With more than 200 ethnic groups having their unique languages and dialects, Indonesia’s cultural diversity is fascinating. Over time, many of these indigenous cultures have merged with one another to create a distinctive Indonesian cultural identity.
As an important trade centre on the ancient spice routes, the Indonesians were also exposed to many foreign religions including Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Confucianism, which eventually spread across the archipelago creating unique architectural and cultural heritage. Java’s Buddhist temples of Borobudur and Hindu temples of Prambanan, as well as Bali’s Water Temples are testaments to Indonesia’s artistic and cultural zenith.
Where is Indonesia located and how to get there?
Spread across the equator between the regions of Indochina and Australia, Indonesia comprises of over 17,000 islands scattered across the beautiful turquoise and deep blue waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans. From above, it almost looks like an elegant emerald necklace. Bali’s Denpasar and Java’s Jakarta are well connected with the rest of Asia and Middle East with daily flights operated by well-known airlines including Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Malaysian Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways. Furthermore, if travelling from the US, you could also travel via Hong Kong, Tokyo or Taipei.
Some of the Indonesian islands can also be accessed from Singapore by boat, which has made them very popular hideaways for those who are limited on time or wish to avoid frequent internal travel. Bawah Reserve is one of our favourite private island destinations offering a truly eco-friendly and sustainable barefoot luxury experience.
What types of accommodation are available in Indonesia?
It is hard to beat the astounding range of experiences on offer in Indonesia, and the loveliest thing is that you can enjoy all of these in style, staying in some of the finest accommodations in Asia, from
- Uber-exclusive island resorts,
- Super luxurious beach resorts
- Specialist dive resorts and urban heritage hotels
- Luxurious private yachts
- Private Villas and
- Back-to-nature boutique retreats focusing on wellness, rejuvenation and barefoot luxury
It’s one of those special places that will leave you longing to return.
Where are Indonesia’s top places and experiences?
- Yogyakarta and Borobudur
- Komodo National Park and Raja Ampat Marine National Park
- Moyo Island
- Sumba Island
- Bawah Reserve
What activities are available?
- Walk along the legendary Komodo dragons
- Hike or cycle on active volcanoes
- Surf on the majestic waves
- Search for rare flora and fauna in the most spectacular rainforests
- Snorkel and scuba dive in some of the world’s most exotic underwater environments
- Take gentle walks through a tapestry of luminous green rice terraces
- Discover ancient architecture, mystical tribes and traditional batik work
- Be serenaded by charming traditional Javanese and Balinese dance and music
When is the best time to visit Indonesia?
Indonesia is one of the best summer holiday destinations in Asia, as unlike many other parts of Southeast Asia, most of the Indonesian archipelago enjoys dry and sunny weather between May and September. October to April is the monsoon season, but being a tropical region, the rainfall occurs in short and heavy spells with sunny intervals in between.
The temperatures remain in the region of 28 to 30 degrees Celsius throughout the year. If you are interested in diving, the period between April and September offers the most suitable conditions around Bali and the Komodo National Park, and October to April is the best time to dive and snorkel in Raja Ampat, when there is less rainfall and the seas are at their calmest.
How can you help protect and nurture Indonesia’s local environment and communities?
Due to rapid urbanisation, poverty and lack of education as well as large scale deforestation for timber and palm oil plantations, Indonesia’s environment and communities have become massively vulnerable and threatened in the recent past.
What makes the situation in Indonesia particularly desperate is its extremely fragile and rare indigenous communities and flora and fauna. Many rare species including Komodo dragons, Javan rhinoceros, Sumatran orangutans, sun bears and Borneo pygmy elephants are now highly endangered.
Conscious and regenerative travel is one of the best ways to safeguard these vulnerable areas. It is therefore incredibly important to focus on accommodations and individuals who are committed to sustainable travel and also support genuine local organisations working at grassroots level.
The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOS), established in 1991, is an Indonesian non-profit organisation dedicated to the conservation of the Bornean orangutan and its habitat. The Foundation is currently taking care of almost 650 orangutans with the aim of rehabilitating them and releasing them back into the forest where they will be safe from human development, poaching and farming.
The Orangutan Foundation International (OFI), which is dedicated to the conservation of wild orangutans and their rainforest habitat. They also support various other initiatives locally and internationally to create awareness concerning issues related to the survival of orangutans.
With regards to community welfare, there are two standout organisations:
Sumba Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Nihi Sumba Island, which is dedicated to alleviating disease and poverty on Sumba Island; and
The Sumba Hospitality Foundation, which was established by Inge de Lathauwer in 2013 following a visit to the island with the aim to provide vocational hospitality training for underprivileged young people aged 17 to 23 years.