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An update from Evaneos

Best places to visit in Indonesia

A volcanic archipelago consisting of 13,466 islands, 6,000 of which are inhabited, the most populous Muslim country in the world offers the visitor a safe environment and a range of attractions and activities to suit all tastes. What can you expect from a trip to Indonesia? Temples inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage on the island of Java; vibrant, lively festivals and a Hindu ambiance and atmosphere on Bali; pristine beaches on Lombok; impressively majestic lakes on Sumatra; Komodo dragons on the island that shares their name; the deep, dense forests of Kalimantan on the islands of Borneo and Sulawesi, and, located at the very edge of the archipelago, Papua New Guinea.

Religion is much in evidence across the whole archipelago and plays an important role in everyday life. Be respectful towards local customs and take pleasure in accepting Muslim and Hindu hospitality and this will enable to get a better sense of the different religious strands that underpin life in this country. Visiting Indonesia therefore demands deliberate choices and proper organisation. There is no need to panic however: the reviews provided by Evaneos' travellers will guide you in this.

Let's head first to Java. Jakarta is basically nothing more than a sprawling capital city; so head instead to Yogyakarta, where you will have the opportunity to see a Wayang Kulit show, a form of Indonesian shadow puppetry, contemplate the Mount Merapi volcano or the magical Mount Bromo, or descend into the crater of Ijen in search of the damned of the earth, who are obliged to carry many pounds of sulphur on their backs. Visit the Buddhist temples of Borobudur and the Hindu temples of Prambanan, and, if you happen to find the equatorial temperatures suffocating, head to Malang, which is famous for its cool climate.

Or perhaps you would prefer a stay on the Island of the Gods, Bali, for the opportunity to visit Ubud, a primary centre of Hindu culture and the island's culinary capital. Or how about a trip to Sidemen, a village that sits surrounded by rice fields, or even a spot of scuba diving at Pemuteran?

Hop across by boat to Lombok, which is a new destination not yet affected by mass tourism. Climb up to the summit of Rinjani, the secret volcano, spend some time enjoying yourself on Gili Meno, or do a spot of surfing at Kuta Lombok, which is still just a fishing village.

To get even further off the beaten track, head off to Flores and explore the crater lakes of the Kelimutu volcano, or spend some time visiting the islands of Komodo and Rinca. And if you have the time, don't miss the opportunity to tour North Sumatra with an English-speaking guide, or take a flight tour over Kalimantan and its primeval forests.

Banjar is a Buddhist village located close to Lovina in North Bali. Nestling up in the hills, this tiny village has some beautiful natural treasures to offer and as well as the chance to share in experiences that form an intrinsic part of daily life for the local people. A visit here constitutes a genuinely off-the-beaten-track kind of break.
In the extreme south of the eastern coast of Sulawesi is the little seaside town of Bira, which is famous for boat building and its paradisaical beaches.
Jakarta's neighbour, Bogor is becoming swallowed up by the growth and development of its sister town and appears to be turning into a city suburb.
Bukit Lawang is a small village on the edge of the jungle in North Sumatra and the starting point of treks through Gunung Leuser National Park.
One of Indonesia's most beautiful islands, located to the east of Borneo.
A small Indonesian town, Cianjur is near Jakarta and off the beaten track. It is a good introduction to the rural side of the country.
Lake Toba is the biggest volcanic lake in the world.
Mount Rinjani or Gunung Rinjani is on the island of Lombok and is 3,726 metres high. It is considered to be one of the most difficult volcanic treks in south east Asia, but it is also one of the most beautiful.
The Ijen volcano is located east of Java. It's well-known for its blue flames and its lake, the most acidic on the planet.
Jawah Ijen is a volcano famous for the miners who risk their lives to extract the sulphur, and for the acid lake in its crater.
Kintamani is a little village at the foot of Mount Batur; a moment in nature beside a volcano!
Nusa Lembogan: a small paradisiacal island opposite Bali and really congenial, for the real Indonesia .
Samosir is a peninsula of about 400 square miles in Lake Toba.
Menjangan is a tiny island in the middle of nowhere which is a natural reserve that is home to some spectacular wildlife.
Gunung Merapi is one of Java's legendary volcanoes. Looming over the Jogjakarta Valley, it's an emblematic symbol of the region. This is must for nature lovers.
The world of the Toraja is certainly unique!
Palawa, a dream beach for a relaxing day during a stay in Indonesia.
Pemuteran is a peaceful fishing village in the extreme north west of Bali, which is particularly famous for the beauty of its sea beds and its vine covered hills.
A town nestled amongst rice fields, in the countryside and off the beaten track, Sideman is, in my opinion, a must see on the island of Bali.
This temple is at Mengwi, in the heart of a green park that is worth a visit.
Tanjung Puting Park is on the south of Borneo (or Kalimantan). This nature reserve of more than 300 hectares is a great chance to go out into the Indonesian jungle and meet up with nature.
Bali, the island of the Gods, plunges you into a culture and an environment that is totally detached from the rest of Indonesia, making it one of the country's leading destinations.
A small village located in the west of the Balinese peninsula, Jatiluwih is a must-see stop for nature lovers !
Borobudur is a key place that you must come to if you are on Java island.
Archipelago of three little islands located to the west of Lombok.
Ubud is a small town in the centre of Bali that is famous for its special, zen, atmosphere, and where you'll find lots of cafes, restaurants and art galleries, and everything that forms part of Balinese culture.
At 3,140 metres tall, Mount Agung is Bali's highest point .
Situated off the coast of Lombok and Bali, Trawangan is the most developed of the Gili isles. Its ambience is lively, family-orientated and it offers something for everyone.
Mount Bromo, an active volcano situated on Java island, is part of the Tengger massif that culminates at about 7600 ft.
Jimbaran is a seaside town south of Kuta, with a very big beach. There are lots of restaurants there that specialise in sea food.