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Bali beach sunset

Indonesia Travel Fast Facts

Getting there: flights to Soekarno-Hatta near Jakarta; Ngurah Rai at Denpasar, Bali; and Juanda at Surabaya, East Java.
Flight time: approx. 6 hour direct flights from Sydney and Melbourne; 20-hour flight times from the US and Europe.
What to see:
Bali beaches, Ubud, Kuta Beach and the Bali Bomb Memorial; Komodo National Park, Borobudur Temple
Indonesian rupiah
Official language(s):
Indonesian, but English is also widely spoken.

With one of the world's largest shorelines -- spread out over more than 17,000 islands -- Indonesia conjures up thoughts of an ideal tropical getaway for many a world-weary traveler.

Certainly, nature and culture combine for a memorable travel experience where just the mention of Bali -- its major tourist draw -- evokes thoughts of "paradise on earth".

Ringed by world class beaches and surfing meccas, Bali's fertile and lush green center is accented by sculpted rice paddies, mangrove forests and volcanic mountains.

And there are Bali's seemingly endless number of Hindu temples, with no two exactly alike -- and well worth a visit. Today, also add the Bali Bomb Memorial at popular Kuta Beach commemorating the island's own Ground Zero when terrorists struck the island in 2002 only a year after the 9/11 attacks.

Of course, a visit to the island would not be complete without a journey to Ubud, at the heart of cultural Bali, where modern and traditional art museums vie for attention with colorful market stalls featuring wood carvings, jewelry, and other works from local artisans.

Jakarta and the rest of Indonesia

Detail from stone carving
at Borobudur Temple.

Meanwhile, crowded and more metropolitan Jakarata holds its own touristic charms in a lively downtown nightlife, shopping malls, and national museums.

Amusement parks offer families pleasant trips to Ancol Dreamland, SeaWorld, and Indonesia Miniature Park, where the whole of Indonesia's rich cultural and natural heritage is compressed within a few acres. However, most travelers will use Jakarata as merely a jumping off point to see the rest of the country.

Other major must-sees throughout Indonesia include:

komodo dragon
Komodo dragon poses
for the camera in
Komodo National Park

Komodo National Park, located within the Lesser Sunda Islands is where visitors can view in its natural habitat the world's largest reptile -- 8-foot long from head to tail and weighing in at some 150 lbs.

Borobudur Temple, one of the world's most famous Buddhist temples, Borobudur was built sometime in the 8-9th centuries in central Java. It was later mysterioulsy abadoned in the 15th century, only to be rediscovered under thick jungle brush and restored to its former glory. Today, with its incredible expanse intricately decorated with vivid stone carving, Borobudur remains one of Indonesia's top tourist attractions.

Mount Bromo - In an island chain dotted with volcanos -- this one in East Java -- is arguably the most striking and eerily intriguing. Still active, it dominates an incredible vista of clouds and rough, vertical terrain that is nothing short of spectacular (At dawn, follow the flock of tourists who come to catch a dramatic sunrise creeping over the crest.)

For other major natural wonders throughout the islands, look no further than protected nature preserves like Tanjung Puting National Park in Borneo (starring its main attractions -- wild oranguatans) and Bunaken National Marine Park, offering the best diving and snorkeling in all of Indonesia.

More about Indonesia travel & tourism around the Web:


Official Indonesia Tourism & Travel Information - Like it says, and featuring a colorful guide to major attractions in Jakarta, Bali and more, beach and nature tours, cultural events and news updates, dining & restaurant recommendations, hotel contact details, practical travel tips and fun facts, photo gallery.

Tourism in Indonesia - Extensive Wikipedia entry offering an overview of major tourist locations including diving spots, national parks, volcanoes, travel dangers and political climate, recommended guide books and related links.

Indonesia - Lonely Planet - Expert tips on when to go, what to see, and how to get there, with overviews on the country's history and culture, hotel and restaurant recommendations, photo gallery.

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