Best attractions in Indonesia: Top 15

It is impossible to see all the sights of Indonesia in one visit. Despite the fact that this country is small and located on islands, there is a huge number of wonderful and fascinating places. Look at the ancient temples, which are in ruined, dilapidated or well-preserved form! Exotic nature surprises you with unexpected surprises, such as a water cloud at the famous waterfall or “living” wall, completely full of butterflies. Do not know what to see in Indonesia? Especially for you we have compiled a list of the most interesting places in this country.

What to see in Indonesia first

No matter how wonderful the local attractions seem, visiting them without a guide is not a good idea. Only guides in Indonesia know when it is better to go to see this or that monument and how to behave so as not to violate religious traditions. So in addition to choosing attractive places to visit, be sure to think about who will accompany you.

1. Temple complex Prambanan (Java Island)

Stone Prambanan Temple Complex

All tourists who come to the island of Java, be sure to visit the Prambanan Temple Complex, an amazing medieval structure. The complex includes more than a hundred interesting Hindu and Buddhist temples, most of which after major earthquakes and powerful volcanic eruptions have survived only in the form of ruins. In the first half of XX century. buildings have been restored and are now a magnificent picture of the towering three temples dedicated to the gods Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma, decorated with reliefs in the style of “Ramayana” - the ancient Indian epic. Their spires rise high into the sky. Nearby are ancient shrines dedicated to the deities of mythical animals.

To assess the sights of Indonesia, without visiting this magnificent temple complex, it is impossible. Here it seems as if the time has stopped and it seems that you can wander around the territory, looking at the fantastic plots on the walls of buildings, for ages. Bas-reliefs depicting ancient gods and demons, birds and animals are combined into incredible figurative compositions. Unfortunately, many of the figures have not survived, some were damaged by earthquakes, some were stolen. However, some of the fragments have been restored, and the remaining ruins are being carefully collected, assembled and gradually restored.

2. Forest of Monkeys in Ubud (Bali Island)

Atmosphere of the sacred monkey forest in Ubud

One of the most popular activities for tourists in Bali is to visit the monkey forest. Balinese are very revered for these animals. The monkeys feel at ease and are tolerated by tourists who regularly feed them, despite the ban.

On the territory of the sacred forest-reserve is a small Hindu temple, whose guards are living in the forest and macaques. As befits all Balinese temples, it is decorated with bas-reliefs and fantastic statues, among which many images of monkeys. The attractions of Indonesia, such as this park, attracts tourists with lush vegetation, freshness, walking around it is pleasant: birds are singing, babbling brooks, and communication with macaques arouses lively interest in both adults and children. The forest has a small pond and an alley with sculptures of animals.

Monkeys are so accustomed to the tourists bring them all sorts of goodies that they begin to cheeky and do not even hesitate to “search” visitors for something to eat. The population of macaques is increasing rapidly and now numbers over 600. Excursions to Bali to this park leave a lot of positive emotions and good impressions.

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3. Bat Cave (Bali Island)

Goa Lavah Temple with a bat cave inside

A very unusual and interesting excursion in Bali is a visit to the Bat Cave. It is located in one of its six main temples - Goa Lavah, which means “bat. The temple was built in the 11th century.

It is said that the cave has a length of 25 km, many secret passages, some of them leading to other temples. It is also said that the underground is an entrance, a kind of portal to another universe, and in the mysterious corridors were lost whole expeditions. Such sights of Indonesia attract tourists with its mystery. Many bats greet visitors right at the threshold of the cave with a desperate squeak and a peculiar smell. By the way, their sight is not disgusting at all, cute little beady-eyed faces look somehow human.

In front of the cave, on special altars, locals lay out food for the winged inhabitants of the cave. If you like mystery and wonder what to visit in Indonesia, go to the Bat Cave, but be sure to sunset. It will be a mesmerizing sight, as the bats begin to leave the cave in droves, flying out, flapping their wings above your head, and it seems as if the whole sky is filled with an endless stream of bats.

4. Banyar Hot Springs (Lovina Beach, Bali)

Sculpted mythical heads at Banyar Hot Springs

In Bali, the Banyar hot springs are considered sacred, so their visit is akin to a pilgrimage, aimed at bodily and spiritual purification. A special feature of this attraction in Indonesia is a pool of warm healing water, which comes directly from the ground. Everything is designed in Balinese style, which allows you to immerse yourself in an atmosphere of rest and relaxation.

The hot springs got their name from the village near where they are located - Banyar. It is located in the north of the island of Bali, near the beach Lovina. Locals believe that this water cures many diseases, so they often come here themselves.

Upon arriving at the site, you will see two pools that have a connection with each other. The water is not very hot and it is pleasant to stand under the stream, which falls from a height of 3.5 meters. The water has a massaging effect and lifts your spirits. There are always a lot of people here, both tourists and locals, so bathing is almost always a mass.

You may be alarmed by the smell of water, but do not be alarmed - it appears because of the high content of sulfur. Here everything is provided for a comfortable pastime: there is a place to put your things, eat in a restaurant, enjoy the scenic surroundings, visit the spa. In the local stalls sell a variety of souvenirs, you can safely haggle, because the sellers always call overstated several times the cost.

5. Jati Luvi Rice Terraces (Tabanan District, Bali)

Jati Luvi Rice Terraces

The sights in Indonesia are very unusual and attract the attention of tourists. What are the rice paddies! The plantations are the pride of the island, as the locals consider this crop a gift of the higher powers. Cultivated rice in the same way as it was a hundred years ago, the technology has not changed.

The rice plantations are located near the town of Tabanan. If you are wondering what to see in Indonesia, the first place to go is here. The main thing is to bring flip-flops, because in addition to beautiful views, there are a lot of puddles and mud underfoot. Not far from the plantations is Mount Bakutaru. The air here is always fresh and a little cool due to the location at an altitude of 700 meters above sea level.

The locals hold religious rituals here, as the beliefs say that without worshiping the higher powers one can not expect a good harvest.

Rice terraces as a tourist attraction has long been known, but it has been actively visited only in the last 50 years. The government has taken it under control, and every year it becomes more and more convenient for foreign citizens to visit. There is a parking lot, toilets, a place to eat and relax. Only local food and drinks are on the menu.

Check out the beautiful places in Indonesia in this great video!

6. Lake Bratan (Bali Island)

The main water temple of Ulun Danu on Lake Bratan

Attractions in Indonesia are most often natural objects, mountains or bodies of water. Lake Bratan is loved by tourists because of its unusual landscape and close proximity to the volcano Batur. There is also Tamblingan and Buyan, but the most popular of them is Bratan.

Locals call Bratan the Lake of the Holy Mountain and believe that if you bathe in its waters, you can find longevity and youth. Water in the lake is cool because the depth in some places reaches 35 meters. Guides in Bali bring tourists here to show the temple of Ulun Danu, which is located on the shore and is dedicated to the local deity Devi Danu. There are always more locals than tourists. Although the temple was erected in 1663, it is still active. Here all worshippers can bring treats and gifts to honor the spirits. Entrance to the territory of the sacred place is paid.

This temple on the background of mountains and lake looks very picturesque and unusual and you won’t see something like that anywhere else in the world. The reservoir is the source of fresh drinking water for the entire island, so it is closely monitored and cared for. Pollution of the water or disrespectful treatment is not allowed.

7. Krakatoa Volcano (Gulf of Sunda, between the islands of Java and Sumatra)

Acting Krakatoa Volcano

The Indonesian scenic volcanic island of Krakatau, formed over a million years ago, is a cone-shaped mountain and is located between the two islands of Java and Sumatra. For thrill-seekers, the beautiful Krakatoa volcano is at the top of the list of attractions, and it also attracts the attention of volcanologists from all over the world.

A powerful eruption in 1883 completely destroyed the island where the crater was located, and the resulting tsunami killed a huge number of people. The terrible tremors felt the whole planet, sunsets became fiery red and the air temperature dropped by several degrees. When the eruption ended, most of the island disappeared and the volcano became much lower. Volcanology scientists claim that Krakatoa changes its height every year, increases and continues to grow. Today the volcano remains active, and therefore the Indonesian government has forbidden for locals to settle close to it, and tourists - to approach at a distance of less than one and a half kilometers. However, nothing prevents surfers to hone their skills at Tanjung Setia beach in Lampung province, which is known for its high and unusual in its complexity of waves.

8. Tirtaganga Water Palace (Bali)

Not sinking stones and statues in the pond of the Tirtaganga Water Palace

The Tirtaganga Water Palace complex, which means “sacred water of the Ganges,” is a unique combination of scenic water pools with a sculptural ensemble and covers an area of 1.3 hectares. The three-tiered palace is a symbol of the universe, where all three levels are divided into Swah - the higher divine, Bwah - the mortal human, Bhur - the lower dark world of demons. The magnificent fountain, which is located in the central part of the water palace complex surrounded by Hindu gods, is a symbol of the supreme deity.

Before the eruption in 1963 of Volcano Agung, which severely damaged and partially destroyed the entire complex, the site of the current swimming pool were sculptures of people, which symbolized the human world. The lower level in the form of a maze with sculptures of evil spirits and animals is a symbol of the mysterious world of demons. All attractions in Indonesia are unique, each in its own way, but it is the Water Palace of Tirtaganga that impresses with its elegance and splendor. Asking the question of what to see in Indonesia, tourists first of all choose this complex with picturesque parks, alleys, ponds, fountains and sacred springs, leaving an unforgettable impression in their memory.

9. Java Island

Java Island

The island of Java impresses with its truly amazing beauty of nature and is divided into three provinces:

  • Central, the historical and cultural center of the island;
  • West - high mountains and green valleys;
  • Eastern - rich in beaches, lakes, majestic volcanoes and nature reserves.

Wanting to have an unspeakable experience and visit the sights of Indonesia, tourists come to the island of Java first of all. After traveling through all the provinces, guests will see the unique ancient monuments, formidable volcanoes, endless rice paddies and national parks, get a tremendous boost of energy.

Visitors begin to get acquainted with Java with the megalopolis, the capital of the island - Jakarta. The city is quite interesting and controversial, here you can feel all the great history of Indonesia, to see in the center of the capital of its symbol - the majestic National Monument. There are many active volcanoes on the island (there are more than 120 in total). Among the most popular and popular tourist destinations are the ancient temple complexes of Borobudur and Prambanan, established in the XVIII century, the Water Palace Taman Sari, amazing National Park Bromo Tenger-Semeru, on the territory of which there are not only beautiful waterfalls and thick impenetrable forests, but also several active volcanoes.

10. Elephant Cave (Bali)

The head of a mythical creature above the entrance to the Elephant Cave

Not far from the village of Bedulu is the Goa Gajah temple, which is located in a man-made cave that bears the name Elephant Cave. The choice of location for the Hindu shrine is not accidental - the Aborigines considered the place of confluence of two streams endowed with divine power.

Attractions in Indonesia almost always have unusual names, and the Elephant Cave is no exception. It got its name thanks to the statue of Ganesha located in the temple. This deity has the head of an elephant. However, there is another version, which says that the Petanu River influenced the choice of name, the locals call it “elephant stream.

Entrance to the territory is paid, but you can pass only if you wear a sarong (local traditional clothing). Here you can see many fragments of sculpture and architecture, preserved from ancient times.

Especially tourist attention is attracted by three statues and a sculpture of Harithi. This giant woman was known in Bali as Men Breiut. You can enter the cave only through the main entrance, which is designed as an open mouth of a terrible monster. Different scholars see different mythological characters in it, such as Kebo Iwa, the demoness Rangda, or the god of the hunt Pashupati.

Sightseeing in Indonesia: What else to visit while in Indonesia

Check out a few more tourist sites that are often included in tours in Indonesia, because the wider the choice, the more likely the vacation will be amazing! All the information provided is up-to-date, and the photos allow you to appreciate the stunning beauty of the sights waiting for you in this country.

11. Munduk Falls (central Bali)

Munduk Falls in the thicket of the rainforest

The sights of Indonesia are world famous for their beauty. Especially when it comes to waterfalls, as they look powerful and spectacular. One of them is Munduk. Go to it by a narrow path, which is buried in greenery and stretches along the cliff directly above the river. The main thing on the way is not to be distracted by the beautiful views of the valley, and look carefully under your feet.

When making a list of what to visit in Indonesia, you should not miss this site. The Munduk Falls is a 25-meter-high stream that does not dry up even in times of drought. From November to February in these places the rainy season, and the sight will be especially impressive.

The stream of bubbling water against the green jungle looks breathtaking. Nearby there is a parking lot, for which you will have to pay a purely symbolic amount. Climbing up to the observation deck of about 500, you can hear the sound of water, but the waterfall itself is not visible until the last one. It is not possible to get close to it, as there is a cloud of water dust nearby. If you stand for a few minutes, you can get wet through.

Not far from the waterfall are the Pura Ulan Danu Temple, Tamblingan Lake, and a Buddhist temple.

12. Borobudur Temple (Java Island)

Buddhist temple Borobudur

Going to the island of Java, you should put the Temple of a Thousand Buddhas, or Borobudur as it is also called, on your list of places to visit. It is the second largest sanctuary, after the famous Angkor Wat. This landmark of Indonesia has only 50 sculptures, but in addition to them - nearly three hundred stone bas-reliefs, which create a fantastic spectacle. The temple is about 5 km long and the site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is essentially a Buddhist textbook that recounts all the reincarnations of Buddha and the pillars of his teachings. Many tourists make a wish by touching the foot of the Buddha.

It is not known exactly who was involved in the erection of this amazing architectural structure and for what purpose it was done. The architect is thought to be Gunadharma, but this is what Japanese legends say, and there are no other sources to confirm this. The approximate time of erection is 750 AD. It took about 75 years to fully complete the complex.

But Borobudur fell into disrepair after the locals abandoned the land. Scientists believe that this was caused by the volcanic eruption. This is confirmed by the fact that for several centuries the complex was buried under volcanic ash and hidden in the thickets of tropical vegetation. When looking for something to see in Indonesia, it is better to go here first.

13. Temple of Pura Tanah Lot (Beraban, Bali)

"Land at Sea"

The sights of Indonesia are quite varied, and it would take a lot of time to see them all. However, if you get to the town of Beraban at low tide, you should definitely visit one of the main attractions - Tanah Lot Temple, the name of which literally translates as “land at sea”. It is impossible to get there before low tide, as it is located on a rock in the sea.

This functioning temple, according to legend, was built in the 15th century Hindu priest. Today, the rock, on which the temple is built, more than one-third is artificial, as in the 80s of last century the temple began to slowly deteriorate, and in the 90s was on the verge of total collapse. The Japanese government has given Indonesia a loan of about $130 million to restore not only Pura Tanah Lot, but also many other landmarks around the country.

A visit to the rock should be scheduled for the afternoon, as it is very hot during the day. Only true believers are allowed to enter the temple itself, so tourists are not allowed to go there. However, from the bottom of the cliff Tanah Lot can be seen very well. If you take a camera with a good magnification, you can not only look at the temple in detail, but also take great pictures.

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14. Taman Sari Water Castle (Yogyakarta, Java)

The Taman Sari Water Palace Pool

If you don’t know what to visit in Indonesia, be sure to start your introduction to this amazing country with the Taman Sari Water Castle, which is located on the island of Java.

This castle was built in the 18th century by an architect from Portugal and had a huge number of beautiful channels and pools. Today on its territory there are two artificial lakes, islands, pavilions and pools.

As the legend goes, the castle had a huge number of secret passages and rooms. So that no one knew about their location, the architect who built this majestic structure was killed by the sultan. Another version is that the sultan did not want such a luxurious park ever to be repeated and so ordered the unfortunate architect to be killed.

After the eruption of the Merapi volcano, the park suffered considerable damage, and even if it had secret passages and labyrinths, they were littered with ash.

Today, much of Taman Sari has been restored and renovated. It is a wonderful place to rest, which, despite the creepy legends associated with it, attracts a huge number of tourists.

15. Bunaken National Park (Sulawesi Island)

The sea depths of Bunaken Park are a vacation spot for divers

When the question arises of what to see in Indonesia, the name Bunaken National Park immediately comes to mind. It is rightfully considered a marine park, because almost 97% of its area is water area. The land of Bunaken consists of five islands: Siladen, Nain, Monteheij, Bunaken, and Manado Tua, an extinct volcano.

Bunaken Marine Park is a national nature reserve, which was founded in 1991 to protect the flora and fauna of Indonesia. Despite the delightful beauty of the islands and their coastal areas, the most interesting part for tourists in this park is the part that is hidden under the water. Nearby is the center of the Coral Triangle, which is home to many different kinds of fish, corals and mollusks.

For diving enthusiasts, this marine park will be a great place to stay. The number of dive sites here is no less than 30, all with excellent visibility at a depth of at least 20 meters, the minimum water temperature is 27 ° C. The greatest depth of these places is about 100 m, but experienced divers do not recommend diving deeper than 30 m, as the water is inhabited by a very large number of predators that prowl around in search of prey. Also read about attractions in Malaysia and get inspired for your next trip to Southeast Asia!