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Indonesia: Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in diversity)

A vast archipelago stretching for over 5,000 kilometres and encompassing more than 17,000 islands, Indonesia is diverse and fascinating. Its appeal includes traditional cultures, rich volcanic beauty, tropical beaches and imaginative arts and architecture.

Bali’s beaches, easygoing air and warm hospitality have long made it a delightful holiday destination. Its interior is lush and green with vast terraced rice fields. Its strong artistic heritage is evidenced by exquisite batik paintings and intricate wood carvings. Lombok is less well-known and unique in its Sasak heritage and culture.

Java plays host not only to the famous Borobudur Temple, an architectural wonder and UNESCO World Heritage Site, but also highland retreats, tea plantations, volcanoes and scenic mountain passes.

Sulawesi’s forested heart protects the regency of Tana Toraja where hanging graves and cliffs displaying ancestral sculptures are a vital element of the death-venerating culture.

Hidden Balliem Valley in West Papua has traditional Dani villages and precarious dangling footbridges crafted entirely from natural twine.

Sumatra’s wild volcanic landscape offers plenty of options for trekking while its vast crater lake, Lake Toba, provides a spectacular backdrop for a few days’ relaxing on the island of Palau Samosir.

Kalimantan is Indonesia’s portion of the island of Borneo. Orangutans and proboscis monkeys may be viewed from traditional boats weaving through the waters of the Tanjung Puting National Park. Komodo dragons are the stars on Komodo and Rinca, two of the very few islands where these massive lizards live in the wild.

Capital

Jakarta

Population

262 million

Language

Bahasa Indonesia

Time Zone

Western islands +07:00
Central islands +08:00
Eastern islands +09:00

Electricity

220v, 50Hz

Currency

Rupiah

When to Go

Generally the best time to visit this beautiful enchanting country is in the dryer months of May to September.

Indonesia’s impressive chain of tropical islands has a dry season which lasts from May to September and marks the time the country receives its most foreign visitors. The rainy season occurs from October to April. For more remote islands it is best to check local weather sources as the monsoon shifts.

Indonesia’s dry season is characterised by generally warm to hot tropical sunny weather with occasional afternoon rain showers which typically don’t last longer than an hour or two. In the rainy season the afternoon showers can last up to four to five hours bringing with it surges of water that can flood some areas. The weather in mountainous and highland areas experience cooler weather than the heat of lower coastal areas in both seasons.

Light clothes for this hot tropical climate are a must. Plenty of undergarments and socks as well as walking shoes for any adventures like temple viewing or jungle treks. Be advised that many places require long conservative dress for holy sites. A light sweater or jacket is also advisable for air-conditioned transportation or highland areas.

The rainy season can also be a good time to visit Indonesia to beat the crowds and bask in discount prices as the actual temperatures are nearly the same year round and the rainy season hosts an abundance of sun. However be advised of transportation issues to remote areas, and strong ocean currents created by rainy season afternoon storms that can cause dangerous conditions for inter-island boat travel.

Customs & Traditions

Indonesia has a great variety of folk and classical arts, all of which are an integral part of traditional life and have been influenced by very different foreign cultures over the years including the ancient Indian and Chinese civilisations. The two main branches of traditional Indonesian art form are the old Malay traditions in the remote interiors of Sumatra and Borneo, and the Javanese and Balinese art forms based on Hindu stories of the Mahabharata and Ramayana. Balinese art and architecture is heavily influenced by Hindu-Buddhist temple art. Balinese sculpture and painting originated as temple decoration, though they later became art forms in their own right. Today, Bali is a centre of arts and crafts, producing exquisite sculptures, paintings, textiles, woodcarvings and intricate silver and gold jewellery.

Indonesian dance is closely associated with rituals for exorcising spirits, ceremonial rites of passage for birth, circumcision and death, and celebrating various agricultural events. Traditional and folk dances are varied and include Javanese classical dance which is calm, controlled and subtle, while Balinese dance is energetic and ranges from comic to serious.
Wayang kulit, the tradition of shadow puppetry, is a fascinating spectacle, with powerful spiritual overtones for the audience. Puppets are believed to possess spiritual power, and the shadow puppet master is seen as a quasi-mystical figure. Indonesian traditional music includes gamelan and keroncong. Dangdut is a popular contemporary genre of pop music that draws influence from Arabic, Indian, and Malay folk music.

‘Adat’ or custom determines Indonesian lifestyle. This is the unwritten code of traditional behaviour that is found in every city, town, village and farm. It is not a part of a religion, but it contains rules of conduct for almost every situation. All Indonesian practice some form of adat and it has an influence on their core customs and behaviours.
– For both men and women, it is advisable to cover your shoulders and wear knee-length skirts or trousers, unless you are in a very touristy beach area.
– You should never touch anybody’s head intentionally as it is regarded as a particularly holy part of the body.
– Shoes should be taken off before entering someone’s house or a mosque.
– The Balinese eat with their right hand, as the left is impure, a common belief throughout Indonesia. The Balinese do not hand, receive things or wave at anyone with their left hand

With over 200 million inhabitants, Indonesia contains an astonishing diversity of people, with more than 300 ethnic groups and 250 distinct languages. Broadly speaking, four population groups have migrated to Indonesia over the centuries: the Negritos, the Australoids, the Proto-Malays and the Deutro-Malays. The Chinese are among Indonesia’s most recent immigrants, and although they are a tiny minority, they are an important part of society and control a large portion of Indonesia’s wealth. The main ethnic groups today are the Javanese, followed by the Sundanese, Madurese and coastal Malays. Among other groups such as the Dayaks in Kalimantan and the Irianese who live in very remote areas, there are some people that may never have seen a foreigner.

Four of the world’s major religions of the world are found in Indonesia – Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity. At the turn of the century, over 80 percent of the Indonesian population were Muslims, the rest were Protestants, Roman Catholics, Hindus and Buddhist. Freedom of religion is defined by the first principle of the state philosophy, Pancasila, which upholds a ‘belief in one supreme God’.

Selected Tours

Manado & Bunaken - History, Highglands & Sea Gardens

Highlights Snorkel among the fish and corals of the Bunaken National Marine Park. Discover the breathtaking vistas and villages of

Asmat Tribe Adventure

Highlights Venture into unknown West Papua to stay with the ethnic Asmat tribe. Stay in long houses in isolated villages

Malimbu Sunset

Highlights Get a glimpse into Lombok life in a local market and roadside village. Look out over deep valleys and

Three Gili Tour

Highlights Soak up the sun on the three tiny but idyllic Gili Islands. Travel in traditional island-style on a horse-drawn

Sasak Village & Southern Beaches

Highlights: Try your hand at the ancient techniques of pottery and weaving. Explore Lombok’s southern coastline of beautiful bays and

Rinjani & the Highlands

Highlights Admire the breathtaking views of the volcanic Mount Rinjani. Visit Sasak villages to see traditional houses and a rural

Lombok Villages & Waterfalls

Highlights: Venture into traditional homes in a remote village. Discover sacred springs in a forest temple complex. Cool off with

Shittaung Pagoda Festival 2018

Shittaung Pagoda Festival 2018 - 5D/4N 27 April 2018 - 1 May 2018  

Dragons & Volcanoes

Highlights Go in search of the elusive mighty Komodo Dragon. Swim and snorkel in the crystal waters off Pink Beach.

Trekking the Ho Chi Minh Trail

Highlights Meet the Co Tu tribe who still wear their colourful traditional dress. Learn about traditions and practices that have

Discovery of South India

Highlights Discover the legacy of the French, Dutch and Portuguese in quaint colonial-era cities. Take a boat ride on Lake

Fort Cochin by Tuk Tuk

Highlights Travel by tuk-tuk through the narrow alleys and picture-postcard streets of Fort Cochin. Visit the 16th century St Francis

Cycling tour of Jaipur

Highlights Take an early morning cycle ride through the colourful streets of Jaipur. See the Water Palace in Sagar Lake

Kolkata Market Walk

Highlights Browse for unique items and souvenirs in the bustling bazaars and markets. Sip coffee in a beautiful coffee house

The Deccan India

Highlights Discover the striking monuments, ancient capitals and unique culture of the Deccan Plateau. Wander amongst the unique landscapes and

The Amazing North India

The Amazing North India (10D/9N)      

Mystic Kerala

Highlights Uncover the charms of Cochin, home to giant fishing nets and classical Keralan arts. Spend a night on a

Palace on Wheels

Highlights Explore India in royal old-world style on one of the most luxurious trains in the world. Discover incredible North

The Golden Triangle

Highlights Compare the chaotic narrow lanes of Old Delhi with the imperial monuments of New Delhi. Explore the sprawling Amber

Toy Train & Visit to Tea Garden

Highlights Take a ride on a heritage train through breathtaking mountain landscapes. Visit a charming colonial tea plantation set on

Turban Tying, Kite Flying, & a Home-Cooked Meal

Highlights Enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal of local specialties in an old aristocratic house. Learn the traditional art of turban

Renewal of Vows and Henna Experience

Highlights Spend a romantic afternoon with your loved one renewing your vows. Experience an ancient Indian blessing performed by a

Wild Central India

Highlights Search for the elusive tiger in some of India’s finest national parks and tiger reserves. Witness the wild beautiful

Jewish Heritage of Mumbai by Walk

Highlights Gain insight into the history, culture and sects of India’s Jewish communities. Visit the historical docks and stunning synagogues

Experience Thailand in Style

Experience Thailand in Style (13D/12N) Overview Indulge in the ultimate Thailand Experience on this 13-day stylish journey exploring northern and

Elephant Encounter at the Sanctuary

Highlights Gain an insight into the life and history of rescued and orphaned elephants. Join the elephants in the river

Street Eats in the Village of Love at Night

Highlights Explore the historic Bang Rak area as it comes alive in the evening. Visit popular local eateries to sample

Street Eats and History in the Village of Love

Highlights Walking through one of Bangkok’s oldest neighborhoods to take in the historical sites and taste some local drinks, snacks,

Cambodia Beach Break

Cambodia Beach Break

Temple Dinner Angkor

Highlights Luxury dining experience at a sacred Angkor temple. Delicious dinner with free-flow wine and traditional Angkor music and the

Storytelling and Insights over Dinner

Highlights Experience unique, informative, interactive and entertaining performances under the stars. Be taken back in time through Cambodia’s turbulent history

Khmer Cuisine Experience

Highlights Learn to cook traditional and authentic home-cooked Cambodian dishes. Select your fresh vegetables and herbs from the organic garden.

Roluos Group by Electric Scooter & Boat Trip at Kampong Phluk

Highlights Explore the ruins of the Roluos temples on an eco-friendly electric scooter. Cruise through Kampong Phluk floating village to

Luxury Camping Under the Stars

Highlights Venture off the beaten track to discover remote temples of Cambodia. Enjoy cocktails and a romantic dinner by the

Spiritual Tour of Siem Reap

Spiritual Tour of Siem Reap Overview Start the tour at a beautifully decorated shrine containing the statues of two sisters,

Hidden Temples and Countryside by Quad

Highlights Explore Siem Reap rural way of life by quad bike seeing lush rice fields, local farms and house on

A Truly Unique Dinner Experience

Highlights A romantic dinner served in a peaceful countryside venue with candle-lit atmosphere Your local host and private chef will

Bespoke Family Experience in Hanoi

Highlights Explore the city by an open-sided electric car for an hour. Visit the artisan’s house who is last traditional

Old Saigon Walking Tour

Highlights Stroll down the bustling narrow alleys to see the variety of local people’s daily life. Visit the vendors and

Minorities of the North

Minorities of the North (2D/1N)

Hidden Trail to Red Dao Village

Hidden Trail to Red Dao Village  

Jeep Safari – My Son and Beach BBQ

Highlights Discover Vietnam’s ancient culture followed by a romantic beach barbeque. Travel in a restored US army jeep and head

Sunset by Speedboat with Evening Cocktail

Highlights Cruise under important bridges and past historical sites. Watch the sun go down over the charming Saigon River. Enjoy

Paradise Elegance Cruise through Halong Bay

Paradise Elegance Cruise through Halong Bay ( 2D/1N)

Inle Balloon Ride

Highlights Get a bird’s eye view of the shimmering Inle Lake from a hot air balloon. Look down on floating

North East Cambodia Discovery

Highlights Join elephants in a jungle waterfall to splash and bathe. Swim in the emerald waters of a circular crater

Mekong Delta Cycling

Highlights Explore the canals of the Mekong on a hand-rowed sampan. Cycle along the Delta’s shaded backroads, visiting local villages.

Kalaw to Inle Bike & Hike

Highlights Bike and hike in the forested hills of Kalaw, enjoying the cool mountain air. Visit remote villages of the

The Natural Wonders of West Bali and Ijen National Park

Highlights: Be a park ranger for a day in the West Bali National Park. Snorkel and swim among the fish

Flores - Wae Rebo Trekking

Highlights Trek off the beaten track to an isolated highland Manggarai village. Stay overnight in a unique cone-shaped communal house.

Java to Bali Overland

Highlights See the spectacular blue flames of Ijen’s crater lake in East Java Explore Yogyakarta and the ancient temples of

Sumba Adventure

Highlights See amazing megalithic burials, used as a “living tradition” to inter prominent individuals when they die. Take a swim

Delhi Cultural Safari

Highlights Discover Delhi’s historic time-honoured Mughal and British heritage. Weave in and out of the vibrant streets of old Delhi

Rafting in Rishikesh

Highlights Get soaked in the adrenaline rush of river rafting on the Ganges. Experience the exhilaration of fun-filled rapids and

Udaipur Village Trek

Highlights Trek through scenic countryside with views of the rugged Aravali Mountains. Interact with the villagers to gain an insight

Biryani Cooking Class

Highlights Take part in a cooking class in the kitchen of a local house. Learn how to prepare traditional biryani

Cochin Cooking Class

Highlights Learn to cook traditional and authentic home-cooked Cochin cuisine. Prepare dishes using local ingredients of seafood, spices and coconut.

Classic Rajasthan

Highlights Explore the havelis, forts and palaces of vibrantly coloured romantic Rajashtani cities. Take an early morning boat ride along

Agra Heritage Walk

Highlights Get to know the street culture of Agra the local way, by exploring on foot. Taste traditional Indian treats

Alleppey Backwater Cruise

Highlights Cruise along India’s largest wetland in a traditional wooden houseboat. Photograph waterbirds, ancient temples, paddy fields and the lakeside

Pink City Jaipur by Train

Highlights Travel by train to the pink city of Jaipur, home to forts and havelis. Visit the majestic Amber Fort

Bollywood Close Up

Highlights Get a glimpse behind the scenes of the glitzy, glamorous and vibrant world of Bollywood. Tour the studios and

Hot Air Balloon Ride

Highlights Float high above the pink painted rooftops of the city of Jaipur. Watch the balloon being inflated and prepared

Taj Mahal by Helicopter

Highlights Take an exhilarating helicopter ride above the Taj Mahal. Visit the beautiful palaces within the Agra Fort. Enjoy a

Cricket Match with Locals

Highlights Join in a fun cricket match in India with a local Indian team. Understand the passion behind India’s much-loved

Jaipur by Vintage Car

Highlights Explore the rich culture and heritage of Jaipur by vintage car. Navigate the chaotic streets in the glamorous style

Dinner with the Nobles of Jaipur

Highlights Spend the evening in a traditional Haveli owned by a noble family. Watch your hosts preparing tasty authentic Rajasthani

Tanah Lot & Romantic Rice Field Dinner

Highlights Visit the stunning Tanah Lot Temple and make some photography. Have a romantic Balinese dinner at the rice field

Yogya’s Highlights with an Archeological Expert

Highlights Explore the the awe-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage Site of Borobudur with an archaeological expert. Yogya’s Highlights with an Archeological

On the Blessing Trail

Highlights A spiritual trip into the heart of Ubud’s elephant cave with a stroll through the rice fields. Visit a

Bali Foodie Heaven

Highlights Join an expert ‘foodie’ on a culinary journey to experience the aromas and flavours of Bali. Take a walk

Local flavors of Yogya

Highlights Explore Yogyakarta in the evening by the becak and have the feast on the main course of Javanese cuisine

Diving to Pemuteran Underwater Temple

Highlights Dive to a conservation site in Pemuteran, home to the best diving on the island. Discover a mysterious underwater

Bali’s Most Active Volcano from the Air

Highlights Fly in an helicopter over the coastline and the Indian Ocean before turning inland to view the stunning emerald-green

Hidden Beaches, Cocktails and a Candlelit Cave Dinner

Highlights Indulge in a one-of-a-kind dining experience in a romantic candlelit cave. Swim, sunbathe and take in the breathtaking seascapes

Tjampuhan Ridge Walk and High Tea over the Ayung

Highlights Enjoy the panoramic scenery on a nature trek along the Tjampuhan Ridge. Visit the flamboyant hilltop home and studio

Off the Beaten Path Nusa Penida on Rhino

Highlights Snorkel and paddle board alongside the coastal cliffs of Nusa Penida. Look for manta rays in a turquoise pool

A Day to Remember in Sagaing and Amarapura

Highlights Exploring Sagaing and Amarapura ancient capitals of Myanmar. Crossing Yodanapon Bridge, known as New Ava Bridge overlooking to the

Epic Train Ride over Highest Railway Bridge in Myanmar

Highlights Take a sunset stroll across the beautiful U-Bein Bridge. Enjoy an epic train in a chartered carriage over Myanmar’s

Hidden Treasures by Circular Train

Highlights Travel by circular train to discover some of city’s best kept secret – shattered glass factory and scenery leafy

Sunset Cycling to Red Mountain

Highlights Cycling to the Red Mountain Vineyard in the after and stopping by some interesting places for photography of Kyauk

Explore Ancient Bagan by Electric Scooter

Highlights Explore ancient city of Bagan by eco-friendly electric bike. Stop at temples for photography and listen to history and

Belmond Road to Mandalay: Images of the Golden Land

Belmond Road to Mandalay: Images of the Golden Land  

Camping in Paradise – Mergui Archipelago

Highlights Explore the untouched island Nyaung Oo Phee as well as Mergui-Archipelago. There you can swim, snorkel to see fishes

The Capital Inside Out

Highlights Visit a gleaming golden stupa which is perhaps the most important national monument in Laos. Gain an insight into

Local Tastes and Traditions

Highlights A spiritual Baci ceremony at a local house to call escaped spirits back to the body. A memorable experience

Explore the Capital by Tuk Tuk

Highlights Explore the hidden spots of Vientiane in a comfortable “Tuk Tuk”. Taste some local delicacies sold by typical street

Beyond the Temples – By Electric vehicle

Highlights Explore Luang Prabang in a environmentally friendly manner by electric tuk tuk Visiting UXO Visitor Center where informative exhibition

Heritage Tour of Luang Prabang by Rolls-Royce Tuk Tuk

Highlights Explore historical and sacred temples in a Rolls Royce electric tuk tuk. Discover priceless art, jewels and royal artifacts

2-Day Photography-in-Depth Tour

Highlights Improve your photographic and technical skills with a professional renowned photographer. Tell a story through your images as you

Sunset Champagne Cruise on the River of Kings

Highlights : Enjoy the most luxurious cruise that has ever been launched in the history of Chao Phraya River during

Angthong by Boutique Yacht

Highlights Explore the stunning uninhabited islands of the Angthong National Marine Park on a beautiful boutique yacht. Swim in the

Samui Island Cruise

Highlights Discover the beautiful coastline and offshore islands of Koh Samui on a boutique yacht. Discover the underwater life with

Bangkok by Train, Boat, Foot and Tuk Tuk

Highlights Travel like a local by using different types of transportation Avoid traffic, and see Bangkok from a different angle

The Perfect Family Day with Elephants

Highlights : Care for elderly elephants in their final home and treat them to a fun and messy mud bath.

Distillery Tour Phuket

Highlights : Soak in the breathtaking views of three beaches and the Andaman Sea. Learn how to make delicious cocktails

Toul Sleng Museum with a S21 Survivor

Highlights Learn about a chapter from Cambodia’s more recent history at the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum, also known as S-21.

Artist Encounter at Phare Circus

Highlights Meet a talented circus performer over a cocktail and a light snack. Watch an amazing show that is transforming

Private Vespa Tour with an Angkor Born

Highlights Drive through the ancient temples of Angkor on a vintage Vespa accompanied by a former monk and resident of

Art Insider and Cruise

Highlights Get an insight of art scene and the history of Cambodia’s 2nd largest city Enjoy a delectable lunch in

Local Life Discovery on Sangker and Tonle

Highlights Witness the daily life of the river people at close range as you cruise along the Sangker River. Visit

A Perfect Family Day in Angkor

Highlights Have a water blessing morning by a monk at one of the ancient temples of Angkor Thom. Get on

Mekong Cruise to Pak Ou in Style

Highlights : Board a luxurious wooden for a gentle ride on the Mekong River and observe the life passing by

Behind the Scenes of the Bear Sanctuary

Highlights Spend a day feeding bears during a personalized tour with the Manager at a Bear Sanctuary. A private picnic

An Intro to Lao Cuisine

Highlights An introduction to the Lao cuisine with a short cooking course with an experienced head chef A real and

A Wat to Wat Insider Walking Tour

Highlights Discover the main sights of Luang Prabang by walk. Get an insider’s view of the religion and culture from

Sunrise Balloon Ride over Temples

Highlights Lifetime experience with breathtaking scenery over temples of Bagan. Bagan is rated as one of the top 5 places

Sunset Cocktail Cruise and Sandbank Dinner

Highlights Cruising down Irrawaddy River by a private wooden river boat. Sunset cocktails on the boat and private dinner along

Home Hosted Inthar Meal on Inle Lake

Highlights Discovering Inthar people daily life, culture and cuisine. Taking a longtail boat exploring a local farm and meet the

Pindaya Caves with Home Cooked Lunch

Highlights Discover hundreds of Buddha images in a vast limestone cavern. Join a local family in their home for an

War Insights of Hanoi with a Veteran

Highlights Meet up with Mr Nguyen Hong My and get guided through Vietnam’s war history by a pilot who famously

Saigon Insider

Highlights Explore streets and secret spots beyond the usual tourist trail. Venture into a hidden bunker used in the 1968

Cycle in Sam Mountain Valley

Highlights Cycling and being surrounded by lush green paddy fields of Sam Mountain. Visiting famous Vietnamese pilgrimage sites, Chua Xu

Cholon, A Photogenic Experience

Highlights Visit the historic district of Cho Lon on a different angle: get the chance to see the backstreets and

Walk the Rail Tracks of Hanoi

Highlights Take the train to explore another side of Hanoi by walk through local’s people life style, shops along your

Pedal and Paddle with the Kids

Highlights Explore riverside village of Tra Nhieu by bike and boat with family. Join the farmer raking and harrowing the

In the Footsteps of a Culinary Connoisseur

Highlights Try grilled honey chicken, praised by celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain as the very best in Vietnam! Learn to cook