Scattered between the mighty Pacific and Indian Oceans and lying across the equator, the numerous islands of Indonesia lie like jewels, some only visible when the tide is out. There are more than 17,500 islands of Indonesia with two thirds of them being inhabited.
Indonesia is known by locals as Tanah Air, which means ‘Earth and Water’, as it is the world’s most extensive archipelago stretching for 5,000 km. It is no wonder then that travellers flock to Indonesia, either for a backpacking extravaganza, a honeymoon treat, or just for a glorious exotic holiday.
If you have the luxury of a six month tour of Indonesia then you could cover a fair few of the islands and really get to know the area. However most of us do not have the time to do this so knowing what each of the islands of Indonesia offer is key.
The three biggest areas of Indonesia are Sumatra, Papua, and Kalimantan. On Sumatra, the most western isle of Indonesia, you can visit Southeast Asia’s largest volcanic lake at Danau Toba. Papua is the most easterly of the islands of Indonesia where you can trek through Baliem Valley and encounter diverse cultures.
For bamboo rafting, steamy jungles and the chance to glimpse an orang-utan, try Kalimantan and its national park. Kalimantan is one of the least visited islands in Indonesia and therefore offers a treat for adventurers, those who want to break new ground and stray off the beaten track of Indonesia.
Java and Bali remain very popular destinations within Indonesia, Java being the heart of Indonesia and containing half of the population. With a string of active volcanoes, ancient cultural capitals, and magnificent Buddhist temples, Java is a place you cannot afford to miss.
Being in the tropics, Indonesia has two distinct seasons – wet and dry, with no real extremes of temperature. The sun can be relentless and downpours can mean travelling arrangements have to be changed. It is best to visit Indonesia during the dry season between May and September, though the wet season in Indonesia has its advantages such as prices for accommodation are not so high.
It is always best to be prepared whatever time of year you visit Indonesia so always take sun cream, a hat, and waterproof clothing. Earplugs are a good idea too if you do not want to be woken up by the call to prayer. Try to visit Indonesia during a festival if possible as this is the time when the best of the country is on show.
Indonesia is a delight waiting to be unfolded. There is so much variety within Indonesia that setting out an itinerary before you go is a must. Another must is using Vayama.ie for your travels to Indonesia.
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