Mt Rinjani, or Gunung Rinjani, is the second highest volcano in Indonesia. Located in the North of the island Lombok, the top of the mountain forms a crater lake 1.2 miles above sea level, known as Segara Anak. Visitors can hike to the lake, which offers spectacular views of Bali and Sumbawa, and while there also visit the Aik Kalak hot springs situated on the crater rim. The trail takes two days to reach the crater, so it is a challenging trek and not recommended for the inexperienced, however it is an adventure that is greatly rewarding should you make it.
The lower elevation slopes are densely forested, with trees giving way to sparse and rugged volcanic rock further towards the crater. Fig trees are prevalent in the lower forests, as well as the Syzygium Jambu, an attractive shrub that bears edible fruit similar to guavas. A wide variety of fauna can also be seen, from the fairly common long-tailed grey macaque, to the rare ebony leaf monkey and rusa deer.
Komodo National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated within the Lesser Sunda Islands. It is made up of twenty nine islands, the largest three being Komodo, Padar, and Rinca. These islands are home to the majestic Komodo dragon, a threatened species of lizard that can reach up to ten feet in length and weigh up to 150 lbs. The park is also well know for having one of the world’s richest marine environments, including whale sharks, manta rays, blue-ringed octopuses, and over two hundred species of coral. Because of this it is a haven for divers and snorkelers, who travel to the park by boat from the nearby towns of Labuan Bajo or Sape to experience the world famous coral reefs.
Lake Toba, in Sumatra, is the largest lake in Indonesia, and the largest volcanic lake in the world, covering an area of 660 square miles. An even smaller island, Samosir, lies within the lake and can be reached by boat or road bridge. The lake is a popular destination for tourists looking to get off the beaten track, relax and take in the beauty of the water and mountains. The main town visited is Parapat, and from here visitors can swim in the volcanically warmed lake, visit nearby Sipisopiso waterfall, or rent a motorbike to explore the island of Samosir.
Mount Bromo is one of the most visited attractions in East Java. The volcano sits in the middle of an immense plain named the Sea of Sand, and constantly emits white smoke from its crater, giving it an eery, other-worldly feel. The area surrounding the mountain is inhabited by the Tenggerese people, and plays a huge part in their culture, with sacrifices of fruit, vegetables and livestock being thrown into the crater during the Hindu festival of Yadnya Kasada.
The volcano itself, though beautiful, is largely barren, with rugged peaks and gravel plains, however the surrounding area of lower elevations and valleys are covered in forest. Here wild animals can be spotted, such as pigs, rusa deer, and leopard cats, as well as birds of prey. The mountain is easily climbed from the village of Cemoro Lawang, or alternatively locals offer jeep hire and guided horseback rides to the summit. One can also find the stunning Madakaripura waterfall in the foothills of Bromo, close to the village of Sapih, the waters of which are said to be an elixir of life.
Located off the island of New Guinea, Raja Ampat, or The Four Kings, is a group of over 1500 islands, shoals, and kays. The main attraction for visitors is the amazing biodiversity of marine life, which is the highest recorded on Earth according to Conservation International, and as such it is ranked one of the top ten locations for diving by many sources. Most tourists choose to stay in dive resorts or liveaboard boats that collect them from the nearby city of Sorong, but eco-friendly homestays are an alternative option for a genuine Indonesian experience.
The four main islands are Salawati, Waigeo, Misool, and Batanta, and aside from the marine landscape these islands offer an array of amazing scenery and natural attractions. The waterfall of Salawati is a must-see, or one could explore the caves of the islands by sea kayak.