With over 17,500 islands, Indonesia has more islands than days in a decade; it’s the world’s largest archipelago. Sitting across the equator, Indonesia has everything you imagine a tropical island nation to have: coconut trees, white sand beaches, marine parks, volcanoes, and jungle. It’s a country of vast mineral, oil, and gas resources, and world famous coffee and tea.
Jakarta is a dynamic city of skyscrapers and commerce. Hotel accommodation ranges from back-packer budget to five star, and there is a lively and ever-changing restaurant and bar scene, with international cuisines as easy to find as local dishes. Jakarta loves luxury shopping malls, and these have become the city’s most popular hang-out spots. Jakarta’s malls are packed with international and luxury retail brands and restaurants, and include coffee shops with free wi-fi, bars, supermarkets, car parks, and cinemas. So popular are Jakarta’s shopping malls, that art galleries and exhibitions are moving into mall spaces, and many malls contain recreation and lifestyle attractions like spas, hair salons, fitness centers, swimming pools, bowling alleys, children’s rides, arcades, ice drinks, night clubs, language schools, banks, and apartment residences.
Traditional markets also thrive in the city, with the best and freshest buys to be found at dawn when the markets are liveliest.
Most of Jakarta’s parks are small and tucked into residential neighborhoods. The largest public parks and green spaces are at the Monas(National Monument) and the Gelora Bung Karno sports center in central Jakarta; Taman Mini and Ragunan zoo in south Jakarta, and Ancol and the mangrove forests along the north coast. Menteng park in the city center is popular with footballers and photographers. Fatahillah Square in north Jakarta and Suropati park in central Jakarta often have cultural dance performances at the weekends. For more expansive greenery, Jakarta has over eight golf courses. With international connections around the world, domestic air connections to over 30 cities, a sea port, and road and rail connections across Java, Jakarta is the gateway to Indonesia.
With 17,000 Indonesian islands scattered between the Asian mainland and Australia, the archipelago has more than its share of natural wonders and curious wildlife. You’ll discover everything from the scorched landscape of Komodo to the lush volcanic slopes of Flores and the shimmering reefs of the Gili Islands. Spectacular crater lakes change colour before your eyes, while sparring dragons could be straight from a scene of Jurassic Park. Indonesia’s ethnic, cultural and linguistic diversity is correspondingly great – more than 500 languages and dialects are spoken by its 255 million people. Read our Indonesia travel guide for everything you need to know before you go. With tens of thousands of islands to explore, it can be challenging to narrow down the best place to travel in Indonesia. As diverse as it is dramatic, the archipelago has many alluring sights: the cultural core of Ubud, the colossal Buddhist stupa looming over Java, the turquoise crater lakes and cragged peaks of Gunung Rinjani, the dazzling white-sand beaches of the Gili Islands.
That’s not to mention the staggering wildlife, from huge Komodo dragons to the tiny tarsiers of Tangkoko National Park, and scores of wild orangutans cavorting among the jungles of Bukit Lawang. But beyond these obvious charms lies an abundance of undiscovered territory. The far-flung Banda Islands are a diver’s paradise, while a boat trip along Borneo’s great rivers offers a taste of traditional Dayak life. However, we’ve outlined a handful of top contenders to consider for your Indonesia trip.