Steeped in a rich history and fertile volcanic soil that is home to many different cultures and ethnicities, Indonesia, the world’s largest island country, has many pull factors that would excite any travel addict. The tourist hotspots tend to be the island of Bali and the city of Jakarta, yet if you’re heading to Indonesia and looking for less tourist-centric getaways, you could view the two as stepping stones onto some of the other locations in the country, such as Java and Komodo Island.
With that said, the island of Bali is just brimming – like an active volcano, so check before you fly! – with the hottest nightlife, daytime beach bars, brunch spots and the best in luxury staycations, resorts and villas. The city of Jakarta – a completely different yet equally fascinating experience – is a vibrant and sprawling metropolis, home to nine million people and pretty much up there with some of the greatest cities in the world in terms of the experiences it has to offer. See which of the two you’d like your next Thai Airways trip to take you.
Things to do in Bali
Known for its beautiful beaches, coral reefs, memorable rice paddies and forested volcanic mountains, it’s no wonder why Bali is known as the Island of the Gods, as it’s simply teeming with all of mother nature’s glory. The island is home to many temples, resorts, yoga and meditation retreats and the best in buzzing nightlife.
If you’ve heard your friends talk about Bali, you will have heard them mention Seminyak. This is where you’ll find the foodies and party-goers, as the town is laced with Bali’s top restaurants and a sizeable pick of bars and clubs. You will have definitely heard your friends mention the sunset they saw at Potato Head Beach Club, so put that on your to-do list.
Beach it up!
There really is no shortage of beaches in Bali so you have a healthy mix to choose from. If you’re looking for bigger crowds, head to the more popular areas of Seminyak and Canggu. If you’re looking for something a little more private, the crystal clear waters of Uluwatu will make your soul sing. Uluwatu also has some of the best beach clubs in Bali, such as OMNIA Dayclub Bali and Karma Beach Club, so yeah, beach it up!
Eat the best in seafood while savouring all the cool cafes the island has to offer, especially when it comes to the coastal village of Canggu. Often regarded as the island’s silent surfer paradise, the village is lined with local delicacies, smoothie bowls and vegan treats such as Betelnut Café and Gypsi Bali. If you’re looking for some really awesome seafood, head to Jimbran, a fishing village with a beachfront that is lined with mouthwatering seafood delights.
Visit Religious Sites
Bali has an extremely spiritual side to it and a trip to Bali would be incomplete without seeing the amazing temples that live there. With a strong history of Buddhism and Hinduism, there are at around 20,000 temples that can be found in Bali, some even ancient. A visit to Uluwatu Temple in South Kuta, a Balinese Hindu sea temple is quite magical though, especially if you want to make the most of island life by appreciating the sweeping views of the ocean.
Recommended Resort in Bali: The Villas at AYANA Resort
Things to do in Jakarta
Jakarta is truly a melting pot that attracts people from all of the islands to come and make a living there, bringing with it a rare diversity that would challenge even the most metropolitan cities in the world. This very diversity creates an inimitable dynamic that offers visitors many different things to try and see, from people and cuisine, to culture, customs and fine art.
When people migrate to Jakarta, they bring with them authentic recipes which are then shaped and fused with other recipes to form something new and spectacular. This is what Indonesian food is all about: the fusing of greatness. From street food vendors to fancy restaurants, there’s no end to the food you can try here. Where do you think satay came from? Not Thailand, but Indonesia!
This is where you’ll find all the mega shopping malls, such as Plaza Senayan (PS by locals) or Grand Indoensia Shopping Town, making it one of Southeast Asia’s most reputable shopping meccas. And with one of the most reliable transport systems, the Transjakarta and the soon-to-be-launched MRT, mall-hopping is that much easier.
See the Sights and Instagram them!
The cityscape of Jakarta is stunning, especially at night when one sees the breathtaking skyline. There are a countless number of choices when it comes to rooftop bars and romantic dinners overlooking the city at night that would provide perfect photo opportunities, such as the happening Cloud Lounge, Sky Lounge or Lucy in the Sky. For daytime photo-ops, head to Jakarta Old Town, a must-visit attraction consisting of old colonial buildings as well as repurposed museums and cafes, including the old historical harbour that once served as the city’s major port.
Contemporary Art and Culture
When we’ve visited masterpiece mansions filled with collector’s items that are just so jaw-droppingly stunning, upon asking the said-collector where he or she bought such pieces, many replied: “Jakarta”. This is so true. Jakarta’s art and culture scene, like its food, is filled with an array of colourful and contemporary artworks created by youthful young artists, both local and international. The city is filled with works of art to appreciate, from paintings, sculptures and installations to more. Plus, there are many galleries and museums to drink in the said works of art. We suggest visiting the community-spirited Komunitas Salihara, a melting pot of artists, thinkers, writers and culture-enthusiasts, perhaps even the pulse of Jakarta’s art scene.
Recommended Hotel in Jakarta: Hotel Indonesia Kempinski
Featured photo courtesy of Kenny Teo.
“Thai Airways offers two flights daily from Bangkok to Jakarta and one daily flight to Denpasar, starting from 11,870 Baht. For more information, please click here or call the THAI Contact Centter on 02-356-1111 to secure your ticket today.”