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Traveling across in Indonesia

An island-by-island (sometimes province-by-province) summary of tourist attractions.
Bali, Lombok and other West Nusa Tenggara islands, Sumatra, Java, East Nusa Tenggara, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Maluku, Papua

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Batam ans Bintan Islands (Riau province)
The islands of Batam ans Bintan are only a short boat ride away from Singapore. Developed as an industrial area, Batam also offers recreation and entertainment. Bintan is real tourist destination. Together they make Riau the second most frequently visited destination in Indonesia.

Banda Aceh
The Special Territory of Aceh is no longer off-limits for foreign travelers. However, with the tsunami reconstruction still going on, there is no tourist infrastructure in place.

Point of departure for overland trips to Prapat, Lake Toba.

Gunung Leuser
The Gunung Leuser National Park is world-renowned. Visit the orangutan sanctuary.

See Lake Toba and Samosir island.

The small island of Nias lies off the coast of West Sumatra. It is quiet and has simple accommodations. The main attraction of the island is the surf which resembles that of Hawaii.

Visit Sianok Canyon, Lake Singkarak.

Mentawai Islands
Not a spot for mass tourism, the Mentawai islands’ inhabitants still live in relative isolation from mainstream Indonesia. Mentawai is a favorite spot among the world's surfers.

Get away from it all: 40 Kms from Padang there is a little known island called Cubadak. It's a great spot for diving and snorkeling. The island can be reached by boat directly from Padang. Stay at Paradiso Village (Italian management).

Sights include the Ampera Bridge spanning the Musi River. See the busy boating scene, floating restaurants and shops. Wind down at Punti Kayu park.

Sumatra Links (site in English and Indonesian promoting little known and out of the way nature resort Belitung Island)
Paradiso Village (Paradiso Village resort in Cubadak Island off the coast near Padang) (tours for individuals and groups throughout Indonesia, but with special emphasis on Sumatra and orangutan reservation in Gunung Leuser National Park)


West Java: Ujung Kulon
National Park, boat trips to rather active Anak Kraka­tau volcano (if the volcano’s condition is safe enough to do so) in Strait Sunda.

Beach hotels, ferry harbor with crossings to Sumatra. 
Banten is also the home of the Baduy, an ethnic group that isolates itself from the rest of Indonesia.

Pelabuhan Ratu
Easily accessible from Jakarta, Bogor and Bandung, Pelabuhan Ratu not only offers beaches and a view of the Indian Ocean, but also tropical forests. There are simple cottages and one hotel of international standard (Samudra Beach Hotel).

Jakarta (DKI Jakarta)
Indonesia's capital and cultural melting pot. Taman Mini Indonesia (Indonesia in miniature), Sea World at Ancol and Ancol Dream Land, National Monument (Monas), cultural performances at Taman Ismail Marzuki, Wayang Museum, National Museum, Bird market (Pasar Burung), Istiqlal Mosque. 
Savor great meals at the many international restaurants, see Kelapa Sunda harbor with its traditional pinisi sailing cargo ships from Sulawesi. 
Not far from the harbor, in the old quarter of the city near Jalan Pakin and Kali Besar the old lighthouse, Menara Syahbandar, the Maritime Museum and Cafe VOC Galangan give you a taste of colonial times.
The National Museum (Museum Fatahillah) was Batavia's City Hall during the colonial times. The location is bustling with activities on Sundays.
Double decker tourist buses make it easier to see the most important sites.
Shop until you drop in the many shopping malls: Jakarta has the world's highest shopping mall density per capita.  
Looking for a place to stay or to unwind a bit? Expats favor Kemang neighborhood.

Pulau Seribu (Thousand Islands) 
North from Jakarta in the Java Sea is a popular weekend destination, called Thousand Islands. There are cottages for rent and activities include snorkeling, diving and fishing.

Visit the Botanical Gardens, the Presidential palace and the nearby safari park.

Situated halfway between Bogor and Bandung, cool Puncak offers weekend cottages, hotels, tea estates.

Bandung is well known for its many surviving art deco buildings, such as Hotel Homann at Jalan Asia Afrika.
Owing to the favorable climate it is also famous as a strawberry center.
Enjoy a pancake breakfast, Bandung style, at Pancake Braga Permai restaurant. Dine all day, shifting through a menu of 1,100 items at Paskal Hyper Square.
One of the excellent spots for sweets, desserts and cakes are Bandungse Melk Centrale (Dutch for Bandung Dairy Factory), Toko Roti Bawean (formerly 'Sweetheart') and Sumber Hidangan offering Dutch cookies and sweets.
Shop along Braga street and get a taste for traditional West Javanese angklung music, such as at the late Pak Oedjo’s angklung school.
Hike up the active Tangkuban Perahu volcano, enjoy the hot springs at Ciater. 

The Jatiluhur dam and its lake are not only used to generate electricity, but also for irrigation. A tourist park with cottages is part of the complex.

Although not easy to reach with public transportation, Pangandaran is the location of choice for nature lovers and hikers. Accommodation is modest.

Central Java: Semarang
Visit ancient Chinese temple Watu Gong, and the railway museum at Ambarawa. The nearby town of Jepara is famous for its woodworking.
Don't forget to take a break with a colonial snack or a sumptuous meal at Toko Oen.

The Karimunjawa National Park is a archipelago off the coast, north from Semarang. It is a paradise for beach afficionados, scuba divers and snorkelers. You can reach the islands either by Nam Air flight from Semarang (three times per week) or by boat from Semarang or Jepara.

Enjoy natural beauty and hot springs in Baturraden's Wana Wisata park. Can be reached easily from Pangandaran, Semarang, Magelang, and Yogyakarta. 
Stop in Purbalingga, one of Java's cleanest towns.

Dieng Plateau
The cool plateau lies at an altitude of almost 2,000 meters (10,000 ft) and offers volcanic activity, a nature park and a series of small temples.

The ancient Borobudur temple, one of the wonders of the world is just outside the town of Magelang. Recommend times for a visit are early morning( before sunrise) and late afternoon, to see the sunset.
Nearby you will also find smaller temples, such as Candi Mendut and Candi Pawon and a functioning Buddhist monastery (can be visited free of charge).
Note that visitors are required to dress modestly, not showing bare legs.

Mesastila Resort in Losari village, near Borobudur, is situated inside a coffee plantation. It offers stunning views on the surrounding mountains. It is a hotel without rooms. Instead guests stay in de luxe villas. The main building is a completely renovatedcolonial era mansion.

Just an hour's drive from either Semarang or Yogyakarta, Salatiga is a small and quiet town. You will find it a pleasant place to stay for a few days, enjoying the fresh air and the view of Mount Merbabu
Boasting three universities Salatiga is known as a town of science and learning.

Ambarawa: A small provincial town Ambarawa, approximately 10 kilometers West from Salatiga or 31 kilometers South from Semarang is known for the Ambarawa Steam Railway Museum, located in the former Willem I railway station. The museum's collection of steam engines is limited. However it gives a good overview of the history of the colonial railway system in Java.

The town of Klaten, just East from Prambanan is home to the Sugar Museum (Museum Gula), housed in the former sugar mill, characterized by well preservded colonial architecture. 

Solo (Surakarta)
Visit the two Sultan palaces of Kasunanan and Mangkunegaran, Tawangmangu park and shop for bargains along Jalan Selamat Riyadi. Near Singaran village the fossilized remains of ‘Java Man’ were discovered (Pithecanthropus erectus) in 1891.

Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta: Yogyakarta
Sultan’s Palace (Kraton), Water Palace, bird market, silver works at Kotagede, visit Borobudur (near the town of Magelang) and Prambanan and Kalasan temples. Please note that visitors are required to dress modestly, not showing bare legs. 
Kaliurang mountain resort offers cool air and a climb through the forest. 
Climb Merapi volcano, go to the beach at Parangtritis (don't go for a swim; the undertow is lethal). Looking for a site with very few international tourists? Try beaches with stunning views and caves in Baron, Ngobaran, Drini Indrayanti and several others.
Shop along Malioboro street and see Beringharjo market, the biggest traditional indoor market in Indonesia.
Take cooking or batik courses. 
In the town of Imogiri you will find the royal cemetery, which is open to the public. Full traditional Javanese dress is required and can be rented on the spot.

Tip: enjoy an excellent meal at Moro Lejar restaurant, in the municipality of Sleman, near Kaliurang or at Numani, Jl Parangtritis, just South from the Ring Road. Try their ikan bakar (barbequed fish).
Tip: try Yogyakarta's traditional dish gudeg in one of the many gudeg restaurans along Jalan Wijilan.
Tip: at the underground level of Malioboro Mall (Jl. Malioboro) you'll find an excellent Periplus bookshop with many English titles and foreign magazines and newspapers.
Tip: check out the latest shopping malls: Ambarrukmo Plaza next to the recently renovated Royal Ambarrukmo Hotel and Hartono Mall at Ringroad Utara.

Prambanan: The Hindu Prambanan temple complex is a UNESCO world cultural heritage site. Watch the Ramayana ballet performed at an open air theatre at the Prambanan temple at night. 

East Java: Trowulan
Some 60 Km southwest from Surabaya, on the road to Solo is the town of Trowulan the capital of the ancient Majapahit Empire. Majapahit artifacts can be found in the Trowulan Museum.

According to many, Surabaya is Indonesia’s culinary capital.
See for yourself:

  • Shop and eat at Tunjungan Plaza, Supermal, Mall Wonokromo or any of the other sprawling malls. See the old market at Pasar Atum and the old buildings in the Arab quarter. Culinary spots include Food Festival, G-Walk, Food Junction and Yumcha.
  • Ice cream? Zangradi is the place to be; Surabaya's oldest ice cream shop and unique ice cream menu.
  • Or a buffet dinner? Head over to Hotel Bumi and enjoy everything from its Japanese sushi all the way to Indonesia street food. Without a doubt there will be Rawon (black beef soup -an East Javanese specialty) and Soto with powdered shrimp and shrimp crackers.
  • In the colonial days Siola was a leading shop in household items. It is still a landmark and now hosts Surabaya Museum.
  • Hotel Majapahit, built as the Oranje Hotel in the pre-war era, was renamed Hotel Yamato during the Japanese occupation. The hotel played an important role during the uprising of Surabaya's Pemuda (youth) against British occupational forces after WW II. Today the hotel is completely restored and offers fine dining and immaculately kept gardens.
  • Surabaya has become a green city, thanks to the leadership of mayor Bu Risma. Bungkul Park, named after a local heroine is testimony to this recent development. The park has a skate ring, jogging track and free wifi. Bungkul Park attracts many vsitors during Sunday's Car Free Day.
  • The Submarine Museum on the banks of the Kalimas River is located right at the heart of the city. The old Russian sub, once operated by the Indonesian Navy can be visited. River cruises depart from the Submarine Museum.
  • The Jembatan Merah (Red Bridge) area has some excellent examples of Dutch colonial architecture. It is at walking distance from Kya Kya -China Town.
  • Cheng Ho mosque is one of Indonesia's most unique mosques, renowned for its pagoda design. The mosque was founded to commemorate to Muhammad Cheng Ho, a Muslim Chinese explorer, diplomat, admiral and court eunuch during China's earlyMing dynasty.
  • Ampel mosque, the city's most sacred mosque is at the center of the old Arab quarters.
  • Carnival Park Suroboyo is a theme park that opens at night and offers noise and thrilling rides.
  • During full moon you can attend a traditional wayang performance at 300 years old Kong Co Kong Tik Cun Ong temple.
  • Wonorejo district is a gem, promoting ecotourism and education on the need to restore mangrove forests. Visitos can take a treetop walk among the mangrove trees and make a boat ride along the river.
  • Tanjung Perak is Surabaya's harbour. It is Indonesia's second busiest harbor. From Tanjung Perak ferries sail to all corners of the Republic.
  • From Surabaya you can easily make a daytrip to the island of Madura crossing the new Suramadu bridge.
  • A visit to Surabaya Zoo is not recommended. The zoo is notorious for the high death rates of its animals.

South from Surabaya up in the foothills lies the city of Malang, a two hour drive from Surabaya. Have pastries or a full meal at Toko Oen, still equipped with some of its original colonial furniture. See the last remains of the Singosari temple complex.
Malang's most recent attraction is Kmpung Pelangi (Rainbow Village) of Jodipan village. It boasts homes decorated in bright colors.
Tretes and Batu
Cool mountain resorts with fruit market and Kakek Bodo park with waterfall (steep climbs), Safari Park in Tretes. 
Batu is famous for its orchards and gardens. Cottages can be rented for weekend stays.
Batu has turned itself into a tourism town jam-packed with theme parks and museums, such as: Jatim Park 1, 2 and 3 (theme parks); Transportation Museum (Museum Angkut) featuring vintage cars and scenes and charcters from Hollywood movies; Baru Secret Zoo & Museum Satwa; Batu Night Spectacular, a lantern park with rides; Kusuma Agrowisata, where you can pick fruit right from the trees and purchase fresh local produce; white water rafting; waterfals:Coban Rondo, Coban Talun and Coban Putri.

Bromo and Mount Semeru
Climb famous Bromo volcano to see the sunrise (tours start from Surabaya or Malang). The climb begins around 03.00 AM. Bring a warm jacket against the cold! Horses can be rented to make the climb easier.
Tours can be booked in nearby towns and cities: Surabaya, Probolinggo, Pasuruan and Malang, but also from Yogya and Solo.
Most, if not all tour operators will be happy to sell you an all-in ticket.

Pasir Putih
Relax one or two days in a simple cottage on the beach. Snorkeling, sailing in a traditional boat, see the coral reefs and underwater flora and fauna through the glass bottom.
Accommodations are rather simple. The Pasir Putih area urgently needs some upgrading.

Arguably the best waterfall in Indonesia, the Tumpak Sewu waterfall is an enclave covered by hundreds of waterfall streams, radiating a mystical and mighty view.

The Karangjar coffee plantation is a quiet place to experience a local cup of coffee and to learn about the history of the (colonial) coffee culture in Indonesia. The 145 year old buildings are well maintained. Even Indonesia's first president Soekarno spent time here.

Ferry port for the one hour crossing to Gilimanuk, Bali. But in addition, Banyuwangi has become a surfers' paradise. nearby Ijen volcano boasts blue colored lava. Alas Purwo National Park is home to endangered species, including the Java bull, Asiatic wild dog, Silvered leaf monnkey, green peafowl and olive Ridley turtles.

Java Links
Borobudurpark (Everything about Borobudur and Prambanan temples, performances, tours and more)

Cybermap (Interactive map of Jakarta) (see everything that's going on at the Jakarta convention Center) 
Indische koffie (restaurant/coffee shop inside the colonial Vredeburg fort in Yogyakarta at the southern end of Malioboro Street -site is in Indonesian only) 
Regency of Bandung (history, sights, where to go, what to see) (detailed information on Jakarta and Bali -where to go and what to do)
Selasar Sunaryo (Modern Indonesian Art Gallery, Bandung) (hotel reservations, shopping sites and tours in and around Yogyakarta)


Watch a video impression of Bali
BarudiBali (all you need to know to find your way around Bali) 

Capital city of Bali.
Traditional dances and music performances in many villages and at hotels, visit the Bali Museum in front of Puputan square

Shopping tip: The highest quality handicrafts and handmade batik on silk is available only at Batik Popiler II, Jl. WR. Supratman 306, Topati, Denpasar, tel 0361-463597.

Ferry harbor on the western tip of the island (ferry to Ketapang in East Java) and entry point to visit the West Bali National Park (hiking, climbing)

Sailing in a Balinese proa, parasailing, shopping

Close to Ngurah Rai International Airport. Surfing, shopping, discos, have a massage on the beach. Kuta has become a densely populated and noisy area, resembling Spain's Costa Brava, rather than Indonesia's Paradise Island. Its white beach is often polluted with trash. More and more tourists avoid Kuta in favor of quieter locations.

Shopping tip: The best quality handicrafts and hand made batik is available only at Loka Kita, Discovery Shopping Mall, Jl. Kartika Plaza Blok A (left Wing) 33A, A35, Kuta, tel 0361-769516

Tanah Lot
A very popular destination for tourists, Tanah Lot is a temple built on a rock in the sea. Watch the sunset here on the beach or in one of he many cafes.

Nusa Dua
The most recent development of this part of the island is a quiet location for high-end hotels and resorts.

Visit the village where the original Balinese (Aga Bali) live.

Silver and gold jewelry with Balinese motifs.

Center of traditional and modern woodcarving

Traditional Balinese paintings

Visit Taman Burung, Bali Bird Park

The holiest of all Hindu temples, the Mother Temple can be visited daily. It offers a spectacular view of Gunung Agung, the active volcano on the east of the island.

Departure point for day and evening cruises and diving trips on motorboats and sailing yachts. 
White water rafting, parasailing, jet-skiing

Visit GWK Cultural Park with the world's third largest statue representing Garuda Wisnu Kencana.

Visit the best elephant safari park in South East Asia.

Bali Links

Bali Adventure Tours (Elephant Safari Park, rafting, kayaking, mountain cycling, trekking) 
Balihomeparadise (Villas in Ubud by Bali Home Paradise, a professional trusted and villa rentals agency in Bali) (Bali based tour operator with tours to many off-the-beaten track and eco-tourism destinations) (Professional wedding organizer, Bali wedding, honeymoon, get married, Bali hotel, Bali wedding arrangement, holidays, accommodation, travel, Bali luxury villa, package, adventure, sightseeing, culture, online reservations)  
Batik Popiler (the best handmade batik available in Bali and beyond) (detailed information on Jakarta and Bali -where to go and what to do)
Joe's gone diving (diving center, Sanur, with Dutch management)
YesBaliPages (list of restaurants, shops, furniture producers, etc.)  

Lombok & West Nusa Tenggara

Lombok Island
Looking for a more affordable and mesmerizing location beyond crowded Bali? Hop over to Lombok.
Lombok's international airport has direct flights from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur by Silk Air, Air Asia and Garuda Indonesia.
Enjoy the fabulous beaches along the shores of west and south Lombok. Many beaches are almost deserted, such as in Malimbu and Nipah.
Cross over to the Gili (islands: Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, Gili Air) by fast ferry services, 
see Balinese temples, climb 2,100 meter tall Rinjani volcano (don’t venture there alone –take an experienced guide)
Seaside activities include snorkeling, diving and surfing (at Bangko-Bangko).
Don't forget to visit the waterfalls at Benang Stokel and Benang Kelambu.
Lombok is famous for its handmade high quality textiles (ikat).
The most popular hotel area is located all along the beaches of Senggigi. Budget accommodation on the Gili islands.
See the Lombok Coffee House at Mataram Mall 2.
Plenty of time? Take the ferry from Labuhan Lombok to:

Sumbawa Island
Flights arrive and depart from the small airport of Bima. 
Surfing at Hu’u beach near the town of Dompu. 
Climb Mount Tambora with its two colored lakes and see Mount Rinjani on the island of Lombok in the distance
In 2015 Sumbawa commemorated the great eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815. The eruption affected weather patterns across the globe for a very long period.

Nusa Tenggara Islands Links (includes Lombok and Komodo) 
Dream Divers (Lombok) 
Lombok Dive (tourist information for Nusa Tenggara islands -east from Bali)
Pearl Farm (only 30 minutes drive from Senggigi)

Komodo, Flores & East Nusa Tenggara

West Timor, Kupang
West Timor is the place to look for Sasando music, ikat cloth of high quality. From Kupang you can rent a small motorboat to one of the small islands to enjoy a brief stay in a bungalow in your tropical paradise. Snorkeling and diving are the preferred activities there.

Flores Island
Kelimutu: three mountain lakes with different water colors. 
Diving in the Bay of Maumere. 
Labuan Bajo is the main airport on Flores. It is situated on the westernmost tip of the island. Boats can be rented to take you to Komodo island.

Alor Island
Even further east from Flores is the small island of Alor, rarely visited by foreign tourists. Alor can be reached by air from Kupang by Trans Nusa and offers views of pristine coral reefs. Fishhermen traditionally hunt whalesharks.

Komodo Island
See the komodo dragons (be careful, these are not pets, their bite is lethal). 
The island can be reached by boat from Sumbawa or Flores.


Equator monument, floating market

White water rafting near Kualakapuas. Traditional gold panning.

Derawan Island offers a rare collection of tortoises, reefs, and iguanas.

Floating market in the Barito River, traditional diamond mining, white water rafting at Loksado. 
Take a speedboat for a long trip upriver, visiting traditional Dayak settlements. Overnight in a longhouse.

Kalimantan Links
Borneo -Island in the clouds (about orangutans, nature and culture)
indonesiapromo (extensive information on people and places in Kalimantan)
Orangutanswildlife (Orangutan reserve and tours in Kalimantan)
visitborneo (information on trips and business in Kalimantan)


North Sulawesi: Manado
The city and its surroundings offer many opportunities to visit nearby islands, and to go diving. The beach at Tasik Ria is well equipped. Visit the caves near Tara-tara, used by the Japanese army in WW II.

World renowned diving resort. Better than words, watch the night diving video clip. Bunaken can be reached by boat from Manado only.

South Sulawesi: Makassar
See Fort Rotterdam. The Pantai Losari boulevard was once famous for its food vendors, but these have now all disappeared after the reconstruction of the boulevard. 
Makassar (also known by its former name Ujung Pandang) is the departure point for overland trips to Tana Toraja.

Starting point for sport fishing and diving trips. There are several simple hotels for backpackers. Bira is a ferry harbor with a daily service to the island of Selayar. Public buses from Makassar to Selayar stop in Bira before boarding the ferry.

Selayar Island
Excellent, largely unexplored diving opportunities, only two simple hotels are available on the island

Tana Toraja and Rantepao
Traditional burial sites in the rocks

Southeast Sulawesi: Kendari
Well known for its handicrafts and silver.

Bau-bau is the 'launch pad' for a visit to Wakatobi National Marine Park. Bau-bau can be reached by air from Jakarta, Surabaya or Denpasar, followed by a short flight on Express Air to Wakatobi.

Links (tourist information on North Sulawesi) (the official site of the province of North Sulawesi)


Capital of the province of Maluku.
The Maluku islands once were the center of the international spice trade and the reason why colonial powers took possession of the area in the 16th century. 
Ambon has ruins of Portuguese and Dutch forts. Its sea gardens are a must-see.

Halmahera Island
The island has a 360 years old clove tree, believed to be the ‘mother of all clove trees’. 
Nearby Morotai island was a military base in WW II.

Banda Island
Banda island has beautiful tropical vegetation, but also has seen some of the bloodiest battles in the history of Maluku caused by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) while it established its clove monopoly.

Ceram Island
Nature, nature and nature.

Maluku Links
East Indonesia (a focus on visiting Maluku and Papua) 
RumahRp  (Beach side guesthouse on the island of Saparua offering full board to 4 people. It features a living/dining room, kitchen, bathroom, two terraces, and two bedrooms. Each bedroom has two single beds.)


Papua is by far the largest province. Although largely inaccessible Papua is gaining in popularity as a tourist destination. There are daily flights to Jayapura, Biak and Sorong.
Those who travel to Papua will be rewarded with fascinating sights, rainforests, birdlife and traditional Papua cultures. 
The capital of the province, Jayapura has preserved the house of General McArthur. 
Lake Sentani is nearby.

Sentani: The Lake Sentani district is making serious efforts to develop the area's tourist potential.

Biak Island
The island of Biak was an Allied naval base during WW II. In Biak and its surrounding smaller islands, interested visitors may visit caves used by the Japanese Army, and underwater wrecks of ships and planes.
Pulau Dawi is one of the most attractive. It welcomes up to 2,000 visitors from many countries every year, even thought it's not easy to reach.
In Biak visit Goa Jepang (the Japanese Cave), Cendrawasih Museum, the Bird Park.

The woodcarvings of the Asmat are widely copied throughout Indonesia.

Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat is yet another fabulous location for sailing, snorkeling and diving. Get there by boat from Sorong. There are regular flights to Sorong from Jakarta, Makassar and Bali.
To protect its sharks and mantas, the local government has established the five million hectares Shark and Manta Marine Sanctuary.

Papua Links
Bird watching in Papua (specialized site for lovers of exotic birds and eco tourists)  
Discover Papua (lots of tour options) 
Papua-adventures (lots of information on traveling through one of the lesser known provinces in Indonesia)
Papua Adventure Tours and Travel (selected tour packages)