Beratan Lake, Bali, Indonesia, June 16 2015 : Balinese villagers participating in traditional religious Hindu procession in Ulun Danu temple Beratan Lake in Bali, Indonesia, June 16 2015. Stockphoto
Exactly four and a half years ago, when I had visited Indonesia in November, I had been warned of the rainy season. In fact the day we had landed in Bali, the island had been blessed with the highest rainfall of the season but in between those monsoon showers, we had plenty of days with bright blue skies and sunshine. A holiday of 10 days was absolutely worth it. Right from the amazing views that we had got from our window seat before landing at Ngurah Rai International Airport to enjoying nightlife in Kuta to catching up lunch overlooking Mount Batur (a live volcano), hubby and I had loved our holidays in Bali. No doubt the island is very impressive but the point of concern is that this island escape is looked upon as the only destination worth visiting in Indonesia which I feel is not right. Tourists hardly know about the islands. Whenever, I hear about Indonesia, I hear people planning their Bali trip. But recently when my friends asked me help them plan a vacation in Indonesia, I opted to work out something new for them. They trusted me and gave me complete freedom. I told them, ‘lets do Indonesia, beyond Bali.’
The Indonesian archipelago comprises of 17,000 islands promising endless adventures. Though most of the islands are volcanic in nature, there are a lot of fun things to do in Indonesia. Read below to see what other options I suggested to them…
JAKARTA – The capital city definitely calls for attention. This is a place to visit to learn Indonesian culture. One must keep a day for the National History Museum and area around Monas. Batavia is the area where one finds the Jakarta History Museum (Fatahillah Museum), Museum of Fine Art and Ceramic as well as the Puppet Museum. For the history and architecture lovers, Istiqlal, the largest mosque in Indonesia is quite a treat. The evening can be kept for antique shopping at Surabaya Street. Pasar Baru (New Market) is a buzzing place where tourists can stroll and go around checking the local food and stuff. Jakarta has a colorful Chinta town too where one can explore beautiful Chinese temples. Thousand islands is a cluster of islands in the Bay of Jakarta which can be a great retreat too. Also one must do Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, Ancol Beach, area with Dufan, the amusement park. Aston Marina Ancol can be a great choice to stay in Jakarta. Check here!
This high rise hotel apartment is within walking distance of Ancol, Indonesia’s famous theme and entertainment park.
JAVA – Java, the center hub for business lies between Sumatra and Bali. The most populated island must be done for majestic Bromo, where one can look into the belly of an active volcano. Yogyakarta promises art, food and culture. One must look out for the ancient Borobudur, a Buddhist temple from the 9th century (UNESCO World Heritage Site). Close to it, Prambanan is a Hindu temple in beautiful settings. Trekking across Dieng Plateau is a must-do in Java. This highland of 2000 m is situated in Central Java, nearby Wonosobo. If you love bargaining, spare half a day for your visit to Bandung.
SUMATRA – Unlike crowded Java, Sumatra is peaceful. It makes a beautiful place and a hotspot for adventure seekers. Most of this island is unexplored but yes it is known for the jungle, for the adventures, for one-of-its-kind Orang-Utan Rehabilitation Centre. A trip to Kerinci Seblat, the biggest National Park on the island is also quite a fascination for animal lovers. Also Maninjau is a caldera lake in West Sumatra, Indonesia. Here, the landscape of the most calmest places in Indonesia will take your breath away. Sumatra also has the city of Banda Aceh, which was devastated by the 2004 tsunami. Interestingly, there is a museum that commemorates the disaster.
KOMODO – Komodo dragon, the largest lizard on Earth is found here and thus is named after the island. Unique fauna is found around this island. Apart from Komodo national park which is of interest for travelers, this small island is also famous for diving. It also has a rare pink beach.
LOMBOK And GILI ISLANDS – If you are going to Gili Islands, one must go to Lombok. Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air make up Gili Islands, which are famous for remote island experience. The little beach-side cafes are full of backpackers. The travelers go to this place to dive, snorkel and party. There are no airports in the Gilis. The nearest airport is on mainland Lombok. Mount Rinjani, Indonesia’s second highest peak is in Lombok and it promises breath-taking surroundings, hot springs and crater lake. Lombok is also known for its white-sand beaches which make it a great surfing destination.
Apart from the above islands, there are many hidden gems in and around Bali. My friends wanted to do Bali but now they are not restricting their visit to only one island. I have successfully convinced them that Indonesia has lots to offer.
This post is written in collaboration with Traveloka.