Beyond Bali: 5 Places in Indonesia you have to see to believe
Bali is so well known around the world that some people actually think that it is its own country, but in fact, it just happens to be the most popular place in Indonesia. While Bali is indeed a beautiful place, there is so much more of this wonderful country to explore. These are my five favorite places beyond Bali that will amaze you, from the remote paradise islands of Raja Ampat to a 1200-year-old Buddhist temple known as Borobudur.
RAJA AMPAT IS WELL BEYOND BALI
This is not “fantasy Island,” it’s Raja Ampat, a secluded chain of islands offering those willing to travel great distances, a reward like non-other. The warm, unspoiled waters are full of vibrant fish and colorful coral. It’s like being in a giant aquarium. You can visit local villages and swim until your heart’s content. While Raja Ampat is indeed a real place, it feels like a fantasy. Its beauty is boundless and difficult to believe. It’s not just one of my favorite places in Indonesia, but the world over.
GETTING BEYOND BALI IN BOROBUDUR
Borobudur is one of those bucket list places, the ones that leave an indelible mark on the soul of a globetrotter. A sunrise visit is a magical time. Songbirds begin to sing, and a low lying mist blankets the lush valley below. As the sky brightens, the surrounding volcanoes, terraced fields, and stone reliefs began to show themselves. Located in Central Java, Borobudur is one of the most remarkable architectural sites in the country. It’s the largest Buddhist temple in the world, in a predominately Muslim nation. It dates back over 1200 years, much of that time it was buried under dirt and volcanic ash. It wasn’t until it was re-discovered in the 19th century, and then fully resorted by the late 20th century, that it was listed as UNESCO world heritage site.
LOMBOK IS RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO BALI
Lombok is a great alternative to Bali, it’s less crowded, much less expensive and offers much of the same vibe. From enjoyable seaside resorts with refreshing pools and relaxing spas to amazing white sand beaches and rugged coastlines. Lombok is well known for its surfing, with some beaches just perfect for beginners. You’ll also find some remarkable shallow water bays when the tide goes out. Whether you like to run on the beach, or just find a relaxing spot to take in the views, there’s no shortage of places to do so on Lombok.
BEYOND BALI IN BANDUNG
Located in West Java, Bandung has a unique place called Dusun Bambu, which might be best described as a botanical retreat or a family park. This Facility believes in what is called the “7E” concept,” which represents the seven aspects of life—Ecology (nature), Education, Economic, Ethnology (culture), Ethics, Esthetics (Aesthetics), and Entertainment. There are gardens to peruse, huts surrounding a small body of water where families can bond with one another, a fantastic restaurant and many other activities, including an epic 4-wheel drive excursion to the top of the nearby mountain. This is a thrilling adventure, but be prepared to get dirty, be jostled around like a rag doll and have your muscles sore after holding on for dear life.
PRAMBANAN TEMPLE IS MY FINAL SUGGESTION BEYOND BALI
Finally, there is Prambanan Temple, another architectural marvel. This one is Hindu, built in the 9th century. The main temples of Prambanan are surrounded by hundreds of shrines that showcase the skill level of the stonemasons and the architectural building technology that started in Java around the 8th century. Many of the buildings on this site were destroyed by an earthquake and are still being reconstructed to this day.
Well, those are my five favorite places beyond Bali to explore when visiting the wonderful country of Indonesia. I’d like to say a big thank you to Allianz Travel Insurance for sponsoring the video portion of this post. If you’ve ever been to Indonesia, please leave a comment below and share some of your favorite places beyond Bali.