Indonesia’s Top Tourist Destinations

The Road To Bali, Borneo

With more than 180,000 islands, Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world. The islands are home to 167 active volcanoes, more endangered species and more beaches than any other nation.

Indonesia has some of the largest remaining tracts of tropical forest anywhere in the world. It also features some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling spots in the world. Adding to the beauty are millions and millions of smiles along the way. Where should you visit?

Indonesia scuba diving

Raja Empat: Located off the northwest tip of the island of New Guinea, Raja Empat (the Four Kings) comprises more than 1,500 small islands. Marine surveys suggest that the marine life diversity around these islands is the highest on Earth. It’s one of the greatest diving destinations in the world. The abundance of marine life is due in part to its incredibly low human population density and the nutrient-rich ocean currents nearby.

Orangutans Indonesia

Tanjung Puting National Park: The Tanjung Puting National Park is located on the island of Borneo. The park is a popular ecotourism destination, with many local tour companies offering multi-day boat tours to view wildlife and visit the research centers. Wildlife include gibbons, macaques, clouded leopards, sun bears, pythons, crocodiles and – most famously – orangutans.

Borneo is home to the world’s most dense and remote rainforests, as well as about 12 million people, 75 percent of whom live in Indonesia’s Kalimantan region. Given the harsh nature of Kalimantan’s interior and lowlands, most settlements are along the rivers and coasts.

Unfortunately illegal logging and forest clearing for agricultural uses (including palm oil) are a major threat to the park. If you are lucky, you can meet founder and director, Birute Galdikas, who has devoted her life to orangutan conservation and research.

Komodo dragon Komodo island

Komodo National Park: Encompassing both Rinca Island, Komodo Island and a number of smaller ones, Komodo National Park is famous as the home of the Komodo dragons, giant carnivorous monitor lizards. The reptiles roam freely over the islands, and visitors rely on experienced tour guides for sightings and safety. Komodo National Park also is a world-class scuba diving destination.

Komodo is dry, hot and barren, with rainfall occurring between November and March. Komodo is a small island of 280 square kilometers. It is located between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores. The Island has about 800 human inhabitants and double that number of dragons.

Kelimutu volcano Flores

Flores: Lying to the east of Komodo, the island of Flores offers an array of natural and cultural sights. The most famous attraction in Flores is the Kelimutu volcano caldera, which has three lakes fed by volcanic gas. The lakes change color according to the amount of oxidation in the water.

This island is home to hundreds of different ethnic groups who speak many languages. It seems to be a transition point between the Malay and Papuan races. The west coast of Flores is one of the few places, aside from the island of Komodo itself, where the Komodo dragon is found in the wild.

Tanah toraja

Torajaland (Tanah Toraja): This highland region of Sulawesi is home of the Toraja people, who are famous for their massive peaked-roof houses and spectacular burial sites. The region also features some interesting monoliths.

Sulawesi, or Celebes, is one of the most beautiful destinations in Indonesia. It’s the world’s 11th largest island. With abundant beauty and natural riches, Sulawesi could become one of the major nature-based tourism centers in Southeast Asia.

Mt. Bromo Java Indonesia

Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park: Best known for its awesome scenery of a vast, ancient volcanic crater and a host of picturesque volcanoes. The park is named after two mountains, Mount Semeru, Mount Bromo and the Tengger people who inhabit the area.

Semeru is the highest mountain on Java as well as one of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes. The smoldering cone of Bromo stands in a sea of volcanic sand, surrounded by the towering cliffs of the crater’s edge.

The region also is famous for Java Man (homo erectus), a set of human fossil remains, which date back about 500,000 years. The fossils were found near the Brantas River in East Java. Since then, evidence of other prehistoric cultures also has been found, including the Solo Man discovery in Central Java.

Mt. Rinjani Lombok Indonesia

Lombok: This island is just east of Bali. It has similar landscapes as Bali, with less commercialism and fewer crowds, but it’s gaining fast. The island’s northern area is dominated by Mt. (gunung) Rinjani, which climbs to 12,224 feet out of the sea. Trekking draws many tourists to Lombok. The full climb takes several days.

The three Gili Islands, just off Lombok’s northwest coast are the most popular beach destination, but the island is developing its version of Kuta Beach on the south side of the island. The traditional market in Senggigi is worth a visit.

Prambanan temple Yogykarta

Yogyakarta: This ancient city is the most popular tourist destination on Java, due to its proximity to the famous temples of Borobudur and Prambanan. The city is a center of art and education.It offers good shopping and it’s known for its unique batik fabrics.

It’s also one of the nation’s centers of influence. The sultanate of Yogyakarta, was formed in 1755 when the Sultanate of Mataram was divided in two by the Dutch East India Company. The Sultan Hamengkubuwono I spent the next 37 years building the new capital, with the kraton, or palace, as the centerpiece. To this day, this is the sacred sanctuary where Javanese culture is preserved.

Yogyakarta lies in one of the most seismically active parts of Java and has been struck by several earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. In 2006, an earthquake flattened more than 300,000 houses. In 2010, Mt. Merapi erupted again and killed dozens of people.

Bali arts

Bali: This small island is one of the world’s most popular beach destinations. The varied landscape, rugged coastlines, tropical beaches, lush rice terraces and volcanic hillsides all provide a picturesque backdrop to its colorful, deeply spiritual and unique Hindu culture. Be sure to visit the great temples, including Uluwatu, Tanah Lot, Danau Bratan and Besaki. The combination of people, culture, spirituality and spectacular beaches have made Bali the most popular tourist destination in Indonesia for years.

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia

Crossbow Communications specializes in international marketing, issue management and public affairs. Indonesia is one of our regions of expertise. Our President and CEO is the author of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Please contact Gary Chandler at Visit Indonesia.

Top Indonesian Dishes For Tourists

Sample The Spice Islands

From Bandung to Bali, and Sumatra to Surabaya, each has its own unique tastes. There are so many ways to explore Indonesia and if you have little time to actually travel to beautiful Indonesia, you can do it by tasting Indonesia’s food:

satay and peanut sauce

1. Indonesian Satay: Satay is meat skewers that are cooked over coals. These juicy skewers are usually served with rice cakes (ketupat) with peanut sauce poured over the satay. It is a national dish conceived by street vendors and has been one of most celebrated food in Indonesia. It is practically everywhere and highly addictive.

2. Beef Rendang: This dish originated from Padang, Sumatra. Padang food is famous for its spiciness and richness in flavor. You definitely have to try Beef Rendang. It is somehow similar to Beef Curry but without the broth. We get to appreciate this dish because it take forever to cook to get that tenderness out of the beef. Try this Padang goodness and let the world know how tasty it is.

3. Fried Rice: Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice) is considered Indonesia’s national dish. It is the most versatile dish. You can mix it with veggies, chicken, beef, seafood, whatever it is that you can think of. What makes Indonesian Fried Rice different is the use of sweet, thick soy sauce called keycap and garnished with acar, pickled cucumber and carrots. Others prefer adding sambal (hot chili sauce).

4. Nasi Rawon: Nasi Rawon is a dish made of beef stew from East Java. Rawon has this nutty flavour and a deep, black color from the use of keluak nut. It is rich in flavor. This dish is best enjoyed with a bowl of rice. Yummy and hearty at the same time. Find out for yourself.

5. Sop Buntut (Oxtail Soup): The title says it all. It is a soup with Oxtail as its main hero. Although believed that oxtail soup was invented in London in the seventeenth century but this Indonesian version of oxtail soup is popular as ever. It is a healthy and hearty soup loved by many people. The oxtail is usually fried or barbecued and combined with a soup base.

Indonesia tourist souvenirs

6. Siomay: As you may or may not already know, most of Indonesian street food has something to do with peanut sauce. This dish right here called Siomay is Indonesia’s version of dim sum. This dish contain steamed fish dumplings. The portion comes with steamed potato, cabbage, egg and served with peanut sauce. If you want to go all local, the best way to enjoy Siomay is from a bicycle vendor, who carts his large steamer at the back of his bike. Street food at its best.

7. Indomie: This product is so sinful that we cannot help but be seduced by it. Cost merely around 25 cents a pack and you get a quick and satisfying snack. It is none other than our very own Indonesian Instant Noodles! With so many flavours to choose from, you’ll be left with more than enough choices. I can’t think of anyone who has ever tried every single flavor that is available.

8. Nasi Uduk: This aromatic dish is also one of Indonesia’s national dish. The meal revolves around rice cooked in coconut milk. It is quite similar to Nasi Lemak from our neighbouring country, Malaysia. The difference is that nasi uduk is usually served with fried chicken, tempe (soybean cake), shredded omelette, fried onion, anchovies and topped with sambal and emping (melinjo nut crackers). You definitely cannot leave out sambal for Nasi Uduk. This dish is popular among lunchtime crowds.

9. Sweet Martabak: One of our favorite desserts would be Indonesian Sweet Martabak. It is an Indonesian version of a pancake. In Indonesia, Martabak is only sold in the evenings. You can choose mix fillings from chocolate, cheese and peanuts.

10. Pempek: Last but not least, Pempek. Pempek or empek-empek is made of fish and tapioca. It is a Palembang specialty in South Sumatra. Pempek comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. The most popular one is called, kapal selam (submarine), contains an egg in the middle. Pempek is sprinkled with shrimp powder and served with cuka, a dark dipping sauce made from vinegar, chill and sugar.

Enak sekali!

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia

Crossbow Communications specializes in international marketing, issue management and public affairs. Indonesia is one of our regions of expertise. Our President and founder is the author of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Please contact Gary Chandler at Visit Indonesia.

Bawah Island Resort Among Indonesia’s Best

Anambas Islands Between Singapore, Borneo

By Lee Cobaj, The Telegraph

In a pristine tropical archipelago in a far-flung corner of Indonesia, the brand new Bawah Island is a luxury retreat that’s brilliantly put-together and sustainably minded. It’s an adventure to get to – and even more fun upon arrival.

The remote Anambas Archipelago, in which the resort sits, was one of Indonesia’s first marine conservation areas.

Visitors arrive via Singapore, travelling north by ferry (1hr) to the island of Batam, before hopping on a private seaplane for the 1hr 15min ride across the South China Sea. Total journey time is about three hours – or you could glide in on a private yacht.

bawah island resort

Five lush jungle-covered islands rise out of three sapphire blue lagoons, ringed by 13 brilliant white beaches – a landscape barely altered in 10,000 years. The resort has been five years in the making and the owners and architect have gone to great lengths to work with, rather than bulldozing through, the islands’ unique environment. Villas have been positioned around large trees; roofs are thatched with extra-large palm leaves from a neighbouring island; and the tables and chairs are fashioned from flotsam. The result is a resort that feels earthy and organic, yet cool, decadent and cosseting too.

There’s no end of adventures to be had; hike through the rainforest past monitor lizards and a 2,000 year-old palm to the entirely empty Coconut Beach; windsurf, kayak or paddle-board between five islands, stopping at a cave to see hundreds of bats swirl into flight; snorkel among parrotfish, clownfish and turtles. Or just loll on the sand with a book from the library. Most activities are included in the rate, as are daily treatments at the Aura spa, such as yoga, pilates, meditation, facials and massages. The management are professional and always on hand, but it felt as though the rest of the team were still getting up to speed.

Sandy pathways, woven around large palms and Indian almond trees, lead to 35 gorgeous eco-villas, some cloaked in greenery, some a few steps from ivory-white sands, others set on stilts above the lapping turquoise sea (look out for black-tip reef sharks). Bamboo lattice walls and peaked ceilings try to make the most of the natural ventilation, not entirely successfully (rooms felt hot and sticky in the afternoons). Interiors are soothing and woody, with teak floors, canopied beds, ivory and blue-patterned rugs and chandeliers shaped like jellyfish, while large bathrooms have artfully-aged copper tubs and showers. There are no TVs.

satay and peanut sauce

There are four bars and restaurants, and dining is a Bawah highlight. Breakfast on tropical fruit with homemade yogurt, freshly baked breads and eggs. A lunch of grilled fish and laksa, say, can be taken in a beachside Boat House or at the Grouper Bar, by the pool. In the evenings, barman Marcin Grell whips up tropical cocktails at the Jules Verne Bar, before ushering guests downstairs to the Treetops restaurant to enjoy four or five courses (cod fish with Hainan rice and lemongrass sauce, soy, or Thai-style beef salad, followed by apple pie with ginger ice cream).

Villas cost from US$1,960 (£1,447) year-round, including round-trip transfers from Singapore, all meals, non-alcoholic beverages, daily spa treatments, laundry, in-room minibar, and a host of land and water-based activities. Wi-Fi is free but due to the extreme location is limited to a very small bandwidth – perfect for switching off from the outside world.

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Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia

Crossbow Communications is an international marketing and public affairs firm. Our president and CEO, Gary Chandler, is the author of two editions of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia.

Cruise Options Expanding Across Indonesia

Small, Custom Tours The Best Way To See Many Islands

By Johnny Morris, The Telegraph

The message from the ship’s PA system was as crystal clear as our view of the smoking island. “For passengers wishing to climb the active volcano the captain has secured clearance for landing.”

It was a surprise addition to the schedule. Minutes later we were skimming towards the hot spot in zodiacs. Trousers rolled up for landing, I began to see the benefits of an “expeditionary” cruise on a smaller ship.

anak krakatau Indonesia volcano

I had joined Ponant’s Le Soléal in Singapore for a 12-day voyage through the Indonesian islands to Bali. On day three we dropped anchor in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra.

Our schedule had promised a gentle sail around Krakatau’s archipelago – not a visit to the world’s most famous volcano because, as pub-quiz aficionados know, Krakatau is an ex-volcano.

After its eruption in 1883 – the most violent volcanic explosion in recorded history – Krakatau collapsed into the sea, creating a massive caldera. All that remains are a few shattered islands and the legend of a bang heard as far away as Sri Lanka.

Luckily for visiting vulcanologists, and the local tourist industry, Anak Krakatau, or Son of Krakatau, began emerging from the waters in 1927. Although not as dramatic as the original, it has grown (at an average rate of five inches a week) into a fully functioning volcano. Photos show a full arsenal of eruptive party tricks: fire fountains, streaming lava, spatter bombs and even the odd seismic wobble.

The hike up Anak Krakatau was a lesson in geomorphology. After the brief shade of virgin forest, we climbed black slopes punctuated with scorched casuarina and fig trees, plus a few flowering plants that find a home in the fertile lava. On the surface were granite rocks the size of bowling balls hurled from the volcano’s core. Local guides led us to a spot where the fine black lava stopped and a barrier of steaming hot rocks began.

cruise Indonesia

Far below, Le Soléal looked like a toy boat afloat in Krakatau’s caldera. It was a fair way down but she was moored close enough to assure us of a quick getaway if Anak awoke.

The unscheduled excursion was “typical of the core spirit of Compagnie du Ponant”, explained Jerome Pierre, Le Soléal’s cruise director, over beers in the ship’s Grand Salon. Starting out with Le Ponant, a three-masted luxury yacht for just 64 passengers, the line’s fleet will grow to seven in 2018 (in December Ponant announced the launch of the first LNG-powered electric hybrid cruise icebreaker).

The original barque is kept on as the company’s talisman, while mega yachts provide a niche offering for the luxury market. Le Soléal was the first French passenger vessel to navigate the Northwest Passage.

It is difficult to associate the harsh discipline of an Arctic crossing with the ship’s interior design. First impressions are of a fashionable Champs-Élysées boutique. Soft leather furniture lends communal areas a chic air, while reception desks in white Corian scream boutique hotel; likewise the well-groomed staff.

My cabin offered a refreshing white palette, with a pencil-line motif from shower to balcony giving the look of luxury yacht accommodation. Only the look, I’m afraid, as most materials were faux – leather, veneer wood and plastic orchids.

Despite this, interior designer Jean-Philippe Nuel has created a sense of uncluttered elegance. Clearly, what he saved on surfaces he has spent on fittings, with slick designer lighting including the best bedside lamp I have ever seen.

Borobudur Java Indonesia

As we sailed east we visited the world’s largest Buddhist temple at Borobudur and the railway system of central Java constructed by Dutch colonists. Excursions highlighted the gap between the earthy thrust of Indonesia and the sophisticated languor of life on board.

In the busy port of Surabaya, after battling with high humidity, waves of scooter traffic and the frenzy of a morning market, I staggered up the ship’s gangplank to indulge in an air-conditioned pedicure, petits fours and a classical piano recital. Often Le Soléal felt like an exclusive arrondissement of Paris adrift in the South China Sea.

This dizzying contrast of cultures reached its height as we approached Komodo Island, home to the world’s largest lizards. “You only need to worry if the dragon swishes its tail,” warned Tajudin, our National Park ranger. Cue tail swish. “Forget the photograph now, madame!” Cue screams and a scattering of passengers as the nine-foot long carnivore began its starting sprint. Thankfully, Tajudin had his trusty cleft stick handy and pinned the lizard’s neck before it ran amok.

Komodo dragon Rinca island

On Komodo it was essential to follow the guide’s flag to stay safe. As we stomped through mangrove forest up to folds of virgin green savannah, there was a genuine nervousness among the group.

Basking lizards are the colour, size and shape of fallen trees (and there were many big logs around). Their forked tongues can sense blood up to six miles away; they can swallow a goat whole and eat up to 80 per cent of their body weight in one sitting, yet can exist on just 12 meals a year. Oh, and unusually for lizards, the males are monogamous and have two penises – poor fellows.

I was full of cautious respect when we came across two dragons slumbering by a waterhole. In all, we saw five and I enjoyed visiting them in their own habitat rather than staring at caged beasts.

On board we prepared for an evening of fine dining and contemporary ballet. Ponant aims to offer a taste of French art de vivre, which included crêpes suzette cookery lessons, illuminating lectures on Indochina from a French perspective, and a few dull PowerPoint talks on wildlife. We were treated to piano recitals, arthouse films starring Catherine Deneuve, and an interpretation of Picasso’s life through contemporary dance that I could have done without.

All very highbrow – until Jerome Pierre announced a pirate-themed fancy-dress evening, quizzes and crab-racing.

There were French officers and bar staff with Maurice Chevalier accents; gentle spa treatments, and beauty products from a Paris-based salon. Among excellent French wines were surprise vintages from the south of the country.

Read The Full Story About Cruising Indonesia

Indonesia tourism marketing and public relations firm

Crossbow Communications specializes in international marketing, issue management and public affairs. Indonesia is one of our regions of expertise. Our President and CEO is the author of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Please contact Gary Chandler at Visit Indonesia.

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia


Indonesia’s Best Resort Hotels

Bali Sets The Pace For Luxury, Harmony

By John Wogan, Travel + Leisure

Some of the most luxurious resort hotels on the planet are located in Indonesia, home to everything a well-traveled hotel connoisseur would expect: beautiful beaches, delicious food, postcard-perfect views, and faultless service. So it’s hardly a surprise that our readers are willing to endure multiple flights (and more than a full day of travel) to reach this archipelago of some 17,500 islands.

Bali spa

Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as City or Resort based on their locations and amenities.



The love affair with Bali continues this year, as the island is home to four of the five resorts on the list. Of note is the recent renovation of the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay, where all 147 thatched-roof villas were given a fresh look using traditional Balinese ikat fabrics, wooden sculptures, and local artwork. All villas come with their own infinity plunge pools and views over Mount Agung, and one reader pointed out that the setting was very “private and romantic.”

Bali Aman dari

Amandari is a big hit with couples (and loyal Aman fanatics) thanks to its secluded setting near Ubud, in Bali’s lush interior.

Suites feature coconut and teak wood details and have their own private gardens, while the open-air lobby was modeled after a wantilan (village meeting place). “The décor was stunning, and very true to the area and culture,” said one reader. “Impeccable service.” In the beachside area of Nusa Dua, the St. Regis Bali Resort impresses with an almost 40,000-square-foot swimmable lagoon.

But the sole non-Bali resort on the list also happens to be this year’s winner. Nihi Sumba Island, formerly Nihiwatu, scored rave reviews across the board for its remote location (it’s an hour by plane from Bali). Owner Chris Burch, who bought the property in 2012 and expanded its footprint by adding a spa, nine villas, and 13 rooms, has managed to preserve the edge-of-civilization vibe and strong sense of community.

1. Nihi Sumba Island (formerly Nihiwatu)

With just 33 villas spread across 560 acres, Nihi Sumba Island is far from your typical resort experience, and readers continually mentioned the sense of privacy and exclusivity.

Nihi Sumba Island

Virtually every form of water activity is offered on the near-empty beach (and beyond), from surfing one of the best breaks in Indonesia to snorkeling, free diving and spearfishing. Yoga, hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding satisfy those who want to remain on land. Whatever guests choose to do, it’ll be amid one of the most jaw-dropping jungle settings in Indonesia. As one reader put it, “this is paradise.”

2. Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan

3. Amandari, Bali

4. Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay

5. St. Regis Bali Resort

Source: Travel + Leisure

Indonesia tourism marketing and public relations firm

Crossbow Communications specializes in international marketing, issue management and public affairs. Indonesia is one of our regions of expertise. Our President and founder is the author of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. 

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia

Please contact Gary Chandler at Visit Indonesia.

Jakarta Sinking Below Sea Level

Threats Rising Due To Climate Change, Development

By Michael Kimmelman, New York Times

With climate change, the Java Sea is rising and weather here is becoming more extreme. Earlier this month another freakish storm briefly turned Jakarta’s streets into rivers and brought this vast area of nearly 30 million residents to a virtual halt.

One local climate researcher, Irvan Pulungan, an adviser to the city’s governor, fears that temperatures may rise several degrees Fahrenheit, and the sea level as much as three feet in the region, over the coming century.

That, alone, spells potential disaster for this teeming metropolis.

But global warming turned out not to be the only culprit behind the historic floods that overran Rasdiono’s bodega and much of the rest of Jakarta in 2007. The problem, it turned out, was that the city itself is sinking.

Jakarta and climate change

In fact, Jakarta is sinking faster than any other big city on the planet, faster, even, than climate change is causing the sea to rise — so surreally fast that rivers sometimes flow upstream, ordinary rains regularly swamp neighborhoods and buildings slowly disappear underground, swallowed by the earth. The main cause: Jakartans are digging illegal wells, drip by drip draining the underground aquifers on which the city rests — like deflating a giant cushion underneath it. About 40 percent of Jakarta now lies below sea level.

Coastal districts, like Muara Baru, near the Blessed Bodega, have sunk as much as 14 feet in recent years. Not long ago I drove around northern Jakarta and saw teenagers fishing in the abandoned shell of a half-submerged factory. The banks of a murky canal lapped at the trestle of a railway bridge, which, until recently, had arched high over it.

Climate change acts here as it does elsewhere, exacerbating scores of other ills. And in Jakarta’s case, a tsunami of human-made troubles — runaway development, a near-total lack of planning, next to no sewers and only a limited network of reliable, piped-in drinking water — poses an imminent threat to the city’s survival.

Sinking buildings, sprawl, polluted air and some of the worst traffic jams in the world are symptoms of other deeply rooted troubles. Distrust of government is a national condition. Conflicts between Islamic extremists and secular Indonesians, Muslims and ethnic Chinese have blocked progress, helped bring down reform-minded leaders and complicated everything that happens here, or doesn’t happen, to stop the city from sinking.

“Nobody here believes in the greater good, because there is so much corruption, so much posturing about serving the public when what gets done only serves private interests,” as Sidney Jones, the director of the local Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, put it. “There is no trust.”

Hydrologists say the city has only a decade to halt its sinking. If it can’t, northern Jakarta, with its millions of residents, will end up underwater, along with much of the nation’s economy. Eventually, barring wholesale change and an infrastructural revolution, Jakarta won’t be able to build walls high enough to hold back the rivers, canals and the rising Java Sea.

And even then, of course, if it does manage to heal its self-inflicted wounds, it still has to cope with all the mounting threats from climate change.

As far the eye can see, 21st-century Jakarta is a smoggy tangle of freeways and skyscrapers. Spread along the northwestern coast of Java, this capital of the nation with the world’s largest Muslim population used to be a soggy, bug-infested trading port for the Hindu kingdom of Sunda before local sultans took it over in 1527.

They named it Jayakarta, Javanese for victorious city.

Dutch colonists arrived a century later, establishing a base for the East India territories. Imagining a tropical Amsterdam, they laid out streets and canals to try to cope with water pouring in from the south, out of the forests and mountains, where rain falls nearly 300 days out of the year. Thirteen rivers feed into the city.

After independence in 1945, the city began to sprawl. Today, it is virtually impossible to walk around. Parks are rarer than Javan rhinos. A trip to the nearest botanical garden requires the better part of a day in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

“Living here, we don’t have other places to go,” said Yudi and Titi, a young professional couple who one recent Sunday had made the roughly hour’s round trip from western Jakarta to the center of the city just to spend a few minutes walking up and down a chaotic, multilane freeway briefly closed to traffic. “Without cars, at least you can breathe for a few minutes,” Titi said.

The most urgent problems are in North Jakarta, a coastal mash-up of ports, nautically themed high-rises, aged fish markets, abject slums, power plants, giant air-conditioned malls and the congested remnants of the colonial Dutch settlement, with its decrepit squares and streets of crumbling warehouses and dusty museums.

Some of the world’s most polluted canals and rivers weave a spider’s web through the area.

It is where the city is sinking fastest.

That’s because, after decades of reckless growth and negligent leadership, crises have lined up here like dominoes.

Jakarta’s developers and others illegally dig untold numbers of wells because water is piped to less than half the population at what published reports say are extortionate costs by private companies awarded government concessions.

The aquifers aren’t being replenished, despite heavy rains and the abundance of rivers, because more than 97 percent of Jakarta is now smothered by concrete and asphalt. Open fields that once absorbed rain have been paved over. Shores of mangroves that used to help relieve swollen rivers and canals during monsoons have been overtaken by shantytowns and apartment towers.

There is always tension between immediate needs and long-term plans. It’s a similar story in other sinking giants like Mexico City. Here, all of the construction, combined with the draining of the aquifers, is causing the rock and sediment on which Jakarta rests to pancake.

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Indonesia Should Be Your Next Destination

15 Reasons To Visit Indonesia

via Telegraph Travel

Jakarta: Indonesia’s sprawling capital, home to 10 million people, is a “melting pot of cuisines and cultures”, wrote Simon Parker for Telegraph Travel in 2015.

“The old town of Batavia will transport you to Indonesia’s Dutch colonial past while the fashionable Menteng district is a hive of live music venues, exclusive restaurants and hip hotels,” he added. “World-renowned restaurants, bars and nightclubs perch on top of towering skyscrapers, while shoppers can choose from dozens of gargantuan shopping malls.”

Jakarta, Indonesia tourism

Komodo: The world’s largest lizards exist on just five Indonesian islands – Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang, and Padar. They are truly fearsome, weighing up to 150lbs and possessing toxic bites, allowing them to hunt and kill far bigger animals – even humans.

Komodo dragon Indonesia

Sumatra: Named one of Telegraph Travel’s top 20 places to visit back in 2014, lesser-visited Sumatra is a wild and beautiful hotspot for adventure.

“Most visitors head to see the orangutan of Bukit Lawang,” wrote Guyan Mitra at the time, “and the army of vigilante elephants which are commissioned to protect the northern rainforest of Tangkahan (seriously). You can join them for their dawn lake-shore bath, and scrub their nails before the morning patrol. Topped off with a cup of strong Sumatran coffee, there are few better ways to start a day.”

Sumatra tiger conservation

“The seriously intrepid should consider a trip to Kerinci Seblat, the biggest national park on the island, where you may get to see tigers and the Sumatran rhino, if you’re lucky. Creature comforts are few, but the rewards are high. There’s also hiking across the lunar craters of the volcanoes of Berastagi, lakeside lounging in Danau Toba, diving with whale sharks in Pulau Weh, and surfing off the Mentawaii Islands and Pulau Nias.”

Bunaken scuba diving Indonesia

World Class Scuba Diving: Nowhere in the world offers better diving than the Coral Triangle, an area of the Pacific Ocean that includes the waters around Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and the Solomon Islands. One of the best ways to explore it is on a liveaboard boat around the Raja Ampat (Empat) Islands in Indonesia’s West Papua province. Divers will find 75 percent of all the world’s known coral species, and up to 2,000 species of reef fish.

The Temples and Mountains of Java: It might be the most populous island in the world, with around 140 million residents, but Java has plenty of places to escape the crush. There are 12 national parks to explore – including Unesco-listed Ujung Kulon – and volcanoes – including Bromo and Merapi – to hike up.

Mt. Merapi Java Indonesia

Java is also home to the world’s biggest Buddhist temple, Borobudur, with its intricate lattice stupas set among paddy fields.  It’s often crowded, so consider lesser-known sites such as Pawon, Mendut, Plaosan Lor and Kalasan, which retain an air of contemplation and peace.

Bali: “This is one of very few islands that manage to combine spirituality and hedonism; visitors can witness coming-of-age ceremonies, as well as enjoy sundowners, first-rate dining and chic shopping,” says Telegraph Travel’s Michelle Jana Chan. “At Ubud, the island’s cultural capital, there are frequent musical and dance performances, as well as galleries selling woodcarving, silverware, textiles, paintings and sculpture. There is trekking around terraced rice fields and two volcanoes in the north, Agung and Batur. Bali Barat National Park is a haven for deer, boar and macaques, and the offshore Menjangan Island has dive sites with schools of batfish, giant trevally and jacks.”

merchants on Kuta beach

Lombok: Millions of people visit Bali each year seeking a beach paradise, but they may do better looking about 30 miles east, to the lesser-known island of Lombok, known for its good surf, spectacular beaches and mountainous interior, or the neighbouring Gili Islands, ringed by coral reefs.

Lombok travel tips

“Until recently the Gili Islands were mainly visited by backpackers paying £10 a night for simple beach accommodation,” wrote Michelle Jana Chan back in 2012. “Now the biggest island, Gili Trawangan, is going upmarket with the opening of villa resorts, eco-lodges and spa retreats. But there is still a bohemian feel: instead of cars and motorcycles, local transport is by bicycle or horse-drawn carts called cidomos.”

Read The Entire Article About Indonesia’s Top Destinations

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia

Crossbow Communications specializes in international marketing, issue management and public affairs. Indonesia is one of our regions of expertise. Our President and founder is the author of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Please contact Gary Chandler at Visit Indonesia.

The Foods Of Indonesia

International, Local Cuisines Found Across Indonesia

Many Indonesian meals consist of steamed or fried rice with side dishes of meat, chicken, fish, and vegetables.   There is such a rich variety in the Indonesian cuisine that one should sample specialties in each region. However, most common nationwide are “sate” (skewered and grilled meat with peanut sauce on the side), “gado-gado” (vegetable salad with a peanut sauce), “nasi goreng” (fried rice), which often is served with every meal, and “bakmi goreng” (fried noodles).

Indonesia has a very international menu available in most areas frequented by world travelers. Chinese restaurants are found throughout the country. There also are fine restaurants specializing in continental, Japanese, and Korean cuisines. Pizza, hamburgers, and sandwiches also are found in many restaurants and cafes.

Unlike some countries in Asia, people in Indonesia don’t eat with chopsticks. They typically use a spoon in the right hand and a fork in the left hand. They eat with the spoon and use the fork to hold food down or load the spoon with the next bite.

Indonesian Sauces and Spices

Most Indonesians like their food spiced with a hot chili sauce called sambal. It’s similar to the hot sauce used with Mexican food. It can be very hot, but it’s a common accent for rice, fish, and meat. Sometimes restaurants make it fresh and others buy it in bottles.

Spices and hot chili peppers are the essence of most cooking, and in some areas they are used generously, such as in West Sumatra and North Sulawesi. In addition, peanut sauce is very common, especially with sate dishes. You also will find soy sauce available on most tables. Salt and pepper also are typically available for your personal flavoring.

Bali's towns and villages

Fish and Meat

Each province or area has its own cuisine, with varied recipes and cooking styles. Common Javanese cuisines consist of vegetables, fruits, soybeans, beef, and chicken. They don’t eat as much fish as you might assume. The Sumatrans generally eat more beef compared to the other regions. West Sumatra is known for its Padang style restaurants, which can be found throughout Indonesia. Padang style often includes dried meat and fish and is spicier than most Indonesian dishes.

Further to the eastern side of Indonesia, including Bali, seafood is more of a staple in the daily diet. Grilled fish, shrimp, lobster, oysters, and calamari are commonly found on the menus. Various seafood soups also are common.

In Bali, Papua, and the highlands of North Sumatra and North Sulawesi, pork dishes are specialties. As the population of Indonesia is predominantly Muslim (except Bali), pork is usually not served, except in Chinese restaurants, non-Muslim regions and in places serving international cuisine.


Salad lovers have to be patient and careful. Green salads are not found at every restaurant, but fruit and vegetables abound. Larger restaurants, hotel restaurants, and international restaurants often have the green salads many world travelers crave. In these restaurants, the salads should be safe to eat, but smaller restaurants in smaller towns deserve a word of caution, because the salad may have been washed in tap water instead of distilled water. When this happens, the salad can make you sick. If the establishment has international patrons, it should be safe to eat the salads.

foods of Indonesia

Vegetarian Dishes Across Indonesia

There is an abundance of tropical and sub-tropical fruits and vegetables available for consumption in Indonesia all year. Some fruits are seasonal, but most are available throughout the year, such as bananas, apples, papayas, pineapples, oranges, etc. Pure vegetarian dishes are available, but more limited and challenging to arrange in some areas. Most vegetarians are thrilled with the freshness and variety of the food available here. Most establishments are very accommodating.


Beverages of every type are found throughout the country. The word for beverage is minum. The word for large is besar and the word for small is kecil. The word for hot is panas and the word for cold is dingin.

Coffee and Tea

Coffee and tea are among the many crops grown throughout the islands. It’s usually fresh and strong here. Kopi is the word for coffee and teh is the word for tea. They both are fairly strong. Kopi Jawa is Javanese style and unfiltered. It has powder-like coffee grounds in the bottom of the cup. Gula is the word for sugar, susu is the word for milk.

Juice and Soft Drinks

Soft drinks from around the world are common here. Better yet, fresh juices, jus, from local produce also are available in most establishments. Fresh orange, grapefruit, melon, and other juices are rarely more than a few steps away.


You’ll feel right at home in many bar situations. You should find your favorite drink in most situations. One of the most common beers is Bir Bintang (beer BEEHN‑tahng). It means Star Beer—the Indonesian version of Heineken. Tiger Beer from Singapore and Australia’s Foster’s Lager also are common. Foreign beers and liquors often are available, but typically more expensive due to the tax on imported products. Most beers are available in regular and large sizes:

If you are in the mood for one of your traditional drinks, order it just as you normally would in your hometown. Most basic drinks and forms of alcohol seem to be part of a universal language. For instance, gin, vodka, rum and tequila are generally stocked and easily communicated in places that stock liquor.

There are several breweries that produce local beer. Bali produces brem, which is a rice wine, whereas Toraja has tuak, which also is found in North Sumatra and other areas.


In some cases, you don’t want ice in your drinks. However, most restaurants and hotels will have the ice that is safe to consume without getting sick. The alcohol in your drink might kill bacteria in the ice, but don’t count on it.

I don’t want ice. = Tidak mau es. (TEE‑dahk MAH-oo ehs)

Without ice! = Tanpa es! (TAHN‑pah ehs)

Indonesia rupiah


Since many Indonesian people support their families with tips, it’s an important subject. Many hotels and restaurants add on 18 percent for taxes and service charges. When the tip is not automatically included, a good waiter or waitress deserves at least a 10 percent tip. Depending on the restaurant, you may want to actually hand the change directly to the person when you leave the establishment. That way the tip ends up in the right hands.

Bali market

Helpful Words & Phrases For Indonesian Restaurants

eat = makan (MAH-kahn)

Drink = minum (MEE-noom)

I want = Saya mau _________. (SYE-ah MAH-oo ________).

He/she wants _________. = Dia mau _________ (DEE-ah MAH-oo).

please (get me) = minta (MEEN‑tah)

to clean = bersihkan (BEHR‑see‑KAHN)

how much, how many = berapa (BEHR‑rah‑PAH)

hungry = lapar (LAH‑pahr)

thirsty = haus (HAHS)

later = nanti (NAHN-tee)

not yet = belum (BEH‑loom)

tasty = enak (EH‑nahk)

very tasty = enak sekali (EH-nahk se-KAH-lee)

I like = Saya suka (SYE-ah SOO-kah)

one more = satu lagi (SAH‑too LAH‑gee)

it’s enough (I have enough) = sudah cukup (SOO‑dah CHOO‑koop)

Thank you = terima kasih (TEHR-ree-MAH KAH-see)

See you next time = Sampai jumpa lagi (SAHM-pye JOOM-pah LAH-gee)

foods of Indonesia

Helpful Indonesian Words

apple = apel (AH-pehl)

baked/grilled = bakar (BAH-kahr)

banana = pisang (PEE-sahng)

bill = bon (BOHN)

beef = sapi (SAH-pee)

beer = bir (beer)

bottle = botol (BOH-tohl)

bowl = mangkok (MAHNG-kohk)

bread = roti (ROH-tee)

buffet = buffet (BOOH-fay)

calimari = cumi cumi (CHOO-mee CHOO-mee)

candy = gula gula (GOO-lah GOO-lah)

chair = kursi (KOOR‑see)

chicken = ayam (AH-yam)

chicken soup = soto ayam (SO-toh AH-yahm)

chocolate = coklat (CHOHK-laht)

cigarette = rokok (ROH‑kohk)

coconut = kelapa (KEH‑lah‑PAH)

coffee = kopi (KOH-pee)

cold = dingin (DEEN‑geen)

corn = jugung (JOOH-goong)

croissant = croissant (KROH-sahnt)

cup = cangkir (CHAHNG-keer)

dirty = kotor (KOH‑tohr)

done, finished = selesai (SEH‑leh‑sye)

drink (a) = minum (MEE-noom)

drinking water = air minum (AH‑eer MEE‑noom) 

drunk = mabuk (MAH‑book)

egg = bubur ayam (BOO-boor AH-yahm)

empty = kosong (KOH‑sahng)

female server = mbak (m‑BAHK)

finished = habis (HAH‑bees)

fire, match, lighter = api (AH‑pee)

fish = ikan (EE-kahn)

flavor = rasa (RAH-sah)

flower = bunga (BOON‑gah)

food stall = warung (WAHR-roong)

fried = goreng (GOHR-rehng)

french fries = ketang goring (KEH-tahng GOHR-rehng)

fried banana = pisang goring (PEE-sahng GOHR-rehng)

fried rice = nasi goreng (NAH-see GOHR-rehng)

funny = lucu (LOO‑choo)

gin = jin (JEEN)

glass = gelas (GEH‑lahs)

him, her = dia (DEE‑ah)

hot = panas (PAH‑nahs)

hot sauce, chili sauce = sambal (SAHM-bahl)

ice = es (ehs)

juice = jus (joohs)

kitchen = dapur (DAH‑poor)

large = besar (BEH‑sahr)

laugh, to laugh = tertawa (TEHR‑tah‑WAH)

lemon = jeruk (JEH‑rook)

like = suka (SOO-kah)

lips = bibir (BEE-beer)

lobster = udang besar (OO-dahng BEH-sahr)

make = buat (BOO‑aht)

milk = susu (SOO-soo)

mouth = mulut (MOO-loot)

music = musik (MOO-seek)

napkin = serbet (SEHR-beht)

noisy = bising (BEE‑seeng)

noodles = mie (MEE)

nose = hidung (HEE-doong)

orange = jerek (JEH‑rehk)

orange juice = jus jerek (joohs JEH‑rehk)

paid = lunas (LOO‑nahs)

party = pesta (PEH‑stah)

peaceful = damai (DAH‑mye)

peanut = kacang (KAH-chahng)

pepper = merica (MEHR-reeka)

peppermint = permen (PEHR-mehn)

pineapple = nanas (NAH‑nahs)

pizza = pizza (PEE-zah)

plate = piring (PEER-reeng)

pork = babi (BAH-bee)

rice = nasi (NAH-see)

rice wafers = kretek

restaurant = rumah makan, ristoran (ROO-mah MAHK-ahn, REEST-or-RAHN)

restroom, toilet = kamar kecil, W.C., toilet (KAH‑mahr KEH‑cheel, wye‑sye)

rum = rum (ROOM)

salt = garam (GAHR‑rahm)

shrimp = udang (OO-dahng)

sip = isapan (EES-ah-PAHN)

sir/madam = mas (mahs)

sit = duduk (DOO-dook)

small = kecil (KEH‑cheel)

smell = bau (BAH-oo)

soy sauce = kecap (KEH-chahp)

steam = uap (OO-ahp)

store = toko (TOH-koh)

sugar = gula (GOO-lah)

suggestion = usul, saran (OO‑sool, SAHR‑rahn)

sweet = manis (MAHN-ees)

table = meja (MEH‑jah)

taste, flavor = rasa (RAH‑sah)

tea = teh (TEH)

tequila = tekila (TEH-kee-LAH)

tip = persen (PEHR-sehn)

toast = roti bakar (ROH-tee BAHK-ahr)

tonic = tonik (TOH‑neek)

vodka = vodka (VOHD-kah)

water melon = semangka (SEH-mahng-KAH)

whiskey = wiski (WEES-kee)

white rice = nasi putih (NAH-see POO-tee)

wine, grape = anggur (AHN‑goor)

Selamat makan! Selamat minum!

Indonesia language and travel book

Crossbow Communications specializes in international marketing, issue management and public affairs. Indonesia is one of our regions of expertise. Our President and founder is the author of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Please contact Gary Chandler at Visit Indonesia.

Obamas Vacation In Indonesia

Former U.S. President Lived In Jakarta, Yogyakarta

By Reuters

President Obama and his family have spent the past five days island-hopping in Indonesia, visiting everywhere from Jakarta to Bali. From white water rafting to visiting temples on Java, former U.S. President Barack Obama’s private family holiday is being closely tracked in Indonesia where he spent four years as a child.

Obama was six when he moved to Jakarta after his American mother, Ann Dunham, married an Indonesian man following the end of her marriage to Obama’s Kenyan father.

“I feel proud that my friend became a president,” said Sonni Gondokusumo, 56, a former classmate of Obama at the Menteng 01 state elementary school in Jakarta.

Obama visits Java

Gondokusumo showed a class photograph of himself standing behind a young Obama, who was wearing a school beret.

“He was a clever boy. Whenever a teacher asked him to solve a problem in front of the class, he could do it,” Gondokusomo told Reuters, adding he hoped to meet the former president again.

Obama remains popular in the world’s most populous Muslim nation and his trip has been splashed across the media during an extended public holiday to mark the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. The Rakyat Merdeka newspaper carried a headline “Obama loves Indonesia.”

Obama returned for an official visit as president in 2010 with his wife, Michelle, but this time has brought daughters Malia and Sasha as well.

Indonesians are avid social media users and snaps of the former U.S. president walking with his family in rice fields and rafting on Bali’s Ayung River have gone viral.

Obama kicked off the holiday on the island of Bali, where he stayed at the luxurious Four Seasons Resort Bali near the cultural center of Ubud. On Wednesday, Obama and his family arrived in the city of Yogyakarta and visited the ancient temple of Borobudur.

Borobudur Java Indonesia

According to CNN Indonesia, Central Java police deployed 700 officers to secure his visit to Borobudur, a Buddhist temple dating from the 8th and 9th centuries.

Obama is due to meet President Joko Widodo on Friday at the palace in Bogor, south of Jakarta, and visit the capital on Saturday.

Indonesia Travel News via

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia

Crossbow Communications specializes in international marketing, issue management and public affairs. Indonesia is one of our regions of expertise. Our President and founder is the author of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Please contact Gary Chandler at Visit Indonesia.

Indonesia’s Top Destinations

Tourists Have Fascinating Travel Options Across Thousands Of Islands

Indonesia is a very large and diverse country. With 18,110 islands, 6,000 of them inhabited, it is the largest archipelago in the world. The population of 240 million people is composed of about 300 ethnic groups who speak more than 250 different languages. While Bali and Jakarta are often the destinations of choice for business and pleasure, let’s explore some other top tourist attractions in Indonesia.

Yogyakarta: This is the historic and cultural capital of Java and Indonesia. The sultan of Java lives here in the Kraton. The area features some of the most impressive ancient monuments in Indonesia–Borobudur and Prambanan. Borobudur is the largest Buddhist monument in the world, while Prambanan is one of the largest Hindu monuments in the world. Mt. Merapi is visible from Yogyakarta and most of the region.

Mt. Merapi Java Indonesia

Merapi is one of the most active volcanoes in all of Indonesia. Yogyakarta also is famous for its arts, especially batik fabrics. Bicycles and horse-drawn carts are still very common forms of transportation in the region, which gives the area a special charm, despite its sprawling size. Yogyakarta also is a university city, which gives it even more character.

Komodo Island: The only way to reach Komodo is by boat, which is an experience that can’t be missed in this island nation. Most visitors arrive on large boats, which is a first-class way to eat and sleep in this extremely remote region.

The Komodo dragons live on three islands in the area–Komodo, Rinca and Padar. A few have even crossed the strait to the western tip of Flores. These arid, volcanic islands are inhabited by about 5,700 giant lizards, which grow as large as 12 feet long (three meters). They exist nowhere else in the world and are of great interest to scientists studying the theory of evolution.

Komodo dragon Indonesia

The local villagers call the Komodo dragon ora, which means land crocodile. The dragons are normally a sandy brown with dark markings against very coarse and dry scales. They have a long neck and a tail that is longer than their body. They have strong, sharp claws that are used in combat with other dragons and during feeding frenzies.

The rugged hillsides of dry savannah and pockets of thorny green vegetation contrast with the brilliant white sandy beaches and the blue waters surging over coral. Although the dragons are the primary attraction to the area, these waters offer some of the best scuba diving in the country and the world. The marine fauna and flora are generally the same as that found throughout the Indo Pacific area, though species richness is very high, notable marine mammals include blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) and sperm whale (Physeter catodon) as well as 10 species of dolphin, dugong (Dugong dugon) and five species of sea turtles.

Camp Leakey: Tanjung Puting National Park is located on the island of Borneo in the Indonesian province of Central Kalimantan. The park is a popular ecotourism destination, with many local tour companies offering multi-day boat tours to view wildlife and visit the research centers. Wildlife include gibbons, macaques, clouded leopards, sun bears, pythons, crocodiles and – most famously – orangutans. Unfortunately the park is heavily threatened by illegal logging and forest clearing for agricultural uses., this is your best opportunity to see orangutans in their own habitat. Some are being rehabilitated, while wild orangutans also visit the area, which is not fenced.

Birutie Galdikas Camp Leakey

With some luck, you might meet, Dr. Birute Galdikas. In the early ’70s, Dr. Galdikas traveled from Los Angeles to the Indonesian province of Central Kalimantan on Borneo island to study the red-haired primates. She has spent much of the last 45 years on the island, researching the orangutan and fighting to protect its habitat.

Bunaken: Located at the north of the island of Sulawesi, Bunaken is one of Indonesia’s most famous dive and snorkeling areas. The island is part of the Bunaken Marine Park where you can see more than 70 percent of all fish species that live in the western Pacific ocean.

Bunaken scuba diving Indonesia

Indonesia is an epicenter of underwater biodiversity, hosting a greater variety of marine life than anywhere else on earth. The South China Sea, the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean converge here, on the world’s largest archipelago of more than 18,000 islands, and the result is spectacular diving. Thriving off Indonesia’s vast coastline are more than 600 coral and 3000 fish species. The best time for diving in Bunaken is between April and November.

Torajaland: Also known as Tanah Toraja, this is a highland region of Sulawesi, home of the Toraja people. Torajans are famous for their massive peaked-roof houses and spectacular funeral rites. The region also features some interesting megaliths.

Tanah toraja

Lake Toba: Lake Toba is on the island of Sumatra. It’s an immense volcanic lake about 100 kilometers long and 30 kilometers wide. Formed by a gigantic volcanic eruption some 70,000 years ago, it is the largest resurgent caldera on Earth. Genetic estimates suggests that there were only a few thousand humans that survived the catastrophe. The island in the middle – Pulau Samosir – is the largest island within an island and contains two lakes. Tourists from around the world come here to relax and swim in the volcanically warmed waters.

Lake Toba Sumatra Indonesia

The volcanic activity of this region produces fertile land and beautiful scenery. It also contains rich deposits of coal and gold.

Ubud: Perched high in the hillsides, Ubud is much cooler and greener than life on the beaches far below. Ubud is considered the cultural heart of Bali and one of the top tourist attractions in Indonesia. There are dance and music performances every day throughout the city as well as numerous art galleries and craft shops to explore. Although Ubud has long been valued as a great place to learn about Balinese culture. Tourism in Ubud boomed exponentially in the last decades. Fortunately, it only takes a short walk or bicycle ride to escape from the crowds and commercialism. An area called the monkey forest sits on the edge of town and its filled with wild monkeys that will beg you for food.

Bali culture

Raja Empat: This is a fascinating diving destination near Papua. It’s a great region to see manta rays and other rare marine life. Over time, tourists mispronounced the name so much that even locals refer to the area as Raja “Ampat.” Don’t be fooled and please don’t perpetuate the error. Raja Empat means “four kings.” As with the best diving in Indonesia, this trip requires a live-aboard boat.

scuba dive Sulawesi

The waters of Raja Empat boast more than 1200 marine life species. The reefs at Kofiau are filled with colorful soft and hard corals that hide myriad creatures while blue and gold fusiliers flow like living rivers of color overhead. These coral bommies and gardens harbor some of the highest marine biodiversity in the region. At Northwest Misool, a blue water mangrove maze of trees meets the color of the reef. If you’re a photographer who likes over/under images, you’ll want to take up permanent residence. The Passage is a narrow river of sea between Waigeo and Gam Islands, the coral here grows pretty much to the surface and you’ll find piles of nudibranchs, sharks, cuttlefish and octopus among the soft corals.

Wakatobi: Wakatobi is a world-class scuba diving destination. It’s drop-off is famed for its action and color, with everything from blue ringed octopus and ghost pipefish to resident sea turtles cruising past soft corals and gorgonians. Lembeh is renowned for muck diving. With a sharp eye, you’ll find banded snake eels, pygmy seahorses, octopus, scorpion fish and literally hundreds of extraordinarily well-camouflaged critters. Almost anything could be hiding in the black sand.

Indonesia scuba diving

Those who make the journey to Wakatobi are well rewarded. Above water, the islands are stunning. Below, the diverse and memorable house reef is home to creatures ranging from the small and strange to giant mantas and resident turtles. In addition, the readily accessible coral garden at Teluk Maya harbors Pegasus sea moths, pipe fish, and an endemic pygmy seahorse species.

Indonesia scuba adventures

Many dive sites feature thick forests of vibrant soft corals, which hide lots of animals. Seamounts dominate the extraordinarily photogenic dive at Blade where sea fans, sponges and corals abound and seem to have positioned themselves in the most picturesque places on the reef.

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Crossbow Communications specializes in international marketing, issue management and public affairs. Indonesia is one of our regions of expertise. Our President and founder is the author of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Please contact Gary Chandler at Visit Indonesia.