If you’re a frequent traveller, Indonesia may have been on your list for some time. If it hasn’t, it definitely will be after reading this post, as I’m going to show you some of it’s secret gems (so keep it to yourself!). With the ever-growing trends of visiting countries like Thailand, people overlook the beauty of this paradise-like country, which extends far beyond Bali and is known for its diverse wildlife, beautiful beaches, volcanoes and culture. Again with the help of some friends I’ve put together a guide (well We have put it together, being as I have never been there before. However living in California means having a friend from anywhere) for those who want to see beyond the places frequented by backpackers, and get deep into Indonesian life.
Raja Ampat Islands
Raja Ampat is not a very well known name amongst Westerners, but this group of over 1,500 islands is surely one of the most beautiful sights in the world. You’ll find dense jungles, coral reefs and amazingly white beaches, and that’s just the beginning. If you’re into snorkeling (or you just want to relax on the beach until your travel buddies return), then this is definitely the place for you, as 75% of the world’s species are said to live in the reefs here. Based on a. couple travels bloggers I follow on Instagram there’s no words to describe it, everything is so picture worthy so I just won’t bother – you have to see it for yourself! We both need to see it in person sooner than later to be honest.
If you’ve got a long trip booked, or you prefer the hustle and bustle of city life, a trip to Medan should definitely be on your bucket list. There are no beaches here, and you can leave your snorkel behind, but there’s something about this place that is just charming, and you’ll be stocking up on the best Indonesian street food out there. It’s busy, and has a notorious reputation for traffic jams, so it’s best to explore on foot if you’re going to plan this into your travels. It’s worth it nonetheless, and you’ll get to see the outstanding Maimun Palace.
If you’re looking for a secluded beach, Banyuwangi is your place. Not only does it offer beaches that are pretty much untouched, but there are beaches with both red and black sand, where you can see fishermen working at sea, and even go out with them to learn the trade if you want to. They also have festivals on throughout the year, including jazz festivals, so if music is your thing, you can catch some Indonesian musicians down on the beach. And if that’s not enough for you (really?), then there’s always the beautiful wildlife here, which in itself is worth the visit. If wildlife is your thing, why not check out some other parts of Asia whilst you’re over there? You can read about Malaysia here.
So, couldn’t really miss this one out; the busy capital of Indonesia, Jakarta is definitely one to put on your list. You can expect pretty much everything that you see in a normal metropolis here, and it’s an ever-growing city, being the 7th most populated capital in the world. That said, you can visit quiet side streets for street food, before getting pulled back into the mayhem again. There are many museums and landmarks that are definitely worth a visit, and although you may not want to spend all of your time in Indonesia here, it’s a good place to see how Indonesian people live their day-to-day lives. Guys this one is definitely on my personal list of pits stops to make. Also based on what my friends tell me Indonesia is very vegetarian/vegan friendly just ask, I can’t wait to start requesting time off in 2019, lol.
Bandung is quickly becoming a popular place for tourists, and I can see why. Based on what I’m told it’s a bustling city, but a short distance out of the usual chaos, you can find hot springs and tea plantations. It also offers a floating market, which is a unique way to experience life like the locals, whilst finding some interesting new foods and ingredients. Despite the historical and cultural opportunities, it has its modern features; there are many art galleries for you to choose from, and they’re obsessed with coffee, so you’ll be able to find a great caffeine fix. Did I tell you, it’s full of amazing wildlife and volcanoes, too? Ok, I did. Phew.
Ok, I get it. This is getting quite repetitive now, and I can see what you’re expecting. Beautiful wildlife, perfect beaches, hot weather, festivals on the beach. How boring! Well, if you’re packing your bags as we speak, you may as well learn some of the lingo. ‘Jual beli rumah’ means buying (or selling) houses, and if you enjoy your trip enough to use it, don’t forget that you learnt it from us. Anyway, Lombok Island is home to one of the tallest volcanoes in Indonesia, and you can explore some amazing rice paddies as well. There are beautiful waterfalls, and you can even hang out with one of the local tribes. Amazing, right?
Ok, last one, I promise. It’s just that indonesia is the gift that keeps on giving, and you’ll find some amazing places if you look off the beaten track. Makassar is great for architecture lovers, as it’s home to a spectacular floating mosque. There are also many unique places to stay, so you’ll be able to truly live like the locals here. The food is notoriously delicious, particularly if you like seafood, so if you want to watch your food being caught, Makassar is definitely the place for you. Again, you can see beautiful wildlife, go to some tea plantations, and go snorkelling if you want to see a variety of underwater life. Oh, there’s a volcano, too.
So, there we have it. Sure, Bali is beautiful, and we’re not saying it isn’t worth a visit. But whilst you’re at it, why not have a look around those places that are less popular amongst tourists and backpackers, and see what the locals are really like? Indonesia has so much to offer, and it isn’t limited to what you may think. You could be missing out on jazz festivals, floating mosques, floating markets, and over 1,500 other islands. So what are you waiting for? Get packing, get yourself an Indonesian phrasebook, and get ready to see some of the most beautiful sights in the world.
So are we ready to explore in 2019, If you guys have any other great places comment down below. If there is anywhere you want to visit, also comment and I will do my research and come back with the sauce. Have an amazing weekend.