Strung across the equator and home to many different natural wonders and communities, there’s no place like Indonesia. For adventure lovers, visiting Indonesia equals unique experiences that can’t be had anywhere else. Here is our guide to the best unique experiences that you can only have in Indonesia.
Komodo dragons are an ancient species that can only be found on five islands, all of which lie in the southeast of Indonesia. The Komodo National Park comprises four islands: Komodo, Rinca, Gili Montang, and Gili Dasami. The fifth island on which you can find the creature is Flores. Komodo dragons live and roam freely in their natural habitat on these islands, presenting tourists with a distinctive wildlife experience. As the world’s largest lizards, Komodo dragons can weigh up to 90 kg and measure more than two meters. On these islands, tourists can also enjoy exquisite landscapes, untouched forests, hills, and expansive coastlines.
In Kakaban Lake, East Kalimantan, tourists can swim with millions of jellyfish from at least four different species — none of which can sting! Kakaban Lake was formed in a peculiar way, and salt water is ‘hugged’ by the island (in fact, ‘kakaban’ means ‘hug’ in the local dialect). The distinctive living conditions have led the species to evolve in a particular way, resulting in no stings, and some of the jellyfish swim upside down, or have no tentacles. Further, one side of the island is covered in dense mangroves with colorful sponges thriving beneath the roots.
Indonesia is located in the ‘Pacific rim of fire’, one of the most active volcanic areas on the planet, and volcanoes in Indonesia are among the most active in the area. In terms of quantity, Indonesia alone has around 13% of the world’s volcanoes! For adventurous nature lovers, this means plenty of opportunities for volcano safaris throughout the archipelago. Some of the most popular to climb are Mount Rinjani in Lombok, Mount Ijen in East Java, Mount Batur in Bali, and Mount Bromo in East Java. Active volcanoes are fascinating to climb because of the amazing crater views like those at Mount Ijen, where blazing blue flames can be observed at night.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
The human-like primates can only be found in the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra. Tourists can learn about and get face-to-face with the adorable but endangered primate in Tanjung Puting National Park, where they are protected in their natural environment. The park also has many other primate species, many of which can’t be seen in other places.
The death rituals of the people of Tana Toraja are truly fascinating. During every funeral a hearty feast is held, with the slaughter of at least eight buffalo and 50 pigs, which are made as offerings before the bodies of the deceased are taken to a towering cave for storage, rather than burial. Once a year, families will take their loved ones’ bodies, bathe and groom them, and take them around town as if they were still alive. Some lucky tourists have even witnessed dead bodies walking on their own, an impressive sight, especially with a backdrop of towering cemeteries and mountain views.
Visit the World’s Biggest Buddhist Temple
The Borobudur Temple in Central Java is the world’s largest Buddhist temple, added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 1991, and included as one of the seven wonders of the world until 2007. The enormous 8th century temple complex is packed with religious, cultural, and historical beauty, and is one of the most-visited attractions in Indonesia. Borobudur has thousands of sculptures depicting the life story of the Buddha.
Also worth mentioning is the nearby Prambanan Temple in Yogyakarta, one of the biggest Hindu temples in Southeast Asia, with impressive collections of towers and sculptures.
Find the World’s Largest Flower
Indonesia is home to some rare and exquisite species, including Rafflesia arnoldii, the flower with the largest bloom in the world. It has only two known habitats, Borneo and Sumatra islands. Despite its ability to grow to a weight of more than 10 kilograms (22 pounds), the Rafflesia arnoldii is a parasitic plant that gets its nutrients from a host plant. When a Rafflesia arnoldii blooms, it emits a very strong odor that smells like rotting flesh, attracting insects that pollinate the plant and earning it the nickname ‘corpse flower’. Even so, explorers and scientists alike have journeyed through the rainforests of Indonesia to find this elusive species in bloom.
Enjoy Wrestling in Mud
The lush green rice terraces of Bali have long been a tourist attraction, but a lesser-known activity is mud wrestling in vacant fields! Sign up for Mepantigan, a unique form of martial art practiced in the mud. It improves physical fitness, releases stress, develops character… and is so much fun!
In the eastern part of Indonesia lies the heart of the Coral Triangle, one of the planet’s biggest marine biodiversity centers. Also dubbed as the “Amazon of the seas”, the vast area holds more than 75% of the world’s coral species and more than 2,000 species of fish. For ocean adventurers, this is an amazing spot in which to experience a varied marine ecosystem, and there are many ways to enjoy this vibrant marine life: diving, snorkeling, swimming, or chilling at beach resorts. Raja Ampat in Papua in particular is one of the richest spots of the Coral Triangle.
Join a Traditional Workshop
Indonesians are keen to share their skills and knowledge with tourists. In many cities, tourists can find workshops teaching how to make traditional products, such as batik, silver jewelry, traditional meals, ceramics, and more. Ubud in Bali is a popular place to learn traditional arts, and one-day classes are a great way for tourists to try different activities.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.