A Visitor’s Guide To Indonesia
The large Asian nation of Indonesia is the fourth largest in the world by population, and with a significant proportion of those being Muslims it is also the largest Muslim country in the world by population. One of the main reasons that many people come to Indonesia is because of its amazing natural heritage, which includes being home to the world’s largest flower, which is a strain of rafflesia that produces huge blooms. The seas around the Indonesian islands also have a diverse range of marine species, including more species of shark than anywhere else in the world, and also has more coral reefs than anywhere else too.
US State Department advice for those traveling to Indonesia is to be cautious, as the country does suffer from occasional acts of terrorism targeting the tourist industry, the most well known of which were the Bali bombings in 2002 and 2005. Visitors are also advised not to travel to Papua, where separatist groups are active, and women especially are advised to be aware of the possibility of drink spiking, which can happen in the country.
Top Sights To See In Indonesia
Borobudur – This stunning Buddhist temple dates from the ninth century but was abandoned after the fourteenth century when Islam became the main religion in the country, and visitors today can see the remarkable carvings and follow the pilgrim’s path up seven tiers to the top of the temple.
Mount Bromo – This active volcano is located on a large plain in East Java, and is one of several volcanoes in the area that can be explored on foot or by jeep, but it is worth keeping an eye on local warnings if the volcano is particularly active.
Raja Ampat – An area comprising of four main islands surrounded by hundreds of much smaller islands, the beautiful waters and islands can be explored with some superb diving for the wide range of marine species and corals, while the islands themselves offers some great hiking opportunities.
Komodo National Park – This large national park was created to protect its unique inhabitants, the Komodo Dragons who live on the rugged terrain and are among the range of natural attractions for visitors to the park.
The Gili Islands – Located off the north west coast of the island of Lombok, these three small islands are among the most beautiful and idyllic in the country, with small hotels and the entire coast of each island surrounded by stunning golden beach and clear waters.
Prambanan Temple – A Hindu temple which was rediscovered in the nineteenth century by colonial British explorers, this beautiful site has seen some of the 240 temples renovated, including the stunning shrine to Shiva with remarkable carvings that have been lovingly restored.
Lorentz National Park – As the largest national park in South East Asia, the park enjoys hugely diverse animal species, and the territory covered ranges from marine and coastal areas with mangrove forests up to the mountains which includes Puncak Jaya, which is 4,884 meters high.
Ancol Dream Park, Jakarta -Located on the waterfront in Jakarta, this wonderful entertainment area includes a theme park, water park, two oceanariums offering marine animal shows and several other attractions including a golf course and a bowling alley.
The Thousand Islands – This remarkable chain of islands is located off the north coast of Jakarta, and hass several islands boasting resorts, while others are home to simple fishing villages, and there is also some good diving to enjoy in the area too.
Lake Toba – This large lake is located in the crater of a former stratovolcano and is famous for the warm waters of the lake and for having the ‘island within an island’ at the center of the lake, which is an island within the island of Sumatra, on which the lake is located.
Where To Stay In Indonesia
Pullman Jakarta Central Park Hotel – A large and impressive hotel that is within easy reach of Jakarta’s city center, this hotel offers well appointed accommodation and stylish modern communal areas, along with a lovely outdoor swimming pool.
Oak Tree Urban Hotel – The bold and unusual angles used in the architecture of the hotel certainly help this building to stand out in this convenient Jakarta location, while the rooms are clean, comfortable and offered at a reasonable price.
Pesona Resort Gili Trawangan – A lovely boutique hotel that is just yards from the beach, the rooms are comfortable and well decorated in the local style, while the hotel enjoys an attractive swimming pool area and access to a private part of the beach.
Ombak Sunset Hotel – The large spacious rooms and opulent bathrooms provide delightful accommodation in this lovely resort which has a spa, outdoor swimming pool and lies just yards from a wonderful beach.
Melia Purosani Hotel Yogyakarta – A large and imposing hotel that is well located near to many of the city’s main tourist attractions, the rooms on offer here are spacious and well appointed, while the outdoor pool and bar in the garden area are well worth visiting.
Hotel Ibis Malioboro – Conveniently located for the city center, this hotel has rooms available at a very competitive price that are both spacious and comfortable, and the hotel also enjoys an outdoor swimming pool which is a nice luxury to enjoy.
Garden Palace Hotel – The rooms in this hotel are well equipped and offer all the casual visitor to the city would need, while still providing competitively priced accommodation and benefiting from having a Chinese restaurant on-site and a bar that has live jazz bands playing.
Meritus Surabaya City Centre – A lovely grand hotel within easy reach of the city center, this hotel enjoys an outdoor swimming pool with its own bar and a spa, with rooms that are well appointed and peaceful in this city center location.
Indonesia is a large country that enjoys a wide variety of different regional cuisines, with local ingredients featuring prominently, with inland areas tending to replace the seafood that is common on the coast with meat. One common dish that is often seen during festivals and celebrations in Indonesia is Babi Guling, which is a spit roasted pig that is usually eaten as a communal dish in a typical barbecue setting by non-Muslims and visitors. Another dish that can be eaten by the Muslim majority in Indonesia is Coto Makassar, which is a tasty beef stew where the broth is made from ground peanuts and combined with beef or various types of offal.
Currency And Visa
The local currency here is the Indonesian Rupiah, and because of the high numbers of rupiah that are used the smallest note widely available is 2,000 rupiah, with a spike in the strength of the US Dollar during the early months of 2013 meaning that visitors can enjoy over 11,400 rupiah per dollar. Visitors from the United States arriving in Indonesia through an international transport hub can apply for a visa upon arrival for trips of up to thirty days, with a fee of $25 levied for the visa itself.