Lake Toba has been part of traveller folklore for decades: the largest volcanic lake in the world, one so enormous that an island almost the size of Singapore sits in its centre. It’s hands-down the best place I have ever been to chill out, but it wasn’t always so peaceful. Lake toba sumatera indonesia travel blog

The extensive, far-reaching archipelago of Indonesia welcomes everyone for any kind of adventure imaginable. Discover the best time of year to visit Indonesia according to your objectives, or use our guide to decide where to go during your available time. The best time to visit Indonesia
You’ve had it on your bucket list for a long time now. Diving in Raja Ampat, party in Bali, see orangutans in Sumatra, and other adventures Indonesia has to offer. The equatorial country may be fabled for its year-long tropical sunshine, but like everywhere else there’s a season for everything to make the best out of your trip. Increase your odds at planning a fruitful experience by knowing what to expect in each month of the year.

January

January is the wettest month in many localities in Indonesia, including Java, Kalimantan (Borneo), Sulawesi, even Bali and other islands in the region. Many tour operators in Komodo and other island destinations choose to close during this time, as boat trips can be challenging and not pleasant. It’s also best to not plan a hiking tour in January, as paths can be slippery, and the glorious sunrise may not be visible due to the overcast morning. Some scuba diving spots may have poorer visibility during this time, but in contrast, the far-flung Raja Ampat in Papua has distinctively calmer and clearer waters during the earlier months of the year.

Rainfall: 18 days

Temperature: 79℉ (26℃)

Raja Ampat Island, Papua, Indonesia
Raja Ampat Island, Papua, Indonesia | © nmedia / Shutterstock

February

February may not be the ideal month to realise your dream beach or island-hopping vacation in Indonesia. However, rainfalls and raging seas are subsiding in some regions, especially in the northern coasts. North Sumatra and North Sulawesi see a perceivable drop in rainfalls this month, giving tourists a window to experience the rainforest’s vibrant wildlife without having to worry about the crowd, that is, if you don’t mind the risk of getting caught in light rain. Islands in Nusa Tenggara – Lombok, Komodo, Sumba, etc. – experience less frequent and less intense rain compared to Bali, so opting for these islands may reward you with a slightly sunnier island adventure. Plus, the famed Pasola festival in Sumba and Bau Nyale in Lombok is usually held in February, so there’s another reason to go further east from Bali this month. The best time to visit Indonesia

Rainfall: 16 days

Temperature: 80℉ (27℃)

Stick fight between villagers, Lombok, Indonesia.
Stick fight between villagers, Lombok, Indonesia | © Aleksandar Todorovic / Shutterstock

March

The transition between monsoon and sunny weather happens in March. Rainfalls continue to decrease in most areas, led by the archipelago’s northern parts. Stretches of emerald and green appear fresh and shiny in the highlands across the country, especially as the month rolls on. On March’s hottest days, the temperature may reach 91℉ (33°C), so pack your summer clothes and sun protection along with a raincoat or umbrella for the intermittent sudden rains. Visiting temples and exploring heritage towns in Java is now significantly more pleasant as the chance of rain has dropped and the tropical heat is not yet at its peak. March holds one of the most important holidays for Balinese Hindu, the Caka New Year. During the New Year’s week, various festivals and rituals are held throughout the island, including the peculiar Nyepi Day, or Balinese Day of Silence.

Rainfall: 13 days

Temperature: 80℉ (27℃)

Nyepi Festival-Bali-Indonesia
Ogoh-ogoh festival before Nyepi

April

This is the month where divers, surfers, and beach babes in general are most drawn to book their trip to Indonesia’s best island paradises. Favourable diving conditions are to be expected in Bali, Lombok, Komodo, and the Gili Islands. The second half of April also marks the start of long-awaited surfing season in Bali, Mentawai, and Nusa Tenggara, among other destinations. During this month, the southern parts of the archipelago are expected to be slightly warmer with less rainfalls than the north. That means the weather is finally conducive enough to explore the highlands of Toraja, the beaches and jungles of Lampung, and any other southern towns in Sumatra, Borneo, and Sulawesi. In general, temperatures are already rising as sunny days become more frequent throughout the country.

Rainfall: 12 days

Temperature: 80℉ (27℃)

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Surfing in Mentawai

May

The start of full-on dry season opens up more opportunities for explorations and adventures across the archipelago. May can also be perceived as an ideal month to visit mainstream destinations like Java and Bali, a full month away before summer holiday and high season, so you’ll see fewer tourists and lower rates for travels and hotels. The nation’s Buddhist population observe Vesak day in May, with Borobudur temple in Yogyakarta holding the most festive celebration that involves pilgrimage and a lantern festival you don’t want to miss. It’s still an ideal season for diving, surfing, and island adventures, and now also a wonderful time to start hiking and trekking. The best time to visit Indonesia

Rainfall: 8 days

Temperature: 82-84℉ (28-29℃)

Borobudur temple during vesak day, Magelang, Indonesia.
Borobudur temple during vesak day, Magelang, Indonesia | © Rafael Danendra Garuda / Shutterstock

June

Tourists begin to swarm the more popular destinations like Java and Bali, but it’s not the peak season yet, which usually starts in July. Sunny days and lower humidity can be expected across the country, especially the southern part. June is one of the hottest months in some areas, such as North Sumatra and Java, but no matter where you go don’t forget to pack sunscreen and light breathable clothes. The weather conditions are favourable to go up the mountains or down into the ocean. In many areas like Komodo and Gili Islands, marine life is at its liveliest as the waters are getting warmer and calmer, while better visibility makes diving and snorkelling more rewarding.

One of the biggest holidays in the country, Eid al Fitr, changes date every year but this decade it falls somewhere between April and July. If you’re travelling around this holiday, keep yourself informed on the things that may change during Ramadan, a full month preceding a big feast on Eid.

Rainfall: 5 days

Temperature: 82-86℉ (28-30℃)

Padar Island, part of the Komodo Islands
Padar Island, part of the Komodo Islands | © Pramoto Setiaji Kendarto / Shutterstock

July

High season is in full swing. Be sure to book your travels, hotels, and tickets beforehand, especially if you’re going for popular summer destinations like Bali. The excellent weather coincides with European summer holidays and school holidays in the country, creating a mix of youths and tourist families, foreign and domestic alike. Get ready to fight the crowds for the perfect spot to view sunrise in touristy volcanoes or to take a decent picture in Bali’s splendid temples. Luckily, July is also an excellent time to venture off the beaten path, with the dry weather making it easier to go off track and into the wild. Go to the national parks to observe wildlife, meet orangutans in Sumatra, birdwatch in Sulawesi, or trek through the rainforest. The generally sunny and warm weather is also perfect to visit Mount Bromo and witness the Tengger Yadnya Kasada ritual.

Rainfall: 4 days

Temperature: 82-86℉ (28-30℃)

Mount Bromo volcano (Gunung Bromo) during sunrise from viewpoint on Mount Penanjakan, in East Java, Indonesia
Mount Bromo volcano (Gunung Bromo) during sunrise from viewpoint on Mount Penanjakan, in East Java, Indonesia | © WATHIT H / Shutterstock

August

The peak season continues until at least the first half of August. Booking ahead is still necessary, especially if you’re going to touristy localities like Bali or Java. Due to the excellent sunny weather, island destinations like Lombok, Komodo, and Gili Islands will be packed and it’s not unheard of for tours and accommodations to be fully booked. The rather centralised tourism activities in the southern parts of the archipelago make August a good time to venture off to the less-travelled. Charming highlands like Bukittinggi in Sumatra or Toraja in Sulawesi stay relatively cool due to the geography, making excellent travel choices if you mind the scorching tropical heat. Bonus point: Toraja is particularly lively with its notorious funeral ceremonies during this month.

August 17 marks Indonesia’s Independence Day, and celebrations can be observed across the country. You’ll be welcomed to join in some traditional games and events held in any given neighbourhood, or even participate in flag ceremony. Celebrating Independence Day at a mountain’s summit is also a popular activity among locals. If you don’t mind the crowd, hearing the national anthem echoing to the skies with breathtaking views would be an unforgettable experience. Aim for popular hikeable volcanoes like Mount Prau, Mount Pangrango, or Mount Semeru if you’re an avid hiker.

Rainfall: 3 days

Temperature: 86℉ (30℃)

Areca Tree Climbing competition in celebration of Indonesian Independence Day.
Areca Tree Climbing competition in celebration of Indonesian Independence Day | © tirtaperwitasari / Shutterstock

September

Favourable for outdoor adventures in most localities as the number of tourists continues to decrease. September, especially the second half of the month, is a particularly good window to visit some popular destinations like Java, Bali, and the lesser Sunda islands (Lombok, Komodo, Gili Islands, Sumba, etc.). The hottest days in September may reach 93℉ (34℃) especially in Java and Sulawesi, while other regions may see slightly cooler temperatures. However, if you’re going to the highlands or rainforests, the mix of sunny weather and lush natural surroundings create a balmy condition favoured by a range of wildlife, making September one of the best months to spot orangutans in Borneo or Sumatra.

Rainfall: 3 days

Temperature: 86℉ (30℃)

An orangutan at Tanjung Puting National Park, Indonesia
An orangutan at Tanjung Puting National Park, Indonesia | © Budi Nusyirwan / Flickr

October

If you’re planning on hiking glorious volcanoes in Java, Bali, or Lombok, October is your last chance before the rainy season kicks in again. Same goes for diving, as the seas may be more turbulent after this. North Sumatra and some other northern localities may already be seeing downpours that will continue to travel through the archipelago in the upcoming months. The chance of rain increases as the month rolls on, so you should make the best out of the earlier days of the month. Rainfalls may come intermittently in short periods, so be advised to take an umbrella or raincoat if you’re going outdoors, no matter how sunny it looks when you head out.

Rainfall: 7 days

Temperature: 82-86℉ (28-30℃)

November

By November, the rainy season has already arrived in most parts of the country. Tourism is in hibernation even in Indonesia’s most popular island paradise Bali and its surroundings. Travelling with boats and ferries may become much more challenging although not downright impossible, so it’s best to keep islands like Komodo or other Nusa Tenggara islets out of the itinerary. A pleasant and surprising exception awaits for those who don’t mind venturing to the far-flung Maluku or Papua (where Raja Ampat Islands is located), which have an inverted wet season to the rest of the country. Both regions have exotic islands and vibrant diving spots but are much less touristy than the Nusa Tenggara islands due to the geography and more expensive fares.

Rainfall: 12 days

Temperature: 81-82℉ (27-28℃)

Ora Beach Resort, Seram Island, Central Maluku, Indonesia.
Ora Beach Resort, Seram Island, Central Maluku, Indonesia | © Christina Desitriviantie / Shutterstock

December

Intense downpours are to be expected at this point, especially in Java, Bali, and Sulawesi. Road conditions will be affected by the rain, so be extra careful when you’re driving off the main roads in main cities. Sea conditions get even rougher in many areas, so you may want to keep your feet on the ground, exploring cities or villages, eating, observing, and shopping your way around. Despite holding the largest Muslim population in the world, Christmas is still a major holiday in Indonesia, especially in Manado, where the population is predominantly Christian. The festivities can also be seen throughout Maluku and some main parts of Papua, which are still seeing a lot of sunny days despite the rest of the country being drenched in heavy rain. December is still an excellent month to go island-hopping and diving in Raja Ampat or Maluku islands. The best time to visit Indonesia

Rainfall: 15 days

Temperature: 81℉ (27℃)

While Indonesia’s capital is powering ahead as a global business hub, Kota, its old town, is arguably still its top traveller highlight. Indonesia’s Dutch colonial roots can be explored here, and Jakarta‘s historical quarter gives a snapshot of how the cityscape looked before the skyscrapers moved in.

In the 1600s, Kota became the headquarters of the Dutch East India Company. Sadly this colonial heritage was not preserved as well as it has been in the likes of other Southeast Asian colonial outposts such as Singapore and Penang, and there are only a few remnants of the attractive wooden-shuttered buildings left today. Still, Taman Fatahillah(Fatahillah Square) and its surroundings are a sensory feast for a first-time visitor to the city.

Taman Fatahillah. Image by Prayudi Hartono / GettyTaman Fatahillah. Image by Prayudi Hartono / Getty

Set off on a walking tour at Kota Intan bridge (also known as Chicken Market Bridge). Constructed by the Dutch in the 17th century, the wooden drawbridge extends over the Kali Besar canal, and would have been raised to accommodate merchant ships. The last remining bridge of its kind, it is no longer raised, and can’t be crossed by pedestrians – its planks are in disrepair – but there is talk of a renovation project. For now, it’s worth a visit to witness a rare monument to the city’s Dutch colonial era.

Fatillah Square, Jakarta. Image by Tom Cockrem / GettyHawker carts near Fatahillah Square, Jakarta. Image by Tom Cockrem / Getty

From the bridge, with the Kali Besar canal on your right, it’s just a ten-minute walk straight down towards Taman Fatahillah, though it does involve crossing a couple of busy roads – if you feel intimidated by the swarms of cars and motorbikes speeding towards you, find a group of locals and cross with them. The buildings along this strip have a distinctly European feel, combined with a poignant sense of decay. As you approach the square, the street becomes lined with trees and gerobak (mobile food carts) selling strips of vacuum-packed sweets and siomay bandung – steamed fish dumplings served with peanut satay sauce from wooden carts. Eventually you reach an intricate cast iron arch on the left that marks the entrance to Taman Fatahillah.

Making gado-gado, Indonesia. Image by Carlina Teteris / GettyMaking gado-gado, Indonesia. Image by Carlina Teteris / Getty

Kota’s 1.8-acre central square is usually teeming with Indonesian tourists, and encapsulates the vibrant, edgy and slightly daunting character of Jakarta. Dotted with multi-coloured striped parasols, it is the business arena of some 200 carts selling all manner of tourist tat and street food. A multi-layered aroma of sweet, spicy and barbeque scents permeates the square, and you can sample local delicacies – from gado-gado (Indonesian salad with peanut sauce) to kerak telor (omelette fried with sticky rice, dried shrimp, and shredded coconut) from the animated vendors for next to nothing. A food festival is held at Taman Fatahillah every year in March.

Fatahillah Square, Jakarta. Image by Rose DykinsTaman Fatahillah, Jakarta. Image by Rose Dykins

Take some time to explore the side streets leading away from the square (be careful to watch your belongings as you weave around the crowds) to spot more decaying colonial relics, and see local tatoo artists at work in their crude, streetside studios. Another option is to rent one of the many colourful bicycles for hire – with matching-hued floppy hats thrown in for free to shield you from the sun’s glare – and explore on two wheels.

useum Wayang, Jakarta. Image by Antony Giblin GettyMuseum Wayang, Jakarta. Image by Antony Giblin / Getty

It’s worth popping into the tiny Museum Wayang (Puppet Museum) to understand how integral puppeteering has been to Indonesian storytelling for centuries. The museum’s exhibits range from 16th century Wayang Banjay puppets from Borneo to the hand puppets from the 1980s children’s TV show Unyil which look a bit like alarmed Cabbage Patch Kids. Free performances with traditional rod puppets take place in its theatre every Sunday – they are in Bahasa, but watching the live gamelan orchestral accompaniment is a worthwhile cultural experience. Entrance to the museum is 5,000Rp. There’s also the Museum Sejarah Jakarta (Jakarta History Museum) in the former town hall on the south side of the square, though its exhibits are a little sparse.

Fatahillah Square, Jakarta. Image by Tom Cockrem / Getty

Dominating the northern side of Taman Fatahillah Cafe Batavia, named after the former colonial name of the capital. Housed in a 19th century building that was originally used by the Dutch government, it’s a great spot for escaping the heat and people-watching over Taman Fatahillah. Grab a window seat upstairs in the Grand Salon constructed entirely of Javanese teak wood, and try the Batavia Punch mocktail – a zingy blend of pineapple and lime juice. The menu offers delectable dim sum, western staples and Indonesian fare, with mains averaging 200,000Rp.

Cafe Batavia, Kota Tua, Jakarta. Image by Rose Dykins

If you’re keen to see more colonial buildings, rent a bicycle from Taman Fatahillah (around 20,000Rp/hr) and pedal the 1.5km to Sunda Kelapa, Jakarta’s historical port, and the original reason why the city was an international trade hub. Stroll among the rows of traditional Bugis Phinisi Schooner ships anchored on the dock and peruse the stalls of the busy fish market, soaking up the local ambience. If you have time, pay a visit to the turquoise- shuttered Museum Bahari, which recounts the maritime history of Indonesia’s archipelago.

Museum Baharai, Jakarta. Image by Antony Giblin / Getty

 

Rose Dykins is a freelance travel journalist driven by curiosity and fuelled by copious amounts of black coffee. She tweets at @rose_dykins

Indonesia, country located off the coast of mainland Southeast Asia in the Indian and Pacific oceans. It is an archipelago that lies across the Equator and spans a distance equivalent to one-eighth of Earth’s circumference. Its islands can be grouped into the Greater Sunda Islandsof Sumatra (Sumatera), Java (Jawa), the southern extent of Borneo(Kalimantan),

Indonesia is too damn good to put into words. Ok, I lie. I’ve managed over a thousand here. By far my favourite country out of the 43 I have visited, I have also been lucky enough to see another side to Bali from loosely calling a tiny village there ‘Home’ for four months.

The country is so vast, vibrant and dynamic you could spend a year exploring it and feel like you have been across a whole continent. Which, to be fair, given the size of it and the 17,000 + islands you have to choose from you can understand.

Raja Ampat DivingRaja Ampat Fam View

So many people simply head to Bali, declare it as heaven or hell and then sadly don’t venture on. It might not be as well documented or have the travel infrastructure as some of its neighbours but that is why I fell for it so hard.

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Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Raja Ampat Paradise
49 Things to do in Indonesia
[1] Find Paradise You know when marketing departments come up with blatant lies. When Raja Ampat says ‘The world’s last paradise’ you can’t help but believe them. Think two flights and two boats. Think the world’s most bio-diverse diving site. Think no phone signal, a handful of people and sharks swimming under your feet on the pier. Think Paradise.

Read More: A journey through Paradise: Raja Ampat
[2] Swim with Jellyfish Head to Kakaban Island off the coast of Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) and dive into a lake of bright Jellyfish that blissfully sting free. Go pro ready?

[3] Meet the Dragons in Komodo National Park and Gili Laba, home to these giant lizards. If the bite doesn’t kill you, their poison will. Luckily though, the trusty local guides will keep you safe to marvel at these beasts.

KomodoDragon

[4] Experience a day of pitch black silence The Nyepi festival takes place in March on the island of Bali. It is a day of silence, even the airport closes and you are not allowed outside or light to show. The night before is the magic, everyone goes crazy with drums, noise, fire and flames to scare off and call all the evil spirits. The next day, when they realise it is silent and no one is there the spirits leave for other places. A unique experience followed by a very boring (hangover?) day.

[5] Eat Nasi Goreng This staple rice dish is best enjoyed for under a dollar at a local Warung (snack restaurant). Ideally, on the side of a road sticking out of someone’s house and eating with your fingers. But seriously, the food scene across Indonesia is incredible in all its forms. Even if you just stick to the Island of the gods, there are so many amazing places to eat in Bali.

[6] Complain about the traffic, pollution or anything at all in Jakarta But seriously, I have no idea why Jakarta gets such a bad rap. I kinda warmed to it after a week. But traffic complaining here is like weather moaning to the brits. So get ranting to anyone who will listen, especially your taxi driver… He won’t have heard it before.

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Jakarta, Indonesia
Jakarta
[7] Visit the home of the Flores Man The Homo Floresiensis were a small type of human who dates back 12,000 years. The Liang Bua cave on Flores was the discovery site in 2003. I have no idea how I didn’t know this until last year.

[8] Decide if you love or hate Bali It’s a big debate on the travel scene. I love it, but know it is far from perfect. Check out my post for the full story and give it a chance.

Read More: Is Bali beautiful or beyond repair?
Temples of Yogyakarta

[9] Visit Borobudur temple… Why? It is the world’s largest Buddhist temple.

Read More: Visiting the temples of Yogyakarta
[10] … and Prambanan temple You get two UNESCO world-class temples for your buck in Yogyakarta, this is the Hindu one and can be done on the same day if you like to overdose on religious sights.

DCIM106GOPRO

[11] Discover ‘colour changing’ lakes The National Park in Dieng Plateau is home to this glistening lake. Head there early, pay a ‘hey hey’ fee to the staff and explore it before anyone else gets day access.

Dieng Plateau, Indonesia
Dieng Plateau Indonesia

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[12] Another lake, this time with blue fire Ijen, at the east of Java is a sulphur mining lake that has hellish working conditions for the underpaid guys who mine it. But when the sun sets, blue ‘flames’ dance out of the lake in the most eye-popping and lung-destroying of ways.

[13] Hang out with Orangutans Whether it is in Sumatra or Borneo, wild or at a rehabilitation centre, this is one of those moments you won’t forget. Spend a few days seeing Orangutans in Tanjung Puting National park and completely switch off from the outside world in remote Kalimantan, this really is natures playground.

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Mount Bromo

[14] Catch sunrise at Mount Bromo Bromo can be crowded and a bit shit. The horses don’t get it good. Everyone can try to scam you OR you can not set your alarm, not make it to the viewing point, not go on a tour, manage to not pay the entrance fee and follow the botched job I did and really enjoy it…

Read More: How to do Mount Bromo without a tour
[15] Have a date in the Mall If you are in Jakarta then you are likely to be in a Mall, near a Mall or potentially have moved into a Mall. The food courts serve up fresh and cheap food leaving plenty of dollar for the incredible sky bars and expensive cocktails you will head for in this mega city.

[16] Go to Ubud and be all hippy Because it was all the rage in the 80’s and you need to get a Yoga Barn selfie apparently these days to prove you have made it to Bali…

Read More: Where to stay in Bali (Clue: Not Kuta)
[17] Go to Ubud and complain about the monkeys They will steal everything not pinned down. But you are also likely to get caught up in the moment, be a knob and put a banana on your head before screaming you have rabies. Don’t be a knob, then you will be fine.

BaliMonkeySML
Monkey Forest, Bali

Bali Blessin
Traditional Offering, Bali

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[18] Go anywhere and complain about the monkeys They will take your D&G sunglasses anywhere and everywhere. Pretty sure your insurance doesn’t cover monkey theft.

[19] Spend three days trekking Mount Rinjani I bailed because I became super unfit after too many Bintangs, but if you manage the three-day trek to the top of Rinjani you are a superhero and get rewarded with beautiful lake vistas, your head in the clouds and serious bragging rights when you head to the Gili islands to relax afterwards.

[20] Be (un)impressed at the Sultans Palace Yogyakarta, or Jogja locally is historic and a laid back place best just enjoyed at a slow pace. It is a special region for its Royalty and if you want to see the sights you might stumble upon the Sultans Palace. I found it mighty underwhelming but others rave – so check it out and make a call.

[21] Dive the Liberty Wreck in Bali If you have dived before get there early before people start stomping about in NASA style suits. If you are a newbie and taking a course, it can be strolled into from the ocean and makes an easy starting wreck dive. The ship was a US cargo ship, now, thanks to the Japanese taking it out, it is home to Nemo and co.

Bali Amed Beach

[22] Then hang out on the black sand beaches If you want that chilled out, reggae playing, hammock hanging vibes then Amed is a great place in Bali to get away from those touristy spots we all love to hate.

[23] Stay in a homestay in Wonosobo, master sign language and then use it at every house your driver takes you to so they can have a selfie with a white person I kinda enjoyed it after the awkward reality of what was happening set in. I also made heaps of new friends. Though, they did look petrified of me in every photo. So, maybe more acquaintances.

[24] Visit a volcanic plateau with the locals Once you are done playing Bule exhibit A in Wonosobo, get your driver to take you on and explore the Dieng plateau for temples, rice fields and that so sexy egg smell as the whole joint is volcanic, misty and maybe slightly dangerous. Winning.

Read More: Five reasons to discover Dieng Plateau
Indonesia – 164 of 294

[25] Have a Bemo ride with a load of livestock Unless you have crammed yourself into a converted van with 37 people, 18 chickens, 6 storefronts and a completely blank look on your face of how or when you pay for it then you haven’t experienced the finest transport in Indonesia. Bonus points if young girls giggle at you and you can coax a free orange out of the overly excited granny chatting Bahasa next to you.

[26] See the Sumatran White Rhino Most people skip Indonesia when it comes to Safaris and rare wildlife. Don’t underestimate it.

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[27] See the Sumatran Tiger See above point. Except, palm oil and deforestation is destroying this habitat. So let’s get visiting and get some conservation efforts going. Singapore will love you for it…

Indonesia

[28] Take a Balinese cooking class Why? Because it is some of the most awesome flavours you will ever eat and trying to get all of those Balinese spice bags out of the country afterwards always makes for an interesting customs check. Especially the ones without labels…

[29] Totally unique funeral In Sulawesi, the Torja community hold some of the longest and most elaborate funeral celebrations in the world. They can take months to fund raise for after the passing of someone and will include up to 1000’s of people. I haven’t visited this, mainly because of the slaughter of animals involved which all though I respect their choices, it’s not a tourist attraction in my eyes.

[30] Try not to get shipwrecked Boats in Indonesia have a pretty shifty record, Adventuress Kate got shipwrecked whilst on a press trip reviewing one a few years ago. I did the same trip last year and survived, but keep your wits about you. If you take one of the big shipping boats then… well, you are in for an entertaining ride!

[31] Try not to land too early The airlines of Indonesia aren’t much better. In fact, they make up most of the ‘un-safest in the world’ list. Beyond the crashes, that time the plane just missed Bali’s runaway, snapped in half and everyone swam on to Kuta beach as well as when the flight took off but had to stop as it drove into a load of cows both stick in my mind.

[32] Help save a pure doggies life The Bali Dog is one of the purest bred in the world due to the laws of import and export, however, they are often murdered in mass approved culling due to the belief of Rabies. Spend some time or money with one of the dog foundations there and help save these rare and loving guys.

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Labuan Bajo, Indonesia
Labuan Bajo
[33] Explore all the islands around Labuan Bajo Many will head to Komodo, Laba and the mainland but there are heaps of beautiful Islands to stay on here. If Raja Ampat is a little far this is the next best thing. Kanawa would be my top tip to get a hut on and chill out.

[34] Get lost in the Jungle Borneo. Trees. More Trees. You can’t get much more remote and lush landscapes than this.

[35] Do NOTHING in the Gili Islands and be grateful for it Literally nothing. I forgot the day of the week and missed my transfer. Perfect, peaceful Island life. One size doesn’t fit all, so pick which of the three works best for you.

Read More: Which Gili Island are you?
Gili Islands

[36] Discover tribal life Indonesia has various tribes, but Papua is still one of the most untouched parts of the country. Cannibalism is believed to have phased out, but you still get the odd conflicting report…

[37] Get detained in Papua’s immigration offices Rock up. Get detained. Eat some Ritz Crackers. Have the policeman talk about Oxford United. Then he might scream ‘Rich’ at your friend. You assume he wants a bribe. Then he clarifies he met her brother Rich when he was a taxi driver in Bali a year before… as far as the most unbelievable travel situation and the story go, that wins. Maybe you’ll get lucky and detained too!

[38] Try and get a shot of Tanah Lot with no one else in it. It’s a temple, it’s a rock, it’s kinda far out and it will be heaving with people. I couldn’t believe how un-inspiring it was, but it is apparently a ‘must visit’ – Personally, Uluwatu temple is more deserving of your time.

[39] Queue up for your photo on the Gili T sunset swing Or don’t, if you are lazy like me and would rather sit drinking beer and taking photos of boats instead.

Gili Island Sunsets
Gili Islands
[40] Check out the Writers Festival in Bali Every October Ubud hosts a readers and writers festival which is actually pretty cool. It attracts authors from around the world and the whole of Ubud comes alive with free yoga (for that barn selfie) and free spirits.

[41] Cruise up the river in Borneo Because who the hell doesn’t want to casually slip into a conversation they have done that?

[42] Escape the city to the 1000 islands That crazy polluted city of Jakarta we were saying everyone loves to hate on? Take a boat an hour out of that and you reach perfect sand islands with those Maldives over water style huts. One Island even has an underwater tunnel, a real sea style aquarium.

[43] Swim with Mantas One of the most incredible moments of my life. There are a few spots you can do this, but jumping into a clearing station in Komodo and being circled by 12 adults is something you might need luck and patience to help you achieve.

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Sunset

[44] Take way, way, WAY too many sunset photos I think they are the best in the world. Daily, no filter moments of beer sipping joy awaits.

[45] Debate the ethics of Surabaya Cigarette factories If you wind up in Surabaya you will usually end up on some kinda tour as you ask the question ‘What is in Surabaya’ – to be fair, you might still be asking it at the end of the tour too. You know those funky clove smelling Ciggies smoked over here? The House of Sampoerna is a museum dedicated to the brand, what I didn’t expect to see however was a window looking down on 100’s of women hand rolling them like an ant factory on crack…

Surabaya

[46] Go caving in Java Java is full of Caves but the Jomblang caves are easily reached from the capital and some of the better known. An awesome day out and you can capture epic photos as the light hits the caves and comes down.

[47] Find an empty island and claim it There are over 17,000 of them. Surely they have a spare one you can call your own.

ThingstodoinIndonesiaandwhyyoushouldclearyourdiary,bookaticketandheadforthisamazingcountry
ThingstodoinIndonesiaandwhyyoushouldclearyourdiary,bookaticketandheadforthisamazingcountry
ThingstodoinIndonesiaandwhyyoushouldclearyourdiary,bookaticketandheadforthisamazingcountry
[48] Don’t drink the cruel coffee You will come across Kopi Lawak whilst over here which is from coffee cherries that have been shat out by the Civet animal. The price should put you off on face value, but the force feeding of these guys to keep up demand is just another animal entering the farming and abuse chain. Read More.

[49] Laugh with the locals I love the vibe of the people of this country. They laugh from the bottom of the hearts regularly. Usually at you, but join in!

[50] Discover incredible Sulawesi This lesser discovered part of Indonesia is full of incredible culture, unbelievable beaches and as of yet, is not too discovered at all. My friend Kayla has the full low-down on the best things to do in Sulawesi.

GiliLaba

AND A BONUS DON’T…
[51] Go to Bali, Hang in Kuta for a week and then declare Indonesia sucks! Bali ain’t a country, there are 17,000+ other islands to see and I think I have just kinda proved… it really does not suck.