Introducing the Amazing Archipelago of Indonesia
Clue #1: It is the world’s largest archipelago state.
Clue #2: It has 17,000 islands, many of which have a string of active volcanoes.
Clue #3: Throughout the year, the temperature in this country can range from 68 to 89 degrees, as it is situated along the equator.
Give-away clue: One of its islands, called Bali, is known for its tantalizing scenery, calming ambiance, relaxation activities and vivid landscapes. This vacation island is frequented by visitors who are into yoga, massages and other body relaxation treats.
Have you guessed it? It’s the famous Southeast Asian archipelago: Indonesia.
What to do
In 2007, the number of tourists in Indonesia increased 13% from the past year. Visitor arrivals were estimated to be around 5.51 million in 2007 compared to 4.87 million in 2006. The government attributes this to the surge in the number of tourists going to Bali.
If you want to visit Indonesia, here are some of the most popular tourist spots you can include in your itinerary:
Bau Bau: Located in the mountainous Butung Island in the Sulawesi region, this island was once a center where pirates lived and slave trade flourished. Also located here is the Wolio Fortress, which was built by the Sultan of Buton in 1597. Today, this houses royal artifacts and a souvenir market.
Krakatoa: This notorious and famous volcano is located in the Sunda Strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra. In 1883, the original volcano erupted and produced an offshoot, which is the present one. The eruption then claimed 36,000 lives, but at the same time, formed some of the most beautiful scenic spots where you can have an amazing view of the sunset.
Bali: Bali residents believe that their island is on loan from the gods. They consider it religious and there are more than 20,000 temples on a single island. With a strong influence of Hindu culture, Bali is the retreat island of people who want total mind and body relaxation. (Bali is considered to be on of the Top Ten Dive sites in the world )
Larantuka: On the spectacular port city of Flores are volcanoes, tropical forests, and high mountain lakes. In the middle of these natural wonders are eye-catching islands. One of them is Larantuka, which is based at the foot of the Ili Mandin Volcano. This island has a fusion of Portuguese and Iberian influences. You can enjoy its other natural wonder, arts and crafts, as well as native cultures.
Satonda: Underwater enthusiasts will surely love this place as it is known for stellar diving. You can enjoy the setting underwater as you watch unique fish like Devil Fish, stargazers, and scorpionfish. If you like hiking, you can hike inland to a volcanic lake. Satonda’s fruit bats are also numerous.
Borobudur: This structure is perhaps the most important structure for Mahayana Buddhists. This monument is located in Central Java and houses around 500 Buddha statues. It is considered a shrine to the Lord Buddha and is a pilgrimage site for Buddhists in Indonesia.
What to Do
You can surf in Flores, Bali, Lombok, Java, Sumatra, Sumbawa and Sumba. More known surfing beaches like Ulu Watu in Bali are often crowded; however, you may also find some isolated islands or areas that are not yet discovered by other tourists or locals. (Learn how to surf)
You can trek up a volcano. Take your pick: active or dormant? If you would like some adventure and surprises, try going up active volcanoes like Krakatoa, Mount Bomo, which is the most visited Indonesian volcano, and Kawah Ijen. Dorment choices include Gunung Agung in Bali, Keli Mutu, and Gunung Rinjani on Lombok Island.
You can take an eco-tour of the Tukangbeshi archipelago around Sulawesi’s coral reef, or have your illnesses cured at the Holy Springs of Tampaksiring on Bali.
What to Remember
You can enjoy the sights, people, and culture of Indonesia if you are familiar with some basic Bahasa Indonesia phrases. To greet someone with “Good morning,” simply say “Selamat pagi” with a smile. For “Thank you,” say “Terima kasih.” “Excuse me” is “Permisi of Maaf” in Indonesian, and if you’re hungry, just say “Saya Mau Makan” and offer to join your pal for a meal.
Have a fun Indonesian escapade!