Ethnic groups Map wit title fixed

This multi-colored map shows why Indonesia ranks as one of the world’s most ethnically diverse countries – MAP by Gunawan Kartapranata – Wiki Commons          

Best online guide for exploring Java and Sumatra

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Indonesia is back to being one of the easiest countries to visit for a short holiday or for extended stays of up to six months.

Effective 9 June of 2023, there is no longer a requirement for arriving visitors to show proof of COVID-19 vaccinations. And you can now apply online for an E-Visa to avoid long airport queues.

At last - Indonesia rolls out the post pandemic welcome mat ...

First visitors arrive Batam after Harbourfront Terminal reopens

Officials in Batam welcome first arrivals after the re-opening of ferry services from Singapore’s Harbourfront Cruise Terminal on 15 June 2022.  Control of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought big changed for the better one year later – Pic Jakarta Post/Antarone


Be sure to check the PUBLICATION DATE and source of any information about Indonesian Visas and border restrictions on the Internet. There have been many changes and MUCH of the information appearing online is out-of-date or incorrect.


New articles and updates for travelers about Indonesian attractions, beautiful places, and fascinating culture, history, society and peoples are being added regularly. If you would like to be notified of new information as it is published please complete one of the Stay-up-to-date forms on this page. Enjoy your reading and learning. 

Things you need to know when travelling the REAL Indonesia

WELCOME to the Number One independent travel information site for Indonesia.

This is where the curious and interested can learn more about the world’s most diverse and fascinating nation and how to explore it safely, affordably, and in comfort. Without the HASSLES.

Here you can learn about the REAL indonesia – the magical places and events both on and off the beaten track in the thousands of islands out there beyond Bali. And the practicalities of experiencing the best of it.

There is much good information available elsewhere about beautiful and famous Bali, the ‘Island of the Gods’

But much of the rest of Indonesia is a bare canvas. Our mission in these pages is to fill in the blanks. In the map above Bali is the small mustard-colored blob at the eastern tip of Java – the rest is what you are missing.

Just another lazy jungle day. Bukit Lawang near Medan in North Sumatra is one of the best places to see orangutans in the wild – Pic

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We believe in travelling in comfort

Much Internet information about travels in lesser-known parts of Indonesia targets backpackers with a focus on regular tourist trails, tight budgets, cheap eats, cut-rate transport, and shared hostel dorms. That’s not our style.

Especially when accommodation, food and services are so inexpensive. Remember, the best adventures happen when you take your time, meet the local people, and venture a little beyond the pathways trodden by the tourist herd. It’s magic.

We like COMFORT and make no apologies about enjoying good hotels and comfortable transport wherever possible.

If you share this outlook, then this site is definitely for you. Forgive the pun, but you will feel ‘comfortable’ here and benefit from good advice.  Adventure need not mean you have to rough it. 

It will be even more interesting enjoyable, and satisfying if informed about where you are going and what to expect BEFORE you leave home. And you will avoid what could be awful mistakes.


Glimpse a roundup of wonderful places to see in Indonesia in this video compiled  by William Damario Lukito

Piring dance of Minangkabau people from West Sumatra (LEFT). The Minang are considered to be the world’s largest matrilineal society – Pic RIGHT: High pitched roof and decorated gable of traditional house of the Lake Toba Batak people . A beautiful place and a fascinating culture – Pic Wiki Commons

Douglas Cole – Website Creator

Saying thanks for all the kindness

I am not a travel wholesaler, or a tourism promotion agency though now the Covid-19 Pandemic restrictions have gone I and my colleagues are launching specialized small group tours of the best of North Sumatra and Java for over 50s. (See more at

I am someone who stumbled into making a new life in Indonesia and has come to admire and love this stunning country. It has been kind to me, and I feel an obligation to let others know about it and encourage them to come see for themselves.

I hope I can contribute in some small way to making Indonesia and its people better known, understood, and appreciated in the wider world.

In the articles written by me and others in these pages I share with you why I feel this way and aim to provide all the information you will need to easily (and comfortably) come visit.

Mount Bromo in East Java attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year. Look closely and you will see a staircase up to the crater rim

Get started with these articles ...

Towering skyscrapers in Jakarta CBD

I stood on the deck of the PELNI ferry as we entered Jakarta Bay and stared. This was nothing like what I had expected. It looked more like Manhattan than a Southeast Asian seaport capital in a so-called ‘third world’ country … 

Spectacular sunrise over famous Borobudur Buddhist temple Yogyakarta

When the world isn’t being crushed by pandemics, millions of people from all over visit Bali each year. They usually have a wonderful holiday. But they are missing out, BIG TIME. And they don’t even know it. …

Bali Bombings Memorial Kuta

Many people are scared to go to Indonesia because they think they will be putting their lives or health at risk. Yet the facts show this is just plain wrong.  The reality is that most Westerners who visit are safer than if they stayed at home …

Orangutan in Jungle North Sumatra

The critically endangered orangutans of the Indonesian forests have long been recognized as one of the world’s truly fascinating animals. The jungles of North Sumatra and Borneo are the only places .…