An archipelago stretching some 2,820km and boasting a population of 185 million, Indonesia is one of the the most vibrant, diverse countries on earth to visit. Javanese, Malay, Chinese, and Dutch settlers have each contributed threads to the colourful cultural weave of the country. From the holiday island of Bali, to the jungles and ancient temple ruins of Sumatra and Sulawesi and the cosmopolitan metropolis that is Jakarta, Indonesia has something to offer for every taste.
Where to go
Indonesia’s pleasures are many. Quite a few visitors simply choose to flock to the beachside resorts throughout Bali, Sumatra and Sulawesi to enjoy the sunshine, hotel pools and restaurants. Those who explore a little deeper can find some truly outstanding treasures. The biggest Buddhist temple complex in the world can be found at Borobudur and Bali is covered with technicolour Hindu shrines. Nature lovers will love a jeep or hiking tour of active volcanos such as Mt Bromo or Mt Tambora - some of the largest in the world - or visiting orangutan sanctuaries.
Food & Drink
Indonesian cuisine is as diverse as the many islands that make up the archipelago. Still, there are some standout dishes that you will find everywhere. Nasi Goreng is a fried rice dish flavoured with Kecap Manis, a popular condiment not unlike soy sauce. Rendang is a caramelized beef curry. The national beer is Bintang, a pale lager ideal for washing down spicy food. If you’re in Jakarta, Tugu Kuntskring Paleis (Jl. Teuku Umar No. 1) is one of the most atmospheric spots to enjoy authentic Indonesian cuisine, while in Bali, Sardine (Jalan Petitenget, Kerobokan) offers a modern twist on old favourites with their own rice paddy to gaze out on!
While islands such as Bali mainly cater to a largely young, Australian crowd, there are still places to enjoy a drink in sophisticated surrounds. Puri Satrian (Jl. Cemara No.35) in Bali removes you from the tourist throng and allows you to sip cocktails with a great view of the ocean, while in Jakarta, the Writer’s Bar at Raffles (Ciputra World 1, Jl) celebrates the art and culture of Indonesia in sophisticated surrounds. Most hotels and resorts also have the their own bars and clubs, and many will put on live entertainment throughout the evening.
How to get there
A number of airlines fly from London to the capital of Indonesia, Jakarta, including Emirates, Qatar and Garuda Indonesia. From there, regional flights can take you to regional capitals in Bali, Sumatra and beyond.
Where to stay
Our picks centre on the island of Bali. The Leaf Jimbaran, inland, south of Denpasar offers deluxe spa treatments, in addition to two outstanding restaurants. Similarly, the focus of Amala in Seminyak (a very short walk from the beach) is that of holistic health, with a spa and organic restaurant on hand to refresh and reinvigorate. For something different, the beachside Luna2 Hotel, also in Seminyak,is an intimate, private hotel, sleeping ten. Not only does it feature a bar, restaurant and cinema, but it is specialised at organizing exciting outdoor activities for its guests. Finally, The Bale, inland, in South Kuta, is the perfect spot for couples, with a strict ‘No Children’ policy and butlers on hand twenty four hours a day to meet your needs.