Indonesia After Bali
Indonesia After Bali
My favourite memory of living in Indonesia was witnessing the spewing of Anak Krakatoa in 2008. I remember nothing about it, but it is a cool story nevertheless. Krakatoa is the legendary volcano that created the Anak Krakatoa. The volcano famously burst in 1883, and this eruption is referenced in Edvard Munch’s magnum opus, The Scream. It annoys me that people only talk about Bali when I mention Indonesia. In my short four years living there, I had the opportunity to visit Bali, and though that was a great experience, I had much more worth talking about.
Even though the country has the largest Muslim population in the world, it is Buddhist and Hindu temples are world-renowned. If you ever visit Java, going to see Borobudur is a must. The city has a Buddhist stupa and temple complex from the 8th century, which is the single largest Buddhist structure on earth. If you have been to Bali, you would definitely have gone to visit its iconic stone-carved Hindu temples.
The country is also famous for its many volcanoes. Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National park is a great place to visit. Mount Bromo, Java’s most accessible volcano, recently erupted in 2010 and is a bit of a hotspot for thrill-seekers. Water sports are also an important part of the Indonesia experience, with parasailing, water surfing and submarine diving being some of the few activities offered. Bunaken in Indonesia is considered to be the best scuba diving destination on the planet and draws crowds from across the globe.
For nature and wildlife enthusiast, a trip to the Komodo National Park should be on the books. Here you can see the archipelago’s vast wildlife, especially the Komodo Dragons, one of the largest lizard species on earth. The park is also host to many sea creatures, my favourite being pygmy seahorses.
Another alternative to Bali and its relaxing aura. Without the tourists and the beaches is Bandung. It was initially a plantation area set up by the Dutch, but now is a thriving city near the capital Jakarta with a seamless mix of traditional and Dutch culture. Tangkuban Perahu is a nearby hiking area and another live volcano which erupted for maybe the 40th time this year. If you are in no mood to trek up the volcano to see its crater, you can relax in the many spas and saunas that have come up around the volcanic base. These places are built around natural hot water springs from the active volcano and are said to have healing properties.
For the many history lovers out there, the country has a rich craft and performance history. The Wayang Kulti or shadow puppetry is the most distinctive Indonesian art that performs scenes from the Mahabharata and Ramayana. Indonesian Batik is also a very popular art form, it is a cloth dyeing technique found in many countries, but Java is especially well-known for it.
The country is a myriad of beautiful scenery, stunning white-sand beaches and rich ancient heritage. Bali makes up only a small, yet, a significant part of the tourism, but there is so much more to Indonesia. So, go visit Indonesia, go see a country that feels so unique, yet familiar.