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.

Can’t Miss

  • Borobudur Temple in Yogyakarta
  • Bromo at sunrise in East Java
  • Island hopping in Flores, see the famous komodo dragons, pink beach, swim with mantas, and more. Trips from 2 to 7 days are available.
  • Road tripping in Bali. One of the best ways to escape the crowds. Go river canyoning and visit hidden waterfalls in deep in the highlands.

Off the Beaten Path

  • Ujung Genteng Beach in West Java. See egg laying turtles, and one of the most beautiful and deserted beaches you’ll find in Java.
  • Sumba Island. Rough travel, great surfs, colorful local culture. Far away from the crowds.
  • Belitung. Big white boulders on white sandy beaches. Maldives without the fancy resorts.

More 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 deserted 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.

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’s 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.

9 Reasons to Fall in Love With Bali All Over Again

This post contains places that aren’t normally on first time visitors’ list of things to do in Bali. If you’ve been to Bali before, or maybe it is your first time here and you’re looking for something different to do in Bali, you should check these places out. It might make you fall in love with Bali (again).

Highlights of Sumba Island, Indonesia

Why Go: The Best of Sumba Island, Indonesia

I’m not going to sugarcoat it, as of right now, Sumba Island is still reserved for the most adventurous of travelers. The roads were bumpy and long. The lodgings were basic. The beaches were beautiful, but lacking in the most basic of infrastructure (no bathrooms, no cafes/restaurants, nothing but sand, water, and mangroves). I thought I’d been to deserted beaches before, but Sumba’s beaches took the phrase “deserted” beaches to a new level. But was it worth it? I think so. I’m so glad I went.