Updated: Mar 4, 2019
Indonesia is a fast-growing country and its increasing human capital and economic potential has recently been placed it under the spotlight for many investors. Putting that aside, Indonesia also has a lot to offer for those who are seeking a vacation in the warm and sunny Southeast Asia. I personally have always longed to visit Indonesia as it seems like Indonesia is the epitome of a country which has a little bit of everything for everyone. Indonesia is a country that is largely underrated and while many from where I come from would simply associate Indonesia with the sandy shores of Bali, there is so much more to this country that remains unexplored.
While Indonesia does have much to offer, what I find most attractive is the diversity of sporting, outdoor and cultural activities that it offers! That being said, here’s a list of things that I would totally recommend doing:
The Indonesian shoreline is considered as heaven for surfers. With epic waves, it caters to people of all levels, from beginners to experts. A common but great spot would be Bali, which includes breaks in Canggu, Medewi and Uluwatu. Less popular but equally great places to explore would be places in Java like Batu Karas and G-Land. Apart from that, Lombok, Mentawai islands, and Nias Island are all massive surf destinations which are worth checking out.
Another activity that I’ve recently took interest in over summer was trekking. For the trekking and hiking enthusiasts, Sumatra is definitely a must-visit destination! Trekkers can expect to see wildlife such as Orangutans, Thomas’s leaf monkeys, macaques and gibbons. While it is extremely rare, Sumatran tigers, Javan rhinoceros and Sumatran elephants can also be spotted.
Do visit Bukit Lawang, a small tourist village in North Sumatra, Ubud, Lake Toba – a large natural lake occupying the caldera of a supervolcano, and Berastagi!
Yogyakarta is the place to be if you’re interested to explore the cultural side of Indonesia. The Prambanan Hindu temples and Borobudur are places that you should not miss!
The Prambanan temples has distinct sharp, jagged characteristics and was built by the Mataram Kingdom which ruled central Java. It is also a proud UNESCO World Heritage Site and is arguably a national symbol of Indonesia. The Borobudur, a Mahayana Buddhist temple built in the 9th century during the Magelang Regency, is the world’s largest Buddhist temple and its size will definitely blow you away! If you do have time, also consider watching the sunrise by Borobudur as I’ve heard that it has one of the best views in Southeast Asia!
While in Indonesia, do take time out to indulge in the local foodfare! While Mcdonalds may sound tempting (though some might violently disagree), Indonesia does have some pretty distinct flavours that cannot be replicated in other regions of Southeast Asia. Some dishes that I’d recommend would include:
Gado Gado, an Indonesian salad of slightly boiled, blanched or steamed vegetables and hard-boiled eggs, boiled potato, fried tofu and tempeh, and lontong, served with a peanut sauce dressing. It is also recently crowned as one of 5 national dishes of Indonesia.
Bakso, a meatball dish made from beef surimi and has similar textures to that of the Chinese beef ball. It may also be served with vermicelli noodles and topped with an egg.
Tempe Bacem, a dish suitable for vegetarians, comprising of deep-fried tofu and tempeh which are braised in coconut water and spices like coriander seeds, shallots, galangal, bay leaves, and palm sugar.
Gulai Ikan, a spicy fish curry cooked in fragrant coconut milk. Gulai is a curry-like sauce and is easily distinguished by its yellowish hue due to the addition of ground tumeric.
Dendeng Batokok, a dish resembling jerky, made from thinly-sliced beef (dendeng) which is then dried, marinated in sambal and fried with red chillies. It is a speciality from Padang, West Sumatra and is probably the most popular dengeng dish in Indonesia.