Introduction to Indonesia

Think Indonesia and many will simply think of Bali, an Aussie holiday favourite with beaches to rival our own. But look closer and you'll find Indonesia is more than just the Island of Gods. It's actually 18,000 islands, 6,000 of which are uninhabited while the others lie peacefully covered in forests, temples and beaches. As a result it has been nicknamed the Sleeping Giant of Southeast Asia, a sprawling archipelago where adventure can be found in a myriad of forms. As the 4th most populous in the world, just communicating with the locals is a challenge — unless you're willing to master over 300 languages. Then there are forests to trek, waves to surf, markets to explore, wildlife to watch, roads to brave, temples to visit.

Needless to say, the adventure list for Indonesia runs long. And yet for every wild and woolly quest that awaits you there's also affordable luxury to be found. Bali's beachside resorts come neatly packaged in a price that's easily booked on a student budget. Not to mention the spas scattered throughout the islands that offer much-needed post-exam massages. Master the fine art of bartering and you'll also return home with a few bargains, as well as a tan, and some cooking skills and maybe a hangover and the list runs long again'

Must Do

There's a reason why Indonesia is such a popular holiday destination. And that reason is Bali. Both an island and province of Indonesia, Bali has long been considered the perfect international destination by Australians. A place with an intoxicating mix of rough adventure and affordable luxury, cultural experiences and comfortable resorts, friendly locals and ample expats, active rainforest treks and lazy beachside bars. For many, these contrasts provide the perfect amount of Southeast Asia. While for others, Bali's well-beaten path is best left behind in order to discover the lesser known Indonesia.

Some might find it in Jakarta. A smoggy and sprawling capital city, Jakarta will be the best of times or worst of times depending on how you roll the dice. Those with luck on their side (or a good guide book) will be able to uncover the gems of the city; the best food, the best nightlife, the best museums, the best markets. If a chaotic city isn't your style then Indonesia has a few thousand islands for you to choose from. There's Lombok Island with its serene and peaceful beaches, Komodo Island with its famous dragons and Kalimantan where thick jungles await you.

For more must-dos in Indonesia, check out our things to do page and start planning your Bali holiday.

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