You probably think you’re familiar with Indonesia through an hour of afternoon sinetron. Or perhaps you’ve been there one too many times and feel like you’ve seen and done it all.

But the island archipelago holds many interesting wonders just waiting to be explored including a few which may surprise you.

Jakarta

Escape the infamous Jakarta’s macet to the island of Kepulauan Seribu

If you think traffic in KL is terrible, wait til you experience Jakarta’s notorious macet (traffic jam). But rather than delving into the chaos, we suggest you ditch the blue taxis and hail an ojek(motorcycle taxi) instead to weave your way through traffic to get to your destination on time.

With a population of over 10 million people, Jakarta can be claustrophobic for some. Thankfully though, you can escape the crowd and hop on a boat to Kepulauan Seribu. Contrary to its name however, the island is only a cluster of 108 islands – of which only 11 are inhabited and the other 36 are meant for recreation. A popular local jaunt, go on a tour around the island and sign up for activities such as snorkelling and diving.

Bandung

Rough it out in style by going glamping in Bandung

Who doesn’t love a good bargain? With plenty of outlet stores around, Bandung attracts quite a number of thrifty Malaysian tourists – but there’s more to the Paris of Java than meets the eye.

Characterised by rolling tea plantations, cool climate, and active volcanoes, the stunning nature of Bandung is where it’s at. So take the family up to the mountains and visit the magnificent crater of Kawah Putih or the active Tangkuban Perahu volcano.

Better yet, go glamping and sleep under a blanket of stars at Dusun Bambu. A portmanteau of glamour and camping, it’s a one up of your usual campfire with modern day conveniences (ahem, wifi) provided. While away the hours by having meals in the bird cage dining area and let kids play at the playground or pet furry rabbits at the petting zoo. Likewise, play dress up at the Swiss-chalet style Farmhouse Lembang and pay a visit to the Hobbit House.

Bali

Hide in your own ‘nest’ and take in the bird’s-eye view atop the jungle of Bali.

Ah yes, the island paradise of Bali. The mere mention of its name exudes an air of romance and eroticism. Taking the crown as the top-rated travel destination in Indonesia, one has to wonder what is there left to discover.

Truth is, there’s much more to be explored. Between the beaches and the rice terraces, Bali is a cultural wonder. Deeply rooted in their Hindu faith, the Balinese adopt and practice unique culture and customs such as the Kecak dance and the Nyepi tradition. Also known as a Day of Silence, it’s a day of introspection from the world where every opinion matters.

Outside the cultural realm, the Bali Swing is the latest attraction in town where you can let your hair down and take stunning #wanderlust photos to make everyone back home turn green with envy.

Pontianak

Sunset stroll along Kapuas River – the longest river in Indonesia.

Cool name. Cooler travel destination. While the name may sound a little eerie, there’s nothing to be spooked out here except for its unparalleled beauty. Gateway to West Kalimantan, Pontianak lies on the Indonesian side of Borneo island and straddles the equator – making it the hottest place to visit in Indonesia. Literally.

No visit here would be complete without a visit to the equator monument. Stand on the line that divides the northern and southern hemisphere and if you’re here during the Spring and Fall equinox, you’ll experience a shadow-less moment at high noon. Pretty vampirey.

In the late afternoon, stroll along the Kapuas River for snacks and souvenirs and join the dinner aboard the river cruise come evening. Spanning 1,143km, Kapuas River is the longest river in Indonesia.

Padang

Burn off the extra calories by participating in water sports.

If you need any reason not to turun Padang, here’s one: food. The culinary institution of Indonesia and the birthplace of Nasi Padang – a rice meal served with a generous spread of side dishes – it is a must that you sample the mouth-watering Minang cuisine here.

If the post heavy meal has got you feeling guilty, burn off those extra calories by participating in water activities at Air Manis beach or on Mentawai Islands. Isolated from much of the world until about the 19th century, the islands are renowned for its strong winds and unpredictable currents – making it ideal for surfing activities.

And if you prefer to jog your mind instead, visit the Museum Adityawarman and the Pagaruyung Palace to learn about the rich history and culture of the Minangkabau people.

Lombok

It may look like a scene out of New Zealand but this is the sight of the majestic Mount Rinjani.

Often overshadowed by its island neighbour of Bali, Lombok is not without its charm. While the former may be overflowing with crowds, Lombok has attained a well-known reputation among discerning travellers looking for a private getaway.

The three tiny islands of Gili form the trifecta that can give its competitors a run for their money. Located just a boat ride away from Lombok, the azure waters of Gili Islands are the perfect spot to relax, swim, scuba dive and snorkel. Don’t forget to take an Instagram shot over at the sea hammock that screams #travelgoals.

For a break from the ocean, hit a three day hike up the second highest volcano mountain in Indonesia, Mount Rinjani. Recommended for more experienced hikers, you’ll be rewarded with the stunning view of Lake Segara Anak. Alternatively, novice hikers can go for a hike to Bukit Pergasingan for the spectacular view sunrise.

Yogjakarta

Dating back to the 9th century, the Borobudur temple is the biggest Buddhist temple in Indonesia.

The cultural nerve and arts centre of Java Province, the eclectic city of Jogja carries a distinct laid-back and friendly atmosphere. Part of what makes this city exciting also lies in its duality. One minute you find yourself in the ancient temples of Borobudur and Prambanan that dates back to the 9th century, and the next minute, you’re perusing the modern art galleries downtown – Jogja is a city of contrast.

Coffee lovers rejoice! Coffee culture in Jogja is thriving so soak up your surroundings while sipping on artisanal coffee in cafés such as Kopi Klinik (made famous by the Indonesian flick Ada Apa Dengan Cinta 2) and Pawon Luwak Coffee for its offering of civet coffee.

Elsewhere, shop for souvenirs along the 24 hours Malioboro Street or attend art classes like batik and silver jewellery workshops.

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So how many destinations have you been to? Where is your next destination?

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