reasons why you should visit Indonesia.
The Komodo Dragons
Indonesia is home to Komodo National Park, named after its celebrity residents, the Komodo Dragon. Currently the largest living lizard in the world and the closest thing we have to dinosaurs, these fierce dragons are quite the tourist attraction for the thrill seeker. Indonesia is the only place in the world where they can be found living in the wild on the four islands that make up Komodo National Park. Having been known to eat a human or two, if you visit make sure you do so with a few park rangers as protection to witness this deadly creature in the flesh.
Indonesia is home to 20% of the world’s coral reefs and some of the best scuba diving and snorkelling you can find. There are many opportunities available for beginner and experienced divers, with lots of gear rental shops and liveaboard trips and more being offered. Indonesia also has a lot of shipwrecks off its shores, which make for interesting dives. It’s almost a shame to visit Indonesia and not get your feet wet.
Food and Coffee
You can literally eat for days in Indonesia and always be trying something new. Some popular Indonesian foods are satay (like lamb or chicken skewers), nasi goreng (a fried rice plate with other foods added to it like fried eggs, vegetables, and chicken), gudeg (a dish made from boiled young jackfruit, often served with rice, sambal sauce and chicken) and our favorite, sambal sauce – a spicy sauce that can be added rice and many other dishes. Indonesia is also one of the largest coffee producers in the world – the phrase “a cup of Java” actually comes from Indonesia’s island of the same name, where the coffee comes from. They are also famous for Kopi Luwak, which is coffee made from the poop of the Luwak – aka civet cat – that has eaten coffee beans and pooped them out. Sounds gross but it is actually rare and quite expensive coffee.
When we were visiting Indonesia, bananas were very popular everywhere we went, which is no surprise seeing that the country is one of the top six producers of bananas in the world. If we weren’t having them at breakfast, we had them as dessert, deep-fried (aka pisang goreng), drizzled with chocolate, or served many other ways.
Dating back to the 9th century, Borobudur is the largest Buddhist temple in the world and is found in Java, Indonesia. Made up of 2,000+ relief panels and over 500 Buddha statues, this temple is an amazing monument to see. Often crowded in the day, one of the best times to explore the temple is early in the morning when you can watch the sunrise while standing at the very top.
Indonesia is located in what is called “the Pacific rim of fire” which is one of the most active volcanic areas in the world. The country alone has 150 volcanoes. It also boasts some of the most gorgeous sunsets in the world with one of the best being seen from Mount Penanjakan overlooking the famous Mt Bromo Volcano. Although to get to the top, you must climb up steep streets and steps covered in tourists and horses really early in the morning in pitch-black darkness, it is definitely worth the effort and the climb.
With over 17,000 islands it’s a sure bet that Indonesia has some gorgeous beaches to lay on. Whether you want to enjoy some water sports like learning to surf, go parasailing, ride a banana boat or just lay out and get a nice tan, Indonesia is definitely a place where all of this can happen. You can hang out on the popular Kuta beach in Bali, or the secluded pink beach as part of the Komodo islands, just to name a few of the thousands of options.
Indonesians are very friendly and welcoming people. In the majority of the places you travel to throughout the country, you will be met with some of the biggest smiles you have ever seen. They are also very proud of their history, culture, wildlife, food and more, and are passionate about sharing it with others.
The island of Borneo is occupied by three countries – Brunei, Malaysia, and the majority by Indonesia – and all throughout the rainforests of Borneo you can find wild orangutans. One of the best ways to see them in Indonesia is to rent a Klotok boat, take it down the Sekonyer River and visit the Camp Leakey Orangutan rehabilitation reserve in Tanjung Puting National Park.