Reasons to Visit
Heading up Krakatau is like trekking over Mars and as the guides tell you once you get half way: "No further or our boots melt". The basic nature of camping out on the island is outshone by the fact you will probably be the only people staying overnight and will be sleeping just metres from the ocean in the shadow of a volcano. A beautiful coral reef around one side of the island offers excellent snorkelling and the views over to the peak of the smoking Anak Krakatau are superb.
The most obvious choice for a beach destination in Indonesia would be the island of Bali. Places like Seminyak, Sanur and Jimbiran are idyllic retreats.
Indonesia is scattered with many temples and ancient monuments. Perhaps the most famous is the vast pyramidal structure of Borobudur, considered to be one of Southeast Asia’s greatest religious relics. Hundreds of Buddha images stare impassively out over the plains and the detailed galleries and terraces that lead up to its central stupa tell tales of ancient gods and battles.
There is never really a 'bad' time to go to Indonesia and the weather is good during the British summer months unlike many other Southeast Asian destinations. Even during the wet season, the rain won't dampen the enjoyment of your holiday as it falls in short downpours and it means that the scenery around you will be lush and colourful.
Indonesia is home to some incredible wildlife and the national parks in Kalimantan and Sumatra are some of the best places to see it. Trek through jungles, rivers and waterfalls on foot or by elephant to discover the wonders of nature from the orang-utan to the world's largest flower.
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Our Indonesia specialists are experienced and passionate about the country - between them they have spent many weeks a year researching new experiences and ensuring everything is of the highest standard. They know Indonesia inside out.
JackIndonesia Specialist01993 838 118
AngelaIndonesia Specialist01993 838 114
Alex RIndonesia Specialist01993 838 106
GlynnIndonesia Specialist01993 838 124
JacquelineIndonesia Specialist01993 838 123
LauraIndonesia Specialist01993 838 102
CarolineIndonesia Specialist01993 838 116
Whether you choose to fly into the capital of Jakarta and work your way through the country by road, rail and boat, or fly from one main city to the next, Indonesia has a huge diversity to offer.
We recommend that you visit as much of this amazing country as possible taking short flights between the islands and exploring with a private guide and driver to show you the most important and interesting aspects.
A two week itinerary might combine some time exploring the main island of Java and its ancient monuments and living culture, with a week enjoying the cuisine and beaches of either Bali or Lombok. A short visit to Kalimantan or the more remote islands of Sulawesi, Komodo or Sumba can easily be combined with Bali or Java.
We are one of the few operators in the UK to offer visits to both Gunung Leuser National Park in Sumatra and Tanjung Puting National Park in Kalimantan which are two of the only places in the world where you can see orang-utans in their natural habitat.
We also offer a wide range of cruising options for visiting the islands of Nusa Tenggara where you can see the unique Komodo Dragons.
Being a chain of volcanic islands - some of which have faced extraordinary destruction - Indonesia is history in motion. The most famous volcano is Krakatau, between Sumatra and Java, but its dramatic explosion in 1883 has left little to be seen above water.
The most active volcanoes are Ijen, Merapi and Bromo on Java and Agung on Bali, whose explosion in 1963 was interpreted by the local Balinese as anger from their gods. Dormant but still dramatic is Lake Toba, a crater lake the size of Singapore located on the island of Sumatra.
Lush jungle and open plateau are common vistas throughout the islands and on a good day you are likely to be able to spot temples and monuments in the distance.
The Indonesian language is very similar to the Malaysian one and for this reason many workers travel daily over to Penang in Malaysia for work and head back to Medan in northern Sumatra at night. English is not spoken widely but everyone is usually very interested in trying out the little English they do know. The language is phonetic and therefore easily learnt and easy to pick-up the odd words here and there to get by.
Indonesia is a country where the food is varied and interesting and you will most certainly eat well in most places. In tourist areas like Bali you will find more variety than in the quieter off-the-beaten track areas. Most of the restaurants have waiter service. Bars/cocktail lounges often have table and counter service. There are no licensing hours and many of the bars now do 'Happy hours' with discounts on drinks but again mainly in the tourist areas. Although most of the country is Muslim alcohol is readily available in most towns.
Tipping is generally expected in Indonesia for most situations:- 10% in restaurants; 5-10 USD per day for guides and half for drivers; rounding up in taxis etc.
The Indonesia Rupiah (Rp) has a reputation of being volatile. At the time of writing £1 was worth Rp16,000. Most people now only deal with notes and nearly all the coins have disappeared.
Automatic cash dispensers are available everywhere but the maximum you can withdraw is Rp1,000,000. Most machines take all credit cards, as well as Cirrus, Maestro and Plus cards. Visa and MasterCard are accepted. If you would like to bring traveller's cheques they can be in US dollars, GB sterling or euros but must be with American Express. Indonesia is an inexpensive destination, except Bali where the prices have been pushed up due to tourism.
Allow £15 to £25 a day for basic day-to-day expenses (drinks, meals etc). You can eat noodles for as cheaply as 50p a bowl.
Please take the normal environmentally friendly steps you should take anywhere in the world. Use water and electricity supplies carefully, re-use towels in hotels and try to use recyclable goods such as water carriers rather than plastic bottles, choose locally produced goods where possible etc.
'Playing with Fire, Adventures in Indonesia' by Nick Langston-Able - backpacker tales of travelling through Java, Bali & Lombok. 'In the Time of Madness, Indonesia on the Edge of Chaos' by Richard Lloyd Parry - a journalist reports from Kalimantan in the late 1990s where canibalism is still rife.
Gamelan is the traditional Indonesian orchestra. An ensemble of tuned percussion, consisting mainly of gongs, metallophones and drums capable of creating a wide range of sounds.
Orang-utan Diaries on the BBC.
Nasi Goreng - fried rice with assorted vegetables normally served with a fried egg on top.
Bintang beer. The local rice wine is fairly potent and is known as arak. Indonesian coffee is amongst the best in the world.
There are different languages spoken on each island, i.e. Javanese and Balinese are completely different. Bahasa Indonesia is the unifying language. Selamat is a general greeting in Indonesia Bahasa: Selamat pagi (Good morning); Selamat sore (Good afternoon); Selamat malam (Good evening); Selamat Makan (Enjoy your meal).
Komodo dragons; orang-utans; terraced ricescapes; woodcarvings; textiles; basketwork and beadwork; exotic fruits.
Ubud in Bali is famed for it's traditional arts and crafts with many famous painters finding inspiration here.
Start planning your tailor-made holiday to Indonesia by contacting one of our specialists...
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Further reading:Tours in IndonesiaWhen to GoHighlightsItinerary IdeasPlaces to GoThings to DoAccommodationCountry Guides
Other countries in Southeast Asia:BorneoBurmaCambodiaLaosMalaysiaPapua New GuineaThailandThe PhilippinesVietnam
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