Places That Will Make You Want to Visit Indonesia This Year

  • Written by Miriam Tulevski

Royalty, culture and history coalesce in Yogyakarta


Seasoned travellers wanting more than boutique shopping, hip bars and cutting edge restaurants are invited to try a new Indonesian island or include one trip beyond Bali next time they book.

“The culturally curious Australian can be rewarded with adventure, inspiration and relaxation when they add 30 to 90 minutes flying time from Denpasar airport”, says Ms Miriam Tulevski, Visit Indonesia Tourism Office, Country Manager.

“With 17,000 islands, 350 ethnicities and 5000 traditional recipes Indonesia is one of the most culturally diverse countries on earth.

“So, whether you are well travelled, culturally curious and seeking adventures or just seeking an escape in a quiet corner of paradise these destinations are the ones to put on your travel radar in 2018.”

Lombok Island. Fly in and chill out, this peaceful paradise is only a 30 minute flight east of Denpasar yet is a world away. With 193 kms of coastline Lombok is renowned for pretty beaches, challenging surf breaks, lush scenery, a ribbon of boutique villas that hug the West coast and pockets of luxury.

With 23 smaller islands “gilis” off the mainland, a water park built in 1727, traditional craft villages, ornate mosques, spectacular waterfalls and Mt Rinjani offering 3,726m climb for trekkers the island offers plenty of activities.

“The Gilis”, Lombok. Snorkelling, diving, taking instagram photos on the swings and watching the sun set behind Mt Rinjani are the favourite attractions on these islands. No motorised transport automatically takes the pace down a few notches and strolling, cycling and horse and cart provide a relaxed way to get around. Each island offers relaxed beachside bars and restaurants providing great vantage points to watch the sun set. Gili Trawangan is the most social island with many travellers taking a day trip from Bali. The best snorkelling is at “Secret Garden” off Gili Meno – here you will probably see giant turtles. Located between Bali and Lombok access is by fast ferry from Bali or flight from Bali plus ferry from Lombok Island.

Komodo National Park, Flores. One of four UNESCO Natural World Heritage Sites in Indonesia, the spectacular Komodo National Park comprises three major islands and 26 smaller ones. A day trip can include seeing Komodo dragons – the world's largest lizard – on Komodo or Rinca Island and snorkelling at Pink Beach. Take the luxury option and stay overnight onboard a traditional phinisi schooner – traditional wooden boats hand made in South Sulawesi. Elsewhere on the island visit Wae Rebo traditional villages or climb Mt Kelimutu and witness the multi-coloured crater lakes in in shades of blood red, aqua and turquoise. Access the Komodo region by flying into and staying in Labuan Bajo, Flores a 1hr flight east of Denpasar, Bali.

Banyuwangi Region in West Java. (Pron. BunYou WungE) See otherworldly purple-blue flames on a pre-dawn trek up Mt Ijen volcano - the only phenomena of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. Additional rewards for the 1.5 hr climb are a sunrise over East Java and the crater lake. Visit the chaotic Ikan Muncar Harbour for the “slerek” - hand painted, multi-coloured fishing boats. Banyuwangi is an easy add-on from West Bali or a central Java trip. Access via a ferry from Bali (Benoa, Jimbaran or Gilimanuk) or fly from Jakarta to Banyuwangi Airport.

Yogyakarta Region, Central Java. Royalty, culture and history coalesce in Yogyakarta (Pron. Jog Jakarta). Its empires and kingdoms have brought the world the Borobudur Temple - the world's largest Buddhist temple and the Prambanan Hindu Temple both recognised by UNESCO as World Heritage Cultural Sites.

As one of the ancient royal capitals it has The Kraton or Palace of Yogyakarta. Completed 1790 it is home to the present day Sultan of Yogyakarta and continues to be used for important ceremonial functions and public performances of gamelan (Indonesian percussion orchestra), puppetry, poetry and dance.

For insight into Javanese kingdoms visit the private, well-maintained Ullen Sentalu Museum located at the foot of Mt Merapi volcano.

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Access Yogyakarta via a 1.5hr flight west of Denpasar, Bali or 1 hr flight east of Jakarta.

West Bali National Park, Bali is a quiet corner in Bali for those needing to get back-to-nature. Relax in thermal pools, snorkel or dive in tropical waters, visit a pearl farm or explore flora and fauna preservation initiatives in the Park. Visit Blimbingsari Village, a Christian pocket on the mainly Hindu Island. Its Protestant temple is adorned with Balinese Hindu-style carvings. Add on a 3D/2N side trip to Banyuwangi region on Java Island. Access the West Bali region via a 4hr drive from Denpasar Airport, Bali.

For more information visit:

Indonesia is the world's largest archipelago and one of the most diverse nations on earth. It has over 17,000 Islands, 5,000 unique recipes, 350 ethnicities, 750 languages, a 400 year colonial history and among the world's richest variety of plant and animal life. Every province in Indonesia offers a distinct culture with variations in food, language, landscape, architecture, festivals and rituals, history, religion and more. This richness is captured in Indonesia's national motto “Unity in Diversity.”

The country stretches 5,100 km along the equator between Australia and Asia covering the same distance as Perth to Auckland. It is bordered by the Pacific and Indian Oceans. 

Indonesia is aiming for 20 million visits by the end of 2019 with some 2 million expected to come from Australia.

Indonesia is the world's largest archipelago and one of the most diverse nations on earth. It has over 17,000 Islands, 5,000 unique recipes, 350 ethnicities, 750 languages, a 400 year colonial history and among the world's richest variety of plant and animal life


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