With several universities, the city of Yogyakarta in the center of Java is the center of education and the center of Javanese culture in Indonesia. The city-state is a sultanate and was temporarily the capital. The most active volcano in Indonesia, Mount Merapi, is located here. Worth seeing are the sultan’s palace in the heart of the old town of Yogyakarta, the museum and the moated castle of the sultan. The castle ruins and the old bathing pools invite you to visit them.
The capital Jakarta with its ten million inhabitants is the largest city in Southeast Asia. To the south is the business and shopping district and lively nightlife of Jakarta. Worth seeing are the tower, which is still under construction, the Jakarta Museum, the National Museum, the amusement park and the marina with lagoon and dolphinarium. Jakarta’s National Monument is located on Independence Square. The Monas Tower with its golden flame has a 115 m high viewing platform. Numerous places of worship, such as the Emmanuel Church, the Catholic Cathedral and the Istiqlal Mosque dominate the cityscape.
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The island of Bunaken with its 900 inhabitants lies three kilometers off the mainland of North Sulawesi. For divers and snorkeling fans, the 750 km² underwater national park with its huge cliffs that lead down into the depths is an indescribable experience. Supported by WWF, Bunaken National Park is on UNESCO’s list of proposals. About 70 percent of all fish living in the Pacific are native here. Visibility is particularly clear during the dry season between April and November.
Jakarta’s National Museum
The National Museum of Java is located near the Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta. Founded in the 18th century, it houses the oldest collection in all of Indonesia. The island state’s best museum deals with life on the many islands, the volcanoes and offers a lot of interesting information about the different peoples and their customs. Handicrafts with antique batik work and Buddhist-Hindu treasures from past centuries can also be admired in the National Museum.
The many beautiful beaches with their countless opportunities for water sports enthusiasts can hardly be listed, but some of the best diving spots stand out in particular. In Bali you will find very nice snorkeling and diving areas in Tulamben, Candi, Dasa or in Lovina. Water sports enthusiasts will also find good conditions for great diving experiences in Labuan Bajo on the west coast and off Weiara on the north coast of Flores, around the Banda Islands in Maluku or in Sulawesi on the Togian Islands. Windsurfing is mainly offered in Bali in Tanjun Benoa. On the Alas River in North Sumatra and the Yeh Ayung in Bali, organizers offer beautiful white water rafting tours.
In a country that has numerous volcanoes, endless jungle and extensive rice fields, every active vacationer will find a suitable adventure. Many organizers offer hiking and trekking tours. The Gunung Leuser National Park is particularly recommended for such tours. Good starting points are in Bukit Lawang and Ketambe. Challenging tours cross the jungles of Kalimantan or Irian Jaya in West Papua. Many of the numerous volcanoes can be climbed, beautiful tours lead to Gunung Bromo in East Java or Gunung Rinjani on Lombok.
Java’s Ujung-Kulon National Park
The Ujung-Kulon National Park on the southern tip of Java is known far beyond the borders of Indonesia. Untouched nature and diverse vegetation as well as a huge lowland rainforest characterize the oldest Indonesian park. Elevated to a national park together with the Krakatoa Nature Reserve, the Ujung-Kulon was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. Guided tours, also over several days, allow the visitor to immerse themselves in the incredibly diverse jungle world. With a bit of luck you can meet rare species of monkeys and the Javan rhino.
Sumatra’s Toba Lake
The largest volcanic lake on earth, the 100 km long Lake Toba is located in the north of Sumatra. In the middle of the lake is the island of Samosir, also known as the Spice Island. A once warlike and cannibalistic primitive people lived around the lake in picturesque and colorful houses. A relaxed atmosphere, mild climate and small guesthouses make exploring the deep crater lake with its beautiful surrounding villages and good cuisine a relaxing journey of discovery.
Lorentz National Park
The Lorentz National Park, the largest at 23,000 km², is located in West Papua. It is the only national park to include equatorial glaciers, lowland rainforest and tropical seas. Large parts are still unexplored because the jungle is partially inaccessible. This has preserved a huge population of bird species and mammals, only in 1994 a new species of tree kangaroo was discovered. Many primitive peoples live in the Lorentz National Park, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999. Worth seeing are the villages of the Dani tribes of the Baliem Valley and the Habbema plateau. There is excellent bird watching.