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Entries in indonesia (8)


Hip Neighborhoods: Yogyakarta

The heart-and-soul of Indonesia, Jogja, as it’s known to locals, boasts a thriving art scene, wonderful architecture, nearby beaches and a heady shopping scene, all in the shadow of the sultan’s palace. It’s a mash-up of old and new, from ancient temples to brand-new shopping malls. If you’re preparing to visit this vibrant city, plan on spending some time in the following neighborhoods:


Jalan Malioboro is the Main Street of Yogyakarta, and it approaches, though doesn’t quite arrive at, the sultan’s palace. This is one-stop-shopping at its finest, and the sidewalks are lined with merchant stalls hawking souvenirs, batik and silver. A lot of tourists are keen to skip Malioboro and purchase handicrafts from the artisan workshops on the outskirts of town. By all means, buy from the source, but that doesn’t mean you can’t browse the wares on Malioboro first. If you do decide to purchase gifts from a street stall, be prepared to bargain. It’s part of the experience, after all.

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Big City Transit: Jakarta

Just so we’re clear: Jakarta has a traffic problem. The city’s official tourism portal tactfully points out that congestion is a problem “despite the presence of many wide roads”. That’s one way of putting it, and here’s another – there’s plenty to enjoy in this energizing metropolis; but getting around isn’t one of them.

Jakarta is the biggest city in the world without a mass rapid transit system. Construction is underway, but relief is a long way off. Meanwhile, car ownership in the capital grows 10 to 15 percent each year. Analysts are even counting down to an impending ‘total gridlock’ apocalypse, where traffic becomes so bad that it begins to affect the efficiency of the city’s workforce and the economic output thereof. It sounds sensational, but total gridlock is no joke, and it’s a very hot topic in Jakarta.

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Insider guide to Indonesia: Sumatran rhinos

While traveling throughout Southeast Asia experiencing the foods, the customs, the different ways of life, it's easy to overlook the wildlife. One inhabitant that deserves attention – the good kind – is the Sumatran rhino.

Nobody could describe the Sumatran rhino as ‘a looker’. In fact, the stocky, stumpy monster mammal with reddish-brown skin is spectacularly ugly. One Sumatran rhino hallmark – shaggy hair sprouting from its ears – raises the specter of an ageing human male in need of ‘manscaping’.

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Indonesia: Guide to Yogyakarta

Taman Sari in Yogyakarta

Funny place, Yogyakarta. You wonder whose idea it was to build the Indonesian city of half a million people right slap on one of the most seismically active parts of Java, with the inevitable results. Earthquakes and volcano eruptions delight in rocking the general area. On May 27 2006, an earthquake killed over 6,000 people and flattened over 300,000 houses.

That said, the epicenter was 25 kilometers north of the city, which dodged the worst the quake could throw at it. So, if you go, odds are, you'll be safe. Find out where the fun and fascination are in the history-soaked city with the nifty name often shortened to 'Yogya'.

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Indonesia: Shadow Puppets

If you thought puppets were tired and trite – the tacky stuff of Punch and Judy shows – think again. Consider the charms of Indonesian ‘wayang’ shadow puppetry.

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Indonesia: Komodo Dragons

You can smell it a mile off. One of the most distinctive traits of that giant Indonesian carnivore, the Komodo dragon, is its pungent, meaty aroma.


Up to three meters long, the malodorous monster can weigh over 100 kilograms, making it the world’s heaviest lizard. Beady-eyed, it has a long, flat head with a rounded snout, rough skin and bowed muscle-bound legs that enable it to run at 20 kilometers per hour.

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Indonesia: Jakarta Top Five

Wayang Museum, Jakatar

When you first set foot in Jakarta, you may experience a wave of anxiety. The reason: if a prize existed for the world’s most aggressively sprawling city, the Indonesian capital might win it.

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life's a beach: kuta beach

best beach in bali

A deserted, palm-fringed beach; warm, clear water; perfect waves peeling off the headlands at either end of the bay – it’s paradise and it’s all yours! The trouble is, you’re 30 years late! Now every surfboard-toting traveler, package tourist, vacationing family, impoverished backpacker, and yes, even busloads of Japanese tourists, have all been to Kuta Beach!

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