Our recommendation to visit Indonesia
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Holidays to Indonesia
Exoticca Travel Stories
Creating unforgettable memories, one traveller at a time
The holiday was amazing
We really enjoyed all of the tours and appreciated not being in a big group. The local knowledge of the tour guides were excellent.
Indonesia Travel advice
Best time to visit Indonesia
The best time to travel to Indonesia is during the dry season, which starts in May and ends in October. However, if you wish to visit Papua or the Maluku Islands, it is best to travel between September and March. The perfect months to visit the country whilst avoiding the tourist crowds are May, June and September.
The whole Indonesian archipelago enjoys a tropical climate with an average temperature of 21 to 33 degrees centigrade. The climate changes depending on two seasons: the rainy season (November to April) and the dry season (May to September). November to March is monsoon season, so it is best to avoid travelling during these months. The warmest months are July and August. This is why they are so popular among tourists.
If you’re still not sure when to travel to Indonesia it is best to plan your trip according to the island you’re going to visit. If you’re planning on visiting several islands, keep in mind the following advice:LEARN MORE
Events and festivals in Indonesia
The popular festivals in Indonesia are another reason to visit this beautiful Asian country. There is a traditional or religious celebration practically every month of the year in this country. Take note so as to plan your journey around some of them so that you can enjoy the magic and splendour of these celebrations.
The Republic of Indonesia is a country with over seventeen thousand islands, of which the majority are inhabited by Muslims. Nonetheless, a section of the population espouses Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and even Confucianism.
This melting pot of cultures and religions endow its customs and inhabitants with a very diverse character, and is something that transfers to its most important events and its popular festivals. Below, we provide month by month details of the most important Indonesian festivals.
Mawlid Festival - January and February
During the first months of the year the Mawlid festival takes place in Indonesia to commemorate the birth of Mahoma. During the celebrations, there is a varied programme of activities. Talks with important Islamic academics, and artists representing Islamic music in all its genres all form part of this festival.
International Jazz Festival of Jakarta - March
Another of the very well-attended popular festivals of Indonesia is the International Jazz Festival of Jakarta. In the capital, this event is celebrated at the beginning of March and draws over a hundred musicians from all over the world.
In parallel to this international event, Muslims celebrate their most important religious festival: the Festival of Ashura, to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussein. During the celebration, the Indonesian faithful pray and make offerings in the mosques.
Festival Vesak - April and May
One of the Indonesian festivities representing the Buddhist population is the celebration of the Buddha’s birth. This celebration is also known as the Vesak Festival and is celebrated all over the world to commemorate the birth, enlightenment and death of Gautama Siddhartha. During the celebrations, there are processions, meditations and offerings to the Great Buddha.
At the end of May, other important Indonesian festivals take place: National Indonesia Day. The government organises different events to celebrate the country’s most emblematic festivities.
Summer Festival of Samosir - June
If you travel to Indonesia during this month you can attend the Summer Festival of Samosir. Throughout the week, the island of Samosir, which is situated in Toba Lake, hosts this lively summer festival. It has a wide range of activities such as boxing matches, concerts and gastronomic festivals.
Lailat ul Miraj - July
Among the Indonesian festivals related to the Muslim populations, the Lailat ul Miraj is a festivity in honour of Mahoma. This festival commemorates the rising to heaven of the prophet, accompanied by two angels.
Apart from festivities with religious origins, the Krakatoa festival also takes place in July. During the week, the province of Lampung pays homage to the victims of the volcanic eruption of Krakatoa in 1883. Among the commemorative activities, there are different sports, traditional music and kite flying exhibitions.
Independence Day - August
During the month of August, Indonesians celebrate their Independence Day. This popular festival fills the streets of the whole country with garlands and flags in order to commemorate the most important day in the country’s history as a free and independent nation.
Also in August, one of the most traditional popular festivals of Indonesia takes place: the Pati Ka Du’a Bapu Ata Mata. This is the name of the annual festival to honour the ancestors on Mount Kelimutu. The inhabitants make a pilgrimage to the lakes to make offerings of food in honour of the souls of their deceased loved ones.
Full moon festival - October
In Indonesia, each month there is a festival of the full moon but, in October, depending on the island, all of these have a special character. The women and children are responsible for the floral decorations and rice cakes, while the men prepare a traditional Indonesian dish.
During the full moon festivals, the temples are decorated with yellow and gold-coloured textiles and the deities are garlanded and served with offerings of food. The Indonesians, particularly in Bali, dress in traditional clothes and gather in the temples to pray and celebrate this colourful festival.
Eid al-Adha - November
In November, another Indonesian festival of Muslim origin takes place: the Eid al-Adha or Festival of Sacrifice. As its name implies, an animal is sacrificed and offered to Allah, emulating the Sacred Scriptures when God interceded to save the life of Ishmael, son of Abraham.
Muslim New Year - December
December is the month of the Muslim New Year, as well as the Christian Christmas. Depending on the island you are on, you will be able to attend the celebration of one or the other religious event.
All these events in Indonesia can provide that extra finishing touch to your journey around the country. You will also get to know the local culture and traditions more closely.LEARN MORE
Food in Indonesia
When thinking about what to eat in Indonesia it’s important to take into account the diversity of the country. Practically every island has its own traditional dishes, although rice usually forms the base of these.
Travelling through Indonesia you will notice the huge variety in the traditional dishes of popular cuisine. This is why we’ve put together a list of dishes you absolutely must try during your trip.
If you’re not sure what to try in Indonesia, this dish is an absolute must-try! This quintessential national dish is made from fried rice, with an added mix of chicken, vegetables and prawns and served with a fried egg. It is usually accompanied by side dishes such as pickles and fresh-cut vegetables.
As we mentioned before, rice is the base of Indonesian gastronomy, and this dish is no exception. Chopped vegetables, chicken, omelette or tofu for a vegan version are added to boiled rice. The dish is similar to Chinese fried rice, but with a milder taste.
Another typical Indonesian dish that you will often find is Mee Goreng. This dish is prepared with noodles mixed with vegetables, chicken and sometimes omelette. It is usually served with soya sauce and is a breakfast buffet favourite for many hotels.
Of all the dishes in Indonesia, this is a real favourite for meat-lovers. The dish consists in barbecued chicken skewers in a spicy peanut sauce, served with marinated meat, boiled rice and cucumber. A mouth-watering combination of exquisite flavours for any carnivore.
This dish is probably one the most individual Indonesian dishes. It consists of a salad of beansprouts, green beans, cabbage, eggs, tofu and potatoes. A spicy peanut sauce is mixed into the salad, and it is served with prawn crackers. Gado Gado is a real burst of flavours on the palate.
Similar to spring rolls, but with an Indonesian twist. They are filled with rice noodles, leeks, carrot and meat. They are served as a starter or on their own, with a spicy sauce and a salad or thin-cut fries.
This noodle and meatball soup is a favourite among Indonesians. Bakso is a bowl filled with a noodle soup of vegetables, beansprouts, meatballs or fish with a glutinous texture. Without a doubt, this dish is a real example of everyday food enjoyed by locals.
If you’re a fan of curry, Kary Ayam is a chicken curry made with coconut milk and served with white rice. Is it served with thick-cut potatoes and chopped chillies.
Banana leaves are used to prepare this typical Indonesian seafood dish. A large piece of fish is cooked in the banana leaves and then served with chilli and fresh mint. The word pepe describes the cooking method using the banana leaves, and the word ikan means fish.
Once you’ve sampled some of these typical dishes from the country, we’re sure you still have room for dessert! Here’s our list of some of the most common desserts found in this Far-Eastern country.
This traditional dessert eaten in Indonesia consists of fried slices of banana dusted with sugar. They can also be served with vanilla ice cream and a delicious cup of Indonesian coffee.
This is an iconic dessert in Indonesia, made from coconut milk, palm sugar and fruit. Sometimes beans or banana are added. It can be served cold or warm depending on your taste.
Of all the typical Indonesian dishes, Klepon is one you definitely don’t want to miss out on. It is a delicious dessert that comes from traditional Java cuisine. It is a little rice pastry filled with palm sugar, covered in grated coconut. A perfect sweet treat to accompany a cup of tea or coffee.
This is a dessert you are most likely to find in Bali. It is a type of pancake rolled in pandan leaves (giving the dessert its special flavour and green colour), filled with toasted coconut and cinnamon. Toasting the coconut in brown sugar gives the dessert its unique flavour, which is reminiscent of peanuts.
All of this makes up our list of all you need to eat Indonesia. Make sure you try all of our recommendations to make the most of your experience!LEARN MORE
Shopping in Indonesia
If you are preparing for your next trip and don’t know what to buy in Indonesia, we will help you find the perfect souvenirs of Indonesia. There are so many wonderful natural treasures tucked away in this South Asian country, but it is also a great place to go shopping.
Of all the places you can visit in Indonesia, Jakarta and Bali are the best places to go shopping. Everything you could ever want to buy in Indonesia can be found in these two cities: one is the capital; the other being the main tourist resort.
However, markets and craft stalls can also be found in the rest of the country, where you can buy souvenirs of Indonesia. But let's focus on the typical Indonesian products par excellence. Take a look at the following list of souvenir products that you’ll not be able to get enough of!
Typical Indonesian crafts
In Indonesia, there are a lot of artisans who dedicate themselves to wood carving, basketry, silverwork and ceramics, among many other typical Indonesian crafts. Out of all of these crafts, wood carving has become something of a speciality in Indonesia, producing some high quality pieces. Indonesian craftsmen are true artists, able to reproduce in wood anything from household utensils to religious objects of all sizes.
In Bali, for example – which is itself an island of artisans – you can find all kinds of typical Indonesian crafts. Another option is to visit the artisan villages that lie between Ubud and Sanur: these small towns specialise in concrete crafts. Butubulan and Singakerta mostly dedicate themselves to making stone sculptures and silver jewellery. The town of Batuan is a place where painters are born and bred, and if you want some wood carvings, make sure you don’t miss a visit to Mas.
Of all the things you can buy in Indonesia, jewellery stands out for its quality and price. But when looking at the wide range of goods on offer, always ask for the relevant license to avoid scams, especially in Jakarta.
A mix of original, beautifully-crafted gold and silver necklaces, rings and bracelets with precious stones, along with all sorts of accessories. In the village of Celuk, its inhabitants are expert goldsmiths who also make silverware, using traditional methods. The combination of this metallic element with coral, gems and natural stones achieves some stunning results.
From vases and decorative pieces to complete sets of crockery, these are the souvenirs to buy in Indonesia when it comes to ceramics. Artisans here demonstrate a unique ability to mix traditional methods and designs, achieving the most modern results.
One place to see the process of making ceramics first-hand is in Ubud. Here there are lots of workshops, where you can get to know the whole process and acquire some of these wonderful pieces.
Batik fabric, or the sarong, is one of the country’s typical textiles and was originally worn by women going to pray in the temples. Over time, it has become the ultimate expression of what to buy in Indonesia, since even the locals use it as a gift.
There are various types of Batik: in Bali, it is made of cotton and natural dyes, with intricate patterns of lines and dots. You can buy the fabric as is, or made into skirts, shirts or dresses. One of the most popular places to buy this type of traditional fabric is the village of Ubud.
Organic beauty products
In addition to Indonesia's typical crafts are beauty products that are made with natural ingredients. What could be a better souvenir gift than a set of personal care products made from organic ingredients? You can find soaps, exfoliating lotions, natural oils and high-quality cosmetics that are made locally.
The good thing about these products – besides being organic and suitable for all skin types, especially more sensitive skins – is that they have surprising results. So it’s no wonder the most well-known cosmetic brands are introducing more and more natural ingredients in their products. Another advantage of buying these in Indonesia is that you can find them in any store or supermarket at a great price.
El Dupa is a type of incense that is used by Indonesians in their daily religious rituals. It is used to make offerings, but its pleasant aroma perfumes all the stores, attracting tourists. This incense is made from various types of flowers and you can buy it in markets and all sorts of shopping areas.
Another product you can buy in Indonesia as a souvenir, or typical product of the country, is coffee. Of all the varieties of high-quality coffee the country has to offer, it is Kopi Luwak that is distinguishable by its special flavour.
This particular coffee is made as follows: the coffee beans are fed to a civet (a small carnivorous mammal), which eats and partially digests them and then passes them. The beans are defecated, along with the inner layer of the fruit. These are then removed from the faeces and lightly roasted to produce this distinctive coffee.
As you can see, there are a great variety of Indonesian products and gifts to choose from and you’re sure to find more than one souvenir to bring home from your trip.LEARN MORE
Indonesia tourist attractions
More information about Indonesia
An archipelago filled with elaborate temples, diverse islands, jungles and paradise beaches, Indonesia is a dream travel destination for lovers of all things exotic. A package holiday to Indonesia has space for everything, from the densely populated island of Java to isolated rocks which are home to some rather alarming-looking animals, like the Komodo Dragon.
This Southeast Asian nation is composed of more than 17,000 volcanic islands, located between the Indian and the Pacific Oceans, making it the largest island country in the world. Sharing land borders with Papua New Guinea, Malaysia and East Timor, Indonesia is home to a staggering 261 million inhabitants and is the 4th most populous country in the world.
The large island of Java is the busiest island, home to around half of the entire population and the capital city of Jakarta, the centre of politics and economy in Indonesia. The national motto ‘Unity in Diversity’ acknowledges the diversity of the country’s inhabitants, which are composed of hundreds of distinct ethnic groups, as well as the amazing variety of islands, environments and cultures.
Indonesia also has a strong Muslim tradition as followers of Islam make up the majority of the population. The opportunity to island hop and encounter many different experiences in one trip is one of the main attractions of a multi-centre holiday to Indonesia.
The country’s major islands include Sumatra, Java, Borneo and the Lesser Sunda Islands, which include the idyllic islands of Bali, Lombok and Flores. The paradise beaches, sacred temples and lush rainforests of the islands in this group are often the images that spring to mind when envisioning Indonesia, but this exceptional biodiversity and natural beauty can be found throughout the archipelago from tiny uninhabited islands to the larger land masses as well.
History of Indonesia
On a tour of Indonesia, you will discover the influences of the nations diverse history on its monuments, sights and traditions. Most written histories of the island nation of Indonesia begin with the kingdom of Srivajay in the 7th century, which was a powerful empire based on the island of Sumatra. The kingdom acted as an important centre for the spread of Buddhism and was known for its impressive maritime technology.
Over the following centuries other kingdoms, such as the Shailendra and Mataram, thrived and declined on the island of Java, leaving behind their heritage in exceptional monuments and religious buildings such as the Borobudur in central Java and the Prambanan in Yogyakarta, both unmissable highlights to enjoy whilst on holiday in Indonesia.
In the 13th century, the kingdom of Majapahit arose as the leading power in the region, its influence spreading across much of modern-day Indonesia. The Islamic culture which the country is known for arrived around this period, brought by Muslim traders and scholars, and by the 18th century, Islam was the dominant religion on the islands of Java and Sumatra.
From 1513 onwards, Portuguese, British and Dutch traders began arriving in the region, trading with locals and eventually establishing the Dutch East India Company, who remained involved in Indonesia until World War II, when Japan occupied the archipelago.
Japanese rule encouraged a increased sense of Indonesian nationalism and independence movements, resulting in the nation's independence in 1945, after the surrender of the Japanese. Modern-day Indonesia has endured its share of conflict and struggles both internally and with other nations, but has seen a lot of growth in recent years. Today, it is a vibrant and varied travel destination, which captivates the traveller on with its natural abundance and warm hospitality.
Nature in Indonesia
The sheer size, tropical climate and island geography of Indonesia make it one of the most biodiverse countries on earth, with a combination of both Asian and Australasian wildlife and fauna species.
Islands such as Bali, Sumatra, Java and Borneo, were once part of the Asian mainland, and have retained the rich wildlife of the continent, examples of which include the Sumatran tiger, the famous orangutans of Borneo, leopards and Asian elephants.
Many visitors on a trip to Indonesia are attracted by the prospect of meeting orangutans in the jungle or watching elephants play in the Kinabatangan River on the island of Borneo.
Dense forest covers around 70% of the country, although some of the larger islands have suffered a significant amount of deforestation. On the nation' smallest islands, the geographical isolation has encouraged the development of extremely unique biodiversity, with a large number of endemic plant and animal species. These range from the Corpse Lily, the world’s largest flower, to Komodo dragons and the magical Greater bird-of-paradise. In fact, Indonesia ranks 2nd in the world after Australia for its number of endemic species.
It’s 80,000 kilometres of coastline are a beach-lovers dream, surrounded by tropical seas with abundant marine life such as manta rays and sea turtles. The Gili Islands are considered to be ‘turtle heaven’, due to their large populations of turtle species including green sea turtles, leatherbacks and hawksbill.
A package holiday to Indonesia is incomplete without taking some time to snorkel in the warm waters of the country’s tropical coastline. There are a number of must-see natural attraction in Indonesia, but the most popular include visiting the fearsome Komodo Dragons on the aptly named Komodo Island, a tiny island situated off the coast of Flores, diving or snorkelling around the Raja Ampat islands to discover an underwater world of multi-coloured coral and sea-life, meeting the endangered orangutans of Borneo and venturing out on a night safari in the Kerinci National Park in Sumatra to spot majestic Sumatran tigers and Asian elephants.
Culture in Indonesia
With at least 300 ethnic groups, there is no single dominant or homogenous culture in Indonesia; instead, there exists a pleasant mix of traditions and cultural sights across the different regions, islands and communities. One thing that almost all Indonesian’s have in common is that religion is at the heart of their everyday lives. Wherever you travel in Indonesia, you will notice that religion is at the heart of the country, from Hindu devotees making morning offerings in Bali to Muslims attending Friday prayers in the enormous Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta. The government recognises six official religions, although the most dominant is Islam, so you can expect to see the influence of this on the country's culture.
Another facet of Indonesian culture is the prevalence of traditional performing arts; watching a colourful Barong dance show is an unmissable experience to enjoy on holiday in Bali, whilst the superstitious and visually striking Reog dance is not to be missed during a visit to East Java.
There are more than 3,000 original Indonesian dances, each presenting a dynamic living tradition. Indonesia also has a strong arts and craft tradition, with a variety of artisans creating unique cultural objects throughout the country. In Bali, there has been a long tradition of artistry, with an expectation on individuals to take up their preferred art skill from a young age. Despite the complex melting pot of cultures, traditions and arts in the country, one thing is for sure: a trip to Indonesia will inspire your imagination and creativity like no other destination, hence it has attracts artists from all over the world.
From the bustling streets of Jakarta to the delicate sandy beaches of Gilli and the lush rainforests of Ubud in Bali, the island nation of Indonesia presents the traveller with an abundance of experiences. Island-hopping around the archipelago, you will be amazed by the natural abundance, rich history and open-minded culture.
A holiday to Indonesia suits all tastes. One day you might be tracking tigers in the jungle and the next, watching the sunset on a paradisiacal beach, such is the diversity of Indonesia.
Passport with a minimum validity of six months from the date of entry into the country.
Free visa for British nationals for stays of up to 30 days.
UTC + 07:00 to UTC + 09:00.
Tourist Office websiteVisit website
Generally 220 V, 110V in some areas. An adapter is recommended.
Other useful information
Indonesia is the 4th most populated country in the world.
Please consult your doctor regarding malaria prophylaxis.