I was born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia where my family still lives. I try to visit once a year. Jakarta is a tough city to love, even by its residents. It’s chaotic, polluted, and its traffic is foul. But there are still things in Jakarta that I miss. I mean, it is home after all.

Whenever I visit my family in Indonesia, I try to squeeze-in a short visit to check out a region in my home country I’ve never been to. Indonesia is home to 13000+ islands so there’s always something to explore.

Highlights of Indonesia

Java

Java is Indonesia’s most populous island. Most visitors to Java will make a trip to see Borobudur Temple and sunrise over Bromo. But Java is home to some less-known cultural highlights such as Kampung Naga, and beautiful beaches such as Ujung Genteng. See my list of Java’s Hidden Gems.

During one of my yearly visits to Indonesia, we decided to visit Krakatoa. Its eruption in 1883’s is considered the most destructive volcanic events in recorded history.

Sumatra

Belitung for its beaches that are dotted by smooth white boulders.

Sumba

Sumba Island is rough around the edges and still relatively undeveloped. It’s a popular destination among surfers but it’s also growing in popularity among domestic travelers. Come visit before it changes too much.

Bali

Bali is being loved to death. Its rivers are running dry and it’s having a huge trash issue. If you’re thinking of visiting Indonesia, I encourage you to pick a different destination other than Bali. Or maybe focus on parts of the island that’s not as crowded: Bali Away From the Crowds.

Flores

Flores is a lovely island a short flight from Bali. It’s known for its komodo dragons, Kelimutu 3-colored lakes, pink beaches, traditional villages, and so much more. I really enjoyed my time in Flores and I hope I’ll be able to visit again soon.

Cost of Traveling in Indonesia

See this post on cost of various things in Indonesia.

Essentials Indonesia

Pre-paid SIM card is available from any Telkomsel outlet.

Useful apps: Grab and Ojek for shared-rides and food delivery.

Food – heavily spiced and mostly fried. Lots of fresh fruit. If you cook, fresh vegetables are abound. As a vegetarian, here’s my Top 10 Vegetarian Dishes in Indonesia.

Sawyer Picaridin – DEET free bug spray is best. It is my only must-bring item whenever I go to Indonesia.

TotLogic Natural Sunscreen SPF 30. – I love this mineral-based, reef-safe sunscreen, especially if you’re planning to go diving.

Indonesia, Etc. – I recommend this book for a pre-trip reading to Indonesia.