Only (!) 6,000 of Indonesia’s 17.5k islands are inhabited, but its people represent all creeds, with countless traditions, and the influence of many global cultures. Such diversity makes for an intriguing destination, not to mention excellent choices at dinnertime...or any meal/time of day, for that matter!
Indonesia holidays are a joy for us to tailor, because we can always find something there to suit a given individual. Whether you’re drawn by the prospect of extraordinary diving, hiking up active volcanoes, seeing orang-utans in the rainforest, or island-hopping on an elegant boat, a holiday in Indonesia will let you sample everything that South-East Asia has to offer (there are even cool mountain regions where you can escape the tropical climate!). And we haven’t even mentioned the evocative religious sites, remote tribal cultures, the awe-inspiring volcanoes…
The list is endless, and offers such an authentically Asian travel experience; where else can you start the day with a fish curry breakfast and end it with satay sticks from a streetside grill? And after all that adventure, you'll need somewhere to relax, and nowhere does spas like the spas in Indonesia.
Expect outstanding natural beauty and superb wildlife, for a start. Forty of the world’s 200 primates live in Indonesia, including several orang-utan species. Fifty national parks across the country are home to tigers, leopards, rhinos, elephants, birds of paradise... this is where you'll find the Komodo dragon, the world’s largest bee, and its' smelliest flower! Diving in Indonesia is world class, too, with clear warm waters harbouring the planet’s most diverse coral reef fish population. We can tailor an itinerary to suit, whether you’re a family of experienced divers, or budding naturalists who are just starting out.
From cities to hamlets, you’ll enjoy heartfelt hospitality, stylish attention to detail, and cultural creations that reflect a multitude of influences, plus cuisine that does likewise. All of Indonesia’s islands promise a truly diverse experience: head to Bali for chic luxury, or Lombok for quiet beach cool; witness Java’s jaw-dropping volcanoes (and the small matter of some world-famous temples); explore the rainforest on Kalimantan and Sumatra, and experience ancient tribal rituals on Sumba.
If you’re researching your honeymoon, Indonesia is the ultimate choice for romance, with gorgeous secluded accommodation in places that range from boutique waterside hotels in Bali to a private island of your very own.
Our Destination Specialists have travelled extensively in Indonesia and across Asia, researching the best hotels, sights and activities - read more in our Indonesia island guides. You can also visit our ‘when to go’ pages for the best time to visit Indonesia based on weather and climate, or get in touch with one of our tailor-made Indonesia specialists to discuss your travel plans.
Discover your Indonesia
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Discover the planet's largest island archipelago
Things to love in Indonesia
What to do in Indonesia: Discover more with our hand-picked experiences & highlights
Sailing the Flores Sea aboard a traditional teak phinisi boat is an unusual, unbeatable experience. Standing on deck, sails billowing in the wind and exotic islands passing by on both sides, you’ll feel like a true adventurer. During this trip, you’ll spend two to four nights exploring the waters surrounding Flores and Komodo. Along the way, you can stop off to snorkel amongst manta rays, and when you disembark you’ll be met by Komodo dragons, smoking volcanoes, and maybe even the giant Flores rat!
Ancient & awe-inducing, volcanic Mount Bromo is famous across the world for its staggering sunrises, and in real life they easily outshine the hype. Bromo’s rugged crater rises from a vast mist-filled plain - a panorama that halts speech, alters perspective, & lurks in the subconscious for years. To experience this at its most sublime, wake before dawn & take a jeep up the mountainside to watch the sun rise over the hazy volcanic range, followed by a horseback ride across the moon-like valley surface to spend the day exploring the foothills of Bromo itself.
With 18,307 islands in its archipelago, Indonesia is the ideal place to find a beautiful tropical island that you can have absolutely all to yourself. We can organise a stay on one of several private atolls and islets, with stylish accommodation and a pick-up boat just a call away. Ideal for true romance or a very special occasion, with time spent snorkelling through rainbow-coloured coral gardens, taking sunset walks on sandy beaches, or snoozing in the warm shade of coconut palms.
Perfect straight ‘off the peg’ or as a source of inspiration allowing us to start with blank canvas. You decide.
The Selective difference
With us, you are taken care of from enquiry until your reluctant homecoming. Your holiday is designed by a specialist who knows your destination first-hand. Throughout your travels, you'll have expert personal guides where requested & our full logistical support. And, it goes without saying, we'll be waiting to hear all about it once you're home.
Our Brighton-based Destination Specialists spend each day working closely with colleagues and partners across Asia. This ensures we stay several steps ahead when designing inspiring holidays, staying up to date and overcoming obstacles, which means your holiday will be crafted using both local and international expertise.
The welfare of our destinations and their communities is incredibly important to us. We are focused on ensuring that your money makes a positive impact, as often as possible, by supporting communities and wildlife conservation through dedicated initiatives and by very carefully choosing our partners in Asia.
We may be partial to the occasional bad pun, but we don’t joke around when it comes to designing first class travel experiences. Over 90% of our clients rate us 5/5 after their holiday, and we're not ashamed to crack a proud grin on behalf of our award-winning teams in the UK and Asia.
We know your time is precious, before and during your trip. We want you to have a smooth and relaxing experience so that your main concern on holiday will be whether to order noodles or rice. There will be no hidden extras, and your holiday will be orchestrated seamlessly by your Destination Specialist plus our local guides and behind-the-scenes crews in your destination.
Explore Indonesia's highlights
Flores & Komodo
Whilst no visitor to Komodo should pass on the opportunity to encounter the infamous Komodo Dragon, less well known is the world-class snorkelling and diving off its - and neighbouring Flores' - shores. It’s amongst the best we’ve experienced and combined they make the perfect base for two weeks of adventure and r&r.
Bali & Lombok
Fear not, we're not a two weeks on Kuta Beach kind-a operator. It's safe to read on... Whilst Bali undoubtedly has its more crowded side, there is so much more to explore beyond the well-trodden tourist spots. We love travelling the lesser visited north side of the island, and combining it with the predominantly unspoilt Lombok; its natural landscape of picture perfect beaches and volcanic backdrop are exactly what many people seek when they visit Indonesia.
An island bursting at the seams, Java is literally full of life. Home to well over 50% of Indonesians living on the island, it does have its downsides, including the traffic which is as bad as you've probably read, however the list of positives far outweighs this. From Jakarta’s bohemian nightlife, to the wonders of the 9th century Borobudur through to the surf-licked beaches, Java is hard to overlook.
and there's more...
Sulawesi & the Moluccas
These two islands are a great combination but work equally as well to be explored on their own. Sulawesi promises great trekking, fascinating cultures and world-class diving. Off to the east in the Moluccas (or Maluku) Islands get set for island hopping exploration, colonial history, near deserted sands and more of the world-class diving. These exotic and pristine islands were once at the centre of global trade, and these 'Spice Islands' were eventually fought over by the Portuguese, English, Dutch and Spanish. Explore this small slice of paradise.
West Papua & Raja Ampat
If you want to get off the grid in Indonesia, West Papua is the place to go. This region is one of the most sparsely populated and least accessible areas of Indonesia with extraordinary diving, remote tribes, and idyllic views.
Despite improving flight links, visitors to Raja Ampat really earn their prize and you can be sure of plenty of space both below and above water.
Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo)
Its magnificent rainforests are home to thousands of species, including 89% of the world’s wild orang-utans. Kalimantan offers an extraordinary chance to spot rare wildlife both on land and from its waterways. With Indonesia's administrative capital set to move to East Kalimantan in the coming decade to help ease the congestion in Java, there's never been a better time to visit.
Responsible Travel in Indonesia
Our own team's travels in Indonesia have generated some very positive feedback on the efforts being taken by many Indonesian islands to cut single-use plastics out of day--to-day use. Hotels and resorts have certainly taken up the fight, with the vast majority providing alternatives and refills helping to minimise their own footprint. However, plastics aren't just a tourism problem, and it's very encouraging to see locals and small, local projects have popped up all over Indonesia helping to combat the issue.
Some islands are gearing up to complete ban on plastic bags, and while on Sulawesi recently Nick was impressed by the condition of rural villages that have clean-ups each weekend organised by the Sulawesi-wide PKK group.
19,000 islands makes for a lot of coastline meaning that the sea, and its well-being, plays a big part in many Indonesian people's lives. Away from plastics, innovation is playing its part with projects such as the Biorock at Pemuteran restoring reef damaged by fishing, and growing new reef, with electric current. We support this and many other worthwhile projects by introducing them to clients and ensuring that part of their holiday spend is supporting responsible focused initiatives.
The world’s largest archipelago, Indonesia is made up of over 17,000 islands, with over 900 of them inhabited.
Although generally a conservative island, Bali hosts an annual kissing festival for the unmarried residents of Denpasar.
The infamous eruption in 1883 was the most violent volcanic event on record – the explosion was heard 3,000 miles away.
Kalimantan makes up two thirds of the island of Borneo – its northern border divides the island between Indonesia and Malaysia.
Indonesians love to play musical instruments – the gamelan, for instance, can be heard all over the island of Bali.
Hold on to your sunglasses when visiting Uluwatu Temple - the cheeky monkeys there will nab anything not attached to you.
Over 150 of these peaks are scattered across the archipelago – 127 of them active.
It crosses Indonesia – so, which way does the water go down the drain?
Six religions, mostly Muslim, although Bali is predominantly Hindu.
A combination of all the good stuff (chillis, lime juice, sugar, shrimp paste, in case you were wondering!) is found accompanying most dishes in Indonesia. Spice up your day with a dollop.