If you’re looking for somewhere to backpack but are hoping to visit somewhere a little more off the beaten tourist track, Indonesia and the surrounding area could be the perfect place to visit. With enough Western-isms to make even an inexperienced traveller feel comfortable, but with a little less popularity than the likes of Thailand, this could be the perfect destination for someone looking for something a little different. After travelling around the area, I’ve seen and experienced a huge amount of exciting places to visit. To help you get ready for your trip, here’s a spotlight for some of the best.
Image Source: Virgin Holidays
First-things-first, you’ve got to start with the main area. Start off in Bali for some of the best water-based experiences in the area. Junkung Dive is one of the most professional and profound diving experiences available anywhere, perfect for anyone who loves to dive. With sights such as the US Liberty Shipwreck, Gili Selang and Amed Walk, it’s simply unmissable. And don’t worry if you’ve never dived before; there are 5 star trainers on hand to teach and guide you through every part of this experience. Next up is the Wae Rebo Village in Flores, which is perfect for anyone who loves to hike. You are guided up steep hills on a 3-4 hour trek, finally arriving at this traditional village. With only 8 families living in this area, you will truly appreciate what it means to be away from mainstream, modern society. You can even stay the night in one of the huts there, which is a great chance for anyone looking for a traditional Indonesian night.
The first thing you must do in Malaysia is take the Malaysia Heritage Tour of Eat, Pray, Love. Guiding around in groups of around ten, you’re given several hours to take in a huge variety of cultural experiences in a really friendly environment. One of the best things about this tour is that it doesn’t only allow you to see sights you may not otherwise have known about, but you try so much food! Local Chinese, Indian and Malay food is all up for tasting, so it’s a great chance to try something new. Langkawi is famous for its beaches, so you can’t miss the chance to spend a day simply relaxing on the golden shores, taking a dip in the sparkling blue sea. Cenang Beach is one of the best in this region, with lots of fun water sports and eaters available, though it’s also great just to relax and take in the sun and views.
Papua New Guinea
A little piece of British history is available here in the form of Parliament Haus. If you’re looking for some culture, of even just a little taste of home, this is an ideal spot. Opened by Prince Charles in 1984, it’s an impressive building with truly spectacular architecture which everyone can appreciate. The façade is a great spot for photographers thanks to the mosaic designs, whilst nature lovers will enjoy the Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing, beetles and stick insects which call this place home. You could easily miss the National Botanic Gardens thanks to their location in the middle of capital Port Moresby, but they’re a must-visit spot. With a 2 km boardwalk moving throughout a jungle canopy, there are also lawns and gardens showcasing amazing tropical plantation.
Finally, you should travel to the Philippines before making your way home. The sunken Japanese wrecks are brilliant for people who love both historical culture and nature. Taking the skills you learnt in Junkung at the start of the trip, you can check out the water-life which thrives around the wrecks under the sea. If you’re looking for something you simply cannot see anywhere else, the Puerto Princesa underground river is ideal. Take a tour through the river which travels underneath a mountain, and discover nature you didn’t even know existed. The rock formations are out of this world, and the tour guides truly know their stuff.