Tripti Dimri in Bali. Credit: Instagram
Indonesia, an archipelago of over 17,000 islands, is a treasure trove of diverse landscapes, rich cultures, and vibrant histories. And now, in an effort to promote tourism and push economic development, the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism has proposed issuing free entry visas to travellers from 20 countries including India. So if you’re planning a trip to this island nation, from the beaches of Bali to temples of Yogyakarta, here’s a curated guide to the best places to visit (hopefully without the hassles of a visa).
Bali: Island of the Gods
No matter how uninitiated you are to Indonesia, Bali’s allure reaches far and wide. Its beauty lies in its picturesque landscapes, vibrant traditions, and welcoming locals. Besides many popular spots like Ubud Monkey Forest, Uluwatu Temple, or Kuta Beach, you can add destinations like Tirta Empul Temple and Tanah Lot temple to your itinerary for a more culturally immersive experience.
Yogyakarta: Java’s Cultural Epicentre
In the heart of Java, Yogyakarta is a city where tradition meets modernity. Explore the awe-inspiring Borobudur and Prambanan temples, walk through the living museum of The Keraton (Sultan’s Palace), witness traditional shadow puppetry, and stock up on goods at the shopping heaven at Malioboro road.
Gili Islands: Tranquil Paradise
An archipelago of three mini islands – Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air, the Gili Islands offer white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and a laid-back atmosphere. If you want to partake in water activities, but away from the crowds, then this place, just off the coast of Lombok, is ideal for snorkelling, diving, or just unwinding by the beach.
Komodo Island: Jurassic Adventures
The Komodo National Park comprises 29 volcanic islands and is home to the famous Komodo dragons, in addition to other diverse flora and fauna. In addition to the wildlife, you can trek to Padar Island and click spectacular photos. Also, you should not miss the famous Pink Beach here. The degradation of red coral in the area gives the sand its unique colour, making it one of the seven beaches in the world to have this glowing soft pink tinge.
Ubud: Artistic Haven in Bali
Nestled in Bali’s highlands, Ubud is considered the art and culture capital of Indonesia. Here, you can explore art galleries, traditional craft markets, and the serene Monkey Forest, and rejuvenate with yoga and wellness retreats that abound in the region due to its scenic environment. Don’t forget to visit the Tegalalang Rice Terrace!
Jakarta: Dynamic Capital City
As Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta offers a dynamic blend of modernity and tradition. Explore historic sites like Kota Tua, Old Town Batavia, National Museum, and National Monument to learn the history of this legendary harbour town. You can also add shopping in glitzy malls to your daily itinerary, and savour diverse culinary delights in this bustling metropolis.
Lombok: Serene Alternative To Bali
If you’re tired of everyone seeking out Bali as their New Year vacay, hop on a plane and head to Lombok, a quieter alternative to the bustling city. The island boasts pristine beaches, the mighty Mount Rinjani for trekking enthusiasts, and traditional Sasak villages offering an authentic cultural experience.