Published on December 8, 2014
Also known as the Land of the Gods, Bali blends spectacular mountain scenery and beautiful beaches with warm and friendly people, a vibrant culture and out of this world resorts. The mountainous village of Ubud has for a long time been a safe haven for artists and writers and remains a centre of arts today. At the enchanting islands of Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan, and Nusa Penida, one finds the pristine beauty of unspoilt white sandy beaches, exhilarating waves, crystal clear waters, stunning natural rugged beauty, and picturesque scenery. Beneath the surface, the waters around these islands present their own jaw-dropping sensation featuring the exceptional rare giant ocean sunfish: Mola Mola. Bali’s up-and-coming fashion, dining and accommodation precinct is Seminyak. It has its own eclectic mix of world-class restaurants, high end spas, designer boutiques, international surf shops and lifestyle brand outlets, that truly offer some of the best experiences on the enchanting island of Bali. Beyond its legendary waves, stunning beaches and mesmerizing culture, the island also offer the exceptional sensation of getting up-close and personal with some of the most fascinating creatures of the wild on a thrilling safari at the Bali Safari and Marine Park.
The capital city of Jakarta is a huge, sprawling metropolis, home to 9 million people. It is also the country’s shopping capital with its numerous top international designers’ boutiques, malls, and shopping center. Some have become household names, and are known by their initials, like PIM (Pondok Indah Mall), CITOS (Cilandak Town Square), GANCIT (Gandaria City), and SENCY (Senayan City). There is also the Grand Indonesia, Plaza Indonesia, Dharmawangsa Square, Pasaraya Grande, Pondok Indah Mall, and a whole lot more. The city also still radiates the glory of the colonial era, especially at the Old Batavia complex. Here, one can find the Museum Fatahilah (the former municipal building or Stadthuis), Fine Art and Ceramic Museum (one time Court of Justice), Wayang Museum, and the Bank Indonesia Museum. Other landmarks of the city includes the National Monument (MONAS), Jin De Yuan Chinese Temple, The National Museum, The Indonesia in Miniature Park, and more.Beyond its dynamic and complexity, Jakarta also offers tranquility and rejuvenating sensations in the various spa centers throughout the city.
Steeped in rich tradition and history, the city of Yogyakarta is the cultural icon of Indonesia. The daily life of Yogyakarta still retained the age old tradition of the Sultanate (Today, the sultan served as governor), and centered at the royal palace or Keraton. The Keraton itself is a grand complex that was meticulously planned to reflect the Javanese cosmos. This splendid example of traditional Javanese architecture has no equal. Yogyakarta is surrounded by spectacular heritage sites which are the monuments of human civilization. Sits majestically on a hilltop overlooking lush green fields and distant hills, Borobudur Temple is the world’s biggest Buddhist monument, an ancient site widely considered to be one of the world’s seven wonders. On a close proximity, the graceful Prambanan Temple complex is one of the largest Hindu temples in South East Asia. Known as the heart of Java, Yogyakarta is a city of endless attractions and appeal. Aside from the numerous temples and heritage sites, you can also find the silver art at Kotagede, and shop for the distinct Yogyakarta’s authentic souvenirs at Malioboro.
Bandung, the friendly neighboring city of Jakarta, is a great place to visit any time of the year as it’s not only renowned for its picturesque open vista, but also offers many attractions well worth a visit. As the center of creativity and home to Indonesia’s many textile factories, the city of Bandung offers a large number of factory outlets which offers the latest trendy apparel at reasonable prices. You will find Factory outlets or distribution stores (known as Distros) dotting the main Dago avenue (now called Jalan Ir. H. Juanda), along Jalan Riau (officially kown as Jalan R.E. Martadinata), and Jalan Cihampelas. Bandung has a rich heritage of buildings in exemplary art deco architecture. They include the beautiful Villa Isola, – now housing the University for Education -, the Concordia, the present Asian-African Museum, which was then the Society’s Clubhouse- , the main Braga shopping center. To immerse in West Java’s Sundanese culture, there is the Saung Angklung Udjo Village, a one-stop cultural workshop offers a complete experience of Sundanese art and culture. The city’s most distinct natural splendor lies up north at the spectacular mount Tangkuban Parahu, which uniquely resembles the shape of an overturned boat.
Medan is best known as the gateway to North Sumatra with many travelers flying into the city and setting off from here for adventures in the cool highlands of Lake Toba or the pristine Sumatran forests. Medan offers a lot of historical sightseeing with old houses, peranakan (Sino-Malay) heritage as well as a beautiful mosque and the artistic Maimun Palace. Leaving Medan, Lake Toba is truly a beautiful site and a magnificent monument of the earth’s natural history. This largest lake in Southeast Asia and one of the deepest lakes in the world is created by one of the ancient earth’s mega explosions of a supervolcano. At the center, lies the Samosir island which is almost the size of Singapore. The island is also the heart of the Batak ethnic group of North Sumatra, which still preserves their traditional houses and other cultural legacies. Flowing from Lake Toba, the Asahan River is not merely a major river in North Sumatra but also an endless stream of excitement for river rafting enthusiasts which is touted as the 3rd best whitewater rafting in the world.