The largest archipelago
Indonesia, from Bandung to Bali With over 17,000 islands forming it, Indonesia is the world’s largest island country. It is also home to Java, the world’s most populous island. The capital of Indonesia, Jakarta, is also the world’s second-most populous urban area. Apart from boasting of such staggering statistics, Indonesia is also a veritable tourist paradise. Its beautiful, serene beaches, rich culture and tradition, nature parks teeming with biodiversity and active as well as dormant volcanoes attract droves of tourists from the world over. Indonesia’s Beaches Any mention of Indonesia is incomplete without talking about its stunning beaches, particularly those in Bali. The spectacular Nusa Dua, Kuta, and Seminyak beaches are the ideal places to unwind and indulge in water sports, like, surfing and snorkelling. The white sand beach, in Bali, will leave you speechless with its mesmerising view. The Senggigi beach in Lombok is also popular with tourists due to its crystal clear waters and abundance of aquatic life with numerous opportunities for snorkelling and scuba diving. The Pink Beach of the Komodo National Park is known for its unusual mixture of red and white sand, and was even nominated for the seven natural wonders of the world. The Air Manis beach of West Sumatra has a very interesting and unusual mythology around it. Apparently, a sailor named Malin Kundang was cursed by his mother for not acknowledging her once he became a rich trader, and turned into stone. There are several rock formations around this beach, many human shaped, that tourists find fascinating. Temples and Monuments Indonesia has a large number of temples and monuments that are a delight to behold for tourists who like immersing themselves in the culture and history of a place. The most prominent among these is the Borobudur Temple situated in Central Java. It is the world’s largest Buddhist temple complex and was built in the 9th century. The main structure is a huge pyramid, which is reached by five stories full of ancient Buddhist statues and sculptures. The temple has survived several destructive incidents, which could have flattened lesser monuments, like volcanic eruptions of the nearby Mount Merapi, terrorist attacks and a massive earthquake in 2006. The central dome alone is adorned with 72 Buddha statues. Another famous temple is the Prambanan, which is the largest Hindu temple in the country. It has 224 outer temples, which are scattered and are in ruins. Built in the mid 9th century, the main area has eight major and minor temples each. Its elaborately decorated spires commemorate the trinity of Hinduism—Brahma, the Creator; Vishnu, the Preserver and Shiva, the Destroyer. The Tanah Lot temple is another very famous structure, built into a rock formation which juts out of the sea. It is said to be the most visited and photographed temple in Bali, and is very sacred to the locals. The sunsets here are said to be exceptionally beautiful, providing numerous photo opportunities. The floating temple, in Bali, also known as Ulun Danu Beratan Temple, is located near the water body in Bali. The Sewu, Pura Luhur Uluwatu, Goa Gajah, Pura Besakih temples are other famous temples spread across the country, each having their own unique features. Bromo Mountain Mount Bromo, an active volcano, is a four-hour drive away from East Java’s capital, Surabaya. It is part of the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, which spans a massive 800 sq km. While it is smaller than most of the well-known active volcanoes in Indonesia, tourists still flock here because of the stunning natural beauty surrounding it. There is an annual festival here, known as Kasada, where locals fling offerings like chickens, vegetables and cash into the volcano’s crater. Tourists can stay overnight at hotels in Prigen and Tretes in order to embark upon early-morning treks to the crater, where one can pose for pictures. Viewing Orangutans The large, attractively-coloured apes can only be seen in the wild in the Sumatra and Borneo islands. The Tanjung Puting National Park in central Kalimantan of Indonesian Borneo is one of the most popular places to spot orang-utans, playfully cavorting in their natural habitat. The park is spread over an incredible 4,000 sq km. The best way to spot these species here is to sail down the Sekonyer River in a kind of houseboat, known as Klotok. The Kutai National Park, also in Indonesian Borneo, is populated by about 2,000 orangutans. Unfortunately, a large part of this reserve has been destroyed by deforestation and forest fires. One can also spot monitor lizards, otters, sun bears, and the long-tailed macaque here. The Gunung Pelung and Betung Kerihun National Parks, both also part of Indonesian Borneo, are also popular for orangutan spotting. Komodo Island The Komodo Island is named after the Komodo Dragon, which is the country’s national animal. The island is relatively small at only around 280 sq km. It is one of the Seven New Wonders of Nature. It is home to over 3,000 dragons and there are several guides, who provide safaris to spot these animals. The komodo island boat tour will be a thrilling experience. Thus, in a nutshell, Indonesia is the perfect amalgamation of stunning beaches, exotic wildlife and spiritual shrines and monuments that make it one of the most unforgettable experiences in the world!
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