Discover The Friendly Islands of Indonesia
Having the most active 150 volcanoes in the world, it remains a mystery how Indonesia remains afloat. Mention the word Indonesia and people would remember Bali. A visitor can spend a night watching the traditional ceremonies and captivating dancing performances made on the beaches of Bali. A hike on the hills towards Komang Dodik is a good way to experience the wonders of Indonesia. The highlight of this tour is the series of waterfalls over 20 meters high. Some packages offer vanilla and coffee plantation tours. The next stop is to take a sunrise boat trip to watch dolphins leap from the water.
Scuba diving is another adventure to pursue when in Bali. The local reef can be enjoyed and night diving is even recommended as well. For a two day dive which includes transport and equipment expect to pay about $35 for the Lovina reef or Night Dive and $50 when heading towards Amed or Pulau Menjangan. Snorkeling is also offered since the water is generally clear. The best place to snorkel is to the west near Bilibo Beach Cottages. Snorkeling equipment can also be rented out for the day. Bicycle rides of about $2 a day or motorbike rents of $4 is a nice way to go around this island. Spa services are also offered in this island. They cost about $13.
Bunaken is one of Indonesia’s favorite dive and snorkeling areas. More than 70% of fish species that live in the Pacific Ocean can be found here. The best time to dive here is in April and November. In the Lesser Sunda Islands stands the Komodo National Park. It has now been dedicated to protecting other species including marine life. This is protected by UNESCO World Heritage. On the Northeast coast of this park are the coral reefs. The park has whale sharks, manta rays, pygmy seahorse and clown frogfish to name a few.
Swim in the warm volcanic waters of Lake Tuba. This lake lies on the Sumatra Island. This is visiting a lake on an island within a lake on an island. One of the most visited sites in Indonesia is Gunung Bromo. This is an active volcano which stands on the highest peak. The top of this volcano has been blown off and the crater that lies inside continues to belch out white smoke. This is the closest experience that one can feel when a volcano is about to erupt without its real danger.
Spend at least 2 to 3 days of trekking into the Gunung Leuser National Park with a guide. Guests can spend a night in the jungle. There is a chance that you can see an orangutan in this trekking adventure. Guides are paid from $45 for a two day trek. This includes the overnight camping in the jungle and rafting going back to town after the end of this two day journey. Prices include the basic meals and camping equipment as well as the permit to use the park.
Jakarta is another famous place in Indonesia and its capital. It is where Taman Mini Indonesia Indah or Miniature Park of Indonesia can be seen. This tourist crowd drawer is where they can see custom homes, custom clothing and tribal cultural presentations. Cultural arts festivals are held in this place. Ancol is a popular destination for tourists. It includes a theme park called Fantasy World (Dunia Fantasi). About 40 rides and attractions can be found in the Fantasy World. Prepare to spend $14 for weekdays as entrance fee to this theme park. Ancol has its Atlantis Water Adventure. This is based on the mythological city of Atlantis.
One of the largest oceanariums in Southeast Asia is Sea World Indonesia. It features a pool of alligators and sharks. Pasar Seni has been and still is the center for Indonesian handicrafts. Ancol offers 18 holes of international beach golf course in its Executive Golf Fun. Still Ancol has its Carnival and Festival beaches. This is one of the best places to visit when in Indonesia. Medan is Indonesia’s 4th largest city. It is the major entry point for boats and flights into Malaysia.
Maimoon Palace stands in Medan Indonesia as grand as ever. Recently this palace has received a fresh coat of paint which makes it all the grander. It was built by the Sultan of Deli in 1888. This 30-room palace features Malay, Mogul and Italian influences. The main room is open to the public but the back wing houses the Sultan’s family. After his father died in 2005, Aria Mahmud Lamanjiji is now the 14th Sultan of Deli. At this time he is 16 years old but when he assumed his position he was just an 8 year old boy.
Near this palace stands the Grand Mosque. This Moroccan inspired building has ornate carvings and uses Italian marbles and stained glass from China. Dress modestly if planning to visit this mosque. Women are asked to cover their heads with scarves. Spend time sipping coffee at Otten Coffee. It is said to be a haven for coffee lovers out there. It offers a wide selection of Sumatran coffee that cannot be found in other places. Relax and visit some spas that offer a relaxing massage. Zengarden offers express rejuvenation for 45 minutes of massage at $11. They also offer Thai Fusion for $14, Hot Stone therapy and Zen Herbal Healer for $16.
An unbelievable Catholic Church dedicated to our Lady of Good Health ( Annai Velangkanni) stands in Medan. It is built in Mughal style which means it resembles a Hindu temple with Sumatran influences. Taking pictures inside is forbidden though. Masses are conducted in English and are worth a 15 minute visit. The Devil’s Tears is a reef. When the waves hit the water and it splashes, this creates a wonderful rainbow effect. A truly awesome view, all it takes is a 5 minute walk from the Dream Beach. Stand for at least 30 minutes and let the strength of the ocean capture the imagination. Indonesia is definitely a great place to visit when in Asia.