Indonesia is the largest archipelago and the fourth most populated country in the world. With over 17,000 different islands, Indonesia has just about every different kind of landscape imaginable. Mountains, volcanoes, rice terraces, bustling metropolitan cities, sleepy villages, beautiful beaches and so much more can be found within its borders. For those considering a trip to Indonesia, there are a few places that are must-sees that deserve special recognition.
Bali is one of those must-see places in Indonesia. With gorgeous beaches and pristine water set against a stunning backdrop of rugged coastline, volcanoes, and rice terraces, it's easy to see why many believe that Bali is paradise on Earth. While many come to the island for its world-class surfing and other water sports, or to simply relax and enjoy one of the many beaches, Bali also has a wealth of cultural opportunities. While Indonesia as a whole is predominantly Muslim, the majority of people in Bali are Hindu, and their religion and culture shines through in their everyday life. Away from the beaches, the cultural heart of Bali is considered to be Ubud. Ubud has a number of historical sites, in addition to museums and galleries. The landscape surrounding Ubud is something to be seen as well, with rice paddies and terraces surrounding the town, enveloping the area in a sea of green.
Another beautiful and interesting cultural place to visit while in Indonesia is Borobudur. An ancient Buddhist stupa and temple complex, Borobudur is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in central Java. No one knows for sure as to who exactly built Borobudur, or even why it was built, though it's thought to have been constructed during the 8th century. Along with the mystery of who built it and why, there's no clear answer as to why Borobudur was abandoned, although many believe that it may have something to do with the area's conversion to Islam during the 15th century. Regardless of the reasons, it's a beautiful, awe-inspiring complex and a fantastic place to visit.
For those visitors who want to experience Batak culture and see the world's largest volcanic lake, a trip to Danau Toba is in order. Danau Toba is located in Sumatra, and its beauty must be seen to be appreciated. With a backdrop of mountains set against the cool, clear water, it's a great place to visit. The Batak people are another good reason to visit Danau Toba, as they are friendly, relaxed, and have a rich cultural heritage.
Visitors wanting to experience modern Indonesia should take a few days to explore Jakarta. The capital and largest city in Indonesia, Jakarta is everything one would expect from a city with around 10 million people, complete with shopping, dining, and nightlife options that make it one of Asia's most exciting cities. Visit museums, parks, mosques, and markets while you shop and eat your way through the city. Jakarta can be chaotic and overwhelming, but it's never boring, and it's an interesting window into the lifestyle of urban Indonesians.
Contributed by Kathleen Hubert.
Kathleen Hubert is a blogger who writes on a variety of different sites. Check out more of her work at Lahaina hotels.