Things to do in Indonesia

The key to a real holiday in Indonesia is looking beyond Bali - Indonesia is more than just the ‘Island of Gods’. Of its near 18,000 islands, many are largely uninhabited - peacefully covered in forests, temples and beaches. As a result, Indonesia has been nicknamed the ‘Sleeping Giant of Southeast Asia’, a sprawling archipelago where adventure can be found in myriad forms. There are forests to trek, waves to surf, markets to explore, wildlife to watch, roads to brave, temples to visit, sunsets to behold and beaches to be danced on.

While the name might not ring a bell, Kalimantan is one of Indonesia's most underrated regions. Here, true adventure awaits travellers among raw and rugged forests, mountains and historic villages. Want to see the closest thing on earth to a dragon a la ‘Game of Thrones’? Get to Labuan Bajo by air or sea, then take a boat and visit Komodo National Park in search of the Komodo dragon - the world’s largest lizard.

Keen surfers (and those willing to learn) will find excellent waves on Uluwatu, Kuta, Seminyak, Sanur, and Canggu beaches in Bali. Java and Sumatra also provide a chain of amazing surfing breaks too. Prefer mountain altitudes? Hike up one of Indonesia’s many active and dormant volcanoes, including Mount Bromo in East Java and Mount Agung in Bali.

Proud of its Buddhist and Hindu religions, Indonesia has its fair share of epic temples. Tanah Lot is one of the most famous Hindu temples in Bali, and probably the most photographed. Don't miss the Sultan's Palace in Yogyakarta - a masterpiece of understated Javanese architecture, the sultan and his family still reside there. While in Yogyakarta, head slightly east and check out Prambanan - the largest Hindu temple complex in Indonesia. The region is practically temple central with the awe-inspiring Buddhist temple Borobudur located just around the bend from here. You’ll also find plenty of epic mosques celebrating the Islamic faith in Indonesia too.

For our top places to go in Indonesia, read on.

Kuta

Chances are, if you're staying at a popular Balinese resort you'll find yourself in Kuta already. While many will choose to simply stay in their resort, it's worth exploring all that Kuta has to offer, especially the world-famous beach.

Ubud

Voted one of the top 10 cities in Asia by ‘Condé Nast Traveler’ along with being the place Julia Robert’s character finds love and happiness in ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, it’s no wonder Ubud in central Bali is a sought-out destination for travellers worldwide.

Seminyak

Seminyak is a popular district located in the south of Bali and is naturally kitted out with amazing beaches, stunning sunsets and plenty of places to sip on tropical cocktails in a lounge chair.

Ancol Dreamland Park

Dubbed Indonesia’s answer to Disneyland, Ancol Dreamland Park in Jakarta is more of an entertainment quarter with theme parks, global nightclub franchises, food and much more on offer.

Gili Islands

Bali isn’t the only must-visit island province in the Indonesian archipelago. For an Indonesian island paradise with a beach party vibe, head to the idyllic Gili Islands off the northwest coast of Lombok.

Borobudur

Indonesia's single most-visited tourist attraction, Borobudur is a massive Buddhist temple in Central Java that was constructed in the 9th century and only discovered by outsiders in 1814.

Tanjung Puting National Park

Located on the island of Borneo in the Indonesian province of Central Kalimantan, Tanjung Puting National Park has over 416,040 hectares of forest and is most famous for its orang-utans!

Komodo Island

More famous for its infamous inhabitants than anything else, the island of Komodo is home to the spectacularly scary Komodo dragons. Though not kind to humans, humans have been kind to the dragons over the years, preserving their habitat in a national park and declaring the island a World Heritage Site.

Kalimantan

The name might not be familiar but Kalimantan is one of Indonesia's most underrated regions where true adventure awaits travellers among raw and rugged forests, mountains and historic villages.