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Monday, October 22, 2012

5 Great Holiday Destinations in Indonesia

Raja Ampat, West Papua (JP/J. Adiguna) 
Raja Ampat, West Papua (JP/J. Adiguna)
Take a break from the maddening rat race and head to some of the best getaway places the archipelago has to offer. From picturesque volcanic lakes and mountains, well-preserved traditional tribal villages, a monumental Buddhist temple to otherworldly beaches and gorgeous underwater heavens. There is something for everyone to enjoy!

Hailed as the “ultimate holiday island” by many globetrotters, Bali’s magnetic charm is still alluring. With many remote beaches popping up on the map, such as Dreamland and Padang Padang, as the new darlings alongside other novel attractions, Bali remains on everyone’s top destinations list. 

Also thanks to the Eat, Pray & Love movie for securing Ubud as the artsy little town filled with cool galleries and stylish boutiques, and of course, a haven for spiritual seekers, where people can cleanse their soul with a little yoga and meditation in the rice fields and enjoy amazing spa treatments.

Raja Ampat
Due to the wide media exposure in the past two years, this tiny group of islands situated on the northwest tip of Papuan bird’s head peninsula has been enjoying an increasing number of visitors as the world’s number one diving spot.

Home to more than 75 percent of the earth’s coral species, Raja Ampat is indeed the heart of the Coral Triangle, which also shelters a staggering 1,200 types of fish and 700 mollusk species.

Above on land, watching the Papua’s iconic Birds of Paradise swaging their tiny bodies on high tree branches in the islands’ jungle will complete your visit to Raja Ampat.

Tana Toraja
Step into the mystical land of Tana Toraja where an ancient-old burial tradition has propelled the regency into an international tourist destination. Located around 350 km north of Makassar, the largest city in Southern Sulawesi, Tana Toraja is famed for its legendary seven days Rambu Solo burial ceremony as well as the captivating cemetery sites situated in steep rocky cliffs.

Encounter the deceased in Londa, an old burial ground inside a rock cave, where wooden caskets are neatly placed according to their family tree. Outside, the cave is adorned with tau-tau (traditional Toraja wooden doll) as miniature replicates of the noble people buried inside.

At Lemo rock cliff, wooden coffins are rested inside man-made holes that had been deeply carved into the steep cliff. Here, the higher resting hole indicates higher social rank of the person buried. The oldest burial site in Toraja is located in Kete’ Ke’su village, where numerous thousand-year-old wooden caskets are placed on steep cliffs without any outer shields or protection.

In Pallawa Village you can witness a number of Toraja’s traditional Tongkonan houses (that look like an old Chinese emperor’s ship) that are hundreds of years old. Adorned with water buffalo horns and rows of boar tusks they are still standing high in mint condition. Tana Toraja is the place to soak in an exceptionally rich cultural heritage the world has gradually come to appreciate.

Komodo National Park
Have a real Jurassic Park vacation by meeting the wild Komodo dragons! Situated between Sumbawa and Flores islands, the Komodo National Park stretches across three major islands, Komodo, Rinca, and Padar, and for the past few years, has been increasingly popular for its unique beaches and numerous stunning dive sites.

After a heart-pumping Komodo safari at Loh Liang, relax on the idyllic Pink Beach with its lovely soft pink sands. Some say microscopic organisms named foraminifera cause the pink-colored effect on the sands. With the protection of Jagawana, the park’s guide, you can lazily sunbathe, swim, snorkel or even dive here, though beware of the rather strong current.

Established in 1980, the park was built as the Komodo dragon conservation site and was quickly initiated as the UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Man and Biosphere Reserve in 1986.

Borobudur Temple
Inscribed in 1991 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this 9th Century Buddhist temple was built by King Samaratungga, a Saliendra descendant, 300 years before Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

The majestic temple located in Muntilan, Central Java, elegantly portrays the philosophy of life of the great Bodhisattva in 1460 beautifully sculptured bas-reliefs (some experts believe it to be the most complete ensemble of Buddhist reliefs in the world) and 504 stupas containing a statue of Buddha. 

Recently, Pretty Woman actor and devoted Buddhist Richard Gere, visited the temple to wander through its striking compound and do a quiet morning meditation.       
Great Places To Visit On Your Holidays in Indonesia
Indonesia is a very interesting country to visit and makes for an ideal holiday. Its diverse range of culture and beautiful scenery draw back holiday makers year after year. There are some fabulous holiday homes to rent in Indonesia with some stunning holiday villas by the beach. You can also rent self catering holiday apartments and use them as a base to explore this wonderful country.

Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world and comprises five main islands of Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Irian Jaya and a group of thirty small archipelagoes. It has more than 17,508 islands. Indonesia is a multi-ethnic country with over 300 ethnic groups inclusive of Malay and Polynesian people. The diverse culture of the country has resulted in an opulent and wealthy culture and heritage, which makes it a tourist's delight.

One among the must see places in Indonesia is the Borobudur temple. It is believed that the temple's name originated from Sanskrit - Vihara Buddha Uhr. It was built in the eighth century and is located in Magelang. It is situated on a hill, overlooking distant hills and sprawling green fields. The temple is built with grey andesine stone and has seven terraces. The great Stupa of the temple is 40 meters tall and the walls are extensively sculpted.

Lake Toba is a beautiful centerpiece of the north Sumatra Lake. The exquisite scenery and the pleasant climate, in the surrounding areas make it a popular tourist attraction in Indonesia. It is the largest lake in South East Asia and it measures 100 km in length. Resultant of a volcanic explosion, the lake's surrounding landscape is fertile. The island of Samosir is located on the centre of the lake and the culture and tradition of the amiable tribe, Toba Batak attracts tourists from all over the world.

Tana Toraja is yet another attraction. Rantapeo, a major attraction of the place, is located in the north eastern part of Ujung Pandang. Rantepeo is located 700 meters above sea level and offers a pleasant climate. The entry point of Tana Taroja is a traditional boat-shaped gate. Tana Toraja has cliff graves and two villages, named Lemo and Londa. Londa is considered as one among the oldest sites of hanging graves of local nobility. Taroja has many excellent craft shops for the shopping buffs.

Krakatau volcano is another major tourist spot in Indonesia. The volcano erupted in the year 1883 and is one of the most catastrophic natural events, which is etched in history. The entire region surrounding the volcano was engulfed in darkness. The volcano disappeared, soon after eruption and resulted in the formation of small islands in the area. One of the volcanoes in the area is called Anal Krakatau or the child of Krakatau, which is a young and active volcano. Boat trips to the volcano, allows tourists to get a closer look at the young volcano.

Mt. Tangkuban Perahu is a must see sight in Indonesia. The volcano is filled with many places for sight seeing and exploring. It is an interesting spot and the mount is famous for its distinct upturned boat shape. The panoramic view of the mount and the forests is a delightful experience. The peaceful mountain erupted in 1969 and Kawah Ratu is the main crater or the Queen's crater, as its name suggests.

Indonesia is a culturally rich country with a picturesque setting. The predominantly Muslim country is a place where people from different religions co-exist. The diversity of the cultures makes it traditionally and culturally rich. The friendly people of the country, year long festivities and innumerable tourist spots makes Indonesia a great tourist destination.

It is no wonder that holiday makers love Indonesia so much and many choose to rent holiday villas and self catering apartments. By renting holiday home accommodation in Indonesia you are able to use them as a base to explore this amazing country. There are some great holiday villas with swimming pools that can be rented direct from their owners.

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