Indonesia is one of Singaporean’s favourite country for weekend getaways and holidays due to its proximity with our Little Red Dot. Located between Asia and Australia, Indonesia is an archipelago tropical and also the 4th most populous country in the world. Comprising of 17,000`s islands between the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean, you can look forward to be intrigued by the diverse heritage and culture across the country as there are more than two hundred tribes and languages to explore and experience. Here’s 8 of our favourite Indonesia’s experiences for your considerations:
1. Jogjakarta – Borobudur
Located on the island of Java, the magnificent Borobudur temple is the world’s biggest Buddhist monument. Built in the 9th century during the reign of the Syailendra dynasty, the temple’s is a marvel of architecture and design, decorated with 2,672 relief panels, 504 Buddha statues and built without using any kind of cement or mortar! The structure is like a set of massive interlocking Lego blocks held together without any glue.
The monument is both a shrine to the Lord Buddha and a place for Buddhist pilgrimage. The ten levels of the temple symbolize the three divisions of the religion’s cosmic system. As visitors begin their journey at the base of the temple, they make their way to the top of the monument through the three levels of Budhist cosmology, Kamadhatu (the world of desire), Rupadhatu (the world of forms) and Arupadhatu (the world of formlessness). As visitors walk to the top the monument guides the pilgrims past 1,460 narrative relief panels on the wall and the balustrades.
2. Medan – Lake Toba
Lake Toba is a crater lake so enormous that it has an island almost the size of Singapore in its centre! At over 1,145 square kilometers, and a depth of 450 meters, Lake Toba is the largest lake in Southeast Asia and one of the deepest lakes in the world.
Lake Toba is a place to sit back, relax and take in the beautiful pristine scenery. As you sit and take in the view of the picturesque mountains set against the cool clear lake, you will feel the worries of the world melt away. As the lake sits 900 meters above sea level there is a cooler climate here making a refreshing break from the heat, humidity and pollution of the city.
3. Manado – Bunaken
Bunaken is an island in the Bay of Manado, situated in the north of the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia. The translucent waters of the Bunaken seas allow you to savour the 13 species of coral reefs in this park, dominated by edge ridges and block ridges of rocks. The most attractive view is the steep vertical sloppy coral reef that plunges down as deep as 25-50 meters.
For those who enjoy scuba diving, this is a great place to be. With about 20 dive spots to choose from, divers will have the chance to swim below the sea, and frolic joyfully while admiring 91 types of fish found in the Bunaken National Park, amongst which are the locally known gusimi horse fish (Hippocampus), the white oci (Seriola rivoliana), yellow-tailed lolosi (Lutjanus kasmira), goropa (Ephinephelus spilotoceps and Pseudanthias hypselosoma), ila gasi (Scolopsis bilineatus) and others.
4. Makassar – Tana Toraja
Safely protected beyond the lofty mountains and rugged granite cliffs of the central highlands of the island of Sulawesi, are the Toraja people who today still adhere to their age-old beliefs, rituals and traditions. Toraja is most well known for its elaborate funeral ceremonies that can take days and involve entire villages. These are not only moments for mourning but are moreover events to renew family ties and to ensure continued unity among villages and communities.
Death ceremonies, however, are held only after the last rice harvest is in and cleared, which is normally between July to September, while ceremonies celebrating life are held in conjunction with the planting season which starts in October. These timings are possible since the dead are not buried immediately but are kept for months, sometimes for years, in the ancestral house until time and funds allow for a proper funeral.
5. Bali – Ubud
Steeped in culture and enhanced by magnificent vistas, Ubud offers a respite from the humdrum of your busy life. Ubud pampers visitors in body and soul. Fine dining restaurants and spas here will delight and relax your senses while a walk through the lush paddy fields, watching colourful processions of women gracefully balancing piles of fruit offerings on their way to the temple will be a beautiful and impressive sight to remember forever.
The region is steeped in history and culture. Many remains from the old kingdoms of Bali can be found here, and unique arts and crafts are just waiting to be discovered.
6. Lombok – Gili Islands
Gili Islands boost of white sandy beaches, tropical coral reefs and warm inviting waters. With no cars, no motorbikes and no distractions other than beautiful tropical island scenery, the Gili islands off the northwest coast of Lombok are truly an ideal destination for a tropical getaway.
For divers and snorkelers, there are few places better than the Gili’s where you can get up close to all kinds of marine life including a green turtle (Chelonia mydas) in all its glory. Swim up and watch this graceful creature glide through the ocean. You should be able to spot these turtles at depths of 10-20 meter below sea level.
Renowned for friendly locals and superb natural beauty, each of the 3 Gili island’s are well prepared for tourists. Gili Trewangan is the largest and most popular of the three islands. It has a vibrant nightlife to keep you entertained once the sun goes down. If you’re after a quiet getaway, try Gili Meno or Gili Air.
7. Surabaya – Mount Bromo
While Mount Bromo may be small when measured against other volcanoes in Indonesia, the magnificent volcano will not disappoint with its spectacular views and dramatic landscapes.
The eerie landscape has spurned countless legends and myths. Mount Bromo has particular significance for the Tengger people who believe that this was the site where a brave prince sacrificed his life for his family. The people here appease the Gods once a year during the annual Kasada festival where offerings of vegetables, chickens and money are thrown into the crater of the volcano.
8. Jakarta – Old Bavaria
Behind the President’s Palace is the canal which runs north pass the old Archive building to the Old Batavia, once the seat of the Dutch East Indies Company in the 17th century. Here renovations continue to preserve this historic area of the city which is dominated by the Stadhuis, or municipal building, which now houses the Jakarta History museum.
In front of it is a central paved plaza, now named the Fatahillah Square, after Sultan Fatahillah, founder of this port, who, before the arrival of the Dutch razed the old harbour to the ground on 22 June 1527 and renamed it Jayakarta, City of Victory. The square is surrounded by once important Dutch government buildings that have now become museums, among which the Fine Arts Museum, the Wayang Museum, and the Museum Bank Mandiri.
Further down is the old harbor called Sunda Kelapa, in its heyday it was the thriving entrepot for the Far East trade in cloves, nutmeg and pepper, sandalwood, silks and more. Here one can still admire majestic Bugis phinisi schooners at anchor where men still carry on their backs loads of merchandise for the archipelago. A new Batavia Marina has been built near this harbor. Nearby are also the old warehouses where now stands the Maritime Museum. If you are visiting Jakarta, do consider staying at Big Hotel Jakarta, See Now.
We hope you enjoyed our selection of 8 Long Weekend Getaway Attractions In Indonesia. Do share with us other interesting attractions that are suitable for weekend getaways in the comments section below.