Indonesia Vacations, Tours, Travel Packages & Experiences
Indonesia covers a large land mass and consists of 17,000 islands of which approximately half are inhabited. The main islands of note are Bali, Sumatra, Java, and Sulawesi plus the southern half of Borneo.
Bali will be the first island to come to mind. It is small but it has so much to offer the visitor with its many excellent beaches, rice terraces, enchanting temples and quaint villages. Some of the principal beaches are Kuta (lively and known for its surf and sunsets), Sanur (quiet and family-friendly), Nusa Dua (select and garden-like) and Jimbaran (upscale and more remote).
Why Consider the Idyllic Island of Bali?
Bali has been called “The Island of the Gods” due to the thousands of Hindu temples found everywhere. However, it is also a paradise for mere mortals and a Bali vacation is a heavenly experience in many ways. Unlike other Indonesian islands which are basically Muslim, Bali is strongly influenced by the Hindu religion and culture which is demonstrated in everyday life through the small offerings found in Balinese houses, businesses, restaurants, and many other places.
The first thing to decide on a trip to Bali is which beach to select as there quite a number to choose from. Bali has an excellent selection of beaches each of which has its own character and personality catering to every taste and budget for a Bali vacation.
Kuta, a former fishing village, is the liveliest and best-known beach in Bali suitable for those who like a fast-paced resort with plenty of amenities and nightlife and which attracts a younger crowd on Bali vacation packages. Located close to the airport on the western side of the island, it enjoys amazing and glorious sunsets. The surf here is famous and is a surfer’s paradise. It is also known for its extensive selection of shops, restaurants, bars and entertainment facilities.
Nusa Dua is situated on the calm leeward eastern side of the island and is generally an uncrowded beach area offering pristine sand and blue waters. It is a little more upscale than most of the other beach areas in Bali. The offshore reefs are excellent for scuba diving and snorkelling. It is not lacking in restaurants and bars plus there is an excellent shopping mall and an 18-hole golf course.
Tanjung Benoa is the place for motorized water sports as well as being a family-friendly resort with its calm waters. It is a former fishing village, now a major Bali beach resort located on the east coast of the island. The waters are calm here being on the leeward side with good sandy beaches. It is a good spot for water sports such as snorkelling and scuba diving, From Benoa, you can take a cruise on a glass-bottomed boat which sails along the coral reef. There are at least 5 spa centres in which to indulge oneself on a Bali vacation.
Sanur Beach was one of the first to be developed and has been characterized as the exact opposite of Kuta Beach. It is a former fishing village with much charm. It is known for its laidback atmosphere and is suitable for those wanting a quiet Bali vacation. It is family-friendly and situated on the calm leeward side of the island. It offers a 5 kilometre/3 mile walkway along the beachfront. In character, it is quiet and relaxing. There are breakwaters which protect the beach from erosion plus there are coral reefs just offshore for divers and snorkelers to view the underwater life.
Upscale Jimbaran, once a sleepy fishing village, located in the very south-west, is home to several 5-star resort hotels and high-end villas can be rented here. There is a very safe white sand beach for swimming One major attraction on Bali vacations is the mainly open-air seafood restaurants from which, while dining, you can watch the sunset. A major attraction is the nearby Uluwatu Temple, an iconic Balinese landmark with its open amphitheatre. Jimbaran is also the place to experience the famous Kecak dance performances.
Seminyak is known as the most sophisticated, fashionable and upscale beach area in Bali. Located on the western side of the island, the waters can be rough and any surfing here is for experts. The white sand beach here stretches for around 3 kilometres/2 miles. There are several boutique-style shops and good restaurants. Once again, the sunsets are spectacular.
Legian Beach is very similar to Kuta and attracts a somewhat older crowd. It is the relaxed life on the white sandy beach that brings so many people to this beach with its extensive nightlife. The boardwalk of Legian Beach is lined with small art shops. Designated walking streets include the 2 Poppies Lanes, Jalan Legian, Jalan Werkudara (Garlic Lane Shopping Street), and the Mertanadi Art Market.
Other Great places to see in Bali
Ubud is situated in the centre of the island and is known for its relaxed atmosphere, lush surroundings and its arts and crafts to be enjoyed on Bali vacations. The Ubud Monkey Forest, also known as the Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal, is home to a number of grey long-tailed macaques near the town centre. The Ubud Art Market is open daily and you can find beautiful silk scarves, lightweight shirts, handmade woven bags, baskets, hats and other hand-crafted merchandise. The Ubud Royal Palace is one of the outstanding buildings in Ubud, one of the main places to enjoy Balinese evening dance performances.
The active volcano on Mount Batur surrounds the large Batur caldera lake. You can view Batur's rugged features of dark lava slopes and black molten rocks from the nearby village of Toya Bungkah which also has lakeside hot springs known for their curative mineral waters. The lush green vegetation and the blue-green coloured lake serve as a stark contrast to Mount Batur. Nearby Kintamani is known as the largest bamboo producer on the island which is used for making traditional furniture items.
Tanah Lot Temple
Tanah Lot Temple is famous for its unique offshore setting and sunset backdrops on a Bali vacation. It is an ancient Hindu shrine perched on top of a rock where the waves constantly crash against it. It was established to honour the sea god, Baruna. The site is dotted with smaller shrines and has a cultural park presenting regular dance performances. At high tide, waves flood the causeways making it impossible to cross from the mainland. At low tide, you can cross to view the rock where the legendary ‘guardian’ sea snakes dwell in crevices around a fountain.
Indonesia Vacations and Sights to Explore (Other than Bali)
Besides Bali, there are many alternate destinations to enjoy on an Indonesia vacation.
Jakarta is the capital city of Indonesia. Located on the northwest coast of the island of Java, Jakarta is the economic, cultural, and political centre of Indonesia and is one of Asia’s fastest-growing cities. Towering 140 metres above Merdeka Square in central Jakarta, and topped with a pure gold flame, the National Monument symbolizes the fight for Indonesia. Dutch colonial buildings can be seen in Old Jakarta, while the Central Museum features statues dating back from the pre-Hindu period. A great shopping hub, Jakarta features numerous shopping malls and traditional markets.
Lombok is a good alternative to Bali on Indonesia vacations with its excellent beaches. It is known for trekking to Indonesia’s second-highest volcano, Gunung Rinjani, through jungle-clad slopes. On arrival at the summit, you are rewarded with amazing views of the whole island. The small offshore island of Gili Trawangan is internationally renowned for beach parties, bars and beachside cocktail lounges. Fishing is a popular pastime as is surfing.
The Komodo Dragon is the name for the very large lizards that can be found on 4 islands in Indonesia. These are Komodo, Rinca, Flores and Gili Montang which are all close together. Out of these four islands, Komodo is the one that is populated the most. It is the largest living species of lizard growing to a maximum length of 3 metres/10 feet and weighing up to approximately 70 kilograms/150 pounds. They live in caves, burrows and trees. Komodo Dragons are mostly active during the daytime and are very solitary animals, only coming together to feed and breed. They are capable of running rapidly and very fast in very brief spurts and can run up to 20 kilometres/12miles per hour. To see the Komodo Dragons on an Indonesia vacation, you go on a guided trek which is imperative as these creatures are dangerous and can bite.
Borobudur Temple, Java
This is the world's largest Buddhist temple built in the 9th Century AD and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is Indonesia's single most visited tourist attraction and is not far from the city of Yogyakarta. It is made from two million stone blocks in the form of a massive symmetrical stupa (Buddhist shrine). It is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. The central dome is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues, each seated inside a perforated stupa. Borobudur has the largest and most complete ensemble of Buddhist reliefs in the world.
Prambanan is a Hindu temple compound also near Yogyakarta. It was built to honour God as the Creator (Brahma), the Preserver (Vishnu) and the Transformer (Shiva). The temple compound, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the largest Hindu temple site in Indonesia and one of the largest in south-east Asia. It consists of around 244 temples erected in the middle of the 9th Century AD about 50 years later than Borobudur. In the middle of the 16th Century, there is said to have been a great earthquake that destroyed many of the temples. It was not until 1937 that reconstruction began to restore them to some extent. Prambanan suffered extensive damage in the 2006 earthquake. Today, on an Indonesia vacation, the main structures have been restored.
Tanjung Puting National Park, Kalimantan, Borneo
This is the place to see free-roaming orangutans. It is accessed from the town of Kumai by speedboat. The park was founded in the 1930s for the protection of the orangutans and proboscis monkey and was designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. It is also home to other animals such as gibbons, leopards, wild boars, porcupines and deer. Other creatures include crocodiles, monitor lizards and some bird species. The best way to view all this is on a boat tour stopping to engage with semi-wild orang-utans at the three main feeding stations and also visit a research centre.
Mount Bromo, Java
Mount Bromo is an active volcano in East Java. At 2330 metres/7,640 feet, it is not the highest peak in this range of mountains but is the most well-known. A massive eruption once created a caldera with a diameter of more than 8 kilometres/5 miles. One of the attractions of Mount Bromo, on an Indonesia tour, is the sunrise. The colour gradually changes to a golden hue. The usual way to visit Mount Bromo is from the nearby mountain village of Cemoro Lawang. From there it is possible to walk to the volcano in around 45 minutes. It is also possible to take an organized jeep tour which includes a stop at the viewpoint on Mount Penanjakan.
Lake Toba, Sumatra
Lake Toba is a large natural lake occupying the caldera of a volcano about 100 kilometres/62 miles long, 30 kilometres/19 miles wide and up to 505 metres/1,660 feet deep. It is the largest lake in Indonesia and also the largest volcanic lake in the world. It is the site of the largest-known explosive eruption on earth in the last 25 million years, some 70,000 years ago. It has been accepted that the eruption of Toba led to a volcanic winter with a worldwide decrease in temperatures. Most of the people who live around Lake Toba are ethnic Bataks. Traditional Batak houses are noted for their distinctive roofs and their colourful decor.
Best time to Visit Indonesia
The whole archipelago is tropical. The year divides into wet and dry seasons although sometimes it is often hard to tell the difference. Very roughly, in much of the country, November to April is the wet season with rainfall occurring in short, heavy bursts with January and February the wettest. May to October is the dry season. In some regions, the difference between the two seasons is not extreme. For example, Bali and Kalimantan are relatively unaffected by the season change. However, as you travel east to Lombok and beyond, there is a greater difference. The months of May, June and September are possibly the best time to visit Bali when the weather conditions are at their best and visitor numbers are not at their highest.
What Type of Tours are Available in Indonesia
We offer the visitor on a Bali vacation a large selection of stopover packages to suit your tastes and budget. These can easily be combined with day excursions to the interior of the island or a short stay in charming Ubud. Further afield, consider one of our itineraries to Yogyakarta to experience the amazing sites in Prambanan and Borobudur. Or consider a side trip to Lombok or Komodo Island to enhance your Indonesia vacation.
Indonesia Travel Information
At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy to navigate travel information section dedicated to Indonesia.
Learn about the history and culture of Indonesia, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about Indonesia's nature and wildlife, weather and geography, along with 'Country Quickfacts' compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information will help ensure you're properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering Indonesia for yourself. Start exploring… book one of our Indonesia tours today!
Extend Your Trip
After your Indonesia vacation, consider taking the time to visit other destinations. Goway offers exciting China vacation packages, India tours and Thailand vacation packages plus a comprehensive selection of vacation packages in many other Asian countries.
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