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Indonesia Highlights

The Republic of Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world comprising 17,504 large and small tropical islands fringed with white sandy beaches, many still uninhabited and a number even still unnamed.

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Indonesia Highlights

The Republic of Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world comprising 17,504 large and small tropical islands fringed with white sandy beaches, many still uninhabited and a number even still unnamed.

image

Indonesia Highlights

The Republic of Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world comprising 17,504 large and small tropical islands fringed with white sandy beaches, many still uninhabited and a number even still unnamed.

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SUMATRA

Sumatra is the second largest island in Indonesia. This region has a remarkable panorama, virgin forests, lush vegetation, rivers, beautiful waterfalls, peaceful sandy beaches and large ancient lakes. The island offers a vast diversity of arts, people and culture.

Lake Toba, North Sumatra

Lake Toba is one of the awesome natural Wonders of the World. This is a crater lake so enormous it has an island almost the size of Singapore in its centre. At over 1,145 square kilometers, and a depth of 450 meters, Lake Toba is actually more like an ocean. This is the largest lake in Southeast Asia and the deepest lake in the world.

Toba is a place to come and sit back, relax and absorb some beautiful pristine scenery. As you sit and take in the view of the picturesque mountains set against the cool clear lake, you will feel the worries of the world melt away. As the lake sits 900 metres above sea level there is a cooler climate here making a refreshing break from the heat, humidity and pollution of the city.

It’s hard to imagine a more scenic place to come and enjoy hiking, swimming and sailing although once you arrive it might be difficult to resist the anesthetizing effects of the lake. The cool, clear water coupled with the relaxed atmosphere and friendly people is what draws visitors from all over the world to Toba.

JAVA

Formed mostly as the result of volcanic events, Java is the 13th largest island in the world and the fifth largest island of Indonesia. A chain of volcanic mountains form an east-west spine along the island. With a population of 124 million, it is the most populous island in the world; it is also one of the most densely populated regions on Earth. Java as part of Indonesia is rich in art and culture which are intertwined with religion and age-old traditions from the time of early migrants with Western thoughts brought by Portuguese traders and Dutch colonists.

Mt Bromo, East Java

Located some 4 hours drive from Surabaya, the capital of east Java, Mount Bromo is a part of the Bromo Tengger Semeru national Park that covers a massive area of 800 square kilometres. While it may be small when measured against other volcanoes in Indonesia, the magnificent Mount Bromo will not disappoint with its spectacular views and dramatic landscapes. At 2,392 meters tall, Mount Bromo is not among the tallest of Indonesia’s mountains but its stunning beauty lies in its incredible setting.

Borobudur, Yogyakarta

The magnificent Borobudur temple is the world’s biggest Buddhist monument, an ancient site widely considered to be one of the world’s seven wonders. Built in the 9th century during the reign of the Syailendra dynasty, the temple’s design in Gupta architecture reflects influence on the region, yet there are enough indigenous scenes and elements incorporated to make Borobudur uniquely Indonesian. This awe inspiring monument is truly a marvel. After a visit here you will understand why it is Indonesia’s most visited tourist attraction and a famous icon of Indonesia’s cultural heritage.

 

 

BALI

The island of Bali is the most enchanting travel and holiday destination in the whole world. Also known as the Land of the Gods, Bali appeals through its sheer natural beauty of looming volcanoes and lush terraced rice fields that exude peace and serenity. A vibrant culture, unique arts & crafts, dramatic dances and ceremonies, a gentle and friendly people and spectacular scenery make the exotic Bali Island a unique place to have unforgettable experiences.

Ubud

If you’re looking for peace and quiet, then Ubud is the place to be. Steeped in culture and enhanced by magnificent vistas, Ubud offers a respite from the humdrum of your busy life. In the past, Ubud was just a small village, but now it has grown into a thriving yet laid back cosmopolitan community. Ubud pampers visitors in body and soul. Fine dining restaurants and spas here will delight and relax the senses. A walk through the lush paddy fields, watching colourful processions of women gracefully balancing piles of fruit offerings on their way to the temple, are lasting impressions and simply breathtaking.

The best way to observe Bali’s traditions and culture is through mingling with the locals and watching their daily routine. In this town, you can visit the temples and villages that have remained relatively unchanged through the years.

Suluban Beach

World-class thrilling waves meet jaw-dropping scenery at the secluded surfers’ paradise of Suluban Beach. Located not too far from the picturesque Uluwatu Temple, this beach is the actual site of the famous Uluwatu surf break. This beach extends right up and joins the Uluwatu Beach. Together they are the Mecca for wave chasing junkies who come to Bali. Located at the Pecatu Village in the South Kuta sub-district, Badung regency, Suluban is among renowned surfing beaches along the Bukit Peninsula at the southern end of Bali that include the Uluwatu Beach, Bingin Beach, Padang-padang Beach, dreamland Beach, impossible Beach and Balangan Beach.

The beach is blessed with a breathtaking view of the Indian Ocean which offers a serene atmosphere and spectacular sunsets in the late afternoons, creating that most romantic aura. Approaching the area, visitors will be greeted by fascinating scenery of white rock cliffs that stretch as far as the eyes can see. Descending some 50 metres down to the shore, a vast white sandy beach kissed by turquoise blue waters await, while the pounding waves play the true resounding sounds of nature: the perfect setting for a thrilling surfing adventure.

SULAWESI

To visit Sulawesi is an unforgettable experience. It offers the traveller amazing landscapes: mist-covered mountains, unspoiled tropical jungles and volcanic lakes brimming with mysterious, coloured waters, green-stepped rice paddies and sprawling, sandy beaches. A huge range of activities are possible: trekking, hiking, rafting, diving, snorkelling.

Tana Toraja, South Sulawesi

Safely protected beyond the lofty mountains and rugged granite cliffs of the central highlands of the island of Sulawesi, are the Toraja people who live in valleys that are lush with green rice terraces and fertile coffee plantations. “Discovered” and opened to the world from their long isolation only since the beginning of the last centry, the Toraja today still adhere to their age-old beliefs, rituals and traditions, although many of the people are modernized or have embraced Christianity.

When one travels to the Tana Toraja highlands, therefore, expect to be awed by the spectacular beauty of nature, at the same time experience how communities have through the ages sustained their beliefs and traditions in splendid isolation in order to survive this eternal cycle of life and death on earth.

The road from Makassar to Toraja runs along the coast for about 130km’s and then hits the mountains. After the entrance to Tana Toraja at the market village of Mebali one enters a majestic landscape of giant, gray granites and stones and blue mountains afar that form a sharp contrast with the lively green of the fertile, rain-fed terraces and the rusty red of the tropical soil. This is Tana Toraja, one of the most splendid areas in Indonesia.

Here, the nobility of Toraja are believed to be descendents of heavenly beings who came down by a heavenly stairway to live here on earth in this beautiful landscape.

To keep up the energy of the land and its people, the Toraja people believe that these must be sustained through rituals that celebrate both life and death, which are attached to the agricultural seasons. Here rituals in connection with life are strictly separated from death rites. Toraja is most well known for its elaborate funeral ceremonies that can take days and involve entire villages. These are not only moments for mourning but are moreover events to renew family ties and to ensure continued unity among villages and communities.

Death ceremonies, however, are held only after the last rice harvest is in and cleared, which is normally between July to September, while ceremonies celebrating life are held in conjunction with the planting season which starts in October. These timings are possible since the dead are not buried immediately but are kept for months, sometimes for years, in the ancestral house until time and funds allow for a proper funeral.

Tourists to Toraja, therefore, tend to be attracted by its unique culture and rituals, most of which are mostly centered around graves and death ceremonies. While others prefer to avoid the morbid images and go trekking through the spectacular, almost untouched Toraja countryside visiting remote villages or exhilarate in rafting the Sa’dan River rapids.

The capital of Toraja is Makale but visitors usually head to the town of Rantepao, the heart of Tana Toraja – the land of the Toraja people.

Pulau Bunaken, North Sulawesi

Ever fancy yourself as a mermaid? Being able to swim along with other creatures of the sea, moving to the rhythm of the waves? In the Bunaken Marine Park, you will encounter a real “mermaid”, and you can also get a glimpse of sea life here.

Bunaken is an 8.08 km² island in the Bay of Manado, situated in the north of the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia. Bunaken forms part of the administrative city of Manado , capital of north Sulawesi. The marine Park around Bunaken is part of the national Park that also includes the ocean around the island of Manado Tua – or old Manado, Siladen and Mantehage.

Within the Bunaken marine Park, visitors can see various strange and colourful marine life along its sea bed. To reach this park, you can take a motorboat. The journey from Manado takes around 40 minutes. Entrance fee is 25,000 rupiahs per person per visit.

The translucent waters of the Bunaken seas enable people to clearly view numerous sea biota. There are 13 species of coral reefs in this park, dominated by edge ridges and block ridges of rocks. The most attractive view is the steep vertical slope coral reef that plunges down as deep as 25-50 metres.

Feast your eyes on 91 types of fish found in the Bunaken national Park, amongst which are the locally known gusimi horse fish (hippocampus), the white oci (Seriola rivoliana), yellow-tailed lolosi (lutjanus kasmira), goropa (ephinephelus spilotoceps and Pseudanthias hypselosoma), ila gasi (Scolopsis bilineatus) and others. Divers may also meet mollusk like the giant kima (Tridacna gigas), goat head (Cassis cornuta), nautilus (nautilus pompillius) and tunikates/ascidian.

For those who enjoy scuba diving, this is a great place to be. With about 20 dive spots to choose from, divers will have the chance to swim below the sea, and frolic joyfully while admiring the sea creatures. Make sure to visit Bunaken during its best season between May and August. That way you can explore the Park to its fullest.

BORNEO

Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located north of Java Island, at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia. The island is divided among three countries: Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia. Visiting Borneo means to embark on a unique experience of wildlife adventure of jungles, hills, mountains, rivers, rapids and wilderness. Some of the best and most spectacular areas of rainforest in the world can be seen in Borneo. Explore the lush of Borneo jungle with its diversity of vegetation and animal wildlife. You will have the chance to interact with the orang-utans; an experience that you will always remember.

Tanjung Putting National Park, Central Kalimantan

Imagine you are an explorer heading out to the jungle to see wild orangutans and other exotic tropical animals and you will begin to get a sense of what a visit to the Tanjung Puting national Park is like.

The park, which covers territory the size of Bali, is home to an amazing array of wildlife including it’s world famous orangutans. The park is also home to monkeys, birds and other wildlife, not to mention the pristine vegetation of the jungle itself. This is a world-famous natural treasure which attracts a growing number of international visitors each year.

Tanjung Puting is located in Central Kalimantan. The area was originally declared as a game reserve in 1935 and became a national park in 1982. The park sits on a peninsula that juts out into the Java Sea. The sheer size of the park means that it has diverse habitat zones. This diversity means the park is home to a great variety of inhabitants, both flora and fauna.

The incredible jungle surrounds make this an amazing place to visit if you’re after a truly outdoor adventure. It is an oasis of pure clean air, a clear night sky as well as a home to the gentle people of the jungle – the orangutans.

Derawan Islands

The Derawan Islands must be everyone’s dream of the perfect tropical paradise: warm, isolated islands with soft white sand beaches fringed with waving palm trees, pristine seas that change colour from green to deep blue, and an amazing underwater life of giant turtles, dolphins, manta rays, dugongs and barracudas, stingless jellyfish and sometimes, whales , Derawan is indeed one of the world’s richest areas in bio-diversity. It’s no wonder that the Derawan islands are considered the third best dive destination in the world.

Located just away from the mainland of east Kalimantan in the district of Berau, the Derawan archipelago comprises of 31 islands, most well known among these are the islands of Derawan, Marutua, Sangalaki and Kakaban. Here is Indonesia’s largest nesting site of the rare and endangered giant green turtles and hawksbill turtles, where one can daily watch turtles lay their eggs in the sand or swim to sea with the turtles. The entire marine conservancy region covers a total area of no less than 1.27 million hectares.

Here, you can find 460 different species of corals, ranking this area second only to the Raja Ampat islands in West Papua. The nature Conservancy and a team of international experts also found more than 870 species of fish here, ranging from tiny pygmy seahorses to giant manta rays. On some days, groups of up to 50 manta rays have been seen feeding together in Derawan’s waters, says the Conservancy.

While on Kakaban, you can find the world’s largest and most diverse jellyfish lake, including four unique species of stingless jellyfish one of which can swim upside down. It is for this reason that Kakaban is considered for UNESCO nomination as a World Heritage Site.

FLORES

is a fascinating, mountainous and remarkably beautiful island. An island of the sublime multihued crater lakes of Kelimutu, countless of terrific beaches and heavenly earth of underwater life. The most famous tourist attraction in Flores is Kelimutu; three coloured lakes in the district of Ende and close to the town of Moni. Another important highlight is the Komodo dragons, the world’s heaviest living lizards.

Kelimutu National Park

Some people may only dream about trekking to Mount Kelimutu on the island of Flores with its three colored lakes, while others make it a reality. The challenging trip in a rented polished 7-seater car can make one entertained for hours because of the endless winding road. However, being shaken by the sharp curves in the road that cuts through the 350km long Flores Island is a worth price to pay to witness the ultimate top-drawer panoramas that Flores has to offer.

Mount Kelimutu National Park is the smallest among six national parks in the stretch between Bali and the Nusatenggara islands. Its size obviously does not matter much when it offers one of the most spectacular wonders that nature has to offer. There are three lakes on the mountain sharing the same name, Kelimutu, meaning ‘the boiling lake’. Each has its own colors and a local name. But all are believed to be the resting place of departed souls.

Komodo Island / National Park, East Nusa Tenggara

Real dragons spurt no fire, have no need to fly and cast no magic spells, and still, one look from them might render you speechless. These komodos, the real life dragons, are a sight indeed. Gigantic, the lizard-like creatures are about two or three meters in length. They can easily weigh about 165 kilograms. Despite their sheer size and appearance, they are not active hunters. What makes them intimidating is the fact that they are a patient predator. In the wild, they stalk a victim, usually a weak or injured one. One bite and that’s what it usually takes. After following the victim for a while, sometimes up to several days’ time, the komodos will devour the dying prey.

The komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) is an endangered species which can only be found in the komodo national Park (KNP) in east Nusa Tenggara (NTT). Because of the unique and rare nature of this animal, KNP was declared a World heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986. The park includes three major islands, Komodo, Rinca and Padar, and numerous smaller islands together totaling 603km2 of land. The total size of Komodo National Park is presently 1,817 km2. Proposed extensions of 25 km2 of land (Banta Island) and 479 km2 of marine waters would bring the total surface area up to 2,321 km2. At least 2500 komodos live in this area. Large dragons are usually three meters long and weigh up to 90kg. Their habitat has beautiful panoramic views of savannas, rain forests, white beaches, beautiful corals, and clear blue seas. In this area, you can also find horses, wild buffalo, deer, wild boar, snakes, monkeys, and various types of birds.

KNP has a rich and amazing underwater sea biotica. Divers claim that komodo waters are one of the best diving sites in the world. It has fascinating underwater scenery. You can find 385 species of beautiful corals, mangrove forests and seaweeds as a home for thousands of fish species, 70 types of sponges, 10 types of dolphins, 6 types of whales, green turtles and various types of sharks and stingrays.

LOMBOK

Trek up Mount Rinjani, discover breathtaking waterfalls, & rice paddies. Explore white sand beaches, world class surf, solitude and seclusion. Discover untouched coral gardens to dive, snorkel and explore. Visit local villages, colourful markets and see primitive life that can take you back to a time gone by. Check out the amazing weaving, local pottery, temples and a colourful culture like no other island in Indonesia.

Gili Islands, Lombok

White sandy beaches. Tropical coral reefs. Warm inviting waters. All this awaits you on the Gili Islands. With no cars, no motorbikes and no distractions other than beautiful tropical island scenery, the Gili Islands off the northwest coast of Lombok are truly an ideal destination for a tropical getaway.

Offering spectacular reefs and ominous dive sites like Shark reef, the Gili Islands are the perfect escape for anyone wanting to get away to beautiful, natural and relaxing surrounds. This is why these islands have become a popular destination for Western tourists looking for a remote island experience.

For divers and snorkellers, there are few places better than the Gili’s where you can get up close to all kinds of marine life including a green turtle (Chelonia mydas) in all its glory. Swim up and watch this graceful creature glide through the ocean. You should be able to spot these turtles at depths of 10-20 metres below sea level.

The Gilis consist of three islands: Gili Trawangan, Gili meno, and Gili air. In localSasak language, “Gili” means “island”. In the Indonesian language, plural is denoted by repeating a noun. So “gili gili” literally means “islands”.

Renowned for friendly locals and superb natural beauty, each of the islands are well prepared for tourists. Gili Trewangan is the largest and most popular of the three islands. It has a vibrant nightlife to keep you entertained once the sun goes down. With a wide collection of restaurants and bars, you’ll never be short of entertainment here.

If you’re after a quiet getaway, try Gili Meno or Gili Air. Gili Air is closest to the mainland and is the most populated of the Gili’s. Gili Meno is the smallest island and with only a few hundred permanent residents, it has the most remote feel to it.

WEST PAPUA

to experience West Papua is to discover one of the most mysterious and unknown areas of the world. This far-away island is home to the most ethnologically primitive cultures on Earth. You will find a vast display of tribes and tribal customs as well as a large variety of languages. The most important tribes are the Amungme, the Asmat, the Bauzi, the Dani, the Korowais and the Kombai.

Aliem Valley, Papua

High up in the mountains of central Papua at an altitude of 1,600 metres above sea level, hemmed in by steep green mountain walls, lies the stunningly beautiful Baliem valley, home of the Dani tribe.

Baliem Valley is 72 km long, and 15 km to 31 km wide in places. It is cut by the Baliem River, which has its source in the northern Trikora mountain, cascading into the Grand Valley, to meander down and further rushing south dropping 1,500 metres to become a large muddy river that slowly empties into the Arafura Sea.

The first outsider to discover the valley was American Richard arch bold, who, on 23 June 1938 from his seaplane, suddenly sighted this awesome valley dotted with neat terraced green fields of sweet potatoes, set among craggy mountain peaks. This is Indonesia’s own Shangri-la.

Only recently emerged from the Stone age, the Dani are known as the “gentle warriors”. With their simple tools of stone and bone, they nonetheless, managed to sculpt green fields that hug the hills, where they grow root crops, and raise pigs. They have also built outposts and lookout towers to defend their valley from hostile tribes.

Because of the fertile soil and their agricultural skills, the Dani together with the sub-tribes of the Yali and the Lani, are, therefore, the most populous in Papua, living scattered in small communities near their gardens among the steep mountain slopes. Today, they also cultivate bananas, taro, yams, ginger, tobacco and cucumbers.

The men’s and women’s huts (locally called the honai) have thick thatched roofs, which keep the huts cool during the day and warm during the cold nights.

Raja Ampat Islands, West Papua

This group of majestic islands, located in the northwestern tip of Indonesia’s Papuan “Bird’s head Seascape,” lies in the heart of the coral triangle, the most bio-diverse marine region on earth.

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