Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populated country, and magnificently diverse, with more than 500 languages and dialects spoken across the land.
For many travellers, a trip to Indonesia begins in Bali. This island is synonymous with beautiful beaches, friendly residents and a rich and fascinating culture. Lots of people head here in search of either the laid-back surfer lifestyle or the party scenes of Kuta – and sometimes both. As such, it’s one of the most tourist-friendly of the islands, although there are also vast swathes of wilderness waiting to be explored if you’d rather head off the beaten track.
Lombok, located east of Bali, has a more relaxed pace of life compared to its neighbour. It is also a great island for trekking and taking in a different side to Indonesian life.
Alternatively, the hustling, bustling island of Java is a good place to start too. It’s densely populated and always buzzing; the best approach to take is to just throw yourself in at the deep end and fully immerse yourself in Javanese culture. Visit Jakarta, the capital, to experience museums, malls and a lively nightlife scene.
Indonesia has lots to offer nature lovers. There are thousands of beaches to choose from, whether you want the powder-white shores of the Gili Islands or the atmospheric black sand of Bali’s Lovina Beach. Alternatively, for a jungle adventure, head for Sumatra. This gorgeous island remains relatively unexplored and is home to some incredible plant and animal life including the wonderful native orangutans.