Here are 10 amazing experiences awaiting you in Indonesia

Indonesia is a vast and diverse country that offers something for every traveller. Whether you’re looking for culture, nature, adventure or relaxation, you’ll find it in this archipelago of more than 17,000 islands. But if you want to go beyond the usual tourist spots and discover some hidden gems, here are 10 under-the-radar experiences to have in Indonesia.

See orangutans in Tanjung Puting National Park

One of the best places to see orangutans in the wild is Tanjung Puting National Park, a coastal tropical swamp forest in Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo. You can hire a liveaboard boat to cruise along the Sekonyer River and visit feeding stations and rehabilitation centres where these endangered primates live in semi-wild conditions. You’ll also have a chance to spot other wildlife such as proboscis monkeys, crocodiles and hornbills.

Snorkel or dive in Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat is a stunning archipelago off the coast of West Papua that boasts some of the best snorkelling and diving in the world. The crystal-clear waters are home to more than 1,500 species of fish and 600 species of coral, making it a biodiversity hotspot. You can explore the colourful reefs, swim with manta rays, sharks and turtles, and marvel at the scenic islands with white-sand beaches and limestone cliffs.

Hike up spectacular Mount Bromo

Mount Bromo is one of the most iconic volcanoes in Indonesia, located in East Java. It’s part of the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, which also includes the highest peak in Java, Mount Semeru. You can hike up to the crater rim of Mount Bromo and watch the sunrise over the surreal landscape of misty valleys and smoking cones. You can also ride a horse or a jeep across the Sea of Sand, a vast plain of volcanic ash that surrounds the volcano.

Explore the ancient temples of Borobudur and Prambanan

Borobudur and Prambanan are two of the most impressive temple complexes in Indonesia, dating back to the 8th and 9th centuries. Borobudur is a Buddhist monument that consists of nine stacked platforms adorned with hundreds of statues and reliefs depicting the life of Buddha. Prambanan is a Hindu temple that features towering spires and intricate carvings dedicated to the gods Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma. Both temples are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and offer a glimpse into Indonesia’s rich cultural heritage.

Experience the culture of the Dayak people

The Dayak people are the indigenous inhabitants of Borneo, who have preserved their traditional way of life for centuries. You can visit their longhouses, communal dwellings that house several families and serve as social hubs. You can also learn about their customs, beliefs and crafts, such as weaving, carving and tattooing. You might even witness some of their rituals, such as headhunting ceremonies or harvest festivals.

Surf in Lombok

Lombok is an island east of Bali that offers some of the best surfing spots in Indonesia. Unlike Bali, Lombok is less crowded and more laid-back, making it ideal for surfers who want to enjoy the waves without the hassle. You can find breaks for all levels of surfers, from beginners to pros, along the south coast of Lombok. Some of the most popular spots are Kuta, Gerupuk, Mawi and Desert Point.

Relax in the stunning Gili Islands

The Gili Islands are a trio of tiny islands off the northwest coast of Lombok that are known for their relaxed vibe and pristine beaches. You can choose from Gili Trawangan, the largest and most developed island with a lively nightlife scene, Gili Air, the closest to Lombok with a mix of local and tourist culture, or Gili Meno, the smallest and most secluded island with a romantic atmosphere. You can also hop between the islands by boat and enjoy snorkelling, diving, cycling or just chilling out.

Discover the wildlife of Komodo National Park

Komodo National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that encompasses three main islands: Komodo, Rinca and Padar. It’s the only place in the world where you can see the Komodo dragon, the largest living lizard that can grow up to 3m (10ft) long and weigh up to 70kg (154lb). You can join a guided tour to observe these fearsome predators in their natural habitat, as well as other animals such as deer, buffalo, monkeys and birds. You can also enjoy the stunning scenery of the park, which includes savannahs, forests, hills and beaches.

Experience the culture and cuisine of Yogyakarta

Yogyakarta is a city in Central Java that is considered the cultural heart of Indonesia. It’s home to the sultan’s palace, a grand complex that showcases the Javanese royal history and art. You can also visit the nearby villages of Kota Gede and Kasongan, where you can see silverwork and pottery making. Yogyakarta is also famous for its cuisine, which includes dishes such as gudeg (jackfruit stew), nasi kucing (rice wrapped in banana leaf) and bakpia (bean-filled pastry).

Visit the mesmerizing Dieng Plateau

The Dieng Plateau is a highland area in Central Java that offers a refreshing escape from the heat and humidity of the lowlands. It’s known for its natural beauty and cultural attractions, such as volcanic craters, hot springs, lakes, caves and ancient Hindu temples. You can also witness the unique tradition of cutting off children’s dreadlocks, which are believed to be a sign of ancestral spirits.

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