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One Week Traveling in Indonesia

By Dorothee Rembold

Indonesia, a nation of over 17,000 islands, is the world’s 4th most populous country and attracts visitors with its rich variety of historic sights, incredible landscapes, and gorgeous beaches. Whether you’re teaching in Indonesia or are teaching abroad in Asia, these islands should be on the top of your travel bucket list. Below is a suggestion for a week-long travel itinerary in Indonesia, specifically central Java:

Day 1 – Indonesia’s royal luxury

Begin your one week trip through Indonesia in one of its oldest cities, Yogyakarta. The Kraton Complex, or Sri Sultan’s palace, displays the royal splendor of life as a Sultan. Regular music and dance shows introduce visitors to Indonesian culture. Spend the afternoon exploring the city; discover the Dutch water castle, which features a charming network of tunnels, rooms and stairs; and visit traditional batik shops. You will be amazed by the colorful displays of fabrics decorated with artistic patterns and illustrations.

Day 2 – Yogyakarta

After your initial impression of Indonesia, visit Prambanan, a collection of ancient Hindu temples. Built in 850 CE, this complex once featured 240 temples. The earthquake in 2006 destroyed parts of this magnificent sight, but the partially reconstructed site is open to visitors. Carved reliefs and numerous statues adorn these temples and provide visitors with an introduction to Hindu deities. Arrive early to beat the crowds and to get the chance to explore some of the hidden temples that tour groups easily miss. At night, head northeast to Solo.

Day 3 – Solo

Known as the twin sister of Yogyakarta, Surakarta or Solo kept more of its original Javanese character. Visitors should explore the Puro Mangkunegaran Palace. Established in 1757, this palace doubles as a museum and features a great collection of 14th century jewellery, traditional masks, and weapons and silverworks. Stroll through the historic areas of Solo to soak up the atmosphere of this amazing location.

Day 4 – Sukuh and Cetho temple

Take the road less traveled to Borobudur and visit the Sukuh and Cetho temple on the way. The smaller roads take you past two of Indonesia’s many volcanoes – Mount Merapi and Merbabu. The Sukuh temple, a 15th century Javanese-Hindu temple, is centered around the theme of birth and sexuality, and the truncated pyramid looks similar to Mayan temples in Mexico. For a spiritual experience, head to Cetho temple, over 1400 meters above sea level on several terraces. Witnessing locals practice their religious ceremonies here is an unforgettable experience.

Day 4 – Borobudur

This place is one of the world’s greatest monuments and the largest Buddhist structure on earth. Founded as a religious site in the 8th century, Borobudur consists of numerous platforms and terraces. Detailed carvings and more than 2,500 reliefs tell stories about the Buddha and his teachings. This sight is especially scenic at sunrise and sunset, amplifying the dramatic volcanic landscape.

Day 5 – Dieng Plateau

After your visit to Borobudur, the temples found on the Dieng Plateau may seem underwhelming but are definitely worth a visit. Lace up your trekking shoes and explore the unique and amazing volcanic landscape here. Discover the colored lake, various temples, and skidang crater, and meet some of the locals and have them show you around their vegetable fields. Allow yourself some time to truly enjoy this incredible place.

Day 6 – Semarang

Conclude your trip to Indonesia in the bustling city of Semarang. In addition to the Sam Po Kong Temple, built in honor of a Chinese Muslim in the 15th century, stroll past Dutch colonial buildings and buy some last minute souvenirs. Semarang also amazes with numerous amusement parks and beaches. If you haven’t found the time yet, treat yourself to a massage and enjoy a local spa before heading back to teach abroad.

Indonesia, a country of unmatched natural beauty and historic sites, cannot be explored within a week, but this one week itinerary of Indonesia will take you to some of the country’s best locations. Teaching abroad in Indonesia will give you the chance to enjoy this incredible place and many other destinations in Southeast Asia.

Happy travels!

Dorothee Rembold is a former intern at Teach Away Inc.

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