Often referred to as the “Sleeping Giant” of Asia, Indonesia comprises of more than 17,000 islands, and is also the fourth most populous country in the world, and has the largest Muslim population in the world.
Indonesia offers a variety of destinations and places to visit. With these many islands, tourists have the option of going to some of the popular destinations in the country like Bali, touring volcanoes and other land formations, or simply visit mosques or temples. To discuss in detail, some of the top places to visit in Indonesia are:
1. Bali. Home to about 4 million people, Bali is rich in natural resources, friendly people, and a year-round pleasant climate, which makes it relatively easy for travelers accustomed to different seasons to adjust to the temperature and climate of the country.
The beaches in Bali are not just your average beach. They are the hot spots at night as the beaches come alive and become venues for dancing, parties, and lots of fun. The abundance of natural resources, flora and fauna makes this island unique.
2. Istiqlal Mosque. The largest mosque in Southeast Asia, the Istiqlal Mosque was constructed in 1975 and can accommodate more than 120,000 people, although it’s not everyday that that many people come to visit this mosque. During Idul Firti and Idul Adha are the days when a lot of people come to pray at the mosque, as these are the holiest days of the year.
The name “Istiqlal” means “freedom” and the top floor of the mosque offers a great view of the many people who come to the mosque to pray. Aside from religious facilities, the Istiqlal Mosque also has provisions for social and cultural activities ranging from lectures, seminars, conferences, bazaars, and several programs for women, the youth and children.
3. Prambanan Temple. Known among the locals as Roro Jonggrang, the Prambanan Temple is one of the largest Hindu temples in Southeast Asia. The three main shrines are dedicated to three Hindu gods: Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu.
Aside from the three main shrines, there are a total of 224 temples in the complex. Visitors and tourists are drawn to the sight of the main shrines, which is viewable across great distances and rises above the scattered ruins of former temples. Viewing the sunrise behind the Prambanan Temple is also a must-see, usually around 5:00 in the morning.
4. Sulawesi. Formerly and more commonly known as Celebes and unofficially referred to as Orchid Island, Sulawesi is situated between Borneo and the Maluku Islands. People of Sulawesi are known for their diverse artistic abilities, which include pottery, weaving, and dancing. They are also very good at intricate weaving.
When in Sulawesi, it is a must to visit Bunaken, one of Indonesia’s most famous diving areas, which draws scuba divers all over the world. In the waters of Bunaken, it is not uncommon to come across dolphins or schools of whales. The Tana Toraja is another popular tourist destination primarily due to their famed and elaborate burial rites.
5. Lake Toba – is the largest volcanic lake in the world. Lake Toba is usually on most itineraries or agendas of tourists traveling to Sumatra, as the climate is pleasant and the view is spectacular. What makes this lake stand above the rest is that it has a small lake within the lake itself. People who live in the proximity of Lake Toba are usually Bataks – easily distinguishable with their colorful decorations and their houses with unique roofs that curve upward on both ends.
In Sumatra, many tourists also visit Tuk Tuk, the old cemetery of King Sidabutar, and the Ambarita.