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“Wonderful Indonesia”: Destinations not to be missed

October 6, 2017 Destination ASEAN, Headline News No Comments Email Email

Planning a journey to Indonesia can be an overwhelming experience as there are more than 17,000 islands, which are located like a string of green gemstones between the Pacific Ocean in the east and the Indian Ocean in the west. Since the 7th century at least, Chinese and Indian traders have visited the archipelago the locals have called Nusantara. Buddhist and Hindu Kingdoms left their historical records. Monuments of the old Mataram Kingdom, Singosari Kingdom and Majapahit are cultural wonders, such as the Buddhist Borobudur Temple and Hindu Prambanan Templeon Java Island.

Islam as a form of governance arrived in Indonesia around the 12th century brought by traders from Gujarat in India, Persia, Arabia and Egypt. The first Europeans to arrive were the Portuguese and Spanish to colonize the region, but it were the Dutch, who came in 1596 to establish the Dutch East India Company and Government for more than 300 years. Only after the Second World War, when the Japanese had occupied the islands, the country finally proclaimed Indonesia’s independence in Jakarta by Soekarno and M. Hatta on August 17, 1945, but it was only in 1949 the country’s independence was fully recognized by the Netherlands.

Looking on a map, the world’s largest archipelago consists of five major islands, namely Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Papua. There are 30 groups of smaller islands, each having its own specific cultures, traditions and customs. Moreover, there are 350 ethnic groups and 483 local languages to make the country’s richness and diversity. By 2016, Indonesia’s population passed the 235 million mark. Meanwhile, on BaliIsland, Hinduism is the dominant religion, while in some regions on Sumatra, Sulawesi and Papua there are Catholic or Protestant Christians. Chinese businessmen are still dominant in the greater cities. Concerning flora and fauna in Indonesia, there is the famous “Wallace Line”, which runs between Bali and Lombok as well as between Kalimantan and Sulawesi, to divide the typical Asian fauna and flora from the fauna and flora found in Australia. Furthermore, Indonesia is the land of spices, land of the rhinoceros and orangutan as well as the land of volcanoes, comprising the “Ring of Fire”.

The following destinations in Indonesia are highly recommended and not to be missed:

  1. Medanand the surrounding area in North Sumatra, including Samosir Island in Lake Toba with its culture of the Batak people.
  1. Riau Archipelago with Batam andBintanIslands, which are easy to reach by ferry boats from Singapore. Settlements of sea nomads can be found there.
  1. Jakarta, the capital ofIndonesia, with its Mini Indonesia Park and a train trip to Bogor to explore the Botanical Garden. Also, visit the 1,000 islands of Kepulauan Seribu for camping and snorkeling.
  1. Bandungwith its Museum of Geology and Mining as well as highland tourism activities to enjoy cool air and bizarre landscapes.
  1. Yogyakartawith its royal palace culture, Candi Borobudur and Candi Prambanan to enjoy a spectacular performance of the Ramayana ballet. Nearby cities for mini breaks are Solo and Semarang with an impressive temple for Chinese Admiral Zheng He.
  1. Banyuwangi as gateway to theIslandof Bali with its traditional festivals and authentic handicrafts made of bamboo, wood, banana leaves etc. Beautiful beaches abound, while the great Bromo Mountain is 200km away.
  1. Bali andLombokare islands that offer nature pure with their villages, temples, mountains and beaches. Mount Agung on Bali and Mount Rinjanion Lombok are the most famous hideaways.
  1. Makassar in South Sulawesi with itsFortRotterdam and Tana Toraja with its still strong megalithic culture and characteristic village houses.
  1. BunakenNational Park in North Sulawesi with its Minahasa traditional houses is not far from the city of Manado and offers superb diving spots.
  1. WakatobiNational Park in Southeast Sulawesi consists of four big islands, which offer colorful corral reefs and rare marine creatures.

Naturally, there are more exotic places, which are waiting for development such as the Raja Ampat Islands in the western part of Papua, Labuan Bajo in Flores as the gateway to Komodo Island, Morotai Island in the northern part of Maluku, Mandalika in Lombok, Tanjung Lesung on the western tip of Java and Tanjung Kelayang as gateway to explore Belitung Island. Be sure to check these places in the near future as they all will emerge as prominent tourist destinations – as long as it is not too late.

For further information, please go to the website:

Writtten by : Reinhard Hohler

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