#An omnipresent sea
It is everywhere, a common identity reference point throughout the immense archipelago. And everywhere it is turquoise blue. It will be the pretext for boat trips, a first scuba diving experience or simply snorkeling. These bottoms are among the most beautiful and fishy in the world. And for the more sporty, surfers, it offers incredible spots, such as the waves of the Mentawai Islands.
Extraordinary sites :
The immense archipelago is home to some of the most remarkable natural attractions on the planet: rare animals such as the Sumatran tiger, orangutans or the surprising Komodo dragon, plants such as the rafflesia of one metre in diameter, and above all the fantastic landscapes created by these chains of volcanoes (half a thousand of them are still active in the country).
A real cultural richness....
Who doesn't have in mind an image of a colourful Bali festival? Who hasn't sighed at the beauty of the extraordinary batiks found nowhere else? Who has not dreamed of the richness of traditional art, the dreadful demons, the delicacy of the sculptures, the splendour of the carved wood, the amazing masks, etc. of the island of the gods.
... and religious
Because Indonesia is all this: a mixture of Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Confucian, Buddhist, animist cultures, a unique patchwork that makes this country one of the most fascinating in the world. To see: architectural sites of religious origin: Buddhist temple of Borobudur, Hindus in Tanah Lot or Prambanan, great mosque of Jakarta...
The street kitchen
Outside Bali and the big cities, finding a good restaurant is not so easy. But, eating well in Indonesia is far from complicated. Warungs, these small huts made of bric-a-brac and jug, scattered all over the country, are an excellent alternative to enjoy specialities at a lower cost depending on the region where you are located. Some of them are sometimes stuck to the city's major markets. Buy your fresh produce, bring it to the kitchen and in a few minutes, you are sitting at the table enjoying your meal with rice or vegetables in sauce.
Very low prices
A country where you eat an exquisite little dish - served in giant portions - at less than 25 000 Rp, where you stay in a friendly boarding house for 80 000 Rp and enjoy an excellent professional massage for 100 000 Rp: Indonesia.And at the other end of the spectrum, the archipelago offers a luxurious level of comfort and well-being to those with a more comfortable budget.
Wild nature parks
If Java is one of the most densely populated areas in the world, this island has preserved some natural parks of great beauty. What about these islands with very low population density, such as, for example, the small Sunda Islands? These long journeys in search of a unique natural experience will be among the most unforgettable experiences. Climbing a volcano, observing the rare orangutans in their natural habitat, trekking in the jungle or extraordinary scuba diving; the choice is immense.
Where can you admire more beautiful sunsets than in the tropics? Few places can compete with Indonesia. In Jakarta, the time of sunset is always magical, shouted out by the calls to prayer that come from the mosque. The sky blazes with orange pink, forming surrealistic drawings against the high towers of the financial centre. In Bali, the show is so wonderful that it is unforgivable to miss a single one; and on the long beach of Kuta, around 6pm, we hang out and dream alone, or we take the opportunity to meet these travellers from all over the world who have come to put their suitcases full of dreams and memories there, a few days, weeks or months. And what about Flores'?
Some Indonesian sites are extremely well organized for international tourism, such as Bali, Jakarta the capital, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, Lombok, Makassar and others. And there, we enjoy a completely Western comfort, at prices that defy all competition. Because not only are the amenities there, but they are also made with the inimitable grace and savoir-vivre of Indonesians.
An adventure of every moment
On the roadmap of international backpackers travelling the roads of Southeast Asia, Indonesia occupies a special place; it will be a relaxing stopover in Bali with all its comfort, or the real adventure, far from the clichés and crowds that rush into Thailand or Vietnam.Discovering the depths of Sulawesi or the Moluccas will sometimes mean setting foot where no one has been before - at least that will be the impression it will give.
© Dominique Auzias & Jean-Paul Labourdette