Traveling in Indonesia
Made up of tens of thousands of islands Indonesia is the largest Archipelago in the world. With over 90% of its population practicing Islam Indonesia is also the world’s most populous Muslim. To some Westerners the Bali terrorist attack that killed nearly 200 Australians in 2006 leaves a deep scar for the country in regards to travel, but I personally see this as a rogue attack similar to the tube bombings in London or train attacks in Madrid; a threat that exists in all parts of the world and not just Indonesia. I felt quite safe while traveling in Indonesia my experiences were nothing but positive!
Indonesia’s capital is one of Southeast Asia’s largest cities, and has several districts that sprawl out for miles in all directions. Most visitors will need a lot of time to see the city, not because it has some much to offer but mostly because it has some of the worst traffic in the world! The central district is where you’ll find all the national monuments and government buildings such as the Presidential Palace and the famous Monas. Other districts hold all the museums, nightlife and endless shopping areas.
Yogyakarta is a city located in the island of Java. Java is famous for its coffee and ancient temples, and Yogyakarta is a perfect location to see the best of what Java has to offer. The Mahayana Buddhist temple created in the 9th century has a pyramid like structure with six square levels making up the base and then followed by three circular levels at the top that have dozens of Buddhist statues. Other important Buddhist and Hindu temples exist outside Yogyakarta as well.
The island of Bali is over 93% Hindu in a land that is the most populous Muslim country in the world. The more relaxed Hindi culture has given Bali an international reputation for its more liberal exotic beaches with beach front villas, great night life with the country’s best bars and clubs and all types of accommodations for both backpackers and luxury travelers. The island is full of adventure with volcanoes to climb, elephant rides and even white water rafting.
Lombok is similar to Bali in that it’s another tropical paradise with beautiful beaches and plenty of outdoor activities. Bali’s population is mostly Hindu and the island is known for its night clubs, bars, and parties. Lombok however has a majority Muslim population and though there are plenty of nice bars and places to enjoy nightlife, the island is much quieter than its counterpart.
West Papua is the other half of the island shared by Papua New Guinea. The natives are actually believed to be descendants of Australian aborigines, though their tribal culture is much more turbulent than their Australian ancestors. West Papua has been occupied by Indonesia since 1960, and frequent declarations of Independence by the locals and other problems lead to martial law, military skirmishes and other issues. Though far from being stable, West Papua is one of the most unique places in the world, with the natives still living as they did hundreds of years ago.