Easily accessible from Jakarta, Bogor and Bandung, Pelabuhan Ratu not only offers beaches and a view of the Indian Ocean, but also tropical forests. There are simple cottages and one hotel of international standard (Samudra Beach Hotel).
Jakarta (DKI Jakarta)
Indonesia's capital and cultural melting pot. Taman Mini Indonesia (Indonesia in miniature), Sea World at Ancol and Ancol Dream Land, National Monument (Monas), cultural performances at Taman Ismail Marzuki, Wayang Museum, National Museum, Bird market (Pasar Burung), Istiqlal Mosque.
Savor great meals at the many international restaurants, see Kelapa Sunda harbor with its traditional pinisi sailing cargo ships from Sulawesi.
Not far from the harbor, in the old quarter of the city near Jalan Pakin and Kali Besar the old lighthouse, Menara Syahbandar, the Maritime Museum and Cafe VOC Galangan give you a taste of colonial times.
The National Museum (Museum Fatahillah) was Batavia's City Hall during the colonial times. The location is bustling with activities on Sundays.
Double decker tourist buses make it easier to see the most important sites.
Shop until you drop in the many shopping malls: Jakarta has the world's highest shopping mall density per capita.
Looking for a place to stay or to unwind a bit? Expats favor Kemang neighborhood.
North from Jakarta in the Java Sea is a popular weekend destination, called Thousand Islands. There are cottages for rent and activities include snorkeling, diving and fishing.
Visit the Botanical Gardens, the Presidential palace and the nearby safari park.
Situated halfway between Bogor and Bandung, cool Puncak offers weekend cottages, hotels, tea estates.
Bandung is well known for its many surviving art deco buildings, such as Hotel Homann at Jalan Asia Afrika.
Owing to the favorable climate it is also famous as a strawberry center.
Enjoy a pancake breakfast, Bandung style, at Pancake Braga Permai restaurant. Dine all day, shifting through a menu of 1,100 items at Paskal Hyper Square.
One of the excellent spots for sweets, desserts and cakes are Bandungse Melk Centrale (Dutch for Bandung Dairy Factory), Toko Roti Bawean (formerly 'Sweetheart') and Sumber Hidangan offering Dutch cookies and sweets.
Shop along Braga street and get a taste for traditional West Javanese angklung music, such as at the late Pak Oedjo’s angklung school.
Hike up the active Tangkuban Perahu volcano, enjoy the hot springs at Ciater.
The Jatiluhur dam and its lake are not only used to generate electricity, but also for irrigation. A tourist park with cottages is part of the complex.
Although not easy to reach with public transportation, Pangandaran is the location of choice for nature lovers and hikers. Accommodation is modest.
Central Java: Semarang
Visit ancient Chinese temple Watu Gong, and the railway museum at Ambarawa. The nearby town of Jepara is famous for its woodworking.
Don't forget to take a break with a colonial snack or a sumptuous meal at Toko Oen.
The Karimunjawa National Park is a archipelago off the coast, north from Semarang. It is a paradise for beach afficionados, scuba divers and snorkelers. You can reach the islands either by Nam Air flight from Semarang (three times per week) or by boat from Semarang or Jepara.
Enjoy natural beauty and hot springs in Baturraden's Wana Wisata park. Can be reached easily from Pangandaran, Semarang, Magelang, and Yogyakarta.
Stop in Purbalingga, one of Java's cleanest towns.
The cool plateau lies at an altitude of almost 2,000 meters (10,000 ft) and offers volcanic activity, a nature park and a series of small temples.
The ancient Borobudur temple, one of the wonders of the world is just outside the town of Magelang. Recommend times for a visit are early morning( before sunrise) and late afternoon, to see the sunset.
Nearby you will also find smaller temples, such as Candi Mendut and Candi Pawon and a functioning Buddhist monastery (can be visited free of charge).
Note that visitors are required to dress modestly, not showing bare legs.
Mesastila Resort in Losari village, near Borobudur, is situated inside a coffee plantation. It offers stunning views on the surrounding mountains. It is a hotel without rooms. Instead guests stay in de luxe villas. The main building is a completely renovatedcolonial era mansion.
Just an hour's drive from either Semarang or Yogyakarta, Salatiga is a small and quiet town. You will find it a pleasant place to stay for a few days, enjoying the fresh air and the view of Mount Merbabu
Boasting three universities Salatiga is known as a town of science and learning.
Ambarawa: A small provincial town Ambarawa, approximately 10 kilometers West from Salatiga or 31 kilometers South from Semarang is known for the Ambarawa Steam Railway Museum, located in the former Willem I railway station. The museum's collection of steam engines is limited. However it gives a good overview of the history of the colonial railway system in Java.
The town of Klaten, just East from Prambanan is home to the Sugar Museum (Museum Gula), housed in the former sugar mill, characterized by well preservded colonial architecture.
Visit the two Sultan palaces of Kasunanan and Mangkunegaran, Tawangmangu park and shop for bargains along Jalan Selamat Riyadi. Near Singaran village the fossilized remains of ‘Java Man’ were discovered (Pithecanthropus erectus) in 1891.
Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta: Yogyakarta
Sultan’s Palace (Kraton), Water Palace, bird market, silver works at Kotagede, visit Borobudur (near the town of Magelang) and Prambanan and Kalasan temples. Please note that visitors are required to dress modestly, not showing bare legs.
Kaliurang mountain resort offers cool air and a climb through the forest.
Climb Merapi volcano, go to the beach at Parangtritis (don't go for a swim; the undertow is lethal). Looking for a site with very few international tourists? Try beaches with stunning views and caves in Baron, Ngobaran, Drini Indrayanti and several others.
Shop along Malioboro street and see Beringharjo market, the biggest traditional indoor market in Indonesia.
Take cooking or batik courses.
In the town of Imogiri you will find the royal cemetery, which is open to the public. Full traditional Javanese dress is required and can be rented on the spot.
Tip: enjoy an excellent meal at Moro Lejar restaurant, in the municipality of Sleman, near Kaliurang or at Numani, Jl Parangtritis, just South from the Ring Road. Try their ikan bakar (barbequed fish).
Tip: try Yogyakarta's traditional dish gudeg in one of the many gudeg restaurans along Jalan Wijilan.
Tip: at the underground level of Malioboro Mall (Jl. Malioboro) you'll find an excellent Periplus bookshop with many English titles and foreign magazines and newspapers.
Tip: check out the latest shopping malls: Ambarrukmo Plaza next to the recently renovated Royal Ambarrukmo Hotel and Hartono Mall at Ringroad Utara.
Prambanan: The Hindu Prambanan temple complex is a UNESCO world cultural heritage site. Watch the Ramayana ballet performed at an open air theatre at the Prambanan temple at night.
East Java: Trowulan
Some 60 Km southwest from Surabaya, on the road to Solo is the town of Trowulan the capital of the ancient Majapahit Empire. Majapahit artifacts can be found in the Trowulan Museum.
According to many, Surabaya is Indonesia’s culinary capital. See for yourself:
South from Surabaya up in the foothills lies the city of Malang, a two hour drive from Surabaya. Have pastries or a full meal at Toko Oen, still equipped with some of its original colonial furniture. See the last remains of the Singosari temple complex.
Malang's most recent attraction is Kmpung Pelangi (Rainbow Village) of Jodipan village. It boasts homes decorated in bright colors.
Tretes and Batu
Cool mountain resorts with fruit market and Kakek Bodo park with waterfall (steep climbs), Safari Park in Tretes.
Batu is famous for its orchards and gardens. Cottages can be rented for weekend stays.
Batu has turned itself into a tourism town jam-packed with theme parks and museums, such as: Jatim Park 1, 2 and 3 (theme parks); Transportation Museum (Museum Angkut) featuring vintage cars and scenes and charcters from Hollywood movies; Baru Secret Zoo & Museum Satwa; Batu Night Spectacular, a lantern park with rides; Kusuma Agrowisata, where you can pick fruit right from the trees and purchase fresh local produce; white water rafting; waterfals:Coban Rondo, Coban Talun and Coban Putri.
Bromo and Mount Semeru
Climb famous Bromo volcano to see the sunrise (tours start from Surabaya or Malang). The climb begins around 03.00 AM. Bring a warm jacket against the cold! Horses can be rented to make the climb easier.
Tours can be booked in nearby towns and cities: Surabaya, Probolinggo, Pasuruan and Malang, but also from Yogya and Solo.
Most, if not all tour operators will be happy to sell you an all-in ticket.
Relax one or two days in a simple cottage on the beach. Snorkeling, sailing in a traditional boat, see the coral reefs and underwater flora and fauna through the glass bottom.
Accommodations are rather simple. The Pasir Putih area urgently needs some upgrading.
Arguably the best waterfall in Indonesia, the Tumpak Sewu waterfall is an enclave covered by hundreds of waterfall streams, radiating a mystical and mighty view.
The Karangjar coffee plantation is a quiet place to experience a local cup of coffee and to learn about the history of the (colonial) coffee culture in Indonesia. The 145 year old buildings are well maintained. Even Indonesia's first president Soekarno spent time here.
Ferry port for the one hour crossing to Gilimanuk, Bali. But in addition, Banyuwangi has become a surfers' paradise. nearby Ijen volcano boasts blue colored lava. Alas Purwo National Park is home to endangered species, including the Java bull, Asiatic wild dog, Silvered leaf monnkey, green peafowl and olive Ridley turtles.
Borobudurpark (Everything about Borobudur and Prambanan temples, performances, tours and more)
Cybermap (Interactive map of Jakarta)
jcc.go.id (see everything that's going on at the Jakarta convention Center)
Indische koffie (restaurant/coffee shop inside the colonial Vredeburg fort in Yogyakarta at the southern end of Malioboro Street -site is in Indonesian only)
Regency of Bandung (history, sights, where to go, what to see)
indo.com (detailed information on Jakarta and Bali -where to go and what to do)
Selasar Sunaryo (Modern Indonesian Art Gallery, Bandung)
yogyes.com (hotel reservations, shopping sites and tours in and around Yogyakarta)
Bali Adventure Tours (Elephant Safari Park, rafting, kayaking, mountain cycling, trekking)
Balihomeparadise (Villas in Ubud by Bali Home Paradise, a professional trusted and villa rentals agency in Bali)
balisuci.com (Bali based tour operator with tours to many off-the-beaten track and eco-tourism destinations)
balitours-travel.com (Professional wedding organizer, Bali wedding, honeymoon, get married, Bali hotel, Bali wedding arrangement, holidays, accommodation, travel, Bali luxury villa, package, adventure, sightseeing, culture, online reservations)
Batik Popiler (the best handmade batik available in Bali and beyond)
indo.com (detailed information on Jakarta and Bali -where to go and what to do)
Joe's gone diving (diving center, Sanur, with Dutch management)
YesBaliPages (list of restaurants, shops, furniture producers, etc.)
Even further east from Flores is the small island of Alor, rarely visited by foreign tourists. Alor can be reached by air from Kupang by Trans Nusa and offers views of pristine coral reefs. Fishhermen traditionally hunt whalesharks.
See the komodo dragons (be careful, these are not pets, their bite is lethal).
The island can be reached by boat from Sumbawa or Flores.
See Fort Rotterdam. The Pantai Losari boulevard was once famous for its food vendors, but these have now all disappeared after the reconstruction of the boulevard.
Makassar (also known by its former name Ujung Pandang) is the departure point for overland trips to Tana Toraja.
Starting point for sport fishing and diving trips. There are several simple hotels for backpackers. Bira is a ferry harbor with a daily service to the island of Selayar. Public buses from Makassar to Selayar stop in Bira before boarding the ferry.
Excellent, largely unexplored diving opportunities, only two simple hotels are available on the island
Tana Toraja and Rantepao
Traditional burial sites in the rocks
Southeast Sulawesi: Kendari
Well known for its handicrafts and silver.
Bau-bau is the 'launch pad' for a visit to Wakatobi National Marine Park. Bau-bau can be reached by air from Jakarta, Surabaya or Denpasar, followed by a short flight on Express Air to Wakatobi.
East Indonesia (a focus on visiting Maluku and Papua)
RumahRp (Beach side guesthouse on the island of Saparua offering full board to 4 people. It features a living/dining room, kitchen, bathroom, two terraces, and two bedrooms. Each bedroom has two single beds.)
Raja Ampat is yet another fabulous location for sailing, snorkeling and diving. Get there by boat from Sorong. There are regular flights to Sorong from Jakarta, Makassar and Bali.
To protect its sharks and mantas, the local government has established the five million hectares Shark and Manta Marine Sanctuary.
Bird watching in Papua (specialized site for lovers of exotic birds and eco tourists)
Discover Papua (lots of tour options)
Papua-adventures (lots of information on traveling through one of the lesser known provinces in Indonesia)
Papua Adventure Tours and Travel (selected tour packages)