Indonesia is a place I will keep coming back to. I have visited numerous times already and each time, I’ve had a completely different experience. It’s a land so rich and diverse; it covers a huge geographical area and each island has its own feel and vibe, so much so that you often forget you’re in the same country.

I recently took part in the Indonesian Tourism Board’s Trip of Wonders 2016 along with a group of amazing travel bloggers and influencers. Everyone I met on the trip was completely enraptured by the place, so to get to the heart of what makes it so great, I asked them all ‘What do you love most about Indonesia?’

The People

Emily Luxton – UK
Emily Luxton Travels

For me, the absolute highlight of my time in Indonesia has been the people. Everyone I’ve met here has just been so friendly and welcoming, the service is always incredible and people seem genuinely proud and excited to show me their country. It’s really lovely in a country that’s so diverse to see so much acceptance and tolerance.

I’ve loved meeting people like “Joker”, the hostel owner I met in Ubud, who was so excited to talk about his new business and to share his favorite places around his home town. Or the kids in Jakarta’s Old Town who mobbed me for selfies as they asked for help with their English homework. In general, Indonesians seem to be really fun loving and enthusiastic, and that’s really infectious.

Young girl on Sawinggrai island, Raja Ampat, Indonesia

The Spicy Food

Andras Jokuti – Hungary
jokuti.com

In a country as big as a continent with so much cultural diversity, the one thing that remains constantly amazing for me is the food. All Indonesian dishes are all really intense in taste and flavour and vibrant in colour.

These are not the type of Indonesian dishes you think you know from the supermarket shelves back home, the Nasi Goreng or Satay you get there is just only vaguely reminiscent of the real deal. People here love to eat and they want all the harsh spices: chili, shrimp paste, nutmeg, clove, pepper…They also eat everywhere, all the streets of the big cities are full with food carts and small restaurants. Don’t hesitate, just trust them and try out everything! I loved it!

Related: What to Eat in Indonesia: Dishes You Need to Try! 

A plate of Indonesia food by the beach

Magical Sunsets

Tayana Simons – UK
Travel Dudes

They happen every day, but how often do we take the time out of our busy lives to appreciate them? In Indonesia, sunsets demand to be noticed. And not just with a polite tap on the shoulder. They slap you in the face with the full force of their beauty mimicking the reflections of an artist’s finest water colour masterpiece. Magically illuminated silhouettes dance in front of the fading light as a kaleidoscope of colours change with each frame, each minute more beautiful than the last. As darkness falls over rolling volcanoes, as the light leaves ancient temples, as dragons sleep in their caves – Indonesia leaves you with the one of nature’s greatest performances, and a massive smile on your face.

Girl at sunset, Raja Ampat, Indonesia

The Photography Opportunities 

Juan Jerez – Spain
Juan Jerez Photography

As a street photographer, Indonesian cities are a paradise for me.

The Italian architect Aldo Rossi defined the city as  “the human matter par excellence” and when I am walking the streets of Yogyakarta or Bandung, I am able to find the most precise materialization of this definition. Behind each corner, in each cafe, square or market, you can always find a glance, a gesture, a dialogue.

Contrary to what happens in Western cities, where the street photographer is sometimes regarded as a threat, as someone unwelcome, Indonesian people do not try to hide themselves from the camera allowing you to represent them in a natural and spontaneous way.

Old lady looks out from her house, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

The Islands of Raja Ampat

Cacinda Maloney – USA
Points and Travel

My favorite thing about Indonesia was my visit to Raja Ampat, a set of islands that are surrounded by the sea and nature. I loved the pier at the Raja Ampat Dive Resort on Waigeo Island, this island is so remote that it still has a pristine coral reef right below the surface. It was unreal for easy snorkeling and for majestic sunsets. The pier also has benches for the best Wi-Fi on the island, so everyone congregates here in the evening! From here, I had a chance to visit two other local islands and mingled with the locals.

Read: Raja Ampat Liveaboard Reviews

A boat at sunset, Raja Ampat, Indonesia

The View At Piaynemo

Annette White – USA
Bucket List Journey

Indonesia is filled with beautiful scenery, but for me, none was more picturesque than the view from the top of Piaynemo in Raja Ampat. Pulling up to the small dock there was a set of stairs heading straight up into the forest. These 340 steps (I counted!) were strenuous in the humid heat, but the view from the pinnacle was worth every single one. From the peak you can see an iconic karst island seascape, small islands surrounded by a dozen shades of brilliant blue.

Standing in front of the Piaynemo viewpoint, Raja Ampat, Indonesia

The Landscapes

Chloe Gunning – UK
Wanderlust Chloe

Along with the super friendly locals and delicious food, it was Indonesia’s landscapes that really wowed me. I spent a few days in Raja Ampat and the highlight was a boat trip over to Piaynemo, a collection of rugged jungle-covered islands dotted amongst bright turquoise waters. The trek to the viewpoint was hot and sticky, but totally worth it. Little did I know there was a huge reward waiting at the bottom too… a refreshing dip in the crystal waters.

Girl looking out over Piaynemo, Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Borobudur Temple

Sher – USA
Sher She Goes

My favorite thing about Indonesia was a visit to Borobudur temple. Borobudur is a 9th century Buddhist temple in Central Java and the world’s largest with 72 Buddhist statues. I love learning about local history and ancient cultures when I travel and the Java region is quite interesting as it started Buddhist, then was overturned by Hindu kingdoms and eventually converted to Islam. A visit to Borobudur is like a step back in time and there are volcanic mountains in the background that mist over the structure to really make the visit feel surreal.

If you’re thinking that you’ve seen countless temples in Asia, Borobodur is really quite different. The structure is one large pyramid-esque square with nine stacked platforms and a top central dome. You can actually climb up each “level” and sit next to the Buddha statues to watch the sun rise – overall it’s a magical experience!

Girl in dress, sunrise at Borobudur, Indonesia

Prambanan Temple

Macca Sherifi – UK
A Brit And A Broad

Temples in Southeast Asia. If you’ve been to one, you’ve been to them all, right? Usually I’d agree with you, but in Indonesia they’ve got two of the finest in the world – Borobudur and Prambanan.

Even though Borobudur is bigger and more popular with tourists, I much preferred how you could walk around all the different shrines and sanctuaries at Prambanan, all at your own leisurely pace.

Each temple is so intricately carved that you can just spend hour after hour exploring each one, and as a photographer there are so many different types of shot you can get there. Definitely worth visiting on any trip to Indonesia!

Jumping in front of Prambanan temple, Indonesia

The Famous Swing On Gili T

Kelly Stilwell – USA
kellystilwell.com

One of places I was most excited to see in Indonesia was Gili Trawangan, one of the three Gili Islands. I had seen the photos on Pinterest of the swings and they were on my bucket list. At the time, I had no idea how far it was from Hotel Vila Ombak, or whether I would have the time to see them. Fortunately, Mike Shubic from Mike’s Road Trip also wanted to check them out, so we grabbed bikes after breakfast and headed north. I’d say the ten minute bike ride was worth it!

Read: Top Adventurous Things to Do in Lombok

On the famous swing on Gili T, Indonesia

The Diversity

Jon Miller – UK
Adventure In You

As I said before what constantly blows me away when I visit Indonesia is just how varied the country is. The landscape is constantly changing from idyllic beaches to menacing volcanoes to jam-packed cities. Each place has its own history and its own story. There is so much diversity in the culture here too, people from all walks of life, from various religious backgrounds and brought up in so many different ways, it all adds up to such a fascinating experience.

There are around 18,000 islands in total, covering the entire width of South East Asia. I love this country, and I love every single person I’ve met here. The only thing that saddens me is I don’t feel like I’ll ever to get see every single island, although that could very well be a challenge for next year.

Young girl on family on Arobek island, Indonesia

No matter where we come from we each found something spectacular about Indonesia that we all fell in love with. Why not take your own trip and let us know what you love about Indonesia.

This article was written in partnership between Adventure in You and the Indonesian Tourism board as part of the 2016 Trip of Wonders tour.


Planning a trip to Indonesia? Check out our articles on what to see and do

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