Kempinski Blog Article
A true paradise, Indonesia is a beautiful tropical destination. Comprising roughly 13,000 islands, it personifies south east Asia, and despite having a growing population and thriving economy, still has huge areas that have retained the mystical, jungle character that people think of when they daydream about this picturesque corner of the Earth.
Whether you are considering a trip to Indonesia or are yet unaware of its many natural and historical sights, read on and enjoy a trip through the country nicknamed ‘zamrud khatulistiwa’ – the emerald of the equator.
The first location in our tour is the Indonesian capital, Jakarta. Seventh in the world for the number of skyscrapers and offering one of the world’s richest and diverse food scenes, the city (the largest on the island of Java) is unmistakable. Spend a few days sightseeing, tasting local delicacies and immersing yourself in the great nightlife, all while enjoying the luxurious surroundings of Hotel Indonesia Kempinski – home to some of the city’s best accommodation.
After Jakarta, it is time to head east to Semarang. To get there, you can either take a six and a half hour ferry, or a brief, hour-long flight – we recommend the latter, given the inexpensive ticket prices and wide range of carriers.
Located on the northern coast of Java, Semarang is a welcoming city with a well-preserved historical centre – a relic from the its Dutch colonial history.
One of the city’s most interesting sights is the large, frilled, 15th-century temple, Sam Poo Kong. Built by the Chinese, it contains an alter to the famed explorer Zheng He, and today is utilised by congregations from a diverse range of faiths.
After enjoying a night or two in the city, it is time for a two and a half hour drive down National Route 14 to Balaboedoer, passing through beautiful countryside where the lush Merababu, Sumbing and Sindoro mountains tower in the distance.
No trip to Indonesia is complete without visiting truly ancient temples and shrines, and one of the best can be found on the outskirts of Balaboedoer – the Borobudur Temple.
One of the world’s largest and most significant Buddhist monuments, Borobudur is an ancient one too – built between the eighth and ninth centuries, it is a wonderful example of Javanese architecture. It has 2,520 sqm of finely carved reliefs covering its surface, and climbing up to the upper levels of the structure, visitors are greeted by 72 large stupas and a magnificent view over the countryside and rolling hills.
From here, it is an hour and a half’s drive to Yogyakarta, home to even more impressive ancient structures.
If Borobudur Temple has encouraged your interest for spiritualistic structures and architectural beauty of the highest degree, you will be equally impressed by Yogyakarta, often called Yogya for short.
Home to such sights as the huge, exquisite Kraton (palace) of Sultan Hamengkubuwono and its tranquil water garden, the Taman Sari Water Castle; the Affandi Museum, a haven for artists; and the 9th-century Prambanan Temple, the city’s bohemian, laid-back character makes for an interesting stay.
Next stop is Pacitan, a pretty surfer’s town around three hours’ drive down National Route 3.
While plenty of places in Indonesia are still relatively untouched by large-scale development, if you want to experience quiet, local life in amongst lovely beachside surroundings, Pacitan is a place you won’t want to leave in a hurry.
The quaint town is a magnet for surfers, especially at Watu Karung Beach, home to golden sand, azure sea and a laid-back atmosphere. Also great is Srau Beach – an excellent choice if you want to try a little snorkelling alongside lazing under palm trees.
Once you have enjoyed your time by the beach, it is time to head to Malang. The city can be reached by car along International Route 3 in around three and a half hours; by taxi to either Madiun or Tulungagung train stations, then by rail; or by taxi to Surakarta, then by air.
A leafy, laid-back city, Malang has a grand, colonial atmosphere, although there are plenty of reminders of its pre-Dutch past, which reaches back to the 8th century.
While in Malang, be sure to dedicate some time to touring temples such as Singosari and Eng An Kiong, explore the Purwodadi Botanical Gardens, and book tickets to a traditional dance or shadow puppet performance at the Mangun Dharma Art Centre. The Old City is another must-visit, and if you are feeling adventurous, put on a pair of walking boots and head up Mount Bromo to experience the best sunrises and sunsets in Java.
The penultimate leg of our trip is to the eastern town of Banyuwangi. The town is accessible flying from Malang via Jakarta, but a far more exciting option is by road or rail. The six to eight-hour trip is particularly scenic, especially if your route takes you near the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, a highly volcanic upland area with alien landscapes and smoking calderas.
The location of the main ferry crossing point to Bali, Banyuwangi is close to plenty of beautiful natural hotspots, including the volcanic Ijen Plateau, Alas Purwo National Park and Bedul Beach. If you have a day or two before your ferry to Bali, hire a car and go out and explore the region.
Ferries run very frequently between Banyuwangi and Denpasar, the journey taking around 45 minutes.
Even if you have never travelled to East Asia, chances are you have heard about the exquisite island destination that is Bali. Home to lush rice paddies, rolling hills, shimmering lakes and white beaches, its nicknames include ‘Island of the Gods’ and ‘Heaven on Earth’ for good reason.
Denpasar is the island’s capital, and is blessed with fantastic restaurant and nightlife scenes, a lengthy list of temples and lots of traditional culture. Staying at the soon-to-be-opened The Apurva Kempinski Bali, you can enjoy all of this and more while staying in one of the island’s finest hotels – a perfect end to an adventurous trip through Indonesia.
If you would like to book a stay in one of Kempinski’s Indonesian destinations, please contact the staff at Hotel Indonesia Kempinski.