Take a break from the maddening rat race and head to some of the best getaway places the archipelago has to offer. From picturesque volcanic lakes and mountains, well-preserved traditional tribal villages, a monumental Buddhist temple to otherworldly beaches and gorgeous underwater heavens. There is something for everyone to enjoy!
Komodo Island Park.
Hailed as the “ultimate holiday island” by many globetrotters, Bali’s magnetic charm is still alluring. With many remote beaches popping up on the map, such as Dreamland and Padang Padang, as the new darlings alongside other novel attractions, Bali remains on everyone’s top destinations list.
Also thanks to the Eat, Pray & Love movie for securing Ubud as the artsy little town filled with cool galleries and stylish boutiques, and of course, a haven for spiritual seekers, where people can cleanse their soul with a little yoga and meditation in the rice fields and enjoy amazing spa treatments.
Due to the wide media exposure in the past two years, this tiny group of islands situated on the northwest tip of Papuan bird’s head peninsula has been enjoying an increasing number of visitors as the world’s number one diving spot.
Home to more than 75 percent of the earth’s coral species, Raja Ampat is indeed the heart of the Coral Triangle, which also shelters a staggering 1,200 types of fish and 700 mollusk species.
Above on land, watching the Papua’s iconic Birds of Paradise swaging their tiny bodies on high tree branches in the islands’ jungle will complete your visit to Raja Ampat.
Step into the mystical land of Tana Toraja where an ancient-old burial tradition has propelled the regency into an international tourist destination. Located around 350 km north of Makassar, the largest city in Southern Sulawesi, Tana Toraja is famed for its legendary seven days Rambu Solo burial ceremony as well as the captivating cemetery sites situated in steep rocky cliffs.
Encounter the deceased in Londa, an old burial ground inside a rock cave, where wooden caskets are neatly placed according to their family tree. Outside, the cave is adorned with tau-tau (traditional Toraja wooden doll) as miniature replicates of the noble people buried inside.
At Lemo rock cliff, wooden coffins are rested inside man-made holes that had been deeply carved into the steep cliff. Here, the higher resting hole indicates higher social rank of the person buried. The oldest burial site in Toraja is located in Kete’ Ke’su village, where numerous thousand-year-old wooden caskets are placed on steep cliffs without any outer shields or protection.
In Pallawa Village you can witness a number of Toraja’s traditional Tongkonan houses (that look like an old Chinese emperor’s ship) that are hundreds of years old. Adorned with water buffalo horns and rows of boar tusks they are still standing high in mint condition. Tana Toraja is the place to soak in an exceptionally rich cultural heritage the world has gradually come to appreciate.
Komodo National Park
Have a real Jurassic Park vacation by meeting the wild Komodo dragons! Situated between Sumbawa and Flores islands, the Komodo National Park stretches across three major islands, Komodo, Rinca, and Padar, and for the past few years, has been increasingly popular for its unique beaches and numerous stunning dive sites.
After a heart-pumping Komodo safari at Loh Liang, relax on the idyllic Pink Beach with its lovely soft pink sands. Some say microscopic organisms named foraminifera cause the pink-colored effect on the sands. With the protection of Jagawana, the park’s guide, you can lazily sunbathe, swim, snorkel or even dive here, though beware of the rather strong current.
Established in 1980, the park was built as the Komodo dragon conservation site and was quickly initiated as the UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Man and Biosphere Reserve in 1986.
Inscribed in 1991 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this 9th Century Buddhist temple was built by King Samaratungga, a Saliendra descendant, 300 years before Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
The majestic temple located in Muntilan, Central Java, elegantly portrays the philosophy of life of the great Bodhisattva in 1460 beautifully sculptured bas-reliefs (some experts believe it to be the most complete ensemble of Buddhist reliefs in the world) and 504 stupas containing a statue of Buddha.
Recently, Pretty Woman actor and devoted Buddhist Richard Gere, visited the temple to wander through its striking compound and do a quiet morning meditation.