There are plenty of things to do in Indonesia for the discerning traveller. The main island of Java is home to the chaotic capital of Jakarta, volcanoes and mountain views, the cultural heartland of Yogyakarta, and the astonishing ruins of Borobudur – a ninth-century Buddhist sanctuary made up of more than a million cut-stone blocks.
Bali is the most visited island, with lively beach resorts, boutique luxury hotels, and the highland gem of Ubud, a former artists’ enclave now known for spa resorts and relaxed Balinese culture.Its close neighbour, Lombok, offers some stunning white sand beaches, and the islands to the south – Flores and Komodo Island – are the home of the legendary Komodo dragons and superb sailing holidays.
The thick jungle of Sumatra and Kalimantan (also referred to as Indonesian Borneo) provide refuge for orang utans and proboscis monkeys; while the elaborate animist funerary rites of the Tana Toraja in Sulawesi still do not complete the unparalleled variety and intoxicating experiences Indonesia has to offer.
With a wealth of islands, the coastline of Indonesia is approximately 109,000km in length; meaning the opportunities to explore the country by water are endless. Take luxurious boats built in traditional Indonesian style to the beautiful Flores or Komodo Islands, or other idyllic and isolated locations.
With Indonesia home to some of the largest remaining areas of tropical rainforest in the world, the country provides amazing opportunities to watch orang utans, and learn about the efforts to conserve these creatures. Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) and Sumatra are the best areas to go orang utan spotting.
This impressive ninth-century Buddhist sanctuary founded by a king of the Saliendra dynasty, Borobudur occupies a modest plateau in central Java and is made up of more than a million cut-stone blocks, 1,460 stone relief panels and 504 life-size Buddha statues, each sculpted from a single stone.
Located in the middle of Bali, Ubud is situated among the gentle slopes leading to the island's central mountains. With a rich cultural and historical heritage dating back to the eighth century, the town was and still is the island's pre-eminent centre for fine arts, dance and music. Once a haven for backpackers, artists and bohemians, today the town also features 5-star hotels and mansions attracting art collectors, connoisseurs and literati from around the world.
Lesser-visited than its neighbour Bali, Lombok boasts golden beaches in Senggigi and the spectacular Gili Islands. Relax in the capital of Mataram, explore the island’s rugged interior, and watch the sun set over Bali, all while the magnificent Gunung Rinjani – the country’s second highest volcano – watches over imposingly.
See Indonesia come alive in this image and video gallery, showing off some of the best areas that you can visit and explore.
Discover the temperatures and rainfall you can expect when visiting the main areas of Indonesia, along with the best time to travel.
We have collated some of the best books and guides to Indonesia, to help you make the most of your holiday to the country.
Find out more about what you can expect from travelling in the Far East – from internal flights to accommodation standards and local transport.
Learn more about the airlines we use to fly to the Far East, chosen for reliability and good service; as well as any available upgrade facilities.
Before travelling to the Far East, please read more about the entry requirements for each country, as well as any general health advice.
Get to know our expert Far East tour consultants, their personal recommendations and favourite hotels around the world.