Indonesia: Some of The Best Place to Travel To in Indonesia

Beach, Corals, Sunset, Lagoon, Mountains, Volcano, Crater, Lake; Indonesia never runs out of place to visit. These are just some of the bests.

Pantai Tanjung Bira (Bira Bay Beach)

Tanjung Bira beach is so beautiful and astonishing with its white soft sandy beach, that your feet will feel almost like stepping on wheat flour. In the location, visitor can swim, sunbathing, diving, as well as snorkelling. Visitors are able to watch and enjoy the sunrise and sunset from the same spot. They can also enjoy the beauty of two islands located just right in front of the beach, Island of Liukang and Island of Kambing. The Bay of Bira is located at the most southern tip of South Sulawesi Province, exactly at Kecamatan Bonto Bahari, Kabupaten Bulukumba. It is located 40 km away from The City of Bulu Kumba, or 200 km from The City of Makassar, the capital city.

Pegunungan Karst Bantimurung Sulawesi Selatan (South Sulawesi Karst Bantimurung Mountains)

Bantimurung National Park has one of the most beautiful nature landscape. It is so because in this national park, there is an eternal spring that water will never dry. Therefore, hundreds variety of plants can survive even in the long dry season.

Pulau Komodo (Komodo Island), NTT

Komodo National Park is an area consists of a lot of islands and sea. The islands are a home of Komodo (Varanus Komodonensis), one of the very few prehistoric reptile that still remains on earth. The nature landscape here is unique, remarked by the vast island-wide savana and its Lontar Tree (Borassus Flabellifer).

Danau Toba (Lake of Toba), Sumatera Utara

Lake of Toba is a volcanic lake, 100 km long and 30 km wide, makes it the biggest volcanic lake in the world. In the middle of the lake, there is a volcanic island, named Pulau Samosir (The Island of Samosir).

Danau Singkarak (Lake of Singkarak)

Lake of Singkarang stands between 2 regencies in West Sumatra, Solok Regency and Tanah Datar Regency. With an area of 107,8 square km, this lake is the second largest lake in Sumatra Island. The lake is the head of Batang Ombilin. Some of the water from the lake is flowing cutting through The Hill of Barisan to Batang Anai to rotate the generator at Singkarak Electricity Generation Plant, near Lubuk Alung, Padang Pariaman. Bilih fish (Mystacoleucus Padangensis) is a fish species that can’t be found anywhere else in this world but this lake; it has become one of local delicacy. Researchers reveal 19 other different species of fish that are able to survive with limited food at Lake of Singkarak.

 Gunung Kelimutu (Kelimutu Mountain), NTT

Kelimutu Mountain is an active volcano majestically stands on Flores Island, NTT Province, Indonesia. The exact location of this mountain is at Pemo Village, Kecamatan Kelimutu, Ende Regency. The mountain has three crater lakes on the top. The lake is well known as Three Colour Lakes because each has different colour, red, blue, and white. Even so, the colour actually always change as time goes by.

Baluran National Park, Jawa Timur

Baluran is The Africa of Indonesia, this national park is the face of dry forest ecosystem in Java Island; consist of savana vegetation, mangrove forest, monsoon forest, coastal forest, submontana forest, swamp forest, and the evergreen forest that will always looks green all the time. Savana vegetation dominates 40% area of Baluran National Park.

Pulau Belitung (Belitung Island), Bangka Belitung

Beautiful island, unique view of white sand beach decorated by artistic small granite stones and crystal clear sea water, surrounded by hundreds of small islands.

Bunaken, Sulawesi Utara

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Bunaken Marine Park has 20 diving spots, varying in depth up to 1344 meter. From those 20 diving spots, 12 are located around Bunaken Island. These twelve are the most visited by diver and underwater scenery fetish.

Puncak Jaya Wijaya, Papua

Indonesia should be proud of the uniqueness and the rich of nature and tradition. This time , it’s about Carstenz Pyramid, or often being called by Puncak Jaya, in Papua. This Carstenz Top is the highest in Australia and Oceania.

Danau Gunung Tujuh (Seven Mountain Lake), Jambi

Kerinci should be proud of Danau Gunung Tujuh (Seven Mountains Lake) which is the highest lake in South East Asia. Beside that, there also some other small lakes with its own unique scenery. Belibis Lake with its natural view gives a  different touch.

Pulau Derawan (Derawan Island), Kalimantan Timur

In the surrounding waters, lies a national park which is a famous diving tourism centre with depth about 5 meter. In the depth of 10 meter, lies corals farm well known as “Blue Trigger Wall”

Lembah Harau (Harau Valley)

The Valley of Harau which located in Sumatra Barat Province is a gigantic cliff with diameter reaching 400 meter. Walking to the valley is a lot of fun. With the fresh air, you can enjoy surrounding beautiful scenery. Granite Cliffs are towering with their unique shape, surrounding the valley. These granite cliffs have 80-300 meter heights. In short, from the very start when we enter The Valley of Harau, we would find a lot of beauty all along the way. It makes a lot of sense that climbers that visit the place name this place The Yosemite of Indonesia. This place has been attracting people attention for a long time. An old Dutch monument located at the bottom of Sarasah Bunta Waterfall is an evidence that The Valley of Harau has been often visited since 1926. At the monument, carved the signature of F. Rinner, Dutch Resident Assistant at Lima Puluh Koto; and two Indonesian officials, Tuanku Laras Datuak Kuning nan Hitam and Datuak Kodoh.

Kepulauan Raja Ampat (Raja Ampat Archipelago), Papua Barat

Raja Ampat is an archipelago located at the west of Papua Island, Papua Barat province, exactly at the “head” of Papua Island bird. This archipelago is ultimate destination for divers who interested in its underwater beauty.

Kawah Ijen (Ijen Crater), Jawa Timur

Ijen crater is an volcanic tourism destination in Indonesia. It has been very famous for both domestic and local tourist for its breathtaking natural scenery.

Danau Sentani (Sentani Lake), Papua

Sentani Lake is located underneath Cycloops Highland slope which spread between Jayapura City and Jayapura Regency, Papua. Sentani Lake’s landscape, with its cluster of islands in the center, is one of the prettiest in Indonesia.

Danau Ranau (Ranau Lake)

This lake is located in the border of Lampung Barat Regency, Lampung Province; and Ogan Komering Ulu Selatan Regency, South Sumatra Province. This lake was created from a big earthquake and volcanic explosion that makes a gigantic basin. Located at 4°51′45″LS,103°55′50″BT, geographically, Ranau Lake topography which consists of hills with a lot of valley, has a very comfortable weather.

Notes: all articles and pictures belong to warrenroland from Kaskus (http://www.kaskus.co.id/thread/52512e71a3cb17bf78000001/ngapain-liburan-jauh-jauh-ke-luar-negeri-kalau-negara-sendiri-belum-dikenal)

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Kepulauan Seribu, Jakarta, Indonesia: Where to go in Thousand Islands?

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No, No, No! Jakarta is not just about Macet (traffic jam in literal translation), banjir (flood), shopping malls, bar, clubs, restaurants, and cafes. Covered by its popularity as one of the most non liveable city on earth, Jakarta could potentially be more attractive if the governement put more attention in developing Kepulauan Seribu (Thousand Island), a regency consists of many small islands, just right at the north of Jakarta’s coast.
 
Though it can literally be translated as thousand islands, the place itself consists of ‘only’ 110 islands which 36 may be used for recreation. The farthermost is only 4-5 hours boat ride from Jakarta, the nearests is only about 30 minutes away, so in my opinion, Kepulauan Seribu is a better place to spend  my weekend at, rather than just going to shopping malls, clubs, or bar. Too cliche!
 
So what can we do in Kepulauan Seribu? Most of the places will allow you to stay at one of the house in the island’s village; and make it as your base camp to do island hopping to some of surrounding inhabited islands, enjoy beautiful untouched virgin beach, snorkelling, diving, or fishing. But for you who desire a relaxation at luxury beach resort and villas, Kepulauan Seribu has plenty of place as well. Here are some of the places you can visit in Kepulauan Seribu.
 
1. Pulau Tidung
This is the most iconic island of the entire Kepulauan Seribu Area. Even when I visited 4 years ago, the island has been so crowded with tourist and the island’s village is somehow more commercial compared to the others.
How far: 2 hours from Jakarta
Duration to stay: 2 Days/1 Night 
Where to stay: Homestay at local village
What to do: 
  • Island Hopping – go have your own adventure with your snorkel gear and and swimming suit, but don’t put your expectation too high on the underwater scenery.
  • Cycling around the village – I found it fun to go cycling around the village with my bike. Rent the bicycle from locals in a very reasonable price

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  • Jump off the Bridge of Love, a bridge connecting the two main islands (Pulau Tidung Besar and Pulau Tidung Kecil). This is the icon of the island and people like to jump off the bridge just for fun. Well, I too jumped off the bridge. :p

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  • Enjoy the tongkol (tuna fish) as most of the food in the island are made of it.
     

2. Pulau Onrust-Kelor-Cipir

Not so faraway from Jakarta, the 3 islands were used to be a fortress during old Dutch colonial time (Pulau kelor), a Moslem pilgrim hospital (Pulau Cipir), and an administrative office for VOC (old Dutch trading organization). Obviously you can do a day round trip historical vacation. 
How far: 30-60 minutes from Jakarta
Duration to stay: day trip
Where to stay: 
What to do: 
  • Take photograph at Pulau Kelor’s fortress

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  • Visit Maria Vam De Velde grave and learn the mystery of it from the local

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3. Pulau Harapan

Surrounding islands have the best beach I’ve visited in Kepulauan Seribu so far. Since it’s located quite far from Jakarta, the sea is still clean and underwater living is still beautiful.

How far: 3 hours from Jakarta
Duration to stay: 2 Days/1 Night and more
Where to stay: homestay at local village
What to do: 
  • Diving! Snorkeling! – yes, you can enjoy the beautiful colourful corals and rich variety of underwater living creature not so far away from Jakarta. One of the diving spot has a sunken ship!
  • Enjoy sunset at one of the small island which I can’t remember the name (sorry :p). 90% of the island is vast white sand beach and you can enjoy the sunset from many different angle of the island

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  • Visit Bald Eagle Reservation Center

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  • Go to village square at night, if you’re lucky you might be able to enjoy local children playing traditional percussion.

4. Pulau Macan

I’ve never been here before, but this place is quite popular among Jakarta socialites for private beach villa relaxation kind of vacation. Expect to spend about $100-$200 per night.

5. Isle Est Indes

This is definitely the most expensive island to visit in Kepulauan Seribu. Not sure if it’s worth the price or not, but expect to spend more than USD 1000 per night to stay! Rumour has it, you’ll be treated like a king during your stay. Get more information here:

http://isleeastindies.com/

 

6. Pulau Pelangi

A private resort island designated to upper class visitor, in par with Pulau Puteri, Pulau Pantara, or Pulau Macan. Not much I can tell since the last time I was there, I merely did nothing but sleeping and eating. The food and the room facility make every penny I spent worthed.

How far:  1 hours from Jakarta using speedboat
Duration to stay: 2 Days/1 Night 
Where to stay: private bungalow
What to do: 
  • Since this is a private bungalow resort and you have dig your pocket deep for it, have a quality time with it just so you won’t regret what you spend.

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  • Do nothing! Just free your mind from whatever it is in your head before you come.

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  • You’ll find these chairs almost at every spot of the island. Sit down and just enjoy your time with your self .

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  • Eat at floating restaurant (I personally enjoy the food).

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  • They provide you with many facilities if you would to spent more money. Go canoeing, snorkelling, diving, table tennis-ing, swimming, or rent a boat to just see or go to surrounding uninhabited islands!
  • Sunsetting

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Not just those 6, there are still a lot more islands you can visit in Kepulauan Seribu. Each has its own uniqueness to offer. This may not always be applicable, but the sea in all the islands located before Pulau Pramuka (kepulauan Seribu’s capital regency) is polluted. Only those located after Pulau Pramuka are clean and have beautiful corals and underwater scenery. So plan your trip well!

If you want a cheap trip, you need to find a budget trip organizer. You may find it in a lot of Indonesian backpacking communities in the web. Do contact me if you need a contact person of one of them. And I’m open for invitation if you want to go there. Since I live in Jakarta, it’s easy for me to go any time on weekend.

Last but not least, Enjoy Jakarta!

Taal Volcano, Tagaytay, Philippine: Breathtaking Beauty Just Outside The Boisterous Manila

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Have had enough with the busy and rushful scene of modern living in Makati area in Manila, I took a day off to drive 90 minutes away from the city to The City of Tagaytay after hearing some rumours about its beauty. With its cool climate and breathtaking scenery of Taal Volcano in the middle of Taal Lake, Tagaytay City has become a favourite destination for many tourists looking for a sweet escape from the boisterous city of Manila. The volcano was the main reason why I decided to visit Tagaytay.

To reach the Volcano, people will usually take a bus or hire a car to drive to Tagaytay and find a local tour organizer in there. I was lucky because one of my colleague in Manila was kind enough to let me use her car to go to Tagaytay, not to mention about her gentle uncle who drove the car in Vin Diesel style going up and down the hilly road to the city. Reaching Tagaytay, I was surprised with a little bit of uncommon scene of so many locals, standing at the roadside, carrying cardboards with some writings on it offering their tour service to the volcano. So we made a stop and talked to one of the tour organizer, a gentle middle aged woman. My colleague who is a local, helped us to bargain the price, and then she let the organizer to hop into our car and show the way to Taal Lake to then take the boat crossing the lake to Taal Volcano. It’s pleasing to know that Philippine people are so easily befriending to the others. Though I didn’t understand a word, I could understand they were talking intensively like an old friends.

20 minutes drive from where we met the tour organizer, we reached and made a stop at a little hut at Taal Lake lakeside. The boat has been prepared for us to go anytime. Without any more waiting, we hopped into the boat and went straight to Taal Volcano. It was just a short boat ride, only about 20 minutes, so you don’t have to worry about sea sickness if you want to go.

I do have heard about how popular the place is, but I never imagine that the place is so crowded with a lot of tourists, bottled drink merchants, and horses walking around the place. It was just so chaotic, like Makati without asphalt, shopping centres, fancy hotels, and tall buildings.

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To go to the top of the volcano, you have 2 options: to walk by foot or to rent a horse and ride it with the help of local guide. First option will cost you PHP 550 for entrance fee. And second option will cost you PHP 2000 including the entrance fee. Since my friend was too afraid to ride the horse, we took the first option, to walk by foot to the top of the volcano. She does make sense though, the road to the top is very steep at some points, hence riding a horse to the top can be one scary experience.

It took about 1 hour from the village to reach the top of the volcano.

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The road to the top is a steep sandy road which in bright weather is very hot and dry because of the heat of the sun.

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If you ever going to this place, on the way to the top, please do take a moment to look behind and enjoy the scenery of the beautiful Taal Lake.

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And watch your steps! Some areas are dangerous to step because of the heat emitted from it. 

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On the top, you can enjoy the view of the lake which used to be an active crater in the middle of the volcano. Even though it isn’t the best view I ever seen, it is still gorgeous and rare. It is a lake in the middle of the volcano in the middle of a lake. A lake-ception! I spent about an hour enjoying the scenery while recharging my hydration with a fresh coconut water before going back to Tagaytay city.

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One thing that I notice, even though it is reachable with only 90 minutes from Manila and 30 minutes from Tagaytay City itself, Taal Volcano ironically is not often visited by local. Local would rather to just go to some fancy restaurants and cafes and enjoy the view of the volcano from many different angle around the city. Even so, the place is almost always packed and crowded by many domestic tourists from around the world.

Some of the restaurants and cafes in Tagaytay city are very cozy to recharge your energy before going back to the city. These restaurants are usually full with people from Manila visiting during weekend. I went to a place called Leslie, one of the most popular, and paid off my fatigue with this view…

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… And this delicious bowl of Bulalo, a Philippine style of Beef Soup, a Tagaytay local delicacy.

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As a conclusion, Taal Volcano may not be the best volcano to visit, Tagaytay city may not be the most relaxing place in the world, and Bulalo soup may not be the most delicious soup in the world; but if you feel like you have had enough with the modern scene of Manila and need a short sweet escape, this can be your option. I assure you it’s worth to visit!