Welcome to Indonesia
This charming nation of over 17,000 islands has massive potential for adventures. It’s hard to beat Indonesia for the sheer range of experiences on offer.
1. Rich Diversity
The world’s fourth most populous country is like 100 countries melded into one: a kaleidoscope of a nation that sprawls along the equator for 5000km. Indonesia is a land of so many cultures, peoples, animals, customs, plants, sights, art and foods that it defies homogenisation. The people are as very different from each other as the variety of landscapes you’ll see, with every island a unique blend. Over time, deep and rich cultures have evolved, from the mysteries of the spiritual Balinese to the ancient animist belief system of the Asmat people of Papua.
2. Beaches & Volcanoes
Venturing across Indonesia you’ll see a wonderfully dramatic landscape as diverse as anywhere on the planet. Sulawesi’s wildly multi-limbed coastline embraces white-sand beaches and diving haunts, while Sumatra is contoured by a legion of nearly 100 volcanoes marching off into the distance, several capable of erupting at any time. Bali’s beaches are the stuff of legend, but you don’t have to travel far to find even more beautiful and less touristic stretches of sand in Nusa Tenggara. The Banda islands in Maluku, Derawan in Kalimantan and Pulau Weh off Sumatra all offer superb beaches too.
3. Amazing Spectacle
Dramatic sights are the norm. There’s the sublime: an orang-utan lounging in a tree. The artful: a Balinese dancer executing precise moves that would make a robot seems ungainly. The idyllic: a deserted stretch of blinding white sand on Sumbawa. The astonishing: crowds in a glitzy Jakarta mall. The intriguing: tales of the beautiful Banda Islands’ twisted history. The heart-stopping: the ominous menace of a Komodo dragon. The humbling: a woman bent double with a load of firewood on Sumatra. The delicious: a south Bali restaurant. The shocking: the funeral ceremonies of Tana Toraja. The solemn: Borobudur’s serene magnificence.
4. Great Adventure
This intoxicating land offers some of the last great adventures on earth. Sitting in the open door of a train whizzing across Java, gazing out at an empty sea while on a ship bound for the Kei Islands, hanging on to the back of a scooter on Flores, rounding the mystifying corner of an ancient West Timor village or simply trekking through wilderness you’re sure no one has seen before. The great thing about adventure in Indonesia is that it happens when you least expect it. An orang-utan swinging through the trees? Surfing breaks on remote islands? Yes and yes.
When to go and weather
- When to Go: High Season (Jul & Aug)
Tourist numbers surge across Indonesia, from Bali to Sulawesi and beyond.
- Dry season except in Maluku and Papua, where it is rainy.
Shoulder (May, Jun & Sep)
- Dry season outside Maluku and Papua.
Best weather in Java, Bali and Lombok (dry, not so humid).
- You can travel more spontaneously. : Low Season (Oct–Apr)
Wet season in Java, Bali and Lombok (and Kalimantan flowers).
- Dry season (best for diving) in Maluku and Papua.
- Easy to find deals and you can travel with little advance booking (except at Christmas and New Year).