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What are the must sees in Indonesia?

JAVA

Top Sites

Borobudur (UNESCO World Heritage Site) – Fly to Yogyakarta or Solo – Bottom Left Picture
Prambanan (UNESCO World Heritage Site) – Fly to Yogyarkarta or Solo
Bromo-Tenggger-Semeru National Park (Most common to hike to Mount Bromo; Watch Sunrise) – Bottom Right Picture

borodbromo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secondary

Jakarta
Ujung Kulon National Park (UNESCO World Heritage Site – Javan Rhinos (Rarely seen with only 50/60 in park)
Kraton Ngayogyakarta / Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono’s palace (Located in Yogyarkarta if time permits)
Mount Merapi (Often active volcano near Yogyakarta)

If time is tight, I would suggest only three days in Java. 2 days in Yogyakarta and 1 day to see Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park. Unless you can take a night flight out to East Java, you will likely need to spend extra day in Java if you want to see the Sunrise there

SUMATRA

Top

Most of the top sights are in North Sumatra. They center around the capital of the province in Medan.

The top attraction is Gunung Leuser National Park.

The articles below will explain the park:
http://traveltips.usatoday.com/gunung-leuser-national-park-tours-16227.html (Article on Park by USAToday)
http://goasia.about.com/od/Attractions/a/Gunung-Leuser-National-Park.htm
http://www.orangutans-sos.org/resources/guidebook

As the link below states, there are really three locations within Gunung Leuser: Bukit Lawang, Tangkahan, and Ketembe.

http://www.sumatra-indonesia.com/gunungleuser.htm

Bukit Lawang is where the rehabilitation center is located and is closest to Medan. You should travel to Ketembe if you want a better chance of seeing wild Orangutan.

Tangkahan is the least popular of the other two locations as it is the most remote. You can do Elephant Trek at this location.

You can spend anywhere from 1 day to 5 days in the region. If you want to just see the Orangutan’s and not see any in the wild, it is probably best just to go to Bukit Kawang. You should be cognizant that during the Monsoon season (March/April/September/October) treks might be limited in the region.

Outside of the National Park, the next must see place is:

Lake Toba (Popular with Backpackers – Worlds Largest Volcanic Lake) – Samosir Island in the Lake

Main things to do in Lake Toba are to rent a motorbike and drive around the lake or simply to relax.

laketoba

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secondary

If you want to spend more time in Sumatra, these are some of the spots that were highlighted frequently:

Nias and Batu Island (West Sumatra)
Kerinci-Seblat National Park (South Sumatra)
Lake Maninjau (West Sumatra)
Bukittingi

These tour companies also highlight that all of the places listed above are the must sees:
http://www.sumatratours.com/
http://www.indonesiatravelplan.co.uk
http://www.sumatra-indonesia.com/Bukit_Lawang_package_tour.htm
http://nandosumatratour.com/northsumatratours.html

If you are trying to see lots of Indonesia in a short amount of time, I would suggest only spending 3 or 4 days in Indonesia. (2-3 days at Gunung and 1 day at Lake Toba)

Borneo

Top

orangutanMost people come to Borneo to see Orangutan.

You can see the best places to visit Orangutans here:
http://www.discoverwildlife.com/animals/best-places-see-orangutans

The most common and best locations are:
Tanjung Puting National Park
Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre (actually located in Malaysia)
Kinabalu (Hike to top for Sunrise) – actually in Malyasia

You probably do not need to go to both Tanjung and Sepilok unless you want to see lots of Orangutans.

Secondary

Gunung Mulu National Park (Famous Caves) – Near Miri / Brunei – this could easily be in the must see list.
Turtle Island (Just north of Sandakan)
Brunei
Sipadan Island

You could easily spend another 3 or 4 days in Sumatra.

Bali

Top

You could easily spend 4 days in Bali relaxing in the beach.

Kuta (Party at Kuta Beach)
Ubud
Batur Volcano
Elephant Cave (Goa Gajah)
Lake Bratan Temple
Kintamani (Rice Fields)
Sanur Beach
Sunset at Tanah Lot
Besakih Temple

Bedugul, Bali

While there are a bunch of things listed, these can easily be done over 4 days in Bali.

bali

 

 

 

 

 

 

Komodo Island

Komodo Island National Park is the main (if not the only) attraction on the island.

You could easily spend two days in Komodo National Park.

komodo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Time Allotment

3 days for Java
4 days for Sumatra
4 days for Borneo
4 days for Bali
2 days for Komodo National Park

17 days – 2 weeks including vacation

Lombak

Top

Gili Islands

I would personally skip Lombak due to time limitations, but you could easily spend 2 days here.

Sulawesi Island

Scuba Diving in Sulawesi

I would personally skip Sulawesi Island due to time limitations, but you could easily spend 2 days here.

Summary

There is a lot to see in Indonesia.

If you add up all the estimated time across the different islands, you are talking 21 days of a very packed trip. You would be constantly on the go. It might even be best to split up the trip into 2 pieces.

When I start investigating the trip later in the year, I will figure out how best to get between all the pla