Indonesia presents a unique challenge to the traveler (not to mention the travel writer). It consists of more than 10,000 inhabited islands spread across about 3,000 miles of ocean from the Asian mainland well into the Pacific. A tradition of trade stretching back nearly 1,000 years has given the many islands a diverse set of cultures to explore. Although events of the last few years may lead many to believe that Indonesia is a place rife with unrest, the fact is that in most of the country it's business as usual.
With so much area to cover, it can be difficult to know where to start. We've focused this guide on the main tourist centers of Bali, Komodo, Sulawesi and Java. To get really off the tourist trail, you might consider Flores.
Click on any of the labeled areas for more information.
Bali - The word is almost guaranteed to evoke a vivid image in people's minds, even among those that have never been there. The place has achieved an almost mythical status. Can any vacation destination possibly live up to such a reputation? Well, maybe. The Island of the Gods has a little something for everyone, so read the Bali overview page to help you decide which parts of it will appeal to you.
The island of Java is the political and economic center of Indonesia. The country's capital of Jakarta is located at the northwest corner of this long narrow island. Almost at the center of the island is the cultural capital and primary tourist destination of Yogyakarta, generally just called "Yogya" by the locals. In east Java is Indonesia's second largest city, Surabaya along with perhaps its greatest natural wonder, Mount Bromo.
Sulawesi is one of the most uniquely shaped islands you will find. The four peninsulas give the island an extremely long coastline. The interior of the island is quite mountainous, with not a few volcanoes scattered about. On the coast of the southwestern peninsula is one of the island's largest cities, Makassar. While high in the mountains near the center is Tana Toraja. Scuba divers head to the far north around Mando, which enough sights to keep non-divers interested as well.