On my Trip of Wonders with Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism, I visited plenty of Instagram-worthy destinations, but these were my favourites. In no particular order, here are what I consider to be Indonesia’s top Instagram locations.
Taman Sari Water Palace
Taman Sari, meaning perfumed gardens, is a sprawling complex of pools, parks and waterways. It is said that the sultan would sit in one of the towers and watch the princesses, wives and concubines bathing below before selecting one to join him in his chamber. The baths are beautiful but my personal favourite building from this palace is the picturesque underground mosque. There’s something Escher-like about them. Five staircases lead up from five archways to a central platform and another staircase leads from there to the main storey of the mosque. The entire mosque was once only accessible by an underwater passage, the tunnel where I’d photographed Alex Block.
How to get there: Take a domestic flight from Jakarta to Yogyakarta. The water palace is roughly 30 minutes from the airport and 10 minutes from the city centre.
Located in central Java, this impressive Buddhist temple blends Indonesian indigenous beliefs with Buddhist concept of Nirvana. Borobudur is the world’s largest Buddhist temple and dates back to the 8th and 9th century, 300 years before Cambodia’s Angkor Wat. It’s a magnificent structure set among the rolling hills near Yogyakarta. Set the alarm clock and get here for sunrise. It’s a beautiful sight seeing the first rays of light hit the stupas and the mist clearing over the hills.
How to get there: Take a domestic flight from Jakarta to Yogyakarta. The temple is 1 hour and 30 minutes’ drive from the airport.
Toraja’s oldest traditional village, Kete Kesu is surrounded by beautiful paddy fields. The village has fine examples of the Torajans’ unique houses, the Tongkonan, with a row facing the field as you enter the village. It’s a truly picturesque sight. Death is an important part of the Torajan culture and it is something to be celebrated rather than feared. The Torajans believe that the spirits of their ancestors live in the north and Tongkonans are built facing this direction, serving as another link the Torajans have to the dead.
How to get there: Take a domestic flight to Makassar and then transfer to another domestic flight to Palopo. From there, the drive to Kete Kesu is about 2 hours.