Best Nature Spots in Indonesia

Mt Rinjani, or Gunung Rinjani, is the second highest volcano in Indonesia. Located in the North of the island Lombok, the top of the mountain forms a crater lake 1.2 miles above sea level, known as Segara Anak. Visitors can hike to the lake, which offers spectacular views of Bali and Sumbawa, and while there also visit the Aik Kalak hot springs situated on the crater rim. The trail takes two days to reach the crater, so it is a challenging trek and not recommended for the inexperienced, however it is an adventure that is greatly rewarding should you make it.

The lower elevation slopes are densely forested, with trees giving way to sparse and rugged volcanic rock further towards the crater. Fig trees are prevalent in the lower forests, as well as the Syzygium Jambu, an attractive shrub that bears edible fruit similar to guavas. A wide variety of fauna can also be seen, from the fairly common long-tailed grey macaque, to the rare ebony leaf monkey and rusa deer.

KomodoKomodo National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated within the Lesser Sunda Islands. It is made up of twenty nine islands, the largest three being Komodo, Padar, and Rinca. These islands are home to the majestic Komodo dragon, a threatened species of lizard that can reach up to ten feet in length and weigh up to 150 lbs. The park is also well know for having one of the world’s richest marine environments, including whale sharks, manta rays, blue-ringed octopuses, and over two hundred species of coral. Because of this it is a haven for divers and snorkelers, who travel to the park by boat from the nearby towns of Labuan Bajo or Sape to experience the world famous coral reefs.

Lake Toba, in Sumatra, is the largest lake in Indonesia, and the largest volcanic lake in the world, covering an area of 660 square miles. An even smaller island, Samosir, lies within the lake and can be reached by boat or road bridge. The lake is a popular destination for tourists looking to get off the beaten track, relax and take in the beauty of the water and mountains. The main town visited is Parapat, and from here visitors can swim in the volcanically warmed lake, visit nearby Sipisopiso waterfall, or rent a motorbike to explore the island of Samosir.

Mount-BromoMount Bromo is one of the most visited attractions in East Java. The volcano sits in the middle of an immense plain named the Sea of Sand, and constantly emits white smoke from its crater, giving it an eery, other-worldly feel. The area surrounding the mountain is inhabited by the Tenggerese people, and plays a huge part in their culture, with sacrifices of fruit, vegetables and livestock being thrown into the crater during the Hindu festival of Yadnya Kasada.

The volcano itself, though beautiful, is largely barren, with rugged peaks and gravel plains, however the surrounding area of lower elevations and valleys are covered in forest. Here wild animals can be spotted, such as pigs, rusa deer, and leopard cats, as well as birds of prey. The mountain is easily climbed from the village of Cemoro Lawang, or alternatively locals offer jeep hire and guided horseback rides to the summit. One can also find the stunning Madakaripura waterfall in the foothills of Bromo, close to the village of Sapih, the waters of which are said to be an elixir of life.

Located off the island of New Guinea, Raja Ampat, or The Four Kings, is a group of over 1500 islands, shoals, and kays. The main attraction for visitors is the amazing biodiversity of marine life, which is the highest recorded on Earth according to Conservation International, and as such it is ranked one of the top ten locations for diving by many sources. Most tourists choose to stay in dive resorts or liveaboard boats that collect them from the nearby city of Sorong, but eco-friendly homestays are an alternative option for a genuine Indonesian experience.

The four main islands are Salawati, Waigeo, Misool, and Batanta, and aside from the marine landscape these islands offer an array of amazing scenery and natural attractions. The waterfall of Salawati is a must-see, or one could explore the caves of the islands by sea kayak.

Must Try Indonesian Food

Do you love Asian food? If you do, then you must have tried Chinese, Thai and other Asian cuisines – Indonesian food must be one of them! Indonesia is not just rich in culture, it’s not only famous for Bali, but the goodness of their local and simple food can satisfy that hearty cravings. Here are some of the Indonesian Food you must try.

Beef Rendang

All the way from Padang, Sumatra, this dish is certainly known for its rich and spicy kick. Beef Rendang has similarities with beef curry. The only difference is that beef rending is not cooked in broth. One thing you can appreciate about this dish is that, yes, it takes forever to cook, but the tenderness of the beef is mouth-watering.

Indonesian Satay

Indonesian Satay is one unique staple. Started out as food sold by street vendors, Indonesian satay has become a very popular food all over Indonesia. A skewer is inserted in chunks of marinated meat, then, it is cooked over hot coals. This juicy dish is usually served with sweet peanut sauce poured on top of it together with rice cakes. This dish is highly addictive and there’s no doubt about that.

Siomay

Simay is originally a Chinese food. But through time, the dishes from china have circulated all over Asia. Each country has made their very own versions and Indonesia is no exception. There is something about this country and the use of peanuts. Siomay is Indonesia’s dim sum version. It is steamed fish dumplings. It comes with egg, potato, cabbages and served with – you’ve guessed it – peanut sauce! If you really want to experience its authentic taste, the best place to buy siomay is from a bicycle vendor who tows a small cart with a steamer at the back of his bike. This is street food at its finest.

Nasi Rawon

Nasi Rawon is Indonesia’s version of beef stew. Originated from East Java, this dish has a very bold and nutty flavor. It’s color ranges from deep brown to black due to the keluak nut used in the dish. This yummy and hearty dish is best served on top of hot and steamy rice.

Sop Buntun or Oxtail Soup

The name of the dish says it all. Oxtail is the protein of this soup. It is believed that London invented this dish during the 17th century but Indonesians have a different version of it. Just like the other popular dishes in Indonesia, it is also a hearty soup. The protein is usually either broiled, barbecued or fried, then, a soup base is incorporated.

Sweet Martabak

Sweet Martabak is a popular dessert in Indonesia. It is actually their own version of pancake and crepe fused into one. Oddly enough, this is usually served only at the evenings. You can also choose different kinds of toppings, fillings and of course, peanuts.

Pempek

This may sound odd but this dish is actually made of fish and tapioca. It is a specialty found in South Sumatra. Kapal selam is the most popular variety of pempek as it contains egg at the middle. Before pempek is served, it is first topped off with pulverized shrimp or shrimp powder with a dark dipping sauce called cuka – a mixture of chili, sugar and vinegar.

Nasi Uduk

Indonesia’s national dish is Nasi Uduk. This meal’s signature is that rice is cooked slowly in coconut milk. This is very similar to the Nasi Lemak in the neighboring countries of Indonesia, the difference is that nasi uduk is also served with tempe or soybean cake, shredded omelette, anchovies, fried chicken, fried onion topped with emping and sambal or also known as nut crackers. This dish usually served on lunchtime cannot do away with sambal.

Cha Am, Thailand

Cha Am is by far the most popular beach of Petchaburi province. The beach itself is a clean white sand beach stretching over 7km long, and offers a variety of accommodations. Arrays of shops and recreations abound in the area: water scooter, horse riding, banana boating, golfing or even para-gliding.
The north and south end of the beach provides more quietness and are more suitable for leisurely pursuits such as sunbath, swimming or just observing the coastal environment and the locals’ way of life. Compared to the crowded and brassy ambience of Pattaya, Cha Am offers an alternative of a peaceful and less touristy seaside resort ideal for a relaxing getaway.
Cha Am beach was established after Hua Hin had been taken up by the royalty and dignitary as the imperial resort. A group of aristocrats had pushed the clear-up of this sea-front mangrove forest to build a new seaside village in 1921. They built a route from the railway station to this beach, and another road along the beach.
A cart-path was cut behind the sea-front plots of land. The prince called the new village Sahakham Cha Am. Since that time the site has undergone several developments, including the establishment of modern roads and the opening up of new resorts as well as myriad of facilities to serve tourists. Nowadays, Cha Am ranks among one of the most frequented weekend resort towns.
Apart from the beautiful sand beach, there are many attractions around Cha Am and most of them are within short reach. Here are some of the points of interest you may like to stop by while you are in Cha Am.
Maruekkha-thayawan Palace
This palace was once a seaside summer palace of the royal family. Designed by an Italian architect during the reign of King Rama IV, it comprises of three two-storey wooden buildings adjointed to each other by elevated walkways. Today the palace is open for public viewing.
Hua Hin
Hua Hin is a well-known seaside resort of Thailand and the oldest one of its kind. The beach extends about three kilometers southwards of the fishing village. It boasts a fine white sand, quality resort hotels, many water sports opportunities and boasts to be as popular as when it was first established.
Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical Park
Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical Park, or more locally known as Khao Wang, represents a fantastic mixture of traditional Thai, Chinese and Western architectural styles. Its construction was commissioned by King Rama VI for himself and royal guests. The park comprises of palaces, temples, royal halls and groups of building sprawling on Mahaisawan Hill.
Kaeng Krachan National Park
This park is the largest national park of Thailand. Visitors to Kaeng Krachan will find plenty of outdoor activities available here such as trekking along the mountain paths, visiting cliffs and rock formations, boating in Kaeng Krachan Reservoir and watching various species of birds.
Khao Luang
The cave is located at about 3 kilometers away from the township inside Khao Luang, and boasts a fine collection of magnificent stalagmites and stalactites which reflects the sun beams filtered through the ventilating hole at the top. In addition to the beautiful natural environment of the cave, there are also several Buddha images built by King Rama V.
Phra Ram Ratchaniwet (Ban Puen Palace)
The construction of this palace was commissioned by King Rama IV who conceived it to be his retreat in the monsoon season. It was modeled after the palace of Keiser Wilhelm in Germany and a German architect was ordered to design and overlook its construction. The final product is an impressive combination between the Baroque and Art Nouveau architectural styles.
Wat Kamphaeng Laeng
Wat Kamphaeng Laeng is the biggest and oldest historical site of the province and perhaps of the country since its historical relics suggest that Petchaburi was a great settlement from 12th-13th century. The dominant architectural style of this temple is influenced by the Khmer’s style. The wall is made of laterite and there appears the Dvaravai stucco mouldings in patterns of Naga or serpent gripped in the mouth of dragon and the lotus petals on the capitals of columns.
Wat Yai Suwannaram
This well known temple houses a fine collection of mural paintings which can be dated back to Ayutthaya period. The ubosot enshrines the main stucco Buddha image in the posture of subduing mara and a cast figure of the former Supreme Patriarch Taeng-mo.
Wat Ko Kaeo Suttharam
This temple was built during the late Ayutthaya period and has a unique architectural style characteristic of its time. There are various mural paintings depicting ten previous lives of the Lord Buddha. The wooden panelled walls of its exterior-walls or Fa Prakon are regarded as the most beautiful in Thailand. Sala Kanparian, the pavillion, has a superbly-carved wooden pulpit by the river is called Sala Mahesuan.
Wat Phuttha Saiyat
Wat Phuttha Saiyat is more popularly known by the name Wat Phra Non by the local people. The temple houses one of the four largest statues of the reclining Buddha or Phra Phuttha Saiyat in Thailand. The statue is presently enshrined in Phra Wiharn (formerly laid outdoor) which contains inside many Dvaravati and U-thong Buddha images.
Wat Mahathat Worawihan
Wat Mahathat Worawihan was built according to the Buddhist precept by erecting a temple inthe middle of the town to enshrien Bhudda relics. The temple is believed to have been bulit 800 years ago and has in its collection a variety of historical and artistic artifacts.
Shopping
The famous souvenirs of visitors to Cha Am are sweets which are mostly made of tanot (palm) sugar, flour, eggs and coconut cream, and handmade crafts made of seashells. Other souvenir iems include woman accessories and housewares made of hemp, products of palm sugar and a variety of processed fruits. Sweet shops can be found in abundance around Khao Wang, along Phetkasem Road and in the town center.
Dining
Cha Am is a paradise for dining because you’ll find a cornucopia of restaurants serving both local food and seafood along the beach road. The dishes are prepared upon request and generally have reasonable prices. In addition, there are many food sellers who walk around selling fruits and skewerd meat balls or dried squids right up to your beach chair.
Golf
Golf has been a very popular outdoor pastime in Cha Am. There are several fine golf courses that they are usually very full most weekends, so reservation in advance is recommended. Many of the hotels run FOC shuttles and most clubs can arrange pickup and drop-off to any hotel. Visitors can request for more information from the hotel’s information counter.
Watersports
While most of the larger resorts will plan watersports activities for you upon request, you can make arrangements with small operators on the beach (for a significant savings). Most resorts forbid noisy jet skis, but the beaches are lined with young entrepreneurs renting them out for 500B ($12) per hour. Windsurfers and Hobie Cats are for rent at most resorts or with small outfits along the beach (starting at 300B/$7.30 and 600B/$15 per hr. respectively).