Ultimate in Diversity

The Republic of Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world comprising 17,504 large and small tropical islands fringed with white sandy beaches, many still uninhabited and a number even still unnamed. Straddling the equator, situated between the continents of Asia and Australia and between the Pacific and the Indian Oceans, it is as wide as the United States from San Francisco to New York, equaling the distance between London and Moscow.  Indonesia has a total population of more than 215 million people from more than 200 ethnic groups. The national language is Bahasa Indonesia. 

Among the most well known islands are Sumatra, Java, Bali, Kalimantan (formerly Borneo), Sulawesi (formerly Celebes), the Maluku Islands (or better known as Moluccas, the original Spice Islands) and Papua. Then, there is Bali “the world’s best island resort” with its enchanting culture, beaches, dynamic dances and music. But Indonesia still has many unexplored islands with grand mountain views, green rainforests to trek through, rolling waves to surf and deep blue pristine seas to dive in where one can swim with dugongs, dolphins and large mantarays.

Because of her location, and geology, Indonesia is blessed with the most diverse landscape, from fertile ricelands on Java and Bali to the luxuriant rainforests of Sumatra, Kalimantan and Sulawesi, to the savannah grasslands of the Nusatenggara islands to snow-capped peaks of West Papua.

Her wildlife ranges from the prehistoric giant Komodo lizard to the Orang Utan and the Java rhino, to the Sulawesi anoa dwarf buffalos, to birds with exquisite plumage like the cockatoo and the bird of paradise. This is also the habitat of the Rafflesia the world’s largest flower, wild orchids, an amazing variety of spices, and aromatic hardwood and a large variety of fruit trees. Underwater, scientists have found in North Sulawesi the prehistoric coelacanth fish, a “living fossil” fish, predating the dinosaurs living some 400 million years ago, while whales migrate yearly through these waters from the South Pole. Here are hundreds of species of colourful coral and tropical fish to admire.

Culturally, Indonesia fascinates with her rich diversity of ancient temples, music, ranging from the traditional to modern pop, dances, rituals and ways of life, changing from island to island, from region to region. Yet everywhere the visitor feels welcomed with that warm, gracious innate friendliness of the Indonesian people that is not easily forgotten.

Facilities-wise Indonesia’s hotels are second to none. In fact, many of our luxurious and unique hotels have constantly been listed as some of the best in the world, located on white sandy beaches, overlooking green river valleys, or situated in the heart of busy capital Jakarta. While Indonesia’s cities like Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, or Makassar are a hive of activities for business and leisure and a paradise for shoppers, offering upscale boutiques selling top brand names, to local goods at road-side stalls. Here gourmets can treat themselves to the many regions’ delectable spicy cuisine or dine sumptuously at international restaurants. And for sheer relaxation, Indonesia Spas are second to none to reinvigorate both body and mind.

Convention centers are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, as many top international conferences and exhibitions are held in Jakarta, Bali to Manado, ranging from the Global Climate Change Conference in Bali to the World Ocean Conference in Manado , to trade and investment exhibitions and tourism trade shows in many provincial capital cities.

Jakarta, Bali, Medan, Padang, Bandung, Solo, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, Makassar are connected by direct international flights, and many regular and low cost carriers fly passengers to Indonesia’s towns or remote locations.

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Language

Bahasa Indonesia is the national and official language in the entire country. It is the language of official communication, taught in schools and spoken on television. Most Indonesians today speak at least two languages or more, Bahasa Indonesia and their local language, of which Indonesia counts more than 300 regional languages. 

Bahasa Indonesia is based on the high Malay language as spoken and written in the Riau Islands, as in the early 19th. century, Malay was the lingua franca throughout the then Dutch East Indies,  the language spoken in trade transactions. The more democratic Malay language was preferred by nationalistic youth above the Javanese language, despite the fact that Javanese is more sophisticated and at the time spoken by the majority population, Yet, Javanese is feudal as it has different levels of language depending on one’s status and the status of the person spoken to. The Youth Pledge of 1928, therefore, vowed to build one Indonesian country, one nation, speaking one language: bahasa Indonesia.

Since then, Bahasa Indonesia has developed rapidly incorporating Javanese terms, Jakarta dialect, as well as many English and Arabic words into its vocabulary.

Bahasa Indonesia use Latin alphabets but some parts of Indonesia have their own scripts, too. Bahasa Indonesia is rather easy to learn and once you get the hang of it, you’ll find out that it’s actually quite simple. You can try some simple Indonesian phrases, to get you started.

Fact: there are 583 languages and dialects spoken by the different ethnic groups in Indonesia. Imagine a school of 583 students who each speaks different languages or dialects. Confusion will be an understatement. Therefore it’s very fortunate that every single ethnic group embraces Bahasa Indonesia as the national language.

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Flora and Fauna

Indonesia’s moderate climate throughout the year, its fertile soil brought about by lava, and its minerals found on land and in the sea caused by volcanic eruptions, have made this the ideal habitat for a large number of unique and endemic flora and fauna. Indonesia has among the most diverse variety of species of animal life on land and in the seas found anywhere in the world.

Indonesia’s flora and fauna is divided by the “Wallace Line” that runs between Bali and Lombok, continuing north between Kalimantan and Sulawesi. West of the Line, vegetation and wildlife are Asian in nature, whereas east of the Line, these resemble those of Australia.

Vegetation found in different parts of the archipelago varies according to rainfall, soil and altitude. On the wetter islands, on Sumatra, Kalimantan, and Papua, ancient rainforests cover large areas. These forests are rich in valuable hardwood, aromatic and spice trees, as well as exotic fruit trees. Lately, however, through illegal logging and human settlements, large tracts of forests have been decimated leaving infertile land that cause flooding and erosions.

On the islands east of Bali known as the Nusatenggara islands (or once known as the Small Sunda Islands), there are savannahs, while on other mountain tops such as in the Mt. Gede National Park only 100 kms from Jakarta, one finds edelweiss, more reminiscent of Switzerland.

Indonesia’s wildlife varies from the Java mouse deer (or kancil) and the one-horned rhino to the Sumatran and Kalimantan Orang Utan, the Sulwesi anoa (a small water buffalo), the prehistoric giantKomodo lizard to the exotic Bird of Paradise in Papua.

How about flora?. Here in Indonesia, you can find Raflesia Arnoldi in Bengkulu, one of the giant and unique flower in the world.

To preserve these unique flora and fauna Indonesia has designated 44 national parks throughout the archipelago, covering both land and sea, a large number of protected reserves offering ecotourism opportunities, as well as botanic gardens and zoos.

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Climate

Being a tropical country, Indonesia is blessed with two seasons, namely dry and rainy. Dry usually occurs from June to September and the rest is rainy season. Sunshine is abundant except in rainy season when the sky tends to be cloudy. It is advisable to visit Indonesia during dry season. 

Make sure that your visit does not coincide with holiday festivities such as Muslim holiday Eid (or Lebaran, like Indonesians are fond to say), because the traffic tends to be heavy especially in Java island. Unless you are interested in seeing the festivals up close and experiencing them, of course.

Indonesia’s climate can be hot and humid, so bringing along sunblocks and moisturizers during dry season is recommended. No need to bring umbrellas during rainy season because they are abundant and can easily be bought even in small shops. You might need extra clothing though, and you can purchase them almost anywhere.

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Climate

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