Board the flight and alight at Jakarta International Airport, you will see before you the scintillating Island of Indonesia. Indonesia-the world’s fourth most populous country. Derived from the Latin word Indus meaning Indian and the Greek word Nesos meaning island, Indonesia is a country with varied attractions. Be its ethnicity or the varied religious groups it incorporates Indonesia has it all. A bubbling, bustling melting pot of races and religions Indonesia is a blended mix of Javanese, Sudanese, Malays, and Madurese etc. It is the world’s largest archipelago with 17508 islands. Indonesia‘s rich culture, heritage and biodiversity has been the reason for increasing tourists being attracted to it. National parks, volcanoes, islands, world heritage sites Indonesia nurtures them all. Classifying on the basis of the variety of landscapes we can find numerous tourist hotspots.
KOMODO NATIONAL PARK
Founded in 1980 to protect the Komodo dragon, the komodo national park is located within the Lesser Sunda Islands. It has also been declared as a world heritage site by UNESCO. The special attractions of the park are the komodo dragons, the dark brown giant clam, pygmy seahorse, sponges and corals. One can enjoy scuba diving in this tantalizing park.
KERINCI SEBLAT NATIONAL PARK
Sumatra’s largest national park, the Kerinci Seblat national park has been home to a wide variety of flora fauna. Kerinci is quite famous among bird watchers as one of the good places to see Sumatran endemic bird species, which includes the Schneider’s pitta and Sumatran cochoa. The park also has the biggest flower in the whole world, the flesh red flower Rafflesia. A remarkable flower, the Javanese edelweiss which only grows on top of volcanoes is found on Mt. Kerinci. The densely populated Kerinci valley is formed by the great Sumatran fault which runs through the middle of the park. The tea plantations, the tiger calling ceremony ,lake Kerinci and the elephant sanctuary can also be witnessed here. The national park offers superb trekking and climbing opportunities.
BUNAKEN NATIONAL PARK
Ever indulged in diving and snorkeling? Well, here’s the golden chance. The banana shaped Bunaken Island is famous for its rich aqua marine treasures. 70 different genera of coral, five species of turtle, wonderful resident dugongs, the saltwater crocodiles one can see all at a glimpse. Beach combing hiking fishing dolphin and whale watching there is really no end to it.
At 3726m, Rinjani is the second highest most active volcano. Within its 50 square kilometer caldera is situated the lake Segara. Eruptions within the caldera have formed a new small cone called Gunung Baru. Though birds are rarely seen yet we can witness the Sulphur Crested Cockatoos and the Green Hanging Parrots. Rare ebony leaf monkeys are also an interesting sight. Trekking is also possible on this volcano though with the utmost cautiousness. The Mulang Pakelem, the annual Hindu ceremony at the Crater Lake is a wonderfully uplifting experience.
Sitting inside the massive Tengger Caldera, Mount Bromo is an awesome sight and can be easily spotted as the entire top has been blown off. The overall effect is unearthly compared to the lush greenery surrounding it. Mount Bromo is the most accessible of java’s active volcanoes and therefore it attracts a whole lot of tourists. Visitors beware of the java Rusa deer, marbled cat and the wild pig.
The summit of Puncak Jaya is famous by the name the victory peak. It is famous as the Carstensz pyramid among climbers. It is home to various peaks and also supports a variety of glaciers. The area is surrounded by unexplored rainforests and is difficult to reach. Still it is populated with mountaineers as it is one of the “seven summits” the seven highest peaks on each continent.
These islands are a fixture on the banana pancake trail. A pinch of glamour has started setting in with beachside cafes playing reggae and elaborates sea buffets. Snorkeling and diving is a major draw. The major means of transport there are horse drawn carts known as cidomo. One can enjoy leisurely walks with amazing corals and sea life.
Bali, the famed island of gods with its varied landscape stakes a serious claim to be paradise on earth. Kuta is the most attractive tourist destination. Warm waters, crowds of backpackers, reliable waves keep Bali the top of world surfing destinations. Trolling, jigging and bottom fishing are also enjoyable. The main water park of Bali is Waterbom situated in Kartika road in Kuta. One would surely get deeply engrossed in the shopping and partying at Sanur.
There is no written record as to who built Borobudur and why it was built. Borobudur is an ancient Buddhist stupa and temple complex in central java. It had been stabilized and proclaimed a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1991. Borobudur consists of a single stupendously large structure which can be divided into the platform, square terraces, circular terraces, central stupa and the museum. Waisak, Buddha’s birthday celebration is a must watch, walking in the candle lit procession at any time is an excellent experience.
A devout Hindu would love to visit this world heritage site. Prambanan is a collection of massive Hindu temples built by the Mataram Kingdom. There are 237 temples in the complex. The Candi Lara is one of the most visited temples. A major attraction is the open air theatre inside the park which has ballet performances of the great Hindu epic Ramayana. This performance is quite spellbinding.