Tanah Lot Bali

Tanah Lot is a popular tourist attraction located in Beraban, Bali, Indonesia. This is a rock formation that is considered a sacred temple for the Hindu people. Also, it represents a perfect background for numerous famous photos.

Tanah Lot is a sacred place

Tanah Lot is actually a rocky coast, renowned throughout the world for the simple fact that the Hindus temple is situated on a cliff and surrounded by seawater.

This destination is visited by tourists every day, especially for the scenery offered by nature and the amazing sunset, which outlines a picture stolen from the books.

Tanah Lot Beach is a perfect place for surfing

The beach that surrounds the Tanah Lot Temple is also renowned throughout the world, especially for the perfect waves needed for surfing activities. There are two famous places where you benefit from the suitable waves, namely Enjung Galuh and Batu Bolong Temple.

Being geographically positioned in the southwest of Bali Island, the best time for surfing entertainments is the dry season. This means that the wind will move from the southwest to the west, which provides a perfect environment for creating powerful waves.

Tanah Lot is recognized for its Melukat ritual

Once you arrive in the area, you can be part in the ritual of the locals. It’s called “Melukat” and it represents a deprivation ceremony of the body and soul, in order to cast out bad luck and sickness.

There are seven types of Melukat ceremonies, all of them having approximatively the same purpose: to eliminate the influence of the devil and naturally treat a person’s body. Among them we list: Melukat Astupungku, Melukat Gni Anglayang, Melukat Gomana, Melukat Surya Gomana, Melukat Semanra beda, Melukat Prabhu Beda and Melukat Nawa Ratna.

To reach this sacred temple, you will have to go through a string of souvenir stalls. The entrance fee is 20,000 Rupiah for Indonesian nationals, while for foreigners the price is much more expensive.

Tanah Lot, Bali is definitely a tourist attraction worth visiting once you reach the nearby area. In Balinese, this means “Land in the Sea,” which transforms a simple stone formation into a true legend.

Uluwatu Temple Bali

Uluwatu Temple, also known as Pura Luhur Uluwatu, is one of the six most important temples believed to be a ‘sad kahyangan jagad’ (“six sanctuaries of the world“). The temple is famous for its splendid location, perched on top of a steep cliff at a height of approximatively 70 meters above sea level. Some of the archaeological remains found here show that the temple is of megalithic origin, dating back as far back as the 10th century.

A sea temple with a view

This sea temple also shares the sublime sunset views with the Tanah Lot Temple, another important sea temple which is set on the island’s western shores. Pura Luhur Uluwatu is one of the top spots on the island to catch the best views of the sun setting into the beautiful Indian Ocean. At the temple, daily Kecak dance performances are held.  The Balinese architecture is something to marvel at, as the traditionally-designed gateways and ancient stone sculptures make Uluwatu Temple a truly unique site to behold. A 10th century one-piece winged stone gate takes you to the inside courtyard of Pura Uluwatu. Winged gates are not common in Bali.

Home of the curious macaque monkeys

In the small forest that lies at the front of the temple live hundreds of macaque monkeys, who are very accustomed to interacting with visitors. They are thought to be guardians of the temple and ward off any evil spirits.

Uluwatu Beach, just under the cliff, is one of Bali’s most frequented surfing spots. Avid surfers should not miss the opportunity to tame these waves.

Every six months, according to the Balinese 210-day Pawukon calendar, grand temple anniversary celebrations take place at the temple. The royal family of Jro Kuta from Denpasar, are the temple’s keepers and are also the patrons of the event.

Uluwatu Temple is one of the spiritual pillars of Bali, that offers a dramatic view from the side of the steep hill it has been built into. Click here to see the best resorts nearby.

Ulan Danau Bali

Ulan Danau, or Pura Bratan, is a very significant Shaivite water temple on the island of Bali.  It is a famous picturesque landmark due to its architecture and natural surroundings. This major temple complex is set on the shores of Lake Bratan with an amazing backdrop of the nearby mountains of Bedugul. Water temples tend to the entire region in the outflow area; the downstream region is dotted with many smaller water temples that are specific to each cooperative irrigation management (subak).

Honouring the Gods with its Beauty

Built in 1633, this temple was built to worship the main Hindu Trinity of gods, Brahma- Vishnu- Shiva, as well as for holding ceremonies for the Balinese water, lake and river goddess Dewi Danu – which is due to the significance of Lake Bratan as a main source of irrigation in central Bali. The 11-story pelinggih meru tower in the complex is devoted to Shiva and his consort Parvathi. Buddha’s can also be found at the shrine of this temple. Ulan Danau also houses a megalithic artifact such as a sarcophagus and stone tablet. This has led to the supposition that it was a sacred site before the Hindu temple was erected.

The Holy Mountain Lake of Bratan

Lake Bratan is also called the Lake of Holy Mountain because of the area’s fertility. Close to the lake, visitors can rent fishing gear and bait to spend some relaxing moments on the lakeside. The Eka Karya Botanical Gardens is also a must-see attraction of the Bedugul region, which can be easily found in the nearby region.

Ulun Danu Beratan temple’s anniversary ceremony or Piodalan is held every Kliwon Julungwangi Tuesday on the Hindu Balinese calendar cycle which is 210 days. A grander celebration is Piodalan Agung, which occurs every 420 days.

The magnificent display of the Balinese architecture – that is the Ulan Danau – must not be missed, as the serene lake views and cool hills of the region add to this magnificent experience.

Wakatobi Diving

From the depths of the Banda Sea, southeast of Sulawesi, rise the main islands of Wangi, Kaledupa, Tomea, Binongki, commonly known as Wakatobi. The Wakatobi National Park is set in the heart of the Coral Triangle, which has been called one of the most bio-diverse regions of the Indo-Pacific region and even of the world. Here you can find large portions of all reef types: fringing, atoll and barrier, making your diving experience unique as you will get to see incredibly colourful corals teeming with sea life from large trevallies fish and schools of barracuda to small nudibranchs and cleaner shrimps.

Wakatobi Diving and Snorkeler’s Paradise

There is the exclusive Wakatobi Resort dive centre ready to suit you up and send you exploring in the depths of these waters. The reefs of Wakatobi are unlike any others that can be found in the region, because of the drier climate and uplifted limestone, meaning they are fossilised reefs. Whether you decide to scuba dive or snorkel, Wakatobi is an ideal place, as you will most definitely be enchanted by the great diversity of marine life and the superb shallows on the coral tops. The coral top is engulfed by the seagrass that houses species such as filefish, blue-ringed octopus and humphead parrotfish.  The vibrant corals are called home by the young of many colourful species.

Incredible diving experiences that will mesmerize you

The Coral Garden is an amazing dive site, which is really a big bowl, spanning 40 metres across. The inside of this bowl is covered with a dazzling assortment of mixed coral forms and formations at all depths. It’s not just coral though, as there are all sorts of marine creatures that either reside here or are just passing by. After the adrenalin of getting down through the current, suddenly once in the bowl, all is calm.

Wakatobi is truly a heaven for the species that live here, as they are protected from man’s harmful intrusions, a pristine underwater environment that is ideal for divers of all kinds.

Mount Batur Bali

Mount Batur is an active volcano, placed in the middle of the two “cauldron-like depression that forms following the evacuation of a magma reservoir”, north-west of Mount Agung, Bali, Indonesia. The inner caldera has 7.5 km and has been formed as a result of the Bali ignimbrite establishment.

The last major eruption was recorded in 2000.

Mount Batur is a great place for trekking

Mount Batur is a holy mountain like Mount Agung. It’s located in the village of Batur and has an altitude of 1,717 meters above the water level. It can be explored from the foot of the mountain to the limit of the possible road by specialists in 2 hours.

Tourists who choose this destination are either lovers of adrenaline and adventure or are just attracted by the beauty of the area.

Arriving at the top of the mountain, do not miss the opportunity to admire a unique sunset. The colorful show and the holiness of the earth will free you from negative thoughts and give you the feeling of freedom and security.

In order to practice trekking on Mount Batur, we recommend collaborating with a local guide. They already have a well-planned itinerary. Together, you will enjoy a coffee at Traditional Bali Coffee Processing, a place where the tropical plantations are protected, but also a breakfast prepared at the steam that is emitted by the volcano crater. Does it sound captivating?

Have fun with Water Rafting

A perfect trip in this area is when you combine useful trekking activities on Mount Batur with water rafting on the Ayung River. This is one of the most spectacular rivers in Bali, providing entertainment features for all ages.

Being formed of 45 springs that flow through wild forests and through a rock show, the Ayung River transforms a simple and funny activity into a memorable experience.

Goa Gajah Temple Bali

Bali has an abundance of ancient temples which have fascinating stories and legends that surround them. Goa Gajah temple and archaeological site is a popular tourist destination which is located six kilometres out of central Ubud, on the western side of the village of Bedulu. Goa Gajah’s name means “elephant cave” and it derives from the centuries-old statues of the Hindu god Ganesha. For those that love to trek through thick green forests and immerse themselves in an ancient meditational place, Goa Gajah temple is your destination.

A Spiritual Ground Where Hinduism and Buddhism Merge

This spiritual place of meditation dates back to the 11th century, being part of the Balinese empire of Bedahulu until its end in the 14th century. The main site has a courtyard filled with relics that feature elements from both Hinduism and Buddhism, moss covered rock-wall carvings, a central meditational cave, pools and fountains. The north part of the complex is predominantly Buddhist, while the south side that’s set across the river is mostly Shivate.

Also, at the southern, there are beautiful green rice fields and small streams that take you to Petanu River, a natural site infused with local legends.

Outside there is a bathing pool, which was excavated in 1954. Pilgrims used to bathe here under the seven statues that sprout water, which are said to represent the seven great rivers of India. There are now 5 statues still in place.

The Elephant Cave

The actual cave is quite shallow and carved into natural rock, inside being threes tone idols wrapped in black, red and yellow cloths. The cave’s walls are covered in black soot for the incense that is burned here. The entrance depicts a large menacing face – thought to be that of an elephant, along with various natural motifs.

The main site is located down a flight of stairs that are near the roadside and parking area, where you will find various souvenir shops and stands with refreshments. Although the temple is not far away from present-day Ubud, its site seems centuries away apart. Click here to see the best resorts in the area of Ubud.


Ubud Bali

Ubud used to be one of the most serene destinations for those that were interested in Yoga, green scenery and healthy food. Now it is one of the busiest and most popular destinations in Bali, housing many fine restaurants, chic cafes, luxury resorts and streets filled with shops selling crafts made by local artisans. Located amongst rice paddies and steep ravines, it is promoted as an arts and culture center, having multiple museums and cultural landmarks.

Ubud Bali


The Vibrant Cultural Center of Bali

While most of the museums and galleries are set along the main street of Jalan Raya Ubud, there are also many fascinating attractions located a few kilometers away from the center, such as the Setia Darma House of Masks and Puppets, and the Tegenungan Waterfall. The Bali Safari & Marine Park and the Ubud Monkey Forest can be easily accessed by nature and animal lovers, letting you observe Bali’s native wildlife in their natural habitat. The latter is home to the Pura Dalme Agung temple and over 300 macaque monkeys.

Ancient Temples Surrounded by Green Rice Paddies

History buffs have many ancient temples and buildings that are worth a visit, such as the Puri Saren Agung, a large palace, and the Pura Desa Ubud, Pura Taman Saraswati, Gunung Kawi temples. The impressive rock carvings of Goa Gajah, also known as the “Elephant Cave” are just outside of Ubud. The Tegallalang Rice Terraces are one of the most beautiful landscapes to be found in southeast Asia, and no traveler has missed the opportunity of taking a leisure walk through these verdant hills. Take a free and easy nature trek on the Campuhan Ridge Walk, which will take you away from the hustle and bustle of central Ubud, this 2-kilometre track taking you through incredible hill vistas and views of the rivers Tukad Yeh Wos Kiwa and Tukad Yeh Wos Tengen.

Bali Ceremony

Whatever your interests may be – nature, history, culture – you will definitely find something in Ubud to accommodate you. Click here to see the best resorts in Ubud.

Devils Tear Lembongan

Located on Nusa Lembongan Island, just 30 minutes by boat from the main island of Bali, Devils Tear is not as intimidating as it sounds.

An Amazing Natural Display

This natural landmark gained its dramatic name from the ocean spray that is thrown out from a cave found in the cliff surface as each wave breaks. This coastal feature has remained pretty much unknown among tourists, making it an attractive spot for couples and families which are seeking unspoiled views and a relaxing, quiet atmosphere. You can stand on the rocks and feel the waves pour down on you, but don’t underestimate their strength as they can be very powerful. Also, the crashing waters are sometimes huge here, so don’t come here if you’re not ready to get wet! You will have a spectacular moment each time a wave collides with the jagged rocks of the bay’s cliffs, that creates a wonderful effect.

Nusa Lembongan


Take One of the Coast’s Walking Trails and Catch Dramatic Waves

Devils Tear can be found by either taking a short minute walk up north from Dream Beach or south from Sunset Beach. The low cliffs in the southern area have some superb coastal walking routes. The best of them begin at Dream Beach, from where you should take the path north over the Devil’s Tear outcrop, where you’ll get to see some of the most dramatic wave formations that can be found around the island. If you keep your track north to Sunset Beach, you can get a chance to explore the cove. If you arrive at low tide, you may even have the chance of accessing the cave at the eastern end of the beach.

The excellent Beach Club at Sandy Bay (Sunset beach) is located here, a perfect place for visitors to unwind with a drink and spend the day. This un-crowded area is perfect for those that want to get away from packed tourist destinations and enjoy one of nature’s wonders.

Click here to find the best resorts on Nusa Lembongan.

Mount Agung Bali

Mount Agung is the highest point of Bali. It’s also a holy place for locals, being recognized as the House of God. It has an altitude of 3,142 meters above sea level and offers a sensational view over the bottom surroundings.

Mount Agung significantly influences the climate of the area, given that it’s an active volcano with a large crater that periodically emits smoke and ash. The last major eruption took place in November 2017.

Mount Agung is a great place to practice hiking activities

The Mount Agung can be explored by tourists for about 3-4 hours, starting from the Pasar Agung Temple and around 5-7 hours from Besakih Temple as a starting point.

If you are an adrenaline and adventure lover, you have the chance to expose your passion in this region. Climbing and trekking are two of the favorite activities by athletes (and not only) to practice on Mount Agung.

I recommend you to take the route along with a local guide in order to use your time efficiently and to travel safely. They will create for you the most tempting trip on the island of Bali.

There are two famous roads for climbing. To meet the challenges, you must be prepared both physically and mentally for what lies ahead.

Lembongan Mount Agung Bali

From the hilltop of Mount Agung, you will admire the most spectacular sunset in Bali

With an altitude of 3,142 meters, Mount Agung offers a colorful show that you probably have never seen. The sunsets take away the mystery of the Balinese landscapes. It’s a unique sensation to be at the heights of this mountain, but also an experience that will definitely change you.

The road to the top of the mountain is provocative, but the result deserves any effort.

Besakih Temple Bali

Besakih, also called the Mother Temple of Bali, is one of the largest, most important and holiest temples of Hindu religion of the island. It’s a complex of over 80 temples that are gathered in one very large compound, which is located on the southern slopes of the Sacred Mount Agung.  The compound is surrounded by beautiful and scenic rice paddies, hill and mountain vistas and flowing streams. The compound is so big that you’ll need at least half a day to visit everything, as many stairs take you up the mountain to many temples that have different ranks and functions.

@Rebecca Schmitt

The Sacred Temple Nested on the Slopes of Mount Agung

This extensive complex has been perched 1000 meters up the southern slopes of Mount Agung, the most spectacular volcano in Bali, from prehistoric times, watching great empires come and go and even miraculously survive a volcano eruption.

The main temple of the complex is Pura Penataran Agung (the Great Temple of State). The center of the main temple is a lotus throne, representing the ritual focus of the entire complex.

Catch One of the Most Breathtaking Views You’ll Ever See

Mount Agung’s high location gives Pangubengan, the closest temple to the peak great vistas of the mountain, being located just 30 minutes away from the main Pura Penataran Agung. Around 10 minutes to the east of Pura Pangubengan you’ll find Pura Batu Tirtha, where the holy water for the ‘karya agung’ ceremonies comes from.

@Rebecca Schmitt

Witness an Authentic Balinese Ceremony

Each year, there are at least 70 ceremonies or religious celebrations held here, as each shrine has its own anniversary, along with the big holidays that are based on the 210-day Balinese Pawukon calendar system.

Besakih is an important part of the Balinese cultural heritage, having authentic Balinese Hindu religious practices. It is considered to be the prime spiritual center of Bali, so if you really want to immerse yourself in this magnificent culture, this is the place to be.

@Rebecca Schmitt

Flores Diving

The area of Flores attracts many tourists with its smoking volcanoes, rich culture, pristine beaches and extraordinary diving spots.

The well-known Komodo National Park can be accessed from the town of Labuan Bajo, but divers here should have some prior experience as the area is known for its rapid and powerful currents. Here you’ll have the chance of walking on deserted white-sandy beaches, see surreal volcanic lakes and encounter an abundance of species, both inside and out of water.

An abundance of great diving spots

Eastern Flores is home to some very popular dive sites such as Magic Log, where you can find ribbon eels and frogfish. Here also lives the very rare weedy scorpionfish (Rhinopias), along with the wonderpus octopus. Headlands and channels can be found across the coastline of the island and these have become very frequented by divers on liveaboards. In this region there are a lot of unchartered territories that have yet to be discovered, piquing the interest of many explorers and divers.

Home to a variety of sea life

The dive sites of the island are located quite far apart from each other on the long northern coastline, so the only way to visit them all is by an Indonesian liveaboard. In Maumere, you should not hesitate to hop on a liveaboard diving ship, as you’ll be able to cover more ground. Diving near Maumere involves trips to islands such as Babi Island, Adonara Island or Lambata Island, which have sloping reefs and walls, that are inhabited by snappers, parrotfish, angelfish and damselfish. Along the way there will be a lot of current filled drop-offs and also good muck diving around the bay.

Flores is a great island that has a lot of excellent diving spots in its clear, surrounding waters, which are teeming with unique, local sea life and walls of coral reef.

Click here to find the best resorts in Flores area.

Mount Kelimutu Flores

Mount Kelimutu is a volcano located near the city of Moni, Flores Island, in Indonesia. The mountain boasts with three spectacular crater lakes on the top of the volcano that show different consistencies.

Lakes pass through periodic transformations. They change their colors according to the level of oxidation of the fluid specific to each lacquer, but also the level of iron and manganese that exist in the impregnations. In return, the level of oxidation is largely influenced by volcanic gases and precipitation speeds.

Lakes are not interconnected, that’s why colors change independently from each other. Only in 2016, lakes changed their colors six times. Unfortunately, the volcanic mechanism is not monitored, thus, scientists can’t rely on predictive models.

Tri-colored lakes of Kelimutu – a natural heritage

As we mentioned above, the lakes are unique and impressive. Two of them are nearby, while the third one is located 1.5 km away from the first two. The space that divides these lakes represent a narrow stone formation of steep craters, with heights between 50-150 m.

Other versions related to the color transformation of the lakes refer to the influence of sunlight and water microorganisms.

Mount Kelimutu is a great place for hiking

Mount Kelimutu has an altitude of 1.639 meters above the sea level and is one of the perfect hiking spots in Nusa Tenggara. The difference is the spectacular landscape you will find at the top of the mountain, namely those three lakes combined with a sun show and tropical forests.

Hiking is an activity adored by tourists but also locals. To avoid paying the entrance fee, you must pass the National Park gate shortly before 4 AM – that is if you prefer to travel without a guide.

However, we recommend contacting a local guide. They will create an itinerary according to your free time and preferences. Hiking on Mount Kelimutu is often compared to an easy trip. After a hill route, you will get to a ladder that goes up to the highest point of the mountain. This makes hiking activity be easier, but equally culminating.

Mount Bromo Java

Mount Bromo on Java island is possibly the most famous volcano in Indonesia. Having a height of 2329 m, it is the most hiked mountain in the country. It always makes its way on the top 10 lists of things to do in Java, and for a good reason.

Mount Bromo: A volcano that’s not that sleepy

Although many hikers come here, Mount Bromo still remains one of the most active volcanoes in the world and there are certain areas that restrict tourists from passing there because of its impending danger. It is located inside the massive Tengger caldera (volcanic crater with a diameter of roughly 10km), encircled by the Laut Pasir (sea of sand) of fine volcanic sand.

Local legends say that Mount Bromo is of great importance to the Tengger people who believe that the site is where their courageous prince sacrificed his life for his family.

On the sand plain, a Hindu temple called Pura Luhur Poten can be found. The temple is very important to the Tenggerese people which are scattered across the mountain villages. The temple hosts the annual Yadnya Kasada ceremony that lasts up to a month.  After 14 days, the crowd goes along the crater edges of Mt Bromo and throw their offerings into the crater.

An exciting hike

You can trek across 3 km sand of sea and then you will pass the Hindu temple and climb up a set of stairs to the caldera of Mount Bromo. It takes about 1-2 hours depending on your physical condition, but it’s usually considered an easy trek. But you can also hike the neighbouring Mount Penanjakan to catch the sunrise over Mount Bromo.

Made out of desolated volcanic sand and a giant crater that spews white sulphurous smoke, this dangerous yet beautiful natural combination brings in many adventurous travellers that wish to see this otherworldly landscape.

You find the best resorts to visit Mount Bromo in Surabaya or Banyuwangi. Mount Bromo is located in between.

Komodo island Flores

The Komodo island is without a doubt the biggest attraction that brings travellers to Flores, the Komodo National Park being known to house the famous Komodo dragon.

Komodo island: Home of the Komodo Dragon

The Komodo dragon is the largest lizard on Earth, and park visitors can see this giant and ferocious animal in its natural habitat. Many other species inhabit the island such as the Javan deer, though they are not indigenous to Komodo. Other fauna that you’ll be able to spot here includes the water buffalo, banded pigs, civets, cockatoo and macaques. But while the dragons are what made the park originally famous, the waters surrounding the park have become just as famous.


©Rebecca Schmitt

A diving paradise

The waters around the Komodo Islands are home to some of the largest marine diversity anywhere in the world. Snorkelling and scuba diving is excellent here, as the waters are clear and calm letting you see all the colourful marine life and coral reefs. The Manta Point is one of Indonesia’s best diving areas, offering a truly amazing experience. The majestic manta rays are a common sight here.

Flores Underwater

The rare sands of Pink Beach

Another world famous must-see attraction is Komodo Island’s Pink beach. This unique beach is one of the 7 pink beaches that exist in the world. The water is clear and relatively shallow, making it a good place for snorkelling beginners, having plentiful and bright coral that house many colourful species such as false pipefish, pygmy seahorses, ocean sunfish, blue-ringed octopus, clown frogfish and sea sponges.

The island is full of small coves surrounded by dizzying verdant mountains, rusty red volcanic hills, savannah, and mangrove forests. The diverse flora of this island makes a truly unique landscape. The park itself is full of diverse trees and plants. The path is flat and smooth, making it perfectly suitable for families that also have children.

The Komodo Island is the perfect place for nature and animal lovers, as this is an undisturbed paradise for the local species that dwell here.

Click here to see the best resorts in Flores.


Prambanan Temple Java

Prambanan Temple or Rara Jonggrang is a Hindu temple compound built in the 9th century in Central Java. The temple compound is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, while also being the largest Hindu temple site in Indonesia, and one of the biggest in Southeast Asia. It has a tall and pointed architecture, a characteristic of the Hindu architecture.

Prambanan Temple: An incredible display of Javanese architecture

Its origins are shrouded in mystery, but it is believed that the temple was built by king Rakai Pikatan to mark the return of the dynasty that adhered the Hindu religion, after decades of Buddhism. The complex was in ruins for several years until in 1937, when the reconstruction started, but has a long way to go before it could be completed.

Because of this, you will see many piles of rock which surround the reconstructed temples. All those are remains from the 224 Pervara temples from the outer temples. The compound originally had 240 temples which were arranged in a concentric mandala layout. These shrines show the advanced level of technology and architecture that Java had in the 9th century in Java.

©Rebecca Schmitt

An extraordinary place of worship for Shiva

The Candi Shiva Mahadeva temple, dedicated to Shiva, is located at the center of the large complex, the mains spire having a towering height of 47 meters (153 ft). All temples are decorated with reliefs and giant statues that depict the Indonesian version of the Ramayana epic, with beautiful and intricate stone carvings.

Even though Prambanan is a huge tourist attraction, the atmosphere here is mostly peaceful but crowded.

The vastness and complexity of the Prambanan compound is an architectural and cultural treasure, a masterpiece of the classical period of Indonesia, presenting the grandiose culture of the Shiva art.

Click here to find the best hotels around.

Borobudur Temple Java

Borobudur Temple Java is a Mahayana Buddhist temple in Magelang that dates back from the 8th or 9th century and is located in Central Java, Indonesia. It holds the title of being the world’s largest Buddhist temple. The temple is decorated with many intricate relief panels (2,672 to be more exact) and 504 Buddha statues.

©Rebecca Schmitt

The greatness of Borobudur Temple

Built in around 800 C.E., during the reign of the Sailendra Dynasty, the temple’s architecture is a unique blend of the Indonesian indigenous design features and the Buddhist elements. The temple also has Indian influences which are reflected in elements of Gupta art. Yet there are plentiful indigenous scenes and elements incorporated which make the temple distinctively Indonesian.

Candi Borobudur’s design was designed by the poet, thinker, and architect Gunadharma, creating a structure that resembles that of a pyramid, which has also been referred to as a caitya (shrine), and a sacred mountain. While the temple incorporated all of these architectural characteristics, its general plan is that of a three-dimensional mandala.

©Rebecca Schmitt

A place of great significance for Buddhist pilgrims

The monument being a shrine to the Lord Buddha is a popular place for Buddhist pilgrimage. The pilgrim journey starts at the base of the temple and follows a trail around the monument, which goes to the top through three levels. Those symbolize the Buddhist cosmology: Kāmadhātu, Rupadhatu and Arupadhatu. The pilgrim journey has an extensive system of stairways and corridors with 1,460 relief panels on the walls and the balustrades which depict Buddha’s teachings. Due of this, Borobudur has the largest and most complete collection of Buddhist reliefs in the world. On the three upper terraces, you will encounter 72 stupas that each contains a sculpture of a seated Buddha with a stone latticework.

Borobudur is a very popular place for Buddhist pilgrimage, but also for travelers that want to experience the uniqueness and grandeur of this Indonesian temple. You should definitely visit the temple early in the morning or in the late afternoon to avoid the heat during noon. Moreover the temple might be super crowded and your chances are better to take a picture without the masses. To vizualize what we are talking about:

©Rebecca Schmitt

Click here to get an overview of some of the best hotels within the Borobudur area.

Java Roadtrip

From Jakarta to Bali by Car

1500 kilometres, 10 different cities: It’s an unforgettable adventure to do a Java Roadtrip and go by car from Jakarta to Bali. There is no better way to understand the authentic side and mentality of Indonesia.

Java Roadtrip: Jakarta to Bali by Car in 10 Days

©Rebecca Schmitt

On one side you will need a good preparation, strong nerves and patience but on the other side you will see spectacular landscapes, the daily live of Indonesian people, the diversity of this country and great hotels on Java. It’s less romantic than doing a Bali roadtrip but for everyone who wants to see the real Indonesia, we recommend the Java roadtrip. We did this trip between 25th December 2017 and 2nd January 2018 and recommend the following route.

Ricefield on the Route between Pekalongan and Borobudur ©Rebecca Schmitt

Travel Preparation for the Java Roadtrip:

It’s the best to request the rental car in advance via email at Avis or another international rental car company. No need, to book and pay the car in advance. You can do this in Jakarta when they deliver your car directly to your hotel. Please ask also for the “kartu jalan tol”. It enables you to use the automatic payment lane and saves you time. You can charge it at all rest stations. For our route you need around 350.000 IDR on your card.

Moreover a small car is a big advantage on Indonesian streets considering the narrow streets and bad traffic conditions. We booked an Toyota Avanza and it was the perfect size for two people plus four big peaces of luggage and additional hand luggage. A must have for the navigation is the google maps app on your phone. A local sim card and also an usb cable for charging or as an alternative a powerbank might be a good thing.

Sunset from the roof terrace of the Fairmont Jakarta ©Rebecca Schmitt

Day 1: Jakarta

Our adventure starts in Jakarta. It will take us one week to reach our final target Bali. Different airlines serve the route to Jakarta and it’s not challenging to find a flight connection. Arrived in Jakarta, we go via the Blacklane driving service to the Fairmont Jakarta (see also alternatives).

Gedung Gede ©Rebecca Schmitt

It’s surprising in respect of the size of the city but there are only very few sightseeing hotspots in Jakarta which can be easily visited in one to two days. For example the minimalistic National Museum placed at Mardeka Square (“mardeka” means independence), the government building “Gedung Gede”, the Indonesian National Museum and when you have more time, you should visit the “Thousand Islands” outside the city.

National Monumen ©Rebecca Schmitt


Day 2: Jakarta – Bandung

150km 2h 30min

You should calculate one hour by car to leave Jakarta because the traffic is really bad. Luckily, there is a highway to Bandung and in around three hours you will arrive in Indonesia’s third largest city Bandung. Moreover it’s the capital city of Barat Java/ West Java and it’s also called the “Paris of Indonesia” because there are still beautiful old houses from the Dutch occupation period left in the city centre. You shouldn’t expect too much culture and beauty but it’s definetely a must do including the administration building “Gedung Sate”. The best hotel in Bandung is the traditional five-star Padma Hotel. As an alternative you can consider the business targeted Hilton Hotel, too.

Gedung Gede ©Rebecca Schmitt

On the way to Bandung you see rice field after rice field and we did a side trip to Purwakarta to see the water reservoir “Jatiluhur Dam”. It’s a good place for a nice view of Mount “Burangrang”. Honestly we thought it would be more spectacular and we wouldn’t give a real recommendation for this time intense side trip. Our picture gives you an idea of what to see.

Java Roadtrip

Jatiluhur Dam ©Rebecca Schmitt


Day 3: Bandung – Pekalongan

300km 5h 20min

On the way from Bandung to Pekalongan you shouldn’t miss the only drive-in vulcano, Indonesia’s Tangkuban Perahu next to Cikahuripan and Lembang in the Regency of West Bandung. It’s 90 minutes away from Bandung and highly recommended during week-days. On weekends and holidays the place is very crowded and you will experience traffic jam on top of the mountain and even before. Don’t be surprised to pay ten times more for your entrance fee in comparison with domestic visitors. In 2017 the fee is 300.000 IDR per person and 35.000 IDR for your car but the stunning view is simply great.

Tangkuban Perahu ©Rebecca Schmitt

On the way down you will also pass some typical tea platations. Passing Cirebon, you can stop at Gua Sunyaragi to see a mysterious building in the shape of a cave. In earlier times the building was part of a recreation temple of the sultan of Cirebon. In case you have enough time, you should have a look.

Tea Plantations ©Rebecca Schmitt

We stayed one night in the Santika Hotel in Cirebon but we cannot recommend it because it’s a thirty years old building missing modern standards. Moreover you will here the sleepless chanting of the muezzin in the night and in the morning. Earplugs needed! We would recommend you to go to the city of Pakalongan to stay there for the night, even when the highway only goes until Brebes. In 2018 the highway to Pekalongan might be extended. The Santika Hotel in Pekalongan belongs to the same Indonesian hotel chain like the Santika in Cirebon but it’s newer and more modern.


Day 4: Pekalongan – Borobudur

150km 4h 20min

On our fourth day of the Java Roadtrip we did a four hour and twenty minutes drive to go to Borobudur. Based on the fact that there are no highways at all you can expect an exhausting day and you really need to be careful on the streets. The challenge of driving in Indonesia is mainly based on the different speed levels on the street in respect of motor bikes, trucks, cars, rikschaws, buses, bikes, horses, and people walking in between.

©Rebecca Schmitt

In Borobudur we want to highlight the unique hillside resort “Villa Borobudur” with the environment of a traditional Indonesian palace overlooking the valley of Borobudur.

Villa Borobudur Resort ©Rebecca Schmitt

As an alternative you should consider the Amanjiwo, the Plateran or the Plateran Heritage Resort. The best time to visit the Borobudur temple is in the very early morning to watch the sunrise or in the late afternoon to see the sunset. During the day it’s a super crowded place and moreover you will ask for shadow.

Borobudur Temple ©Rebecca Schmitt


Day 5: Borobudur – Yogyakarta

42km 1h 30min

The Villa Borobudur Resort is really like in a fairy tale. So we decided to stay another night at this gorgeous place. In the morning we visited the beautiful Borobudur temple. It’s very impressive and offers some phantastical views. No way to skip this – it’s a must see.

City Centre Yogyakarta ©Rebecca Schmitt

In the afternoon we drove to Yogyakarta because we expected to see something like the cultural heart of Java. It’s true: The city is very young and has an old city centre linked to the period of occupation by the Dutch but everything else in this city looks pretty much the same like other Indonesian cities. As you notice, we were not really convinced and we hesitate to recommend the city walk to you because there is simply too much traffic jam in comparison with the few cultural highlights.

Street scene Yogyakarta ©Rebecca Schmitt


Day 6: Borobudur – Solo

110km 2h 30min

On a Friday we go from Borobudur to Klaten to see the famous Hinduistic Prambanan Temple. For the distance you should calculate around one hour and thirty minutes. It’s a similar experience to Borobudur: Very crowded and for foreigners the ticket price is 337.500 IDR. Included is a bottle of water as a welcome drink and a nice and air-conditioned lobby plus toilets in Western standard. I mention this because it’s not something you experience everywhere. The temple itelf is really impressive and beautiful and definitely a must see in Java. You will enjoy it.

Prambanan Temple Klaten ©Rebecca Schmitt

Afterwards we continue our trip to Surakarta that is also known as Solo. It’s only one hour by car to the Alila Solo that overtops all other buildings of the city. You can trust us, there is no alternative in respect of lifestyle, exclusivity and wow factor in Solo. Moreover they have delicious Pretzels in the Alila Solo – just happy 🙂

Pretzel found in the Alila Solo ©Rebecca Schmitt


Day 7: Solo – Madiun

100km 2h 50min

100 km for day 7 of the Java roadtrip is not too much. In respect of the fact that there are no super high-end hotel options in Madiun, you should enjoy the morning in the Alila Solo. Relax next to the pool and start your drive in the afternoon.

Alila Solo Surakarta

Alila Solo ©Alila

You can take the route via Gunung Lawu to see the foggy highlands where strawberries and other berries grow. Within three hours you are in Madiun. We stayed in the Aston Hotel. It’s the best hotel in that region but nothing special. You can try to drive further to Surabaya but for us it seem too exhausting for one day.

Street scene ©Rebecca Schmitt


Day 8: Madiun – Surabaya

160km 3h 30min

It’s already day 8 of our Java roadtrip and the hotel in Madiun is a good reason to wake up early to drive to Surabaya. It’s the last day of 2017, a Sunday morning, and the streets are less crowded. Moreover the highway for the last hour of driving to Surabaya is empty enough to speed up to 120km/h – just happy once again. On the way there are no sightseeing highlights and we decide to spend the afternoon in the pool area of the Shangri-la hotel Surabaya.

Scenic view Central Java ©Rebecca Schmitt


Day 9: Surabaya – Banyuwangi

300km 8h

Happy New Year or “Selamat tahun baru”! One thing you should consider in Indonesia: People get early tired and go early to bed, too. New Year is a real challenge for Indonesians and you cannot expect everyone staying awake until midnight. Even ourselves. We feel very Indonesian 🙂

Selling onions next to the street ©Rebecca Schmitt

At ten in the morning we start our drive to Banyuwangi. Google Maps promised six hours and a half but this estimation is based on terrifique traffic conditions. Actually we needed two hours longer. Only the first hour is on a highway. Later you go on small streets which are incredibly crowded. Moreover Google Maps gives you smart recommendations for shorter routes but please never accept! After accepting it we ended up in the jungle on a muddy countryroad. You are just very happy when it’s over and you never know in advance if your car will rock it or not.

The last kilometers to Banyuwangi are next to the beach but there are not too many options to see the beach because of villages and jungle plants. The “Wisata”/ Sightseeing places are not the same from a Western view: Too many people asking you to join their selfies, too much food, too much packaging waste.

Beach in East Java ©Rebecca Schmitt

After a long day of driving we arrive in Banyuwangi at Bangsring Breeze Resort, a beautiful hidden place on the hills with a comfy and traditional Indonesian atmosphere and a great Indonesian cuisine. The Indonesian Curry is simply unforgettable. The resort is only a 20 minutes drive away from the ferry.

Time to check the mileage status on the ferry ©Rebecca Schmitt


Day 10: Banyuwangi – Menjangan (Bali)

37km 1h 20min

20 mins to the ferry and another half an hour on the ferry, than you are in North Bali. It’s really close to Java.

On the ferry – no way to leave your car ©Rebecca Schmitt

We went straight to The Menjangan, Bali’s largest resort in respect of area because it’s located in the West Bali National Park. A new neighbour of this resort is the Plataran Menjangan. The park is home to wildlife animals like the unique Balinese deer. For us it’s a great place to relax after our Java roadtrip and before we go another 150 km to Seminyak in South Bali, where we return our rental car to Avis.

Is it relaxing to do this roadtrip? No, definitely not. Is it adventurous? Absolutely and it’s a really unique way to experience the true side of Indonesia. We would recommend this roadtrip to passionated Indonesian travellers, balanced couples who know each other longer than six months or good friends with a strong passion for adventure and cars.

Arrived in North Bali, enjoying empty streets ©Rebecca Schmitt

Siladen Diving


Going to Siladen diving means there are some outstanding dive spots to consider like Lekuan II or Pangalisang. Of course, in this region are around fifty different dive spots but the pictures are taken there. As one of the best diving areas of the world you can look forward to a great maritime diversity in Manado.

Special highlights of Siladen diving

Beside Raja Ampat, Manado is one of the best diving areas in Indonesia. Nowhere else you will find a higher biodiversity. Famous species in this area are mandarin fish, turtles, scorpion fish, coral crabs, and nudi. We want to highlight just two of our must see dive spots which can be reached best from the Siladen Resort.

©Rebecca Schmitt



You are looking for a beautiful coral garden and one turtle after the other? We’ve never seen so many turtles on one place like at the underwater wall at Pengalisang. So based on a conservation program to protect and safeguard turtles in 2004 the area is today a real turtle paradise. Moreover the currant in this area is not too strong that makes it easy to dive. On top of the wall there is a colorful coral garden.

©Rebecca Schmitt


©Rebecca Schmitt

Misool Diving


Going to Raja Ampat/Misool diving means there are some outstanding dive spots to consider like Magic Mountain or Selat 2. Of course, in this region are many different dive spots. As one of the best diving areas of the world it is impossible to find bad dive spots in this area.

Misool Diving Underwater World

Special highlights of Misool diving

Around 1500 different underwater species live in Raja Ampat. Nowhere else you will find more biodiversity. There are pristine hard coral gardens, lush soft corals, busy walls, manta cleaning stations, sharks, turtles, and much more. Unique species in this area are mandarin fish, blue ring octopus, pygmy seahorse, walking sharks, and nudi. We want to highlight just a few of our must see dive spots which can be reached best from the Misool Eco Resort.

Misool Diving Highlights


Magic Mountain and Gus Ridge

You are looking for the big fish like manta? One of the best Misool dive spots to watch manta is Magic Mountain. Placed in the middle of the sea you dive into open water. Around ten meters under the water surface you will see the top of Magic Mountain covered by corals and crowded by lots of small fishes. In this depth you find also a cleaning station of the mantas. Further down in 20 meters depth there is another cleaning station. Even if you don’t dive, you can visit Magic Mountain for snorcheling and watch the manta from above. Please consider that the currant there can be quite strong.

Another great place for manta watching in this area is called Gus Ridge.

Misool Diving Manta

Selat 2

For divers interested in a beautiful coral garden, we can recommend the Misool dive spot Selat 2. This spot in around 6-8 meters depth is not pretty deep but sunny and colorful. The coral garden is rich of tropical fish, coral and seashell. There is less to no currant what makes it easy to dive in this area.

Misool Diving Selat2

Rebecca Diving


Legian Beach

Bali is a rich island with different must do and see activities and Legian Beach is just one of them. Originally Legian was a small fisher village. Today it’s a cool and contemporary village with lots of fashion boutiques, surf shops, nice bars and international restaurants. Legian Beach is the place to be for surfers, first time island visitors, and lifestyle addicts. Nowhere else you will find one great sunset drink hot spot next to the other.

Legian Beach as a surfer paradise

The waves on Legian Beach are legendary. This also means the beach can be very crowded, especially during holidays and weekends. Anyway the Legian Beach is still a great place – to watch the waves and alsoa people. There are lots of surfer professionals around but also beginners will find a surf school on the beach. If you prefer a 100% Indonesian owned surf school, we recommend you “Double D”. This name is linked to the founder names of the two brothers “Dedik & Dedik”.

Legian Beach Surfing

Beach walk and sunset drink

Moreover you can walk along the beach, enjoy the view, drink a fresh coconut, take pictures and take a sunset drink.

Legian Beach Pictures

Some of the best hotels and restaurants are placed on this beach. Just to mention some hotels, there is the legendary Legian Beach Hotel, the W Retreat, the new Alila Seminyak or the Oberoi. La Lucciola is one of the best Italian restaurants in Bali. It’s placed on the beach and provides unique dishes besides an unique view. The Kudeta is another trendy beach bar, lounge and restaurant on Legian Beach. Certainly, it’s one of the top bars for a sunset drink. As an alternative you can go to Potatoe Head – a huge Beach Club with crazy architecture and strong beats on stage. There are quite often open air concerts in front of the beach.

Legian Beach Sunset Drink


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