Indonesia is quite simply, huge. Straddling the equator and lying to the south of mainland Southeast Asia, Indonesia is a tropical country of the Malay archipelago (the world’s largest archipelago by area) and is itself a vast archipelago or chain of volcanic islands. There are in fact over 18,000 different islands in Indonesia alone.
The five main Indonesian islands however are Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi, Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) and Papua (Irian Jaya). Sumatra is the largest of these while Java is the most densely populated.
The country received about 12 million foreign visitors in 2016, which makes it slightly more popular than Vietnam. However, it’s likely that the majority of these tourists didn’t explore much beyond Bali.
Because Indonesia is so large and so diverse, it beckons to outsiders for a plethora of reasons. The country’s mountainous nature and its 150+ active volcanoes make it an exciting place to visit. The volcanoes also yield some amazing hiking opportunities. With over 300 ethnic groups scattered across the archipelago, the native inhabitants and their incredibly diverse and fascinating cultures act as another powerful magnet. Foreign visitors are also drawn in by the awesome diving opportunities, the ruins and remnants of Indonesia’s former Buddhist and Hindu empires (existing before the takeover of Islam), hot springs and the jaw-dropping plunge waterfalls, which Indonesia has no dearth of.
Indonesia is a very inexpensive country in virtually all respects; food, transport, accommodation etc. The local food can be excellent too. However, beer is generally quite expensive and sometimes difficult to obtain, because it is a Muslim majority country. However, there are cheaper ways to imbibe alcohol than buying beer, such as by drinking glasses of tuak, a local beverage made from the fermented palm sap of the Toddy palm tree.
We first travelled Indonesia in 2016 for a period of two months, flying into Jakarta, the capital city of Java and slowly making our way east across the island until we eventually reached the city of Yogyakarta, Java’s cultural heart. We fell in love with Indonesia during this first trip and have since returned twice to Sumatra.
The following videos document our Indonesia experiences in the exact order in which they occurred. There is no Jakarta video as we didn’t stay in the city long enough to do it justice.