Things to Do in Indonesia - page 2
Located on the outskirts of Komodo National Park near Rinca, Kalong Island isn’t famous for Komodo dragons like other nearby islands—it's famous for the colony of giant fruit bats, nicknamed "flying foxes,"who live in the island’s mangrove forests.
At dusk each day, tens of thousands of bats emerge from the trees and take to the skies in what is one of the most stunning natural displays in the park. For nearly 30 minutes, wave after wave of bats pass over the anchored boats on their way to forage for fruit on the surrounding islands.
Kalong Island sits about 5 miles (8 km) from Labuan Bajo, and the boat journey takes just less than an hour. Consequently, many tours to Flying Fox Island include a stop at Rinca Island for snorkeling in the afternoon before anchoring for sunset at Kalong.
The classically Balinese combo of rice fields and river gorges is what makes Ubud’s landscapes so beloved, and the Campuhan Ridge Walk, the best-known walk in Ubud, is the perfect way to appreciate them. Starting at Pura Gunung Lebah, choose between a 2-hour circular route around Campuhan and Sanggingan or a longer hike to Keliki and Taro.
Bali’s most popular dive site, the USSLiberty shipwreck is known to divers around the world as one of the easiest large wrecks to access. It lies just off the shore of Tulamben, near Amed, at a maximum depth of around 100 feet (30 meters). Marine life from turtles to flashing clams are common on the wreck.
Home of Ubud’s royal family since the late-19th century, Ubud Palace (Puri Saren Palace or Puri Saren Agung) sits in the heart of downtown Ubud near the traditional art market. Explore the pavilions and gardens. There are also traditional Balinese dance performances in the courtyard each evening, a must for any visitor to Indonesia.
Long an under-the-radar destination for surfers, Bali’s Canggu beach district boasts some of the island’s most vibrant nightlife. Set on the west coast north of Seminyak and south of Tanah Lot, it draws party lovers, surfers, and yoginis with a vibrant blend of wave-pounded beaches, serene rice fields, and top-notch bars and restaurants.
Bali’s most popular sacred spring, Tirta Empul Temple dates back more than 1,000 years. Travelers from around the globe flock to its holy waters to bathe beside Balinese pilgrims; accept blessings from healers, priests, and shamans; or simply soak up the atmosphere. The temple is northeast of Ubud in Tampaksiring, not far from Gunung Kawi.
Bali’s answer to Cirque du Soleil, the Devdan Show is an extravaganza of music, acrobatics, dance, sound, and light that takes you on a journey through some of Indonesia’s most colorful islands. Crafted around the tale of two children traveling across the archipelago, it features everything from Papuan dance to corde lisse (aerial rope).
Opened in 1868, in a grand building on Merdeka Square, Indonesia’s National Museum is one of Jakarta’s most fascinating attractions. A rich collection spanning hundreds of thousands of years covers everything from early hominids to the archipelago’s spectacular range of textiles, along with gold, statuary, and architectural models.
With a history dating back more than 1,000 years, one of Bali’s holiest Hindu sites (and most popular attractions) is a grotto covered in carvings of mythological creatures. While Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave) has uncertain origins, it's believed that Hindu priests dug it out by hand to use as a hermitage.
Considered to be the Bali that time forgot for its unspoiled landscape, Penida Island (Nusa Penida) sits about 10 miles (15 kilometers) off the Bali coast, alongside the islands of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan. Besides snorkeling and diving—the island is known for mantas and mola-molas (the world’s largest bony fish)—Penida offers unspoilt villages, rugged landscapes, and sacred temples.
More Things to Do in Indonesia
Home to around 800,000 people, Bali’s bustling capital, Denpasar, is a vibrant and multicultural city that most visitors skip over in favor of beaches and/or rice fields. Besides being home to the island’s best street food and largest markets, Denpasar offers attractions including parks, monuments, sculptures, and the Bali Museum.
The lush grounds of Taman Sari, occasionally known as the Water Castle, are a fraction of what they once were when this opulent water palace occupied swaths of downtown Yogyakarta. However, well-kept gardens, reflecting pools, striking architecture, and a maze of subterranean passageways—including an underground mosque—still impress.
A true lost world, Jomblang Cave is a collapsed sinkhole that’s part of a cave system that runs through Gunung Kidul, outside Yogyakarta. Visitors are lowered around 165 feet (50 meters) on a rope and then hike down a tunnel to the Grubug Cave, which is flooded with rays of sunlight. Some claim the sunken forest is prehistoric.
Known for its distinctive painting style, the village of Batuan, outside Ubud, remains an artists’ community. Unsurprisingly, Batuan Temple is a classic piece of Balinese architecture, with split gates, stone guardians, thatched shrines, and detailed carvings. It’s one of three village temples dedicated to the gods of the Hindu trinity.
Located just off the western tip of Flores in Indonesia, Rinca Island offers some of the best and most unique wildlife viewing opportunities in the world. It’s one of the few spots on Earth where you can see Komodo dragons in the wild (and it’s often overlooked in lieu of neighboring Komodo Island), and the convergence of nutrient-rich currents in the waters just off the coast create conditions for some of the best diving in the world.
The Komodo dragon, the island’s most popular resident, can weigh in at over 300 pounds (136 kilograms), and they’re easier to spot in the wild on Rinca, as tourism has had less of an impact than on Komodo Island.
The 76-square-mile (198-square-kilometer) island sits within Komodo National Park, and as such, visitors to the island must be accompanied by a guide, as the large lizards can be dangerous—and even deadly—when they (rarely) attack.
The heartland of Java—and a longtime rival to neighboring Yogyakarta—the city of Surakarta is overwhelmingly known as Solo. Conservative and formal, this is the place to head for ancient Javanese arts such as batik cloth, wayang shadow puppets, and courtly dance, as well as authentic Indonesian urban culture.
Set on a hill with views over the Prambanan temples, Ratu Boko Temple was not actually a temple but a palace. Most likely the main court of the Mataram dynasty, the vast 8th-century complex includes bathing pools, meditation caves, an elaborate gateway, various halls, and a cremation platform. While ruined, it’s a great sunset spot.
Bali’s original beach resort, Sanur Beach offers golden sands, child-friendly waters, and a port that’s the jumpoff for trips to Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida, and the Gilis. Besides watery fun such as the Bali Seawalker experience, cultural highlights include the Le Mayeur Museum, the former home of a Belgian artist and his Balinese wife.
A royal water temple, built for the kings of Mengwi, Taman Ayun Temple (also known as Pura Taman Ayun and Mengwi Temple) forms part of Bali’s UNESCO World Heritage Site. With some 50 buildings, including many tiered shrines, a moat, river, park, gardens, and streams, Taman Ayun is one of Indonesia’s most beautiful Hindu temples.
The regency of Karangasem in east Bali was once a powerful kingdom ruling over much of Lombok. Today, it offers a sleepy, untouched charm beneath the towering presence of volcanic Mount Agung (Gunung Agung). Highlights include historic Amlapura, the district capital; traditional villages; Besakih and Lempuyang temples; Tirta Gangga and Taman Ujung water palaces; and Amed and Tulamben for diving.
South of Bandung in West Java, eerie mists cloud dead trees around the pallid waters of an acid crater lake: Kawah Putih (White Crater). More pale turquoise than technically white, Kawah Putih fills the caldera of an extinct volcano. The water is far too acid for swimming, but you can walk out onto a jetty to photograph the unusual site.
One of a cluster of craft villages in Bali’s Gianyar regency, Celuk is known as the “silver village” for its jewelry production. Artisans here create silver and gold jewelry and handicrafts in their homes and workshops as they have for centuries. A visit to Celuk gives travelers a chance to see the artisans in action and buy direct.
Located north of Kuta Beach and Legian Beach, Seminyak Beach is a sweeping strip of sand that’s drawn those in-the-know to Bali for decades. More upscale than Kuta or Legian, Seminyak is home to some of the island’s most iconic beach clubs and restaurants, as well as fun surf breaks. Behind the shore, Seminyak proper is a shopping and dining mecca.
A strip of golden sand with calm, gentle waters perfect for families—and stand-up paddleboarding—Jimbaran Bay is a popular beach renowned for its beauty. Besides the charms of the ocean, Jimbaran offers stunning Balinese sunsets and a wealth of restaurants serving Indonesia’s signature dish: grilled fish (ikan bakar).
- Things to do in Ubud
- Things to do in Komodo
- Things to do in Ambon
- Things to do in Yogyakarta
- Things to do in Seminyak
- Things to do in Kuta
- Things to do in Jimbaran
- Things to do in Nusa Dua
- Things to do in Jakarta
- Things to do in Singapore
- Things to do in Malaysia
- Things to do in East Java
- Things to do in West Java
- Things to do in Bali