Barong sculpture © Ingeborg Mehus
Indonesia Travel Guide
Colourful and exotic, the vast archipelago of Indonesia encompasses more than 17,000 islands spread across 3,000 miles (5,000km) of water in Southeast Asia, including popular tourist destinations like Bali, Sumatra and Java as well as roughly 6,000 relatively unknown but inhabited locations.
The mysterious islands of Indonesia each hold their own charms: the resorts of Bali offer nightclubs and beaches; the sprawling metropolis of Jakarta is a melting pot of Indonesian language, food, and architecture; the jungles of Sumatra are home to elephants, tigers, orang-utans and other wild creatures; and the palaces and monuments of Yogyakarta offer a glimpse into an ancient culture.
Ongoing unrest in Indonesia has had a negative impact on tourism in the last few years, but adventurous travellers still dream of a holiday in Indonesia.
Best time to visit Indonesia
Although the weather in Indonesia is pleasant for most of the year, the best time to visit Indonesia is in the dry season, between May and September. Monsoons can make more remote areas all but inaccessible in the wet months, but tourist hotspots like Bali, Java and Sumatra are always enjoyable. The worst time to visit Indonesia is the period immediately following Ramadan, when the resorts are crowded and prices are high. Read more on Indonesia's Climate and Weather.
What to see in Indonesia
-Visit Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple in the world.
-Get a feel for traditional Indonesian architecture at Indonesia Miniature Park.
-Hike to the colour-changing lakes of Mount Kelimutu on Flores.
What to do in Indonesia
-Swim with dolphins off the coast of Lovina.
-Go white-water rafting in Sidemen Valley.
Getting to Indonesia
There are no direct cheap flights to Indonesia from the UK or the US, but connecting flights are available to Bali, landing at Denpasar International Airport. Get more information on Airports in Indonesia.
Map of the Invisible World by Tash Aw, Twilight in Jakarta by Mochtar Lubis, and A House in Bali by Colin McPhee.
Langgam Jawa and Balinese Gamelan.
Eat, Pray, Love (2010) and The Year of Living Dangerously (1982).
Brem bali (Balinese rice wine)
Nasi goreng (fried rice)
What to buy
Batik or songket fabric
What to pack
Be sure to pack layers for a holiday in Indonesia: the cities and jungles can be swelteringly hot, while higher elevations will require a warm coat in the cooler months.
What's on in Indonesia
Get a taste of local arts and culture at the Bali Arts Festival, held each June and July. Bau Nyale is a summer seaworm festival with a surprisingly romantic origin. The Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival brings together artists from around the world each March. More information on Events in Indonesia.
Did you know?
Indonesia is one of the world's largest producers of nutmeg.
A final word
A combination of sunny beaches, dense jungle, colourful traditions and rich history combine in Indonesia to form an ideal holiday destination.
Become our Indonesia Travel Expert
We are looking for contributors for our Indonesia travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Indonesia or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.
iExplore designs made-to-order, privately-guided adventure tours to Indonesia and over 200 other world wonders. Come Back Different!
Footsteps across the rumbling volcano. Sleep in Bali beach bungalows and cycle through rice paddies. Build your own Indonesia adventure.
Intrepid Travel are a tour operator specialising in 'off the beaten track' tours. If you're a traveller with a yearning for adventure, a sense of fun and a wish to escape the humdrum of mainstream tourism, then Intrepid Travel may be your ideal travel agent. Their Indonesian tours include Jakarta, Pangandaran, Yogyakarta, Mt Bromo, Bali, Ubud, walking, boating, Kuta, Lombok culture, beaches, Gilli Islands, Mt Rinjani, Sapit , Sengiggi and Denpasar.