Indonesia is a vast archipelago encompassing more than 17,000 islands, rich in natural environments, people, history and culture.
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 lower Sunda Islands to the south are the home of the legendary komodo dragons and superb sailing holidays. The thick jungle of Sumatra and Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) are refuges for orang utans, and 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.
What to seeThe country is home to some of the largest remaining areas of tropical rainforest in the world. Rich in biodiversity, they support endangered species such as the Javanese rhinoceros, tiger and orang utan. Several of the parks have been recognised as Unesco world heritage sites and also support many varieties of bird species. To the east of the country lies Komodo Island, home to the fearsome Komodo dragon, while Papua supports the largest national park in south-east Asia, with its own glacier. In addition to outstanding beaches, there is also a wealth of historical sites and ruins located throughout the country, pertaining to the various kingdoms that have flourished over the centuries. From ancient Buddhist monuments, Hindu temples and Islamic mosques to the faded Dutch colonial buildings in the heart of Jakarta, the country’s ancient past and more recent history are as much a part of any visit as the distinct cultures and colourful festivals of the Indonesians themselves.