An array of huge mountains, their active volcanic peaks, beautiful beaches, mysterious forests, an archipelago of so many lovely islands...yes, we are talking about Indonesia – the country that invites nature-lovers across the globe to discover the heavenly beauty of the place.
Indonesia stretches across both sides of the equator in Southeast Asia. It borders Malaysia to the north and Papua New Guinea & East Timor to the east. Indonesia constitutes of nearly 18,110 islands, out of which, 6,000 islands have human population. It is the country with the largest population of Muslims in the world. Indonesian history goes very old, starting from the migration of the Austronesian Neolithic humans, leading to the reign of the Majapahits & the Srivijayas, then the invasion of the Dutch & the British and later the Japanese, and finally independence under the leadership of Sukarno and Hatta.
The most popular and densely populated islands of Indonesia are Java, Sumatra, Bali, Sulawesi, Yogakartas & Lombok and the archipelagos of Nusa Tenggara and Moluccan. Jakarta, located on Java Island, is the capital city, well known for its beautiful mosques and elaborated colonial architecture. Apart from being a centre of cultural and political activities in the country, this city has tourist attractions like the Central Museum, Merdeka Square, Istiqlal Mosque, Portugese Church and the National Monument towers. You can watch traditional puppet shows and do some great shopping at Karet's batik factories and Jalan Surabaya antiques market. Besides Jakarta, Java is home to the world famous multi-tiered Buddhist stupa at Borobudur, which boasts of being the largest one in the world; whereas the mountain of Gunung Bromo, which offers a spectacular view of sunrise, is located in eastern Java.
The beautiful island of Bali is a wonderful combination of alluring beaches, saintly temples, glowing volcanoes and inspiring scenery. It is predominantly a place with followers of Hinduism. The Balinese temples of Besakih, Uluwata and Tanah Lot are the most revered ones among thousands of sacred places over here. The seashores in Bali are so immensely beautiful that they appear like a traveller's dream come true. The Gunung Batur volcano, the Kuta beach resort and the town of Ubud are a few more interesting places to visit.
The Sumatra Island is full of amazing natural beauty in its reserved forest areas, explosive volcanoes and wonderful wild life. Lake Toba, which is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, is located here. Bukittinggi's Fort de Kock, Lingga village and Bundo Kandung Museum are some other places of of tourist interest. The Lombok Island is a haven of adventure water sports lie scuba diving and snorkelling, while the Yogkartas Island is a place renowned for its artistic outlook and top notch universities like the Gajah Mada University & the premier university of Indonesia.
Tourists in Indonesia must visit the archipelagos of Nusa Tenggara, home of the giant 'Komodo Dragons' (a huge species of lizard), and Moluccan, famous for its nutmeg plantations and unique tribal life. A few more places to explore are the temples of Prambanan, the Orchid Island of Sulawesi, Bukit Lawang rehabilitation centre for Orang-utans, the valley of Baliem and the longhouses at Kalimantan.
Indonesian cuisine is extremely palatable to foreigners and has a distinct variety specific to different islands in the country. The most common foodstuff is rice (called 'nasi') in various preparations like nasi goring, bubur nasi, nasi kuning and the like. Other delicacies include bakmi (a kind of egg-noodles), rawon (beef soup), ayam bakar (grilled chicken), gudeg (stew made from jackfruit) and many more to list. Just remember one thing while eating out in Indonesia, make use of your right hand only, it is the most basic dining etiquette of Indonesians.
Staying in Indonesia depends on the traveller's choice. You can choose to have an economical stay in a 'losmen' or shell out extra bucks for a five-star luxury hotel. Shopping can be done for local products and antiques. You can take a ride around the cities in a 'Becuk' (pronounced "Beh-Chuck"), a sort of Indonesian cycle-rickshaw. For foreigners' convenience, the country has three international airports – Seokarno-Hatta near Jakarta, Juanda in East Java and Ngurah Rai in Bali.
Wander on the beaches, roam in the jungles, dive into the deep blue seas, trek on a volcanic mountain or visit cultural places...Indonesia has everything for a thirsty traveller. All you need to do is just pack your bags and fly off to explore the lovely islands.