For most people, an Indonesia holiday is all about relaxing and rejuvenating in Bali. Bali's unique Hindu culture produces an atmosphere of relaxation and tolerance set in lush forest surrounds, verdant rice fields and beautiful beaches.
Nobody is disputing Bali is a spectacular place to relax, surf and experience a unique culture, but Indonesia's numerous archipelagos offer insight into many other worlds. Dig deeper by visiting Lombok's fascinating Gili Islands, or take the time to explore Indonesian history in the sprawling capital Jakarta.
To Bali and beyond
From the tourist town of Kuta to the surfer's paradise of Seminyak and the lush mountains of Ubud, our strong Aussie dollar means tourists can live well for very little in Bali.
The traditional food of satay, 'gado gado' – a type of egg salad with peanut sauce – and Nasi Goreng is delicious. If you're from abroad, it's almost sacrilegious not to wash it down with local Bintang beer.
A haven for alternative lifestyles and off-beat adventures, take an eco-tour through the Balinese countryside from dormant volcanoes through to family compounds and temples to learn about the Balinese way of life. Partake in a yoga retreat, hire a surfboard, join a cooking class, or simply kick back and enjoy your scenic surrounds.
In the east of the country you'll find Asia's largest island, Borneo, which is divided between three countries: Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia. If you cross your fingers and keep your eyes peeled, this is where you can see orangutans in the wild.
Indonesia tours also often include a trip to Lombok's Gili Islands. Comprised of three small islands, Gili is the perfect escape and boasts many small resorts located directly on the beach. The islands are home to colourful coral reefs, a resident turtle population and a wide variety of marine life.
No cars or motorbikes are allowed on this stretch of paradise to help protect the local environment and wildlife. Instead, small ponies draw colourful carts around the islands as a means of transportation.
Access is via boat or sea plane and accommodation is available to suit all budgets. Activities include scuba diving and horse riding, while the Gili Islands are also renowned as a popular party destination for young travellers.
Come alive in Java's cities
To experience a very different side of the country, Indonesia's capital Jakarta is located on the island of Java and is home to a predominantly Muslim population. Countless other religions are practised and openly accepted in what is a vibrant and multicultural city, which feels worlds away from Indonesia's secluded beaches.
Jakarta's colourful history is on full display in its numerous museums and important cultural institutions, including a museum displaying traditional Wayung puppets. Similarly, the Indonesian Heritage Society and Museum National house display works and artefacts of national significance.
With time to spare, nearby city Yogyakarta is well worth a visit, especially if you have a thirst for culture. The city is renowned for its fine art scene and is where you can witness an excellent display of batik, dance, drama, music and puppet shows.