Borobudur (Shutterstock.com. See credit below)
Blog Words : Wanderlust team | 19 September

The Wanderlust Guide to the best of Indonesia

Indonesia is a captivating mix of natural beauty and cultural depth, tropical islands and traditional lifestyles – at a bargain price. What’s stopping you?

The world's largest archipelago has somewhere between 13,000 and 18,000 islands, Indonesia is wild. Scattered like pearls along the line of the equator, it is made up of active volcanoes, dramatic mountain ranges sheltering untouched tribes, and vast swathes of rainforest. It’s also beautiful, with neatly-terraced hillsides, pristine beaches and some of the best diving in the world.

Best of all, it’s all available at a bargain-basement price. It’s one of the world’s least expensive destinations, where your travel money travels furthest and buys more.

The only problem is where to go and thanks to our handy guide, help is at hand.

Bromo at sunrise (Shutterstock.com)

Bromo volcano at sunrise. From Shutterstock.com.

Looking for inspiration?

Bali is undoubtedly Indonesia’s gem, a Hindu enclave that has somehow clung on to its traditions, despite the onslaught of the tourist hordes in Kuta. Mark Eveleigh reveals how to escape the madness and soak up Bali’s gentler side.

Of course, Bali is but one highlight of Western Indonesia. The Wanderlust Team have listed their unmissable experiences in this part of the archipelago. And Iain Stewart has put together an extensive guide to the volcanoes, ancient monuments and fiery cuisine you’ll find there too.

The Indonesian region of Banda Aceh took quite a hit when it was pounded by a tsunami back in 2004. Mark Stratton returned to discover idyllic islands, rare wildlife and a story of recovery.

If you’re considering a trip to Sumatra, Mike Gerrard says that whether it's the old men of the village, or the Men of the Forest (Orang Utans), this region is full of colourful characters.

More information

A new dawn in Bali – Mark Eveleigh

8 unmissables in Western Indonesia – The Wanderlust Team

West Indonesia: Bali and beyond – Iain Stewart

Back to Banda Aceh – Mark Stratton

Lake Toba and orang utans in Sumatra – Mike Gerrard

I’ve been to Bali too

Back in 1984, the Australian band Redgum released a song called I’ve been to Bali too. It was an affectionate swipe at the Aussies who didn’t get beyond Kuta. Thirty years later, Travel Shutter says that Bali can still inspire and lists four reasons why. Mark Eveleigh, on the other hand, encourages you to check out the island’s wild west.

How about moving to Bali? Diana Deer offers top tips for starting a new life amongst the emerald green rice paddies. Marie Javins also reflects on her month living in Bali too.

More information

4 reasons Bali will inspire you – Travel Shutter

Bali's wild west – Mark Eveleigh

Top tips for starting a new life in Bali – Diana Deer

Reflections on a month living in Bali – Marie Javins

Orang utan and baby (Shutterstock.com)

A mother and baby orang utan. From Shutterstock.com.

Indonesia's secrets revealed

Author Elizabeth Pisani travelled the length and breadth of Indonesia to research her book, Exploring the Improbable Nation. Along the way she come across a host of unique things to do in Indonesia, from having tea with a corpse to staying with forest nomads.

Henry Hemming, on the other hand, stumbled on a secret festival in Sumba that included jousting knights, exotic dress and bamboo spears and tells how you can too.

Henry Stedman explains everything you need to know if you want to visit Komodo National Park and come face to face with it’s most famous residents, the Komodo dragons. Nick Eason, meanwhile, reveals the secret to knocking up a tasty nasi goring.

More information

5 unique things to do in Indonesia – Elizabeth Pisani

Secret festival in Sumba – Henry Hemming

Travel icon: Komodo National Park – Henry Stedman

How to make Nasi Goreng – Nick Eason

Traditional dancer in Ubud (Shutterstock.com)

Traditional dancer in Ubud. From Shutterstock.com.

Capturing it all on film

From the fluorescent green paddy fields of Bali to the temples and monuments of Java, Indonesia is a riot of colour. Steve Davey is on hand with the key rules of capturing colour on your camera. Be bright, be bold and contrast, contrast, contrast!

If it’s inspiration you’re after though, look no further than the images captured by our readers on their travels to Indonesia.

More information

Photography tips: Capturing colour on your camera – Steve Davey

Readers' photos from Indonesia

Rice fields in Bali (Shutterstock.com)

Rice fields in Bali. From Shutterstock.com.

Everything you need to know

Ready to start planning your trip? Our Indonesia Travel Guide is the place to start. Make sure you drop by our Indonesia Essential Info page as well, for more everyday (but equally vital) information. And we’ve rounded up the latest travel news from Indonesia too.

If you find yourself flying into Jakarta, our guide to your first 24 hours there makes essential reading.

If you have a particular question about Indonesia, pop over to the myWanderlust Forum where our knowledgeable community are ready to spring into action and share all that they know. Or check out the questions that have already been asked about Indonesia. The answer to yours might already be there.

More information

Indonesia Travel Guide – The Wanderlust Team

Indonesia Essential Info – The Wanderlust Team

Latest travel news from Indonesia

First 24 hours: Jarkarta, Indonesia – Mark Eveleigh

myWanderlust Forum

Community content on Indonesia

Forum posts about Indonesia

Komodo Dragon (Shutterstock.com)

Komodo dragon at Komodo National Park. From Shutterstock.com.

Ready to go?

Here’s a selection of fantastic tours offered by our partners. From wildlife adventures to see dragons and orang utans to laidback island-hopping tours, there’s something to suit every taste and budget.

More information

Our Trip Finder can help you find adventures in Indonesia.


Main image: Borobudur. From Shutterstock.com

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