Things to Do in Indonesia - page 4
Set just off the Bali coast in West Bali National Park, Menjangan Island (Pulau Menjangan, or Deer Island) is a white-sand gem. The island itself has no facilities beyond a simple bathroom and some open-air bale shelters, but offshore its sheer reef walls decked in undulating sea fans and lush soft corals are a magnet for marine life, divers, and snorkelers.
Nestled amid rice fields, Tenganan Village (Tenganan Pegeringsingan) is one of Bali’s most unique destinations. The people who live here are Bali Aga, with their own religious and cultural practices, including weaving a special double ikat cloth believed to have magical powers and spinning young women on a bamboo Ferris wheels at festivals.
Between Ubud and the Tegenungan Waterfall, the small Kemenuh Butterfly Park is a popular family-friendly attraction devoted to the flying insects in all their forms. Fourteen different butterfly species flit through the tropical garden under the mesh enclosure or metamorphose gradually in the fascinating pupa room.
Best known for the USSLiberty shipwreck, Amed Beach is a charming strip that extends around 9 miles (14 kilometers) along the east Bali coast. Coral reef offshore provides the majority of the area’s attractions—snorkeling, free diving, and scuba diving—but you can also practice yoga, make silver jewelry, or visit traditional salt farms.
Located in the heart of Denpasar, the Bali Museum (Museum Negeri Propinsi Bali) houses the island’s biggest and best collection of historic and cultural artifacts. Dark and hard to navigate, it’s home to precious textiles, ancient relics, dance costumes, masks, and everyday and ceremonial objects from across the island.
Set in the hills west of Lovina, Banjar Hot Springs (Air Panas Banjar) are among Bali’s most beautiful. Dragon-head fountains feed three tiered pools that are surrounded by tropical forest and palms. Guests also have the use of lockers, changing rooms, a restaurant, and a simple spa.
Jakarta’s middle classes love a good mall as much as any southeast Asian cosmopolitans, and South Jakarta’s Pejaten Village contains many key elements. A medium-size mall, Pejaten Village has junk food by the gallon, popular Indonesian mall brands such as Matahari department stores, and a smattering of international brand names too.
One of the temples that make up the Prambanan UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sewu Temple (Candi Sewu) dates back to the 8th century AD. Its name, which means “thousand temples,” refers to the 249 shrines that make up this Buddhist temple complex. Its grand scale makes it second only to Borobudur in religious and historical significance.
At the heart of sleepy lakeside Bedugul, amid Bali’s cool central highlands, is Bali Botanic Garden, an underrated Bali attraction. Plant-lovers enjoy forest walks and gardens full of orchids and Balinese plants, while families and adventure-seekers gravitate to the park for the zipline and rope adventures at Bali Treetop Adventure Park.
Set on the grounds of the Ramada Bintang Bali Resort in Kuta, Theta Spa by the Sea is a contemporary spa with Indian Ocean views. Tropical rituals, massages, and remedies use techniques from China, India, Indonesia, and beyond. Natural ingredients such as fresh herbs, and organic essential oils are used in treatments set in a luxury-minded spa.
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A popular stop on Bedugul tours, Pasar Candi Kuning (Candi Kuning Market) is a traditional Balinese market that’s been beautified for tourists. It’s a great place to enjoy the fruit and vegetable bounty of Bedugul’s farms, although prices are higher than normal. Other specialties in the market include rabbits and orchids.
Widely known as Jimbaran Fish Market, the market that locals call Pasar Ikan Tradisional Kedonganan (Kedonganan Traditional Fish Market), is an essential Balinese experience. Every morning, brightly colored traditional fishing boats—and larger commercial vessels—unload an impressive catch. Locals will grill your purchases for a small fee.
Kehen Temple, or Pura Kehen, is the state temple of the Balinese kingdom of Bangli. It is said to be a miniature version of Bali’s most significant temple, Pura Besakih, nearby. Like Besakih, it is built on an incline, is reached by stairs, and boasts thatched tiered shrines. Kehen Temple dates back at least to the 13th century.
Probably Indonesia’s most spectacular live performance, the Ramayana Ballet at Prambanan takes place at an open-air theater or on an indoor stage near the Prambanan temples outside Yogyakarta. A cast of over 200 dancers and musicians perform episodes from the Hindu Ramayana epic with a traditional gamelan gong-and-drum orchestra.
Home to over 100 different animal species, as well as an aquarium selection, Bali Safari & Marine Park is Bali’s best-known wildlife attraction. Explore the park in safari vans, enjoy meals at a range of on-site restaurants, treat the kids in the theme park zone, and see a selection of shows. You can also stay overnight in the lodge.
While travelers flock to more celebrated Balinese peaks such as Mt. Batur and Mt. Agung (when volcanic activity permits), it’s likely you’ll have the wild and unspoiled slopes of Mt. Batukaru to yourself. Even if you don’t choose to summit this 7,467-foot-high (2,276-meter-high) peak, admire majestic views from Pura Luhur Batukaru temple below.
DMZ Bali 3D Art Museum (aka Dream Museum Zone Bali) caters to the Instagram era with a wealth of trick-art optical illusions. Position yourself correctly, then snap a picture to insert yourself into a variety of life-size murals. Around 120 different setups over three stories cover everything from shark attacks to Van Gogh.
In west Bali, the Bali Butterfly Park (Taman Kupu-Kupu Bali) showcases Indonesia’s wealth of the tropical species. In addition to living and preserved butterfly specimens, there are creatures such as stick insects and scorpions, and kid-friendly displays on butterfly life cycles.
Backed by the volcanic slabs of Mount Batur and Mount Abang, Lake Batur (Danau Batur) is a striking crater lake considered sacred by the Balinese. Besides sunrise trekking, Mount Batur offers hot springs, canoe trips, and tours of Trunyan village, where the local Bali Aga people expose their dead to rot in the open air.
One of Indonesia’s many optical illusion museums, the De Mata Trick Eye Museum is selfie heaven. Pose for trick shots in a range of settings. Levitate, star on a book cover, or appear amidst travel scenes from Indonesia and beyond. Alternatively, enjoy surreal simulations such as walking over lava or holding back a rampaging velociraptor.
There are over 18,000 islands in Indonesia by some counts, and Bali’s Taman Nusa cultural park pays tribute to the nation’s many different ethnic groups. Enjoy over 60 indigenous Indonesian houses and a scale model of Borobudur temple, plus traditional arts, crafts, dance, and music. Restaurants and a theater share the gorge-side setting.
Occupying a swath of Bali’s northwestern corner, West Bali National Park (Bali Barat National Park) is Bali’s last true wilderness. Highlights include the reefs around Menjangan Island, mangrove and tropical savanna landscapes, and wildlife the likes of monkeys, deer, macaques, and the white Bali starling—the preservation of which was a main reason the park was created in 1941.
A rare patch of quiet in Bali’s busy capital, Denpasar, Puputan Square commemorates the site of a mass suicide that occurred in 1906. The king of Badung, facing overwhelming opposition from Dutch colonial forces, led his court in committing suicide bykeris dagger. A statue of a Balinese family stands in honor of the lives lost.
Pasar Badung (Badung Market) is Bali’s oldest and largest market, at the heart of the island’s capital, Denpasar. The 4-story structure burned down in 2016, and while a replacement is underway, most stallholders are housed in and around a converted supermarket. Besides being Bali’s number-one fruit and vegetable market, it’s great for street food.
- 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