Frequently Asked Questions ... Indonesia

| August 5, 2014

Ever wondered where in Indonesia you can see orangutans, or when is best to visit? Find the answers to these questions and many more with our FAQ.

Bali is famous for its beaches
Beaches in Bali

What are the top reasons to visit Indonesia, and what are the main things it has to offer travellers?

The wonderful thing about Indonesia is that it is very much an all-encompassing destination, in that it provides a mix of culture, beaches, nature, dramatic volcanic landscapes and wildlife, while the people are fantastic too. The chance to experience such a diverse country is reason in itself to visit, but each individual element can deservedly be called an attraction in its own right.

What are the country's top destinations, and what sort of holidays/experiences is each good for?

Bali is the most popular destination in Indonesia, being its arts and culture capital, as well as where you'll find an irresistible combination of five-star hotels, stunning beaches and excellent food. In terms of beaches, they all get quite busy, but Seminyak, Nusa Dua, Sanur and Candidasa are particularly excellent, with Candidasa being ideal if you are looking for somewhere a little quieter, thanks to its location on the tranquil east coast.

Other fantastic destinations include Java, which is home to celebrated attractions such as Borobudur and Mount Bromo, Lombok (which arguably has even better beaches than Bali) and the Gili Islands, which are superb for snorkelling.

What is the climate like in Indonesia, and when is best to visit?

Boasting broadly the same climate across its thousands of islands, Indonesia is a very hot destination all year round, with temperatures typically falling between 27 and 35C even in the rainy season.

The best time to visit is during the main dry season, which largely corresponds to the UK's summer months, running from the end of May/beginning of June all the way through to the end of October.

Typically, the highest rainfall in Bali, Java and Lombok is between December and March, which is also when the weather is typically at its most humid. So, to enjoy a cooler (yet still hot), fresher and drier climate, visit during the summer months.

Mount Bromo volcano

Do you need a visa to visit Indonesia?

You do, but it's available on arrival, is $35 (approximately £20), and is valid for 30 days only.

Do you need any vaccinations to visit Indonesia?

You do not need any particular vaccinations to visit Indonesia, but you should always pay a visit to your doctor before you travel. This is to check that you are up-to-date with your usual boosters, and to make sure that there is nothing else they would recommend for you ahead of your trip.

What is Indonesian cuisine like?

Indonesian cuisine varies across the archipelago, because different islands have been exposed to different cultural influences over the years. Of course, this adds to the variety available and makes a voyage of culinary discovery here all the more exciting.

Bali, for example, is a Hindu island and its cuisine reflects this. You can expect lots of satay, tofu and excellent sambur boar, while dishes also tend to be quite spicy. Among the must-try meals are bakso, which are traditional meatballs that you'll come across virtually everywhere, and gado gado – a salad of bean sprouts, vegetables, eggs and satay sauce.

Eat in Sumatra, however, and you will be able to discern Middle Eastern and Indian influences, while in Java the food tends to be more indigenous, with hints of Chinese influences.

Those with something of a sweet tooth should try deep-fried banana wrapped in a banana leaf, which is utterly delicious.

What are the country's top tourist attractions?

Bali, Java and Lombok are where you will find some of Indonesia's finest attractions. Beginning with Bali, aside from the beaches we mentioned above, Ubud is a real highlight.

This wonderfully relaxed part of Bali is widely considered to be its arts capital – there seems to be a street festival on perpetually, while there are virtually endless opportunities for seeing theatrical performances and dances, attending concerts and gazing at sculptures. It is also famous for its rice paddies, which create a beautiful landscape that you can explore with a trip into the countryside. Try to spend two or three nights in Ubud if you can – it has so much to offer.

Tanah Lot is another of Bali's highlights. Located on the coast, this temple is particularly worth seeing at high tide, when its appearance is transformed by the influx of water, making it look as if it is floating. The island's national parks and volcanoes mean it also has a lot of natural attractions to offer visitors, and one of the advantages of holidaying in Bali is that this excellent medley of attractions is very accessible as the island is so small. So, it is easy to have a wide range of experiences here.

Moving on to Java, the spectacular Borobudur temples are the star attraction, with the Yom Jakarta temple complex coming a close second. Fortunately, as they're situated quite close together, it's simple to see these in a single trip. Before leaving Java, be sure to visit the stunning Mount Bromo – do so at sunrise to be rewarded with the most moving, memorable views.

Buddist-temple,-Borobudur,-YogyakartaBuddhist temple, Borobudur

Visiting the island of Lombok, exploring the beaches and national park are the best things to do – so this is really somewhere to visit if you want to get away from it all and immerse yourself in nature. Madana Beach is arguably the best on the island, and from here you can get to the Gili Islands too.

And are there any lesser-known attractions you'd recommend?

Generally speaking, Bali and Java are the best destinations for a first-time visit, though there are some lesser-known attractions that are very much worth a visit too. Kalimantan is one such place; located in Indonesian Borneo, it is famous for the orangutans that can be found in Tanjung Puting National Park, and is a little more off the beaten track than Indonesia's other orangutan-spotting destination, Sumatra.

Famous for its population of Komodo dragons, Komodo Island is another excellent place to visit, and the only place outside of a zoo where you will see these remarkable creatures. Observing them prowling in the wild, feeding on buffalo and dozing in the sun is a magical experience.

Komodo Island

Sumatra, which we mentioned briefly above, is worth visiting for its orangutans and Lake Toba, which is one of the largest volcanic lakes in the world and an utterly beautiful, tranquil place to spend some time.

Cox & Kings offers group tours and tailor-made travel to Indonesia, so you can choose a carefully created package or create your own. Read more >

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