Hotels in Indonesia
Essential information for Indonesia
- Malaysia Airlines flights to Bali, via Kuala Lumpur, departing daily from London Heathrow.
Do I need a visa?
Best time to go
Indonesia is a fantastic year round destination but the busy seasons are the summer months (Jul-Aug) and Christmas holidays. The temperature is consistent year round but slightly higher during the dry season which is April to September, January to March is the rainy season with high temperatures and tropical showers
Taste the flavours of each island: Discover Indonesia
Everyone has, at some stage, dreamt of escaping to the tropical jungles, serene yoga retreats and surf-ready sparkling oceans of Indonesia. And with good reason – Indonesia holidays are truly some of the most paradisiacal on the planet.
From rolling rice paddy hills to bustling cities, white sandy beaches to religious temples, Indonesia holidays have so much more on offer than you could ever have dreamed.
If you’re not sure where to start (and we can’t blame you — Indonesia is made up of over 17 and a half thousand islands and islets), here’s our picks for islands to visit and things to see and do:
The best of beaches in Indonesia
There’s no talking holidays in Indonesia without beaches, and pretty much every one is a mountain-framed showstopper. That said, there’s certainly some highlights
- Gili Islands: whichever of the Gilis you go to, the beaches are seriously incredible. Gili Meno might just win out for idyllic beaches, though.
- Mainland Lombok: the small coastal town of Kuta at the southernmost tip of Lombok is a surfer’s dream, but it’s also a little slice of heaven for anyone who needs some R&R. Selong Blanak Beach in Kuta is a great place for surfing beginners, but it’s also got the white sands and turquoise water that dreams are made of. Nowhere quite beats Seger Beach (also in Kuta), and especially not at sunset. Pull up a bamboo seat and enjoy the spectacular show.
- Bali: our Indonesia resorts in Seminyak offer some of the best, exclusive beaches the town has to offer, and we offer Indonesia holiday packages along the pristine coast of Nusa Dua, too.
- Flores: Kanawa Beach is not only beautiful, but offers some of the best snorkelling in Indonesia, with sea turtles and reef sharks commonly spotted.
- East Nusa Tenggara: two words: Pink Beach. Found in Komodo National Park, the sands here are an incredible pink colour, and the water crystal clear. For a unique beach, unlike anything else you’ll see in Indonesia, Pink Beach is definitely worth the trip.
Indonesia’s nature, adventure and wildlife
Surfing is a must in Indonesia, of course. In Bali, head to Uluwatu for some of the best waves on the island, no matter your experience. In Kuta, Lombok, head to any one of the surf shops in town and chat to the locals about surf lessons or boat excursions to find the best waves. Bobby’s Bar and Surf, belonging to the tourist-nicknamed “King of Kuta” is your best bet – he certainly knows his way around a wave. A few minutes’ walk away you’ll find both Blondie Surf and The Beach Boys – extremely friendly locals who will welcome you into the group and show you the best surf spots (and the best bar spots, too).
In Ubud, Bali, make sure to check out Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary – buy a bunch of bananas and feed the (extremely confident) monkeys in amongst the beautiful jungle-like surroundings. Make sure not to carry anything loose like sunglasses, and especially food, ‘cause the monkeys, if cute, will steal your belongings if given half the chance.
If you fancy a “hike” that’s as easy as it is rewarding, the Campuhan Ridge Walk from Ubud is not to be missed. It will only take a couple of hours, so this is a great early morning activity for some stunning rice paddy views before brunch.
Be sure to hike Mount Batur if you get the chance – you’ll be picked up at around 2am, given “breakfast” and then handed a head torch to follow your guide with. It’s a very doable hike, and you’ll reach the summit just in time to witness one of the most spectacular sunrises of your life. Bonus: you get to refuel on eggs cooked in the volcanic spring.
Fancy more of a challenge? Get yourself over to northern Lombok to take on a three-day hike up to the summit of Mount Rinjani, where you’ll get panoramic views like you’ve never seen, and some seriously refreshing dips in volcanic lakes and hot springs. There’s truly nothing quite like it.
Culture and Serenity in Indonesia
Holidays to Indonesia aren’t just about beaches and wildlife: the culture is fascinating and diverse, and you’d be hard-pressed to avoid the zen during your stay, too.
To learn about traditional Balinese craft, there’s no place better to visit than Ubud. Artists, jewellers and more have set up shop all along the main streets, and you’ll find many a gallery to wander into. Make your own silver jewellery at Studio Perak on Jalan Hanoman, and head to Penestanan Kaja, climb the Campuhan steps and wind your way through rice paddies until you find Santra Putra. It’s a guesthouse and gallery owned by artist Wayan Karja and his family – there’s no better place to buy some art to take home with you, and there’s also a yoga studio here.
Elsewhere for yoga, you’ve got the well-known places like The Yoga Barn and Radiantly Alive in Ubud (both of which live up to their reputation). But for something a little quieter, try Intuitive Flow, with its breathtaking views across the rice paddies of Penestanan.
If temples are your thing, you’re in luck — in Bali, Lombok and Java, you’ll never be more than a stone’s throw from a beautiful temple to wander around. If you want to see something truly spectacular, it’s worth making the journey to the cliff-top temple in Uluwatu, Pura Luhur. In Java, marvel at the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia, Prambanan, which dates back to the mid-9th-century.
Indonesia food and drink
If you’re looking for the best place for food in Bali, it’s got to be Ubud. Try brunch and a fresh coconut at Atman Kafe, and the delicious mixed-cuisine fare at Kafe, both on Jalan Hanoman. Want to sample some Balinese delicacies? Babi guling (suckling pig) is best tasted at Warung Ibu Oka, behind Ubud Palace, and Tutmak on Jalan Dewi Sita does some of the best nasi goreng (fried rice), mie goreng (fried noodles) and nasi campur (mixed rice with side dishes) in town. For green (or orange or red or purple) juice, nowhere is better than Juice Ja Cafe on Jalan Dewi Sita.
While in the capital, definitely check out Namaaz Dining – it’s the first molecular gastronomy restaurant in Indonesia, and th 17-course sampler is one of those meals you’ll find yourself thinking about years later.
Strangely, Lombok is big on stone-baked and wood-fired pizzas that easily rival those you’ll get at home. Bobby’s Surf Bar on Jalan Pariwisata Pantai does some of the best pizza in Kuta, while Gili Meno’s most delicious pizza offering comes courtesy of Mallias Restaurant on the Eastern side of the island.
Indonesia events and festivals
Year round, holidays to Indonesia are bound to involve experiencing some kind of festival, event or celebration. The highlights?
- Galungan – if you’re visiting Bali, you might be around for Galungan, the Balinese holiday that celebrates the victory of dharma over adharma. The date varies as the Balinese year is 210 days long, but you may be lucky enough to catch some of the celebrations. Parades fill the streets, lined with penjors (bamboo poles decorated with coconut leaves) and offerings – it’s a beautiful celebration that goes on for days.
- Indonesian Independence Day – celebrated on 17th August every year, and the whole country comes alive with colourful decorations and parades, traditional dress and music.
- Music lovers – every May, Jakarta holds a three-day jazz festival–one of the biggest in Asia–with some of the most popular jazz musicians in the world gracing the stage.
Can’t wait and need to book right now? Check out our fantastic, hand-picked Indonesia hotels and you’ll be strolling through rice paddies before you know it.