Indonesia is, in our view, one of the most popular backpacker destinations. The people are generally very friendly and it is a beautiful and versatile country. Indonesia has more than 17,000 islands, making it about fifty times larger than the Netherlands. Because Indonesia is spread over a large area, it has a number of different climates. For example, in the west of Indonesia you will find tropical rainforests and savanna landscapes in the east. Mountains and volcanoes can be found all over the archipelago. On the one hand, the active volcanoes cause great damage and on the other, they make Indonesia one of the most fertile countries on earth.
The country is accessible thanks to the friendly people, good infrastructure and backpackers vibe. In addition, the country is cheap, which of course also makes it pleasant to stay. Indonesia is huge in size, so there is a lot to see and experience. Each region has its own charm and attractions. We can label Bali as the most touristic, but definitely worth a visit. The nature in Indonesia is wonderful. Green rice terraces, pearly white beaches or beautiful volcanoes: Indonesia has a lot to offer for nature lovers. If you come for the culture, Indonesia is also interesting. The beautiful temples visualize how high faith is held. Friendly and open people, who show a lot of patience and are hospitable, make you feel quickly at ease within the country.
Most backpackers start their journey in Bali. This is the most touristic part of Indonesia and the many beautiful sights tell us why. There is a lot to experience in Bali. In Uluwatu it is less crowded than in Ubud, which gives it a more relaxed atmosphere and you can fully enjoy the wonderful beaches. In the village of Canggu it's mainly about surfing and trendy eateries with the tastiest smoothie bowls. Near Bali you will find the Nusa Islands, of which Nusa Lembongan is the most visited by tourists. Do a snorkeling tour here where you can swim with Manta rays.
Besides Bali, Lombok is also a tourist highlight. There is no great nightlife here, but the beaches and nature are even more beautiful here than in Bali. The popular Gili Islands also belong to Lombok. You can make a three or four day crossing from Lombok by boat to Flores. The island of Sumatra is known for the orangutans and its tropical rainforest. More pristine nature and adventure can be found on Sulawesi. In addition to (karst) mountain areas, rice fields and volcanoes, you will also find beautiful diving spots here. The largest island in Indonesia is Java. The capital Jakarta is mainly used as a stopover, but there are other highlights such as the Bromo Volcano.
Some of Indonesia's most beautiful sights are located in the cultural capital Yogyakarta on Java. Here you can visit the Borobudur; the largest Buddhist shrine in the world. There are also plenty of sights to admire in Bali. For example, in the city of Ubud you can scooter to the beautiful Tegalalang rice fields and the holy water in the Tirta Empul temple. Between Lombok and Flores is the Komodo National Park, where you can spot the special Komodo dragon.
Not only will you embrace the friendly locals, the food is also something you will fall in love with during your trip through Indonesia. Indonesian cuisine is incredibly tasty and is considered by many to be one of the best in all of Asia. Every region makes new dishes, but the delicious peanut sauce can be found throughout Indonesia. Most dishes are based on rice, meat and vegetables. You can get this on every street corner, but we especially recommend trying the warungs: local, low-budget Indonesian restaurants. The food is cheap and very tasty. Absolute must tries are gado-gado, rendang and of course the famous satay ayam. Would you rather get started yourself? In Indonesia you can take cooking courses everywhere. This allows you to easily master the intricacies of Indonesian cuisine.
Food and drink is very cheap and you pay little for your stay. The archipelago is therefore one of the cheapest countries in Asia. Finding an accommodation is easy because of the wide range. Make sure you always have enough cash (Indonesian rupiah) with you, because on some islands or remote areas it is not possible to pay by card. In the table below we give an indication of your budget per day. We explain this subject further on our page about money matters in Indonesia.
In Indonesia it is warm all year round, even though the most rain falls between November and March. If you want to see as much sun as possible, the best time to travel is generally from June to October, but this can vary by region. Indonesia is very big. The landscape, the islands and the mountains, also lead to longer travel times between the different locations. Fortunately, the infrastructure is quite good. Due to the water and the distances, you will also have to rely more often on the boat or plane. You do not need a visa for Indonesia if you do not stay longer than 30 days and if you meet certain conditions. Malaria is present in Indonesia with the exception of Bali and Java. We recommend that you use DEET properly and that you inquire in which regions it is best to use malaria tablets.