Must see attractions in Indonesia

  • Top ChoiceSights in Prambanan

    Prambanan Temple

    Comprising the remains of some 244 temples, World Heritage–listed Prambanan is Indonesia's largest Hindu site and one of Southeast Asia's major attractions. The highlight is the central compound, where eight main and eight minor temples are assembled on a raised platform – an architectural crescendo of carved masonry and staircases, the high note of which is Candi Shiva Mahadeva. Prambanan sits within a large park dotted with lesser temples – a day is needed to do the site justice.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Borobudur

    Borobudur Temple

    Dating from the 8th and 9th centuries, and built from two million blocks of stone, Borobudur is the world's largest Buddhist temple and one of Indonesia's most important cultural sites. The temple takes the form of a symmetrical stone stupa, wrapped around a hill and nestled in a compound of trimmed lawns fringed with tropical hardwoods. Remarkable for the detail of the stone carving, this beautiful monument looks particularly enigmatic at dawn and dusk – a sight worth the extra entry fee.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Raja Ampat Islands

    Wayag

    These small, uninhabited and incredibly picturesque islands, 30km beyond Waigeo, feature heavily in Raja Ampat promotional material. It’s mainly liveaboards that dive here, but Wayag also attracts nondivers for its scenery, snorkelling and the challenge of scaling its highest peak, Pindito, also known as Wayag I. A second, slightly lower peak (referred to as Wayag II) offers equally breathtaking views.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Munduk

    Banyu Wana Amertha Waterfalls

    Newly developed as a tourist attraction in early 2018, the falls here are among the best on Bali. It’s about a 20-minute walk from the car park; a 500m trail, which is paved only with concrete stones and logs, winds through a village and coffee plantation. You'll eventually arrive at a large sign, where the path diverges to four separate cascades. Touches like colourful shrubs, bamboo huts and bridges make them especially Insta-worthy. Get here before the crowds catch on.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Lore Lindu National Park

    Bada Valley

    Seemingly scattered haphazardly around the hills near Lore Lindu National Park are some 400 ancient stone megaliths of unknown origin that might be over 5000 years old. A fine assortment of these can be found – with a guide – in Bada Valley, 60km west of Tentena, including the 4m tall, anatomically correct, leaning Palindo. While you can see many of the statues in one long day from Tentena, several villages do have homestays or guesthouses including Bomba, Gintu and Tuare.

  • Sights in Tanjung Puting National Park

    Orang-utan Feedings

    Orang-utan feedings at Tanjung Puting National Park are part of an ongoing rehabilitation process, but also allow visitors a near-guaranteed opportunity to see the great apes in semi-wild surroundings. Feedings take place at three camps: Tanjung Harapan (3pm), Pondok Tangui (9am) and Camp Leakey (2pm). Times are generally fixed and scheduled to allow boat-bound tourists to visit all three on a two-night boat trip. Reaching camp feeding stations requires a short walk through jungle from the dock.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Togean Islands

    Taman Nasional Kepulauan Togean

    Togean Islands National Park was gazetted in 2004, and in 2017 was declared a tourism area of national significance. The park encompasses 3400 sq km of ocean and 250 sq km of land, and contains several of Indonesia's endemic and endangered plants and animals. The islands are home to 596 species of reef fish, 315 species of coral and even a few primates including the Togean macaque and Togean tarsier.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Ijen Plateau

    Kawah Ijen

    The Ijen plateau's most extraordinary sight is the magnificent turquoise sulphur lake of Kawah Ijen. A night hike to the crater in which the lake boils will introduce you to blue fire, spectacular scenery and a group of men with what must be one of the world's most unusual jobs. Pay entry fees at the PHKA post.

  • Sights in Lore Lindu National Park

    Behoa Valley

    The valley around Bariri village is littered with megalithic objects, including statues of human forms as well as massive kalamba (stone pots) and tutu'na (stone lids). The region is alternately called Behoa or Besoa. Trekking from here to Bada Valley (or vice versa) is popular.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Jambi

    Muara Jambi

    This scattering of ruined and partially restored temples is the most important Hindu-Buddhist site in Sumatra. The temples are believed to mark the location of the ancient city of Jambi, capital of the kingdom of Malayu 1000 years ago. Most of the candi (temples) date from the 9th to the 13th centuries, when Jambi’s power was at its peak. Grab a bicycle (per day 10,000Rp) at the entrance to explore the immensely peaceful forested site, marvelling at the temple stonework

  • Top ChoiceSights in Yogyakarta

    Kraton

    Beside the southern alun-alun (main square), Yogya's enormous kraton (palace) is the cultural and political heart of this fascinating city. Effectively a walled city, this complex of pavilions and residences is home to around 25,000 people and encompasses a market, shops, cottage industries, schools and mosques. Around 1000 of the inhabitants are employed by the resident sultan. Although it's technically part of the kraton, there's a separate entrance (and ticket) for the Pagelaran Pavilion, overlooking the northern alun-alun.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Gunung Lawu

    Candi Sukuh

    In a magnificent position 900m above the Solo plain with fine views of Gunung Lawu, Candi Sukuh is one of Java’s most enigmatic and striking temples. It’s not a large site, but it's beautifully proportioned with a truncated pyramid of rough-hewn stone. Fascinating reliefs and Barong statues decorate the facade. It’s clear that a fertility cult was practised here: several explicit carvings have led to Sukuh being dubbed the ‘erotic’ temple. It’s a quiet, isolated place with a potent atmosphere.

  • Sights in Denpasar

    Museum Negeri Propinsi Bali

    Think of this as the British Museum or the Smithsonian of Balinese culture. It's all here, but unlike those world-class institutions, you have to work at sorting it out – the museum could use a dose of curatorial energy. Most displays are labelled in English. The museum comprises several buildings and pavilions, including many examples of Balinese architecture, housing prehistoric pieces, traditional artefacts, Barong (mythical lion-dog creatures), ceremonial objects and rich displays of textiles. Ignore the 'guides'.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Ubud

    Agung Rai Museum of Art

    If you only visit one museum in Ubud, make it this one. Founder Agung Rai built his fortune selling Balinese artwork to foreigners in the 1970s, and during his time as a dealer he also built one of Indonesia's most impressive private collections of art. This cultural compound opened in 1996 and displays his collection in two purpose-built gallery buildings – highlights include the wonderful 19th-century Portrait of a Javanese Nobleman and his Wife by Javanese artist Raden Saleh (1807–80).

  • Top ChoiceSights in Kelimutu

    Kelimutu National Park

    Kelimutu National Park is a Nusa Tenggara must. Its centrepiece is Gunung Kelimutu, crowned by three startling lakes that shift colour thanks to dissolving minerals. Try to swallow your outrage at locals paying only 10,000Rp entry and lap up the ethereal beauty instead. Alert local guides if you dream about the sacred lakes – apparently siren-like spirits have lured people to their demise, which can be avoided if the right prayers and offerings are made.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Singaraja

    Sekumpul Waterfall

    Sitting 18km southeast of Singaraja, some six or seven separate waterfalls – all fed by upland streams – pour up to 80m over cliffs in a verdant bamboo-forested valley. From the car park, it's a hilly 45-minute, 1km walk through the tiny Sekumpul village, where trees of clove, cacao, jackfruit, mangosteen and more lead the way to steep stairs. Trails wind through the valley from one cascade to the other and its easy to while the day away in their splendor.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Merdeka Square & Central Jakarta

    Museum Nasional

    The National Museum is the best of its kind in Indonesia and an essential visit. The enormous collection begins around an open courtyard of the 1862 building, which is stacked with magnificent millennia-old statuary including a colossal 4.5m stone image of a Bhairawa king from Rambahan in Sumatra, who is shown trampling on human skulls. The ethnology section is superb, with Dayak puppets and wooden statues from Nias sporting beards (a sign of wisdom) plus some fascinating textiles.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Gunung Agung

    Pura Besakih

    Perched nearly 1000m up the side of Gunung Agung, this is Bali's most important Hindu temple. The site encompasses 23 separate but related temples, with the largest and most important being Pura Penataran Agung, built on six levels terraced up the slope. It has an imposing candi bentar (split gateway); note that tourists are not allowed inside. The Pura Besakih complex hosts frequent ceremonies, but the recent eruptions of the volcano have kept both worshipper and visitor numbers down.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Merdeka Square & Central Jakarta

    Merdeka Square

    It is here that Jakartans come to take a breather from the traffic. The figurative centre of Jakarta, Merdeka Square ( merdeka means independence) is actually a trapezoid measuring almost 1 sq km. In the 19th century, the Dutch called it Koningsplein (Kings Square) and it became a focal point for the city after they moved the government here from old Batavia (Kota). It's always had an important role in local life. The main entrance is on the south side.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Ulu Watu

    Pura Luhur Ulu Watu

    This important temple is perched precipitously on the southwestern tip of the peninsula, atop sheer cliffs that drop straight into the ceaseless surf. Enter through an unusual arched gateway flanked by statues of Ganesha. Inside, the walls of coral bricks are covered with intricate carvings of Bali’s mythological menagerie (note that there's also an earth-bound menagerie of thieving monkeys). A popular Kecak dance is held in the temple grounds at sunset (arrive by 5pm).