Experience the best of Jakarta’s city life, Bandung’s natural wonders, and Yogyakarta’s cultural influence
Indonesia is a magical country that has one of the most diverse cultures, traditions, and histories in Asia. Blending a unique mix of city life with natural and pristine forests and beaches, Indonesia has something for every modern day traveller. Every year millions of tourists are known to flock to the beautiful holiday island of Bali. But did you know that there is so much more to this amazing country than just beautiful beaches? To ensure that you make the most of Indonesia, we have compiled our ultimate guide to the top three cities you need to visit in Indonesia to fully immerse yourself in Indonesia’s diverse city, natural, and cultural experiences.
The City Experience
Jakarta is the sprawling capital city of Indonesia. It is the perfect city for you to experience the dynamic power of a bustling city and to feel the pulse of Indonesia’s growing and powerful next generation of influencers and game changers.
Start your day with a visit to Fatahillah Square where you can watch the locals and tourists interact with street vendors and performers. Firstly, grab yourself a quick bite from a local food cart, like the popular breakfast favourite Roti Bakar, to refuel for the day’s adventures. Next, visit the world-famous National Museum, where you can spend a few hours learning about Indonesian history and exploring the changing exhibitions. After exercising your mind at the museum, stop for lunch and try one of the traditional local dishes, such as Nasi Uduk or Ketoprak. After lunch, visit Indonesia’s largest mosque, The Istiqlal Mosque, to admire the intricate architecture and to attend one of the many educational seminars that are frequently held here. As night falls, make your way to Jakarta’s Old Town, or the old city of Batavia, as it was known under Dutch influence, and spend some of your rupiahs on the souvenirs and trinkets at the night market. End your night by admiring the beautifully lit up National Monument (MONAS) that commemorates Indonesia’s independence before heading to a local bar for a lively and fun end to your day.
Indonesian cuisine is delicious and addictive and once you start eating it you will have cravings for life. Two dishes that you must try while exploring Jakarta are Nasi Uduk, a steamed coconut rice served with a mix of daily side dishes such as curries, shredded omelette, and peanut sambal served in a banana leaf, and Ketoprak, Jakarta’s version of gado gado, which is a mix of tofu, vegetables, rice cake, and vermicelli topped with our personal favourite Indonesian peanut sauce. You can try the Ketoprak at the famous Ketoprak Cirgail Street Food Store and the Nasi Uduk at the popular Nasi Uduk Kebon Kacang Restaurant.
The Natural Experience
Bandung is Indonesia’s third biggest city. Its close proximity to Jakarta, cooler weather, and unique combination of peaceful natural sites with Dutch Colonial Architecture have made it a Travelers’ Choice Destination for 2016. And we couldn’t agree more!
One-day itineraries don’t do this amazing city justice. The best way to experience Bandung is to immerse yourself in the numerous and diverse natural experiences that the city has to offer. We recommend the following different activities to make the most of your Bandung visit:
Hike at Taman Wisata Maribaya
Here you can experience the majestic waterfalls and healing water of the hot springs in this mountainous area. We recommend filling your lungs with the fresh mountain air while taking a dip and resting your aching muscles in the mineral-filled waters of the natural hot springs, which are said to cure common skin ailments.
Enjoy the panoramic views from Lawang Wangi Café and Art Space
Experience 200-degree panoramic views over Bandung from this elevated café high up in the mountains. Sip on a coffee in between admiring the view, which can be appreciated at all times of the day, and the artworks of local emerging Indonesian artists.
Visit the magical Kawah Putih lake above the clouds
Following the eruption of Mount Patuha, a mystical lake was formed within its crater. It is said that many locals were too scared to venture to the lake, where birds were continually found dead in the area until a German botanist ventured up to the crater to find this stunning lake. Visitors to this popular attraction are rewarded with crystal blue waters surrounded by pure white sand and clouds that give this area an out of this world feel. Perfect for the ultimate Instagram shot!
Feast at the floating market in Lembang
Floating markets are a great way to sample local produce whilst interacting with the friendly locals. Bandung’s floating market provides you with the opportunity to satiate your traditional Indonesian cuisine cravings in a tranquil lake setting, the perfect way to enjoy your weekend and fill your belly.
Bandung’s cuisine features many of Indonesia’s favourite dishes with a few twists that help keep you warm in its colder temperatures. The city’s most popular dish is Mie kocok, beef noodle soup served over rice noodles, cow’s tendons and cartilage, and fresh herbs. This traditional dish is served all over the city, just look for a cart or restaurant with the words Mie Kocok in its title and you will find yourself slurping a delicious piping bowl of soup in no time. With a large number of these restaurants around the city, we recommend always choosing the one that is busiest at that time, so you are guaranteed the freshest bowl of Mie kocok that you can find.
It’s always best to have a clean, central, and affordable hotel while travelling. If you are looking for these 3 things, then The Grand Paradise Lembang Hotel has them all. With three varying standards of room to suit every budget and close proximity to all that Bundang and Lembang have to offer, such as the floating markets, The Grand Paradise Lembang Hotel is a great option for your next stay in Bandung.
Booking and More Information|| Find out here
The Cultural Experience
Known as Indonesia’s cultural capital, Yogyakarta is a must visit city for all travellers wanting to immerse themselves in Indonesia’s rich culture and history. The city is famous for its UNESCO-listed temples and educational influence over Indonesia and is a favourite amongst tourists.
No visit to Yogyakarta is complete without a visit to the one of the largest and most well-known Buddhist temples in the world, The Borobudur Stupa. It is a pilgrimage site for Buddhists from all over the world and is best visited at sunrise when the light creates magical shadows over its towering and powerful structures. Follow your visit to Borobudur with an exploration of the UNESCO listed site and the world famous Prambanan Temple. Not only is this site home to 240 beautifully maintained temples but it is also the main performance site of the Javanese influenced Ramayana Ballet troupe. Performances are a great way to experience the story of King Rama in a traditional dance setting, a Javanese tradition that Indonesia is famous for. With so many beautiful structures to be explored in this city, a much-needed time for relaxation should be added to your itinerary. We highly recommend participating in one of the numerous yoga retreats that are available in Yogyakarta. Retreats range from one day to two weeks and anywhere in between and are a great way to rejuvenate your body, mind, and soul.
Yogyakarta is famous for its small bakeries that serve up a local favourite, Bakpia Pathok. Commonly known as a bean cake, this small treat resembles a bread roll but is filled with a sweet mung bean paste. Easy to carry as a delicious snack while you explore the city’s numerous temples, we recommend you pop into a local bakery to ensure you always have a couple Bakpia, as they are most commonly known, on hand.
To find out more about the wonderful country of Indonesia, we highly recommend visiting their official tourist site to get inspired.