5 travel destinations in Indonesia other than Bali
Indonesia is an island country with 13,466 islands. It is a home to 1,300 ethnic groups with almost 2,500 spoken languages and dialects. Yet, when it comes to tourist destinations, Bali is still the most popular tourist spot. While Bali earns this because of its authentic and exotic culture, wonderful beaches, great food, and beautiful landscape, there are several other places that can offer about the same and much more in Indonesia.
1. Komodo National Park
Komodo National Park consists of three islands: Komodo, Padar, and Rinca island, and its part of East Nusa Tenggara Province. The park is established to conserve Komodo, a giant lizard native to the island. These islands offer beautiful landscape be it above ground or under the sea. Travelers can choose to explore these island on a private or group guided tour.
These islands can be reached from Labuan Bajo, and to get to Labuan Bajo there are regular flights with transit in Bali. Other means of transportation are also available from Bali, such as by bus or by boat, but it may take up to 36 hours. From Labuan Bajo, we can select tours to explore Komodo National Park.
Some activities that are popular to be done are trekking to the highest of Padar island where you can overlook the entire island landscape, enjoy the beautiful pink beach, or even snorkeling. Pink beach is one of seven beaches in the world that has a pink color. Is is believed that the color comes from broken coral flakes that mixed with the sand.
2. Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat is part of West Papua Province, and is a group of islands as well. There are four main islands. They are Waigeo, Misool, Salawati, and Batanta. Aside being famous for its green beautiful jewels that emerge from the sea, Raja Ampat is also famous for the beauty of its underwater world. In fact, marine diversity in Raja Ampat is the highest in the world. It is home to 1,508 fish, 537 coral, and 699 molusk species.
Since it is quite far from Indonesia’s capital city of Jakarta, it takes around a seven-hour flight from there to Sorong (includes transit). When you arrive at Sorong, you can go to Sorong Harbor by Chartered motorcycle (bemo), or public car (bemo). From the harbor, you can continue your trip by boat to Raja Ampat. It takes two hours boat ride to reach Wasai, a city in Waigeo Island (Raja Ampat capital city).
Some activities that can be done whilst in Raja Ampat include sailing, kayaking, island hopping by boat, snorkeling, fishing, trekking, or enjoy its seafood dish.
3. Tana Toraja
Tana Toraja is a Regency in South Sulawesi, Sulawesi Island in Indonesia. The indigenous people in Tana Toraja are Toraja, and they are still preserving their traditional activities and lifestyle day by day. It has a very rich culture, and one of them is Rambu Solo. Rambu solo is a funeral ceremony, similar to Ngaben in Bali. Rambu Solo is the most expensive funeral ceremony in Indonesia, if not in the world. It is held in days, and involves sacrificing buffaloes. The higher the social class of the death, the more buffaloes it sacrifices. The funeral is usually held in July to October. Tana Toraja also famous for its unique traditional houses and landscapes.
Tana Toraja can be reached from Makassar, the provincial capital city in South Sulawesi. And to get to Makasar, there are regular flights that depart from Jakarta. From Makassar, Tana Toraja can be reached by plane, by bus (eight to ten hours), or by chartered vehicle.
There are many things to see and experience in Tana Toraja such as home-staying at local residence, seeing Pallawa (the traditional house), Tumonga Stone (a group of 56 two to three meters rocks), and Lemo (burial site inside carved stone).
4. Borobudur Temple
Borobudur Temple or Candi Borobudur is the largest Buddhist historic site in the world. It was built on year 824 and was once buried under Merapi Mountain’s volcanic ashes before it was discovered by Sir Thomas Stanford Raffles in 1814. There are 504 Buddhist statues and 72 stupas in the complex. During Buddhist’s Waisak Day, Buddhists from around the world gather in this temple for religious ceremonies which are usually followed by releasing paper lanterns to the sky.
Borobudur is located in Central Java Province, and accessible from the nearest international airport in Yogyakarta or Solo City. From there, there are chartered vehicle and buses with regular departure to the site.
The Borobudur complex is very wide, we can spend one day to explore every edges of the temple. It’s probably a good idea to combine a visit to Candi Borobudur with visits to other nearby temple such as Candi Prambanan or Candi Mendut.
5. Lake Toba
Lake Toba or Danau Toba is located in North Sumatera Province in Sumatera Island. It is a volcanic lake with 100 kilometers long and 30 meters wide. It is the biggest lake in Indonesia and it is unique in that it has a volcanic island in the middle of the lake, named Samosir Island.
Lake Toba can be accessed from Medan, Provincial City of North Sumatera. From Medan, we can use public transport to Parapat, the closest town to Lake Toba for four to six hours journey.
Some interesting activities around the lake are boating in the lake, watching Batak traditional dance (Batak is an ethnic group in North Sumatra), explore the landscape to see Sipisopiso Waterfall. And don’t miss tasting its traditional food, named Saksang. It is made from pork with Batak Spices.
By hopping from Jakarta (Java Island), Komodo National Park, Raja Ampat (Papua New Guinea), Tana Toraja (Sulawesi Island), and Lake Toba (Sumatera Island), we practically have visited four out of five biggest Islands in Indonesia as well.